OK boys and girls. Now we know where the conservative talk about inclusiveness is going. The talk in reasserter and conservative Episcopal Land has been of real inclusiveness, real reconciliation, both realities being central to life in communion. Sounds good. But wait...
The talk has turned sour. Steven Ford in "Uganda's Lesson of Inclusion" posted on The Living Church online, wrote this (underline my emphasis):
"Independent Uganda began with a great vision. Reprehensible tactics in
pursuing it, however, caused a hemorrhaging of exiles and refugees. As I
contemplate Uganda’s recent experience, I’m struck by its very broad
similarities to that of the Episcopal Church. Our public dream, for some
time now, has been one of ever-increasing inclusiveness. It’s a
compelling vision indeed. But we’ve often used that vision as an excuse
for silencing opposition — on vestries, at diocesan conventions, and on
up. We’ve creatively interpreted church law to the degree that clergy
can, without hearing or trial, be convicted of abandoning communion, and
renunciations of ministry that have never been made can be “accepted.”
Such innovations come with a cost. Increasing authoritarianism and
decreasing church membership appear to go hand in hand. Under the canon
of “inclusiveness,” we’ve created exiles by the tens of thousands, and
we seem to create more every day."
Now Mr. Ford's opinion that the current leadership of The Episcopal Church "silencing opposition" and "increasing authoritarianism" may or may not have merit. I think not, but then we can argue that point.
However, his comparison of TEC in its current state with Uganda under Amin and Obote is appalling hyperbole.
Ford concedes that "It’s fine to be legally right, as the church probably has been in some of its multitudinous property disputes." At the same time he suggests that TEC
"apologize anyway to those who have been injured or offended by our
actions. Perhaps we might consider making amends to those whom we
believe have done us wrong. And what a powerful witness of
reconciliation we could make by creating spaces within the church for
those who believe we have cast them out. Only arrogance and pride stand
in our way."
Again, at the core, Ford makes a decent suggestion, that of 'creating spaces within the church for those who believe we have cast them out." But this suggestion, which has potential grace and peace in it, is buried in the assumption that it is the arrogance and pride of TEC that stands in the way of doing the radically inclusive and reconciling thing.
But none of this helps much when the zing comes in from right field: They (TEC) treated us the way Amin treated any who opposed his actions. Worse, the zing becomes: Amin was a dirty little tyrant, and so is TEC's leadership. They both twisted the law and the vision of a great people to serve their own ends. And so forth.
Whatever good Mr. Ford and the Living Church hoped to achieve by this essay are lost in the caverns of failed rhetoric.
An apology is in order.
Then perhaps we can begin to talk about how eccleastical warfare hurts the ones we love.