At the Episcopal Cafe, in Fr. Richard Helmer's column, "A Word From The Edge", he says of the present troubles in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion:
It seems that indeed these days everyone has something to be offended about – to justify spitting out a harsh word or two about the situation in the greater Church....In a bit of a temper, I delivered a scathing brand of humor...and judging by the comments in response, much to the delight of those on this side of the questions at hand in the Communion.
Those words of Richard brought me up short, because I've spoken my share of harsh words that were better left unsaid. I've done my part to add to the tensions within the church.
Richard goes on:
For this reason, I set aside almost all my claims to taking offense. But to my more conservative sisters and brothers (and there are many), there is one accusation I do take exception to. That is the notion, implied or explicitly articulated, that our ecclesiastical and theological position here somehow divorces us from the grace of God, from the hand of God’s blessing.
I, too, set aside many claims to take offense, because of my words which might have given offense. But, as I read Richard's words that followed, I was overcome by a feeling of sadness - one of many times I have felt that emotion at the state of our church. I started to comment at the Episcopal Cafè, but I thought better of it, and decided to say my piece here.
That we have come to this in our church, to the point that members of the church feel the need to cry out, "We are, indeed, included in the circle of God's grace! We are not heretics!" That we have come to this is so very sad.
God bestows grace freely, and who are we to judge who is within or without the circle of of God's grace? I, too, take offense at judgments about who's in and who's out. We are all of us sinners, saved by God's grace, and our role as followers of Jesus is to love God and love each other.
Can't we come together and agree on that, at the very least?