Monday, December 10, 2007

On the State of the Church

One of the things I didn't blog yesterday is the developments in the Episcopal Church (TEC). If you missed this I am an Episcopal Priest and have been one for 36 years. TEC has been in the midst of controversy over the acceptance of Homosexuality. This controversy has been brewing in our Church for a long time and came to a head when an openly Gay Priest became a Bishop in TEC. Recently there have been highly irregular interferences in TEC's internal affairs by Bishops from other branches of the Anglican Communion. Some parishes have attempted to leave TEC and now a whole Diocese has voted to leave.

One might think that leaving a denomination might be a simple thing, but it really isn't. Leaving, whether its a parish or a diocese, is usually attempted after there has been a vote and a majority wish to leave. Wherever there is a majority, there is also a minority. What happens to that minority that wants to remain in TEC? Parishes and diocese have property. By Canon Law that property is the property of the Diocese if it is a Parish or property of TEC if it is a Diocese. This means that there is inevitably legal action.

The most recent action is the Diocese of San Joaquin in California voted for the second time to leave TEC. It seems to me that this situation will benefit only the lawyers. I know that a parish attempting to leave usually incurs great legal expense for all involved. Obviously one does not really want to attempt to force people to stay in a Church they don't want. These people, want to leave and take buildings and other property with them. Their "theological" difference now becomes a matter of property and litigation.

I can only wonder at all of this. First of all, Jesus was never the sort of person who condemned people directly. He never mentioned homosexuality. He was clear that no one was righteous in themselves. He also says that we cannot serve two masters. We have become too attached to Church buildings and other possessions. These are things and they consume far too much of the life of the Church.

In any case I suspect that the people involved in the issue aren't really concerned with my view. And my view? It's all really sad. I am kind of glad I am retired. When I was young and idealistic there was a movement toward Christian unity. There were talks with Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox bodies with the hope that there could be more agreement. Now we seem to be on the verge of making more disunity. As I said, SAD!


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