I think we in this country have lost our understanding of, desire for, and adherence to vows!
One’s word, a handshake, a commitment used to be all that was required to conduct personal and business affairs. Now, even “iron clad” contracts are litigated unto death because people and corporations refuse to honor their commitments – their contractual obligations.
Contractual obligations are a form of vow, but vows are more somethin’, somethin’. What?
And what about marriages? Well, we know we suck at keeping our vows to our beloved! There is indeed a crisis in the institution of marriage, but it isn’t because of the gays. A very big reason is our cultural proclivity to understand and make vows that might require a denial of self. Ah, we cannot deny self in whatever whim we decide to pursue and regardless of how it effects someone else. Oh, we may enter into a vow or even a contractual pre-nup, but we have every intention of breaking them if we don’t like the outcome.
I was looking through various websites for other than Episcopalian American “Anglicans” and just wonder – wonder in amazement. The Charismatic Episcopal Church lost 30% of its priests and parishes not too long ago. I really don’t know why, but some sort of internal fight. And people say The Episcopal Church is in self-destruct mode because parishioners of 200 or so parishes out of 7,000+ have left or are contemplating leaving this Church. The Charismatic Episcopal Church claims to be one on of the fastest growing denominations in the world, but even with this group of “God fearing, Bible believing, apostolic succession totin’, Spirit-filled Christians,” can’t keep from splintering again and again. What about the vows the clergy take to obey their bishops?
What about these vows? I took a vow to obey my bishop, period. There were no qualifiers in the vow – “I vow to obey my Bishop only if s/he agrees with my already determined theological or liturgical perspectives…” Bishops vow to guard the faith. Priests are abandoning their vows; bishops are abdicating their responsibilities and refusing to carry on their vows.
If it comes to a point where I cannot function under my bishop, then I will resign. Even then, I have to admit that I am the one breaking the vow! We have a problem, and I don’t see any relief in the coming years.
Oh, and I think the Church of Rome moved wholesale from the vow of guarding the apostolic faith by instituting the innovation of Papal Infallibility. That is one reason why I became an Anglican and not a Roman Catholic. But, that’s just me.
Anyway… vows, vows, vows. Soon, we will not be able to trust anyone. What a wonderful world that will be – – – for lawyers.
James 5:12 (New International Version)
“Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.”