This is going to be rough Â– be forewarned. I have been thinking a lot lately about the significance of the Christian community. We had a Pakistani bishop on campus yesterday and he spoke of the conditions Christians in Pakistan must endure. A question was asked about ramifications since Gene Robinson’s election and consecration. According to the bishop, it has only made life harder on Pakistani Christians. They face much persecution from the Muslim majority.
What is the responsibility of individual Christians to the entire Christian community? Americans love to think of ourselves as free-spirits, individualists, independent, and in some ways having an attitude of “to hell with everyone else.” Our sense of personhood and extreme individuality causes us individually and collectively to have little concern for the effects of our actions on others. We see this in our politics, both nationally and internationally. We see this in individual lives as we attempt to claim our ‘rights.’ I am the center of the universe! We are the center of this world!
This may be very American, but it is not very Christian. There are positive aspects of these kinds of attitudes, but I believe that as a Christian I must have a weary-eye as I live life in this culture. The United States is a City of Man, not a City of God, a Kingdom of this World, not the Kingdom of God. I must be concerned of the effects my actions have on my brothers and sisters anywhere in the world.
Then, when we attempt major shifts in Christian thinking and practice, how far can we go before we work contrary to the community of Christ. As a Christian, I do not have the choice whether to be in community or not. If I am not, I cannot live an authentic Christian life. So then, what about the homosexual issue and the American Church’s accommodation and inclusion of avoid homosexuals in relationship? Can the American Church demand all other provinces accept this innovation, or are we simply acting like Americans?
I am beginning to thing that the Robinson consecration should not have happened, not because I believe scripture forbids a homosexual from being a bishop. I don’t know. The American Church arrogantly went forward with this action when the world said stop, wait, and consider what this will do to us. Anglicans, Romans, Orthodox, and Protestant churches all spoke out against the consecration. Did we, unilaterally, have the right to do such a thing? Were we simply acting like Americans?
I do not think as a catholic Church we did the work necessary – we did not make this decision in consultation with Christ’s one catholic and apostolic Church worldwide, theologians and Bishops in consultation deciding.
On the other hand, is this Church that is ready to move in this direction being stymied by ineffectual arguments by the other Churches? Should the American Church be held hostage by fundamentalist Muslims in Pakistan, or do we make the decisions we feel God is calling us to make? Of course, how do we know if the calling we hear is truly from God? Is not one way by the counsel of the many in the Body of Christ?
I just don’t know. Part of me certainly sees the point of view calling on all the Church not to make unilateral decisions that have an effect on all others. I see this also as the people of New Hampshire’s right to elect whomever they wish, within reason. Was this event within reason? There has been much harm done. I don’t know whether making this move now was a wise thing to do.