Last week, Episcopal priest, real live journalist, and blogger Elizabeth Eisenstadt+ in Philly, PA-- aka 'nocheapshots'--began to randomly interview bloggers and normal folks [who?] about the recent General Convention, the resulting upheaval, and the responses to said upheaval from Canterbury and certain provinces/dioceses in Africa and here in America [They Who Shall NOT Be Named] for her editor of an "Inky" [print newspaper] in Philadelphia where she resides.
She asked me for some thoughts on the respective subjects and, I willingly complied.
Note bene: all answers are completely my own and may or may not reflect said concepts of those with whom I attend church, coffee hour or daily dogwalks.
Elizabeth+: Is the Episcopal Church going to split?
Me: I believe in miracles. And it will certainly take one to prevent a schism. Here's what I know: that God brings to the fore certain people for uncertain times. I believe that +Katharine Jefferts Schori is such a person for such a time as this. The Progressive Episcopalians have been accused of causing the upheaval by making +Gene Robinson a bishop in the Episcopal Church. Yet is it is the reasserters who are threatening to leave, not the revisionists who are truly trying to carry out Christ's mission.
If it had been Jesus Christ instead of +Gene being consecrated, what would the Communion have thought of that radical heretic trying to ruin the power of the Pharisees and Saducees by revising the Law in fulfilling it? The Law itself remains unchanged but how it is interpreted through the new Light of Christ makes it even better, where all are part of the royal priesthood, not some.
If the Communion divides it will be due to the unbending legalism of the reasserters trying to relive Old Testament history by demonizing those who are different. This was not what Jesus intended. He said it was Good News He was bringing, the Hope of the Nations, the Grace of God, the Love of Christ--not persecution or marginalization; not a two-tiered Communion, where some are more equal than others. He died for all, not some, as ++Desmond Tutu has reminded us. It's time to listen to the sacrifice of the Son of God, for all.
Elizabeth+ : If so, what will it look like in five years? Fifteen?
Me: IF +Katharine Jefferts Schori is our miracle person [and I firmly believe she is; how, that is yet to be seen] for this uncertain time, and IF the Church of England can keep its mitts off its former colony and allow us to govern our Church inside the existing Communion with equality and opportunity for ALL, and IF the Global South [as they call themselves, which is scary in a way because it reminds me of the "Left Behind' series when the Anti-Christ divides the world by regions and calls the Global South just that], can curb its need to persecute its own church members--instead of embracing them--because of that tiny percentage that makes up an even tinier part of who we are individually [namely our sexuality], then I see hope for the entire Communion.
Attitudes will have to change. Scales will have to fall from blinded eyes. The dumb will need to learn to speak the truth in love to all members of the Body of Christ. So in 15 years? I haven't a clue. If we can't deal with today, I don't want to think of 15 years from now.
Elizabeth+ : What do you think of Archbishop Rowan's latest letter?
Me: ++Rowan is encouraging schism by his idea of a two-tiered Communion, not trying to keep what we have now, together. And he is no better than the Nigerians who consider us a "cancerous tumor" on the body of the Communion that must be excised to save the whole body [read the Nigerian's response to ++Rowan's letter here:
++Rowan's words and concepts are eloquently put but when you peel away all the dressing and fluff, you can see that he means The Episcopal Church USA and Canada harm, as well as any other Province that would even consider defying him or the Global South. We would become Associates to the Communion, without full membership or rights in the Communion. But those who toe the party line of the reasserters would be Constituents, full members with all the rights and privileges thereof. This is NOT what Christ intended for His Church, Anglican or otherwise.
Elizabeth+ : If you had your druthers, what would you like to see happen?
Me: I would like for the "blind" or at least the "visually impaired" reasserters to have the sight of Christ. To see Him in all people, gay or straight, female or male and to live the Scripture that Paul so clearly stated: "That WE [emphasis mine] all are members of a royal priesthood" and therefore entitled to be whatever God calls us to be, or as Paul said, "co-heirs in Christ" not
second-class Christians but all to be first-class Christians. That the Holy Spirit is to be listened to more than the councils of "men" or their traditions. That we get past the pettiness of the reasserter agenda and get on with doing the will and work of God, specifically to preach and teach the Good News of Christ saving us all, once for all; to minister to the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the uneducated, the sick, the dying, the tortured, the persecuted, the different,
the disabled and the abled, because we were once all of these too, and He saved us, He healed us, so we can save and heal others too, in His Name.
This is what we should be focusing on, this is our mission, given to us by Christ: that we not tear down His Body, the Church, because of whether or not one is gay or straight, a bishop, priest or laity. God will glorify Himself in anyone He chooses, whether Christian or non-Christian, believer or unbeliever, gay or straight. HE and He alone is privy to that decision, regardless of the reassert whinging. And should God wish to reveal His perfect will, it shall be through the revelation and movement of the Holy Spirit, a far more trustworthy Messenger than any human being who thinks they know the mind of God.
Disclaimer: The interviewer/priest was treated very kindly during this interval of mind-numbing attempts to understand what the blazes is going on in the Communion. Thank you.