A Farewell To Oysters
This will be my last article for this blog.
Some reasons for moving on:
i) Much like the Pentateuch is recapitulated in the remainder of the Old Testament, once you learn a few things about this decrepit diocese, you find that the same stories repeat themselves again and again. St. Matthew’s continued drain on the coffers of the diocese – something that could have been avoided – is no longer interesting enough to me to expend the effort for writing another article. The bi-annual hiring for yet another guru or so-called church-growth expert – is no longer interesting to me. DSO’s courtship of Walt Brueggemann – is no longer interesting to me.
ii) I truly understand what Dr. Mabuse meant when she mentioned that she was tired of making fun of liberals, because those things were no longer funny. The idea I had for poking fun at Open Communion, for example, is a case in point. It was brilliant. Then I realized that it wasn’t actually funny in a thoughtful way, but tragic in a way that was made out to be funny. I thought about slipping in a disclaimer stating that “this isn’t really funny,” but .. seriously – “don’t laugh at this even though it’s constructed to look funny??” I don’t think so.
iii) When I started the blog, my daughter and I had a standard routine where we would play a game every night. Pretty soon, I’d be enmeshed in writing an article, and she would come upstairs, put her tiny hand on my arm while I was furiously typing, look up with those huge brown eyes, and say, “Daddy? I wanna play games.” So serious. So cute. Sometimes I would go downstairs to play games with her. Eventually I told her to wait a few minutes (good to develop patience in the lass, I told myself at the time) and then I’d be over to play games. Sometimes I’d make good on the promise. Sometimes I’d come downstairs a few hours later, and it was already her bedtime. Eventually, she stopped crying. And worse yet, eventually she stopped asking. We’re on good terms right now, but dang .. I miss playing games with my daughter.
iv) For my own reasons (please, no digs on the traditionalists who feel called to stay, okay folks?), I have already moved on from trying to fit into an ever narrowing niche within the Diocese of Southern Ohio. Having moved on thus, it seems I no longer have a *vested* interest in the goings-on within DSO. In this regard, perhaps I have to admit that the advice of one of my mentors was and is spot-on, regarding the success of inside/outside strategy. Once people no longer have a vested interest in remaining in a decrepit structure, they are no longer VERY interested in the decrepit structure. Period.
v) Even without having moved on from DSO, there was the looming problem of being the lone conservative blogger within the diocese. I had hoped that conservative laypeople with a knack for writing and satire would come knocking on my door, offering their help.. but alas, it didn’t happen. Is it the fault of the laypeople? Maybe. Or maybe not. I’m really not in a position to judge. As another mentor once told me, “I learned a long time ago that I am not Jesus Christ. I cannot change people, no matter how hard I want them to change and no matter how much they need to change.”
Not having a team has consequences, however. I appreciate the Oyster who told me that my blog had the potential to become the StandFirmInFaith of the Diocese of Southern Ohio.. but the fact remains that StandFirm’s success is based on the existence of a team of dedicated bloggers. The key to success in blogging is to have something really good, at a frequency of almost every day. Practically, it is difficult to achieve this unless you are one of those people who have seemingly endless things to say, and are very bright and very talented. I am not one of those people.
Even on StandFirm, you’ll notice that one or two bloggers won’t blog for a loooooooong time. It doesn’t matter there, as there are people to pick up the slack. No slack in my case.
There were some offers for help that I could not accept because I could not bear to see others hurt on my account. There were some offers which helped for a while but ultimately ran out of gas. For all those who helped, and for those who offered, pleace accept once again, my heartfelt thanks.
vi) On top of trying to enjoy what’s left of my daughter’s childhood, there is the new addition, Elder the Younger. ‘Nuff said. 🙂
vii) One reason I would have been willing to keep the doors open is as something that conservatives who have elected to stay, could hold onto as they struggle with diocesan life. Again, for that sort of thing, it is critical to maintain a blog audience. And to do that, it is necessary to write one good article several times a week. Instead of trying to achieve this on an empty tank of gas, I have asked Fr. Tim Fountain (http://northernplainsanglicans.blogspot.com/) if I could publish an occasional piece on his blog. He has graciously agreed. Then too, there is that relationship I have with the bloggers of StandFirmInFaith. Point being, if you are a conservative in this diocese and you feel that you need to bring something to the attention of the wider Anglican Communion, drop me a line (through the ‘Contact’ tab on this page) and I will give the matter all of the Anglican attention it so richly deserves (no gaurentees and I reserve the right to not publish, blah blah blah..).
