Thursday, July 16, 2009

D025: will we only know what it means when we see the next Genes?

Running round the internet this morning the arguments about D025's true meaning continue. Preludium thinks Canterbury too quick off the mark, and emphasises the great sadness of TEC's re-affirmed commitment to the Communion being ignored. George Conger at The Living Church provides a very useful report of what many bishops said during the debate. When some think D025 does repeal B033 and some do not, there is reason for both cases to be advanced by others. More than a via media, noting the Conger article, highlights the arrogance of Bruno of Los Angeles claiming that no more theological study is required on homosexuality. Then (H/T to a commenter) there is a thoughtful, sane reflection by Bob Chapman at Writing while on a VTX which is well worth reading.

I am beginning to see that debate on the meaning of D025 is becoming a waste of time. We simply wait for the coming of the next Gene Robinson to determine that the +Toms and ++Rowans are right.

On a slightly different note, Ruth Gledhill reveals that it was she who asked +Tom Wright to write his Times piece that is creating more than a few waves for observers to surf on. (I note this presumptuous comment which mentions NZ: "PS. While I do not think that the state should enforce belief, I do think that if the Church of England decides to go into schism with Anglicans in the US, Canada, and New Zealand, *over the issue of homosexuality*, then it is indeed time for the CoE to be disestablished. We cannot have as a state church an institution which has made homophobia into a doctrine. POSTED BY: PAUL HALSALL | 15 JUL 2009 16:39:14". Great.) Gledhill's post also mentions a side-and-to-the-north issue the C of E is having about the Church of Sweden's moves to rewrite marriage doctrine - a church with which the C of E is in full communion. The key letter is here.)

Finally, I said in a post below that I respect Mark Harris who is at the Convention. I also respect Kendall Harmon. This is what he has to say on D025:

"The passage of Resolution D025 by the General Convention of 2009 is a repudiation of Holy Scripture as the church has received and understood it ecumenically in the East and West. It is also a clear rejection of the mutual responsibility and interdependence to which we are called as Anglicans. That it is also a snub to the Archbishop of Canterbury this week while General Synod is occurring in York only adds insult to injury.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the BBC, the New York Times and Integrity all see what is being done here. There are now some participants in the 76th General Convention who are trying to pretend that a yes to D025 is NOT a no to B033. Jesus’ statement about letting your yes be yes and your no be no is apt here. These types of attempted obfuscations are utterly unconvincing. The Bishop of Arizona rightly noted in his blog that D025 was "a defacto repudiation of" B033.

The presuppositions of Resolution D025 are revealing. For a whole series of recent General Conventions resolutions have been passed which are thought to be descriptive by some, but understood to be prescriptive by others. The 2007 Primates Communique spoke to this tendency when they stated “they deeply regret a lack of clarity”on the part of the 75th General Convention.

What is particularly noteworthy, however, is that Episcopal Church Resolutions and claimed stances said to be descriptive at one time are more and more interpreted to be prescriptive thereafter. Now, in Resolution D025, the descriptive and the prescriptive have merged. You could hear this clearly in the floor debates in the two Houses where speakers insisted “This is who we are!”

Those involved in pastoral care know that when a relationship is deeply frayed when one or other party insists “this is who I am” the outcome will be disastrous. The same will be the case with D025, both inside the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

D025 is the proud assertion of a church of self-authentication and radical autonomy.

It is a particularly ugly sight.

--The Rev. Dr. Kendall S. Harmon is Canon Theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina"

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