This is from Christ Church, Windsor, Nova Scotia. No prizes for picking out the most commonly used word in the article. The picture painted is of a foggy, theologically incoherent church, cast adrift from its moorings.
The Politics of Confusion?
Some Reflections on the Recent Decisions
of the Diocesan Synod of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
I have been asked about the decisions of the recent Synod of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island as reported in the media. I can only offer the following observations in what is an attempt to explain what seems to be rather confusing.
Truth, it is often said, is the first casualty of war. More often than not, there is simply confusion. In the ‘sex-wars’ within the Anglican Communion, confusion reigns supreme. The recent Synod of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island provides a case in point.
The Synod discussed and debated a number of motions regarding the issue of same-sex blessings. The four motions were, one might say, aggressive in their zeal for providing some sort of arrangement, blessing, marriage, or otherwise for same-sex couples. Most remarkable is the degree of confusion about the word, ‘marriage’.
The motions included keeping a roster of parishes and clergy “amenable to the blessing of same-sex civilly married couples”; providing a liturgy for “blessing covenanted or committed unions outside marriage”; requiring clergy to “cease acting as agents of the civil government in performing marriages until such time as the clergy of the Diocese may officiate at the marriage of all legally eligible persons”; and a motion that, on the one hand, called for the Bishop’s Pastoral Letter on Human Sexuality (2010) to become an Episcopal guideline, while, on the other hand, seeming to advocate the principle of local option.
Overall the motions are, well, intriguing, ranging from the blessings for those already civilly married, as if the Church were to bless whatever the state has allowed, to forcing parishes and priests to declare themselves on this matter as if such things lay within the purview of either. Not to mention the idea of the clergy going on strike and refusing to marry anybody until everybody in the Church is compliant with what the state has determined are legal marriages. Once again, in this view the church is seen as subservient to the state and not independent.
Curious and confusing. It is a twist on the unspoken concordat between church and state that has existed in Canada for over two centuries whereby the clergy function as unpaid civil servants in performing marriages that are then legally recognized by the state. Some, it seems, want the church to bless willy-nilly whatever is recognized by the state.
Read it all here.