Hey man, I got your six. You know who you are.
viii) What I might have said now on this blog and into the future has actually already been said by my friend ‘Episcopalianated,’ a man who by the grace of God, left his besetting sin to live for Jesus Christ, while not being fully healed in this life of the disorder behind the sin:
I was struck by the quote below from Bishop Breidenthal and wanted to leave a (rather lengthy) comment. “First of all, we strongly affirmed our desire to be part of the Anglican Communion. But we also affirmed that same-sex unions can be holy, especially when they are entered into by faithful followers of Jesus Christ.” I’m afraid the good bishop has it quite wrong. A same-sex union involving homo-genital activity of any kind is precisely the type of relationship that “faithful followers of Jesus Christ” can never enter into, regardless of the circumstances.
As a person who has never experienced anything other than same-sex attraction, I am certainly not indifferent to the plight of those who seek to find fulfillment with a partner or a lover. I understand some of the pain and anguish they’re going through for it has been my own, along with a desire to be loved by someone, somewhere, somehow. I do know where that comes from, and why.
However, if we are Christians we cannot presume to identify as “holy” that which Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Church invariably identify as gravely sinful. We may accept that or we may reject it, but there simply is no way around it.
We are often told that the experience of those in monogamous same-sex relationships (what few there really are) provides evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work in their lives and their relationships. But what about the radically different experience of those of us who have arrived at an opposite conclusion? Does God say different things to different groups of miserable sinners? How many “gospels” can the Church proclaim?
When I first became a Christian, it was powerfully impressed upon my mind and spirit that everything associated with my past lifestyle would have to go. Not because the Christians who evangelized me caused me to internalize their homophobia (there wasn’t any of that anyway), but because God Himself spoke to my heart and placed me under conviction.
Did I hear from the wrong Jesus, the wrong Holy Spirit? I heard from the Jesus who speaks to us in the 19th chapter of St. Matthew’s gospel, and if that was all I ever learned about the proper governance of my sexual appetites, it would be more than enough for all time.
Are we hearing from a different Jesus now, one who thinks that the pursuit of sexual chastity is no longer an absolutely necessary part of the Christian life? If we are, then we are not hearing from the Jesus of the New Testament and our beliefs and practices are not being informed and influenced by the same Holy Spirit who has guided the Church for 2000 years. And I cannot and will not accept the message that this new and very strange “Jesus” has to offer.
The Episcopal Church is making a terrible mistake. It has unwittingly embraced a very subtle form of homophobia itself by essentially denying that persons who experience same-sex attraction can truly respond to the gospel and be transformed by God’s grace. That would be too difficult and too challenging so, like the “children of a lesser god,” they must be left where they’re at and be held accountable to a lower standard. How very sad!
I refuse to accept that. God Himself calls sinners to repentance and He makes no exceptions in our case. He loves us too much for that, and what He calls upon us to do He also equips us to carry out. That is the message which must be restored to our Church if we are to be about His business and truly remain faithful followers of Jesus Christ.
That’s it. Episcopalianated knocked it out of the park at the very start of this blog, and I’ve been spending all this time trying to say it better than him, and I simply cannot. How fitting that the cornerstone laid at the very beginning of this blog should also be laid down here, at “the end” of The Episcopal Oysters of Southern Ohio .. which is not really an end, but rather as I see it, the beginning of something new. One of life’s new adventures, of many.
Thank you, reader. Thank-you, public commenters. Thank you, private commenters. Thank you, guest writers. Thank you, traditionalist Episcopal clergy. Thank you, traditionalist Episcopal layfolk. Thank you, truly liberal Liberals. Thank you, friends. Thank you, my wife. Thank you, my daughter. Thank you, Jackie and Sarah. Thank you, other mentors. Thank you, StandFirmInFaith. Thank you, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
I am a blessed man.