What will I be to them?

I was talking with a group of priest friends and lay friends the other day. We were talking about, what else?, the general direction of the Church and all that. All of us are completely tired of the usurpation of most all of the Church’s focus and efforts by reactionaries on the left and right concerning power plays and same-sex relationship arguments. We are not unconcerned, however, about attitudes concerning the place of Jesus the Christ in our common understanding regarding salvation and restoration of our relationships with God, one another, and God’s creation.
Then, we talked about the rumor that the Vatican is about to initiate another Papal Personal Prelature for Anglicans (like Opus Dei) or something like the “Uniate” Churches for Anglicans (but more than simply the Anglican-Use Catholics). Some of the group I was walking with thought that if this actually happened, it would be another very big draw for Anglicans that believed in / desired the continence of the Anglican distinctives, but also wished to be align with world Catholicism rather than liberal American-Protestantism. I think such a development would have a big impact on the Anglican Communion (perhaps even someone like Rowan Williams joining on).
Someone mentioned a comment by former Fort Worth bishop Iker to “moderate conservatives” choosing to remain in The Episcopal Church (TEC) – basically he said something like, “Welcome to being the new and despised ‘conservatives’ of TEC.”
Since a good many of the “conservatives” have already left or are in the process of leaving TEC, the remaining “moderate-conservatives” or even moderates become the new bad “conservatives” that reactionary-liberals love to hate and exclude. I want to say, again, that the terms “conservative” and “liberal” break down, and many people who take upon themselves those adjectives are more pseudo than real conservatives or liberals. There is no inherent conflict between being a conservative or being a liberal, just a difference in focus and approach, IMHO. The “reactionaries” are those of any persuasion that act and react against their opponents in ways that tear apart and denigrate.
So, what will I be to them?
I suppose to many people I become one of the new bad “conservatives” because I insist on abiding by:
– The Canons and the Prayer Book (which means the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral);
– That the “Anglican Three-legged Stool” starts with Scripture as the authority (as Hooker might assert), and that Reason and Tradition are authorities that help us understand the primary authority – Scripture. This also means that for me, traditional understandings of issues with respect to biblical exegesis are not “written in stone” or “handed down” above re-evaluation and examination by the Church. Here is where the Tradition has to be taken seriously and the burden of proof for change rests upon those who seek the change. Yet, we know that our understanding of Scripture and God’s will revealed through Scripture does change over time as our ability to reason well grows with maturity and knowledge. Cosmology or the homosexual issue are but two examples.
– I do not feel in the least the need to change the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and I will assert that most people in the pews don’t either, regardless of cries by certain groups of minority opinion that we must for the sake of reasons rooted in social and political causes rather than good theological reasoning;
– I believe in the call to Holiness (even as God is Holy) in our morality, ethics, and behavior coming from God’s revelation to us, understanding that we all fall short and that God restores;
– I believe that God provided a way of restoration that many people reject because they demand their own way regardless (hyper-individualism). The way provided is referred to as salvation through Jesus Christ, alone;
– I have great respect for other cultures, languages, religions, and thought systems and like being engaged with them. I affirm that it is good to understand those different than myself and to be understood by them, but I in no way believe that it is my Christian responsibility as an Anglo-American, Euro-centric, English-speaking, white, gay, male to denigrate, deny, or put aside my heritage, religion, language, gender, sexuality, or traditions for the sake of some weak notion of “diversity” or to think that by doing so that those different than myself will feel any more welcome or valued or that they will have any more respect for me as Christian if I do. Really, what Muslim, Hindu, Jew (add your own designation) would respect me more when I deny what I really am or think that by putting aside what I believe that I am a person of integrity? Double-speak and hypocrisy reign when this happens.
I’m sure there a lots more I could write. When it all comes down to it, we get so caught up in all this crap thinking that we are capable of honestly knowing the full “will of God.” Again and again, love God with all of our hearts and love our neighbors as ourselves. Why do we get so distracted? Perhaps, it is because we are too concerned about what we will be to “them” and not concerned enough about what we are to God.