I've already weighed in collaboratively on the work of the House of Bishops last week in New Orleans, and I continue to stand by that analysis. But it seems to be a bone that invites continual gnawing.
I cannot deny that the bishops did not do what I would have wished they would do. I wish they would have said, in effect, "We finally get it that the General Convention exceeded its competence by confirming the New Hampshire election and passing C051 ('within the bounds of our common life') back in 2003, and we have been fully complicit in that inappropriate behavior. We repent, and will do all in our power to influence the next General Convention to abide by the received teaching of the Anglican Communion with respect to human sexuality."
No, I don't see any pigs flying either. That's why I said "wish" rather than "hope."
And neither did they take an action that was very much within their grasp, had they been able to summon the will to hold onto it--to wit: Implementing a proposal floated by one of their own number, Bishop John Howe of Central Florida, and articulated in cyberspace by Dr Ephraim Radner of the Anglican Communion Institute, by which the majority of TEC's bishops would have voluntarily recused themselves from participation in the next Lambeth Conference and erected an infrastructure that would have put actual pressure (as distinguished from protracted nagging) on the Common Cause Partners and their offshore sponsors to cease and desist.
So, the bishops did not do what they should have done (in my opinion) nor what they might have done. Did they therefore fail in their endeavor? No, I do not think they did. I believe that, as a group, they accomplished exactly what was possible--no more and no less--for that precise group to accomplish. They did the best they could, and therefore deserve no censure. They are not bad people, nor are they disingenuous. (OK, one bishop's puzzled look when questioned about same-sex blessings going on in his diocese is a little...ahem...amusing.) Nor are they incompetent. It's just a rather impossible situation.
The Church will have to live with the ramifications of the work our bishops did, along with lots of other ramifications, as this ecclesial crisis continues to unfold. I do wish that all parties to the conflict could "seriously lay to heart the great dangers we are in" by reason of our "unhappy divisions." A lot less rhetorical and political posturing and a lot more willingness to give the benefit of the doubt might not bridge the gap, but would go a long way toward helping us carry this cross with a clear conscience.