Friday, May 2, 2008

Could happen here, too...

Over at a blog called Per Christum, David Bennett writes about the demise of organized, traditional Episcopalians in Southern Ohio.

The scattering of these folks is no comfort for the anti-Christian Episcopal Church there - TEC's franchise there is the same aging, declining mess as many other dioceses around the country.

And the same thing can happen/is happening here in South Dakota. As Greg Griffith at Stand Firm suggests, the Episcopal Church can die with a whimper instead of a bang.

I've spent plenty of time on this blog documenting the decline of the Diocese of South Dakota, and its refusal to confront the reality of the Episcopal Church's failed directions.

But I should note that traditional Episcopalians have little about which to gloat. Efforts to organize them often run into, "Oh, that's nice, but I'm really too old to get involved," or "Oh, that's nice, but I'm really tired of the whole thing."

In other cases, people won't cooperate because they can't agree about Women's Ordination or which version of the Book of Common Prayer to use. Some are wounded by past church events and just can't share the sandbox with the other kids anymore. Some are eccentric and just can't seem to be part of any organization.

Maybe this is all part of God's plan - perhaps the judgment of the Episcopal Church is final and profound. The liberal/progressives will wither away and the traditional/orthodox will scatter, moving on to other churches.

To which I can only echo Job 1:21,

"...the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."


Joe said...

I shudder; we should all shudder.

God's peace.

David Handy+ said...

Although it's merely anecdotal evidence and not statistically represenative in any way, it still is interesting what happened to that little conservative group in Southern Ohio. As Sarah Hey notes on the Stand Firm thread about the group, the way the group has scattered seems roughly typical. Slightly over half went in a variety of Portestant or Anglican directions: i.e., 1 to AMiA, 1 to the REC, 1 to the Baptists etc.; and just under half (four of them) became Roman Catholics, including a clergy couple.

Yes, we are living under divine judgment, which is never pleasant. But I for one don't believe that this will mean the end of the noble Anglican experiment of the last 500 years or so.

I suggest that we are going through a time of radical "pruning," as in John 15, in order that we may bear more and better fruit. Alas, pruning can sometimes seem very harsh. Grapevines and rose bushes are often hacked back severly indeed. But the results are worth it.

Personally, I remain confident that we are in the early stages of what should prove to be nothing less than "the New Reformation."