Sunday, August 03, 2008

You Can Go Your Own Way

Fr. Dunbar delivered today's sermon by starting off with a few words about polygamy because the old testament reading talked about Jacob having two wives. Fr. Dunbar used this as a segue to the issue of polygamy in certain parts of the Anglican communion, specifically Africa. He did say that polygamist converts to Christianity were not made to choose between spouses and drop one or more upon becoming Christians, but they were expected to take no more spouses. What he failed to mention was that the polygamist converts were not up in arms demanding a blessing of their relationships, nor did we hear about them conducting a self justifying mini-Lambeth 2008 tour (unlike a certain Bishop from N.H.).
Bobby then proceeded with the main sermon which to my ear focused on Jesus' command to "follow me," I got the impression from the sermon that following Jesus might be a personal quest for the truth. This left me thinking about following Christ as a group, as a Church. Of course, the ongoing Lambeth Conference brings to mind how much Anglicans disagree on what it means to follow Jesus.
Bobby also mentioned our Creeds which were developed by corporate means as an expression of what we believe.

Now this is where it gets tricky for some Christians. Are the creeds what you believe, are they what people used to believe, or are they a compromise, a sort of "what most of us believe?"

Let's go back to the "Follow me" command. While this is a personal call it is also a corporate one. Jesus called followers, and they had to work together to understand Him. No one was singled out as the follower who had all the answers. That is where we remain to this day. I will never have all the answers if I go the self realization route. We need one another to be able understand our Lord, but the nature of human interaction, our love of argument, our vain intellectualism, and our pride keep getting in the way. We need to agree on the common ground, and when we disagree we should be humble and accept what "We in the Anglican communion believe," and not fall prey to the provincialism of "We in TEC believe such and such and we don't care what they believe."

This past week the other Bishop in SC, Mark Lawrence made reference to T.E.C.s rejection of other opinions when he wrote,
"To suddenly now take refuge in our provincial polity and resist the Instruments of Unity as they attempt to mend the bonds of affection—strained and broken by the actions of TEC—is bad enough. But more grievous still, to resist the covenant is to thwart the Anglican Communion’s appointment with a God-given destiny. Such retreat into provincialism is the wrong response to this present crisis….To embrace the covenant will not only strengthen the bonds of affection, it will further our mission in Jesus Christ—helping us to live respectfully and responsibly with one another. It brings the inspiration that comes from a godly responsibility freely embraced…."

This to me is the real schism that people are talking about. It is the schism of the Episcopal Church leaving the world wide Anglican community and "going it's own way."