Thursday, May 24, 2007
So there's a lot of articulate and passionate perspectives emerging in relationship to the Archbishop of Canterbury's decision not to invite the leader of disaffected former Episcopalians Martyn Minns and Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire the Right Reverend Gene Robinson to Lambeth, a global Anglican Bishop festival of sorts. Visit episcope or episcopalcafe for links to these many responses.
On Sunday, from the east coast I found that the perspective of a member of a disaffected Virginia parish had been published in my new hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle. After writing a long response, I was encouraged to shorten it significantly and instead of posting it on this blog to submit it to the Chronicle. Since I haven't heard from the San Francisco Chronicle yet I'm publishing it below.
But first I want to say that my heart aches for every one of those people who are so angry and disappointed with the Episcopal Church that they feel they are unable to worship and pray with their brothers and sisters in Christ. Occasionally as a child my family used to drive from the Shenandoah Valley to Northern Virginia to attend worship services at one of these disaffected parishes. My parents had been participants in Cursillo, an aspect of the charismatic renewal movement and worship at this church was closer to what they had experienced at Cursillo than what was happening in our hometown church. I remember being thrilled that the children's program had clowns, although I later learned that a new Rector proudly kicked the clowns out.
So below is my response to Michael Gerson.
To the Editor:
As both an Episcopal priest and one who grew up in the parishes of Virginia, I find Michael Gerson‘s “Bringing the Faith to American Christians” (20 May 2007) deeply troubling. Gerson, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, apparently shares Nigerian Archbishop Akinola’s opposition to ordaining women, gays and lesbians.
Although the Anglican Communion has long been unified, Gerson celebrates the decision of a tiny minority (less than one half of one percent) in the Episcopal Church to join Akinola’s splintering vision. The “consecration” of Martyn Minns, who stood unsuccessfully for election as a bishop in the U.S., aims to shatter global Anglicanism, not build an emerging global Christianity.
As part of an emerging global Christianity that supports ordaining women, gays and lesbians, I recently attended an Anglican conference in South Africa on ending poverty, and caring for the sick and for the Earth. I met Anglicans, particularly African young people, who are glad to work with the mainstream U.S. Episcopal Church.
Indeed, Kenyan theologian Dr. Esther Mombo has challenged Akinola to abandon his predatory practice of splintering the U.S. church and focus instead on the critical needs of Africa. The church and news media should make room for authentic voices of African women like Mombo rather than former presidential spin-doctors, like Gerson.
These disaffiliating American churches do not represent emerging Christianity, as they suggest, but an arrogant ideology aimed at furthering their narrow agenda.
The Reverend Will Scott