Maybe it's because it is the Sabbath.
Maybe it is because it is the Sabbath. Maybe it's the fact that we are almost at Summer. Who knows? A sudden onrush of humbling and humble comments from people across the various divides makes me almost believe we could learn something from all this mess in Anglican Land.
I just posted a piece, "Stay Awake, Pittsburgh Stealers continue to plan." Then of course I went to Dan Martins' site and read his post, "Pittsburgh lines up its ducks" in which he says this: "tonight my energy is directed toward the predictable chorus of"Thieves! Scoundrels! Neo-Puritan bigots! Homophobes! Hypocrites!" that will no doubt be sung in the direction of the departing Pittsburghers. ...I, for one, would find it refreshing if a critical mass of Reappraisers were overheard to be asking themselves, "Hey, what the heck is going on here? Two whole (more or less) dioceses have left, with at least one more to follow. Hundreds of parishes are gone as well, including some of our largest. Anglicanism itself is falling apart at the seams. How did we not see this coming?" Well, Dan, you got me! I do think the realignment folk in Pittsburgh are lining things up to take it all with them (whatever "it" is.) But your point is well taken and the barb sticks. To be honest, I did see some of this coming and wrote a book about it in 1998, just before Lambeth. In the Challenge of Change I wrote that I believed the Anglican Communion was organic and that, as with all organic things, it will one day die. When that happens we can only hope that Christians will look back and see what we did as of some benefit to the Christian community of that future. But I did not see the prophetic Dan who would know I would be among the predictable chorus. Ah well.
Then BabyBlue wrote a note to that blog entry. You can read it HERE: She asks, "And what of charity for all, malice toward none? What if we all just agree to separate for a period?" Again, in the midst of all the mutterings, a gentle reality check. Early on in the development of the Covenant idea the Rev. Dr. Katherine Grieb, one of our two representatives on that group, suggested to the bishops that perhaps we ought to consider a time out. She said, "I suggest that we enter a five-year period of fasting from full participation in the Anglican Communion to give us all time to think and to listen more carefully to one another. I think we should engage in prayerful non-participation in global meetings (in Lambeth, in the Anglican Consultative Council, in other Communion committee meetings) or, if invited to do so, send observers who could comment, if asked, on the matter under discussion. We should continue on the local level to send money and people wherever they are wanted. (This is not about taking our marbles and going home.) We need to remain wholly engaged in the mission of the church, as closely tied as we are allowed to the See of Canterbury and to the Anglican Communion as a whole. But we should absent ourselves from positions of leadership, stepping out of the room, so that the discussions of the Anglican Communion about itself can go on without spending any more time on our situation which has preoccupied it."
This past week I was with a good friend and suggested the same. Now this is not exactly what BabyBlue was asking for, but at least the idea that the Episcopal Church might "fast from full participation" was working at something of the same hope - that we might "step out of the room." Perhaps across the great divide we can do more than Dave Walker suggests, politely chuck used vegetables and rotten eggs at one another.
I do not believe BabyBlue's remedy is the answer, but there may be some other possibilities. More importantly, her remark triggers a conversation that we ought to take to heart. Are there ways to admit the separations and live with them for a while?
Well, such matters strike and produce just a smidgen of humility. Perhaps Dan and BabyBlue are on to something. We all need to think more on just why the mess is as messy as it is and on what we can do about it that includes stepping back from throwing old veggies.
I can't say I will not throw them again, but perhaps they will be less wilted than some and contain more editable content.
Then, in the world of shared grief, Susan Russell offered her thoughts on a friend, Harvey beloved dog. Suddenly from various parts of the canyon and across the divide came dog laments and loves. The Mad Priest sent condolences,proving MP is a gentle soul. Stand Firm's Sarah Hey in symbiotic splendor posted on the same day as Susan a poem for a fallen dog. (Coincidence? I don't think so.) Susan, the very personal note resonated with many of us. Thank you for posting it.
On Tuesday, talking to a good friend, and holding our long haired dachshund Sarah in my lap, I confessed that I was saddened when I thought I would probably live longer than Sarah. The good friend, in gruff response, said, "Don't bet on it."
I wrote a poem concerning Sarah. Here it is:
Sarah loves me,
this I know,
for her eyes,
they tell me so,
but diverted she will be
by other dogs
who more than me
who passing by
get more attention
undeserved, but gained
by mastery of
Sarah loves me,
but adores the dogs of God.
Sarah and Harvey and St. Laika and Chester will all gather, and perhaps the issue for all of us across the divides in Anglican Land is this: Will our dogs much care how we did in all this when we meet them again?
So, maybe it is because it is the Sabbath. A day of rest, a day of glory. The gift of grace is here and is enough. One day there will be a highway in the wilderness that will bridge our divides. Until then it helps to have friends who provoke rethinking, who remember their dogs and who learn from them what it is to be home.