I have been out of town for a week, so I haven't had a chance to write. I was in Nashville at a big United Methodist shindig. Good stuff. But I'm back now, so look out! I have some catching up to do.
A newspaper article in the paper yesterday (the link in the title above should take you to the article) told of Christ Church Episcopal in Overland Park splitting away from the Kansas diocese of the Episcopal church. There is also a great letter about it at www.episcopal-ks.org. The issue at the center of the split is "human sexuality," which is a code word for our attitudes toward people who are homosexual. The congregation is leaving because the larger church has proven to be too tolerant in it's ordination the Bishop of New Hampshire.
The congregation's Rev. Ron McCrary calls the split a "win-win situation" because there was no bitterness or animosity in the split. They are just taking their congregation and leaving. They are saying: No hard feelings, huh? You aren't going to play by the rules WE make, so we'll just quit playing with you altogether. Forget about all that "Christian conversation" crap, that's just for show. Forget about all of that "Come, let us reason together" fluffy stuff (Isaiah 1:18). Too touchy-feely for me. Bottom line is - we don't agree, so I'm going to play with some kids who think like I do!
Win-win situation? Who exactly is winning what here? Who made this a contest? How did living together as the body of Christ get perverted into a situation where there are winners and/or not losers?
The article said that the congregation would assume the $1.7 MILLION mortgage and pay the diocese $1 MILLION for the right to leave. So what we have here is a church willing to shell out 2.7 MILLION DOLLARS rather than be a part of a denomination with a bishop who is gay. First of all, I'm thinking we should be shocked an apalled that there is a congregation with 2.7 MILLION DOLLARS on hand to spend! What else could they do with all that money? How many hungry people could eat for a year using their 2.7 MILLION DOLLARS? How many pairs of new shoes for how many poor children could we buy? How much medical insurance could honest, hard-working folks afford with that 2.7 MILLION DOLLARS? Makes you want to cuss, doesn't it?
Second of all, here is a group of people who is hard at work to ship food to people in Sudan (a wonderful and worthy endeavor), but cannot see the glaring disconnect between this mission and their stance with regard to people who are gay. Rev. McCrary says, "This church has a long history of reaching out to hurting people in our own city and foreign countries." Well, I just hope none of those Sudanese people receiving your food are homosexual, Christ Church Episcopal. We wouldn't want "those kind of people" to receive any grace now, would we?
The retreat into fundamentalism is well underway, faithful rainbow-dwellers! And in the Episcopal church in Overland Park, it is very, very real - you can see it happening.
Just want to leave you with this thought. I figured I would throw a little scripture in the mix, just to make things interesting! "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called– one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Ephesians 4:1-6) I guess that pretty much says it all, doesn't it?
Grace and Peace (and today, maybe a dash of Hope - God knows we need it),