My column in the Christian Century is out in print (I guess they run their website on a week’s delay). Since others have been disappointed that I voice support for the Archbishop of Canterbury, I’ve been fretting over whether my explicit asseveration that my theology has not changed, and that I’m not backing away from my support for the full inclusion of LGBT Anglicans in our sacramental ministry, contradicts my inclination to think that Rowan Williams has more on his mind than just a fancy mitre.
My best shot at a short version of my rationale is this: Anyone can buy a Book of Common Prayer, call him- or herself a priest or a bishop, and claim to share in the Anglican tradition. The claim would be true enough, in some ways (depending on what they did with the BCP and the title) — but for such a claim to carry the kind of public integrity that communicates the fullness of sacral veracity, such a person would need to be in explicit, demonstrable communion with the See of Canterbury.
Now, in real life, there’s a great distance between the extremes of transparent, total collegial communion and utter renunciation. People adhere to various between-points for various reasons (or sentiments), with various degrees of coherence. But exactly because I believe in the soundness of incorporating women and men into the sacramental life of the Anglican Communion, I am reluctant to place “ordination” or “blessing” above the catholic communion of which I speak. Or, in a word, I don’t want for my sisters and brothers a downsized, localized simulation of putative claims to the episcopate or marriage; I support their active participation in a communion that embraces the whole world.
Last weekend I visited family in Tucson, and attended the episcopal service at St. Michaels & All Angels. This parish enjoys a very “high church” service, with lots of incense, intoning lessons, gospels, & prayers, a semi-pro choir, large sanctuary contingent, etc. The priest told me they have the highest service in the city, if not the state, and because of this they attract a lot of traditional Episcopalians/Anglicans from other churches in Tucson. However, this high church traditionalism is offset by their strong social liberalism — welcoming gays in particular & expressing support for Bishops Schori and Robinson. Many of the visitors find this disquieting or even offensive, but they still come for the incense & the music. It occured to me that this might represent a conciliation strategy for the Anglican Communion.
From the murky shadows of my remote past, Dennis said:
This is your first board speaking! I was indulging my vanity and my curiosity–in other words, Googling my own name–and I came across your blog. To be honest, I hadn’t thought of you in thirty years, although I often quote witty things you said. Hope all is well with you. My blog is at http://home.mindspring.com/~twofisch/thebearandcat2/.