Thursday, March 22, 2007

Toward Comprehensive Vision

From Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's
Sermon at the Close of the House of Bishops Meeting,

"That divine vision sees beneath the surface, beyond
what the world sees as loss or death or rejection.
That vision of blessing sees the fundamentally
gracious nature of reality, it sees the ground of
loving being that continues to arc toward justice in
spite of the emptiness or
evil of the world's current reality. To envision
poverty as blessedness
sees potential, sees the fulfillment - the filling
full of empty bellies and sightless eyes - that God
expects and hopes for and encourages this world to
make real. Seeing the blessing comes from the ability
to see both lack and possibility in a kind of
multilayered reality.
That multiple reality is present - the kingdom of God
is all around you - but it takes eyes that can see at
multiple focal lengths."

As I read Bishop Katharine's words, and in the wake of
the statements released by the House of Bishops over
the past two days, I am inspired, once again, to be an
Episcopalian and an Anglican (I'm a 'cradle
Episcopalian', but in recent years it's been tough--
as it has been for so many-- to watch my beloved
church go through so much turmoil and at times to feel
judged by it.). As someone married to a scientist, I
also appreciate the way our Presiding Bishop weaves
together a variety of ways of viewing the world. The
world is such an incredibly rich place. And the world
is also a place filled with poverty, racism,
zenophobia, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia-- forms
of oppression tragically too numerous to name
exhaustively. Bishop Katharine's call to learn how
better to adjust our eyesight, to see with a
multifocality that enables us to participate in and
realize God's reign-- God's *dream*, as Verna Dozier
called it-- hits home for me.

As a transgender person who took years to figure out
that I needed to transition from female to male, I am
very familiar with the notion of vision being, and
needing to be, multi-faceted. If I need a "generous
vision" just to look back upon my own history--
growing up as a girl, then a young woman and for nine
years a lesbian, and now as a man married to a woman--
how much more do I need such vision to continue to
make my way in this world and church?

I pray for our church, that it would embrace once
again the Anglican tradition of perceiving all of
God's Creation with a generous breadth, and that we
would aim to embrace Anglican "comprehensiveness for
the sake of truth", as is wonderfully articulated in
the collect for Richard Hooker:

O God of truth and peace, you raised up your servant
Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy to
defend with sound reasoning and great charity the
catholic and reformed religion: Grant that we may
maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the
sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of
truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.

Posted by The Rev. Cameron Partridge

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