One way of viewing TEC-and-homosexuality in relation to the rest of the Communion is this: TEC has done the right thing consecrating Gene Robinson, taking itself to the verge of authorising formal blessings of same sex partnerships, how long before the rest of the Communion 'gets it' and catches up?
But here is another view of TEC-and-homosexuality: it has gone about things the wrong way; it has not sorted itself theologically on homosexuality and it has confused majorities at General Convention with the mind of God for the church today.
Hold that comment, "Peter you do not know what you are talking about ...".
Here is a thoughtful bishop within TEC (my italics):
"While I do believe that a case for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people that rests on faithful arguments from Scripture, theological anthropology, etc., can be made, the fact is that this church has not officially done so. Not that our official theology is deficient, but in fact, we have none, other than the traditional teaching still theoretically in force that love is to be sexually expressed only within the bonds of Matrimony between husband and wife. Of course, there are plenty of theologians writing theologies, lots of people composing liturgies of same-sex blessings, and partnered gay clergy are fairly commonplace. But while there are General Convention resolutions that anticipate such developments, no official teaching backs these actions. ...
... It is my conviction that wherever one is on the spectrum of opinion, to have no theology for full inclusion, while more or less practicing it, is worse than having bad theology. Bad theology cries out for better theology. No theology, however, calls the whole enterprise into question."
This bishop is Bishop Pierre Whalon, the Bishop in Charge of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe. He astutely observes some of the effects of this lack of theology (my italics):
"It is precisely because we then provided no rationale as a church for this change that we were asked to practice "gracious restraint." It is not that the whole rest of the Anglican Communion disagrees with us—that is simply not true. But even those elsewhere who agree with a full inclusion position do not on the whole support how we have gone about it. While General Convention is the final arbiter of what The Episcopal Church believes, simply relying on bald resolutions and election results does not spell out its teaching. ...
... In a peculiar way, political implementation basically has gone before theological acceptance.
This political, non-theological way of going forward is great ammunition not only for the schismatics within our church, and their foreign partners busily violating in deafening silence the third Windsor moratorium on cross-border interventions, but also for those supporters of punitive measures against gays in Africa. It seems lawless. In other words, it gives the appearance that shadowy avatars of some putative "gay agenda" really do rule our church behind the scenes, instead of Scripture and communal Reason, informed by Tradition."
The final paragraph is no less stirring in its challenge than what has preceded it (my italics):
"Some have said that the moratoria will end when we act to end them. Such an action, undefended, would only perpetuate the present anomie, and raise a real question about a “General-Convention fundamentalism”—“the majority voted it, therefore God said it, and that settles it.” Rather, we need to continue to keep "gracious restraint" until we have done the necessary work in order to end it. We do not have to wait for the rest of the Communion to approve our arguments, of course. But it is terrible that we as a church have continued to avoid that work, and all therefore continue to pay a heavy price, both within and without The Episcopal Church. If we go on blessing same-sex unions and consecrating people in those partnered relationships, and yet continue to refuse to do that work, will that mean that we cannot justify our actions? And if we cannot, then what — in God's name — do we think we're doing?"
Read the whole essay at Anglicans Online here.
Now you know someone like Pierre Whalon is onto a well made point when Jim Naughton views it sympathetically (see here and here with the second including a reply by Bishop Whalon and both pieces generating interesting discussion in the comments).
This is grist to my theological mill: if we are to be a communion of common minds on homosexuality then we need to have a theology which we hold together in order to move forward; or at least have a theology which we agree to disagree on. Bishop Whalon exposes the emperor's clothing in respect of TEC's theological work on homosexuality. If they have not done that work and owned it officially, we can be sure other provinces in the Communion are well behind!
Postscript: reading the comments at the initial offering of Episcopal Cafe (Jim Naughton) makes my Anglican heart sink! Apparently Anglicans do not need to arrive at a theology agreed by its General Synods or Conventions. Indeed it might be dangerous to do so because one such theology would lead to 'Inquisition'. On other matters, e.g. the ordination of women, we do not have that theology, but we are fine to have pressed ahead. But what takes the biscuit is a line 'We would never get agreement - those absolutists will never agree, no matter how long we run a theological commission on these matters.'
Umm, on the last point, such disagreement could be due to other reasons such as the improbability of securing agreement on a sound theological argument when tested against the full weight of church processes, as opposed to putting sound bites on the internet and getting a publisher sympathetic to one side of the argument to publish a book making the argument.
Personally I remain convinced that good theology is worth doing as Anglicans, and pragmatism is a recipe for ultimate disaster for any Anglican province, let alone the whole Communion. I say that, incidentally, as a member of ACANZP where there is too much pragmatism, and the resultant bite marks are beginning to be seen on our posterior!