Stand Firm’s blogging priest, Matt Kennedy, a real hero in the coverage of GC06, posted this piece early this morning has he waited for the joint session of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies. That gathering should start momentarily, following Holy Eucharist. Though I linked the piece above, I’m posting it all here as Stand Firm, T19, and other sites have been crashing under myriad hits seeking news (and dare I say, news of hope).
Opinion: The Current Political Calculus Portends Legislative Clarity
June 21, 4:53 am
It is 6:54am Wednesday, the 21st of June.
Today after the daily Eucharist, presiding bishop Griswold will personally chair a special joint session of the House of Deputies and House of Bishops. During this session, a new resolution (or a resurrected one) representing a suggested response to the Windsor Report will be presented.
At this point, I do not know what that resolution will look like.
I do know that following the dramatic rejection of A161 in the House of Deputies, fear and anxiety began to build. Despite earlier bravado and denial on the part of some bishops, many, perhaps a majority, are extremely worried that such a rejection will in fact force the hand of ++Canterbury and the primates.
There have been rumors, so far unsubstantiated, that the ABC has directly communicated as much.
Whatever the case, the real world ramifications of Windsor defiance is starting to dawn on the Convention.
The hope, at least on the part of those who share this anxiety, is that somehow this joint session of both houses will be able to do what the deputies and bishops in their separate houses could not:
First: agree on a compromise Windsor response acceptable to enough revisionists on the one hand and orthodox on the other to garner a majority and…
Second: settle on a compromise response that will be acceptable to ABC and the primates.
The rub is that both must be accomplished at the same time and in the same resolution.
Here are the factors mitigating against substantive legislative action:
1. Integrity and those who stand with them will not accept language of limitation. The word, “refrain,” in the A161 resolution that emerged from the Special Committee smells too much like a moratorium.
2. The AAC and those who support them believe that anything short of the language of limitation, indeed anything short of specifically Windsor language (the language of moratorium”) will 1. represent Windsor defiance and 2. build so much ambiguity into the response that they cannot in good conscience sign on
Problems 1 and 2 are what led to the ultimate defeat of A161 in the house of Deputies: both the orthodox and the revisionists rejected the language of A161 (for opposite reasons).
This leads to the third problem:
3. The broad “middle” is not large, unified, or informed enough overcome the orthodox and revisionist parties when they vote together. This why even though many initially agreed with A161 as it was presented to the floor, they did not have the power to vote it through. Ultimately the moderates were forced to choose sides and both sides were voting “no”. Hence the overwhelming rejection of the resolution.
Is there a way to overcome these obstacles?
And this is precisely where I think there might be hope for those calling for clarity of one sort or the other. To pass any legislation the joint session will have to choose between the orthodox position or the revisionist one.
For the reasons above, compromise language will not work.
Either the Convention will choose language of limitation consistent with the Windsor Report and vote it through on the strength of the orthodox and center to the exclusion of the revisionists.
Or they will reject the language of limitation and vote through a resolution similar to the one found in the blue book that was proposed by the Special Commission; language that implies “extreme caution” but falls far short of Windsor on the combined strength of the revisionist and moderate vote.
Personally, I believe the second to be far more likely than the first.
In any case, the political calculations above, if accurate, are pulling this Convention, kicking and screaming, toward something the Episcopal Church has resisted with every fiber of her being for the last three years: clarity.
The makeup of the Convention, strangely enough, forces clarity. Either we limit ourselves or we do not. Either we abide Windsor or we do not. This is not a conversation, a journey, an extended dialogue or an interpretive dance.
This is a choice; something the orthodox (and probably the revisionists as well) have been praying for from the very beginning.
In my opinion God, in his mercy, has seen fit to bring the right people to the right place to face this decision squarely.
I, for one, am thankful.
I personally believe that Matt is on target, but only time will tell. These are indeed strange and painful days.
My own prayer request for today:
For all of us in the Body of Christ – regardless of label or flavor – divisions are looming large among many of our various members.
Not the least of these can be found hanging in the balance of today’s historic joint session of the two policy-making houses of the Episcopal church (a gathering that should begin within the hour of this post). The various ‘factions’ within the EC have failed to agree within their own houses (elected deputies, bishops) upon how to address the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion’s serious objection to the EC’s stance on the election as bishop of “persons whose lifestyle presents moral or theological challenges to the Anglican Communion’s constituent Provinces.” Or, active homosexual bishops. And to the AC’s request that until we have consensus among us all that neither the election of homosexual bishops nor same-gender relationship blessings/marriages be carried out.
Yesterday, both houses either failed or could not come to any agreement on the language of the ECs response. Failure to respond has numerous ramifications, not the least of which will be the “excommunication” of the EC from the Anglican Communion. While that would free the EC to do as it pleases, it would also separate an historic branch of the Body from… well, itself. A schism, a split. No one wants that, not on any side of the issue. But the time for decision, for clarity is at hand.
I can not tell you how painful this is for all of us. I can not list all the ways that failure would be complicated and hurtful to the Kingdom.
Pray with me for a Damascus Road experience… that the scales will fall from the eyes of those who gather for this “last chance” meeting? That God will show up in awesome, fearful, clear and inspiring ways and make himself known?
I don’t know what is going to happen, but I trust that God will not leave his faithful ones without hope… Lord, it sure is getting dark – shine your light of truth.
UPDATE and public service announcement: Stand Firm asks that folks with odd numbered birth years use this site while even numbered folk use this one so that both might stay up. Titusonenine has a similar arrangement – main site and the back-up. T19 has already crashed once today in spite of upgrading and moving to a new server in the last 24 hours. Both Cannet and StandFirm could probably use donat
ions for bandwidth, overtime, upgrades and so forth. Check the main sites at off hours to see how. PS – CTsix also has great posts.