The Bishop of New York: "The Presenting Question"
His comments come as part of a diocesan examination of the current controversies within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. The full "package" of materials is presented as "Turmoil in the Anglican Communion"; it is not yet online.
The materials include many fine analyses, profiles, and comments, including contributions from the Rev. Tobias Haller and the Rev. Canon James Rosenthal, the director of communications for the Anglican Communion Office, and the editor of the Anglican Episcopal World magazine and the Anglican Communion News Service. Links to these resources can be gotten from the Anglican Communion portal.
The complete bishop's message follows.
The deeper question is this: Just what exactly is the problem anyway? Surprising to many people, serious-minded folks give very different answers. For some, perhaps for most, the answer as conceived by them is a simple matter of sexual morality: right or wrong. Others couch this dispute in terms of the authority of Scripture. Still others argue that not only does Scripture not speak with one voice to the actual question that is before us, but also the insights of science and experience of our faithful gay and lesbian brothers and sisters—integral members of our community—cannot simply be ignored. Yet others see this dispute through the lens of authority: Who has the right to decide? This, in turn, pushes others to state the problems in terms of polity—that is, the way we organize ourselves to make decisions and, at least by inference, obligate others by those decisions. And all this debate takes place within the context of a world of different contexts, a world which seems busily occupied in dividing and re-dividing itself along the countless fissures that are found in the bedrock of the human community.
In my view, it is a mistake to despair at all about this conflict. I am convinced that God works through our struggles to bring us, if we are faithful and charitable in those struggles, ever closer to the Divine Life that unifies all creation. We have no reason to despair. We have nothing to fear. We live in the arms of God's abiding love. God is working in us the Divine will. Through it all, I am convinced that our Episcopal Church has been strengthened, and I have confidence that the larger Anglican Communion, in whatever form it takes, will be strengthened as well.
In the end, if we are faithful, charitable and just, God's will for us and for all creation will be made more evident, more available, more present. What more could we hope or ask for?
God bless and sustain us as we carry out the work and ministry that has been entrusted to us in our generation.