I read an article, I have got to stop reading articles, that is posted on “Belief Net” that calls the American Episcopal Church everything but apostate, no ,I think upon reflection that was a word used. It makes the article in the New York Times look like a ringing endorsement of all things Episcopalian! The author Rob Kerby whom I am not at all familiar goes on to say the the current PB has officially renounced the Incarnation, the Trinity and the Redemptive work of Jesus! Now I am no fan of Katherine Schori and find her election as PB as yet another inexplicable move by the leadership of PECUSA but when I read her July 8th sermon at her church’s convention I did not hear this supposed renunciation. SO what gives my dear Episcopal friends has your PB in fact renounced the most basic of Christian doctrines and it is also true that 6 dioceses have in the words of the article “officially” sought the A of C’s cooperation in seceding from PECUSA?
You know there seems to be a lot of Episcopalian bashing going on here. Schori no more represents all American Episcopalians than does the Bishop of San Antonio(forgive me I don’t know the proper ecclesiastical designation) and for that matter probably most of the bishops don’t either. I did ask one of my Episcopal friends what she thought and her take on it, is that in its rush to be truly inclusive and progressive the EC has sometimes forgotten what it as a community of faith really does believe and teach and why.
I have always been essentially a “progressive Traditionalist” and I do think most of us want, if we desire at all to be a part of a faith community, a fellowship that holds to certain foundations of belief which are taught not in arrogance or condemnation of others but with nonetheless humble authority and without apology. I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ precisely becuase it is the Church of Jesus Christ must be inherently inclusive. I believe that becuase Jesus as the Son of God teaches us there is neither male or female, free or slave, Jew or Gentile, gay or straight or bi or transgendered then so must his Church teach this truth. I also believe that any relationship, as St John reminds us, that is loving is therefore godly and holy becuase God is present and this includes same gender unions. Thus the Church must bless such relationships and witness to this apostolic truth.
I remember a small Episcoapl parish in my county seat that was a source of great comfort and acceptance when I was a teenager. It was, if not the first, one of the first parishes that Reserved the Sacrament in the entire state of North Carolina! No one cared if you were gay or straight or black or white they didn’t even care if you were Episcopalian for that matter. Jesus crucified and risen was preached and the Sacraments administered. You did not have to leave either your doubt or your intellect at the front door in order to be welcomed. You heard the words of Scripture not political correctness from the lectern. There were wonderful stories even one of a miraculous event that surrounded this island of tranquility and challenge. One of the priests just before the end of the 19th century who was the rector then had belonged to the first Anglican religious order. But all but he and one other had “left for Rome”. He was troubled and prayed that the Lord would tell him in some way if he was indeed a priest and according to the story at one of his 8 O’clock Holy Communion services he heard a voice that was as audible as it could be saying “THIS is my Body” and as the story goes the padre never again question his ministry!
I will always cherish that place and be grateful to the Episcopal Church for its presence in the county seat and in my life.
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