Wednesday, January 30, 2008

An Example of Reconciliation

As the battle rages in the Anglican Communion between the so-called progressives and orthodox on the issue of same sex relationships, reconciliation seems both badly needed--and misunderstood.

To be clear, reconciliation does not mean giving up on ones values, positions or beliefs. It seems being willing to engage in an an honest discussion with those with a different point on view in a way that lets us live together despite our differences.

On the web, there has probably been no better advocate for a theology that embraces same sex marriage than Tobias Haller, and on his blog, he gives a very good example of what reconciliation is all about:

At the last General Convention I had an extended, semi-public, late-night, and to a large extent alcohol-fueled, discussion with a leading English Evangelical. He came on very strong, and so did I. Yet there was no animus or animosity in the conversation, but rather conviction on both sides, and I did not let him off the hook or allow him to give in to easy slogans or rest unchallenged in his "orthodoxy." In fact, I met him on his own Evangelical ground, and towards the end of the evening he was in tears of gratitude for my not having simply given up on him but pressing the conversation. He said he had never encountered an American Episcopalian willing to actually debate or even discuss the issue at the level of seriousness it required. I heard the next day from another English Evangelical who was present at this discussion (mostly silent and on the sidelines but observing keenly) that this had been a profoundly important experience for his colleague.

It is with the same kind of seriousness — and a soup├žon of humor here and there, in, I hope, the best Anglican tradition! — that I am attempting to lay out the argument here, in part by taking the Scripture with the seriousness it deserves, and the very close reading it requires. That Matt Kennedy is taking my efforts seriously and responding in kind (though perhaps with less humor; but that's another matter!) is, I take it, a good sign. There are even points on which we agree, it seems. And both Matt and I will receive nods of approval from those who agree with us on the points on which we disagree, and who are already more or less convinced of the rightness of their point of view. Others, less convinced, may be swayed one way or the other, in part because the conversation is serious and raises issues that have too often been passed by in more general discussions.


Read it all here.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I think this question comes down to just a couple of items.

1. Do the old and new testament represent the direct word of God?
2. What are your personal prejudices?

If the answer to number one is yes, you can then go on to number two and pick which items in the Bible represent your own personal prejudice and ignore the rest.

If the answer to number one is no, we must then do a huge amount of study and thinking on our own to find how Jesus would chose to live in our modern world.