jQuery Slider

You are here

TENNESSEE: We are a Church Seriously Divided, There is No Middle Ground

"WE ARE A CHURCH SERIOUSLY DIVIDED; THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND"

AN ADDRESS TO THE 172nd ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF
TENNESSEE BY THE RT. REV. BERTRAM NELSON HERLONG, D.D.

DELIVERED IN CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL, NASHVILLE
JANUARY 31, 2004

GRACE TO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER AND OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST!

WELCOME TO THE LAY AND CLERGY DELEGATES, OBSERVERS AND FRIENDS AS WE
MEET TOGETHER FOR THE 172nd TIME IN THE ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE
EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF TENNESSEE IN THE 175th YEAR OF OUR ESTABLISHMENT
AND IN THE 11 TH YEAR OF MY CONSECRATION. I AM PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT
BILL AND FLETCH COKE HAVE AGREED TO BE CO-CHAIRS OF THE 175th
ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION COMMITTEE. TO FIND WAYS AND MEANS TO CELEBRATE
THIS MILESTONE IN OUR HISTORY.

WE WANT TO EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE TO DEAN SWANSON, THE STAFF AND
CONGREGATION OF CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL FOR THEIR GRACIOUS HOSPITALITY,
TO PETE STRINGER, SANDRA MERRITT AND THE MEMBERS OF THE CONVENTION
COMMITTEE FOR THEIR WORK IN ARRANGING THIS MEETING. AND TO THE
CATHEDRAL CHOIR AND MICHAEL VELTILNG, ORGANIST AND / CHOIRMASTER FOR
THEIR WONDERFUL MUSIC.

ON BEHALF OF THE WHOLE DIOCESE, IT IS OUR GREAT PLEASURE TO WELCOME
ALFREDO MORANTE, BISHOP OF LITORAL, OUR COMPANION DIOCESE IN ECUADOR
AND FATHER GERONIMO ALAVA WHO ARE OUR SPECIAL GUESTS, AND TO BISHOP
CHARLES JENKINS WHO GAVE US SUCH A WONDERFUL MESSAGE LAST NIGHT AT OUR
CONVENTION BANQUET AND HIS WIFE, LOUISE. IT IS ALWAYS A JOY TO HAVE OUR
OWN BISHOP SANDERS WITH US. I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE ASSISTANCE AND
SUPPORT HE GIVES SO FREELY TO ME AND TO THE DIOCESE.

WE WISH TO GIVE THANKS AND RECOGNIZE OUR DIOCESAN STAFF AND
VOLUNTEERS - FIRST VOLUNTEERS: THE MEMBERS OF OUR ADMINISTRATIVE
SUPPORT TEAM, DR. PAUL TESCHAN, AND MR. DAVID HERBERT; EDITOR OF THE
CROSS AND CROZ1ER, CHARLIE APPLETON. OUR STAFF: SECRETARY/RECEPTIONIST,
ANGELA HARDY, OUR FINANCIAL SECRETARY. JUDY BUTTNER, AND OUR OFFICE
MANAGER AND SECRETARY TO THE BISHOP, COLETTE BARRETT, THE CANON TO THE
ORDINARY, BOB DEDMON, WHOSE WORK IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE OPERATION OF THE
DIOCESE AND ON WHOM I DEPEND GREATLY, AND OUR CANON FOR MINISTRY, BOB
BRODIE. THE CANON FOR MINISTRY POSITION IS NOT FUNDED WITH DIOCESAN
MONEY BUT THROUGH A GENEROUS GIFT, WHICH INCLUDES ONE-HALF OF THE
SALARY OF OUR SECRETARY/RECEPTIONIST. THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE WHO GIVE
FREELY OF THEIR TIME AND TALENTS TO HELP THE DIOCESE CARRY OUT IT'S
MISSION- WILL ALL WHO SERVE ON COMMITTEES AND COMMISSIONS OF THE
DIOCESE PLEASE STAND?

