Following up on recent postings, in the wash up of the TEC Executive Council meeting, an intriguing element of 'separation' between the HOB and the HOD is in the air as we read Bonnie Anderson's HOD closing presidential remarks. Presumably no actual separation can occur between the bishops and the deputies so the July GC will be an exercise in reconciliation of sorts. Other posts worth a look are here, here and here, the first offering a very sober assessment of the future life of TEC (albeit with figures that likely are more or less replicable for other Western Anglican churches). 2012 is going to be fascinating: commenters on the blogosphere are already observing that Bonnie Anderson' radical questioning of the proposed budget lines up intriguingly with other questions within TEC about what are and are not constitutional requirements on dioceses (there is no constitutional requirement to support the budget). To say nothing of raising a major question as to whether or not TEC is a 'hierarchical' church. If it is not (e.g. the PB of the HOB cannot ride roughshod over the President of the HOD) then it rather undermines a major line of attack within the courts re properties.
[UPDATE: Previously I promised that Mark Harris would write about the draft TECian budget. He has kept my promise and written something which, with a tweak here and there, would apply just about anywhere in the world of ecclesial finances!]
Meanwhile Titus One Nine also draws our attention to a sharply critical Andrew Brown taking on the ABY and his recently published remarks about 'gay marriage.' Comment 2 is worth reflecting on. Despite what some commenters here may be presuming about my own mind on these matters, the fact is, we are a Communion working out our Christian life in a period of change within a diverse world, and within the Communion individual member churches are feeling their way forward on questions raised up within societies which were not dreamed of by our forbears. I am not in the least bit apologetic for raising here questions of how we would know when we have the right answer to the questions posed by society. I hope I am not in the least bit closed to the probing thoughts of an Andrew Brown or commenter 2 at Titus One Nine.
For what it is worth, I am stuck on the unchangeability of the core of marriage as the intricate dance through life of the opposing genders, male and female, being brought together into a unity of mind, body and purpose under God. Whatever else is going on in any other virtuous relationship, it cannot replicate the particularity of the mystery of blending of maleness and femaleness into 'one flesh.'
That we are a church and a society grappling with changeability in marriage, most obviously around response to broken marriages, means we face, and must face, responding to changes in socially and legally accepted relationships which were not in view when the Scriptures were being written.
Precisely because such matters both challenge us about our relevance to society and frighten us about losing our distinctiveness as God's new society within human society, we have the dilemmas we have. Whether discussed on blogs, debated in councils and synods, or played out in media interviews and responses, and whether explicit in what we say or implicit in discussions over (say) budgets, these dilemmas need always to be brought to the heart of our gospel mission: what brings life to the world rather than death?