Monday, December 10, 2007

The Chicago Consultation

From Mark Harris:

I have just returned from a most amazing Consultation. A group of Anglicans, working for the full inclusion of all members of the Church in the life of the Church and the Anglican Communion have just completed a three day consultation in the Chicago area. The Chicago Consultation, a gathering of lay and ordained people, including diocesan and parish leaders, seminary and university faculty, journalists, members of other Provinces of the Anglican Communion, deputies to General Convention and several members of Executive Council met at Seabury - Western Theological Seminary, December 5-7 to strategize concerning the work ahead...
From Susan Russell:

...We were laity and deacons, priests and bishops; academics and activists, teachers, preachers and bloggers; USA, UK and “Global South;” parish priests and seminary deans -- even a politician and a primate. (All that was missing was the partridge in a pear tree!) We came from all parts of the country and many points of the globe – a genuine incarnation of what Jenny Te Paa called “the small ‘c’ communion” of “Anglican men and women whose lives and whose loves are prescribed by a prior sense of sacred belonging to God and thus to one another” and “who share therefore an unbreakable commitment to the indisputably inclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The emergence of that unbreakable commitment as our shared Gospel Agenda became the focal point for our imagining a church – a communion – beyond what I have come to think of as “The Inclusion Wars.” And when the wisdom, vision and giftedness in that room full of amazing, faithful people shifted from the “therefores” to the “how-tos” it seemed to me that there was palpable sense of the possible transcending the impasse-able as we began to chart a proactive course forward...
From Tobias Haller

...The Chicago Consultation, as it is being called for short, addressed the prevailing boundary issue that has beset our church and our Communion over the last decades, and most irritably over the last six years: the place of GLBT people in the church’s life and ministry.

In plenary sessions and small groups, we challenged ourselves to find a way forward that would be grounded in the powerful message of Jesus’ call and care. We focused on the the full inclusion of those whom some have determined to be inappropriate minsters of the Gospel, embracing the mandate and charge which comes with the highest authority, and in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?”
Susan also provides us with an excellent quote from Marilyn McCord Adams, Regis Professor of Divinity at Christ Church, Oxford from her paper presented in Chicago entitled “Shaking the Foundations: LGBT Bishops and Blessings in the Fullness of Time”:

...conservatives have played on liberal propensities for tolerance and inclusiveness to insist that liberals tolerate not only individual beliefs but institutional policies contrary to liberal conscientious beliefs, and to do so no matter who holds the majority...

...In the USA today, we tolerate people who believe the earth is flat. The constitution allows them freedom of assembly. Being a member of the Flat Earth Society doe not jeopardize a citizen’s voting or property-holding rights. But most Americans find the flat-earthers’ views false and irrational. We would not think of tolerating them to the extent of canceling the space program.

Likewise, sex-and-gender liberals have no interest in excommunicating sex-and-gender conservatives or in denying them the institutional access that all members of TEC enjoy. But in the name of faithfulness to the Gospel, sex-and-gender liberals cannot extend toleration to allowing sex-and-gender conservatives to set institutional policy no matter what. Liberals should not be so desperately committed to inclusiveness as to let themselves be held hostage by conservative threats to leave unless they get their way.

Liberals should work within the established polity of TEC and use their majority to uproot homophobia. The reason is straight-forward: homophobia is a sin and its end is now!
Now that's telling it like it is, eh? Time to stop tolerating the intolerant.

This sounds like it was an excellent event. Watch the Episcopal Cafe for publication of the presentations.

Do you think if I started using my real name more often I might get invitations to these kinds of shindigs?

Nah. That'd be too much like work and take all the fun out of this "hobby."


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