Saturday, August 9, 2008

Will the Real Rowan Williams Please Stand Up?

The Tallahassee Democrat today ran a story that is, in fact, a week old now, on the closing day of the Lambeth Conference, and the comments made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. The ABC, whose picture in the local newspaper makes him look like a hairy ET, is quoted as saying:

“If the North American churches don’t accept the need for moratoria (on blessing same-gender marriages and LGBT ordinations), we are no further forward. That means, as a communion, we continue to be in grave peril.”

Interestingly, what resurfaced this week are comments made to a reporter with The Times of London by the ABC in 2000:

Gay partnerships pose the same ethical questions as those between a man and woman and the key issue for Christians is that they are faithful and lifelong, he believes.Dr Williams is known to be personally liberal on the issue but the strength of his views, revealed in private correspondence shown to The Times, will astonish his critics.....

In an exchange of letters with an evangelical Christian, written eight years ago when he was Archbishop of Wales, Dr Williams describes his belief that Biblical passages criticising homosexual sex are not aimed at people who are gay by nature.Instead, he argues that scriptural prohibitions are addressed “to heterosexuals looking for sexual variety in their experience”.
He says: “I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.”Although written before he became Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002, Dr Williams describes his view in the letters as his “definitive conclusion” reached after 20 years of study and prayer. He refers to it as his “conviction”.

I understand the Archbishop desiring to take a position that doesn’t lean too far one way or another. But the fact is he apparently does have a position which is not too unlike what some in our own Church have concluded on this side of the pond. Now, he’s trying to back-peddle up a hill.

So, wha’ happened? Is the prospect of an angry Archbishop of Nigeria forming his angry off-shoot of angry people so frightening that we must sacrifice LGBT people, and shake our crook at the North American churches? Is Bishop Gene Robinson’s consecration such a threat that he bans him from the Lambeth Conference, and won’t even meet with him, but the ABC does apparently talk to the Bishops in the USA who are threatening to break away from our national church?

And is he really that concerned with keeping communion with the Roman Catholics….who not only don’t like our gay priests…they really are uppity about our women in collars? The Church of England has agreed women can be bishops, a big no-no with Herr Pope. How concerned are we really with having a relationship with a Church that can’t even have an honest discussion about their major cases of sexual dysfunction?

Please: will the real Rowan Williams stand up?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wondered if you would read the confusing stand that Dr. Williams has expressed! I think that the real ABC is having a hard time with this. We should just move forward as a church here in the USA is my feeling.