Skip to comments.Life at the Edge of the Furnace
Posted on 03/07/2006 7:49:28 PM PST by sionnsar
What should openly Network parishes in revisionist diocese expect after 2006?
No one can really answer that question. But there are six assumptions I believe ACN clergy in hostile diocese should adopt.
1. Assume you will be inhibited and ultimately deposed by your bishop. Whether it happens or not, if you mentally and spiritually accept this possibility threats will not frighten you.
2. Assume that some parishioners who seem solid will begin to break as inter-diocesan pressure mounts. As with any organism, the strongest drive within the parish body is the drive to maintain homeostasis. Change is dangerous. Any break (institutionally or relationally) between you and your diocese will cause even some who agree with you on the merits to align themselves with those who advocate compromise.
3. Assume that you will make a procedural error of some sort that can and most likely will be construed as a violation of canon by a hostile bishop/standing committee. Dont let such mistakes cow you into surrender out of a misplaced sense of guilt.
4. Assume that you are facing powers and principalities. Are you feeling depressed? Is your family life increasingly marked by discord? Are you being tempted in ways and, to be honest, failing in ways you never imagined? You are under attack, the attacks will intensify. Daily time in prayer and the Word are absolute necessities.
5. Assume that you will be reviled and despised by your colleagues. If it hasnt already happened, it will. Your stand explicitly challenges the fundamental Episcopalian tenet that despite our differences we can all meet at the altar. Your willingness to break table-fellowship and fellowship in general is incomprehensible to the average ECUSA cleric. Expect at least a few calls from concerned moderate colleagues unable to fathom your rejection of this central article of postmodern faith.
6. Assume that legal battles will always be fought uphill. This doesnt mean that you shouldnt fight them and fight to win, but it does mean that before stepping into the tempest you should be aware that in most states outside California, the law is stacked in favor of the diocese. Be prepared, mentally and spiritually, to lose.
Underlying these six assumptions is a realization I came too very soon after GC2003: God has called us to stand, bear witness, and to suffer for his Name. Of course, any time American Christians speak of suffering we have to admit that the sort of suffering we face is nothing like the physical suffering of believers in more hostile regions of the globe, the sort our brothers and sisters from the Global South and elsewhere have long endured.
Weve not been counted worthy of that.
But God has blessed us with the opportunity to face the persecution Jesus describes in Matthew 5:11-12: Blessed are you when people insult you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (NIV).
Reading some of the sad/jaded/disillusioned/angry reactions posted here yesterday to recent developments in the Network, I was struck by how little those of us in revisionist diocese rejoice in the incredible gift our Lord has given. Weve been given the opportunity to endure the hard road of the prophets.
Rather than bemoaning our fate shouldnt we rather be filled with thanksgiving? We dont deserve this calling. Weve compromised with wolves and false teachers for so very long, but now God, in his mercy, has given us this one opportunity to stand firm; to suffer the loss of wealth and status for his Names sake. Embrace it. Accept it joyfully.
God has placed us at the edge of the furnace. I don't know why and I don't know the outcome.
It may be that God will preserve and protect us in some way, but our conviction must be firm, like that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: even if he does not, we will not serve their gods or the image of gold they have set up.
I just read this whole article and I respond with a hearty, HUH??
Seemed clear enough to me.
What don't you understand?
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