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GLOOMY THOUGHTS

I spent over twenty-five years of my life in extra-mural Anglicanism in America. During that time I sought to influence the preservation of a positive, evangelical-catholic pastoral Anglicanism and to resist the anger and destructiveness of reactive religion. I failed rather spectacularly although my former jurisdiction at the moment despite defections is holding the line from throwing its lot into Common Cause and the Gafcon solution.

I came into TEC in 1999, and vowed to seek to be a faithful pastor and to do what I could to uphold communion evangelical-catholicism and to promote reconciliation. While I am now happily in a parish which wants to grow into a positive Anglicanism and in a diocese led by a holy and pastoral, orthodox bishop, I feel more and more on the larger scene that I have once again failed. That will teach me not to adopt highfalutin ambitions!

I watch with grief the nastiness which possesses the Episcopalian soul from left and right, the political expedience of the Establishment and the sheer bloody mindedness of the opposition and wonder “How may anyone be saved when the Son of Man comes?”

The leadership of TEC is narrow-minded and sectarian, safe in belief in its “particularism” and obsessed with sexualism. The opposition has been inoculated with the virus of intolerance and is equally sectarian in a world-wide ambition.

How may we remain faithful to the belief that the Church is visible, is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic in such a context? How may one evangelize and propose the truth which is in Christ Jesus to a watching world which is not unaware of the brutality of our struggles?

Is Bishop Duncan a martyr? The Early Church taught that those who sought martyrdom were not martyrs. I believe that Bishop Duncan has deliberately sought martyrdom to prove his point. That he has indeed proved his point is neither here nor there. From the very beginnings of this conflict in the 60s the opposition has adopted political tactics, some of them as bad as those we witness in the present election, and has spectacularly failed. The Establishment has been much better at the game.

But who needs a church which merely replicates the strife, alarums and excursions of “Main Street” without providing the solutions offered by the Gospel? Who needs a schism which provides nothing but a fortress for like-minded politically conservative people who interpret the Gospel through the lens of right-wing Republicanism? Who needs a Christian Community which is so captured by cultural particularism and invests its hope in the myths of the American legend without subjecting that legend to the teachings of the Faith?

Damn it, I am more gloomy than George Bush.

One Response

  1. Hang in there, Fr. Tony. It is going to get a lot more bizarre and ghastly before it gets better! We will need your prayerfulness and knowledge of history… not to mention your life experience… as we tread this mire.

    I suspect we are at that painful place in the cycle where the one-time oppressors now have the power and demonstrate they are in fact no different from those previously doing the oppressing (if that is what happened — in some cases I’m not convinced). Given the numbing monochromatic mindset of our church right now, it is going to take a lot more idiocy on the part of leadership to make this point clear. In fact, it is going to take financial chaos and meltdown. That takes time. However, while the folks at the helm right now have proven very effective in making up various pseudo-theologies and even canons to suit their goals, they have never proven very effective at making either disciples or money. This will, eventually, catch up with them.

    Christ has a job for some of us to do in the Church that involves a lot of reading Jeremiah. It’s not enviable or glamorous… and it can make a person both a bit crazy and a bit gloomy. But, it is a calling nonetheless, and it is something that we must do together, not apart. I continue to draw inspiration and courage from your witness. Keep on writing and know that you are supported by (and are a support to) others.

    In Christ,

    Brandon+

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