Thursday, December 21, 2006

Episcolypse Now

I love Jon Stewart. He did a great bit about the Episcopal Church that just killed me. I've stolen the title from him. Well the great Anglican blogosphere is up in arms about the schism, though many don't use that term in order to minimize what is happening. And to put some perspective on it I think. We are just talking a few churches, but it will remain to be seen whether this was just the beginning of the exodus, or just an isolated event.

Anyways, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who understands that this was something that started a long time ago, and is just now coming out into the light. Some of my favorite bits:

The Daily Episcopalian: "The members of Truro and the Falls Church have now declared that belonging to a church that permits gays and lesbians to become bishops is too great a tax on their conscience, while belonging to a church that believes gay people should be imprisoned for eating together in public is not."

From Harold Meyerson in the Post: "Explaining the decision to leave the American church, Vicki Robb, a Fairfax parishioner and Alexandria public relations exec, told The Post's Bill Turque and Michelle Boorstein that the church's leftward drift has made it "kind of embarrassing when you tell people that you're Episcopal." It must be a relief to finally have an archbishop who doesn't pussyfoot around when gays threaten to dine in public. The alliance of the Fairfax Phobics with Archbishop Restaurant Monitor is just the latest chapter in the global revolt against modernity and equality . . ."

From Stephen Bates: "Truro church and Falls church have made it quite clear that they have been disenchanted with the Episcopal church's liberal-leaning leadership for a long time, looking for an excuse to go. Virtually nothing could have persuaded them to stay. Although the proximate cause may have been the election three years ago of the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, the real causes lie in a fundamental disagreement over the nature of Anglicanism and a determination to wrest it from its broad and tolerant roots into a more evangelical, conservative direction."

And "These groups have chosen homosexuality as a defining issue because they believe it is something that will unite and mobilise sympathisers in a way that other current issues in the church, such as women's ordination, have not been able to do. There is still a visceral distaste for the idea of homosexuality and the prejudice against it can be characterised not as bigotry but as something sanctioned by a few (and there are only a few) references in the Bible. Interestingly, the same mobilisation in defence of biblical orthodoxy does not seem to apply to other facts of life about which the Bible's authors were quite as adamant, pre-eminently divorce. Surely this can't be - can it? - because many more folk have experience of divorce in their families these days than of homosexuality, and that even some of the most outspoken evangelical leaders are themselves divorced."

So why do I care about all of this fuss? It's hard to explain. Sure I was born and raised an Episcopalian, but then I fell away from the chuch. It was too hard to try to reconcile my sexuality, and my place in the world, with some of the preachings I had heard. But I came back, and I sort of fell into a place where I appreciated, understand, and truly believe in the power of God as described and preached in the Episcopal Church.

I like this description from Bruce Bawer: "Anglicanism, I'd discovered, isn't for those who see the Bible as a rigorous rule book and infallible history but for those who recognize it as a kind of poetry. It isn't for those who wanted the smug satisfaction of "knowing" that they're saved and that others aren't, but for those who respond to the radically inclusive message of Jesus, who rejected the rules and taboos that divided people, and tribes, from one another."

While all of this intercine squabbling is going on, big kudos to the Presiding Bishop for keeping her eyes on the ball: "Our mission as a Church is the reconciliation of the world. We will continue to feed the hungry, house the homeless, educate children, heal the sick, minister to those in prison, and speak good news to those who have only heard the world's bad news. That is the work to which Jesus calls us, and that is the work we shall continue - with a priority of peace and justice work framed by the Millennium Development Goals. May God bless that which seeks to unite and build up and heal this broken world."

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2 Comments:

At 9:40 AM, Blogger R2K said...

: )

 
At 6:04 PM, Blogger d.K. said...

This is heartbreaking on a number of levels. My best friend was a lifelong Catholic who suffered a lot of pain for 40-some years trying to reconcile his faith with being gay. A few years ago, he took some classes offered by the Episcopal Church in his neighborhood, and with a clear conscience and a renewed spiritual view, he converted, and found some peace in that area of his life, finally. While the "defections" by the churches in Northern Virginia don't affect him, I know at some level, it's another needless arrow through his heart. In some ways, mankind hasn't become any more enlightened than our stone age ancestors. I find this very sad.

 

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