Monday, January 21, 2008

Father Jake Has a Dilemma

The Episcopal blogosphere is spilling lots of electrons on the fact that many orthodox priests in San Jacquin are thinking hard about staying with the Episcopal Church (and not join their bishop in the Southern Cone. Check out The Lead for some excellent coverage of this story.

I think this is wonderful news. I want a church where the orthodox and the progressives worship together.

I gather from some private emails and from some blogs that many progressives are not so certain that this is a good thing. I find this very disturbing. Fortunately, Father Jake is not among them:

Dan Martins has offered this update regarding the dismissal of members of the Standing Committee in San Joaquin. He identifies the source of the quote in his previous post as being the Rev. James Snell, President of the Standing Committee and Rector of St. Columba's, Fresno. He also provides a quote from another priest which offers a second verification that resignations were not offered, in spite of Bp. Schofield's claim that they were.

. . .

Since Dan and Jim were a class ahead of me, I didn't get to know them that well. But I can tell you that they were not among what I would call "the extremists." Dan was an exceptionally bright seminarian, and would get passionate about things theological, but I can never recall him engaging in any form of personal attacks. Jim liked to laugh, and was quick with a story or a comment that would make you chuckle. He was one of those people whose mere presence was cause for you to break out in a smile. I suppose they don't qualify as friends, but they are certainly two priests whom I respect, even when we disagree.

And so, I have a bit of a dilemma. I don't want Dan, Jim or my four friends to leave the Episcopal Church. And I don't think there is any reason for them to do so. But some days I feel that by encouraging the kind of radical (ok, crazy) conversations that we sometimes have here at Jake's Place, I am helping push them out the door. That troubles me.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not going to backpedal. I am convinced that the Episcopal Church is fulfilling her vocation by moving forward toward full inclusion of all God's people. And, because of that conviction among many other Episcopalians, there may come a day when my friends will decide that they have been called to no longer be a part of the Episcopal Church. That will be a sad day for me, personally, and I will sincerely wish them Godspeed as they set out on their journey. But that would not be cause for me to compromise what I believe to be God's call.

We must defend the Church from those who seek to destroy her. But in our zeal, let us take care to not attack those with whom we simply disagree, yet conduct such disagreements with an absence of malice.

And, yes, I'm preaching to myself as well.

Pray for the Church.

Read it all here.

So let's all join, Father Jake (and Father Dan) and pray for the Church.

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