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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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We enter now into the final and crucial week. The Bible Study and Indaba Groups have begun to peel away layers of caution and hesitation therein laying bare many difficult issues. This has been painful at times as we’ve faced the chasm that divides us. Like many of you, particularly those who have been to General Convention or provincial gatherings of one kind or another, I have lived with this chasm for so many years that it is easy to forget that for Christians elsewhere it is hardly the most pressing issue they face. For some of them it is the need for food, shelter, clean water, coping as refugees or holding firm to the gospel in the midst of persecution that dominates their ministries. Yet the crisis that The Episcopal Church threw the Anglican Communion into in 2003 has not only complicated our lives as Episcopalians but has made it increasingly difficult for them to do their ministries in what were already demanding cultural contexts. A conference such as Lambeth must address many concerns and these are often interconnected and multilayered. Perhaps I can share some of our discussions with you later, but for now there is a verse in the Mosaic Law that comes to mind as I write about these two seminal groups of the conference: “You shall not uncover your sister’s nakedness.” That is, it would be inappropriate in my mind to discuss in any detail what is transpiring in the Bible Study and Indaba Groups. Beyond saying it is the striving of people from diverse cultures to engage one another respectfully yet honestly in order to understand what the challenges are that dominate the lives of our people.
The last two meetings of the Self-Select Session, The Bible and Human Sexuality, I attended (Wednesday and Friday) were much improved over the first. We looked at certain Old Testament passages regarding human sexuality in the second session and New Testament passages in the third session. Some of each session was spent in a lecture format, some in small group work and some in larger group discussion. The time was hardly sufficient for the subject at hand. At the end of our final meeting an Australian bishop made a statement that was in a way a question, but there was hardly any answer that seemed sufficient with which the presenter could reply—“Surely a loving Heavenly Father would not leave his children confused about something so fundamental as human sexuality…if so, I’ve been wasting my time for forty-three years!” I suppose some were put off by the force of his words, but it seemed to me a necessary and poignant pause with which to end our time.
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Next entry (above): David Anderson offers some thoughts on recent Anglican Developments
Previous entry (below): Pat Ashworth—Week three at Lambeth 2008: where are we at?
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