Elizabeth Kaeton -- General Convention Deputy from Newark, Integrity Board member and Rector of St. Paul's, Chatham (among other things!) -- has generously consented to let me share these pointed and ON-point reflections on faith, baptism and the Windsor Report originally posted to the Bishops and Deputies listserve.
To all the very nice, well-intentioned, devout Christian, straight, white men who pay their tithe/pledge to their church and are otherwise good citizens of the universe who:
(1) have Anglo Catholic or evangelic friends (mostly other men but some female and some even gay men) who support the resolutions in the Windsor Report
(2) believe that church's teaching should meet a "higher standard of biblical warrent, patristic corroboration, theological coherence, formal pronouncement, and sustained consensus of the faithful over a period of generations"(not the doctrine or even the written or maintained standard of TEC or AnglicanCommunion, BTW),
(3) think that the Church's teaching ought to be upheld and not 'deconstructed' or changed in order to preserve the unity of the communion and/or
(4) Believe that the church is in "impaired" communion over the ordination of women, but somehow don't think that's such a big problem or has anything to do with the current "troubles" in the communion.
(My, my, but it must be true what they say: institutional memory is very short. Never mind that we lost entire churches over the ordination of women and many around the communion at that time predicted schism and all other kinds of ecclesiastic calamity - which turned out to be true and remains so).
I want to say these things as clearly as I know.
1. RE: MORATORIUM: To build unity in the communion at the expense of one group - even for a season - is neither charitable nor Christian. Jesus calls us ALL to sacrifice - not to sacrifice some for the good of the rest. Such unity, to borrow a phrase from Moderator Duncan, is counterfeit, and said moratorium inherently evil.
2. RE: AUTONOMY: Anyone who had a good liberal arts education learned in Psych 101 about Eric Erickson's Eight Stages of Development in a healthy human being.
The first is BASIC TRUST vs. BASIC MISTRUST (Hope). This is attained in the period of infancy through the first one or two years. The second is AUTONOMY vs. SHAME (Will) which is attained in the period of about 18 months to 4 years. Without the development of these two milestones, a healthy human being can not go on to mature and attain the other milestones, which include
Initiative vs. Guilt PURPOSE
Industry vs. Inferiority COMPETENCE
Identity vs. Identity Diffusion FIDELITY
Intimacy vs. Isolation LOVE
Generativity vs. Self Absorption CARE
Integrity vs. Despair WISDOM
(I think that's right. Somebody check me. It's been a while since I learned it or taught it. See also Fowler's stages of faith development.)
The point is that without Autonomy in the individual there is no health in the community - much less maturity.
I'm going to say that one more time, and in capitol letters and bold type so we all hear it clearly: WITHOUT AUTONOMY IN THE INDIVIDUAL THERE IS NO HEALTH IN THE COMMUNITY - MUCH LESS MATURITY.
Personally, I believe we, as a church and a communion, are perennially caught in the developmental stage identity vs. identity diffusion FIDELITY (adolescence) and struggling to attain intimacy vs. isolation LOVE.(young adult)
Whenever we have a season of growth or maturity in our faith, it produces a crisis which drives us right back to the first building block of TRUST. Whatever work was not fully completed before we moved on comes back to haunt us until we complete the tasks of maturity and healthy growth.
The present "trouble" in the church is just one more manifestation of this struggle to gain maturity - individually and in the body.
Am I saying we need to "grow up"? You bet I am. Indeed,
I would even join my voice with St. Paul (not my favorite character) and say we need to "grow into the full stature of Christ." That's partof a prayer said at Baptism. Check it out.
3. RE: UGLY AMERICANS: Yes, we Americans must learn to appreciate the situations of our sisters and brothers in other parts of the communion. But, they must learn to appreciate the situations in which we live here in America.
I'm committed to walk a mile in Akinola's purple sacristy slippers. Let Akinola walk a mile my proper Episcopal pumps.
One last thing: We cannot deal with the Windsor Report - which is NOT LEGAL - until we deal with the fact that we have lack of compliance with the canons in our own church regarding the ordination of women. What, then, shall we do about that?
Or, about those who have not contributed to the spiritual or financial well being of the church in the past 3-6 years and who are sworn to destroy or "replace" TEC?? I know that's probably not significant to those who are already ordained and never had even an eyebrow (much less a question) raised about their capacity for ordained ministry because of either their gender or sexuality. I assure you that it is very significant to women and those who are our allies who work toward achieving 'the full stature of Christ' in their lives and in the lives of the church, the sacred body of Jesus.
And, we who believe in freedom, in the liberation of the human spirit promised in the Gospel of Christ Jesus, will not rest until it comes.