The Archbishop of Canterbury is the leader of the worldwide Anglican communion, but this is largely a ceremonial position without significant authority beyond the power of persuasion. Following the actions of the recent Episcopal General Convention that allows for “all the sacraments for all the baptized” (gay marriage, gay clergy), Archbishop Rowan Williams has been spouting off, trying to corral the recalcitrant Episcopalians, the American species of his Anglican flock.
Although it doesn’t appear that his recent pronouncements were intended to speak ill of LGBT persons within the Episcopal Church, two of my favorite bloggers have jumped all over his suggestion that "their chosen lifestyle is not one that the Church’s teaching sanctions."
Susan Russell is the Senior Associate of All Saints Church in Pasadena and the President of Integrity USA, the LGBT friendly organization of Episcopalians that led the fight for gay marriage and gay clergy at the recent convention. She speaks from her blog, An Inch At A Time. “We don’t "choose" sexuality but we do "choose" hypocrisy. And at the end of the day, I’m happier facing my Maker claiming the former rather than being accused of the latter.”
My one big disappointment — and a point I think we need to keep arguing — is Rowan’s categorizing TEC’s commitment to full inclusion of the LGBT baptized as a "rights" issue rather than a "theological" issue. I’m frankly tired of being told we "haven’t done the theology" when the truth is those telling us that don’t agree with the theology we’ve "done."
But we can keep doing that. We can keep reaching out. We can keep working together with our communion partners on mission and ministry all over this Worldwide Anglican Family of ours with those who will work with us.
And we can stay in conversation with those who won’t.
Elizabeth Kaeton is Episcopal clergy on the opposite coast, serving as rector and pastor of an Episcopal congregation in northern New Jersey. Kaeton is even more caustic in her comments in her blog, Telling Secrets:
That poor dear! He really, really, really wants to be Pope, doesn’t he?
Would that be considered, "Miter envy?"
Or, do you think it’s more about the whole infallibility thing?
Personally, I think he’s been drinking his own Lambeth Kool-Aid.
Chosen lifestyle? Why would anyone CHOOSE to be hassled at critical moments in their life? Why would anyone CHOOSE to have your basic civil rights denied? Why would anyone CHOOSE to be discriminated against in the church – by otherwise intelligent, highly educated, seemingly spiritual people?
How do you CHOOSE the person with whom you fall in love? With whom you wish to start a family? With whom you want to spend the rest of your life?
And, why should that choice condemn you to a life of discrimination?
Indeed. Amen, sisters.