Straining to remember the Bible
First, can you imagine listening teams to honor the process of mutual listening, particular to the experience of spousal-abusive persons, or of kleptomanic persons? It always amazes me what legitimacy the sin of homosexual practice receives so routinely in ostensibly Christian circles. Should we give "safe ground" to wife abusers and embezzling treasurers, too, so they can tell their story without fear of repercussions? Some sins--the society-fawned-upon types--get a pass and a pat on the head, it appears.
During the final session, the Primates heard from Canon Philip Groves who presented an interim report on the Listening Process, which strives to honor the
process of mutual listening, particular to the experience of homosexual persons.
Groves has been making contacts around the communion and assessing what churches are doing to listen to gay and lesbian people, Aspinall said, acknowledging that there needs to be "established safe ground" for the process to be effective.
He outlined preliminary proposals for the Lambeth Conference and is working on developing high-quality materials that will deal with the experiences of homosexual people, what science can tell us about homosexuality, the legal contexts, the reflection on the Bible, and training resources on facilitating listening.
But second, the wording of the final sentence is amazing. Look for where the Bible fits in the list--AFTER emotional anecdotes, after the apparently superior (and ever-changing) wisdom from overglorified science, and after counsel from lawyers. The Bible, which should be primary, overriding, and authoritative, becomes an emaciated afterthought.
But then look at how what SHOULD be THE authoritative and undisputed reference is treated: "reflection on the Bible." Oh, how sweet! After the Anglicans have heard the highly considered voices from unhappy lives and science and law, they will take a nice little glance at what they feel about what they suppose the Bible might say, however misguided they may find it to be in their superior wisdom.
It doesn't look like they're planning to rigorously exegete texts or submit themselves to the authority of God's Word written, as it transforms their lives. They will instead "reflect on the Bible," much as one reflects on one's childhood or a nice walk in the woods. Maybe they can reflect awhile over martinis, to make it really special.
I can just hear it now: "And now for some reflection on the Bible." It sounds like it should be set to the background music from "Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey on "Saturday Night Live." What an obvious revelation of the minimal role that Scripture plays in such an exercise!
Aren't Christians supposed to be people of The Book?