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Tragedies of Communion: Seeking Reconciliation amid Colonial Legacies

Ross Kane


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.

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