We had dinner last night with my brother and his wife. They confirmed that they are likely leaving Atlanta by mid-summer. My sister and her family are moving out of their apartment into a new house this weekend. Sally and I are staying right where we are.
I'm probably moving as well though. I do not know where, but I think that I can no longer be a part of an organization that revels in injustice. I do not think I will be an Episcopalian for much longer.
The Episcopal Church has been moving in the wrong direction for decades. I have fought the changes with every fibre of my being. I have participated in church politics, I have done committees, written letters, politicked, campaigned, you name it. Some time back I burnt out and almost ceased being a Christian, let alone an Episcopalian.
The argument I hear from my reappraising mother and moderate father is that I ought to remain. That doctrinal disagreements are no reason to leave. That it is possible to reform from within. They are correct. 2008 is by no means the worst year in the history of Christianity. Arguably, that honour belongs to 1378, when there were two Popes serving at the same time.
However, there is more to membership than working from within. We are more than Episcopalians. We are also Christians. And the second is much more important than the former.
For some time, the label Episcopalian has been hindering my Christian witness. That is unacceptable. Given the lack of commitment of my church to mercy, charity, grace or even justice at the present time, I can not see that remaining will constitute anything other than an endorsement of my church's actions.
I think I will stay to see what happens to Bishop Duncan. That will be the final straw, the last ditch, the line that must not be crossed. If the Episcopal Church behaves as I believe it will, then the following things will happen.
I have been donating anonymously to my alma mater. That will cease. I have given money to my home church. That will stop. All of my time and energy that I have spent protesting, corresponding and communicating with anyone who will listen about the current state of affairs in the Episcopal Church will be spent on finding a new home for my wife and myself.
I don't expect to hear anything from the institutional loyalists other than 'don't let the door hit you on the arse on the way out'. But....
How many people have to leave before our leadership acknowledges that there is a problem? How small can the Episcopal Church get and remain viable? If there is no physical resurrection, no life after death, no real theology or ethics or even morality other than “God won't fix in a box” then what reason is there for the Episcopal Church?
The Baptists have better sermons, the Methodists have much better music, the Catholics have better liturgy, the Orthodox have greater solemnity, and the Presbyterians just know what's going to happen. And all of them have Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. So why be an Episcopalian? What do we have to offer that is valuable?
That's the core of the current crisis. Because if you do not believe that Jesus is God and that you are a sinner and therefore separated from God. And do not believe that God loves you and died for you and rose again triumphant over death. Then you have no reason to live as a Christian. Because you are not one.
Your god may not fit in a box. But mine doesn't either. And mine is much more powerful and active than yours is. My God died for you. Your god can not even live, much less act. My God acts on a minute by minute basis in the world. He performs miracles with astonishing regularity. Your god is limited. Your god is dead. Nietzsche said so and he was right.
I no longer wish to bear the responsibility of the acts of the godless. I can no longer worship in a place of disbelief. It's time to worship the Lord amongst my fellow believers.