Do we believe in God


Do we believe in God enough to ask for help?

An idea has been running through my head the last few days. Clearly we have arrived at an impasse in our Episcopal denomination. As a subscriber to the General Convention Discussion put it a few days ago Рwe can all pretty much tell in advance who is going to take what position on any given subject. It has gotten to the point where for many of us we’re simply rehashing the argument, seemingly believing that if we repeat the action of voicing our opinion “n” times the outcome will somehow be different the “n+1” time.

I was meditating on this impasse yesterday in my prayers and wondering aloud how we might go forward. It occurs to me that:
1. God has a desire that we act a certain way in this matter.
2. We wish above all things to do God’s will.
3. We disagree about what God’s will is.

Given these statements Рwhy don’t we ask God what we are to do?

No one (that I have heard at least) has pointed out that we can go to God in prayer and ask for a sign that would direct us clearly to God‚Äôs will in these matters. Certainly the Bible contains any number of examples of the faithful doing just that. Why aren‚Äô’t we?

I have to admit that there is a certain scariness about contemplating such an act. What if God tells me that I‚Äôm on the wrong side? If I really hold to point #2 above, I‚Äôd have to repent, ask forgiveness and make what amends I can make. That is frightening in a number of ways – and as I think through that fear I‚Äôm beginning to realize that there‚Äôs an aura of idolatry starting to get attached to entrenched positions. (There‚Äôs a meditation in that I imagine…)

So, to my question; Do we believe enough in God to actually ask for a sign to make God’s will clear to us?

I imagine that some will immediately respond to this, we have asked and we *have* an answer. It’s found in the (Bible/Tradition/Vote of General Convention). But that’s the problem. These signs have not been uniformly understood. There is a “mixed witness” in the Biblical texts (the phrase is not mine, but comes from Prof. Richard Hays under whom I studied NT Ethics. People have found a mixed witness in the traditions of the Church as well. Councils of the Church have and do err.

I submit that we don’t have at the moment a clear answer that we can all understand. Certainly a significant majority of the denomination feels frustrated with not knowing.

I’m adding a petition asking God to give us a clearly recognized sign to my daily prayers from now on. Care to join me?


The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...