Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lift High The Cross

Guess I picked the wrong Advent to give up blogging. The President announced his Afghanistan moves, the Diocese of Los Angeles elected two bishops (my friends and colleagues the Revs. Canons Diane Jardine Bruce and Mary Glasspool, the latter pictured here with another pal, Evan Gillette from St. Andrew's in Fullerton), and the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement implying that the other U.S. dioceses should vote against Mary+ or else. When a thoughtful brother in Christ suggested on Facebook that a clean break between the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion might be the best way forward, enabling us to redirect the energy we're spending on bickering, I demurred -- and, of course, dragged Nixon into it:
A number of folks on both sides of the issue feel the same way. Speaking personally, I am not eager to have our national church drummed out of a Communion rooted in the English church which was my grandparents' settlement to me and my family. Nor do I think that further schisms honor the body of Christ, even if laying down the cross of conflict and tension might feel like a relief.

I regret the seeming harshness of the ABC's comment; and yet I assume he regrets what he takes to be the harshness of our action to the extent that it interferes with the dance he has been doing (with considerable success) to hold the Communion together after 2003. I believe him to be a learned, gracious, and pious man and would not want to be in his slippers. If there are to be momentous consequences resulting from what we have done, maybe it was his job to make sure our dioceses realize it.

This Advent, as we await the Prince of Peace, a quote from RN: "To lower our voices would be a simple thing."


Shivaun Wilkinson said...

It could be said however, that while African bishops continue to throw stones at the Episcopal Church of the United States, the continued atrocities that are ignored and sometimes supported in those same dioceses seems to go unnoticed. Perhaps this dance is way too one-sided. Why is the legitimate election of a bishop more scandalous than human rights abuses in Uganda? I would rather be a part of a church that is seen as pushing boundaries when in comes to loving our neighbor rather than turning a blind eye to atrocities so to not rock the boat. I believe after the Civil War the Episcopal Church said it would never again refrain from taking a moral stance for fear of division. I, for one, am proud to refuse to refrain!

Fr. John said...

I find it impossible to believe that, as some suggest or even proclaim, Rowan Williams has not noticed or is ignoring the appalling scandal of the Ugandan gay-hating laws. He has chosen, he says, to address them behind the scenes. As a matter of fact, in some situations, pressure exerted personally and privately is more effective than public expressions. In this case, one might question his tactical choices without calling him names (not that you did so, gentle seminarian!). Besides, if he believes we have taken an action, no matter how worthy, that will strain the Communion to the breaking point, is it not his responsibility to say so?