It was too late for me last night to redo the text of my blog. If anyone back in the States thinks that we are on some kind of a junket here, they are mistaken. We are up at 6 AM and go until 10 or 11 at night. With the heat and humidity and lack of air conditioning, I am pretty brain dead by the time I get to sit down to do my blog, so I hope you will forgive my technological mistakes at that late hour!
[PS. Go down to "Two Moving Moments" to see a video of Laura that accidently also got left off]
Yesterday we talked a lot about the role of Scripture in the church, and my impression was that most of us are in agreement as to how to study and apply the Bible. I have found few literalists or fundamentalists in this bunch. I sometimes hear it said the our troubles as a church are not over sex but over Scripture. I don't believe that is true. What is true is that we use the same tools to approach Scripture and come away with conflicting understandings. Given our wide range of cultural backgrounds, that is not only to be expected, but is probably a good thing.
One of the insights that came out of our meetings this morning (Thursday) as we turned our attention to sexuality was that whereas inclusion of Gay and Lesbian people is an important part of mission strategy in the first world, just the opposite is true in the third world. We heard stories of how churches have grown in places because of the welcome given to homosexual people, and also stories of how the American churches actions have hindered church growth in other parts of the world.
It made me think, could we say something like
"As the Anglican Communion we affirm a committment to mission above all, and we realize that like St Paul, we need to be 'all things to all people in order that we might win some for Christ.' Might that approach allow us to move the question of sexuality away from a theological debate over who reads the Bible correctly, to a
multifacted missionary stragety where full inclusion could be accepted in one place and not in another?
The good news so far today (and I will write more about this later today) is that the mood of listening and understanding is extra-ordinary good. So far there has not been one hint of rancor or anger. Stay tuned.