A foretaste of the Not-So-Heavenly Argumentation to come from Kendall Harmon's recent commentary on his blog titusonenine: A compromise on a compromise is not a compromise. This is what the Episcopal Church’s leadership is trying to do: exercising very considerable caution instead of implementing a moratorium; sitting in judgment on other’s work instead of weighing our own actions, elongating the process instead of seeing General Convention 2006 as the very end of the road; and, finally, evading clear choices by the false construction of new alternatives. At the end of the day it is all about the same thing: avoiding solving the massive problem that we bear the major responsiblity for creating, and rebelling against the call of mutual submission and interdependent life. One prays hard for better than this–KSH.
I'll agree wholeheartedly with the Canon Theologian on one thing: one certainly DOES pray hard for better than this. But the "better than this" I'm praying for would be better than the hubris of presuming to declare "game over" when you don't like the score.
The "better than this" I'm counting on may just be "new alternatives" that we haven't even thought of yet but will -- as we continue in conversation and communion with those with whom we disagree.
The "better than this" I believe the Holy Spirit is calling us ALL into is a place where a compromise on a compromise is not only a compromise but a way forward from an impasse manufactured by those drawing lines in the sand and asserting that unless we assent to their "clear truth" answers to the complex questions facing our communion we are "walking away" when the clear truth is that we have committed to stay.
Efforts to turn General Convention 2006 in an Anglican Eschaton ("... seeing General Convention 2006 as the very end of the road") echo the "sky is falling" rhetoric that has dominated the right wing discourse for these last three years. Here is but an outline of a triennium of "end of the road" moments on a journey that is far from over:
- "If Gene Robinson is elected ..." (June 2003)
- "If General Convention consents to his election ..." (July 2003)
- "If he is consecrated ..." (November 2003)
- "When the Windsor Report is released ..." (October 2004)
- "When the primates meet at Dromantine ..." (February 2005)
- "When the ACC votes ECUSA off the Anglican Island ... " (June 2005)
- "When the Special Commission takes a U-Turn on inclusion ..." (April 2006)
The "better than this" I'm counting on is the faithful mainstream of the Episcopal Church to finally say "enough is enough," affirm the actions of General Convention 2003 and confirm our commitment to continue to stay at the table no matter who chooses to walk away.
At the end of the day, solving the massive problem we face as Anglicans striving to stay in relationship with our God and with each other will not be solved by ultimatums, threats or bullying. The "better than this" we pray for may just be "elongating the process" so the work we have been given to do as a people of God is done in GOD'S time -- not ours.