Reconciliation and the IRD

Current Affairs / Religion

Here’s a recent post I sent to the HoB/D list. (The email list for the deputies and bishops attending the General Convention of the Episcopal Church.)

On Jan 12, 2006, at 8:26 AM, Fr. John Liebler wrote:

I’ve previously granted all that you and Mike have alleged here about the IRD. So what? I simply claim that the AAC/ACN would be well funded without them and that we are not dealing with anything resembling a conspiracy — simply people and groups of similar ideas and vision.

Thank you John. As usual, you make me think hard about the questions being raised. I understand your point that IRD is providing funding that might be available from other sources if it wasn’t available from the IRD.

But, there’s something that’s been bothering me about all of this and your note has caused me to finally sit down and try to name it.

The language used to describe our present disagreement is often that of a family that is experiencing internal conflict (straining the bonds of mutual affection, etc). And to a large degree that’s true – this is like a family in conflict. Many of us know each other and have a great deal of respect for each others ministry and faith in Christ Jesus. I had the opportunity to serve as a priest in Pittsburgh for 5 years. Many of the names that are listed as part of the conservative movement are folks I know and respect. I disagree with them about issues, but I respect that they are trying to be true to their conscience and to the church we serve.

But… Much of the logic and language being used by them is not arising from within our denomination but are coming from outside groups who have the stated goal of weakening the present witness of The Episcopal Church and changing our witness to something more amenable to their own ideology. Fine. It’s a free country and they’re entitled to their say. But having outside groups like the IRD and its cognate organizations as part of the conversation and not part of the conversation changes the family dynamic.

If we’re going to have a conversation about the direction of our denomination, I’d like to have all stake holders around the table. The IRD et al are only here by proxy. We can’t reason together with those who will not be fully present. If we are not about reasoning together, then I guess it has come down to politics and legalities – which is a very different realm than that of a family of christian people trying to find a way forward together.

According to our Prayer Book, reconciliation is the heart of the mission of the Church.

I am interested in reconciliation. I believe I am realistic about how difficult it will be and how much I will need to be stretched if I am serious about it. I’m willing to try to be reconciled – I believe you are too because of your presence here. But is the IRD? Are they even willing to talk to folks directly?

The Author

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