Amy Spagna: Why a Centrist?

Centrists / Religion

Amy Spagna has posted her thoughts about what it is that Moderates believe. Here are a few of the central paragraphs:

“The thing about the middle is, there’s room for ambiguity. It’s a comfort zone, of sorts, where one can say simply, ‘I don’t know.’ And, I don’t. On the one hand is the part of the Baptismal convenant where we promise to respect the dignity of every human being, and Jesus’ deliberate efforts to reach out to the low-lifes of his day. In light of those, it is very difficult to justify any sort of exclusion from the Church of anyone who’s different from me. That’s a lot of people we’re talking about – men, children, anyone whose skin is darker than mine, gays, the handicapped – the list goes on endlessly. Excluding them breaks the commandment to love one another, for one; for two, it’s not my Table to disinvite someone from to begin with. On the other hand… this whole ‘blessing of relationship’ thing is a struggle to understand. Mind you, I’m not opposed in principle. There hasn’t yet been produced what sounds to this lay person a sound theological and scriptural justification, beyond the justice side of the issue. What I need is something that can stand firmly on all 3 legs of the Tradition-Scripture-Reason stool, along the lines of the ‘Concerning the Service’ blurbs in the Prayer Book. It would be hard to accept in practice otherwise. Why do it, if we can’t explain to ourselves in a sound argument and in understandable terms?

The other thing about the middle is, it’s okay to disagree. There are things that are more important than arguing over what amounts to a theological hill of beans in comparison to things like the Resurrection and the divinity of Jesus Christ. Like feeding the hungry. There’s a lot of folks out there who need what Episcopalians have to offer, and it’s kinda hard to get that point heard, in word or in action, through all the shouting.

Of all the ‘sides’ in this whole argument, the middle alone seems to be willing to continue engaging the discernment process. It just takes time, and probably more than either one of the extremes really thinks it should. As my Rector once said, in a slightly different context, waiting for the Spirit to move is a lot like having a baby. It happens when it happens, and there’s not much you can do other than watch carefully and wait.”

Read the rest here: Amy’s Reflection Corner

The Author

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


  1. Here is the problem, as James Alison, puts it so well, it places one at the center rather than God. It measures others by their lowlifeness and how we fit them in, rather than recognizing that one oneself is a lowlife let in by the expanse of God’s graciousness. This is precisely why I am distrustful of claims to the center, because it continues the center/margin dynamics which have been undone and judged in Christ as exactly not what the Kingdom is like.

  2. Language – and people’s own tendencies towards associating with like-minded groups – has such potential as a limiting factor, no? Perhaps “centrism” might be better described as, “how one puts oneself in relationship to other people,” between the extremes, and willing to engage with both.

  3. Ya know what might work Amy? How about we say that we are willing to become entangled with other people so that we must live out our faith in relationship with them?
    We could be called the “Entangled Ones” – and we could live in Entangled States. (Naw… it’s probably too obscure. Grin.)

  4. AmyS says

    I thought that was part of the definition of a faith community!

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