Communion Denied

May 22, 2007

If you haven’t heard, the invitations to Lambeth 2008 are in the mail.

Well, most of them.  A few are notably missing and will never arrive.

Read the press release here and The Living Church’s coverage here.

So +Gene will not be invited to Lambeth, but may attend as a guest, and Minns and Murphy (of CANA and AMiA) will not be invited either.

Hmmpph.

So much for Communion and Reconciliation.

It’d be easy for me to say that +Gene should have been invited and +Minns and +Murphy shouldn’t, but let’s look at a few things first:

  1. In the press release, +++Rowan has finally acknowledged and brought front and center the power of the Lambeth:  none:  “the Lambeth Conference has no ‘constitution’ or formal powers; it is not a formal Synod or Council of the Communion”, and that invitation to the Conference has never been seen as “a certificate of doctrinal orthodoxy.”  (Aside: So why does he quote Lambeth 1998 Section 1.10 as the formal and recognized teaching on homosexuality every chance he gets as if it were doctrinal?)
  2. He also acknowledges the purpose of Lambeth as a place where our “experience of… living out of God’s mission can be shared” and “a place where we can try and get more clarity about the limits of our diversity and the means of deepening our Communion, so we can speak together with conviction and clarity to the world.”  It seems to me that it is pretty easy to get clarity about the limits of diversity when you don’t invite the full range of your diversity to the conference!

No, if in fact the mission of the conference is to share our experience of God’s mission and to get clarity of about the full range of our diversity, then it is pretty ludicrous to preempt the conversation by excluding those who are known to be the “extreme ends” of either end of that diverse spectrum.

By refusing them Communion with the full body of the episcopate in Lambeth, the Archbishop of Canterbury has inserted his own limits to the diversity of the church.

It seems to me that the high priests and pharisees had much the same issues.  They sought order over inclusion.

Certainly there is nobody now invited to Lambeth who can represent us, the GLBT people of not only this country but the world.  It borders even on injustice to place such a burden on one man, should +Gene be able to go, to have to carry such a weight.  But one person representing us is better than no one.

And it is fitting too that Minns and Murphy be present.  We have nothing to fear from their presence, and only through dialogue and communion can the clarity of the unfairness and injustice of the exclusion of GLBT people and the compounded ecclesial and provincial power grabs be put in context.  The truth shall set us free.

Of course, neither +Gene’s invitation nor the others appear likely to happen.

There are lots of events to take place between here and July of 2008.  Who knows what will happen.  Talks of protest boycotts, withdrawal, and the like have already begun.

Just when I was beginning to have hope in ol’ Rowan.

Here is a little something I found by a friend in my old parish that I liked that summed it up well:

The ABC spoke, Anglicanism died, Rome is rising again.
The invitations have gone out, two were missing, only two!?

No dear Rowan,, dare I call you brother? more than two invitations were missing, thousands, millions were missing from the call to brotherhood, kinship, welcome.
All of us who are “unclean” were uninvited from the table, the message went out, that those of us who are not pure enough must be circumcised before we may share in the feast. The clean, the pure have become once again the arbiters of God’s grace.
The gates have been shut, and once again we can only look in from the windows, we whose existence is a challenge for some at the feast are told to stay away.
Today as the news hits the stands, it once again becomes okay to imprison, punish, and view those of us who are tossed aside as less than children of God.
Today a young person is hearing, once again, that they are damned by the church to live without God in their lives, don’t be surprised when they embrace the “lifestyle” that you condemn us by and with. Don’t be surprised at the suicide rate, Don’t be surprised by the unhealthy behaviors. They are the gift from you.
Once again false idols are raised, The idol of communion, family. Look to the story of Sodom, what was that about, who was offered as sacrifice to the people, who was welcomed in, what was the act that saved, what was the act that damned?
Brother Rowan, come outside the hall, get your knees dirty with the rest of creation, put your books down, trust in God, God who is love, unlimited, unbound, unconditional. The God revealed through Jesus of Nazareth for all the nations and people.
May God’s peace be upon you Brother Rowan.
for you have denied this peace to many and have tried to put the breaks on the spirits work.
Love to you, freely given, with joy, because Jesus is my saviour and the one who is, is my God.
I pray ceaselessly for your salvation.

j

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