Emergent, Orthopraxy, and the Episcopal Church

In all of our (The Episcopal Church & Anglicanism) troubles of late, all the vast theological and pietistic controversies and differences, it is impressed upon me more and more of late that what Anglicanism provides more than anything is a sustained and impressive tradition of Orthopraxy.
This is the Prayer Book Tradition; and its contribution to world Christianity is still being realized and debated.
We do what God calls us to do in the world – love God, love our neighbors (even our enemies), care for the poor, the weak, and the oppressed, share the Good News of God’s accomplishment and offer of reconciliation with God, with one another, and with all His creation. Have four Episcopalians, and you will have five ideas of what all that means and how to accomplish it all. Our theological positions are hard to pin down and we argue incessantly about it all. This, to Evangelicals anyway, is not a very confidence engendering quality that indicates the “orthodoxy” of The Episcopal Church or Episcopalians.
We do the work of common worship. From one Anglican church to another, the particulars may be different but the form, structure, and purpose are the same! The doing of worship in the Prayer Book Tradition is our way of bringing the Body of Christ together – world before, world present, and world to come – as one body as we worship God and receive from Him our strength and renewal.
Anglicanism, since the Elizabethan Settlement at least, seems more about orthopraxis than a confirmed and official theological orthodoxy. Too many Anglican groups, despite their numbers, are demanding a codification of their understanding of a God ordained, unquestionable and timeless theological orthodoxy – whether the demand is coming from the hyper-conservative or hyper-liberal camps. Yet, what Anglicanism has offered and promised is only this: Orthopraxis as we seek together God and God’s will for us, the Church, and the world. There is an allowance of difference in theological opinion, or at least there has been.
So many people within The Episcopal Church these days, and so, so many within Evangelicalism, what to focus squarely on issues of expressed theological orthodoxy – having everyone all at the same time believe all the right things, but Anglicanism has never been about that.
This aspect of a focus on what we do as Christians (the putting into action what we believe – actions speak louder than words!) rather than all believing the same thing is very attractive to me. I don’t question that there is ultimate Truth, and that the Truth resides with an infinite God, but we as finite creatures cannot fully understand that Truth until we see Him face-to-face. As a few Evangelical pastors like to say, “That’s Bible!” This is also why I really do like the Emergent Conversation!
In a post-modern world and among a majority of people who are skeptical and cynical with regards to the Christian Church in the U.S., and who are looking for authenticity and integrity, our expression of our faith through orthopraxy is only proving and making manifest, real, and visible the Truth we claim to be seeking and living out as best we can, with God’s help. We can say whatever we want, we can demand others or even attempt to force others to believe what we believe, but I think it is only in our doing that we prove any validity to our understanding of things and our words.