The Dean of the Cathedral in Columbia SC has written an op-ed piece that has run in the “The State” newspaper. Here are the central paragraphs of his article:
“On the floor of the House of Deputies in Columbus, I witnessed the extreme factions of our church — represented in the dioceses of Newark and South Carolina — working from the posture of extreme liberalism and extreme conservatism for the same purpose. I believe that their goal coming into convention was to fracture the Episcopal Church’s place in the Anglican Communion to suit their own objectives, and that breaks my heart. I was stunned to see these two extreme sides actually voting in unison for opposite purposes.
Neither Newark nor South Carolina was interested in coming to what Episcopal priest and former Sen. John Danforth claimed as the ‘higher calling of reconciliation’ and consensus for the greater good of the church.
Since the convention, this has been further proven in the proclamation of the Diocese of South Carolina that it could not be under the authority of new Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. Newark, too, stayed true to form by naming an openly gay candidate as one of the four nominees for bishop within its diocese, thus defying the resolution of General Convention that asks dioceses to refrain from such nominations and elections.
What is at stake here is the very soul of the Episcopal Church and Anglicanism. Our Anglican theology and heritage has held for centuries against radical liberalism or radical conservatism, maintaining that God’s truth is to be ultimately found in the tension of those extremes, and not in the extremes themselves. Today, human sexuality has become the front where those seeking to undermine Anglican identity for their definition of truth are waging the battle.”
I can say that I witnessed and will testify to the same events as he does. I might tone down the rhetoric a hair (ok – a bunch) but he accurately describes what is happening. The thing is that those of us in the middle need to own the fact that our willingness to not assert our political voice has gotten the Episcopal Church to this log jam.
Perhaps, now that we all can see the consequences of the decisions we have made and will make, everyone will be fully paying attention. I don’t think that anyone can predict at the moment about where this will all end up, but I do think we can predict that the debate is about undergo a change in the way and the place where it is conducted. Up until now there have only been two voices speaking. I think there’s a third one being added.
Read the rest here: The State | 07/06/2006 | Debate over the soul of the Episcopal Church