The ‘work’ of General Convention -resolution crafting (AKA sausage making) – began this morning in earnest with our opening session of the House of Deputies and more legislative committee hearings. Remember, proposed resolutions are assigned to one of several legislative committees for ‘perfecting’ and perhaps recommendation to either the House of Deputies (Hod) or House of Bishops (HoB).
Yesterday afternoon featured opening remarks by the Presiding Bishop and President of the HoD, an opening session on Public Narrative, and an orientation to the workings of the HoD. In her opening remarks, the Presiding Bishop emphasized the importance of Ubuntu -I am because we are – for the Church.
Unfortunately, I believe this emphasis on our corporate life together came at the expense of our personal relationship with the Lord. She described “the great Western heresy-that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.” This heresy is often expressed by “insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific formula about Jesus.”
As an Evangelical, I am troubled when professions of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, either through the Creeds or a prayer of commitment – are discounted or even considered heretical. The Evangelical expression in the Episcopal/ Anglican tradition emphasizes a ‘both/and’ approach in regard to salvation.
There is BOTH an emphasis on the personal or individual commitment to Jesus AND the importance of the Body of Christ – the Ubuntu dimension – to nurture that relationship in a community of Christian faith. John Stott’s book, Basic Christianity, for example, combines those two dimensions well.
I know my updates are not following a neat and tidy schedule. One reason for that is simply because General Convention has developed a predictable schedule or ‘battle rhythm’ yet. I expect that will develop over the next several days.
–The Very Rev. Tony Clark