I think the central, crucial questions being overlooked, in this rush to power and punishment for the sin of colonialism from the Nigerian Lion Who Roars, are essentially, deeply spiritual.
Forget my pain. Forget the pain of LGBT people. Thank you for your sympathy and empathy, your mercy and loving kindness, your concern and prayers. It is truly, deeply appreciated.
I am overwhelmed by the loving notes I have gotten in the past few days - even those who have expressed concern about the anger which occasionally finds expression in sarcasm. Thank you for tending so lovingly to my heart and my soul and my mind. It is awesome to feel so loved.
Yes, betrayal always hurts, and often the only sensible response is anger. Betrayal hurts the betrayed, the ones who betray, and the entire church. It is odious in the sight of the Lord, grievous unto the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a sin against the Holy Spirit - and we all know what Jesus had to say about that.
Carolyn Myss talks about this as "The Judas Experience." She writes,
We are not helpless victims. LGBT Christians know we are children of God - and not just because General Convention passed a resolution that says that. This we know for the bible tells us so.
We have been fighting the good fight for many, many years - over 30, in fact. We, and our allies, will continue to do so. I am in no way tired. The Fat Lady has not even warmed up on this latest development, and I do believe the Holy Spirit has something really, really big up Her billowing sleeve.
As Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, "The arc of history is long, but it always bends toward justice." I think that when this kind of outrageous injustice occurs, something in the cosmos shifts. And, when that happens, the bending of the arc of history is accelerated even further toward justice.
There need not be any concern about retaliation from the left side of the church. Retaliation is not necessary. God has a way of taking care of the faithful who are oppressed - as well as those who oppress.
Jesus once cautioned: "Woe to you! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering." (Luke 11:52)
We overlook the spiritual questions of this at the peril of our souls - and the very soul of the church..
There are many, important spiritual questions. I heard the first of them articulated by the Rev'd Jennifer Phillips in a book of essays with a title, "Our Selves, Our Souls and Bodies: Sexuality and the Household of God."
I can't lay my hands on the book just now (I've just learned that Charles Hefling is the editor and Cowley is the publisher, although it may be out of print. Among the contributors is Rowan Williams. ISBN 1-56101-122-3), so I'm going to paraphrase her questions (and Jennifer, if you read this, please correct me if I'm wrong, or clarify/amplify a particular point you want to make):
"What, do you suppose, is God doing? (If we assume the authenticity of at least some of these vocations), Why is God calling and sending LGBT people to us, at this time in our common lives of faith, to positions of leadership in the church? What have we to learn from this? What might God be trying to reveal to us?"
Now, I'm keenly aware that there are wildly different answers to these questions, depending on which side of the aisle is responding.
My point (and I do have one) is to repeat what I said a few days ago. I think we ought not do what Rowan has obviously done. I think we ought not feel pressured by some Global South Primates, and their North American minions, who are on a painfully obvious power trip.
I continue to call for a Season of Discernment, Study and Prayer about how to respond to Windsor, Dromantine and Dar es Salaam.
Let's put aside, for a season, what the Global South Primates and their North American minions have demanded, the timelines they've constructed, and the ultimatums they have made. "Fear not!" says Jesus. Let us ask ourselves and struggle among ourselves with what God may be asking of us.
Please! Let's not do this at a Special General Convention. What a colossal waste of energy and resources!
The money to stage that kind of event is better spent helping the lives of desperately poor, starving, oppressed women and children in those very Global South countries who want to do unto LGBT people as they have done unto some of their own.
If membership in the World Wide Anglican Communion is so desperately important, then let us take the time - A Season, as we are so fond of saying, and not seven months - in the fullness of all four orders of the Body of Christ, to carefully discern, study and pray about our response to these ultimatums.
Let's do this with congregations having conversations among themselves and with congregations who think differently from them. Let's do this province by province and deputation by deputation, so that we can come to General Convention 2009 fully informed and ready to make important decisions about our identity and vocation and mission and membership as the Body of Christ.
It would be a most excellent way of "defending the faith" which is one of the sacred tasks of the episcopacy.
That doesn't mean, BTW, putting the faith of the church in deep freeze, relegating the faith of our church to museum status. Defending the faith means helping it to live and grow and deepen. Indeed, defending the faith means not killing it, which this request from Tanzania, if followed, most surely will succeed in doing. Defending the faith not only means defending it from false teachings, but defending it from those who would close the books on any learning, much less allow others or themselves, to enter a newer, deeper understanding of God's revelation (See Luke 11:52).
This would require an act of courage on the part of the House of Bishops. I trust they are sufficiently outraged to summon the moral and spiritual courage to do this.
And, I must say, if you are not outraged by these things from Windsor, Domantine and Dar es Salaam, you are simply not paying attention.