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Anglican: A Personal Reflection on "shaming."

On Thu, 18 Jun 1998, Matt Tracy wrote:

> Dear Louie,
> I understand your compassion for Bishop Spong.  From reading your many posts
> to this list, however, I can't bring myself to believe that you subscribe to
> the views of his latest book.
> None of us should be surprised that certain bishops, my own among them,
> should "disassociate" themselves from Bishop Spong's "theses."  I myself
> must disassociate from it.  I must add, however, that none of us should be
> surprised at the silence of those who are not openly following along.  I
> think that silence is quite loud.
> Bishop Spong has done much to raise the awareness of the Church with regard
> to issues of human sexuality.  Whatever legacy he may have had in this arena
> however, he has, IMO, squandered.
> Matt Tracy
> mtracyjr@email.msn.com

Matt, my bishop and I often disagree, and you're ahead of me in assessing
where I will come down when I digest his new book, which I have not even
finished yet.  If I do find myself disagreeing with him, I won't join the
chorus of those trying to run him out of the House, however.  We don't
treat each other that way.  Nor do I understand those who do.

Our friendship is not like chips that get used up in a poker game.  I'm
not sitting here waiting to see whether even my enemies will step over the
line at which I will be able to write them off, and I am certainly not
doing that with my friends. 

Last week I was blessed to have Eucharist with my bishop twice in one
week.  Maybe that it explains it.  If you had Eucharist last week, you had
it with him too.  Did you notice that?  If you prayed the Prayers of the
People last week, you prayed with my bishop, and he with you.  He prayed
for you and me, and I hope you will join me in praying with and for him.

I am reminded of all the hooplah my colleagues in the English Department
made at the University of Alabama thirty-five years ago about how sad it
was that the University did this, that, or the other to support Bear
Bryant instead of supporting our fine literary enterprises as generously. 
Somehow their complaints seemed wrong to me, even though even to this day
I never know what inning a football game is in when I rush past one for
the opera on tv.  Even then I understood that if we in the English
Department had set our minds and hearts to be as outstanding at our
discipline as the Bear was at his, those complaints would never have
occurred to us.

If Christians who disagree with my bishop would carp less and instead set
their minds and hearts to be as conscientious in our faith struggles as my
bishop is in his, oh what rejoicing there would be, and not just on earth

"Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of this hour."  My
bishop has insisted that that hymn be sung at every diocesan convention
for his 22 years here.  Sing it with us, in full voice, yes!


      Louie Crew, English Dept., Rutgers, Newark, NJ 07102 973-485-4503
           Chair, Rutgers University Senate.  Board of Governors.

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