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a personal reflection on the special commission's report

Y'all may remember that I've been serving on the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion -- the body charged with preparing the Episcopal Church's General Convention to respond to the Windsor Report and the conversation of which it's a part about what it means to be part of the global Anglican Communion and how we can maintain the highest degree of communion possible across our considerable theological and cultural differences. It's been a pretty wacky weekend, as the special commission's report came out on Friday afternoon. I've written a personal reflection on the report (there's also a link to download the report itself there) for The Witness; my hope is that it will give more people a clearer idea of why someone with my values supports the report's recommendations.

I have to add that I got a big kick out of the response of Ephraim Radner of the conservative (and awfully official-sounding, for something that as far as I can tell consists of about seven people with a website) Anglican Communion Institute to the special commission's report. In my cursory reading of Radner's piece, it seems to me that he applauds the theological and scriptural basis of the report, but sees it as shying away from the logical conclusions of those presuppositions. As far as I can tell, it doesn't occur to him that someone might feel just as strongly as he does about the Christian's call to holiness, and yet see "holiness" along the lines of Jesus' teaching about what constitutes God's perfection. Nor does it seem to occur to him that someone might feel just as strongly as he does about the church's unity and catholicity, and yet see both as being strengthened when the church fully includes LGBT Christians in its life, councils, and ministry. I hope that if nothing else, the special commission's report and the conversation it fuels will communicate that no movement or subculture within the church has a monopoly on passion for scripture, mission, and the church's catholicity and unity -- or for that matter, on compassion. What would it look like if General Convention were a site in which every lobby group tried to outdo one another in showing grace and generosity toward the other side?

At any rate, you'll see more about my reading of the report at The Witness. Enjoy!

April 10, 2006 in Churchiness, Current Affairs | Permalink


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Hi Sarah,

I was wondering if you've explored Christian Science? I am a "recovering" Christian Scientist (as it were) and now an Episcopalian. I am somewhat alarmed by some of the progessive theological arguments (including the ones you make) sound very much like Christian Science - a blend of prophetic revelation and Unitarian theology. I was curious if you've read Science & Health or have made any inquiries into Christian Science?

Thanks for listening.


Posted by: BabyBlue | Apr 10, 2006 1:24:58 PM


Just curious whether your "cursory" reading of Radner has moved beyond the "cursory"? Are you aware of how "official" his (and Seitz's and Turner's) positions are relative to TWR, e.g.? Even a brief chat with the man betrays a specially gifted mind; there is not much that "hasn't occurred" to him. For example, what does it mean to love as Jesus loved? (Is the sharpness with which Jesus addresses those who are especially resistant compatible with this love? Verse dropping--as though with a wave of the hand and a quick reference, matters are settled--is trendy in the blogosphere. But just for this reason, it convinces only the credulous.)

One doesn't have to read very far into Radner's work--even a cursory reading will do--to note a strong, *compassionate* commitment to remaining in communion, whatever the cost.

Who is the one struggling to be gracious?

Blessings in Christ

Posted by: Chad | Oct 17, 2007 1:59:31 PM

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