Friday, August 05, 2022

The Power of Threatening to Stay

The Anglican Digest used to have a feature entitled "Makes the Heart Glad." Here's what makes my heart glad today: Friend Craig Loya, Bishop of Minnesota, posting this picture from the waning days of the Lambeth Conference with this quote:
“Now we are no longer threatening to leave, we are threatening to stay. This week is a new beginning for the Anglican Communion, a new beginning of discipleship.”             -  Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Lambeth Conference 2022

It makes my heart glad because believe it really is a watershed moment for our Big Fat Anglican Family if we truly have arrived at the point where we can live into the DNA of our Anglican Comprehensiveness and move beyond the decades of pitched battles over the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the work and witness of the church and focus on our common call to discipleship: to telling the Good News of God's inclusive love in this beautiful and broken world.

And maybe -- just maybe -- we've managed to get there.

As I said in a tweet yesterday "Justin Welby appears be getting blasted equally by the "he's a homo-loving heretic making sheep eat with wolves" set and the "how dare you not fix 2000 years of misogynistic homophobia in a two week conference" crowd -- meaning he probably got it about right."

And our job post-Lambeth will be to continue to do what we've been doing. To insist that nothing less than full inclusion is good enough for Jesus or for us. To leverage our privilege to stand up and speak out for those LGBTQ siblings whose voices have been silenced by oppression and marginalization. To continue to build relationship across difference and trust that the Holy Spirit not only can but will use those relationships to change hearts and minds as well as theologies and policies.

It's nothing less than the Gospel of Margaret Mead in action: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

The actions across the pond -- including the quote from Archbishop Cottrell today -- remind me to give thanks for how far we've come even as we redouble our efforts to keep moving forward. For a window into that journey we've been on, check out this quote from a 2009 NPR interview (which is miraculously still available online) where someone named Susan Russell said:
"LGBT members of the Episcopal Church have never threatened to leave if we don't get our way. Instead we want to focus on who will come if we include all  -- not who might leave if we refuse to exclude some."
And here we are.

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