The theologizing and satirizing and politicking and bickering had settled down just 10 days ago when I went on vacation. Now, California is saying that the recently-issued House of Bishops response to the Dar-es-Salaam meeting does not apply because it was not passed by General Convention. The Archbishop of Canterbury steps back either a millennium or several millennia to a position about the basic political unit of the Christian church through a personal letter to Bishop John Howe of Florida. The blogs are rampant with name-calling. The House of Bishops and Deputies listserv blithers on with dissecting the letter and the resolutions passed by California.
This church is in a bipolar state - highs and lows experienced by all sorts of divisions and sections. Perhaps a large dose of Depakote or some other anti-psychotic medication is needed to trim off the bottoms and tops of the emotional/theological spectrum. Personally, I am past caring what Akinola or the Archbishop of Canterbury does. If the Episcopal Church wants to ordain women, gays, lesbians, transsexuals, bisexuals, divorced people, dwarfs, giants, elves or others, it's okay by me. And, color is irrelevant as well. I think we need a purple haired bishop somewhere in the USA, just to balance the plethora of gold miters that seems to appear on every diocesan website.
So, we recognize the signs of a shift in the Anglican Communion and we try to have a hand in shaping the future of such a group. That may come to nothing. Meanwhile, we still have to be about the work of God...and I don't mean the wars and floods and multitudinous laws that appear in the ancient Hebrew scriptures. I mean the simple commandments: Love God. Love your neighbor. Feed my sheep. Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me. Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God (yes, I know that's not in the New Testament.)
Most church-going Episcopalians are continuing to do just that, each in her/his own way - volunteering, giving money, writing letters, guiding and leading others in the simple treasure of doing for others. But, this controversy is going to affect these Episcopalians sooner rather than later. We are going to find ourselves suddenly missing people from our pews and potlucks. We are going to find our budgets for doing the work of God greatly diminished. We are going to hear of or be involved in legal disputes over property and money. This controversy will touch each of us.
The divisions that will happen as a result are not necessarily bad things to me. The same people will continue to do the work of God in the way that they believe is appropriate - the same ways they have always done. Individual ministries and churches may not have as many volunteers or large budgets, but this may force us to ecumenicalism/ecumenism ???. We may need to work with other denominations to form large enough entities with strong enough budgets to meet the needs of the places that are willing to accept our help. Strangely, we may find ourselves someday working with those who formed different churches and with whom we disagreed wholeheartedly. All doing the work of God.
May God bless us all. May the work that we do benefit the world and the Divinity.