Letters to the editor, October 2019

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Letters are subject to editing.

Letters that appeared in the October edition of the Anglican Journal

Our rules exist for a reason

The Council of General Synod has been tasked with reviewing the governance system of our church. It appears to me that the people calling for review and revision are those who feel they “lost” the motion to amend the marriage canon. If the call for change had been made at previous synods or on previous motions, I would not think that this call was a knee-jerk reaction to an unfavourable result. I seem to hear, “If we don’t get the result we want, let’s change the system until we do,” which is hardly an appropriate proposition in a rational organization such as ours.

If the idea to be promoted is that a simple majority govern, then the bishops would have no say, the clergy only a bit more and the laity possibly all. We are an episcopal church, so such a change would give a result which would seem to run counter to our basic identity. Of course, there is the possibility of a simple majority in each order, but simple majorities on major issues can cause havoc.

Significant changes need a high standard. When fundamental changes are proposed, a two-thirds majority, or thereabouts, is both the practical and the commonly used criterion. Call that the tyranny of the majority, if you will, but alternative solutions always arise as in the “local option”—our middle way.

Leave well enough alone—we could get into dangerous territory if we mess with what has worked well for us.

May God continue to bless our church with wisdom.

The Rev. Derek Perry
Kitchener, Ont.

Some rules are arbitrary

I have been particularly intrigued by those who cite scripture or church rules to defend their position against same-sex marriage. It seems to me that the hard task that Christians set for themselves is not about blindly following rules or traditions. It is instead about living a loving life. That means taking the time to consider all the consequences of one’s actions on ourselves and others and then doing one’s best to decide in the most loving and just way.

Injustice arises when one is denied an opportunity for no other practical reason than who they are. What makes this continuing controversy so hard to understand is that in a contest between injustice and an arbitrary rule, that an arbitrary rule would win. As for scripture, try Luke 6:9-11.

Nevertheless, I take heart—and I hope that same-sex couples take heart—that the bulk of the church is already choosing justice.

Ed McDonough
Toronto, Ont.

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