Skip to comments.Living Church wishes you would calm down [ECUSA]
Posted on 04/19/2006 7:31:40 PM PDT by sionnsar
Living Church wishes that some of you people would calm down:
With General Convention less than two months away, it seems that the time for polite listening and graceful conversations may be coming to an end. The moderators of church-related Internet discussion groups are more frequently having to remind their participants to choose their words more carefully before they post their comments. The gloves seem to be coming off with greater regularity.
The Bishop of Arizona recently was subjected to a flurry of bile-filled invective from persons outside his diocese in response to a letter intended for his clergy and lay leaders [p. 14]. His candid remarks in reaction to the spring House of Bishops retreat drew heated reaction from those who disagreed with his views. A similar letter from another bishop to his diocese was also critiqued and his character impugned. A widely read website publishes personal attacks on bishops nearly every day.
Ubiquitous discussion lists, blogs, and websites have made instant newsgathering, analysis, and commentary a part of life within the Church. While these forums are invaluable communications tools with powerful potential as tools for ministry, they also can and are being used as powerful weapons. The Internet is largely self-policing, and without care and consideration, the churchs political discourse is devolving into a wrestling cage match in which there will be no winners.
We invite and implore all who will be working to shape the Churchs future in the coming months to do so while keeping in mind that they, their allies, and those with whom they disagree all are members of the one body of Christ. How we live out our membership will have a profound impact on our ability as a Church to make disciples as Jesus commanded.
A debatable point, that last one, about which more later. But has some conservative rhetoric during the Current Unpleasantness been overheated? Have the orthodox occasionally gone over the line? Yes. Some on the liberal side are also guilty. But I think that a lot of the language Living Church objects to has not been excessive at all. It has been honest.
I am by birth and temperament a Westerner. That's not particularly meaningful word; at one time or another, most of this country was "the West," where people who couldn't get along in decent society ended up. But I was born in Montana and live in Missouri so it's the only word I've got.
One characteristic of Westerners(and one of the reasons I have never been a completely convinced Anglican) is directness. Ask us what time it is and we don't tell you how to make a watch. Ask us where the Sizzler is and we don't start a discussion about the fat and cholesterol content of steak. So the relentless Anglican tendency to talk things to death, particularly in order to avoid making tough decisions, absolutely infuriates me.
Think of it this way. You wake up in the middle of the night and smell smoke. You discover that a portion of your house is on fire. So you wake your family, get them out of the house safely and call the fire department.
Fire trucks pull up in front of your house a few moments later. But instead of immediately moving to put the fire out, the firemen stand on your front lawn discussing whether or not they came to the right house. Having determined that they did, they next discuss whether your house is really on fire or not.
While the fire rages and spreads, they decide that your house is, in fact, on fire and immediately begin a discussion of the best way to put the fire out. Water? Foam? A combination of both? If you had to listen to all that while watching your home burn to the ground, I submit that your rhetoric would also be overheated.
Have ECUSA bishops deserved the abuse some of them have taken? Frankly, yes. As a body, the performance of ECUSA bishops during the crisis ECUSA caused has been disgraceful. From the beginning of the controversy they caused down to the present day, they have been duplicitous, evasive and arrogant. Pointing out the obvious does not constitute a personal attack.
Although this may be starting to change, the performance of ECUSA's few remaining conservative bishops has not exactly inspired confidence. The orthodox heavy lifting has largely been done by individual parishes and the occasional African bishop. Conservative leaders have issued open letter after open letter but have taken few, if any, real risks.
The heart of the matter is this. Living Church wants us to remember that all of us "are members of the one body of Christ." But I don't think I agree. For a long time, well before August, 2003, ECUSA has been one church with two religions. My understanding of the Scriptures, sin, grace, holiness, the person and work of Jesus Christ and just about everything else cannot be reconciled with John Spong's, Frank Griswold's, Susan Russell's or Gene Robinson's.
Remaining in a church with people with whom I share nothing makes all of us liars. And while I was able to rationalize staying in ECUSA for a long time, I finally came to a point when I couldn't rationalize any longer. Both the Anglican left and right need to realize something. All the pleasant discussion in the world cannot hide the fact that, absent a move of the Holy Spirit, the Anglican world cannot and should not be put back together again.
Where did Christopher Johnson wind up?
Ummm... good question. The REC, I thought, but it appears not. I do not know (remember).
That one deserves an AMEN.
I agree. Double amen. How in the world did Griswold, et.al end up in presiding roles anyway - wasn't anyone paying attention?
This conclusion is not limited to the author's understanding but is the only conclusion that any obedient Christian can reach.
Very few people in Episcopal parishes are aware of anything happening outside their own parish.
The left has courageous, dedicated leaders willing to act to further their agenda. I'm still trying to figure out whether the 'conservative' bishops are just spineless cowards trying to slink to retirement or whether they are actually fifth-columnist quislings.
In any event, I have less respect for them than I do for the leftists at this point.
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