At this juncture in our nation's history, it is vitally important that we separate the values that are worth fighting for from those that are simply matters of cultural preference. There are values that are universal and non-negotiable. I find them in the Bible and they have shaped my life.
It is in the Bible where you will discover the truth that every human life is of inestimable worth. You will find that God created marriage - one man and one woman for life. This is not some social arrangement that we can redesign at will; it is part of God's design for humanity.
However, for about the past forty years I belonged to a church that no longer advocates these values. In fact, it is attempting to deliberately replace our core values with some of the latest cultural whims.
That church is The Episcopal Church. It still has remnants of its rapidly fading prestige, but its current leadership seems to have lost its way and it has caused a major rift in the Anglican Communion.
The division within the Communion has been widespread and unbelievably painful. About half of the 38 provinces are in broken or impaired relationships. Dozens of dioceses are in disarray and hundreds of churches and millions of people have been negatively impacted by this fracture in our common life.
Here in the U.S., hundreds of clergy and congregations have come to the conclusion that, as a matter of conscience, they must separate from The Episcopal Church. This has produced a spiteful backlash from church leadership with reprisals against clergy and lay leaders and dozens of punitive lawsuits.
The lawsuits are a costly distraction at a time when there is a desperate need for articulate Christians to do the work of the Gospel and engage in the important debates confronting our nation. What is tragic is that a church that so often rails against the intolerance of biblical fundamentalism has now become aggressively intolerant towards those with whom they disagree. . .
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