For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. (1 Corinthians 12:12-18)
Alas, such has not been the case for Episcopalians in South Carolina recently. We pewsters have watched as events unfolded resulting in a separation between left and right, between brother and sister, and between North and South.
Yesterday I returned home feeling refreshed and reinvigorated after a visit to Charleston, SC during which I was able to visit some old friends, meet some new ones, eat some great food, tour the remains of the H.L. Hunley, worship the Lord Jesus, hear some great preaching, sing some great old hymns, and deepen my understanding of our Faith by attending the annual "Mere Anglicanism" conference at the historic St. Philips Church in that fair city.
This year's theme, "Behold the Man: The Person and Work of Jesus Christ" was more than adequately addressed by the various speakers. While much of the conference should be available on the web soon, there is no substitute for being there in person and having the opportunity to meet the speakers as well as being able to discuss their presentations with fellow Christians in pleasant surroundings.
The weather in Charleston was 20-30 degrees warmer than the icy conditions found at home although we are only separated from Charleston by a mere 2.1483° of latitude.
The degrees of separation between my Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina and the Diocese of South Carolina might be as far apart as the temperature readings on the thermometer indicated this weekend. In fact, I felt a bit like a blockade runner today as I unpacked my smuggled papers, my benne wafers, and gathered my thoughts on the events of the day.
While Bishop Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina was attending "Mere Anglicanism" and studying up on the Person and Work of Jesus, my Bishop Waldo of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina was demonstrating his support for The Episcopal church by participating in a convention called by the remnant TEcers in Charleston to elect a new Bishop for a new entity called "The Episcopal church in South Carolina" (henceforth to be known as TEcSC). By sitting silently by as the Presiding Bishop of TEc spewed forth insults such as those reported by David Virtue below, Bishop Waldo, who forever wants to be known as a reconciler, shows us all where his loyalties fall.
"The local tyrant is not the judge," said Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori about Bishop Mark Lawrence, in a sermon to members of the newly formed Episcopal Church in South Carolina. She was referencing Bishop Lawrence calling the Diocese of South Carolina a "sovereign diocese".I am afraid that my Bishop Waldo, through his participation in this weekend's charade produced by the Presiding Bishop, has shown that he would rather dance with wolves than stand up and use his crook to chase the wolves from amongst us. His separation from his sheep is widening.
"What about the sheep who aren't in the fold, who don't know there is a feast to be found, rest for the body and soul, and partners who are willing to wrestle with the dictates of petty Deciders or wolves who masquerade as sheep? (Link to VoL article)
For those of you who are not sure as to where an honest sheep should graze, consider the following questions.
Which side is working to better understand and communicate to others the Person and Work of Christ?
Which side's strategy might undermine or even torpedo the Person and Work of Christ leading to the loss of all hands?
Which side would, in the words of one rector overheard at the Presiding Bishop's meeting, "prefer heresy over schism"?