Not filled with Christmas cheer.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is filled with mixed feelings concerning the recent goings-on in the Episcopal Church. By now you’ve probably heard that a number of Virginia parishes have voted to seceed from the Episcopal Church USA and affiliate with another group of the Anglican Communion.

On the one hand your Maximum Leader realizes that these are diffcult and taxing times for all those involved and everyone involved should probably take some time to pray for guidance, understanding, and compassion. But on the other hand he’s hoping that some heretics get burned.

Wha? No heretics are getting burned at the stake? Drat.

More seriously… Did you read the piece by Bishopress Schori? The one in the Washington Post? The one that goes:

The Episcopal Church continues to focus on its mission of reconciling the world, particularly as it cares for the least, the lost, and the left out.

While the Episcopal Church laments the recent votes by some persons in Virginia congregations to leave this Church, we are clear that individuals may depart, but congregations do not. Congregations are created and recognized by the diocese in which they exist, and can only be closed by action of the bishop and diocesan governing bodies. Even if a large percentage of a congregation departs, the remaining people will be assisted by the diocese and the larger Church to reconstitute their congregation and continue in mission and ministry in that place.

These recent departures have received a significant amount of publicity, but they represent a tiny percentage of the total number of Episcopalians in the Church. We regret and grieve their departure, and pray that they may continue their journey as Christians in another home.
In the hope that some may decide to return, we intend to keep the door open and the light on.

Those Episcopalians who remain will be offered every pastoral assistance we can provide, in the hope and expectation that mission and ministry continue in their communities. Our Anglican tradition is a broad and comprehensive one, with space for people of widely varying theological opinions. We will continue to model an expansive welcome for all people.

Our mission as a Church is the reconciliation of the world. We will continue to feed the hungry, house the homeless, educate children, heal the sick, minister to those in prison, and speak good news to those who have only heard the world’s bad news. That is the work to which Jesus calls us, and that is the work we shall continue - with a priority of peace and justice work framed by the Millennium Development Goals. May God bless that which seeks to unite and build up and heal this broken world.

Let’s see here… Your Maximum Leader takes this as a polite way of saying “Yeah guys… Go play with your African friends. We’re keeping your churches. Have a day.” Your Maximum Leader is guessing that this whole thing will not end well.

It is interesting to read some of the more intelligent comments on the Schori piece in the post.

You know something… Bishopress Schori’s statement is filled with references to good deed and helping the poor and downtrodden. There is fleeting reference to “widely varying theological opinions” and that is the point to which your Maximum Leader would like to ask a question. Is it important that a church have some sort of core beliefs? Perhaps the core beliefs of the Episcopal Church are helping the poor and downtrodden. That is fine. It would also put the Episcopal Church in the same grouping as the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs. (Your Maximum Leader almost typed inthe Salvation Army, but the Salvation Army is a strongly Christian organization.) But at what point do some of those “widely varying theological opinions” need to be made a little less “widely varying?”

Your Maximum Leader is all for people being able to associate with like-minded people. Especially in matters of religion. Indeed, it seems vitally important to your Maximum Leader that one associate with like-minded co-religionists. In the case of the Episcopal Church, they seem to have reached an impass. The “widely varying theological” tradition appears to be a little too widely varying in areas that at least some people feel shouldn’t be so divergent. The Protestant tradition is filled with groups breaking off into other groups and becoming smaller, more homogenous organizations. Your Maximum Leader thinks the time of many “Episcopal Churches” in America is upon us.

For those of you readers who are members of the Episcopal Church, your Maximum Leader does actually feel for you. He hopes that you follow your conscience and do right by your beliefs.

Carry on.

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