Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Recently the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles elected a partnered lesbian as Suffragan (assistant) bishop. The election now awaits consents from half plus one of the Standing Committees (highest ranking committee in a Diocese) and of the bishops with jurisdiction. It may take as much as 4 months to complete the process. Our bishop, the Rt. Rev. C. Andy Doyle, has told us that he will not give his consent. The actions of the diocese of Los Angeles fly in the face of the Windsor Report that calls for a moratorium on such actions, to which he is committed. I wrote the following response:

I am deeply saddened by this turn of events. I do not believe that the good people of Los Angeles are trying to stick it to us, they have been living with this question for a very long time and came to believe as they do many years ago. Nonetheless, I disagree profoundly with them. Not only does it fly in the face of recently reaffirmed teaching on sexuality and the urgings of the rest of the Anglican Communion, but it is another example of how as Americans we are usually arrogantly unconcerned with the rest of the world's issues. I wish our Episcopal church could rise above that, but obviously this part of it didn't.

On the one hand, it pains me deeply that our church is being such a pin-head about this. It leaves me wondering what the future holds, as I'm sure it does you. I am confident that our Bishops will not consent to this consecration, and I believe our Standing Committee will do the same. What the rest of the church does remains to be seen.

On the other hand, there has been a lot of talk about the option of the Anglican Church in North America. The ACNA is theologically conservative, and so am I, but the approach that underlies the movement is profoundly troublesome to me. As soon as we define ourselves primarily theologically we sell out on the unity that Jesus prays for so ardently in John 17 (and we lose touch with one of the genius elements of Anglicanism that roots our unity in worship.) Some of the methodologies used by the ACNA compromise any claim to high moral ground on their part, as well. I cannot espouse that option either.

What will I do? I will continue with the Episcopal Church, and so will St. Christopher's. I do not agree with everything that the church is doing, though there is still much good. Our particular corner of the church is still safe and I do not see that changing in the near future. Besides, none of us fully comprehends the nature of the will of God. We are all seeking to understand what we will never fully plumb. Therefore I am cast back on my conviction that schism is a worse sin than heresy. It is virtually impossible to be schismatic without pride being the driving force behind it, whereas one can be humbly and sincerely wrong. The one is teachable, the other is not. The one is redeemable, the other cuts itself off from part of the community gathered around our Lord Jesus Christ, just because we do not like or agree with them.

I have a body that is 52 years old and is starting to show its age. There are things about my body that I do not like, and sometimes it rebels against what I ask it to do. But for that reason I do not chop off those offending parts, I love them and seek to live with the condition of my body as it is. Likewise, I have no intention of leaving the Episcopal Church. WE are the Episcopal church in Killeen, not the Diocese of Los Angeles. The statement we make in this place is what the Episcopal Church is saying here, not what the Diocese of Los Angeles is saying. They are speaking to their location in the terms that they believe are right. It still stands to be seen what the larger church thinks of it.

As for us, it is precisely at times like this that we need to pull together, focus on what God has given us to do here, do it well, with faith and love, and leave the larger battles to the ones who are fighting them.


If the only prayer you say in your life is "Thank you," that would suffice. --Meister Eckhart

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