I don't normally make blog posts that are merely links to other people's articles. But , in reading Jason Pitzl-Waters' end-of-year roundup on the most important Pagan news stories of the year, I followed a link to The Revealer's nominations for the best overall religious news stories of 2008. Among them was an incredibly lucid, well-reasoned article on the struggle within the Anglican Communion. Garret Keizer's article, "Turning Away from Jesus: Gay Rights and the War for the Episcopal Church" is one that many Quakers will not yet have read. And though not everything on the plate of the Episcopal Church is relevant to Quakers as we struggle with our own understandings around same-sex relationships in the context of the FUM personnel policy, a good deal is.
I suspect that we Friends are going to be a lot closer to hearing what Spirit intends for us on this matter when we are able to set aside our certainties and convictions that we and we alone truly understand what is right, and learn to hear the many voices and experiences that are part of this discussion.
I'm not saying that homophobia is acceptable, and I'm not saying that acceptance of same-sex marriages is not ultimately going to be what is required of us all. I'm pretty clear on those things, actually.
But it's what I'm not clear on that ought to be my concern, especially when I speak with Friends whose understandings are radically different from my own. What are we each hearing that the other is not saying? What are we not hearing that the other is?
I want us to keep listening to one another, to keep sitting down at the table together, and to trust God to lead, and the people to follow. (I do not want us to simplify our lives by walking away from one another. I think that would be a tragic mistake.)
I do want us to be open to what we don't already know. I think this article does a nice job of cultivating that, at least within me. I recommend it.