And I'm encouraged.
And most of what encourages me has to do with the currently difficult topic of women's ordination. Archbishop-elect Beach does not ordain women to the priesthood. But that's neither here nor there. What encourages me is this:
- The folks who felt marginalized by Archbishop Duncan's pro-ordination-of-women stance and practice will feel a sense of returned balance.
- The folks who were uneasy enough to consider walking away from the table will no longer have this as a motivation to destabilize the ACNA.
Those things are good and helpful, but even more importantly, I have already seen and heard encouraging signs:
- Everywhere I looked at today's reception I found bishops who don't ordain women greeting women clergy as friends and respected co-laborers in God's vineyard. Do not tell me these guys are misogynist jerks; these are men who love all people but have discerned through prayer and study that they should not be ordaining women. I may not agree with them, but I sure do respect them.
- And then I turned to Facebook and heard from the other side of the equation, as women priests, who I also love and respect, who have long been conditioned to fear an archbishop who might not support them, poured out their support and kind words for Archbishop-elect Beach. This election was not about their rights to an ordination (no one has a right to be ordained) but about the good of the church and goodwill among Christians and even respect for godly authority.
And so today, both sides are showing their best sides. And I'm encouraged. Maybe we can keep it up all week, by God's grace, and enjoy the upcoming Assembly on a high note. Oh there will always be internet trolls, no doubt, but if we don't feed them, they will have to be quieter.
And after all, now we can say:
"Life's a Beach... and so's the Archbishop."
Congratulations, Archbishop-Elect Foley Beach. Here's to the next five years!