One of the most elementary life lessons that parents give their children is that actions have consequences.
Yes, you CAN hit your brother, but if you do, you WILL be in time out.
Yes, you CAN throw food on the floor, but if you do, you WILL clean it up and mop the floor.
This is a lesson that many adults in The Episcopal Church have somehow missed.
Their version of this lesson is, “I get to do anything I want, make any mess I want, say anything I want, change any rules I want, ignore any vows I took, shirk any responsibilities I have, and still get to be a full member of the church with all the privileges that pertain to that membership. And I get to do this because I’m right and pure and you’re not and if you try to make me follow the rules I will scream and whine and hold my breath ‘til I turn blue.”
Well, maybe that last part is a bit over the top, but not by much.
As evidence, I offer the reaction of various Network bishops to the Presiding Bishop’s gentle but firm letter to the bishop of San Joaquin. She made it quite clear that yes, he COULD lead his diocese in the direction of schism, but if he did so, there WOULD be consequences. She pointed out that he took a vow to uphold the constitution and canons of the church and that if he broke that vow, there would be price to pay.
Well, you’d have thought she’d threatened to burn him at the stake. How DARE she point out that if you break the rules, you pay a price!
The conservative blogs erupted. Most of them call her “Mrs. Schori,” as if this will somehow reduce her authority. Some of them call her other things. John David Schofield called her a heretic in his convention address.
Frankly, it’s kinda fun to watch.
Since it was formed, The Network of Whining Privileged White Men has perfected the art of playing the victim. Can’t the rest of us see how the heretical majority in the TEC is persecuting them? They told us frequently how they are suffering terribly for their principled stand against the apostates in The Episcopal Church. But they were going to persevere because this was spiritual war!
David Anderson even announced in a televised interview in Columbus that leaving would be too easy. It was more fun to stay and fight.
Well, that might be so when no one fights back.
Until very recently – that would be Nov. 4, 2006 -- no one did fight back. One had to work hard to see any reason for the alleged suffering of the Network boys. They hadn’t suffered any consequences for acting like spoiled brats, and I think they really really really believed they never would.
But buck up guys. You are being offered an opportunity to act like adults of God, instead of brats of God.
You can choose to take a stand and then suffer the consequences of that stand like a man!
Or you can choose to experience the power of transformative love and mutual respect.
It’s not hard. The Presiding Bishop made it clear how it works – you have to follow the rules.
Note she did not say you have to agree with all of us. She did not say you have to like all of us. She did not say you couldn’t work as hard as possible within our polity to change things in the church. What you can’t do anymore is break the rules without consequences.
There’s a name for this process.
It’s called growing up.