Friday, August 17, 2007

The Christian Center

As the "d-day" of September 30 grows closer and voices (and bloggers) from both sides become ever more strident in their assurance of the rightness of their respective causes, there are many voices from the center who are being increasingly heard. Though I would not want to characterize the Primate of Ireland (he can do that for himself), his recent sermon is the subject of entries in several blogs, among them The Anglican Centrist and Fr. Jake Stops the World. While others have highlighted various parts of this sermon, the part that speaks most forcefully to me comes near the end. Archbishop Harper says:

I have yet to meet any “leader” who does not treat with the utmost respect and indeed reverence the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. I have heard no one in this crisis deny the fundamental tenets of the faith as Anglicans have received them. Yet I have heard believing Christians attack other Christians for not believing precisely as they themselves believe. Equally, I have heard believing Christians attack other Christians for not attaching the weight they themselves attach to this biblical text compared with that.

This is not the way of Christ; it is the way of fallen humanity. It is a boulder of our own creation and I do not know who will help us to roll it away.

So before either side continues to stack up blocks in walls to protect the church from either rampant heresy or homophobia, it might be wise to remember that the people of both sides (and the vast majority in the middle) are faithful, sincere, believing Christians, not raving lunatics or heretics bent on destroying the church.

Every time my commitment to remaining within the Episcopal Church wavers, generally because I'm simply tired of the fight, statements like those of Archbishop Harper shore up my resolve to do so. We are always better together than we are when we are apart, no matter who else is at the table. After all, the table isn't ours, it belongs to Jesus and Jesus can (and does) invite anyone and everyone!

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