Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Why General Convention doesn't do it for me

Well Resolutions can be broken. I had said I was not going to follow any of the news from the Episcopal Church's Convention. Yet, when so many people you know are there it is hard not to. Still, I will try to stay out of it as much as possible.

I am pulled in so many directions by this convention because there are several factors which are in conflict with each other. Let me try to itemize the different pulls here:

I am a traditional catholic Christian who takes belief seriously and so the left in our church which is so free and easy with tradition makes me uncomfortable. I do think there is a lack of faith in our talk about God (I do not confuse this with faith in God, because I think there is a lot more of that than the "orthodox" would have us think). This suspician of traditional God-talk is deepseated in much of the church because of a failure to recognize the wisdom of the people who created the tradition. The modern world belittles too much those from a pre-technological age, which I find ironic because I think we have become less sophisticated in many areas of human inquiry that the ancients were very adept in. This lack of confidence is partially a result of modern Biblical criticism, which I think in itself is helpful, but which has led some people to conclusions I find strange, mainly because faith in the Bible had been substituted for faith in God in many quarters. (This is another question) I also think that persons in this position frequently reach into social outreach as a substitute for adhering to a way of talking about God.

I think the people who mostly banter about the word "orthodox" and "tradtional" do not have a very sophisticated concept of either and so are not really "orthodox" or "traditional". They are actually reactionary. Not all, but many.

I believe God calls women to be ordained in the church, and I think the tradition has tended toward a preponderance of male imagery whereas I think we need to take steps to balance the imagery in our liturgy especially, and also in our theology, yet without substantially changing the liturgy.

I believe that a place can be made for gay and lesbian people who see their sexuality as a constituent part of who they are and would like to live within a blessed lifelong faithful exclusive relationship without the need for universal concensus. This argument is not about who beleives the Bible, it is about who is deeply immersed in traditional exegesis of the scripture which is far less reductionist than most modern so-called "orthodox" Christians.

The church is about Love and Holiness, Worship and Ministry. It demands not part of our life but all of it. We are in a post Constantinian Church which still sees the church as part of our life and the civic life as quite compatible with it. This is holding us back and not being addressed.

I take Christian Unity seriously and think we sometimes make great sacrifices for the sake of unity. At the same time I do not trust the pneumatology (theology of the Holy Spirit) in the Roman Catholic Church, and so I think we should challenge them more, yet at the same time I think we should take their concerns largely seriously.

Where is the attempt to build some common life and mission between the various separated branches of Christianity. Self-sufficiency is not only going to kill us, it is un-Biblical and I dare say, heretical. What are we doing in that regard.

So, in part, I guess I do not have confidence that the conflicts in the church are well thought out on the one hand, or address the true problems we face on the other.

....But hey, this is Joyful Rumblings. God is up to something, and my faith is in God in Jesus Christ, not the church or its convention. May my life be loving and holy, worshipful and serving. That is the best thing I can do for the church and for the convention, and out of love for my savior.


Bob said...

John -

I agree with you over the level of sophistication of so many of the arguments between "liberals" and "conservatives" - frankly between any who have differing opinions in our Church. Too many are truly reactionary.


Bob said...

John -

I agree with you concerning the level of sophistication that is being displayed by those doing battle within the Church. It truly is a lot of antagonism.