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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Monday, June 23, 2008

"The faith once delivered to all the saints"

That phrase-- a quote (depending on your preferred translation) from the book of Jude, has been tossed around a lot in the Current Unpleasantness in the Episcopal Church by some who believe that we are headed down the road to perdition. It gets used-- and misued!-- with such frequency that, quite honestly, I'm thoroughly sick of it. I've begun to flinch whenever I hear those words.

But this morning I read a wonderful response to that phenomenon. It is reprinted over at Desert's Child. Do yourself a favor, and go read it all.

The conclusion addresses the leadership of the diocese of Fort Worth; but it says beautifully what I wish the whole church could hear:

Our diocesan leadership’s resistance to many things going on today in the Episcopal Church is not only their indisputable right, it’s entirely traditional: Christians have from the very beginning had to figure things out for themselves. Jesus left us only the most basic—though entirely sufficient—tools to work with: His love, the Holy Spirit, a mystical sacramental bond with him in baptism and the eucharist. All the rest we have to piece together as experience and circumstance teach us, and we have never all sung in unison. Never. Our leaders in Fort Worth err in supposing and saying we ever did, and their nostalgic formula is as illusory now as it was when Jude used it. And thank God for that! Is revelation closed? Is the church finished? Are all the answers in? The notion of a neatly defined, readily available packaged and bottled Christianity, one size fits all, is foreign to this history. That doesn’t mean we can play fast and loose with our religion, and thank God for the conservatives in the Episcopal Church who ask enthusiasts hard questions and avoid doing anything rashly. It does mean we dare not—cannot, indeed—preclude the movement of the Holy Spirit in the church to deepen our understanding of God and of Jesus and our own place and work in the spread of the Kingdom on earth. The faith of God in Christ has been given to the saints, is being given to the saints today, will be vouchsafed to future saints until that Kingdom comes.

Our job is not to protect it; God requires no protection. Our job is to be open to it, to do our best to understand it, and to work with those who are with us—and those who are against us—and trust God to take care of the tares among the wheat.

Amen.

2 Comments:

Blogger Singing Owl said...

Wonderful! We are wrestling with different issues in our denom--well more acurately I should say we are NOT wrestling--because we seem to think that our doctrinal statement is sacrosanct! We Christians MUST be able to stretch and grow and learn and follow the leading of the Spirit. I hope our leadership can see this, otherwise we are in serious denial and will be in decline down the road.

June 23, 2008 1:36 PM  

Blogger Crimson Rambler said...

Oh Jane Ellen THANK YOU for this. I am going to quote it extensively...as I have to preach Peter'n'Paul this Sunday -- the "faith of the apostles" etc.

June 24, 2008 5:56 PM  

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