Today I read an article by a old friend over at Christianity Today. While the focus of David’s article is somewhat different then what we deal with here (it may surprise our more progressives cafe patrons that we evangelical Episcopalians and Anglicans are often dragged through the mud by the true & pure (see David’s article) who think we’re closet papists and worse than that because we claim to be evangelicals!), the warning is timely.
An energetic discussion continues over at StandFirm on Jordan Hylden’s article “The Last Stand of Rowan Williams,” also posted here at the Cafe. Both the content of the discussion as well as the conduct of the discussion has been illuminating. We are often tempted to forget the point and start pointing at each other instead. Not a great idea.
Being a cafe, we love great conversation – even passionate discussions. All are welcome. But no throwing of the cream pies, we flip only pancakes here. Only once did we have to put everyone in the Argument Clinic and that seemed to be scary enough to have put people on their best behavior – that, and stationing our good friend Hagrid at his table by the door.
So here’s our post over at StandFirm. May all our fires stay in the hearth. Miracles abide.
For the record, I am reminded that when the Virginia churches were going through periods of discernment, we recognized that there were biblical examples for several different paths that any of us could take. We saw them as a different boats, but all aiming in the same direction. Some churches needed sanctuary right away, some needed to band together, and some we recognized – churches and individuals – God may call to be a remnant. All were biblical positions and in Virginia today we still have an informal coalition of friends who make up all these different paths.
I see ACI as a remnant inside The Episcopal Church. While I might have personal views that would wonder whether it is a wise thing, I can still make a biblical case that the Lord may call those who are involved and supporting all that ACI is doing as a faithful remnant inside The Episcopal Church.
As an evangelical, I pray that one day we – Anglicans, Episcopalians, and of course all the other parts of the body of Christ, will be reunited and our relationships restored. Even here in Virginia I pray that we may find a way to live peacefully – or as Bishop Lee once said “in as close communion as possible” as Episcopalians and Anglicans. I pray for that.
There are believers that the Lord will call to remain in The Episcopal Church. He hasn’t given up on that Church even if I am close to it myself – I am confident that as long as two or more are gathered together in His Name in The Episcopal Church, He’ll be there.
Our love for the Church – formally or informally – causes us to make decisions that we pray are best. I cannot know the heart of another and condemn them. The Lord looks at the heart – and He has a track record of picking the most unusual men and women to be His people. A close look at Scripture would not cause us to think that many of the folks He picks follows The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. He seems to look at the heart – the one thing we do not have privy to.
Again, the miracle of the work of the Holy Spirit is how He puts us together – inside and outside the structures of the Church. There is so much more we have that binds us together than should tear us apart – the most important of these being our devotion to Jesus, to Him as Lord and friend and not the Idea of Him, but to Him. I’ve seen amazing things happen when we – who share that same bond, covered in the Blood of Jesus – come together, not in spite of our differences, but through them.
Our “conversations” have been done not in board rooms, but in fox holes. We are a remnant of a remnant and still there is a remnant. We should pause before cursing those whom God may call to be a remnant and instead pray for God’s mercy. Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison.
FedComs, ConComs, or as I like to call myself a PomPom (rah rah rah) – we are all called by the Lord to love one another as He loved us. It is our love for the Church that causes us to make difficult decisions, tough decisions of love to separate, but always with the prayer of reconciliation, either in this world or the next. We are evangelists, even if it means to our own brothers. We can’t forget that, even as we see and experience the pain of watching an institution overrun by gnostic paganism and despair masked as liberation.
And God will call some to carry the swords, their theological swords, directly into the fray, as Ephraim and Chris and others that I can think of still in the Diocese of Virginia, true Lions of the Faith. God bless them! They go where angels fear to tred.
But there are many, many refugees – some who’s names we know and many more, many many more whose names we don’t know because they are gone, gone all ready. Who will gather those lost back? That’s where I see these bishops – and others God is raising up – as being shepherds who will look for the lost sheep, some in churches with towers and lawsuits, and some wandering homeless on the highways of spiritual desolation.
As I’ve written before, I am somewhere between the church spiral and the open highway. I am an Episcopalian who has found refuge in a CANA Church. I watch and pray as September 30th approaches. The rest, as we say, I wait for the Lord.
Will I remain Episcopalian? Will I be a remnant or a refugee? More and more it seems I am following the refugee path – but I do understand the call God can make when He says, “wait.”
I pray that when He says “Go,” we go in humility and mercy, for He is so kind and forgiving to us.