Saturday, December 29, 2007

Clarification, with sadness (Hobd)

Earlier today I responded to a post of Brad Drell's on the Hob/d listserv. While I intended that post to go directly to Brad, instead I accidentally sent it to the entire listserv. In it, I basically thanked him for his direct response to posts regarding San Joaquin and mentioned my dismay at much of the angry discourse on the listserv.

I'll admit I usually love the Episcopal Church and its structured liturgy and polity. I love the unity and tolerance of different ideas and of each other that I found when I came to the Episcopal Church as well as the idea that we could "agree to disagree." I loved that we could all read the gospel and follow it to where we believe God is leading us without believing that those who believed it took them somewhere else were heretical.

But I'm not seeing that anymore.

There is name calling, self-confidence, and scorn. I see that people are hurt and I can feel much of that hurt. It is sad and painful that so many people have been forced to bear the weight of closemindedness as ignorance, but that is no reason for pride at the expense of others who truly believe that what we call progress is in fact a regression.

Similarly, there should be no source of pride at schism in God's church, and indeed, on the Hobd listserv we often forget that. Lost in canon and tradition is that, in the end, God wants his whole church to be his.

When I ran as an alternate for convention deputy I wanted to make a difference: I wanted to help people and be part of a body that helps to glorify God. That exists to the glory of God.

After Minneapolis I felt like I had found that body. After Columbus I found I have to separate my faith from my religion.

I am so sick of all this fighting. I'm sick of people being hurt and ostracized in the name of God. And I think that's what bugs me most of all: it doesn't seem like it is to the glory of God, it seems like this arguing is for tradition and to make sure we are following canon law. Yes, the canons and tradition are important, I'm Jewish, I know that.

I don't want to see litigation. I understand why it must be done, but I also feel that it is being done as ferociously as possible. I don't envy +KJS. Nothing she can do is "right" and and she is fairing quite well. If people feel they must leave, then leave. If people honestly feel they cannot act and worship to the glory of God in TEC then leave, but please don't drag us down with you.

I love the Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church, the people, its liturgy, its respect for law, and its polity. But please, don't forget that first and foremost, we are working to do God's will and worship and praise God. Isn't that what the church is for?


That Kaeton Woman said...

Allie, I love that you love TEC and WWAC. What may be hard to see and even more difficult to understand is that people who fight so passionately on either side of this issue do so because they love TEC and the WWAC, too. That's why they are so passionate. Sometimes, it may sound like fighting, but it's just passion and hurt and anger and betrayal. What makes me angry is that I see all this as a direct result of a failure of leadership. I think ++KJS is doing her very best, but +++Rowan is simply making things worse by not making his position clear.

I lament with you, my dear. If my passion has contributed to your pain, please try to understand and find some forgiveness for this old activist who has probably been in the trenches too long.

Cavan said...

Well said, Allie, well said. The way I see it, any perceived differences between Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Episcopalian, Baptist, even agnosticism are strictly academic; they all have the same goal: the search for truth. Methods may vary and opinions may clash, but in the end I think we all want the same thing. The Christian God is the same God as Allah, Yahweh, or any other, and he/she/it would not want us drawing lines in the sand to satisfy our own egos. I know I am far from the theologian you are, but I believe in the purity of human nature, and that transcends any differing interpretations people may have.

Allie said...

You have not contributed to my angst at all and in stead you are someone I look to as a model activist.

As someone who has been so hurt for so long I can't recall you name calling or resorting to rhetoric That is what is hurting me: people who ran out of good arguments and are so irrational and hurting that they feel they have to hurt others to feel better.

I understand what you are saying, and I think that my feelings have almost as much to do with my own faith struggles at the moment.

But thank you

Allie said...


You have no idea what you are talking about nor what I am talking about.

As someone who was raised Jewish and spent a decent amount of time with Roman Catholics and Presbyterians there are MASSIVE differences.

The Episcopal Church made me an activist for human rights
A so-called evangelical church turned a close friend into a hate-filled terrified rather useless thing.

The different liturgies and interpretations and paths towards this so-sought after truth often make the followers very different people.

The Episcopal Church and a great many people in it raised me.

Yes, God is God, I am not disputing that, but to say it makes no difference simply means you haven't been paying attention.

Cavan said...

Um, ouch, thanks for tearing me a new one!

Kidding, but hear me out. Perhaps I do not have much firsthand knowledge, but what I was trying to point out is the difference between modern organized religion and the essence of what spawned it: a desire for meaning. The differing viewpoints may seem large to one who is involved, but as someone who was not raised with any religion and was forced to find my own, I find it convenient to think of such divisions as superficial. I'm just tired of the "my dogma is better than your dogma" show going on (present company excluded).

Maybe that's a romanticized viewpoint, but it's what I hope for. I would never deny real disparities, and unfortunately we live in a world where bias of any kind affects decisions that costs lives; it's a classic catch-22 of principles versus objectivity. I'm not saying different denominations don't create different people, I'm asking whether that's good or bad. I would ask people to consider the pros/cons of a belief system: does our doctrine make us better equipped to evaluate other beliefs or does it wall us in? Is it an ego trip for some or are we truly unselfish in our promotion of what we believe?

Didn't mean to ruffle feathers, just throwing another opinion out there. Maybe an outsider can bring a new point of view, but if I'm ignorant and therefore not worth listening to, so be it. Turf is turf in all things, I see...I'll scurry back to my own blog hole now. ;-)

Allie said...

Okay, so that was unnecessarily harsh, but I really felt as if you were invalidating something that is hugely bothering bothering me.

Anyhow, see you in a few weeks.

Cavan said...

That's OK, Allie, I'm sorry if I came off as disparaging. You know I have the utmost respect for everyone's beliefs, and I would NEVER demean the importance of them; I would be a massive hypocrite if I did and you would have every right to smack me silly. What's the Ubuntu saying, PEMI, please excuse my ignorance? Should have prefaced with that. :-)

I go back in 11 days; dang, break was short...

Allie said...

Ooh yay, I can't wait for Ubuntu to start again!