The Episcopal Church’s triennial General Convention starts its work this week, as even totally uninterested newswatchers will have been informed. We can anticipate a great deal of heat, and a good deal less light, and a sizable number of dissatisfied Episcopalians, no matter what the convention decides.
Some observers have offered pre-emptive strikes against the use of “weasel words” about issues that demand firm, clear, unambiguous verdicts. I’m not so het up about this one — my acquaintance with Anglican history suggests that the strength and weakness of the Anglican tradition depends to a great extent on keeping as many people as possible on board. To the extent that carefully worded resolutions (that may be read in more than one sense) contribute to sustaining broad participation in the church, I think that they reflect one of the defining characteristics of this stream of Christianity.
I’m not defending vagueness, but rather precision — about matters on which there is not a clear, distinct agreeement. That’s not a vice, but a virtue.
On the other hand, I see so little clear, precise writing that I sympathize with partisans who doubt that official church pronouncements aim not so much at precision as at empty but congenial sonorousness.
On a separate but related topic, I finally edited and added the sermon from Paula Harris’s ordination, and on another separate but related topic, Kevin points to the eerie convergence of catholic and agnostic sensibilities.