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[HoB/D] The State of the Episcopal Church



I realize that I am not a disinterested observer of all of this, even
when I try.  Nevertheless I offer my thoughts in hopes they might be
helpful.

The language of the FiF, AMiA, and AAC  appears not to be getting
through to ECUSA; and liberals are not the only ones turning a deaf
ear.  I perceive  a rhetoric of threat and judgment, not  a rhetoric of
reconciliation.  Whether  moderate, conservative, or liberal, many are
weary of being told to change the entire structure of ECUSA by people
outside who are not our own shepherds and by people  inside who have not
been able to win support for their views through ECUSA's constitutional
governance.  Ultimatums under those conditions begin to sound like a
stickup with threats of extortion.

I doubt that  5 percent of all people in the pews of ECUSA on a given
Sunday could say who the Archbishop of Canterbury is, that  10 percent
could say what the Anglican Communion is, that  30 percent could name
the Presiding Bishop, that 70 percent could even name their own bishop.

Right now I suspect that many Episcopalians would not notice very much
if ECUSA were kicked out of the Communion.  I think that would be a
disaster!, less for the Communion than for us in the Episcopal Church.
We in ECUSA need the larger perspective of the Communion.   We also need
the perspectives of those criticizing us.   All  'sides' need one
another.  Each side sees through a very dirty glass.

Primates making demands beyond their jurisdiction and ordering around
people over whom they exercise no constitutional authority will not
likely effect the repentance that they seek, nor effect the respect for
the moral authority which they have thus devalued.   Humility, love, and
patience  are needed to temper our words when we feel called to
criticize others.   Violating boundaries, flying around the globe all
upset about the sins of others whom we have never lovingly served runs
counter to any idea of "communion" worthy of the name.

Most of the accusations against ECUSA are framed as accusations that we
are faithless.  I know that some conservatives assume that those with
whom they disagree still are acting  faithfully within our different
understanding of scripture, tradition and reason.   But the loudest of
those who accuse ECUSA manifest little evidence  of such respect.

An accuser's disrespect does not invite the accused to take the accusers
seriously.    Many outside the USA reading pronouncements from FiF,
AMiA, and AAC  have no idea of the faith commitments of thousands of
Episcopalians.  It is wrong to bear false witness.

May God grant  us all discernment, and as we wait for it, fill us with
love and compassion and mercy, especially for those with whom we
disagree.

L.




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