09 July 2009

"Same-Sex Blessings and Order" Versus "Mis-Interpretation and Anxiety"


Today, Thursday, 9 July 2009, could be quite a tangled and tense day. Hearings and/or committee conference meetings meet at their earliest time of convention, 7:00 am. Everyone is up early! Then, after another session of Misson Conversation and the mid-day Eucharist, the testimonies, and speeches, and conversations and hearings begin; they will be about homosexuality, about strains upon communion and conscience, about same-sex blessings, abut varied recollections and hopes. It will be tangled and tense.

At 2:00 pm, the “Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Music’ Committee will hear testimony regarding all the various resolutions having something to with authorizing rites for same-sex blessings or changing canons regarding marriage. There are about ten such resolutions, but there will be scores of nuances and variations of opinion. While many here sense that both houses are willing to allow some progress toward the acceptance of rites or blessings of same-sex couples, no one knows exactly what form that progress might take.

At 5:00 pm, during the legislative session of the House of Deputies, the house will take up a special order of business, which seek to review the issues surrounding resolution 2006-B033 – that is, a resolution that passed the General Convention of 2006 in the closing hours, and which, to many seemed rushed, confusing, and Painful.

I voted against the special order for review of 2006-B033. That seems surprising to some of my friends, but I believe that the way to go beyond B033 is to go beyond it. Let it be. Even at the time, it was subject to all sorts of interpretation, for it does not mention gays and lesbians at all. Still, many interpreted it to mean that gays or lesbians should not be presented, or nominated, for election to the episcopate. I did not interpret it that way, but I must also admit that there is evidence that at least one diocese did interpret it that way.

I do not know the details of the House of Deputies special order, but I do know that the World Missions committee, to which these B033 resolutions have been assigned, has worked long and arduously toward the right presentation. I pray for them, and I hope we can move out of the B033 morass gracefully. We do not need to linger in the land of anxiety and mis-interpretation. My understanding is that the World Missions committee will also hold regular open hearings tonight on the same matter. Then, the House of Deputies will take up a second half of the special order, again having to do with B033 issues, on Friday morning.

By late Friday morning, then, I am sure we will have reviewed almost all the various arguments in favor of, or against, same-sex blessings. We will have reviewed the various interpretations or reasons for B033. We will have hashed and re-hashed.

My prayer is about peace against anxiety. I pray that all this concentrated anxiety will not produce chaos and ill will and frustration. My prayer is about the order that might very well be established if General Convention finds a way to honor and bless same-sex relationships. I am glad that those resolutions devoted to such blessings will be considered in their customary ways by the Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Music committee. That would make available an ordered way of life that will make a great and graceful witness to the Anglican Communion and to the world.

1 comment:

  1. I Stand Corrected

    I was wrong about being wary of the special order set for dealing with B033 resolutions! Today, I listened to two very short summaries of history and options, and then I turned to speak with a deputy whom I did not know. I was absolutely delighted during our conversation. Of course, I must admit that it helped that we were in agreement about both history and future. Still, I suspect that even if we had disagreed more, I would have enjoyed it. The man with whom I spoke was (and is!) a faithful Episcopalian who has given much time and energy to a church he loves. I suspect that, in this way, he was like every single one of the other deputies in the house. The thirty minutes I spent talking with my new pilgrim friend was a highlight of the day. Thank you, Committee 8, for the special order!

    In fact, this day was a long one…I’ll write more, later.