There have been a number of occasions over the years in TEC like this where a key document or statement has come out, and the response has been, shall we say, less than satisfactory. Therefore there needs to be some preparation on our part so as to try to react in a Christian manner. Herewith some suggestions:
(1) Please try to read the actual text of the resolution itself and concentrate on the language used. I am sorry if this seems obvious but my Mom was an English teacher–you would be amazed at how little it actually occurs. Who are the worst people to do a Bible study with? Seminarians. Why? Because they have the most deep seated ideas of what the text says before they read it. It is vital that the text be heard on its own terms.
(2) Try to draw conclusions yourself FROM THE TEXT before getting your head clouded with what others think. Be aware that some of the early reactions will be wrong.
(3) When you consider others reactions, read from a variety of sources. You should regularly be visiting reappraiser and reasserter sites, writers you agree with and authors who drive you crazy.
(4) Make your early evaluations tentatively. “It seems to be saying that,” “what I hear the statement saying is,” are the kinds of things I would prefer to hear.
(5) Be aware that every statement like this goes through a process of sifting. Give it at least three days. There is an earthquake, there are aftershocks, and then things settle down.
(6) Expect the discernment to be a corporate activity. We still seek to be part of the Church of Jesus Christ, and we need one another. We are. as Ephesians says (4:15), to speak the truth in love. May the way we respond demonstrate this–KSH.
By the way–anyone recognize most of the language here? It is from something I wrote in 2007. Nick Knisely wrote [now Bishop-elect of Rhode Island] at the time that he found himself “pretty much full agreement with [my]suggestions”