Yesterday the PB called for us to "abstain for a season." Since I have been "abstaining" for about 36 years, I feel as though I need to say something about abstention.
Abstaining from meat, or cigarettes, or alcohol for Lent is a good and meritorious thing. And as we begin Lent it can be part of a discipline that can bring us closer to God. It allows us to stop and give thanks for God's bounty. It allows us to understand the cravings of the hungry or the poor or the addicted and become one with them in spirit. But what is this "abstention" that the Primates foist upon us, giving us a deadline? Do we disassociate with the LGBT community? What is to be the outcome? What discipline is there that tells us LGBT folk are not equal in the Church of God? What does such a season mean for us who are trying to claim a higher calling by opening our hearts and doors to those whose lives are only a bit different from all others out there? And all of whom tred the same spiritual journey?
I can just imagine what kind of jet lag that ++KJS was experiencing. And I know that her acceptance by the Primates was most likely saved by B033. This communique seems to be more of the same without conversation with her bishop colleagues, so I am willing to wait for a season before I am ready to go ballistic.
But since when do we "abstain" from doing justice? Since when is being a "light to the nations" a wrong thing for which we should confess? I have never been prouder of my Church than following GC2003. (except perhaps when I working with Katrina clean-up on the MS coast.) It said that we were willing to accept the finger pointing of the non-denominational mega churches who have slipped many of our members a guilt trip that religion should be exclusive, limited and full of same-think.
Chair of the House of Deputies has said it well. The Communion cannot withstand a defining doctrinal stance. If we go, will Canada go? Will there be change in Britain? Will South Africa go? These are all questions that need to be asked. And what does it mean if we do go? What is the Anglican Communion in the present age, without us? I don't have answers for these questions. But it is time for us to study them "for a season."