The question of the day over at Ask the Priest is "Why am I an Episcopalian?" We wonder if it's also the author's answer to the question, Where is the God of history and the Incarnation?
While I could look at other churches in our town and pin exactly where the members of that church would live and how they would vote, our Episcopal church could not be so categorized. Five hundred years after the Elizabethan Compromise, our church still found its unity in the community-building mystery of worship, rather than in politics or intellectual assent to set principles. It was that vision of the Episcopal Church that I fell in love with - Christ-centered, faithful in worship, diverse in belief, and tolerant of difference. In a culture that tended to force churches to take set identities, we steadfastly refused and instead centered ourselves on worship of the living God.Read The Rev. David Simmonsentire's entire post here.
There have always been forces in American politics that have sought to move the Episcopal Church, which is amazingly influential for its size, towards one extreme or the other, and it is no different today. A growing frustration of mine has been that we have increasingly accepted a legislative model of decision-making. This reinforces the idea for people on the extremes that the point is to prepare for diocesan and general conventions as do-or-die events that determine the future of the church by majority rule. While this can produce results, they are results that cannot be said to issue from the teachings of Jesus and Paul that we should strive for unity and harmony. A side effect of this type of decision-making is that it allows outside forces to manipulate us through influence and money in an attempt to turn us from being a church to being a political action committee, which is more palatable to the culture.