Taking a stand … in the middle of the road

A group of clergy from the Diocese of Georgia have published a statement in Savannah Morning News that speaks to the decision by the leadership of Christ Church, Savannah to attempt to affiliate as a congregation of the Anglican Province of Uganda.

“Traffic is coming at you both ways if you stand in the middle of the road, or as Episcopalians call it, taking the middle path, the via media.

Standing in the middle, whether it be in traffic or two conflicting views can be a risky business, but it is how Episcopalians and most of their Anglican brothers and sisters have chosen to live. In fact much of what is being said about the Episcopal Church, from whatever direction the traffic is flowing can be very misleading. Read the Bible, read our prayer book and speak with a member of our clergy to discover the real facts about who we are and what we believe.

The apostle Paul said to do all things in moderation. That doesn’t mean being ‘luke-warm.

‘We accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and we believe that fundamentalism, polarization and the secularizing of religion are dangerous for one’s spiritual health. We continue to stand for listening to one another, being inclusive, taking our history seriously, taking Scripture seriously, and engaging mystery and paradox.

We adhere to the ancient Creeds of the Church and we believe Holy Scripture is the inspired Word of God containing all things necessary for salvation. We further believe that the Sacraments provide a sure and certain means of God’s grace. We accept the checks and balances of a church structure and practice that include the ancient tradition of bishops, priests, deacons and laity. All of this keeps local vestries (boards) and clergy from going off the deep end.

All this being said, as in any denomination, there are many individuals, both leaders and parishioners, who hold a variety of beliefs, but in the Episcopal Church no one individual, no one vestry, no one leader, may dictate or pretend to represent the exclusive Faith of the Church. We recognize along with the apostle Paul that we all see through a glass darkly. But if we can make an effort to take one another seriously and listen to each other as fellow members of The Body of Christ, we might all see a bit more clearly and charitably.

We in the Episcopal Church are willing to risk, that at the end of the day, we might be convicted, of being too compassionate, rather than too judgmental; too inclusive rather than too exclusive; too moderate rather than too extremist. We are willing to take the risk of standing in the via media.

Are you willing to take that risk? Come and see who we really are.

Visit an Episcopal Church on Sunday. Come to a Bible study or forum at a local Episcopal church. Everyone is welcome, regardless of denomination, religion, political party, lifestyle or race. Step out of the fast lane (or slow) and step into the via media.”

Read the rest, and see the full list of signatories here.

Hat-tip to Episcope for the pointer to the article!

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