Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Middle Way

One of the traditions of the Episcopal Church (and the rest of the Anglican Communion, for that matter) is that we will always seek to find a middle way, or via media as the church fathers called it in the old days when Latin was still the official language of worship. This began in the days of Queen Elizabeth I, who was faced with the rather daunting task of shaping this new church started by her father, Henry VIII. With her advisors, Elizabeth decided that the Anglican faith would be a middle way, somewhere between true Roman Catholicism and true Protestantism, as exemplified by the Puritans who were starting to become a force in England.

This tradition of following the via media has spread to other aspects of Episcopal tradition as well. In some senses, this is good. It means we look for consensus and compromise, and that we can include all kinds of people.

It also sometimes, in my opinion, means that we avoid taking a stand and that we try too hard to avoid offending people.

Sometimes you just need to put your foot down and decide what you believe and where you want to go with it, and I truly wish sometimes that we could do this. There’s a chance the church will split over the issues surrounding homosexuality. I don’t want that any more than anyone else does. But I want even less to be wishy-washy about it and avoid doing what’s right just to keep the majority happy! Tyranny by a majority is still tyranny, and surely Jesus wasn’t worried about keeping the disciples happy when he was doing his earthly ministry.

Last year there was a commercial showing some people waiting in line to get into a church as if it were a nightclub. There was a bouncer going through and removing the “undesirables” from line—gay couples, young people, poor people, punked-out teenagers. The message of the commercial was that even if you’d felt that way elsewhere, their church would welcome you. It was for the United Church of Christ, as I recall.

It should have been ours. We should have been the ones to take that stand. All the directory signs and emblems boldly proclaim, “The Episcopal Church welcomes you!”

It’s time to make it clear that this statement is true.


At 2/22/2006 3:01 PM, Blogger Tirithien said...

There are times that you have to just make a call, and forget about making every last person happy. It's the only way anything can be done.

At 2/23/2006 4:33 PM, Blogger Shephard said...

Loved this post, and agree 100%.
Integrity, compassion and thinking for yourself should be embraced by the church. And I loved what you said about putting your foot down. Time to stop being so PC.
Very nice post.
Enjoyed visiting your blog.

At 3/01/2006 11:37 AM, Blogger Sensual Demoness said...

You may be one of the most atypical Christians out there. And I definitely do not think this is a bad thing.

At 3/02/2006 7:10 AM, Blogger Bainwen Gilrana said...

Thank you. I think. :-)


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