'"All I did was get in the way of the Holy Spirit, and she’s a fierce tornado,” Louie Crew
'Rather than Scripture being unambiguous about homosexual practice, it is patently inconclusive about committed gay relationships. It would take a good deal of intellectual gymnastics to pretend otherwise.
Best we can do: if you don't agree with a committed same-sex relationship, don't have one. Don't demand everyone bless it. Allow those who agree to bless it to do so.' Mike, commenting here at ADU.
'Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of N. and N. in Holy Matrimony. The joining of two people in a life of mutual fidelity signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and so it is worthy of being honored among all people.' from p. 98 of this TEC material, cited by Anglican Curmudgeon.
Over in Utah, TEC's General Convention (GC) is moving in a predictable direction re changing the doctrine of marriage as understood by that member church of the Anglican Communion.(All done and dusted, today, Thursday 2 July NZ time)
Long time prophetic spokesman and energetic activist for change, Louie Crew's comment is a reminder of the intense belief of many Episcopalians that where they are heading is led by none other than the Holy Spirit.
The words highlighted by Anglican Curmudgeon raise the question whether the Holy Spirit would be party to an invented theology of 'the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church' for nowhere in Scripture or tradition can we find any sign that 'the joining of two people in a life of mutual fidelity signifies to us the mystery etc.' That signification comes from the marriage of a man and a woman (Ephesians 5:22-33). I suggest that many other Anglican churches are going to baulk at TEC going that far in, frankly, distorting the text of Scripture.
The comment from Mike makes a very fair point about the ambiguity of Scripture over the possibility that same-sex relationships might be blessed (albeit the point is arguable), and offers an olive branch in respect of the possibility of being a church which permits those who agree that such relationships may be blessed to proceed to bless them while not being a church which demands that every minister must so bless. In many respects what Mike says is where my bet at the TAB would be placed for where ACANZP is going to go - albeit with recommendations yet to be published, General Synod and diocesan synods yet to deliberate, etc.
Well, rather than me wax further, I thoroughly recommend reading Jordan Hylken's report on the House of Bishop's decision, 'Marriage Redefined?'. It is both careful and considered. What do you think?
Epilogue: there will be many in the Communion who wish to say, "Enough is enough, TEC must now go." Perhaps. But could we be kind and say, 'TEC is charting new territory. Frankly it looks completely disagreeable and wrong-headed. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Let's think of them as undergoing a radical experiment in marriage redefinition. How about they report back to us in 2028 about how the experiment is going?'
Postscript (2 July 2015):
(1) For a different Down Under view to one I am giving here, try Margaret Mayman, Kiwi minister in Sydney, who writes in the Sydney Morning Herald.
(2) Back to Utah: The Living Church runs an interesting article about the differing treatment by the bishops of two matters related through tradition and sacrament. One one they hesitated to change and on the other they pushed, inconsistently, for change! AND, I now note that the bishops have rejected a request for a study of 'Open Communion.'
(3) For a clarion call back to our roots in the first century, go to The Gospel Side.
(4) Andrew Goddard at Psephizo poses some questions about sexual ethics in the light of same gender marriage. And the comments (especially if you recognise the names of some of the key 'players' in the UK scene) are fascinating ...
(5) Ben Irwin has four pieces of advice ...