Monday, June 19, 2006

Liberal Episcopalians

Today I figured I will deviate a little bit from the sports and post some controversial content that will make you want to post a comment about me (please! I haven't had a comment in years! Hehe).

Over this weekend, the national Episcopal church elected a woman as their next presiding bishop of the American denomination of Anglicanism.

For those unfamiliar with the Episcopal situation, the American denomination elected a gay priest to become a bishop in 2003. That move splintered the church, leaving individual American dioceses isolated as they felt that such a decision flew in the face of biblical doctrine. Allied with a larger conservative majority from around the world (especially in Africa), those few dioceses formed a network of Anglican churches that recognized their own commitment to a biblical faith that would not recognize a gay bishop.

Now after several years of heated discussion and division, the American Episcopal denomination has taken the debate a step further by electing a woman as the next presiding bishop.

While I am certainly one of the first to espouse the leadership of women within the church, I am cautious to adamantly proclaim this to be a great step forward. While I don't know much about Schori apart from the fact that many conservative groups label her as the "liberal of the liberal," I do know a little bit about Eugene Robinson (the gay bishop) and his self-proclaimed agenda.

I believe that the church is about providing a community to individual believers that establishes the proving ground and foundation for the essentials of the Christian life: love, forgiveness, integrity, faith and hope. While there are times when that community has to make decisions about its physical organization, it should never lose sight of its commitment to human beings. In the end, God isn't really God until we all get to heaven and know for sure. For now, God is merely a product of faith, and all of us humans are subject to the same contexts here on earth. Thus, the Christian community needs to remain steadfast in its goal of providing a place of love and support for all persons and beings.

While those persons most certainly should include various forms of sinners and saints in all shapes, colors and sizes, the community must decide how best to elect its leadership. I believe that Eugene Robinson was not fitted to be a bishop, not because he was made as a man with certain sexual desires and inclinations, but rather because he wanted it to be about him. He wanted to be the point-maker and he wanted the conservatives to leave the building. He didn't want acceptance, he wanted isolation. All of these things were inherent in the way that he talked about God's special calling for him to do these things and about how God told him and no one else what to do. In that light, he sounds like Pat Robertson and we all know how big of a crack he is.

Right now, this church's liberals are so obsessed with the final product, that they do not care about the repercussions of their methods of getting there. Personal faiths all over the world can be shattered forever all because certain groups of leadership decided that conservatives and dissidents aren't worth being meticulous around. In the same way that Martin Luther King criticized black leaders who didn't care what any white person thought about civil rights, the liberal Episcopalians in America should be criticized for their lack of love and dedication to solidarity. There is a silent majority of Christians around the world who are disgusted by the anger and the passion with which these groups intend to destroy each other.

Yes, women should be given leadership roles in the church. Yes, gay individuals should be afforded the same rights of marriage and church membership that every individual can achieve. However, those truths do not give liberal church leaders the authority to be a bull in a china shop and seek to destroy dissidents whom they deem as backwards.

In his time, Martin Luther King Jr. was judged by many as being too soft. He was criticized for taking steps to make himself speak whiter and present a more agreeable image to white citizens that watched the Civil Rights movement unfold on television. However, the care that King took to establish the foundation of the Civil Rights has made equality in America a reality that will be attainable in a sooner time. It provided for a leader and a movement that was radically attainable and radically mainstream.

Maybe the liberals should take some notes.

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