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.
- 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.
- 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.