Skip to comments.What if the Future is Different than we Think?
Posted on 08/25/2005 12:23:07 PM PDT by sionnsar
I dont mind labels. You can call me an Evangelical or a Cranmerian Anglican or an emotional charismatic type. I just dont mind the label. It can identify you and get a conversation going. You know where you stand and are not constamment fiddling around with your own identity.
Not everyone feels this way. For some people, labels are confining and judgmental. I understand that, too. But for me, labels sometimes work.
Like winners and losers in the Christian Church. Some people resist putting it this way. They say, There are no losers or winners in Christianity. That subverts the inclusive character of the Message. Again, I disagree. We have to face sinful facts before we can face redeeming facts. We losers are on the outs from the standpoint of ECUSAs self-understanding since August 5, 2003, and the winners are carrying most dioceses and most parishes and most places.
I can live with that description. It is accurate, so it helps me know where I am.
There is a painting by N.C. Wyeth entitled The Wreck of the Covenant. The great American illustrator painted it in 1913 for an edition of Robert Louis Stevensons novel Kidnapped. It is a striking parable, for me at least, of Episcopal winners and losers.
In the picture, which is now on display in the Brandywine River Museum at Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, the sailing ship named The Covenant is sailing off in the background on a stormy sea. BUT the main character of the story, depicted in the foreground, is cast away upon the ocean, clinging for life onto a stick of wood. It is a terrible scene. He is being left, bobbing alone in the furious sea as the ship of which he was a part hurtles past him out of sight.
When Mary and I saw this painting recently, we each had the same reaction. For us, the ship is the Episcopal Church. I am the poor desolated soul, cast away and alone. Now of course, that is an exaggerated projection. But like all good works of art, the picture connects with the observers real interior self. Wyeths picture was gut-level for me: the loser, holding onto, well, Trinity School, for life; cast away from the familiar and life-long moorings of an institution that is now ploughing off we-dont-know-where.
Yet I had one other thought. A man I love and respect came up to us recently in Philadelphia and said this: If you, and Trinity, can just hang in there, for eight or ten years now, an awful lot of people are going to come back to you. ECUSA is going to run out of money and people, at least in a lot of places. And what Trinity offers will still be good. To put it another way, Dont give up the ship! (John Paul Jones)
You could almost turn N.C. Wyeths evocative picture around. Maybe in ten years, you and I will be back on that ship. Maybe well be sailing back to pick up survivors. Maybe the shoe will be on the other foot. And then our job will be to do everything in our power to collect our ragtag fugitive fleet, one-time winners and long-time losers. The subject and the object of the painting, in other words, could switch.
I think such a switch is very possible. Especially if Trinity can stand fast, focused and eyes on the Prize, the Prize being the Gospel of Christs Salvation proffered to a last-chance world.
So I accept loser status for now. And bow to it. And if the worm turns, then I hope we will be given the Grace to scour the seas for survivors.
The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Zahl is Dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry
What would totally freak me out is if the future is exactly the way I think it will be.
Well, you're doing better than me. Too many possibilities.
Well, at least I can stop worrying about the Morlocks and the Elois.
The "good ship Covenant", captained by a thief and scoundrel (and attempted murderer), with an actual murderer (of Ransome the cabin boy) for a mate, struck a reef and sank shortly after Davie was washed overboard.
I rather felt the same way, many years ago. I wouldn't be posting these threads now but to continue Arlin's mission to those in, or leaving, ECUSA. A bit differently from Greg Griffith (here it's more reporting the news). But I still get The Question from time to time, from those who want to leave ECUSA but remain Anglican. I suffered through that once; maybe that's why I'm still here, posting.
I'd rather not. Watching that ship founder doesn't carry the agony and loss it once was, but it's not fun. And to quote Greg, "As far as how long Ill stick around, I can assure you I wont be here forever."
I was just noting the actual story line of the book. And wondering if the author has read it. And if so what he may think about it.
I don't think he was intent on following the story; he was focused on the painting itself.
I see the word "constamment" and I wonder if this was written by Norm Crosby.
Different FROM (what we think), not different THAN.
I'm glad someone else caught that; my Mama hammered that one home along with "the reason is because" -- the reason is MEANS because....
I think the future will be not only different from what we imagine, but that it will be different from anything we CAN imagine. Thirty years ago I would not have imagined the world as it is now. Would you? Did you?
No, I don't think so. As I recall, we were expecting the Cold War to go on forever. We were heading into the Carter years (egad!). I'm glad things have turned out differently from what we anticipated in 1975!
Then it's really funny that the ship isn't what it seemed (which some might say is true of ECUSA.)
I was riding a motorcycle, making 10% of the money I'm making now, chasing hockey players (mainly the Los Angeles Kings) and living in California. The most important people in my life were Starsky and Hutch. And having escaped marriage and the Mormon church, I was, I believe, a Lutheran. Today I am living in Toronto, working at a job that didn't exist in 1975, and just about to head to Montreal to a Champ Car race on the first class overnight train. And I am 'between religions' now, waiting for one to come along that actually doesn't believe they were the Ten Suggestions.....
I was 9 years old in 1975 :-). At that time, I think I planned to be a lawyer and marry a Navy pilot (everyone we knew was in the Navy.) Later, I was going to be an Old Maid with Cats, and live in the Watergate and be IRS Commissioner.
Now I'm expecting my 8th baby, at 39, and looking forward to way too many more diapers :-). Funny how things turn out!
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