LAMBETH: Indaba Sex Talk Fails to Satisfy Longing for Clarity in Anglican Communion
"...ever seeking but never coming to a knowledge of the truth." Luke 17: 20-21
By David W. Virtue
The 2008 Lambeth Conference gathering of some 600 bishops will not resolve the pressing issue of human sexual behavior at this decennial gathering.
The bishops have engaged in talk about pansexual behavior for more than two weeks and have resolved nothing. In fact the very process of talking is about "process" is specifically designed not to arrive at any conclusion about how human beings, specifically Anglicans, should behave with their bodies.
They are practicing Indaba, that is, they are engaged in "purposeful discussion" in a "process and method of engagement listening to one another."
The bishops are listening themselves to spiritual death. Words like "respectful conversation", "costly generosity", "inclusion", "diversity", "mutual generosity", "listening with humility", "engaging in REAL conversation", "faithful risk taking", "listening in ambiguity" litter the ecclesiastical and verbal landscape.
And it is all designed towards one end - the full inclusion of pansexual behavior, deliberately overturning centuries of biblical teaching going back to the Garden of Eden and God's creation ordinance.
There are no 'thou shalt' or 'thou shalt not' no 'thus saith the Lord' that is the language of Scripture and far too absolute and fundamentalist.
St. Paul's dictum, "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people" Eph.5:3 (NIV) has been shunted aside to embrace the full inclusion of pansexual behavior that will exclude you from the Kingdom of God. (I Cor. 6:9) but not, it seems, from the Anglican Communion.
And it is being done and affirmed here in Canterbury with all the slickness of an elite, well-oiled Anglican public relations machine led by Dr. Rowan Williams who made it abundantly clear on a video and reaffirmed by Indaba specialists that Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1:10 was not on the table, would not be discussed or referred to as it would interfere with the "process" of Indaba. We need a new way of looking at things, the old way was unhelpful, he opined. Indian Ocean Archbishop Ian Ernest George told us that "we have been given the process and the bishops are to have a voice" but no one is to declare finality, that is verboten.
To arrive at a conclusion is to deeply offend, and God knows to offend the delicate consciences of homosexuals who tread the boards lightly enough as it is, will bring only wrath and cries of homophobia down upon the heads of those righteous few who dare say otherwise. The abuse goes on till the white flag of surrender is raised.
But, we were told things have improved in ten years when there was hissing and booing among the bishops at the last Lambeth. In 2008 it is dramatically different, Brisbane Archbishop Philip Aspinall told us. "There is the same degree of difference in views held by bishops, but at the end of Indaba groups, bishops holding contrary views actually embraced each and thanked each other."
There you have it. The slow wearing down of faithful orthodox Anglicans so we can all arrive at the muddy bottom of the septic system fully immersed in ecclesiastical fecal matter, dressed, of course in rainbow robes and purple sashes - the new symbols of full inclusion.
The tone of engagement that was once there has gone. All has changed, the problems are not all resolved, Aspinall opines, but Indaba will win the hearts of all, given time...and time is what Williams needs to hold it altogether.
This conference will resolve nothing and that's exactly what Rowan wants. A third Windsor Report Draft, a third reflection on the Lambeth Report, multiple Covenant drafts that will take years to sort out... the Anglican Consultative Council will see to that. Canon Kenneth Kearon who heads the ACC will drag the process out into eternity if he can, the 4th Instrument of Unity becoming a rusty Damoclean sword designed to hit nothing once released from its scabbard.
"We are able to look at each other and shed tears with one another. We have different convictions...but I am proud to belong to it (the process)," opined Archbishop George. Of course...shedding tears, ever seeking, but no "thus saith the Lord."
"We have been able from either ends of the spectrum to be heard... we have done it," was the exultant cry of another bishop. Done what exactly? They have listened; they have learned from one another, they have felt one another's pain; they have bared their souls, they have talked...endlessly and out of the eye to eye contact comes mutual love and acceptance. Then wait for a Holy Spirit encounter to transform one and all.
Keep talking, that is the essence of Indaba, keep talking till the orthodox roll over like a dying Brontosaurus, capitulating to the next copulating pansexual Episcopal bishop, whose randy grin comes with an outstretched hand and offer, "take this condom in remembrance of me".
A suggestion by one reporter that the bishops might just be engaging in navel gazing was met with laughter (from the media) and chagrin (from the bishops), how dare he suggest that these modern day ecclesiastical emperors have no ecclesiastical clothes.
The bishops are on a journey we were told some with convictions, some with none, but they are doing so with generosity, listening carefully and attentively for that hidden note of uncertainty that heralds eventual capitulation. "We held hands and got to journey together." Fiat Lux.
The conversation does not stop on Sunday, we were told. The bishops touched on homosexuality and polygamy and intense sexual activity among young adults in many countries. "This journey seems interesting...we must act with generosity," we were told.
Polygamy talk is important for Western pansexualists. If the Africans can have multiple wives then they can have their sexual "partners" the new nomenclature that bypasses such embarrassing words as "husband" or "wife". Spouse is passé.
"I am trying to hold all paradoxes in tension," said Toronto Bishop Colin Johnson. Indeed. Stretch the mind, heart and theology, but never cry uncle.
Have any bishops changed their minds, a reporter asked? No, but some bishops are clearly more nuanced. Translation. The West is slowly wearing the Global South. Once upon a time there were 22 primates who would not take Communion with Frank Griswold. At Dromantine it was down to eight...give them time.
At the end, we were told, we must be welcoming and loving and serving our gay brothers and sisters, but under no circumstances are we tell them that their lifestyle is lethal to their bodies and dangerous to the future destination of their souls.
"Conversation is about turning towards another person," said Johnson, smoothly. "The purpose is not to convert the other person toward my point of view or to be converted to the other person's point of view."
At last the truth. Never convert, never. That is the new verboten. Thou shalt not convert Muslims to Christ; thou shalt not convert anybody to anything. Preach Millennium Development Goals; hand out cups of cold water in the name of the United Nations, and face down your heterosexual Global South neighbor till he/she blinks first and then run up the victory flag.
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