Thursday, December 08, 2005

Realigning the Realignment

Came across an editorial on the Christianity Today site entitled "Intelligent Church Redesign". It is a commentary on the sad affairs of the state of mainline churches in the States and how schism may be the better way to go considering the heresies that have tied the churches in knots.

I too was of the same opinion before I got here, but after spending some time in dialogue with my Episcopalian brethren at the seminary, I realise that it is a complex issue that defies an easy solution. At the recent Anglican Communion Network cpmferemce (which is a network of the orthodox remnant within ECUSA) which I attended, I got a chance to see the complexities up close and personal. I met with all kinds of clergy from throughout the US. They represented every stripe and flavour of orthodoxy within ECUSA, as well as Anglicans who left because they couldn't wait for the reformationto take place. And it was interesting to hear their stories and to feel their pain.

It sort of reminded me of something a Jewish friend once told me, where you find 3 Jews, you'll find 4 opinions. Or to contextualize it, where you find 3 American Anglicans, you'll find 4 or more opinions. My dad was right, they really have to sort it out amongst themselves. Our out-going Archbishop Yong said to them in a panel discussion, "we are with you, as long as you hold fast to the faith once delivered and remain orthodox." (my paraphrase of course!) We from the Global South can only provide a clear voice, like one calling in the wilderness. But they have to repent and reform from within.

So, what's the solution? I think that quintessential Tyler Perry line is the best hope, "you've got to pray...ay...ay...aay..aaaay!"


Dylan Potter said...

Nice post JW. I have always felt fine about carrying out my individual ministry despite what others within the denomination are doing (unlike the film "Stuck on You"!). Although I do not see eye-to-eye with some of them, it does not dissuade me from doing what God has called me to do.

It seems that both the conservatives and liberals within ECUSA are very concerned with where the denomination is going as a whole, while realizing that neither party can change the other's mind. Sad but innevitable? I don't know...

Jon W said...

Only problem is that too often what others do within the denomination affects what we do in individual ministry (like "Stuck on You")!

Case in point is when several churches in Uganda were burned by muslim militants after the consecration of a certain ECUSA bishop last year. They cited the "immorality" of the denomination as the cause!