You know, these days in the Church I feel like I have to describe myself apophatically, and I get tired of it. It is no fun always having to distinguish what one is not!
UPDATE: It seems the guy (or gal?) who wrote the statement below may be something other than he seems. Don’t know…
I was reading a blog this moring – Drell’s Descants – and came across this comment. How is this for a good Anglican attitude?
Is there any wonder why I cannot go back to American-Evangelicalism, even as it is now so equally expressed within Anglican-Evangelicalism? I don’t know, maybe he is meaning to be ironic or something.
Here he is, commenting within the context of The Episcopal Church and a possible rebuke this Church may face at the upcoming Primates Meeting ——
Comment by Sinner â€” 2/8/2007 @ 5:58 pm
To late to late to late for the Heretics and Pagans and Child-Killers and Homosexuals!!
They did not listen to the testimony of the living, and now they cannot benefit from the testimony of the DEAD. They have spat upon the sign of Joshua, and the sign of Lazarus would do them no benefit.
We pray that the Primates will throw ECUSA out!
We pray that ECUSA will be consumed in lawsuits!
We pray that every Bishop who has not now today chosen Christ;
we pray that every Priest and layperson who supports the new faith
will be cast down, and destroryed, will be left destitute, and their families left to beg on the street with no medical cover or health insurance or pensions from a spiritually bankrupt ECUSA
we pray all these things out of love
that they may suffer in this life
so that those who have not yet comitted the unforgiveable blasphemny
calling blessed what Chirist has cursed eternally – may yet be saved
and that for those whom have blasphemed, whom Christ has cursed, whom forgiveness cannot reach may soon be broken down to be a sign until the end of times
I started writing an entry yesterday about how conflicted I am these days. I have said from the beginning of my Episcopalian experience that I don’t know where I fit in this Church. I’m not a reactionary (having left that “party” when I left my little part of American-Evangelicalism).
I was okay not knowing where I fit because within Anglicanism the point of focus seemed to be where one is headed, not necessarily where one has been or where one presently finds oneself – at least this has been my experience. Now, well, not knowing where I fit is a bit more complicated.
The unpleasantness that has plagued Anglicanism over the past six years in particular, and really the last twenty years or so in the making, has pushed me to the point of real conflict over who I agree with, how I go about being this thing called an Anglican priest, whether there even can be a place for me in the new configurations of this Church that have been forced upon it over the last six years. We are becoming something that has never been before within Anglicanism and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the means by which the change is forced by both reactionary conservatives and reactionary liberals is simply not right. It is a sad reflection of our arrogant and self-centered American selves.
Our Church is confirming the perceived American attitude of, “We are an independent Church and we can do whatever we want, and if you don’t like it or it causes you problems or pain or angst, too bad. We’re Americans and we can do whatever we want and justify it however we want.” We may be the Church, but we are oh so American.
I’m conflicted because I have come to believe through my study of Scripture, prayer, and trying to know as much as I can about the subject as I can, that it can be within God’s permissive will that not all same-sex relationships are forbidden. I believe that a gay person can be bishop, if his/her manner of life is held to the same standard of fidelity, honesty, respect, and mutuality as is expected of a straight person. Yet, the way the American Church leadership has handled the opposition to a gay-person-in-a-relationship being consecrated a Bishop has been typical of how Americans handle any world conflict these days. We do want we want to do and to hell with the opposition no matter the consequences.
We act unilaterally. We act selfishly and without regard to the real issues other nations and cultures have to deal with. I cannot defend this kind of behavior. It isn’t that I disagree with the leadership’s belief that faithful gay people should be included in every aspect of the Church, but I disagree with their reasoning, their forms of justification, and the way they deal with the rest of the world. They have become something inconsistent with traditional Anglicanism.
I disagree with the way they are behaving!
Likewise, I, frankly, agree with a lot of what the “conservatives” uphold as the Christian faith. I am what most people would call an orthodox believer. I can say the Creeds without hesitation or reinterpretation. I am not a Universalist because I believe to be so removes from the equation personal choice – it removes free-will as a characteristic of humankind, made in the image of God, able to accept or reject God. I believe that God has provided a way for the world’s relief and for reconciliation and peace between God and creation and between humankind, and it is through the unique work of Jesus Christ that reconciliation and peace are realized. (I reject the notion, however, that the Holy Spirit cannot work through non-Christians or even through other religions, but it is always to bring people around to the unique figure of Jesus the Christ.)
Yet, I cannot condone the arrogance, the pride, the bearing false witness, the underhanded conniving and scheming, the lying, and the determination to force their particular opinion upon everyone else, and if those other people resist they will be cast into outer darkness. I cannot place myself with these people, even if I do agree with them on many points of faith and practice. They have become something other than consistent and traditional Anglicans.
I disagree with the way they are behaving!
You know, this whole behavior, or “right-doing,” thing just keeps coming up over and over again – this notion of orthopraxis. Any of us may believe exactly the right thing, but the way behave certainly puts us in a whole different (what?) environment/place/position/situation/ball game… I like James! I think we are going to study it during Lent.
A faithful gay person in a faithful relationship should be considered as a candidate for the episcopate just like any faithful straight person. Yet, we Americans after hearing the pleas of, really, most of the rest of the Anglican Communion and world Christianity to wait, said we are going to do it regardless of what anyone else thinks. How is this attitude any different than the attitude of the Bush administration’s determination to go into Iraq despite the pleas of most of the rest of the world?
I believe the Holy Spirit is doing a new thing among us with regard to gay people, but we are not yet able to see just what the outcome will be according to His will. We cannot attempt to corral the Holy Spirit, as if because we claim His name over our particular wants or actions that we are then right and it is in fact a move of the Holy Spirit or as a justification for anything we do that is innovative! Acting “prophetically” does not mean “doing something new or controversial.”
The American Church needs to be chastised and rebuked due to our arrogance. The American Church needs to be brought back into line with the mainstream of Catholic/Reformed Christianity. The American Church should still play the very important role of advocate for change, but within the context of mutuality. And, yes, there does come the point when one group or province needs to step out – I just think the way we did it and the timing was and still is wrong. We are not behaving well.
And, I am conflicted, terribly.
So, I am a “conservative,” but not a reactionary one. I am a “progressive,” but not a reactionary one. I am an advocate for change, but change is not the purpose – change for changes sake is pointless. Advocacy for change in the Christian context always needs to begin with the move into an ever-deeper relationship with God through Jesus Christ, period. IMHO. What I want is to find people who can disagree on theology and piety and argue and debate and still love each other – who can be true Anglicans – and who will behave like Christ calls us to behave!