IT HAS BEEN AN INTERESTING YEAR! SOMEONE TOLD ME IT WAS LIKE BEING
ON A ROLLER COASTER. SOMEONE ELSE SAID IT WAS A TRAIN WRECK!
UNFORTUNATELY THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR HAS BEEN ALMOST TOTALLY
OCCUPIED WITH THE REACTIONS TO THE ACTIONS OF THE 74(tm) GENERAL
CONVENTION. AS A RESULT OF THOSE ACTIONS, HERE ARE A FEW OF THE THINGS
THAT HAVE HAPPENED.

NINETEEN OF THE THIRTY-EIGHT PROVINCIAL CHURCHES AND ARCHBISHOPS OF
THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION HAVE DECLARED BROKEN OR IMPAIRED COMMUNION WITH
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. THE PRIMATES OF THE GLOBAL SOUTH, THE ANGLICAN
CHURCH OF KENYA, THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF TANZANIA, THE ARCHBISHOP OF THE
CHURCH IN THE PROVINCE OF SOUTH AFRICA, THE CHURCH OF THE PROVINCE OF
WEST INDIES, THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS OF THE CHURCH OF THE PROVINCE OF
UGANDA, THE BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN EGYPT, NORTH AFRICA AND
THE HORN OF AFRICA, THE NIGERIAN HOUSE OF BISHOPS, THE DIOCESES OF
CHILE, PERU, PARAGUAY AND BOLIVIA, THE ANGLICAN BISHOP OF PORT
ELIZABETH, BISHOP PETER LEE. CHURCH OF THE PROVINCE OF SOUTH AFRICA,
THE ANGLICAN BISHOP OF WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND, BISHOP OF KARACHI AND
BALOCHISTAN DIOCESE, PAKISTAN, PRESIDING BISHOP OF JERUSALEM AND THE
MIDDLE EAST, HOUSE OF BISHOPS, CHURCH OF THE PROVINCE OF UGANDA, WEST
AFRICAN PROVINCE OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH, BISHOP OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH
IN SWAZILAND. DIOCESE OF SYDNEY, THE CHURCH OF NORTH INDIA.

THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH HAS SUSPENDED RELATIONS WITH THE
EPISCOPAL CHURCH, THE COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH, THE SYRIAN ORTHODOX
CHURCH AND THE ARMENIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH HAVE SUSPENDED THEIR DIALOGUE
WITH THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. THE MUSLIMS HAVE CANCELLED THEIR INTER-FAITH
DIALOGUE WITH THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. THE PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE
EPISCOPAL CHURCH RESIGNED AS ANGLICAN CO-CHAIR OF THE ANGLICAN ROMAN
CATHOLIC INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION WHEN THE ROMAN CATHOLICS REFUSED TO
MEET IF HE WAS PRESENT. HE WAS UN-INVITED TO THE ENTHRONEMENT OF THE
NEW ARCHBISHOP OF UGANDA.

CLOSER TO HOME, I DON'T KNOW OF A SINGLE CONGREGATION IN THIS
DIOCESE THAT HAS NOT BEEN AFFECTED BY THE DECISIONS OF THE GENERAL
CONVENTION. THE SAME IS TRUE IN EVERY OTHER DIOCESE OF WHICH I HAVE
KNOWLEDGE. FOR EXAMPLE, IN ONE NEIGHBORING DIOCESE, TWO GROUPS OF
PEOPLE HAVE LEFT THEIR PARISHES AND FORMED NEW CONGREGATIONS UNDER THE
BISHOP OF BOLIVIA, IN ANOTHER TWO PRIESTS HAVE LEFT THE EPISCOPAL
CHURCH, IN ANOTHER THE BISHOP HAS REDUCED A PARISH TO MISSION STATUS,
FIRED THE VESTRY AND NAMED A NEW MISSION COUNCIL. ON WEDNESDAY A
PROVINCE IV BISHOP TOLD ME HE WAS LOSING TWO MAJOR PARISHES TO THE
ANGLICAN MISSION IN AMERICA. THE LIST COULD GO ON AND ON.

