Diana Butler Bass nails it

Diana Butler Bass (by way of Terry Martin):

...Recently, I lunched with a friend who is a priest. We talked about the pain of the last two years—the time since the Diocese of New Hampshire elected Gene Robinson, a priest living in a faithful, same-sex partnership, to be its bishop. “You know, I think the church handled this all very poorly,” my friend said. “Right after the vote, everyone who disagreed with Robinson’s election was all over the media, protesting, holding press conferences. Those who agreed kept saying ‘no comment, no comment.’ The church, as a whole, had no story to tell. Interest groups and individuals had stories. Those who were mad at the church had a story. But the church had no story.”

I looked at her in amazement. She was right. We had become, in effect, a church with no story to tell. Or, worse still, we had a story, but we failed to tell it. We let others tell it for us. In the absence of story, conflict grew, divides deepened, and those who had stories to begin with set the larger framework for storytelling. The church—as a whole—has spent much of the last two years responding to someone else’s story, entering into the worldview created by someone else’s language and definitions, arguing within a framework that does not carry the spiritual realities of original events...

Terry's own commentary is also helpful:

As one who spent five years responding to a specific group's story on a daily basis, I think Diana has accurately described the situation. The stories from the Anglican purists had little to do with reality, yet they were not challenged. But then, by the time some of us did begin to challenge them, their stories had already become entrenched in the public consciousness, causing our challenges to become little more than defensive responses, which often used their framing of the story as a starting point. I suppose it was better than the "no comment" response, which personally I still consider to be a huge mistake, but the defensive position caused its own damage, it seems to me.

Comments (1)

Thanks for posting this, Jim. You can read all of Diana's article and a lot of other good stuff at Alban Roundtable. The article was originally published in Fall 2005 in Congregations magazine.

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