Monday, January 18, 2016
TOO LEAVE, OR NOT TO LEAVE? THAT IS THE QUESTION.
One of the tragedies of TEC is that conservative people have fled too soon just because they feel uncomfortable. That has weakened TEC itself and left it pray to fundamentalist liberalism. It takes courage to fight rather than switch. Where in this wicked world can they go? Our call is to proclaim both the love and holiness of Christ within the Church as well as in the world, but sometimes the situation is too toxic for some people to endure it.
On the other hand there are some who have fled for very mixed motives. This is especially true where some self-righteous conservatives have fled from conservative dioceses led by godly bishops, and weakened the work of God within the diocese. Among them in my own diocese was one very forceful priest who fled hoping to be ordained as a bishop by the Church of Rwanda. A problem arose when the Church in Rwanda discovered that he had been previously divorced and they don’t ordain divorced men as bishops. To confound the problem this man led other clergy out the door with him.
The conflict within TEC is not new. Karl Barth remarked that one of God's miracles was that the Church still exists, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that, “The old world cannot take pleasure in the Church because the Church speaks of its end as though it had already happened--as though the world had already been judged. The old world does not like being regarded as dead. The Church has never been surprised at this, nor is it surprised by the fact that again and again men come to it who think the thoughts of the old world--and who is there entirely free from them? But the Church is naturally in tumult when these children of the world that has passed away lay claim to the Church, to the new, for themselves. They want the new and only know the old. And thus they deny Christ the Lord.” [Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall, translated by John C. Fletcher. (New York: Macmillan, 1959), 11]