That's what the President of our Diocesan Standing Committee said about this blog when we bumped into each other last week.
Well, yeah. There's plenty of room to mellow, since this blog was birthed in a contentious situation and I tend to be a passionate guy. This blog is about two years old now, so let me review the facts:
In 2006, I wrote to the Bishop a couple of times. The first letter was just from me, and it was very gentle. I asked the Bishop if he might connect with some other Bishops who were then trying to find a way to honor their commitments to The Episcopal Church while maintaining a high level of connection to the global Anglican Communion (in other words, folks who wanted to avoid any division or separation). That conversation never really got going, more because we had trouble getting our calendars together than anything else.
Later, I was one of several folks to write him, asking him to give consent to the election of Mark Lawrence as Bishop of South Carolina. This letter was a bit more demanding, as we asked the Bishop to apply the same standard to a traditional Diocese that he had used in consenting to the controversial election of an actively gay Bishop for New Hampshire.
That's when things heated up. There was no personal reply from the Bishop (or the Standing Committee, which received the same letter). Instead, the Bishop posted the following message on the Diocesan website in December, 2006:
I have received three letters from folks in the Diocese urging me to vote a particular way concerning an election of a Bishop. I have been told that since the Diocesan Convention voted that this Diocese be a "safe place" that I needed to vote a certain way. That is not my understanding of what a "safe place" is and I chose to vote my conscience in the matter. BUT, I am very happy that folks are paying attention to the Diocese being a "safe place" since that will make it much easier to invite folks like Mr. Louie Crew and the Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson [gay entitlement leaders in the Episcopal Church] to visit us, Celebrate with us and perhaps learn from us. I am excited that I will be able to take either of these gentlemen to any of our congregations to visit and know that they will be treated "safely" and given the dignity that every human being is assured by virtue of our Baptismal Covenant!!
So, it was the Diocese itself which issued an impersonal, sarcastic Internet blast in 2006 - this little blog of mine didn't even come into existence until May, 2007.
So, yeah, I've been harsh at times. But I was not the one who opened fire in the first place.
But yes, this blog has mellowed lately. I'm painfully aware of what the Episcopal Church's own State of the Church document just stated with words and statistics: we are huddled in polarized little cliques that don't talk to one another. Screaming across the divides does little but harden the polarization. So I am trying to find a way to apply Biblical wisdom, staying firm in commitment to the revealed faith but being gentler and more respectful in disputes, as Jesus commands in one of today's readings.