Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Foundations Built On the Shifting Sands of the Heart

As I lay awake one long and restless night pondering how to get a boat off of a beach that it had grounded itself upon during a storm, I devised many ingenious solutions. I thought about how to jack the boat up so that it could be hoisted it onto a trailer, and I envisioned the construction of ramps to help slide it into the water. I realized that the main problem in any engineering solution I came up with was the sand on the beach. I would have to deal with the friction and damage caused by sand scraping the hull, but what I needed most was a firm footing on this sandy beach in order to get anything done. Even if I were to try to bring in a crane, its base would need to be secure before any kind of lift could be attempted.

Sleepless nights are often times of prayer, and on this night the following words of Jesus came to mind:
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." Matthew 7:24-27 (AKJV)
After first securing a firm foundation, the solution to my problem became apparent and the job was accomplished with the barest minimum of hand tools, rope, and a few "Heave ho's".

Where am I going with this you may ask...

The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina has taken the past year and a half trying to solve the problem presented to it by the authorization of a rite of same-sex blessings approved by the General Convention of the Episcopal church. Right now, our Bishop is putting the finishing touches on his
"Biblical, Theological and Pastoral Reflection (not a letter to be read in church) and "six-week curriculum with 1-3 additional session options for deeper study and reflection" (overdue) which will purport to show how his solution will keep the diocese off the rocks with both oars in the water pulling in the same direction.  

A year and a half of work by the Bishop on top of a decade of efforts by TEc...  Shouldn't the solution be easier to find?

I suspect the problem of justifying the "facts on the ground" is that there is no firm ground upon which to build a theological argument to bless something the Bible condemns. Re-writing the Bible cannot be justified. Ramps, jacks, cranes, and slipways won't move Holy Scripture. A new foundation must be laid by those who would declare blessed what the Lord and his Apostles consider sinful. As we have heard in the past, we will probably hear a primary appeal to the heart as the foundation upon which our Bishop's solution to the same sex blessing problem is based.

Such an appeal would seem squishy to me.

Can a foundation of human hearts and emotions alone support a Church?

Can it keep the walls together?

What theological flying buttresses will our modern day Church engineers come up with to try to keep the whole thing from imploding?



  1. Pewster,
    In your image, the buttress is supporting the church from the outside. That is the problem with the theology. It is outside the church.

  2. It is the problem of modern day Church engineers' training. They learn how to build a Church without the proper theological foundation, and when challenged by a force from above, they try to build a theological buttress to keep a flawed structure standing.