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Re: How We're Doing on Inclusion Across the Country

XXXXXXX, you said:  "Being Episcopalian REQUIRES [my emphasis] 
a high level of literacy and appreciation...."  >REQUIRES</b> is 
prescriptive, not descriptive.  It implies that those who do not meet
these requirements of literacy and appreciation do not make the
grade, aren't as fully Episcopalian.

Marginally literate people have skills aplenty to sense unwelcome. 
If not many marginally literate show up in a parish, it's probably
because people in the parish are not actively inviting them or having
extended conversations with them when they visit on their own.

Many Episcopalians, perhaps the majority, do meet your
requirements, but the majority of Episcopalians in my own parish do
not, and thousands of other faithful Episcopalians do not.  The
majority in my parish are the very poor of Newark, and our parish is
an Anglo-Catholic place rich in liturgy (our warden has more hymns in
the Hymnal than any other living composer; we have a paid men and
boys choir.....).  

I once overheard a few persons in rich suburban parishes suggesting
that it's a shame our lovely Upjohn building and the generous
endowment the rich of times past gave us is wasted in bringing beauty
to the poor, as if only highly literate and privileged people can
appreciate such things, as if only they are entitled to them. 

I realize that you did not say any such thing and would find such
notions anathema, but your REQUIRES underwrites that bad

The highly literate and the marginally literate can enjoy each
other's company as equals.  That's why we have an altar.  I hope
that's what defines us as Episcopalians.    We're going to spend lots
of time in heaven with the poor.  Jesus said they own the place. 
We're lucky when they want to spend time with us.

Jesus said that if the invited guests don't show up, we should go in
the streets and invite others.   I wonder how much our numbers will
have to dwindle before we get that.  Some congregations in my diocese
have preferred to close instead.

Love, Louie

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