While striving always for gracious hospitality (not to be confused with "gracious restraint") it could be delightful to welcome +Rowan Williams to join us for a little taste of "The Happiest Place on Earth" (and if Mad Priest is paying attention today, I'm imagining a photoshop of Cantaur with Mickey Mouse ears might just be coming soon to a blog near you! :)
What would NOT be delightful would be for his presence with us to drag out the same old threats of unity-vs.-justice that have held the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church hostage for way too long.
What would NOT be "gracious" would be efforts to inappropriately influence the legislative decisions facing GC2009 as we consider how we live out our baptismal promises in doing the work God has given us to do.
What would NOT be acceptable would be for the vocations and relationships of the LGBT faithful to once again be reduced to bargaining chips in the game of global Anglican politics.
So here's my wondering this afternoon.
Remember the great Mac/PC ads that were adapted into great No on 8 ads during the 2008 election? Here's one of my favs to refresh your memory:
Maybe what we need to do is turn some of our YouTubing geniuses loose to gently, amusingly and graciously make the points that we do NOT have to choose between our baptismal promises to respect the dignity of every human being and our deep desire to be part of the global Anglican Communion.
Maybe they could remind us -- and anyone who might come along for the ride (oh ... General Convention deputies and bishops come to mind!) -- that if you Google "Jesus Gracious Restraint" you're going to get a WHOLE lot less hits than if you Google "Jesus Liberate the Captive" or "Jesus Feed the Hungry" or "Jesus Love Your Neighbor as Yourself."
And maybe, just maybe, we could -- if we start now -- take back the power from those outside this church to frame the debate we need to have as we take our places in the councils of our church -- The Episcopal Church -- in Anaheim.
You remember that church, don't you? It's the one forged in the crucible of the American Revolution, which -- of course we remember from Confirmation Class but if we've forgotten it's still right there in our BCP (page 10 in the Preface):
... when in the course of Divine Providence, these American States became independent with respect to civil government, their ecclesiastical independence was necessarily included; and the different religious denominations of Christians in these States were left at full and equal liberty to model and organize their respective churches, and forms of worship, and discipline, in such manner as they might judge most convenient for their future prosperity; consistently with the constitution and laws of their country.
So there you have it. If, indeed, +Rowan decides to drop by, then by all means we should make him as welcome as welcome can be. (I will PERSONALLY make sure there's a reserved seat for him at the Integrity Eucharist -- just in case!) But just because we put out the Welcome Mat doesn't mean we put away our Prayer Book, our Baptismal Promises or our history as a particular people of God this particular neck of the woods.
Because at the end of the day, it really IS a Small World After All -- and it's the same small world we've ALL been called to serve in the name of the one who loved us enough to become one of us -- and then called us to walk in love (not to be confused with "walk in gracious restraint") with one another.
And the MOST important thing we can do toward that end is to remember that our debates and decisions in Anaheim will ultimately be about how we are living out that baptismal call -- NOT about how we're complying with The Windsor Report or simplfying life for the Archbishop of Canterbury.