Well, it is all over now. It is time to get back to the business of ministry and making Christ known.
I look forward to seeing how the new PB will pick up that office. I have heard from many that she really is the most qualified and competent, despite not being a long-time ordained person.
We wait and see what happens. I will continue to think through what I really do believe about our catholicity, about what we should and should not do with reference to others around the world who do not like what we’ve done.
Tomorrow, I get together with a our weekly clergy group in New York. We are going to discuss where we go from here. We’re not going to dwell so much about what has happened these past 10 days or so at Convention, but about moving forward with a vision for our ministries and our churches.
I just watched a video interview with Kendall Harmon after today’s proceedings. Here is the link if you wish to watch the whole thing.
I want to post a quote from the interview: “You can feel that people sense that where the church is heading is not where they want to go and not where they believe God is calling them to go. The hard part is how do you live in tension with that and what they need to not do is be driven by their emotions over the degree of the problem.”
You see, I can agree with Kendall that many people are feeling that this Church is going a wrong or skewed direction. Heck, I feel it. The problem, for me at least, is what direction am I to go? I won’t go back to the direction of the Akinola-ian conservatives. I can’t go in the direction of Spongian liberals.
Iâ€™ve written this before. Here is what I can say about the direction I can go – I believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. I believe Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will coming again. I believe our paramount calling and duty as those who follow Jesus is to love God with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves. I will be a Prayer Book Episcopal priest. I will with charity understand that people will differ with me on how to live out all this stuff in the real world, and that they could well be right.
I believe in the historic Anglican way of approaching our faith and Holy Scripture – not with the intent of upturning the oxcart, but with tradition and reason as guides – by allowing questions, even doubts, and investigating what might well be the Holy Spirit guiding us into more correct understandings of God and our lives here on earth. This is nothing new, nothing profound, but a way of going forward through the landmines of American ecclesial politics.
It is a middle way, an Anglican way, and a way that is not in the direction of a good portion of the American Anglican right or the American Anglican left.
I want to say that after my short conversation with Kendall at Convention, I hope that the conversation will continue. I believe we truly do have more in common, even concerning the underlying and very important foundational issues, then what we may differ over. Thatâ€™s my opinion.
I just saw the new X-Men movie. Why do comic book authors, screen play writers, and directors get it far better at times than we in the Church, particularly this Church? Xavier is the image of Christ. Listen to how he approaches issues, foes, and those under his charge.
If you did not see the final clip after all the credits rolled by, you missed a most significant ending.
Our country cries out for spiritual experience and connection with God. What do we give them? – so much watered-down faith, quasi-Christianity. American Evangelicalism is as much a failure than new-age liberal Christianity to the growing majority of unchurched people.
The 75th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in the United States comes to an end today, or at least is scheduled to end. Today we will see whether we can deal with the Windsor Report in ways very un-American â€“ whether we can actually humble ourselves just a bit.
I have never used this phrase before because I do not engage in Identity Politics, but now I will for a reason: â€œAs a gay manâ€ all that happens at General Convention is not all about me or my â€œtribe.â€ My identity as a gay man is not paramount, but as a Christian (perhaps I should say â€œfollower of Jesusâ€ because self-identifying as a Christian is an identity in and of itself, I know). As a Christian my call is to a life of self-denial, to love others more than myself, to even love my enemy. To find life, I am to die to this life. If I honestly love my enemy, how can I do that which only causes them harm or hurt, regardless of whether they want to harm or hurt me? What is the example of Jesus on the cross, after all? This doesnâ€™t mean I have to accept my opponents’ interpretation of Scripture, their form of piety, or what they want to accomplish. I can be a strong advocate of my position, but when I see my brother or sister hurt and distressed by my actions or words when they specifically ask me to slow down, wait a bit, or allow their voice to be heard, how as a follower of Jesus can I say, â€œNO?â€ It is only in our hyper-individualized, arrogant American way can we simply say to world Anglicanism â€“ those who agree with me (us) and those who donâ€™t â€“ â€œscrew you,â€ Iâ€™m or weâ€™re going to do what we want regardless of how it effects you.
So, we wait two years until Lambeth. So we agree to withhold the election of another gay bishop, so we wait to conduct blessings of same-gender unions, so we express our profound regret that what we did has caused such division, harm, and dismay among the vast majority of Anglicans and Christians worldwide. We humble ourselves and say we may have been wrong in how we did it, and we could be wrong in what we actually did. I can advocate for my position, but my position is not what is most important â€“ loving my brother and sister is regardless of how they respond to me. When concepts of justice conflict with concepts of acting in love towards others, we have a profound misunderstanding of both and I believe completely miss the Gospel imperative of love and justice and how they work hand-in-hand. â€œAs a gay man,â€ Iâ€™ve always been vilified, never had the opportunity of blessing, so what is two years if in those two years many people around the world may understand me a little better, my perspective, or my interpretation of Scripture, and perhaps come to see things the way I do, or at least we can come to a compromise. For the sake of crucified Jesus, Iâ€™m willing to wait. If I simply want to force others to do want I want them to do, or the hell with them, then I am not acting as a Christian, but I am certainly engaging in Identity Politics. I am certainly enslaved to the â€œTyranny of NOW.â€
We have been in a limited way discussed this issue for thirty years in this Church. The clergy have done a terrible job in bringing the discussion to most parishioners. What we did three years ago has forced the issue and forced the conversation called for by Lambeth Resolution 1.10.3, so let us continue in a way that will include as many people around the world as we can. I know what it is to be excluded, and I donâ€™t want to do to others what I have experienced myself! Pass the Commissions recommendations for Windsor as a beginning point. If in three years our opponents do not accept the conversation or do not listen, then we have gone the extra mile and we continue on as we feel we should â€“ but we tried, again.
Below I go into this whole issue of Identity Politics a little more deeply.