Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Sticks and Stones 

Words will hurt. If I've learned anything in the past two weeks, it is that. Words will be misunderstood; words will be taken out of context; words will be placed in my mouth; words will unwantonly invoke old wounds; words will tear new holes in fragile skin. I've seen this happen recently in my life, and in the lives of some of my friends. It hurts. And so it is with that in mind that I turn to a subject I've consciously ignored for some time, because of a dire need of a respite from it.

When I lifted my head from the sand, it seemed there still was a crisis in the Anglican Communion and ECUSA.

I've not gotten in on all the discussion about the so-called 'Connecticut Six", because, frankly, I don't live in Connecticut, I don't know all the facts about what has actually gone on there, and what does goes on there concerns me only peripherally. What interests me much more is what is going on is my own Diocese of Southwest Florida.

The AAC (American Anglican Council) recently held a "rally" at Christ Church, Bradenton. The report of it, and some of the things that were said there can be found here in this issue of the diocesean newsletter, the Southern Cross. One of the things that was said was by Doug Spangler, the diocesean AAC coordinator. I quote, "Via Media – I’m not going to make any bones about it – represents revisionist theology in this diocese. So if, God forbid, in the absence of [Bishop Lipscomb’s] presence, John Adler, effectively, would be your bishop. Now that’s a serious, serious situation."

Via Media is a self declared group of centrist Episcopalians working for a way to proceed forward together. The Rev. John Adler, in addition to being the Chairman of the Standing Committee, is also a founding member of this group. The Rev. John Adler is also a good friend and a fine priest, undeserving of such below the belt rhetorical tactics. I happen to disagree with him from time to time, but that does not change the above facts.

Via Media Chairman, the Rev. Ted Copland, responded to the AAC rally remarks with this statement of repentance.

Meanwhile, the Bishop is calling for all congregations in the diocese to, via vestry, support and agree to live into the the recommendations of the Windsor Report. He is also asking all clergy to make a personal committment to so do. This is a move that I support. If we, as a Province of the Anglican Communion, choose to act in a way contrary to the beliefs and will of the broader Communion, even if we do so in good conscience and under the assumption we are doing the work of the Holy Spirit, then we need to be willing to be patient and accept the consequences. If it is indeed the work of the Spirit, nothing can get in its way for long. If it is not, it will fail. Bishop Lipscomb is doing an excellent job of trying to walk the middle way and hold the church together, on the diocesean level, the national level, and the international level. He is committed to the Episcopal Church in its current manifestation as ECUSA, even if he disagrees with the actions of the 2003 General Convention and will work to see that it stays in the Anglican Communion.

As a future clergyman in the Diocese of SW FL, consider this my public pledge to abide by and support the Windsor Report recommendations, as outlined in Bishop Lipscomb's remarks.

Please also consider this my public condemnation of the hurtful words spoken by Mr. Spangler at the AAC rally. This is not a war, folks. We are not enemies. It is not John Adler vs. John Lipscomb or even AAC vs. Via Media. We are all in this together, as the Body of Christ! Woe to us if we trod the path which leads to that life-giving and grace filled belief being forgotten!

AAC and Via Media, and everyone else who this concerns - please don't make me choose. I am not in this business to choose. I am not in this business to pit people against one another, but to bring them together the best way that I know how to do. So, please don't make me choose. Because if I have to choose, as I have said before, I will choose to stand with ECUSA so long as it stands with and in the Anglican Communion. Should it walk apart, I will stand with the Anglican Communion. I may grow to be a dissenting member thereof, (indeed it seems I am moving towards that) but a member nonetheless. I submit this in a humbled spirit.



Well Ryan, sounds like you've done a lot of reflecting on this.

Good for you for taking a stand.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:26 PM  

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