Wayne Smith's occasional blog of pilgrimages and journeys

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thursday, July 31.

I listened to BBC4, the British version of NPR, as I was dressing this morning, and heard a report on "sex day" (their words) at the Lambeth Conference. Certainly we dealt with issues of sexuality and mission during Indaba, but mine at least seems to be one of the convergent Indabas. There was remarkable understanding among the thirty-seven of us, as well as a desire to remain together in communion, even as we dealt with tender and often personal issues. From the grapevine I know that that was not an uncommon experience but by no means a universal one. BBC4 exagerrated the extent of conversation about sexuality by calling this "sex day", as the press might, but one should know that sexuality has been either text or subtext throughout the Conference. What I want to communicate is that it was not at all an uncomfortable conversation today, at least in my slice of the setting.

Bible study dealt with John 13:31–14:14, the portion of Jesus' farewell discourse including his words, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."

The afternoon took me to the hearing held by the Reflections Group (see yesterday's post), with more editorial refinement of the report-in-progress.

Nothing remarkable in either of these two settings.

Perhaps the most disappointing session of the entire Conference for me was the special self-select group held late afternoon to discuss some alleged "fresh possibilities" having arisen from Indabas and from general conversation around the campus. There were some genuine new ideas expressed in this meeting, coming from various bishops and from groups of bishops, but the meeting itself got mired down in a room that was mostly white and largely British, with this bishop and that one holding forth, usually with nothing to say specifically about the initiatives presented but taking some other largely unrelated tangent. It was not a good meeting.

Tonight I went into Canterbury for a reception held for bishop trustees of the University of the South, in a lovely restaurant with one of those close English rooms I have unhappily come to expect, a room with a low ceiling, no open windows, and well designed to hold the heat. A pleasant enough reception among friends whom I know and like despite the physical atmosphere. The outdoor dinner some of us had next door at the Bishop's Finger pub (who could make up a name like that?) was simple and pleasurable.

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