Top Ten Reasons to be an Episcopalian
10. No snake handling.
9. You can believe in dinosaurs.
8. Male and female God created them; male and female we ordain them.
7. You don’t have to check your brains at the door.
6. Pew aerobics.
5. Church year is color-coded.
4. Free wine on Sunday.
3. All of the pageantry—none of the guilt.
2. You don’t have to know how to swim to get baptized.
And the Number One Reason to be an Episcopalian:
1. No matter what you believe, there’s bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.
Many people have seen the list. Many, including myself, have laughed at it. But when I was re-reading #3, something struck me. If the Episcopal Church is guilt-free, then it must be missing something else as well. As my readers know, I've been pondering Martha Stout's book for quite a while.
All mature humans are riddled with guilt. If you do not feel the heavy load of guilt from time to time, then you have what is known as sociopathy. Only sociopaths are truly guilt free. Being guilt free often sounds lovely to me, but there is a very high cost paid for that freedom. Sociopaths can not love. They can feel love for others or feel that they are being loved. They have an inability to stay on mission and tend to flit from one activity to another, mostly because of tedium and boredom. For humans, we can not be freed from guilt without being freed from love. For most of us, that is a bargain we gladly accept.
Institutionally though, if being an Episcopalian means being freed from guilt, doesn't that disconnect us from love as well? And doesn't being a guiltless church mean it is also loveless?
I know many good Episcopalians. I'm related to quite a few. But a Church with a guilt-free mindset is a Church in trouble. More on that to follow.