Home > Series > The Third Way (pt I): What should it look like?

The Third Way (pt I): What should it look like?

29 September 2010

I have for quite some time now, been fascinated with the idea that traditional Episcopalians need a third option (hereafter, ‘Third Way’), apart from the now-defunct ACN, the ACI, and the ACNA.  I had it in the back of my mind when I created this blog, that it should be a means for creating “a safe place within a raging inferno.”  In fact, there is a folder on my computer that stores files for this blog, entitled, “Third Way.” 

You can read more about that idea here, and I’ll excerpt something to jog our minds a bit:

..the fact is that there is a large group of conservatives within TEC who:

— have recognized for some years now that the Instruments of Unity have failed and will not provide relief or establish any sort of common order ever
— wish to “engage in strategic, thoughtful action within TEC,” not to “reform TEC” but to work within various local contexts for numerous possible goals and outcomes
— have no interest in “patient and enduring witness” only without massive differentiation and strategic action
— wish to be differentiated from the national structures of TEC in a more significant and apparent and compelling and communicative way than simply affirming the three Windsor moratoria
— do not believe that an “Anglican Covenant” based on the corrupt Joint Standing Committee and zero spelled-out consequences will be at all effective in reigning in future chaos and division
— do not believe that the Instruments of Communion are “the effective means of ordering the common life of the Communion” — they are not effective and they do not order anything at all, much less “common life of the Communion”
— recognize that the current Archbishop of Canterbury will not do what he needs to do in order to solve the chaos and disorder that is in the Anglican Communion — this necessarily means that action must take place within TEC and among traditional Episcopalians to differentiate and “bring about desired future states” through other arenas and channels

For the most part, I agree. 

Here is what I think this movement would look like, in a diocese that is about to be overrun by liberals:

The goal is:  The goal is for the group to be able to wait for the diocese and/or TEC to collapse in upon itself, before resurfacing. 

The group is:  The group is composed of like-minded laypeople, intent on sticking with a strategy to win back our denomination, what little will remain after the liberals drive it into the ground. 

The goal IS NOT:  The goal is not to have a conversation with revisionists.  For that matter, the goal is not to express dissent to revisionists. 

How the group grows:  The group grows by evangelizing the unchurched through charity and kindness, and by creating venues to incubate baby Christians as well as train those ready for their vocation. 

How the group does not grow:  The group does not grow by pulling in burnt-out Christians from other denominations, who are looking for “safety.” 

How the group becomes more competent:  The group becomes more competent in its ministries by taking advantage of ministries set up by other churches and denominations.  One obvious example would be training for Alpha;  another might be a Dave Ramsey-esque ministry for young professionals.  Why reinvent the wheel, when someone can teach you to build it? 

What the strategies are:  The strategies are either for the laity to remain above-ground (on the rolls, and/or on a vestry), or to be completely off of the grid. 

What the strategies are not:  The strategies have nothing to do with telling revisionists that you won’t be paying their Thirty Pieces.  If a layperson is on the grid, then they pay their Thirty.  If they are off of the grid, then they don’t pay it. 

The priorities of the group:  The priorities, in decreasing order of importance are:  Support for all orthodox rectors remaining in TEC, networks among like-minded TEC laity, underground networks and networks with and within other denominations, like-minded vestries, and parish buildings. 

I intend on fleshing these ideas out in the coming weeks. 

– Elder

PS – These are by no means set in stone.  You may have ideas that are better than my own.  I am already aware of at least one weakness with my speculations.  😉

Categories: Series
  1. 30 September 2010 at 3:38 PM

    The third way remains a concept. It is an unseen concept for most pewsitters who are troubled by what they see and hear but do not know how to access a network that will help them decide on which way they, as individuals and families, should take. As a consequence, most people feel they have only 2 ways to choose from.

    I think that the third way could be a formative group of the faithful whose eventual influence could be similar to the “tea party” political movement.

    God help us to follow Him and to help others to do so as well.

  2. Elder Oyster
    30 September 2010 at 4:40 PM

    RE: “The third way remains a concept.”

    I’m hoping that this series will make that fact more incidental, but less essential.

  3. 5 October 2010 at 4:31 PM

    The third way is the “third rail” – we need to grab onto Jesus, let our old selves be fried and our transformed lives go forward in Christ.

    The network that results is the body of Christ – diverse parts working in one Spirit for common good.

  4. Elder Oyster
    6 October 2010 at 10:14 PM

    Amen to that, Father. There is so much that can get lost in the shuffle with any strategy that conservative Episcopalians adopt. Sometimes I think we need to remind ourselves daily and even hourly, of the need to cling to Christ with fingernails, if need be.

  5. Philip Wainwright
    10 October 2010 at 7:41 PM

    I’m not sure what is meant by ‘The strategies are either for the laity to remain above-ground (on the rolls, and/or on a vestry), or to be completely off of the grid.’ I hope that is one of the first things you flesh out. My own opinion is that it is essential for the faithful, both clergy and lay, to be visibly faithful. My experience in TEC is that you can do that easily, if you don’t pick fights with those who are unfaithful (or haven’t yet figured out the gospel, to be a bit more charitable). But you may be talking about something else.

  6. Elder Oyster
    11 October 2010 at 11:44 PM

    Hi Philip,

    RE: “My own opinion is that it is essential for the faithful, both clergy and lay, to be visibly faithful.”

    Yes, definitely. By, “off the grid,” I mean, have as little contact with revisionists within TEC as possible.

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