7/03/2008

Marilyn McCord Adams Shakes the Foundations....

The Chicago Consultation has posted an important essay delivered at the Consultation last December. "Shaking the Foundations" echoes the title of Paul Tillich's essay and it has much the same power. Professor Marilyn McCord Adams begins, "The Church is a school for Kingdom-heralds. The Church is charged with responsibility for Christian education that grows us up in the knowledge and love of God and sends us out for word-and-deed proclamation of God’s love for a broken and divided world."

The Anglican Communion, if it is to live into this vision, must face the issue of fallibility. In order to be a school for Kingdom-heralds we need to come to grips with the realities of our life together.

"The human side of the Church—like the text of the bible—cannot escape human fallibility. Her calling—like that of individual members’—is not to boast of being ‘holier than thou’, all the while claiming Divine sanction for her institutional policies. The human side of the Church is no more 99 and 44/100 percent pure than her individual members are. Rather the Church is summoned to vigilance, to institutional circumspection which is ever on the lookout to identify the systemic evils to which it gives rise; to repentance and works meet for repentance that seek to uproot them. Nor is this a temporary and passing assignment. When it comes to social and political arrangements, our institutions will always be riddled with systemic evils. Because it proves so difficult to uproot any one of them, because we can’t dig out all of them at once, we are everywhere-and-always tempted to status-quo acquiescence. Our calling is to the exact opposite: to discern which ones are ripe for uprooting and to take the lead eradicating them, beginning in the garden behind our own house!"

Read the whole thing. It will require the beverage of your choice and time, but it is worth it. When you get to the end the prize is there. A calling for the Episcopal Church that seems to me worthy of answer.

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