I actually got to speak at General Convention today - AND CHOKED! Actually, what happened is that I had been crafting (and rehearsing) a speech for three minutes, and the special order changed the limit to two minutes. Therefore, I ended up trying to summarize my thoughts and panicked when the "yellow" light came on indicating waning time. I ended up completely leaving out the bold part below, which really was the crux of my argument. Instead, I sounded kind of like someone saying, "Some of my best friends are gay...." Arrgh! Oh well. I've learned that such addresses simply must be full-text.
What I meant to say is below - it refers to Resolution A161 - Election of Bishops
I stand before you as a very conflicted moderate. I understand that to many of our Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church, any affirmation of the Windsor Report will be perceived as a denial of your full inclusion in the church. I also recognize the historical peril of a straight, married white male speaking in favor of resolutions that might be perceived as asking a minority to bear further suffering for the sake of the church. Thank you Anti-Racism training…
The matters before us are not simple or cut-and-dried. Anyone who believes that we can become of one mind over issues of human sexuality is either fooling themselves, or comfortable with the age-old protestant sin of schism. If we are to preserve our beloved Episcopal Church and any semblance of Anglican unity, we have to decide how to live with long-term tension. We have to forge anew a Via Media.
Even those in the Anglican Communion comfortable or supportive with our actions in 2003 have expressed reservation about our failure to consult any Anglican body before proceeding with Gene Robinson’s consecration. If we are to take our commitment to interdependence seriously, we must do something to make space for conversation. I believe the resolutions from Special Committee 26 are important offerings for this process. Their passage would be an important step towards reconciliation.
One speaker at the special hearing Wednesday night used the metaphor of a bridge, saying that a bridge needs to reach all the way across a chasm or it is pointless. I would submit that from an engineering standpoint, bridges have to be built from both sides. We as a church should no longer be comfortable to sit idly by while our Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered brothers and sisters are shut out of the councils of the Anglican Communion. If we are to build a bridge from our side, at great personal cost to many of our members, our Anglican brothers and sisters must commit to moving forward with the listening process, and respect the dignity of every human being.
Mr. President, I ask the House of Deputies to vote here to make space for conversation. I have no desire to serve the conservative Episcopal Church, or the liberal Episcopal Church. I wish to serve the broad diverse Episcopal Church where I came to know the compassionate love of our savior Jesus Christ. I look forward to the time when the ministry of reconciliation can become the church’s true obsession.
We take up further debate in the morning....