Following Ephraim (IRD) Radner's presentation urging the House of Bishops "toward" an Anglican Covenant, the bishops heard Katherine Grieb's presentation "Interpreting the Proposed Anglican Covenant through the Communiqué."
You need to run ... not walk ... to the ENS website and read the text of her presentation ... posted here ... and if it "preached" anywhere near as well as it reads I believe there are still purple socks hanging on the Camp Allen chandeliers.
You must read the piece in its entirety to appreciate its power but if you're in a hurry, here's her bottom line:
I suggest that we enter a five-year period of fasting from full participation in the Anglican Communion to give us all time to think and to listen more carefully to one another. I think we should engage in prayerful non-participation in global meetings (in Lambeth, in the Anglican Consultative Council, in other Communion committee meetings) or, if invited to do so, send observers who could comment, if asked, on the matter under discussion. We should continue on the local level to send money and people wherever they are wanted. (This is not about taking our marbles and going home.) We need to remain wholly engaged in the mission of the church, as closely tied as we are allowed to the See of Canterbury and to the Anglican Communion as a whole. But we should absent ourselves from positions of leadership, stepping out of the room, so that the discussions of the Anglican Communion about itself can go on without spending any more time on our situation which has preoccupied it.
And after proposing a "fast" that makes sense she offers both the biblical and theological context for such a proposal -- with a bit of the "Balm of Gilead" the gay and lesbian faithful have been longing for throughout this long, bloody process:
Theologically, biblically, I think we are at Antioch with Paul, in Jerusalem with Jeremiah, and walking the way of the Cross with that mysterious Son of Man. With Paul in Antioch, we have – perhaps without adequate consultation with Jerusalem – been having table fellowship (koinonia) with Gentiles, until the men from James came to tell us that we have to stop doing it. They want a moratorium on eating with Gentiles. This presents the community with a difficult decision. Peter and Barnabas pull away from the table physically and ritually separate themselves from the Gentiles. Paul says, ''I can't do it.'' If he had not, most of us would not be here today, being Gentiles ourselves.
Jeremiah in Jerusalem before the exile told the frightened people to wake up and appreciate their situation. Their naïve belief that God would never allow the city of Jerusalem and its Temple to be taken by the Babylonians was not going to save them. They were going into exile, one way or another. They could do it the hard way or the easier way, but they were going into exile. I think the metaphor of ''exile'' captures something of the pain we can expect from being in less than full communion with the Primates, who will certainly distance themselves from us, if not in September, then later on down the line. But we might remember that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters have long lived in exile and it will be a great privilege to go into exile in their company.
In the reaction department:
Jim Naughton (Daily Episcopalian) provides his usual excellent analysis here ... and you've gotta love his intro: I have just had a chance to read the Rev. Katherine Grieb's presentation to the House of Bishops yesterday, and to pull out some highlights for your perusal. If the bishops take what she is saying seriously, and I don't know offhand why they wouldn't, I think the possibility that the House will actually commit news before the end of its current meeting has crept up a notch.
On the "other side of the aisle" titusoneniners are predictably dismissive of anything short of complete capitulation to the petulant primates: [from a comment] I object vigorously to the use of the term “fast” for a five-year period of non-repentance and “listening.” This is not fasting, this is more equivocating. I think the Primates were clear in their Communiqué that the time for wiggling is over.
Object away, but Dr. Grieb may just have given the HoB the shot-in-the-backbone they needed to lead us forward. For at the end of the day, the "clarity" of Primates who presume to dictate our course as a people of God is as dust in the Ruach. The clarity we claim is the clarity of a Gospel imperative to proclaim the Good News of God in Christ Jesus to ALL people -- and thanks be to God this morning for Dr. Grieb's willingness to speak that truth to those with the power to help us get back to that mission and that ministry.