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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Taking Title to the Wreckage

First Things' Jordan Hylden, a man far too wise for his absurdly young years, nailed it down smartly explicating this little gem from of the House of Bishops' statement last week:

"The meaning of the Preamble to the Constitution of The Episcopal Church,is determined solely by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church."

Wielding the scalpel, Hylden goes to work:

"[T]he Episcopal bishops are doing nothing less than claiming that what it means to be Anglican, what it means to be in communion with Canterbury, what it means to be a part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church and hold to the historic Christian faith—that all of this is to be decided solely by the democratic vote of clergy and laypeople once every two years in a Marriott hotel convention room, with reference to nothing and nobody. It is breathtaking in its arrogance."

Breathtaking it is, it positively sucks the oxygen from the room. However, something else may be gleaned from this hitherto unseen masterful language by the revisionists in their statement. In the past, whenever fresh assaults on the Church proved successful the revisionists were careful to couch their victories in seemingly non-confrontational (albeit mealy-mouthed) language, something along these lines: "After much and considerable prayerful consultation, listening and study, we the House of Bishops and/or Deputies, heading the prophetic voice of the Holy Spirit directing us to the new gospel of inclusiveness, understanding and the elimination of all bad things; mindful of the love of Christ for all His/Her people, especially those who whine and complain the loudest, do hereby embrace the new doctrine (or reject as antiquated and incompatible with contemporary understanding of the self-differentiated, the old doctrine) of (fill in the rest): _____."

Their unctuous language never fooled us, we knew they were ramming their agenda down our throats but give the revisionists their due for at least feigning magnanimity, trying to appear gracious in the wake of their ecclesial vandalism. It is, however, a common human failing to be far less gracious in defeat than in victory and the blatantly chauvinistic, downright rude language in the passage of the HOB statement cited by Hylden betrays a distinct mood change among the revisionists: the dawning realization things are no longer going as planned, that an ugly new reality is obtruding.

There seems little doubt the revisionists' seemingly endless proxy fight over the Episcopal Church will, thankfully, soon come to a close and they will emerge the victors. That thirty years war, however, has taken its toll on ECUSA. Many of her best and the brightest have already fled. Post September 30th, when ECUSA's "walking apart" from the Anglican Communion is certified, many more will do the same. The revisionists will take title to a church with a rich and opulent past but also a bleak and forlorn future owing to declining membership and funds, a situation not likely to improve so long as the revisionists' turn their noses up at evangelizing. Look for the rhetoric of the revisionists to become increasingly bitter and angry as they learn while they may have won the buildings and history of the institution they fought for so vigorously and viciously, they failed utterly in winning ECUSA's most precious asset, the Christian hearts and souls of her membership.

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