Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Bishop Wright wrote two responses to the GAFCON declarations for the Fulcrum website. I responded to the second which was much less glowing than the first. I also submitted a comment about the discussion of the Presiding Bishop's response to GAFCON. Read Bishop Wright's comments - and perhaps his earlier comments as well - before reading my response.

I applaud Dr. Wright on his taking another look at GAFCON, but I disagree with his assessment of the crisis in the Anglican Communion. As one who applauded the action of the 2003 General Convention of the Episcopal Church in consenting to the election of Gene Robinson, I know that my views may be in the minority in this forum, but the Anglican Communion will not survive this crisis if we refuse to listen to one another.

From the beginning I thought the crisis was, like the crisis over the ordination of women, a crisis of choice. By that I mean that traditionalists chose to make the ordination of a partnered gay bishop a communion-breaking issue and have viewed those who disagreed with them as unfaithful to the Gospel. Oddly, few have seen disagreements on other ethical issues as communion-breaking. I am still willing to be in communion with Anglicans who seem to ignore the Gospel's concern for the poor, or who disagree with me about capital punishment or the war in Iraq.

Making this one issue the litmus test for orthodox faith was a choice, perhaps a conscientious choice, to be sure, but a choice nonetheless. As a lifelong pacifist, I have been enriched by being in communion with those who do not share my convictions, with many who served faithfully in the military. I have been enriched by the diversity of convictions on many matters that exist within the Anglican Communion, within the Episcopal Church and my diocese, and within the parish I serve. It was a Provost of Coventry Cathedral who wrote, "If everyone in the Church were just like, what kind of Church would that be?" My answer is that the Church would be impoverished.

What GAFCON is proposing is, I believe, an impoverished Church, a Church where no dissenting or prophetic voices will be heard, a Church which will ultimately define itself over against the "wicked revisionists." Such a Church is fissiparous and we can expect to see divisions over other issues. Dr. Wright has already identified the ordination of women as one issue, but there will be others in time and those issues may well result in further divisions between the truly orthodox and those no longer orthodox enough.

Even though I don't agree with many of the comments that are posted in the Fulcrum Forums, am often confused by the acronyms, and don't understand the Church of England all that well, I have found it valuable to read the comments.

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