Isolationism and TEC? - Tony Baker
Last week I gave some lectures in Lubbock, Texas, and along the way I made this remark about the state of the Episcopal Church. Tell me what you think:
To really begin to assess the current problems in the Episcopal Church, I think we would have to go back to the founding of the American Church, and note the way that it mirrored the American democratic experiment in isolation from the broader body of churches. Recall that isolationism was one of the key values of Washington’s farewell address.
In fact, what if, just for fun, we imagined that this address was delivered to the Episcopal Church? Washington said, “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations [we read: non-Episcopal Churches] is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. ...It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign [non-Episcopal] world." The Episcopal Church has often embraced this isolationism, assuming that with internal management and representational voting we can move forward, and most often neglected not only ecumenical “alliances,” but also the needs and desires and voices from within its own communion of Anglican Churches. The US soon found that such isolationism did not work, and I suspect the Episcopal Church is now coming late to this discovery.
Tell me if you think I'm on to something----or out of something (like my mind)...