Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Venables to visit Fort Worth

Episcopal Cafe has this item here.

My first reaction is "where the h*** are the people who speaking out definitively against this. What is with the huge silence. And then I realized, it really is too late for anyone to speak out. The time when it would have made a difference has passed.

I'm assuming that the powers that be did not want to offend anyone - did not want anyone walking off in a huff - and so they stood by and did nothing. It is an attitude that I have had to deal with and am still dealing with. I had phoned someone for some advice over a recent event in the life of my parish - an event that can end in very positive life for the congregation ifs it is handled well, but I also need the support of higher up. The person I phoned did not want anyone offended in the decision making process and almost completely tied my hands as far as working toward a positive outcome in fear that someone will be offended. After I hung up the phone I turned to my husband and said, "Well, he/she has already managed to have one person offended."

The point is that you cannot go through life without offending someone. My congregation will not make this decision without ticking someone off regardless of what decision we make. The best we can do is let people know that we understand and accept their feelings and opinions and that we care for them and wish them well for their future. You cannot move forward without leaving some behind, as regrettable as that may be.

I believe that a stand should have been taken a while back. Border crossing is wrong because of the chaos that results - I have no problem with creative chaos but I do have a major problem with destructive chaos. Maybe TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada are wrong in their support of full inclusion (although I don't believe they are). Instead of trying to appease each, would it not have been better, when it was realized it wasn't go to happen, to take a stand one way or the other, let the chips fall where they may, and wish those who left well in their future. Maybe it would have left the possiblity of reconciliation in the future more open. It would not have resuled in the chaos that currently exists with lines blurred and everyone offended on one level or another. It would have resulted in all of us getting on with our lives and the mission of the church as we best discern it.

There are times when we need to hold the line and work to keep everyone together. There are times when it is best if we let go. It is now to late to go back to who and what we were. I believe that it is time that we cut our losses. The powers that be need to speak out and let things happen. We can then deal creatively with what is left. If it means that TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada and various other provinces are unable to continue in the present arrangement, then we can creatively come up with a way to support each other and work to fulfill Christ's commission. If it means that those who do not support full inclusion on all levels are unable to continue in the present arrangement, we need to give them our blessing and wish them well in their future.

As my parish visions to move forward, one of our biggest stumbling blocks is letting go of our building. It is not as bad now as it use to be but it is still a concern in our talks with the other two congregations. When it was the major stumbling block, it had become an idol that we were placing before God in total disregard for the commandment that speaks to having no other gods before God. Trying to keep everyone at the table in the Anglican Communion has become like that. There was a time when it was good and right that we try. The time has passed. Unity has become an idol before our commitment to and mission with God. We can see this in the negative results around the life of various provinces and dioceses, let alone on the parish level.

A number of years ago the small village I was in faced the closure of its school. I had two children in the school at the time. As parents and community members we fought that closure but lost again at the next level. We then accepted it and did our best to help our children to adjust to their new school in the next town. Some older members of the community felt we had not fought hard enough. But I realized that although we needed to fight the decision to close the school on a number of levels, not the least being the process and underhandedness of the school board making and implementing the decision, we could only do so to a point where it began adversely affecting our children and making the transition very difficult. We did the best we could within the existing structures but were then able to let go for the good of all concerned.

I look on the current situation in that light. The powers that be have done the best they can but now (and actually much too late) it is time to let go of the past and forge a new future from what is left. I'm ready regardless of whether that leaves the Anglican Church of Canada in or out of the Anglican Communion. I wish those who cannot see their way to full inclusion well either in or out of the communion. May they find the abundant life that is Jesus' promise to us all. I sincerely hope that the rest of us will as well.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

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