Friday, February 10, 2023

The Ongoing Saga of "As The Anglican World Turns":

If you're someone who binge watches As The Anglican World Turns, a new series of episodes have just dropped across the pond.
To catch you up, the Church of England has been immersed in a years-long initiative called "Living in Love and Faith" encouraging members to "grow together" on issues of sexuality, identity, relationships and marriage. A recent set of pronouncements by their bishops and decisions by their Synod have resulted in a change in CofE policy to permit the blessing of same-sex relationships.
It is a step that has predictably whipped up the ACNA and GAFCON schismatics into their customary ranting about heresy, apostasy and the irreparable renting of the fabric of the Anglican Communion. It is also a step that falls ludicrously and dramatically short of providing equity for the LGBTQ people, perpetuating de facto sacramental apartheid, convincing the increasing majority of Brits that the CofE is an irrelevant vestigial organ of an anachronistic past at best and a hotbed of hypocritical homophobia at worst.
And none of that has done anything to advance the theoretical mission of the church -- which is to proclaim the Good News of God's inclusive love for absolutely everyone made present for us in the person of Jesus ... who loved us enough to become one of us in order to show us how to love one another.
For those of us who have lived through the Anglican Inclusion Wars on this side of the pond, it feels eerily familiar for some and PTSD producing for others. Yes, we have crossed the Rubicon in the Episcopal Church and revised our canons to make the sacrament of marriage available to all ... but there is still work to do ensure that unfettered access to those marriage rites does not depend on the zip code in which you reside. And there is still SO much work to do protect trans people in general and trans youth in particular both in our church and in our nation.
And yes, where the CofE finds itself on the arc of history bending toward justice for LGBTQ people is just about where we were in 2012 when the Episcopal Church approved blessings for same-sex couples. But we didn't stop there. We appointed a Task Force on Marriage which worked from 2012-2018 to secure "marriage rites for the whole church." And in in 2022 we appointed a Task Force on LGBTQ+ Inclusion "to continue our becoming “The Beloved Community;” a charism of which is a church that functions with equity and care for the whole body, including its LGBTQ+ members."
The arc of history is long and it bends toward justice, inclusion and equity ... but it doesn't bend by itself. It bends because we come together day after day, time after time, setback after setback, incremental step after incremental step forward ... refusing to rest until that kingdom come on earth we pray for every time we gather ceases to be something for which we pray and becomes something in which we live. And refusing to leave anyone behind in that journey.
So today my prayers go out to our siblings in the struggle across the pond -- lifting up especially Jayne Ozanne, Colin Coward and all those we have partnered and labored with lo these many years.
And my thanksgivings go out for all those on whose shoulders we stand as we continue to do this work -- this holy work -- to which we have been called. From Louie Crew to Barbara Harris to the innumerable voices of witness who have brought us thus far on the way.
La lucha continua ... the struggle continues ... and we are in it to win it. Because nothing less than the full inclusion of all God's beloved in the Body of Christ is good enough for Jesus ... or for us.
And now ... listen to the prophetic words of the inimitable Bishop Barbara Harris:

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