"For each bears his neighbor as much as he loves him. Then if you love, you bear; if you cease to love, you cease to tolerate. So him whom we love less we also tolerate less, because with the onset of aversion the neighbor's deeds are more swiftly led to a heaviness of importance which the wing of charity does not smooth for us."
Pope Gregory the Great, who in 595 sent a missionary team to England. They established their mission at Canterbury.
Our Anglican fellowship continues to experience painful division, and the events of recent months have not brought us nearer to full reconciliation. There are still things being done that the representative bodies of the Communion have repeatedly pleaded should not be done; and this leads to recrimination, confusion and bitterness all round.
Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Pentecost Letter to the Anglican Communion, 2010
...The Episcopal Church and indeed, the Anglican Communion, are dealing with what happens when the marginalized move to the center, and those formerly in the center are moved toward the margins.
Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, Message to the Denomination, June 18, 2010(emphasis added)
Let me say this for about the millionth time. There were LGBT people all through the Episcopal Church. A disproportionate number of clergy and members of church decision making bodies were gays and lesbians. Some people liked it, some did not. The denomination did not splinter over it, nor did the wider Anglican Communion.
But when it came to consecrating Bishops, there were emphatic warnings - Archbishop Williams says "repeated pleadings" - that this would be a deal breaker, because the tolerance allowed by "local option" could not possibly be applied to Bishops, who represent the church globally, across boundaries.
Still, even when the Episcopal Church consecrated a gay activist Bishop, there were years of "conversation" and other efforts to arrive at a way forward - efforts which included endless "listening" to the LGBT activists.
While most of the Anglican Communion sought a way to keep everybody together, a small group of people - affluent, comfortable Americans in the main - have decided to "move people they don't like to the margins." That is, people who lack little if anything have decided to push away most other Anglicans - the majority of whom are among Africa's poor. A small group of nominal Christians, with access to plenty of money, government leaders and absolute media approval decided to marginalize many people who, in some places, face violent persecution for their Christian faith.
Episcopalian insider LGBT activists say it's for "inclusion" - but as I said above, they've had place in the Episcopal Church for decades. They've had disproportionate representation among clergy and in church decision making bodies. They've had whole congregations and even some dioceses flying their rainbow flags without sanction.
So the missing Anglican ingredient hasn't been "inclusion." That's the lie screamed by the self-serving activists and clutched by others who want the public approval that comes with fawning over them.
The missing ingredient is love. Self-interest activists aren't very good at it. "The wing of charity does not smooth" their "I'm a victim and you're my problem" neurosis and its ever boiling rage. "Recrimination, confusion and bitterness" are their sacramental elements - they are empty and bored without them. They think in centers and margins and have no doubt that those unlike them must "be moved" out.
I started this post with a great Church leader's exhortation to love. I'll bookend it with the contrast of an LGBT Episcopal Church leader from a typically sour, moribund Episcopal diocese, addressing the Archbishop of Canterbury:
So, Rowan, as we say over on this side of the Pond - grab a dog and some suds, park your back end in a stadium seat, keep your pie hole shut and watch the game. You might learn a few things about how to play it. Quoted and linked here.
The final word over the church comes from the one that activists can't abide:
‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Jesus, Luke 6:32-36