Last night I drew attention to a post by Bishop Kelvin Wright and a riproaringly robust conversation in the comments. That conversation is a representation in miniature of the state of our church.Other conversations I have been part of since GS/HW's Motion 30 support the observation that we are a church of Two Integrities on the matter of blessing of same sex relationships.
Note carefully what I am not saying.
I am not saying that a state of Two Integrities exists on the matter of whether marriage should be changed in definition to incorporate gay marriage (something Motion 30 specifically refused to endorse instead endorsing our current doctrine of marriage).
Nor am I saying that we are Two Integrities on matters such as premarital sex or blessing heterosexual relationships which are not marriages. On those two kinds of matters we may or may not prove to be in two minds, but they are not widely featuring in discussions I am reading or am a part of, and they were not commented on in Motion 30.
But when it comes to the blessing of same sex relationships, we are Two Integrities (at least as a de facto description of our life together ... Motion 30 opens the way for us to become a de jure church of Two Integrities ... "process and structure" being the operative phrase for us all to work on).
That is, we are a church in which faithful Anglicans who value being and wish to remain Anglican and who hold to an intelligent understanding of what it means to be Anglican (which, of course, means a variety of understandings as no one understanding prevails in our church) espouse different views on such blessings.
While there are nuances to be teased out in any fuller description of each Integrity, briefly,
- one Integrity works from a viewpoint which understands any sexual activity outside marriage between a man and a woman to be sin and therefore impossible for the church to claim that God blesses a relationship in which such sin continues;
- the other Integrity works from a viewpoint which questions whether such a definition of sin continues to apply in a world which understands homosexuality differently to former times and now makes marriage-like relationships possible through cultural and legal change.
Both Integrities can and do claim a sound theological basis for their respective claims.
Each Integrity argues that the other's claim to soundness is flawed!
Neither Integrity can claim to be a perfect match with other descriptions of groupings within our church: there are conservatives on most other matters of theological interest who wish to see our church be open to blessings; there are theological moderates who lean towards one Integrity and moderates who lean towards the other. Those with an open, liberal mind on theological issues (in my experience) tend to support the Integrity wishing to bless, but divide on whether the next step towards changing the definition of marriage should be taken.
Of course there are many Anglicans still making up their minds, or wishing the subject would go away, or even not thinking about these things.
At stake, as has been pointed out here, are the Fundamentals of our constitution, as well as our care for one another as human beings created in the image of God and redeemed by the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ.
With a few exceptions, I see Maori, Pakeha and Polynesian Anglicans in an Anglican church they have no wish to leave and a fervent wish that it be a church which accommodates their views.