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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday morning prayers

Tomorrow begins the Episcopal Church's General Convention. I am told the Presbyterian Church (USA) is convening their national meeting this week as well. I know more about the ECUSA, of course, seeing as how I am a member of that part of the Body; but I am given to undserstand that our Presbyterian brothers and sisters may also be facing the prospect of a House Divided over issues similar to those on our agenda in the coming days.

It seems to me that, regardless of which side of which conflict (and there are several!) we are on, we can't accomplish anything-- indeed, we are flatly refusing to live the lives of discipleship to which we as Christians are all called-- if we are unwilling to pray together, for ourselves and for (rather than against!) one another. That's where we have to begin. This is as good a place to start as any.

A Prayer for God’s Wisdom in A Time of Disagreement*

Gracious God, who formed us all in your image,
male and female, liberal and conservative,
and who sent the Son to reconcile all of humanity through the power of the cross;

As your children gather in coming days to listen to each other and to you,
may your Spirit lead them toward the truth of the gospel,
towards justice, righteousness and peace.

Help each of them to lay aside whatever animosity or bitterness or stereotypes that they have brought with them, so that they can see both the issues which divide them and each other with new eyes.

Grant each of them an extra measure of patience and grace to sit with and welcome as brother and sister those with whom they disagree.

May what is accomplished this week be a sign, despite the differences, that your children love one another even as Jesus taught them, so that your church may be one.

In the name of Jesus Christ who gave his life for the world. Amen.


*Courtesy of the Rev. Timothy F. Simpson, moderator for the Christian Alliance for Progress.

7 Comments:

Blogger The young fogey said...

Then again Our Lord said he came to bring a sword, meaning unity at any cost isn't his/the church's message. When he said you must sacramentally eat his flesh and drink his blood to have life in you and people left him, did he run after them saying 'Wait! Please come back! I didn't mean it! Come to my supper anyway!'?! Did he tell the woman he saved from stoning 'Go and sin no more' or 'Go back to what you were doing - after all you think it's right'? Both sides in ECUSA (and I imagine in the PCUSA as well) believe in absolutes, only disagreeing on what they are. Rather than strain an Anglican comprehensiveness already shattering without state coercion propping it up (which has broken down even in England) it makes more sense for the four Anglicanisms - Catholic, Central, Evangelical and Broad - to go their separate ways, however amicably.

June 12, 2006 10:43 AM  

Blogger Susie said...

Young Fogey - I happen to agree with you that there are some things in which Christians must part ways with each other in order to be true to their beliefs... but as a favorite prof so often says, "its more complicated than that." In your neat divisions of Catholic, Central, Evangelical and Broad (and I do appreciate that you see more than two sides here)... where do folks go who strongly identify with the theology worship of Anglo-Catholicism but believe that there is room in that tradition for the ordination of openly gay men (an d women)? And who gets to decide what "Central" and "Broad" really mean, anyway? The purpose of sticking together is not that we are sure that someday we'll all agree - the purpose of sticking together is to acknowledge that in fact, none of us have the whole truth.

(PS- Jane, if you'd like me to move this reply out of your comments, lemme know :) )

June 12, 2006 11:40 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or, let's say I'm adamantly opposed to the ordination of gay men, but think that the ordination of women is a wonderful thing, and that the language of the BCP 1979 is good, too. Where would I go then? Start another church?

June 12, 2006 12:08 PM  

Blogger The young fogey said...

Those four descriptions of churchmanship cover a lot of ground and are meant to do so. Comprehensive, LOL.

If one likes Catholic externals but believes in the attempted ordination of women, one could be a modern Central Churchman who likes Catholic externals - if he accepts the creeds and traditional moral teaching.

If one is unsound on those things - he supports the ordination of practising homosexuals for example - one is a Broad Churchman who likes Catholic externals. It's not hard to find parishes like that in mainstream ECUSA!

Actually I have some dear friends, exemplary Christians, who are sound on homosexuality but accept the new American Prayer Book and women's ordination - they're modern Central Church. We don't pretend to be of the same faith but understand each other.

Central: Belief in a Real Presence but less than a complete change in the elements, which is Catholic belief. Sound on morals - agrees with the church's classic interpretation of scripture on these.

Broad: Rejects one or more parts of the creeds and/or classic Christian moral teaching. If one is sound on the creeds, etc., but not on morals one is wrong but still Christian. (A disconnect unknown to the Church Fathers.) Those who reject a literal God, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, etc. are no longer Christians.

June 12, 2006 12:28 PM  

Blogger cheesehead said...

Thank you for this, from your PCUSA sister. I will be in prayer for us all this week, as I travel to Birmingham to our GA.

June 12, 2006 6:33 PM  

Blogger jledmiston said...

Thanks for a fine, heartfelt prayer. We Presbyterians have hope -- at least I do, but it ought to be interesting.

June 13, 2006 5:54 AM  

Blogger The young fogey said...

Just a few more comments:

Fr Will Brown has well described the distinction between 'openly gay' and 'practising'. Unsurprisingly many priests I've been acquainted with over 20 years have been of that orientation and it doesn't matter.

Of course none of us knows the whole truth, otherwise we'd be equal to God (ho Logos)! However, that doesn't mean the truth is unknowable, that one can't know more of it than others, see Matthew 12:25 and in the hereafter of course all will know and agree on what it is.

The distinction between Central and Broad is self-evident IMHO. Traditional credally and on morals = Central. Not so on either = Broad, but if traditional on the first, like Rowan Williams AFAIK, still Christian.

July 29, 2006 8:36 AM  

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