Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you

“Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. We know love by this, that he laid down for life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”1 John 3:13-16

  

Over the last year or so, I have been wondering if staying in the Episcopal Church is worth it. I mean with all of the stuff going on in the Anglican Communion it has made wanting to stay very hard. The Episcopal Church is the church that I was born into and have been a member of all of my life.

The thing that is bothering me is the Orthodox side of the church. The Episcopal Church is a denomination that is run similar to congress, but instead of a Senate we have a House of Bishops, and instead of a House of Representatives we have a House of Deputies. But it seems as though the Primates from many of the other Provinces of the Communion and the Orthodox of the Episcopal Church don’t seem to understand that it requires the vote of both houses to make major changes in the church here.

 They seem to have a problem with a couple of things, one not more than the other, but through their actions that are showing that they have hate in there hearts. Oh they claim that it isn’t hate that they have, and if this is true, then they must have fear. The actions over the last few years that the Episcopal Church have done over the last 30 or so years have let the world know that this denomination is a church that follows in the way that that the Holy Trinity has guided it. The were upset with the church permitting the ordination of women saying that it is against the teachings of the Bible, but if you look at the life of Jesus you will see that women lead when men were afraid to lead. Was it not the women who showed up at the crucifixion? Was it not the women who showed up to discover the tomb was open? When were the men? 

Not to long ago, a court in Southern California ruled in favor of the Episcopal Church (The Diocese of Los Angeles) in a property dispute over three congregations that left the Episcopal denomination. I think that I have written this here before, but it really makes me wonder if they are Christians. To me, if they were Christians they would stay and fight for the things that they believe in within the denomination. These people are like the faux sports fans of teams. These are the same people who when the team is losing aren’t showing up to the stadiums supporting their team, but the second that the team starts winning they claim to be the teams biggest fans. To me a true fan of a team is the one who attends the game when the team has had a losing season and stays through the entire game even in the worse of weather. I think that these congregations and Bishops would be like those who followed Jesus proclaiming him the savior, but were also amongst those who yelled and screamed to crucify him before Pilate. 

What is even sadder is the fact that many of these congregations that are leaving are trying to associate with churches in Nigeria and Uganda. Don’t these people realize that a large number of scams and other rip offs are coming from these two countries? I really wonder how many of these congregations will look at their bank accounts in a couple of years only to find that they have been totally cleaned out? 

I was reading an article talking about the Anglican Communion, and it pointed out something very interesting. It said that about 1/3 of the money that the communion operates with comes from the Episcopal Church. Now think about it. The Communion has some 77 million members, with 2 million being member of ECUSA. So it means that about 2.6% are providing a good portion of the money that goes into spreading the Gospels and doing great works around the world, and that doesn’t include additional moneys that ECUSA, its Dioceses, and congregations also spends in other ways. I really wonder how much damage to Christianity will be damaged if the Episcopal Church is removed from the Communion? How many children will starve to death because they will not longer be provided the meals that they once were by the moneys provided by the Episcopal Church?

Then I wonder, how much more work will the Episcopal Church be able to handle and support through its membership in the WCC? What would the Anglican Communion say and want to do if the Episcopal Church invested its moneys into organizations that find cures for cancer, AIDS, and SIDS? Or comes up with a way to end world hunger? 

I am sure that if the Episcopal Church is removed that some of the others within the Communion will think about leaving, and I am sure that some within the Episcopal Church will choose to leave it. It seems that the people complaining both within and out of ECUSA who are complaining and demanding responses from the Bishops fail to realize that the Episcopal Church is a democracy. The Anglican Communion is demanding a response about the actions of ECUSA by September 30. I think that if the Bishops should response, that they should make it clear that their response only represents the Bishops and not the Laity. They need to make it clear that they are a very small minority within the church here, and that the House of Deputies may choose to respond by saying that they reject what the Bishops say. 

With all of the stuff that is going on, I wondered if I should stay in the Episcopal Church. I think that my stay in the Episcopal Church will be for the rest of my life, but I think that my involvement within it will depend on the actions of the Bishops. For the church to stay in the Anglican Communion is not important to me, but I feel that the Bishop should stand up to what and how the Episcopal Church is. The Episcopal Church is following the ways that the Holy Trinity is guiding it, not the ways that man wants for it to go. I am a Christian first, and an Anglican second.

 

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