March 10, 2016

Disagreement, Good and Bad

The Church of England is in the process of exploring the limits of disagreement on matters of sexuality. One might say the Anglican Communion as a whole is doing the same. England already reached a settlement on the propriety of women bishops, allowing "both integrities" to flourish side by side in peaceful contradiction. (The nation that gave us Lewis Carroll has done itself proud in this.)

The goal, of course, is a peaceful detente, going by the name "good disagreement." The church has been plagued by disagreement -- good and bad -- from the days of Peter and Paul. Ultimately it is the object of the (dis)agreement that determines whether it can be (a) a peaceable willingness to bear with difference or (b) a cause for schism. "It seemed important at the time" is the watchword of warning for any church tempted to divide over what may turn out in the long run to have been a minor point of dispute. Remember the common cup, and vernacular liturgy? Or circumcision? The church's history is draped with conflicts that in retrospect have faded and lost their color; so much so one is tempted to ask, "What was the matter?" What matters — the living Text — is Christ, and him crucified, died, buried, risen and ascended. All the rest is gloss.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

1 comment:

John Julian said...

Or women on vestries. Or women as General Convention deputies. Or jazz/pop/rock music in church. Or Mass celebrated after noon. And on and on....

There is an issue, however, where there cannot be "good disagreement"—and thst ids when someone ELSE is being made to suffer by action or inaction.

So nice to have you back on-line, Tobias.