As I reflect on my experience in Indianapolis for The 77th General Convention, I’m struck again and again by how generous we were to one another. Bonnie Anderson, then President of the House of Deputies actually said, “Thank you for your witness” to a group of about 100 deputies who stood in support of the descenting statement made by the Dean of the Cathedral in Dallas. Nine years ago, that doesn’t happen.
In Sunday’s lesson from Ephesians, Paul writes of the work of Jesus to break down the dividing wall, that is the hostility between us. For Paul, the deep division rests between Jews and Gentiles. For us, that divison is called liberal and conservative. Over the course of the last decade, The Episcopal Church, thankfully, has allowed Jesus to do his work of tearing down walls of hostility. It was a privlege to watch.
In the days that followed General Convention, two opinion pieces, one in the Wall Street Journal and one in the New York Times, have attempted to build those walls back up. They have written half-truths sprinkled with inflamatory rhetoric, and, in many ways, Episcopalians of all stripes have taken the bait. We’ve gotten defensive. We’ve honed our snark. We’ve begun to define ourselves around social issues instead of the Gospel.
We are in the process of rebuilding the walls that Jesus has long since torn down.
Let’s not go there. Let’s draw on the hard experience of being together, and not fall back into the old model of anonymous comments and blind rage. Instead, how about we embrace our disagreement, talk openly with one another, listen carefully, and, above all else, love. We did it in real life, let’s keep it up online.
Ya’know, for the sake of the gospel and all.