Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I have been pretty good at honoring my decision not to get bothered by all the high drama within the Anglican Communion, but I do still read some of the blogs that deal with such matters. Recent comments about the ongoing discussion of the proposed Anglican Covenant brought to mind a discussion that I had several years ago with a friend and colleague. He had suggested an analogy for the crisis in the Communion that had been precipitated by the Episcopal Church's decision to ordain Gene Robinson to the episcopate. It was, he said, like one member of a family deciding to paint the family home without consulting others about the color. My response was that the analogy was a bit off, that we had only chosen to paint our own room.

Analogies aside, the idea of the Communion as a family does provide some insight into the crisis and into the attempts to resolve it. Whether in softer or harder ways the attempts have been aimed at making the Episcopal Church get in line with other members of the Communion on the matter of same-sexuality. Not all the other members, to be sure, but with what appears to be a majority of the members churches. The attempts, to use my friend's analogy, are aimed at limiting the choices of color for one's room.

All this insistence upon family conformity brought to mind how mistaken I was about my mother's political convictions when I was 13. That was the year of the Kennedy-Nixon race and I was convinced that my mother was voting for Nixon. After all her parents were staunch Republicans and I never heard her say anything in support of Kennedy during the campaign. It was decades later that she told me that she had, of course, voted for Kennedy, but that she had said nothing about it so as not to upset her parents.

For years Episcopalians had been moving towards "voting for" sacramental equality in the Episcopal Church. Much of that movement was not noticed by many others within the Communion, but after Bishop Robinson's consecration it was hard to ignore it. Like members of some families, some in the Communion think that it is impossible to remain a family with such differences of conviction. I disagree. After all, my mother and I still loved her parents, even though they had voted, we assume, for Richard Nixon.

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