One Spirit, many gifts

Working the non-anxious presence beat, I came across this refreshingly calm perspective on the current divisions in the Anglican Communion from Marshall Scott, a hospital chaplain in Missouri.

He writes:

“We have always looked at Jesus in John, praying that “all may be one as You, Father, and I are one,” and held that to mean, ultimately, an institutional unity. But what if Jesus meant an organic unity? After all, Paul’s image is, again and again, of a body, with many members. Suppose that when Paul talked about “many members” he wasn’t talking about individuals, but about whole churches – congregations, or the city-churches that paralleled the city-states in which they functioned.

…. So what if Paul understood the members not simply as individuals with discernable vocations, but whole churches with discernable and different vocations? That body image also allows for a lot of diversity. You don’t want the skin on the back of your hand to weep moisture, but you don’t want the membranes in your mouth to be dry. The digestive acids in your stomach will, if forced out of place, painfully damage the tissues of your esophagus. The bacteria that are perfectly safe, and indeed necessary, there in your colon will cause life-threatening disease if let out into your viscera.

Perhaps that would suggest that denominationalism is not the scandal of the Church, but a provision – providential! – for reaching more of us unique, individual, and individualistic human beings.”

This takes the edge off some of the dire warnings of schism that are becoming predictably more numerous in the run-up to General Convention.

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