On the Internet, I came across an Episcopal priest named Bob Griffith who recently offered very interesting comments on Fr. Mark Harris' blog along these lines. Describing himself as "a gay priest serving in an urban area in a neighborhood and a parish with a lot of gay people," Fr. Griffith argues that our church's current leadership is driven by a unilateralism akin to that which characterized the foreign policy of our former President and his administration. Here's some of what he has to say:
I know most people in TEC leadership have thought long and hard concerning all that has transpired these past 7 years. My opinion is not a particularly popular one, but from where I sit it is becoming more prominent, to the chagrin of some.
I think that too many of us are still unwilling to consider that we could be wrong in the ways we are acting with respect to the rest of the Communion and even with segments within our own American Church. ...
We are getting a time-out because we acting arrogantly and self-servingly. We act as if we are not part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We act vaingloriously as if we are so incredibly wise, knowledgeable, and “prophetic” that we don’t need to listen to anyone else.
We are acting as a Church in the same why our State Department and Military leadership acted under George Bush. We can do whatever we want, wherever we want, whenever we want, unilaterally because we are Americans and that makes it right! We claim over and over that we "listen," but we still act like Bushy Americans. Are we so blind that we cannot see that as a Church we are acting like the “ugly Americans,” imperialists, paternalists thinking that we know so much better than all others, particularly those backward Africans? And to add insult to injury, we are actually claiming “colonial victimhood” because the English ABC is beginning to take action - fairly, I might add.
Responding to less than enthusiastic comments about his views, he adds:
Well, here is another problem. Point (i): Our own Church, our own bishops, won’t even abide by our own Canons or Constitution or General Convention. Simply take open communion as an example. We can’t even “faith and order” ourselves within our own institution, and we are to be trusted by the other Provinces, by the ABC, by other Traditions that we as Americans can faithfully represent some sort of coherent Anglican Communion position within ecumenical relationships? I don’t blame anyone for not trust us – heck, I don’t trust us.
Fr. Griffith also writes about this topic on his blog:
We may not lob physical bombs (or money, in our case); we will simply not listen to anyone else, hands over our ears. We will simply not face up to reality and our place in the world Communion. Oh, we want diversity and multiculturalism all right, just so long as they believe just like we do or pretend to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. ...
It isn't that I disagree with women being clergy or LBGT people being members, priests, or bishops of our Anglican Churches. It isn't that I don't think we can or should be advocates of such things around the Communion or the greater Church. What I absolutely disagree with is the way this generation of leadership in our Church has been conducting itself with respect to institutional change and the "controversial" issues. We treat those issues as civil rights causes and make decisions in like manner. This is not the way the Church should handle things.
Now, because our leadership makes decisions in such a political or social manner (they know no other way), we are losing the knowledge of how to make decisions as a the Body of Christ, internationally. And herein lies the problem of trust and "faith and order" as the other provinces attempt to order their lives when they cannot ignore what the Americans' are doing without much regard for their plight.
Read it all.
It would be highly ironic if Fr. Griffith is correct that those driving the progressive agenda in the Episcopal Church are acting like "Bushy Americans." Because I'll bet that most of those progressive Episcopalians loathe the former President, his administration, and the unilateral foreign policies sanctioned by the "Bush Doctrine."