Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Anglican Covenant.

I grew up Episcopalian.  For many and various reasons I started a-wanderin' from the Church when I was fourteen, and left officially at twenty when I was confirmed into the ELCA at Boe Memorial Chapel at St. Olaf.

It was a tricky choice to make at the time (May 2005), because the ELCA was not officially recognizing the ordination of gay and lesbian partnered people, while the Episcopal church had been doing so since 1996.  Mom pointed this out to me on more than one occasion, but I was committed to joining the Lutheran church; I thought I'd found a denomination that was doing church differently, where the theological integrity of the Episcopals (which I loved) was combined with the passion and joy of the Evangelicals (which I also loved).

It would turn out, in the long run, that many of the things which drove me nuts in the Episcopal Church - tradition for tradition's sake, the perpetuation of hierarchy, the reluctance to throw out people who perpetuated oppression and cruelty, and a basic inability to keep out pastors who never should have been granted positions of spiritual power - are present in the ELCA as well.  But I believed then, and still do now, that the theological groundings of the Lutheran Church allow more space to fight against these things than I found in the Episcopal church.  (Check back in four years and see if I'm still singing this song.)

The ELCA has finally put one leg into its big-boy pants and allowed the ordination of individuals in publically accountable lifelong monogamous same-gender relationships, a.k.a. the queer folk.  We've still got a long way to go, but the major administrative roadblocks are down.  And I recognize that the ELCA's non-decision is a nice, covenantal, loving way to try to keep everyone together, and I'm trying to respect that even though I personally would very much like to tell certain members to take their oppressive, heterosexist, cruel, anti-Christian and anti-Lutheran ideas and go play elsewhere.

Today, I read that the Anglican Communion - of which the Episcopal Church is a province - has its very British knickers all in a twist about teh scary gays, or as they persist in saying "the homosexuals" (which is inherently heterosexist - try googling "gay Christians" vs "homosexual Christians" and see the diversity of results!).  There is apparently now a committee trying to get everyone to sign The Anglican Covenant, which as far as I can tell is a big sheet of paper that says a lot of vague things, but if you read every letter down the left side it spells out "PRIESTS:  NO WOMEN, NO GAYS."

It's been my opinion for a while that the Episcopal Church should just say PBbbbbhtt! to the Anglicans who can't get their big-boy pants on, but I know this is not a very Christian opinion and blah blah blah.  I'm somewhat with Bishop Spong on this one:  "Look, y'all, if you're not going to have a grown-up conversation with me, then I'm not going to have one with you."  I don't have to care.   Pbbbhttt! I can say to them!  Take your pointy hats and your funny curse words and go play somewhere else.  But I do care, because this is my home church that you're messing with, and I care about my queer brothers and sisters in all churches.

So I've been reading blog posts & articles on it, and I have to say:  Anglicans are blessedly verbose.  I do love them for it, but good grief.

I'll end with this comment from Matthew Duckett's Is The Anglican Covenant Catholic?  I do think that Bob's concept of "gnostic lite" fits well for my Lutheran brothers and sisters in the NALC, LCMS, and WELS:
As I read your analysis, what came to my mind is that those wanting the Covenant are at least "gnostic light," if not full-on gnostic. They hold the truth. They know if you are worth of membership, and will vote on it.

By this understanding, this would reduce the Anglican Communion to nothing much more than a bunch of Freemason-like friends that admit women as members (even if they can't be positions of power). Truth is what the Memberhip Committee says it is.

I'd rather miss looking through the glass dimly with my friends. Jesus had words about those who say they see clearly.

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