Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bishop Stanton - Caution and Prayer

Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Every General Convention generates its own "universe". It takes on a reality dimension that is out of proportion to, well, reality. It is like watching a dramatized version of a couple's life on TV or the movies: the conflicts,
the tensions and even the words strike home, but the speeches are a little too neat, the scenes a little too set, the interactions a little too stylized. The "real" reality is more complex than the dramatized version - more subtle, more unpredictable.

When Bishop Paul and I arrived, we were prepared to do some blogging. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortuitously) that has been problematic. Some technical difficulties have made that difficult. So you have not heard from us. And that may be just as well.

With the blogs, even from some bishops, being a play-by-play description (with interpretation) of what is going on, the interactions of the Convention, like the Convention itself, take on a life of their own - become their own universe.

There is no question that the vote yesterday on D025 was devastating to those of us who either 1) hold the Anglican Communion and our place in it to be sacred, or 2) who hold the Apostolic teaching of this Church sacred, or both. For one viewpoint on what the House of Bishops did yesterday, you might want to look at Tom Wright's article in Wednesday's London Times (online at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6710640.ece) (also posted above) There is no sugar coating the overwhelming consensus this vote represents.

But today, the Bishops stepped back for a moment and rather than press ahead with calling for the collection and development of same-sex blessings rites for "consideration" at the next General Convention, looked for a "non-legislative" way to deal with the matter. A surprising number of voices from yesterday's majority supported this move. Indeed, they called for it!

What does this mean for the fragile unity of this branch of the Communion? We shall have to wait and see. I certainly cannot predict.

Yesterday, and today for that matter, the telling phrase was "It is time." It is time, some speakers said, to get on with the direction we are headed. My sense was that some, certainly many who may think the outcome inevitable, were saying "hold on."

My word is "caution." And, of course, prayer.

I do not know what tomorrow (or the next couple of days) will hold. I am troubled, as many who have written me in emails are, about what has transpired until now. There is no getting around that.

Over all, however, I think we must walk through these days a step at a time. I will reserve judgment until this drama plays out and we see where we are then.

Thanks to all of you who have been holding Bishop Paul and myself, and our faithful deputation in prayer. Please continue to do so.


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