Let’s just pause, for a moment, and consider the substance of this—and why people like me recoil in abject horror from the cries of some that “a lot of water has gone under the bridge” and that it’s time for us to learn how to “get along” and find what “common ground” we can. Essentially, Bishop Love, in being unwilling to do anything to aid anyone in actively doing what scripture forbids—in this case, blessing the sexual relationships of men with men and women with women, which everywhere in Scripture is contrary to God’s design, which is, as Paul says, an action that will keep you out of the Kingdom of God—is “violating” the discipline of the church. He is doing something that is contrary to what the church teaches.
The church, in this case, has set itself against the revealed will of God, on purpose, after thinking about it for years and years and years, and is going to discipline those who would like to faithfully follow the scriptures and teach and admonish and help others to do so.
A long time ago, when Bishop Love first was elected and decided to stay in TEC, I confess to wondering about the wisdom of his determination. Getting out of the Episcopal Church was one of the best things that ever happened to me. A church I loved, a church where I cut my teeth on the beauty, grace, and majesty of God, a church where the Bible was read so much aloud on Sunday that many other kinds of “bible believing” Christians were often astonished, became a church that derided and mocked those who really believed what was printed there on the page. I didn’t want to leave TEC. I begged God to be able to stay. But when we finally did walk away, which to me felt more like a shove, a great weight was lifted off my shoulders.
Indeed, shortly after realizing that we were not going to be able to remain in the church that we loved, Matt and I took a short day trip to Albany, to their beautiful retreat center, for a special Eucharist. Standing in a room full of others who really believed as they said the creed, who accepted Jesus as he is as they sang, was so strange and moving that I fought back an overpowering urge to cry the whole afternoon. It had been years since I had been in a church service full of people who all believed what they were saying, without their fingers crossed or a lot of explanatory footnotes at the bottom of the page. The decision of Bishop Love to stay and fight on struck me as one that would certainly exhaust and maybe even spiritually destroy him.
But look at the great wisdom of what God has done….