I know I shouldn’t get into this, even before I start. I have decidedly not been visiting all the Anglican/Episcopalian blogs very often, because, basically, they were truly causing me a lot of angst and distracting me from other important ministry stuff. I have two brain cells, and when one and half of them is dealing with how this person doesn’t like what that bishop said or whatever that other Primate declared, well, that only leaves 1/2 a brain cell to deal with the rest of my life – just too much to do. In the end, all this stuff in the Church will come to nothing more than distraction within our culture and defamation of the cause of Christ.
Yet, when I hear this new line of reasoning and affront coming out of the leadership of this Church – whether lay or clergy – I just can’t help myself. When I hear people attempt to use a line of argument around the Episcopal Church’s sense of “colonial victimhood” when the Church of England’s & the Anglican Communion’s Archbishop of Canterbury makes decisions that spank or put into “time-out” this Church for its self-centered actions, well, that is just beyond the pale. It really is. When I hear the leaders of the provinces in Africa making the “colonial victimhood” accusation against the “Western” provinces, I can understand their justifications for such accusation (even while I think they use that accusation for convenience and to attempt to justify their own actions of rebellion within the Communion). (Before God, we will all give an account for what we do and say according to the attitudes of our hearts, and if any of us do things and then justify those doings with fine sounding arguments that are not the attitudinal reality within our heart – lying, in other words – then we will give an account to our final Judge and jury.)
This Church in the U.S. has absolutely no right to claim colonial victimhood! â€¨
We as a Church act in the world with respect to the wider Anglican Communion just like the Bush administration acted politically and militarily in the world. We expect that we have the right to do whatever we want unilaterally because we are so developed and so enlightened and so absolutely correct and our “prophetic” doings are so righteous. We can do anything just so it is justified in our own minds no matter what hardship it may cause for anyone else. In our hubris and the resulting blindness, we actually believe that it is “good for them.”
Then, when we get pushback, or spanked for our childishness (which ++Rowan is doing, now) by those foreigners, then we start to act with petulance. It is laughable that we attempt to rebuke the English Church because we were once a colony of England – nearly 300 years ago! We, at this point in our ecclesiastical decline as a Church, can no longer really act this way, but we still do so because this generation of leadership doesn’t know how to act in any other way. We are blind to our own “colonizing” attitudes and “imperialistic” actions with respect to the rest of the Communion, and particularly those “poor, backward” Anglicans in most of Africa (except Southern Africa, because they agree with us).
The time is coming sooner than later when the rest of the world will stand up to the United States politically, economically, and militarily and say, “No more!” Just wait until that happens and see the epileptic fits this country will go into. We will become truly dangerous during the transition from world dominance to a far lesser status. We will assert our dominance, in the mean time, by brute force if need be because we have lost our moral authority as a great nation and beacon of freedom. This is what is happening to the Episcopal Church, our Church, within the Communion and with many of our former ecumenical partners. We may not lob physical bombs (or money, in our case); we will simply not listen to anyone else, hands over our ears. We will simply not face up to reality and our place in the world Communion. Oh, we want diversity and multiculturalism all right, just so long as they believe just like we do or pretend to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
We have to come up with fine arguments or attacks against those English colonizers in order to attempt to save face, but we continue to act in ways that do nothing much more that prove that we are not trustworthy and unwilling to listen to the plight of those less fortunate than our own American selves.
It isn’t that I disagree with women being clergy or LBGT people being members, priests, or bishops of our Anglican Churches. It isn’t that I don’t think we can or should be advocates of such things around the Communion or the greater Church. What I absolutely disagree with is the way this generation of leadership in our Church has been conducting itself with respect to institutional change and the “controversial” issues. We treat those issues as civil rights causes and make decisions in like manner. This is not the way the Church should handle things.
Now, because our leadership makes decisions in such a political or social manner (they know no other way), we are losing the knowledge of how to made decisions as a the Body of Christ, internationally. And herein lies the problem of trust and “faith and order” as the other provinces attempt to order their lives when they cannot ignore what the Americans’ are doing without much regard for their plight.