Tuesday, February 06, 2007

It's deja vu all over again!

Just when you think you really can't tell the schismatics without a scorecard you run find an article like this Orange County Register report on the remnants of schisms past. Here's a snippet from the interview in the piece entitled "Local Clergyman Takes Over Anglican Diocese":

The Rev. Daren K. Williams, the new rector at Fountain Valley's All Saints Anglican Church, was consecrated Saturday as a bishop, becoming head of the Anglican Church in America's Diocese of the West. The ceremony was held at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Los Angeles with more than 200 people present, including five bishops, Williams said.

Q: What are the differences between Anglicans and Episcopalians?
A: Our tradition has the same roots. Anglican means "of the English." Our roots come out of that tradition. The people who are in the Anglican Church in America were former Episcopalians who left the Episcopal Church over issues. What we concluded were contradictions in apostolic ministry, their decisions to look differently at the validity of Holy Scripture, interpretation of the Holy Scripture, and God's law and the ancient traditions of the church.

Q: What kind of contradictions?
A: It's the Episcopal Church that has taken this liberal view to rewrite scripture and do what they please, and ordain whomever they want, and it's just wreaking havoc all over the world.

Q: How so?
A: It was about 30 years ago that this change in the Episcopal Church occurred, causing so many conservative Anglicans to say, "This is not right, we can't tolerate this."

Note that this is a new bishop for The Anglican Church in America -- not to be confused with the Anglican MISSION in America. And then there's CANA, AAC and ... it does make the head spin.

But it also points out the been-there-done-that aspect of these current challenges to the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church. We've weathered 'em before and we'll weather them again. But what I'm wondering this morning is at what point is the cost of weathering it worth it? At what point do we say that the collateral damage is too great: to the
Nigerian school children losing hope of an education that will lead them out of abject poverty, to the gay and lesbian baptized being scapegoated as the "issue" splitting the church and to the mission and ministry of a church so disracted by schism mongering that it can't get on with gospel proclaiming?

We have a Presiding Bishop who when asked the "what about going to heaven" question
answered brilliantly and faithfully: "That’s not a question that concerns me day in and day out. I think I’m meant to use the gifts I have to transform the world in this life."

Maybe that's the answer we need to start thinking about giving in response to the "what about going to Lambeth" question as well.

1 comment:

Bruno said...

I will admit I see a value in staying part of the "communion" but I have to wonder when we just have to do what we feel, no believe we are called to do.
When does Lambeth become a millstone around our necks. When does the cost of "staying in conversation" become to great a price to pay?
I have no idea what will happen in Tanzania, Bishop Katharine is, I believe a gift to us and I pray she has the strength and courage of the saints to claim her faith before the judges. That is what will be happening, men in purple, judging what is offensive to God and who and what is beyond the Grace of God.
I wonder about the faith of those who think God needs protecting. As Christians, we are called to be Christ's hands and feet in the world, not his pit bulls (apologies to pit bulls) in the world. God does not need my protection or advise, Christ does not need to be protected, the Spirit moves as she will, without my approval.
Feed the hungry, Care for the sick, Visit the imprisoned, Clothe the naked, Love, even our enemies as Christ loved us. Carry this cross with joy in the knowledge that the kingdom is now and Christ is always with us. Let us on to do the work.