Tragedies of Communion: Seeking Reconciliation amid Colonial Legacies
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In seeking justice for LGBT persons, many Episcopalians have
found ourselves in significant moral tragedies over recent decades. Support for
same-sex relationships often emerged from a concern to stand up for the
marginalized and to be “on the right side of history.” At the same time,
however, we inadvertently alienated many of those historically marginalized in
global Anglican conversations, specifically those in the global South. The
content and form of the Episcopal Church’s public statements in Anglican
debates over human sexuality proved subtly—and usually unintentionally—neocolonial.
The content of the debate privileged a specifically Western discourse based in
the designation of homosexuality, while the form of the debate often resembled
an abstracted “white gaze.” In seeking a path to reconciliation, the essay concludes
by engaging H. Richard Niebuhr’s thought, suggesting that he enables us to
conceive how we ended up in such tragedies and offers a means to reconciliation
by way of repentance.