I’ve studied and worked within “liberal” environs for the last 28 years – as a student and employee of public universities and as a member of the Episcopal Church. As one who even while in high school described himself as a “progressive-conservative” without feeling any contradiction in the term (I was a political and international-affairs geek in high school), I have seen and been shocked by the gleeful vindictiveness expressed by people both conservative and liberal when their opponents have taken a tumble.
I have to be honest when I say that I’ve experienced and witnessed the most extreme forms of vindictiveness and bitterness coming from those who describe themselves as â€œliberals.â€ I don’t know why, considering that within the liberal framework they should be most tolerant and most concerned for the welfare of people of all perspectives. After all, a primary tenant of liberalism is that all have a place at the table and all perspectives are given their day in the sun. Well, that is “officially” what liberals are supposed to believe and how they are supposed to behave. The reality is something different – as it is with conservatives, too.
We should produce a new video series with titles like: “Liberals Gone Wild” and “Conservatives Gone Wild” and perhaps even “Moderates Gone Missing.” IDK
At least most conservatives make no bones about being inclusive of all ideas or theories or ideologies or theologies or whatever else may be out there â€“ or even being nice about it all. There is no pretense that everything or everyone is absolutely equal, whatever one thinks about that.
I’m watching some of the “liberal” reactions within the Episcopal Church right now over the Diocese of San Joaquin and its bishop as we suffer through the aftermath of their vote to leave the Episcopal Church because of their accusation of “liberal” heresy within the Church over the gay issue, as well as many other issues of concern. (Take note, I think the “conservatives” have acted no better – if anything the leaders are most egregious in their spin and manipulation of the truth as they’ve worked to discredit, repudiate, and replace TEC in the USA.)
I’m afraid that gleeful vindictiveness might well rule the day in the hearts and minds of the self-identified “liberal” leadership within the Church – and within the Remain Episcopalian group within the Diocese of San Joaquin. They seem to be too quick to “kick-out” or “inhibit” or “request replacement of Executive Council lay representatives“.
I hope I will be proven wrong. I hope the liberals will act like true liberals! I hope everyone will act like the Church acted during and after the Civil War concerning the bishops and people of the Confederate Episcopal Church. The former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin should have been inhibited. He made up his mind and acted by abrogating his vows made during his ordinations and now submits himself to another Province. The consequences of his actions are what was and is expected. The clergy and people of that diocese, however, are a different matter. We all get caught up in things and we all make decisions that we might come to regret. Grace, forgiveness, and mercy and all those words we like to throw around are concepts we really need to act within.
Can we be a little more patient? Really! What do we have to lose, other than our desire to exact vengeance? The Rule we should live by is not the way-of-the-world and American politics. The Rule we are to live by is “love thy neighbor as thyself” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” When the rubber-hits-the-proverbial-road, do we believe in this Rule or not? Are we to be shown to be hypocrites, once again? It doesn’t matter how the other guys have acted or what they have done, folks. It matters how each one of us responds and then acts!
We have time, believe it or not. Let’s let the characters involved in this drama dig-their-own-ditches and make-their-own-beds. The characters on their other side of the divide may prove to be no less apt to shoot themselves in the foot – to the detriment of the Church and the cause of Christ.
Dan Martins on his blog, Confessions of a Carioca, is dealing with this whole affair in San Joaquin quite well. People should read what he is writing. He knows what he is talking about.
Episcopal News Service report
Mark Harris of Preludium (Executive Council member)
A quote from Dan Martins’ recent post commenting on +Katherine’s decision to “dismiss” the San Joaquin Standing Committee”
This is a monumental gaffe on her part. Unless, that is, she isn’t really interested in inclusion or reconciliation, but only ideological victory for her side, in which case a scorched earth “take no prisoners” policy is the way to go.
The rapid disintegration of due process in “this Church” should be worrisome to those of every ideological and theological stripe. More on that later.
I am beginning to worry.
Update: Letter of response from the 4 priests and 2 lay members of the “current”/”past” Standing Committee of the Diocese of San Joaquine
Fr. Jake comments