Saturday, December 16, 2006

Come thou long expected Schism

Interesting overview of the Episcopal Schism Du Jour in today's NYTimes (posted below).

Reading it through I thought "how sad that it has come to this" and yet here we are. Maybe this is a good time to ask again how it works that after 30 (at least) years of living with differences it is those of us committed to continuing to live with those differences (including being in communion with those who do not accept our orders, affirm our relationships or acknowledge our vocations) who are being blamed for this ecclesial rupture orchestrated by those whose criteria for being included is being agreed with.

From a piece I wrote before General Convention 2003: What if they gave a schism and nobody came? -- What it takes to create schism is for someone to leave -- and I am sick unto death with the unity of this church being placed on the shoulders of those of us who have committed to stay. When are we going to hold accountable those who threaten to leave? When will we name the actions of those who have conspired with factions of the larger Anglican communion to actively oppress and marginalize its GLBT members with what it is: fomenting schism -- creating conflict -- sacrificing the unity of the church to their own agenda of power, control and heterosexism?

If schism happens -- and I am not convinced it will -- the blame will lie not with Claiming the Blessing, the Diocese of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson or the countless GLBT Christians living out their faith journeys in the Episcopal Church. It will lie firmly at the feet of those whose will to power is greater than their willingness to embrace the other, whose commitment to crisis is greater than their faith in the Gospel and whose singular obsession with things sexual has blinded them to the Spirit's revelation via things incarnational.

It was true then and it is true now and shame on those whose will to power brought this sad state of affairs to pass and who now have the gall to bewail "a huge amount of mess" without acknowledging it as a mess of their own making. With all due respect to Canon Harmon (as quoted in the NYTimes article referenced above) this "fight" affecting everybody in the Episcopal family IS a fight because the conservatives he champions have decreed it so.

So we reach the point where, sadly, "Come thou long expected Schism" is the All-The-Rage-Advent refrain this year in reasserter-land. But for the record, the rest of us are sticking to the original ...

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.

... and when the dust has settled from this shameful schism du jour we will get on with the work of the church -- with or without those who "like a good fight."

4 comments:

Ann said...

I appreciated our Presiding Bishop's comment:
"The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, said in an e-mail response to a request for an interview that such splits reflect a polarized society, as well as the “anxiety” and “discomfort” that many people feel when they are asked to live with diversity.
“The quick fix embraced in drawing lines or in departing is not going to be an ultimate solution for our discomfort,” she said."
She is the best at non-anxious presence.

revsusan said...

Yep, yep, yep! Ironic, isn't it, that the erstwhile bastions of traditional orthodoxy are the cut-and-runners on a relationship when it's rocky and the oft-accused-of-undermining-monogamy progressives are the ones talking commitment, long-term relationship and working through differences.

The Pilgrim said...

Some of those "erstwhile bastions of traditional orthodoxy" have been working prayerfully snd tirelessly for thirty years to restore Christian values and legitimacy to the national church, and stop its slide into apostasy.

Throwing up your hands and walking away after three decades of fruitless effort hardly qualifies as "cutting and running."

3n1-1n3 Rector said...

Amen and amen.