Thursday, August 2, 2007

Division without Demise

Division Without Demise

Bishop Cox, retired suffragen of Maryland, is 'leaving' for the Southern Cone; Bishop Herzog, retired diocesan of Albany, is leaving for Roman Catholicism; the Church in England is leaving Rome to become the Church of England; and the Church of England in the American Colonies is leaving to form the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. The difference between the latter two instances and the two former is that the first are current and the latter are now history. But they all serve to demonstrate that division per se is not an evil in and of itself. In light of the anxiety that has afflicted some of late, I suggest the healing balm of a reality check.

Division doesn't equal decay. Division is a natural and God-given process that enables growth. I pray, then, that we can all relax the lamentations a bit and bring our reactions to it into a healthier perspective. It’s important that we not confuse religion with denomination, faith with Church. Our religion is Christianity; our faith is Christian. Our denomination is the Episcopal Church, and our Church is a part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic ideal. We can take great solace, then, in the fact that when people depart the Episcopal Church, they are not, unless specifically stipulated departing, Christ or Christianity.