Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Why Not Leave?

A question was posed recently at Mark Harris's blog Preludium to those who support the blessing of committed same-sex unions and want the Episcopal Church to remain a member church of the Anglican Communion:
Why not following the leading of the Holy Spirit you are hearing and sever ties with those who do not hear the Holy Spirit saying this but indeed its opposite?
While I have stopped arguing with people about same-sexuality (see The Discipline of Silence), this is a question that deserves an answer. I can see two reasons to stay in communion with those with whom we disagree about this issue.
  1. They are sisters and brothers in Christ with whom we share a common tradition within the Church. While we disagree about what it means to be Anglicans, we all are. But beyond this admittedly absract connection, many Episcopalians have friendships of long-standing with Anglicans who disagree with them about same-sex relationships. Those friendships are of great value and we are unwilling to abandon them.
  2. I am aware that I might well be wrong about same-sex unions. I have come to my convictions about them through study, prayer, and conversation with other Christians. I don't think that I'm wrong, but I am honest enough to admit that possibility. Remaining in communion with sisters and brothers with very different convictions about the issue holds out the possibility that I will discern the Spirit's leading more faithfully and see where I am wrong. Having remained in communion with Episcopalians who aren't pacifists, as I am, has been a very good thing, good in ways that I don't even see. I trust that reamining in communion with Anglicans who are convinced that I am wrong will also be a very good thing.
I continue to pray that the Anglican Communion will find a way to live with diversity of convictions on this issue as we have on other ethical issues. I am not naive enough to think that this is likely, but I live in hope.

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