"The honor of your presence..."
As most folks heard before I did, the invitations to the 2008 Lambeth Conference ( aka "The Big Party") have started to roll out, and a few bishops have been informed that they are not on the "A" list. Notably, this included both Bp. Robinson and Bp. Minns (though apparently the door has been left open for +Robinson to stop by for a visit if he happens to be in town).
Now, I have not in recent months been inclined to comment on The Goings On in the Anglican Communion-- largely because:
- a) there are boatloads of folks who are more articulate than I am who had some things to say about this (Please see Fr. Jake/Mark Harris/Tobias Haller/Father Jones, just as a start).
- b) postings of a theological/political/opinionated nature have a recent history of bringing trolls out of the woodwork around here-- folks who are not content simply to disagree, but choose to be ugly about my musings, or theology, or the validity of my orders... and I just plain get tired of dealing with it. With comment moderation, they no longer land here, of course-- I cast them into the Outer Darkness before they see the light of day. However, I have better things to do with my time than to play Hall Monitor to cranky miscreants.
- 1. Given the option of risking heresy, or disunity, I tend to err toward the former, the latter being in my understanding a higher Gospel imperative. And, however one may feel about the validity of the ordinations involved, the men in question have both been polarizing figures-- lightning rods for divisive forces in the church.
- 2. While neither man has been invited formally, I believe Bp. Robinson has been given to understand that his presence would be welcome as a visitor. A second class status, yes-- obviously not what one would wish for, and certainly demeaning to one's pride and position. But... is that the point of this? Is it not a start? After all, he did actually offer to attend under just those terms, not too awfully long ago. And once present, I think it entirely possible that he will be "asked to move up higher," and find opportunities to speak in ways that might be better heard if he is willing to exhibit a certain humility in all this. Keep in mind that all of the other bishops who supported his ordination have been invited, and will be there to support him and speak on his behalf. Additionally, I'd like to believe that the rest of the House of Bishops-- with the exception of a very few-- are highly unlikely to allow any active mistreatment of their brother in Christ.
I should probably mention that, were I filling out the invitations, I would be hard pressed to include Archbishop Akinola. Why? First, see Part 1 above, about the importance of seeking unity in the church, rather than actively working to divide it. Secondly, however one may feel about his opposition to the ordination of partnered homosexuals, his active, vocal support for their legal harassment, abuse and imprisonment is simply intolerable, and just as much in defiance of the Lambeth Resolution he keeps waving about as any action taken by the American or Canadian churches. For heaven's sake, one does not have to approve or agree with other children of God, to treat them with dignity and respect!
(Yes, I know not inviting him would be seriously damaging to the cause of Christian unity I was just espousing. I didn't say I wouldn't-- just that I would be gritting my teeth in doing so. So, perhaps ++Rowan is better suited to his position than I am... go figure).