Friday, February 16, 2007

Global South Misses the Point, Scripturally

This post deals with the first part of my blog's name (Wayward Episcopalian), not the second (New Orleans). The leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion - the archbishops and presiding bishops, or "primates" - are meeting in Tanzania right now. A number of them are a bit miffed that the United States church is still allowing gay bishops, and that we elected ourselves a female Presiding Bishop.

"Seven "Global South" archbishops refused to receive Holy Communion with their fellow Primates February 16, alleging that they were "unable to come to the Holy Table with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church because to do so would be a violation of Scriptural teaching and the traditional Anglican understanding." -ENS

A violation of Scriptural teaching? I'm not going to lecture or sermonize here, but I do want to make the one observation that maybe the Global South archbishops and I aren't reading the same Scripture. 'Cause see, when I pick up my Bible and flip to First Corinthians 12:12-26, this is what I find:

"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honourable we clothe with greater honour, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it."

Maybe Lake Wobegon's Father Emil said it best: Pass the Peace, but you don't have to make eye contact.

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