I just read this from

I just read this from The Anglican Digest. I am thinking it may be one of those small items that change a basic perception of things! It was written in 1991 by The Very Rev. George Back, then Dean (and maybe still?) of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City. It was reprinted by The Anglican Digest in light of what we are going through right now.

Conservatives? Liberals?
"I have heard rumors that conflicts between conservatives and liberals are tearing the Church apart. Don't believe it
"Few of these people exist. I have had letters and phone calls from some who claim to be one or the other. As far as I can tell, they are impostors. Of course, I can only judge from their behavior.
"If the Church had many conservatives, the buildings would be packed on Sundays as they keep the Sabbath holy. Our Church would have money since they would tithe 10% of their income. Our Church life would be glorious as they would undertake all the traditional Sunday School, retreat, and holy day obligations. An authentic personal morality would be exemplified in their holy lifestyles.
"If the Church had many liberals, they would be enthusiastically including people all the time. The Church would grow as they reached out to the poor and the isolated in various ministries. Our service ministries would be overwhelmed with volunteers and resources. An authentic social conscience would be exemplified in the compassionate lifestyles.
"Judging only by behavior, the Church has too few religious conservatives and religious liberals. God bless the ones we have; they are doing wonderful work.
"Then where is the problem? There are numerous anti-conservatives and anti-liberals . These are people who compare their particular ideology with other's actual behavior. Their convenient posture enables them to be both righteous and removed at the same time.
"Both know that others need to change their bad habits. The sins, failures, hypocrisy, and mediocrity of these others provide a good reason not to attend worship and not to give money and not to serve energetically and not to love affectionately in the Lord's name.
"Religion is behavior, not theology. To worship God with all one's heart, mind, soul, and strength is not an idea, it is a practice. To love oneç—´ neighbor as an 'idea' is an illusion. Love must take up space and time; it costs lots of money and much energy.
"Church is a place for religious behavior, where one worships God and serves God's children. It is large enough to include true religious conservatives and true religious liberals, since they only emphasize one or the other aspect of religion.
"The Church will never be at peace until the commitment to God and the Gospel of our Lord take priority over any personal warp to some left or right ideas. People who have a primary commitment to their own opinions and a secondary interest in religion always threaten to destroy the Church.
"What good reason and right opinion do you have to excuse yourself from the costly practice of true religion?" (emphasis mine).

Well said, I think.
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Two days until the General

Two days until the General Convention and a possible rift, a serious rift, in the worldwide Anglican Communion over the issue of homosexuality – particularly in the U.S. over the approval by the Convention of the recent election of a new bishop of New Hampshire, who is openly gay and living with a long-time partner. As Barrie said yesterday, “be rest assured, regardless of what you hear, this is not the first gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. He is just honest about it.” Or, of the approval of the beginning stages of writing a rite for the blessing of same-sex unions.
As I said yesterday at Ascension, this whole affair is causing me a great deal of distress. I came to the Episcopal Church, really Anglicanism, because there was an allowance for a wide variety of often divergent opinions within the communion, yet everyone stayed together despite the rough and tumble world the allowance caused within the different Church provinces, dioceses, and parishes. The debate and argument brought balance. In my opinion, it brings about better theology and practice. There is less the attitude of the Evangelical/Fundamentalist side of the Church to say, “my way or the highway.” So, now, over this issue, I see the Communion fraying. The conservatives are threatening to leave, to break communion, to cause schism. I understand fully that there are times when we have to draw lines in the sand. What causes me concern, and adds to my distress, is not so much the issue-of-the-day, which is homosexuality today, but the way we are going about dealing with our differences – the process of drawing lines in the sand. I think the conservatives within Anglicanism have been far too influenced by the Evangelical/Fundamentalist churches which have no problem whatsoever in splitting up, making accusation, and attempting to decide who is in and who is out of the Family of God.
So, here is the line in the sand for Anglican conservatives – homosexuality. It was women’s ordination in the ’70’s. It will be something else during the next decade. The issues are not the problem, because there will always be issues, but how the differences of opinion concerning those issues are dealt with is the problem. The way this issue is being dealt with now, worldwide and in this province/country, is not the Anglican way. It is the way of the world and the way of the wayward Church, which thinks that one part can say to another part, “I have no need of you.” Of course, Jesus and Paul said a lot about that, did they not?
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