Friday, December 22, 2006

I’m tired of all the emotionalism.

Everywhere I go—on the web, in my class, at coffee hour—someone is having pain over this Anglican crisis. Probably I’m tired because revisionists chalk conservatism up to ‘fear’ and ‘discomfort’ and ‘inflexibility’. When really, the present theological crises have nothing to do with fear at all, and neither are they causing me pain in the way most revisionists would believe.

If a whole church wants to head down the wide, broad, candy laden road to apostasy, fine. Go ahead. Go after all the bright shiny self indulgent liberal gobbeldy gook. If the church wants to elect a leader that cannot reasonably and coherently confirm the creeds, articles of the faith OR even the minutest understanding of Christianity, well then, go ahead. If the church wants to vilify and persecute the few remaining believing people, then bring it on.

But do not then expect me to get weepy and choked up over all the carnage and mayhem.

I am not afraid. I am not inflexible and unable to change or uncomfortable with diversity. I am just sorry and sad. I am sad that I am still part of a church where the biggest sin is belief in God. I am sad that the people who control this church do not havea basic understanding of what is at stake. I am sad that the head of this church can still be talking about ‘reconciliation’ and ‘peace’ and hey, why not throw in ‘the Magic of Christmas’, when all around her the church is a crumbled, decaying mess.

And I’m sick of the dripping gooey condescension. This, for example, from Telling Secrets:
However, there are two additional groups, and these two are far less noticed. I refer to these groups (they don't have a clear "party" identity) as "progressive pilgrims" and "emergent conservatives." These two groups tend to see "issues" like this one as secondary concerns to the practice of Christian faith and are more concerned with things like hospitality, living forgiveness, practicing reconciliation, learning to pray, feeding the hungry, caring for the environment, and maintaining the Anglican practice of comprehensiveness (being a church of the "middle way"). They may lean slightly left or slightly right on "issues," but reject partisan solutions to theological problems. Both progressive pilgrims and emergent conservatives are far more interested in unity than uniformity, and they appreciate diversity in their congregations as a sign of God's dream for humanity to live in peace.

I took a class with Diana Butler-Bass. This condescension and misunderstanding of the issues is all of a piece. That’s right, let’s not talk about belief and faithfulness and obedience to Christ. Let’s all just get along. How creative. How new. How deep.

So, in the ‘spirit of Christmas’ and because under (today) my overt hostility there abides some small sense of compassion and mercy (obviously coming from the Holy Spirit) I offer the following advice to KJS, Diana Butler-Bass and all those revisionists who are casting about for some meaning and purpose in what appears to be a directionless void:

The current crisis is not about unity. It’s not about fear. It’s not about extremism. It’s not about ‘reconciliation’. It’s not even about you. It’s about Jesus. God came down to earth, in the person of the Son, and lived and died and rose again so that you might be dragged out of the wretched mire of your sins. Wake up. Pay attention. Time is running out. Jesus is coming back. You could still be babbling about ‘reconciliation’ and find yourselves unreconciled to God when it really counts.


Albany Intercessor said...

Thank you.

Meg Houk said...

Great piece Anne. Stong finish, clearly spoken. From a fellow clergy wife, mother of many, and if not a home of undercurrents of hostility (although there is that), a home of barely-contained absolute chaos!

Anne Kennedy said...

Thank you :)
Boy, I think less and less clearly as the days go by.