"Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere
anarchy is loosed upon the world..." -William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"
This isn't a happy post. In fact, I deleted it last night because I hate offending people. But I've decided to re-post it after encouragement from some good friends of mine. I feel it needs to be said. Our silence is implicit acceptance of the unacceptable.
The Episcopal Church is facing a crisis.
We've tried to ignore it, we've tried to pretend it doesn't exist, but the truth is that our numbers are dwindling, and a bleak sense of apathy has settled over us as Bishops battle Primates over petty, meticulous details which the outside world couldn't care less about. We are so polarized along liberal/conservative lines, and our ideologies are increasingly defined along these false dichotomies. If you're liberal, you're automatically a revisionist. If you're orthodox, you're presumed conservative. Such oversimplified rhetoric is destructive and unhelpful.
At best, this inability to agree on anything has choked our growth to a standstill. At worst, it is tearing our church apart.
Of course, I'm no different than anyone else. Yes, I do happen to believe my progressive/orthodox stance is the "right" one, and I know this probably only contributes to the problem.
But I can't offer any solutions. I don't have any answers. And, it seems, neither does my church - only questions. The only advice we hear is to keep pretending that our "common prayer" has any semblance of integrity anymore, coming from priests and Bishops who think it's so cool that they have a blog and a MySpace account.
Always more questions.
If we are defined by a lack of definition, then we either cease to exist, or cease to be what we once were. Period.
I love the Church -I love this church - despite all its flaws and scars and violent history and yes - sins. The only way it gets better is if we make it better, and I want to see the Church still standing proclaiming Christ is Lord today, tomorrow, and for all the days to come. That's why I simply can't give up and say, "who cares?"
Right now, the question on my mind is can the center hold? Can we agree on something? Is our tent big enough for all opinions, no matter how diverse and complex?
After reading Tamie's blog, one of my favorite quotes came to mind, and I wanted to share. It's an excerpt from My Antonia, by Willa Cather:
"I did not believe that my dead father and mother were watching me from up there; they would still be looking for me at the sheep-fold down by the creek or along the white road that lead to the mountain pastures. I had left even their spirits behind me. The wagon jolted on, carrying me I knew not wither. I don't think I was homesick. If we never arrived anywhere, it did not matter. Between that earth and that sky I felt erased, blotted out. I did not say my prayers that night: here, I felt, what would be would be."
"How long must justice be crucified, and truth buried?" -Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Cost of Being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgendered around the globe:
Algeria - A Fine to 3 Years in Prison Angola - Labor Camps Antigua and Barbuda - 15 Years in Prison Bahrain - A Fine to 10 Years in Prison Bangladesh - 10 Years to Life in Prison Barbados - Life in Prison Belize - 10 Years in Prison Benin - 3 Years in Prison Bhutan - 1 Month to 1 Year in Prison Botswana - A Fine to 7 Years in Prison Brunei - A Fine to 10 Years in Prison Cameroon - A Fine to 5 Years in Prison Cook Islands - A Fine to 14 Years in Prison Djibouti - 10 to 12 Years in Prison Dominica - 10 Years in Prison Egypt - 5 Years in Prison Eritrea - 3 to 10 Years in Prison Ethiopia - 10 Days to 3 Years in Prison Gambia - A Fine to 14 Years in Prison Ghana - Not Known Grenada - 10 Years in Prison Guinea - 6 Months to 3 Years in Prison Guinea Bissau - Labor Camps India - A Fine to Life in Prison Iran - Death Jamaica - 10 Years Hard Labor Kenya - A Fine to 14 Years in Prison Kiribati - A Fine to 14 Years in Prison Kuwait - A Fine to 7 Years in Prison Lebanon - A Fine to 1 Year in Prison Lesotho - Not Known Liberia - A Fine Libya - A Fine to 5 Years in Prison Malawi - A Fine to 14 Years in Prison Malaysia - A Fine to 20 Years in Prison Mauritania - Death Mauritius - A Fine to 5 Years in Prison Morocco - 6 Months to 3 Years in Prison Mozambique - Labor Camps Myanmar/Burma - 10 Years to Life in Prison Namibia - Not Known Nauru - 14 Years Hard Labor Nepal - A Fine to 1 Year in Prison Nicaragua - 1 to 3 Years in Prison Nigeria - 5 Years in Prison to Death Niue - A Fine to 10 Years in Prison Oman - A Fine to 3 Years in Prison Pakistan - 2 Years to Life in Prison Palau - A Fine to 10 Years in Prison Palestine - A Fine to 10 Years in Prison Papua New Guinea - A Fine to 14 Years in Prison Qatar - A Fine to 5 Years in Prison Saint Kitts and Nevis - 10 Years in Prison Saint Lucia - A Fine to 10 Years in Prison Saint Vincent and Grenadines - A Fine to 10 Years in Prison Samoa - A Fine to 7 Years in Prison Sao Tome and Principe - Labor Camps Saudi Arabia - Death Senegal - 1 Month to 5 Years in Prison Seychelles - A Fine to 2 Years in Prison Sierra Leone - Life in Prison Singapore - 2 Years in Prison Solomon Islands - A Fine to 14 Years in Prison Somalia - 3 Months in Prison to Death Sri Lanka - A Fine to 10 Years in Prison Sudan - 5 Years in Prison to Death Swaziland - A Fine Syria - A Fine to 3 Years in Prison Tanzania - A Fine to 25 Years in Prison Togo - A Fine to 3 Years in Prison Tokelau - A Fine to 10 Years in Prison Trinidad and Tobago - 25 Years in Prison Tunisia - A Fine to 3 Years in Prison Turkmenistan - A Fine to 2 Years in Prison Tuvalu - A Fine to 14 Years in Prison Uganda - A Fine to Life in Prison United Arab Emirates - Death Uzbekistan - A Fine to 3 Years in Prison Yemen - Flogging to Death Zambia - A Fine to 14 Years in Prison Zimbabwe - A Fine to 1 Year in Prison
O Mary Magdalene, Paschal messenger and Apostle to the Apostles; Thy weeping in the garden hath been turned to joy, and thy myrrh hath become a holy chrism: Pray for us, that we also might encounter and trust in the Risen Christ, who maketh the tomb a bridal chamber for his Church, and hast taken away the sins of the world. Amen.