"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, xenophobia, 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.
The Rev'd Cameron Partridge