I’ve noshed enough. One way or another I have spent the better part of eight months trying to make the most I could out of the Windsor Report. Voices I respect from the progressive side have labeled it and the Special Commission’s work in response as appeasement and betrail. Voices on the realignment side have had scattered responses – everything from almost worshiping the Windsor Report as a sacred text to dismissing it as far too gentle and wanting the recommendations to be understood as demands. No one has suggested how we might tell if the requests of the Windsor Report, call “invitations” were met.
My personal reflections on the Windsor Report, posted on this blog are as follows:
Windsor Nosh #1: Four really bad ideas in the Windsor Report
Windsor Nosh #2: The Bishops as Instruments of Communion
Windsor Nosh #3 On the Windsor Report "Speculation"
Windsor Nosh #4: Repentance and all that.
Windsor Nosh #5 , The Bonds of Affection - a really good idea
I hope they have added to the discussion in a useful way.
The sum of all this ruminating for me is that I continue to believe that the Windsor Report was and is intended to be part of a process – a process that is mostly talked about but untried. The Special Committee took the writers of the Windsor Report at their word, that the Windsor Report was indeed meant provide a way towards the restoration of communion and a means of strengthening the fellowship that is the Communion. That has apparently been dissatisfying to those who see the Windsor Report as itself fatally flawed or those who see the only response to be total conformity to its recommendations/ invitations.
I believe the General Convention will give the Windsor Report and the work of the Primates and the ACC great attention with an end to honest response. General Convention may perhaps engage the broad leadership of the Episcopal Church in the discussion of the value of the Windsor Report in ways that no other Province has yet done. What ever we do at General Convention, whether we accept or reject the invitations offered or respond in other ways, we will honor the Windsor Report.
Matters do not stand still, of course. The uncharitable and surly responses of the AAC and the Moderator of the Network suggest that the fact that the Diocese of California even had gay partnered candidates was an affront even if one was not elected. Thus, rather than even suggesting a congratulatory comment for the newly elected bishop of California, they have immediately taken up again the basic demand. That demand, as stated by the Network Moderator is this: “Repent of our decision in 2003 to confirm the election of a bishop in a same-sex partnered relationship and place moratoriums on further elections of bishops in same-sex partnered relationships as well as the blessing of same sex relationships.” Demands, of course, are not instruments of communion, but instruments of coercion. They are variations on the cry, “Off with their heads.”
I believe the moratoria, at least in the simplistic form of the invitation in the Windsor Report can not stand without serious reevaluation, and if stated as coercive demands will be rejected. And the demand that we “repent of our decisions in 2003” in any way that denies the reality that we have indeed consented to and the church has ordained Bishop Robinson, or the reality of the local exercise of pastoral office in blessing, is a demand that will go unmet.
The realignment crowd is either overplaying their hand or setting up conditions so that it will not matter what we do at General Convention, thereby giving them additional ammunition in their argument that the “real” presence of an Anglican Communion franchise lies elsewhere than in the Episcopal Church.
It is reported that the Archbishop of Canterbury is putting together a group of “wise men” to help him decide just what to do after General Convention. (It is an interesting phrase, “wise men” worthy of further conversation as we find out who they are.) But whoever they are, we might assume that they will help the Archbishop of Canterbury determine if the Episcopal Church has adequately addressed the concerns of the Windsor Report, the Primates and the ACC. I hope they are wise enough to spot the communion wrecking call from the AAC and the Network for what it is.
I would suggest that when we hear, “Off with their heads,” a wise response, echoing Lewis Carroll, would be to question whether or not the Queen, or in this case the princes and dukes of the Network and American Anglican Council, are off their rocker.