As I type this, I’m sitting by myself in the nave of Saint Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Pensacola Florida. In about 30 minutes, an open hearing will begin on the 19 (+/-) resolutions put forward by the We Dream of a Diocese Committee, on which I have served for most of the past year and which came into being as a result of legislation I co-authored that was passed unanimously at last year’s convention. To say that I have a vested interest in this restructuring plan would be an undesrtatement. I care deeply about my Diocese and I think our plan is a positive step forward in the midst of the transition and election of the 4th Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast.
Of course, there are those who disagree with me. They other prevailing wisdom, which comes from thoughtful, caring disciples of Jesus, is that we should wait. Their sense is that the timing is wrong, that to engage in any sort of change at this point could potentially limit our ability to call the best bishop for us. They would rather we enjoy ourselves at this convention and hang out until the election in February 2015, and the new bishop’s consecration in July of that same year.
Sometimes, when we have a vested interest in something, it gets hard to remove our ego from the thing we care about. Whether or not this convention decides to take on our plan or even if they choose to set is all aside until someday down the road, it isn’t about me. It isn’t a referendum on my understanding of Church. Even the title of this post betrays the fact that I’m not quite there yet. Those who disagree with me are not my enemies, they are my brothers and sisters in Christ. They are thoughtful, caring people who have come to a different conclusion on the matter than I have.
The truth of the matter is that there are millions of Christians who disagree with me on some issue at any given moment. Some matter a great deal: like whether or not Jesus was physically resurrected from the dead. Some don’t matter a lick: like if the Central Gulf Coast has a Diocesan Council or not. In either case, to view the other as my enemy is to fall into the trap that Jesus prayed we’d stay out of, to forget that we are one in Christ.
As we prepare to open the 43rd Annual Convention of the Central Gulf Coast, I pray for the Spirit of God to be present, to offer peace and wisdom, and that no matter what happens over the next three days, that we leave this place excited for a future in which we share ministry together for the upbuilding of the Kingdom and the spread of the Gospel.
Oh, and BTW, SHW ruled that social media was kosher in the midst of my media fast as I am the Chair of the Commission on Communications. So I’ll be back on the Facebooks and Twitters boring you with Parliamentary details in the near future.