First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sunrise 6:52: Farewell to meat - or justice?


The female Dawn Jogger encountered a new herd of cattle on her Wednesday Big Dish run this morning, the first day of Lent and the day after Carnivale (carne vale - farewell to meat). Lent has traditionally been the time that Catholics - be they Roman or Anglican - fasted by giving up meat. (Although that's unlikely to save the new herd.) Growing up as an Episcopalian, the female DJ's Lenten fast was more likely giving up her mother's great chocolate chip cookies.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, has characterized the communique issued at the end of the just completed five-day meeting of the Anglican Primates as a call to another kind of fast:

"The Episcopal Church has been asked to consider the wider body of the Anglican Communion and its needs. Our own Church has in recent years tended to focus on the suffering of one portion of the body, particularly those who feel that justice demands the full recognition and celebration of the gifts of gay and lesbian Christians. That focus has been seen in some other parts of the global Church, as inappropriate, especially as it has been felt to be a dismissal of traditional understandings of sexual morality. Both parties hold positions that can be defended by appeal to our Anglican sources of authority - scripture, tradition, and reason - but each finds it very difficult to understand and embrace the other. What is being asked of both parties is a season of fasting - from authorizing rites for blessing same-sex unions and consecrating bishops in such unions on the one hand, and from transgressing traditional diocesan boundaries on the other." (Full text of the Presiding Bishop's reflection).

The female Dawn Jogger finds both the communique and the Presiding Bishop's call deeply troubling. Both Bishop Jefferts Schori and Archbishop of Canterbury (the titular head of the Anglican Communion) Rowan Williams seem to be in a a position in which their jobs as leaders of organizations are trumping their own previously-stated beliefs. Is the unity of an entity, the Anglican Communion, which was cobbled together by circumstance in the first place, that important? The male DJ often quotes Brother Timothy, who told the DJs during a visit to the Cowley Brothers rural retreat center, "Don't ever confuse faith with religion." To participate in a fast that restricts the full inclusion of all God's people seem to the female DJ to be doing just that.

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