Sunday, March 06, 2011

We Need to Talk, You Must Listen



A hypothetical conversation between Bishop Waldo and a simple pewsitter.

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:53 PM

    This is very close to my expectations for the first theological council. Although the call is for dialogue, the fact is, we will be told what we are to think and what is coming to a church near you in the very near future. Although we won't face the abomination of SSMs as that would violate civil law, we will be forced to permit SSBs in our churches, all in the name of diversity. The few remaining God-fearing Christians will leave, seeking a new church that still believes in God and in His Holy Word. The last shred of dignity left in TEC will be gone and the forces of darkness will have won. God help us.

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  2. Anon's comment above seems prescient. I pray for you, UP, and those like you. Keep the faith, my friend, wherever you are.

    Cheers.

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  3. I think it is past the time for anyone to benefit from the "listening process" or this new variation which might be called "learning to live in relationship" with those with whom we disagree.

    If the disagreement weren't over a false gospel promoted by false teachers... okay, maybe I could live with that, but we will be faced with having to accept that, in 2012, more false teachings will come forth from the General Convention of TEc in the form of resources for same sex blessings and that most of our clergy and bishops will be cool with that.

    Our bishop clearly wants us to stay in realationship with him and the rest of his cronies, but how can we?

    WWPS? (What would Paul say?)

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  4. Thanks Randall,

    Your prayers are greatly appreciated.

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  5. Anonymous5:19 PM

    The following in the open letter that I do not want to read this Sunday to my church, I don't want them to think I agree with this (I keep throwing around words like "the Bible" and getting hot and bothered by quoting Scripture)

    Ash Wednesday 2011
    Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus.
    First, thank you to all rectors, vicars or wardens for taking time out of your services to read this pastoral letter to your congregation on this First Sunday in Lent. In the interest of preserving the rhythm of your transition into Lent, this letter hopefully will be relevant to that transition.
    Many of us have, in recent years, felt disturbed by the tone and content of public discourse, whether in church or in politics. What we sometimes call dialogue more often closely resembles a shouting match, filled with accusations, assumptions, blame and condemnation. This reality of our age is a visible demonstration of the depth of human sin and alienation and is something of which we should be ashamed. Jesus, on the other hand, called his disciples to a different standard of relationship, telling them that such “is not [to be] so among you; [for] whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all” (Mark 10:43-44). His words are especially startling when we admit that many faithful Christians have given in to discourse that destroys, and they participate willingly in language that even condemns other brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to show the world a better way.
    In the Ash Wednesday liturgy, we prayed that God will “Accept our repentance” for “all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us.” In the current climate, this is a prayer worth taking to heart. Lent is an appropriate time to meditate on a more Christ-like and compassionate way to treat brothers and sisters with whom we disagree.
    This past December, with the approval of the Diocesan Executive Council, I called for a special convention that will be held on Friday, April 8th and 9th, at Christ Church in Greenville, a convention we are calling the 1st Theological Council of the Episcopal Church in Upper South Carolina. The purpose of this Council befits the Lenten themes of repentance, reconciliation and restoration. Tensions in the Episcopal Church have persisted around several issues in our common life, and we either ignore them in hopes they will go away, or we struggle, with difficulty, to hear with compassion how and why others disagree with us. And we make uncharitable assumptions about people. We become indifferent to whether they stay or leave. The Theological Council in April is the beginning of a conversation intended to bring a new and more faithful discipline to our common life and discourse.
    At the recent Pre-Lenten clergy retreat, we discussed the upcoming Theological Council, and a priest asked me very simply, “Bishop, what’s at stake for you in this Council?” I believe that many things are at stake, but one thing seems to me to be the very heart of it: Many people hear us say that Christian faith is about love and unity. But it is not always what they see. When we are in tension or disagreement, the face we too often show the world is one of disdain for each other. We do make false judgments. We do hold tightly to uncharitable thoughts. We do show prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us. In the 1st century A.D., Clement of Rome wrote his own First Letter to the Corinthians, saying love for one another, “does not provoke schisms or form cliques, but always acts in harmony with others.”
    So, if we proclaim something but cannot do it, the world will, at best, be disappointed and see us as hypocrites. But, at worst, our actions will make them question the truth and power of the gospel. —The gospel is at stake. — Simply put, we are called to be living witnesses to the truth of the Gospel, in and out of Church, in thought, word, and deed.

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  6. Anonymous5:20 PM

    continued:

    The announcement of this Theological Council has inspired many fascinating conversations from which I have learned a great deal. Many people who are not included in the Council have asked to attend. In order to facilitate the most authentic conversation we can, we must create a safe environment, which means limiting who can come. I thank you in advance for understanding and respecting these limitations.
    Our expectation is that, following the Council, a similar format will be offered in congregations in order to begin a more open and authentic dialogue and deepen relationships in Christ throughout the diocese. So, I ask that each of you reflect on who you are for each other and for this world. How have you participated in things that separate and destroy? What can you change within yourself that makes the way of Christ more visible? In the meantime, I ask your prayers that this new beginning will not just be fruitful, but that it will be energizing for all of us, no matter where we stand on the issues.
    May God bless and keep you and yours in this holy season, and may our celebration of the resurrection at Easter fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit.
    Your brother in Christ,

    Child of God and servant of the Lord Jesus


    (Well, at least I can say I didn't elect him. . .)

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  7. Anonymous5:46 PM

    (missing middle portion (kind of like the context of the Mark passage. . . )

    The Council I’ve called will help us to articulate as clearly as possible scriptural standards for how we are in relationship with each other. We will then engage them on a difficult topic: same-gender relationships. Decisions on blessing such relationships are on the horizon for the Episcopal Church’s General Convention at Indianapolis in 2012. If we are to meet the challenge that those decisions will place before us with grace, unity and flexibility, we need to know who we are, and to love each other more deeply. The 1st Theological Council will begin our conversation about standards for Christian community. It will engage those standards as we begin to explore what is at stake for each of us—personally— as we continue to encounter challenging issues in the larger Church around gender and sexuality. We will conclude the Council by discussing how we can live up to Christ’s standards without asking each other to sacrifice our deeply held convictions. We will discuss how we can bring what we learn back into our churches throughout the diocese.

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  8. ToilNotSpin1:00 AM

    UP what in the world is this about? Is Anonymous a priest? Is he/she claiming that priests all over South Carolina have been asked to read this today, in the pulpit? And what does Anonymous mean about the "missing version"?

    Is this what we are all going to hear in church? Surely something this long and involved needs a little explanation by the person posting.

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  9. ToilNotSpin1:02 AM

    UP what in the world is this about? Is Anonymous a priest? Is he/she claiming that priests all over South Carolina have been asked to read this today, in the pulpit? And what does Anonymous mean about the "missing version"?

    Is this what we are all going to hear in church? Surely something this long and involved needs a little explanation by the person posting.

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  10. Toil Not,

    Anon ran out of room in the comment box to post the entire missive and appears to have corrected by giving us the missing middle in the third post.

    Yes, Anon appears to be of the clergy, and will not read this at church today. Verification of their report should come this morning.

    At our church, these things usually get placed in the back for people to pick up and read for themselves if they so desire.

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