One of the fascinating aspects of our debate over the cathedral at synod was what I will call here "debates within the debate."
I mention these not to relitigate the arguments made on the floor of synod but to make a point about the wide array of differences in our church. Not confined to You Know What!
Subsidiary Debate 1: church and state relationships. Should the church respect the state and its role in the life of the church (Romans 13, respect for God's appointed authorities)? Or, should the church be wary of the state since the latter can be an authority which seeks to suppress the authority of God (cf. Acts 4)?
Subsidiary Debate 2: church and community relationships. To what extent is the church for itself (as a worshipping community, as a group of people gathering regularly with shared commitments to ministry of Word and Sacrament) and for the community around it? May the latter shape the former? What role do buildings play in the life of the church and its reaching out to the community? Might the importance of a building for the wider community shape the building for the church within its walls? How does the active, believing, worshipping congregation connect with the vague spirituality of the unbaptised, little or no-belief community? These questions were touched on as we considered the past ministry and mission of the cathedral before the quakes, as we considered the possible future ministry and mission but did that prognosticating on the future state of church life, of spirituality in the community. They also arose in connection with the intangible notion of our relationship with the city and province, as well as with experiences of seeking to advance the gospel in our city with a broken cathedral.
Subsidiary Debate 3: appropriate Christian use of money. When is money spent on one desirable project "too much" money? As a diocese we have restored churches for smaller outlays of money than the cathedral will cost. The outlay on the cathedral is definitely "too much" for some members of Synod. We never actually asked the question, but what would be the point when "too much" was reached? Is spending money on aesthetics of church life (burial ointment for Jesus, stained glass windows, beautiful church buildings) compared to spending money on the poor (in our Chch city case, on mental health and on social housing) an either/or, or a both/and? The question "what would Jesus do?" was raised. An important question and one with some nuances to it ... since presumably Jesus wanted the cathedral in the 19th century!
Readers here who were at Synod might have other subsidiary debates to note in comments ...
But, nevertheless, a word about the You Know What discussion
We had an hour's discussion of the Motion 29 Working Group Interim report (same sex blessings). Afterwards I realise that the contributions to the discussion represented three levels of "difference" in our Diocese.
First, and most obviously, differences of views on the rightness of blessing.
Secondly, and fairly obviously, differences in starting point for those views - different underlying theologies and ways of doing theology. (Note yesterday's post here on ADU).
Thirdly, and not so obviously to me until a conversation sparked the thought, the difference between those who feel they can live with difference on this matter and those who feel they cannot. A difference about difference!
That is, when the proposal makes a way for us to be a church living with difference on the matter of blessing, one explanation of rejection of the proposal seems to be that it is not imaginable that such living with difference can take place.