I'm trying to not post about the debacles facing our sisters and brothers in The Episcopal Church. But, while acknowledging that I'm clearly an outsider, I feel somewhat of a connection, if a distant one, through friends who are Anglican and Episcopalian (one, very clearly on the "other side" of things from me, especially over the current contretemps). And certainly watch with interest what our "separated brethren" are up to.
Anyway, Bishop Schori's homily at the closing of GC showed up in my mailbox. :: sigh :: There's not even an attempt to acknowledge the present troubled reality of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, or to mention reconciliation in any realistic way. No. It's sallying forth bravely, daring all to come join in the new truth that God(ess?) is revealing.
It sounds nice. But has a bite. A serious bite. That casts the "troubles" squarely with the "other side."
"Theological frameworks" must be given up. Including the theological framework that says that theological frameworks must be given up? Giving up fear means giving up our "theological framework?" What does that mean? Oh yes -- you hidebound people, who are so stuck in the past -- come join the brave new world! Why don't some people give up their theological framework that accepts the philosphical presumptions of modernity as its First Principles uncritically?
Serious theological differences are merely the squabbling between children. And if we're not willing to overlook these squabbles (well, because some consider them to be more than squabbles), then, well, it's the fault of those who're squabbling. We're not. We know what God wants. A big bear hug for the whole wide word. Don't worry. I affirm everything you do.
Love the child with AIDS and our rhetorical opponents. But of course! We should! But what does it mean to love our "rhetorical oppnoents?" .... (as if the differences are mere rhetoric). To ignore serious differences? And if we don't, we're not really loving?
Or really -- that the reason the Anglican Communion is in such a tizzy it's because those other people -- you know, those poor bigoted Third World natives who really don't have our nice sophisticated sophistries, or those silly people who haven't yet gotten with the program about what the Bible really says -- they're just afraid. Yep. That's it.
That's what I hear when I read that. And I'm not even Anglican. I suspect conservative Anglicans might read this in a same vein.
Love one another. Absolutely. But, in the same Letter that says "God is love" and "Perfect love drives out fear" --- it also says, "And in this is love revealed, that you obey my commandments."
Woah. What does that mean?
Because without that, "love" is simply an empty container which can be filled by -- anything.
[The first time I read her homily, I didn't even catch the "our mother Jesus" reference. Maybe my eyes had glazed over by then.]
Here's Ruth Gledhill's thoughts. ("I just wish the Episcopal Church were not so predictable!" And also notes on a mug that was circulating GC. "The Episcopal Church. Inclusive as hell!" Does one laugh? Or cry?)
And when I first read it, I thought that Damien Thompson of the Telegraph was perhaps being a little too extreme. Anglicans should welcome schism. Maybe not. Maybe not.