Skip to comments.The Process of Deconstruction
Posted on 04/10/2006 9:28:43 PM PDT by sionnsar
As I noted last week in my almost article with regard to the Standing Committee on the Anglican Communion, Dr. Ephraim Radner has said it all with regard to the Report itself. There is little to add from an orthodox perspective.
Instead, I want to focus on the word process as it was used by Dr. Radner in his response and contrast his use of the word with that of the Committee.
In the beginning of his response to the published report, Dr. Radner correctly notes that the resolutions contained therein represent only the very beginning of a process; that they are suggestions destined for a far more balanced committee that will draft the actual resolutions which will be debated on the floor of General Convention.
Dr. Radner recognizes that these initial suggested resolutions are part of a process of decision. The Episcopal Church must decide by June whether to commit herself to the Communion by submitting to the Windsor Report requirements. That is the process.
The Committees Report (PDF), however, redefines the Windsor Process as some sort of give and take conversation at a used car lot. The communion is asking for five thousand dollars, lets offer them two thousand and see how low we can get them. The subtle deconstruction begins in section two with this interesting description of the Windsor Report:
The Lambeth Commission was given one year to complete its work, and in October 2004 released the Windsor Report. WR is primarily a study of the nature of the Church and of communion. It does not address itself directly to questions of sexuality generally, or homosexuality in particular. Rather, WR invites the Anglican Communion into a process of discernment about the nature and unity of the Church. This process has increasingly, across the Anglican Communion, become known as the Windsor Process. (Section II paragraph 15)
The problem is that the WR does indeed address the issue of homosexuality directly in its early affirmation of Lambeth 98 resolution 1.10 and in the specific requests found in section D. These requests do not call for a conversation but a decision.
In other words the process as it has been misrepresented in the report is more of an external bargaining process with the wider Communion on the nature of the Church rather than an internal process of decision in response to the Windsor Requests. In fact, the Windsor Report is both/and. It does encourage a conversation with regard to the nature of Communion but it (along with the Dromantine Communique) also calls on the Episcopal Church to make certain specific decisons that will indicate her desire to take part in that conversation.
As Bishop Langrish made clear, the Episcopal Church cannot come out of General Convention with a counter-offer and expect to remain connected to the body. The Anglican Communion is not a used car dealership and the Windsor Report was not an offer.
A better illustration of the real Windsor process might be to liken it to the process of reconciliation following a husbands adulterous affair. When the wife says, You can come back home if youre willing to give up the other woman and commit yourself to the vows of marriage, shes not bargaining or initiating a conversation, much less inviting dialogue. She is setting a boundary. The real conversation cant even begin until the husband agrees to end his adulterous affair. That minimal requirement must be met before the real conversation or dialogue can even begin.
In the same way, the Windsor requests set the boundary. They are the minimal requirements that must be met before any Communion-wide conversation with regard to homosexual behavior in the Church can even begin.
The Windsor Process then is not just an external bargaining process with regard to the nature of the Church, but it is also calls for an internal process of decision within the Episcopal Church.
My guess is that the Committee hopes their attempted redefinition of the "Windsor Process" will set the tone of the debate all the way to the Convention floor, influencing bishops and deputies and even moderate primates monitoring events from overseas. The current general expectation, that General Convention 2006 represents a "decision-making moment," is dangerous to ECUSA. The Committee hopes to subtly undermine that expectation so that by June everyone is talking and thinking in car-lot terms.
To counter this, the orthodox members of the next committee to take up the suggested resolutions along with the orthodox deputies and bishops need to consistently call attention to the Standing Committee on the Anglican Communion's subtle deconstruction of Windsor and contrast it with +Langrishs words and the primates' stated expectations at Dromantine.
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