Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My "Way Forward" (Part 2)

"Deep conviction is entirely creditable. But dogmatic adherence to policy issues is not realistic. You can’t even bring up kids on that basis. I don’t think you can even buy a car on that basis. People of deep convictions can afford to compromise. People of shallow convictions are terrified of compromise, because they will consider that to compromise is to betray. Well, if you’ve got deep convictions, you know damn well it isn’t. You know that compromise is a means of getting to the next stage, a bit closer to what you originally wanted to do. It’s called parliamentary democracy." (Neil Kinnock, former leader, British Labour Party, speaking about the current turmoil around leader Jeremy Corbyn.)

People of deep convictions can afford to compromise. At the core of my suggested way forward (in draft form here through this series of posts, open to change through your comments ... before I finally post to the Archbishops) is this presupposition: ACANZP is divided on the matter of blessing of same-sex relationships. It can stay together if there is compromise. It must divide if there is not.

Also at the core is the possibility that we might be a church, on this matter at least, in which we are not of one mind. Over the past few days the United Reform Church in England and Wales (URC) has agreed that its local churches may choose to conduct and register marriages for same-sex couples. In Thinking Anglicans' post on the matter, I note the following sentence,

"It has long been clear that the denomination cannot express a single view on the issue of same-sex marriage."

I think that is pretty clear for ACANZP also. We are not of one mind on either blessing of same-sex relationships nor on conduct of same-sex marriages within our churches. Among us are those who would affirm the thesis of this article and those who would reject it. We have, however, declared we are of one mind in upholding the traditional understanding of marriage (as expressed in our liturgies and canons) and that means that, unlike the URC, the focus here is on blessing of same-sex relationships rather than conduct of same-sex marriages.

So, the questions I am seeking to answer in this series of posts include

"How might those in ACANZP with strong convictions arrive at an agreed compromise?" and

"How might we give expression in the structures (and, concomitantly, canons and liturgies) of our church to our inability to express a single view on same-sex relationships?"


Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, having put forward my own ideas to the Archbishops on how our Church (ACANZP) might find a credible 'Way Forward' from the present stasis on Same-Sex Blessings/Marriage, I, for one, am not prepared to discuss this important matter on your blog - sensing that your own view is already settled, and that what I have to say may, therefore, not be taken seriously by you are your readers. Nevertheless, I do respect your opinion that, unless some compromise is found , there could be a split in the Church, which could be distressing.

Seeing letters in the Press today, deriding those who voted for the homosexual Reform Bill in NZ 30 years ago, I see there is still a great deal of prejudice about same-sex relationships, and I am not prepared to provide a target for recriminations on ADU. Agape.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Ron
I am looking forward myself to what my settled view might be as it is only vaguely formed in my mind and writing it down will, I hope, settle it down.
Even if you do not comment, I hope you might keep reading :)

BrianR said...

How to deal with those interlopers who would rob and despoil the gospel:
Keep Calm and Keep Serving.