Monday, July 30, 2007

On Separation and Diminishment

Readers will know I don't comment too much on what's going on the wider church. It seems like I and my parishioners have enough to do just trying to live our daily lives in faithfulness to the mind of Christ. But I do keep up pretty regularly with current events in the Anglican Communion, and read lots of lbogs of differing points of view. Fr. Tony Clavier, a former bishop in the American Episcopal Church (now the Anglican Province in America) is rector of a parish in Morgantown, WV. He is well qualified to comment on the impending whatever-is-going-to-happen, it seems to me. He writes:

...I am haunted by the old story which suggests that when people leave the church, even because of persecution and suffering, they weaken both the church they leave and that which they erect.

That the loss of people like Campion, Baxter, Wesley, Newman, those who formed the Reformed Episcopal Church over here - and thus made evangelicalism now something which seems new and alien, weakened Anglicanism is surely apparant. That Methodism and Reformed Episcopalianism lost something important in separation may even be admitted by their adherents occasionally.

To which I responded:

I was struck by your point that separation diminishes both those who separate as well as those being separated from. It resonates with me strongly. I imagine that's what St. Paul would have said and did say. It seems that separation is going to happen. I wish it wouldn't. I wish it didn't have to. Perhaps there has been too much sin against the other among all sides to remain together at the moment. And yet, as Bishop Whalon (among others) has pointed out, heresy can be healed. Schism (his words in context) almost never is.

Pray for the church. "I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one." John 17.23.


1 comment:

Troglodyteus said...

The song says, "You will know they are Christians by their love..." not "by their leaving!"

With all the Separation and Diminishment it is a wonder there is anything left of Christianity.