The podcast argued that sexuality is the popular news hook for the Anglican wars, but that the doctrinal issues at stake run much deeper. Thus, I would like to place the unfolding Lambeth 2022 drama in the context of what your GetReligionistas have long called “Anglican timeline disease.”
With that in mind, let’s flash back to 1992 — that’s three decades, for those keeping score. Here is the top of the 1999 “On Religion” column I wrote about this behind-the-scenes event: “The time for broken communion?” This is long, but essential:
It’s been seven years since Bishop C. FitzSimons Allison faced the fact that some of his fellow bishops worship a different god than he does.
The symbolic moment came during an Episcopal House of Bishops meeting in Kanuga, N.C., as members met in small groups to discuss graceful ways to settle their differences on the Bible, worship and sex. The question for the day was: “Why are we dysfunctional?”
“I said the answer was simple — apostasy,” said Allison, a dignified South Carolinian who has a doctorate in Anglican history from Oxford University. “Some of the other bishops looked at me and said, ‘What are you talking about?'”
Many Episcopalians, he explained at the time, have embraced the work of theologians such as Carter Heyward, a lesbian priest, seminary professor and author of books such as “Touching Our Strength: The Erotic as Power and the Love of God.” Allison asked the bishops how they would deal with those who say they serve a god that is “older and greater” than the God of the Bible.
Some of the bishops said they either shared this belief or could not condemn it.
When the time came to celebrate the Eucharist, Allison knew what he had to do in this particular circle of bishops. He declined to share the bread and the wine, but didn’t publicize his act of conscience.
This brings me to news from Lambeth that is only a few hours old and, thus, hasn’t broken into headlines produced by major newsrooms. The headline at the Episcopal News Service proclaims: “Conservative bishops to refuse to take Communion with LGBTQ+ bishops, demand ‘sanctions’ for churches that allow for same-sex marriage.”
Here we go again: Growing Global South v. Western establishment at another tense Lambeth. Broken Communion is on the table. Is this news? https://t.co/2pM1zDsD79
— Terry Mattingly (@tweetmattingly) July 29, 2022