What the heck

So here’s the deal, where the heck are we as a Church (TEC), as a Communion, as a body within the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, as simple Christians living in a hurting world full of chaos and confusion?
I don’t know. I have all kinds of thoughts as certain segments of The Episcopal Church in the United States (TEC-USA) leave and attempt to take the assets with them, as the California Supreme Court rules that the departing parishes in the Diocese of Los Angeles still belong to the diocese, as other parts of TEC-USA depart to form a new Continuing Anglican denomination in North America that they believe will overwhelm TEC-USA, as Israelis and Palestinians are being killed and as people are starving to death with no hope. All that.
Churches and denominations in the U.S. and many other parts of the world have fallen so far from the call of God to be a people living out the Way of Christ. We are so caught up in socio-politics/theo-politics and our own insecurities that we demand “fact” when no such fact exists, only faith in a determined belief. We depend on this world’s way of understanding and dealing with things rather than on God.
What do we do? Our focus has moved from that which is the beginning point from which all other stuff flows. Too many people who truly want to be engaged in their faith and seeking God have simply left organized religion, because organized religion is too preoccupied with things other than engagement of the person with the Spirit of God. If we were institutionally serious about engagement with God, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in. That is the truth, as much as too many of us don’t want to face that truth. Instead of “personal relationship” (loving God with all our hearts, minds, and souls) and maturing in such a relationship (being transformed into the image of Christ), we put our faith in precepts and lists to check off and stereotypes.
Here is the way I see it at the moment: There are things going on around us that right now we have no idea whether we are acting/thinking/believing correctly or not – according to the better will of God. Only in hindsight will we know. If we want to know Truth we have to admit, and I mean really admit, that we can be absolutely wrong and be willing to listen and change. Otherwise, we are only seeking confirmation of what we have already determined to believe, whether honestly true or not. Only in hindsight will we know for sure – and perhaps not know for sure until the next generation. We have to get out of the business of asserting our “rights” and get back into the business of giving up everything. The focus can be to love God with all that we are and have and focusing on the betterment of our neighbors as we love them not as a political campaign or a social project but as people made in the very image of God as we attempt to love ourselves beyond our own insecurity and self-doubt. This isn’t possible without engagement with the Spirit of God. This isn’t possible without God’s help. It has nothing to do with politics or social policy of a particular kind or theory.
Loving God and neighbor is not about political-correctness or identity-politics or personal rights. Loving God is about finding ourselves by giving up ourselves.
An example – the spirit or ethos of Anglicanism (and this is only my thinking at the moment): Anglicanism is not at all about whether everyone is invited to sit at the table or not. Anglicanism isn’t about whether anyone has the right to receive communion or not. Anglicanism isn’t about whether we are mulit-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-generational,multi-sexual, or multi-anything. Anglicanism isn’t at all about whether we are relevant or not. Anglicanism isn’t at all about whether women have the right to Holy Orders or not. Anglicanism isn’t about whether gays are included or not. Anglicanism isn’t about whether war in Iraq is legitimate or not or whether Americans are baby-killers or defenders of liberty and freedom. Anglicanism has nothing to do with the advocacy of Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, democracy, monarchies, civil rights, food distribution policy, foreign debt relief, or the Millennium Development Goals. The ideas of all these things have often supplanted what the essence of being a Christian or an Anglican is about.
Anglicanism is not about whether people feel welcome, feel affirmed, feel slighted or abused, or feel that singing in the choir is the best thing since sliced bread. Anglicanism isn’t about whether some people prefer Reformed form of Church or Catholic form of Church. Christianity is not about any of those things either, despite what much of the institutional Church and organized religious keep groping for.
Anglicanism is distinguished within greater Christianity by its willingness to make room for the arguments revolving around all those things and the strong beliefs regarding each, yet we all still come around to come together for common prayer and common fellowship despite our differences. Within Anglicanism, the freedom of wrestling with the questions and doubts in all their forms and difficulties is not stymied or even discouraged, but allowed. Does this Church believe anything? Of course! But, this Church is hesitant to demand capitulation to any one theological or pietistic preference or confession, no matter how convinced certain groups or individuals are regarding God’s view of such things.
We know in part; we understand the things of God no better than we clearly see the landscape through a glass darkly. Too many of us are unwilling to accept such limits in our understanding or vision. Some of us must assert without qualification or question or doubt that this one perspective is Absolute – is God’s very way of thinking. Some of us in order to feel special or good about ourselves (rather than loving ourselves) must then condemn all those others who do not align with our perspective, our theory, our belief or position that we cannot perceive as being anything other than God’s determined “fact.”
I have strong beliefs. I’m opinionated. I think at this point that I’m correct, in my very limited knowledge and understanding. Yet, I am also willing to admit in my limited state that I can be completely wrong. I am but a worm. What I hold most dear can be completely wrong, but if I want to honestly know Truth, I cannot cling to anything other than perhaps my belief in the source of all Truth. I am a worm that perhaps can be made to be wise. By the grace of God.
For what it’s worth…