It was a piece that was well done and extremely fair, but what fascinated me was the reactions of the workers interviewed as they came off shift at one of the Ford plants in the Detroit area. Several of the folks talked to were bombastic about Americans who bought foreign vehicles, either directly or indirectly questioning their patriotism. Several were very worried about their jobs, while others obviously shrugged and said words to the effect that there wasn't much they could do about it.
It was the response of one particular man that caught my attention. He was measured and thoughtful and said something like, "Of course I'm worried. It seems to me that we have a huge problem here, and Ford is not going to pick up again until it starts producing the sort of cars with the kind of quality and fuel efficiency that attracts purchasers."
If I hadn't had my hands on the wheel I would have applauded him -- it was a perfect answer. This individual was the most loyal of all these Ford-ites because he was prepared to address the problem head on, and say that as much as he loved the company it didn't deserve to dig itself out of the mess until it does what it was founded for: to make cars that folks are willing to spend their hard-earned dollars on.
During the last several years I have heard all sorts of calls to loyalty to the Episcopal Church, especially among those who affirm a "progressive" agenda. These, I think, are the sort of folks who are like the Ford workers who asserted that Americans ought to buy cars produced by American manufacturers. This is not loyalty, this is papering over the cracks and pretending that there is nothing wrong. The most extraordinary thing about our whole sorry state of affairs is that this is an agenda of denial.
It comes in all sorts of flavors.
Dr. Schori's favorite flavor is that there is only a small disgruntled minority that are functioning in this way. Well, hundreds of congregations have voted with their feet, including several of the church's largest, but still the disinformation campaign continues that those who stand with worldwide Anglicanism and no longer the Episcopal Church are a bad-tempered handful.
In our diocese where we have changed the canons so that individual congregations can designate whether or not their funds find their way to the Episcopal Church Center, there is great discomfort among some, who feel this is dropping the ball on our obligation. Now it doesn't seem particularly loyal to me to fund those who have not only consented to that which flies in the face of Scripture and historic Anglicanism, but rejoice in it; so why reward those who have done damage with more money with which to do even more damage?
A third approach is to bad-mouth those of us who are mainstream and biblical Anglicans, and label us as schismatics. This division of the church was caused by those of us who have taken the denomination down the homophile road. The schismatics were the ones who set that ball in motion in August 2003 and then followed up with an inadequate response to Windsor in June 2006.
I am a loyal Anglican, and am trying to be loyal within an Episcopal Church that has in pride and error taken a very wrong turn and is now trying to whitewash its actions by projecting the blame on those of us who are, dare I use the word, its victims! Loyalty is telling it as it is, like that Ford worker. So here is my act of loyalty.
The Episcopal Church has messed up really, really badly and is basking in error rather than the truth. This is not going to win people to Jesus Christ, so the church is not going to grow -- and will continue to shrink, with consequent attending problems. We are not going to learn the lessons these circumstances should be teaching us if we refuse to face up to facts. I spent an hour today with the widow of a man who died of an aggressive form of cancer a couple of months ago because the doctor misdiagnosed the symptoms he was suffering.
I'm sorry, saying that all in the church is fine and dandy is misdiagnosis. The tragedy is that denial is now the name of the Episcopal game, and the reality is that these "loyalists" will wake up and realize the extent of their error when it is too late. I have no desire to see ECUSA go down in flames, and I have no particular desire to be forced out by those who are preaching "another gospel." However, the strategy that is being pursued can only end in tears.