IN THIS DIOCESE. WE HAVE HAD VESTRY MEMBERS AND MISSION COUNCIL
MEMBERS RESIGN, CHURCH MEMBERS HAVE LEFT THE CHURCH, OTHERS HAVE MOVED
TO ANOTHER CONGREGATION AND MANY HAVE WITHHELD THEIR PLEDGES. THIS IS
CLEARLY REFLECTED IN THE FAIR SHARE PLEDGES OF CONGREGATIONS TO THE
DIOCESE AND THUS IN THE 2004 DIOCESAN BUDGET. CLERGY HAVE BEEN UNDER
FIRE. GROUPS HAVE ORGANIZED ON BOTH SIDES AND ONE TO TRY TO PROMOTE
DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY. I HAVE MET WITH SEVERAL VESTRIES, SOME MORE THAN
ONCE, SEVERAL CONGREGATIONS, SOME MORE THAN ONCE AND SEVERAL
INDIVIDUALS, SOME MORE THAN ONCE. THE MAIL AND THE E-MAIL AND THE PHONE
CALLS HAVE BEEN UNENDING. IN THAT REGARD. LET ME THANK ALL WHO HAVE
WRITTEN OR CALLED TO SUPPORT ME. I HAVE BEEN STRENGTHENED AND UPHELD BY
YOUR PRAYERS. I AM GRATEFUL. TO THOSE WHO HAVE WRITTEN OR CALLED TO
INSULT AND DEGRADE ME, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO WROTE ME JUDGMENTAL LETTERS
ACCUSING ME OF BEING JUDGMENTAL. 1 FORGIVE YOU.

WHILE SOME CELEBRATE THE DECISIONS OF THE GENERAL CONVENTION AS
MOVEMENT TOWARD A MORE INCLUSIVE CHURCH, A MATTER OF JUSTICE FOR
PERSONS ON THE MARGINS, OTHERS FEEL ABANDONED, BEREFT. BETRAYED AND
SOME ARE ANGRY. WE HAVE BEEN FORCED TO TAKE A SIDE, WHETHER WE WANT TO
OR NOT. WE ARE A CHURCH SERIOUSLY DIVIDED; THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND.

NO MATTER WHICH SIDE YOU ARE ON IN THIS SITUATION, THOSE ARE THE
FACTS. WHAT HAS HAPPENED HAS HAPPENED. THE QUESTION BEFORE US AND THE
REST OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IS, "SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?"
PASSING RESOLUTIONS WILL NOT HELP. THE TROUBLE WITH LEGISLATIVE
SOLUTIONS IS THAT THEY PRODUCE WIN/LOSE CONCLUSIONS. IS THERE A WAY
THAT WE CAN PRODUCE A WIN/WIN SOLUTION? CAN WE MODEL IN THE DIOCESE OF
TENNESSEE THE KIND OF BEHAVIOR THAT CAN OFFER THE WHOLE CHURCH A WAY
FORWARD? CAN WE FIND A WAY FOR TWO DISPARATE THEOLOGIES TO LIVE
TOGETHER IN ONE CHURCH? IF NOT, WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE?

THE FACT IS, WE HAVE BEEN LIVING TOGETHER WITH OUR DIFFERENCES FOR
A LONG TIME. THE RECENT GENERAL CONVENTION'S ACTIONS SIMPLY IDENTIFIED
THE ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM AND NOW WE MUST DEAL WITH IT. IF YOU
THINK ABOUT IT, THAT MAY BE A GOOD THING. IN ADDITION TO THOSE NEGATIVE
THINGS I MENTIONED EARLIER THAT HAVE HAPPENED HERE IN THIS DIOCESE,
THERE ARE SOME POSITIVE REALITIES. THERE IS AN INCREASED INTEREST ON
THE PART OF THE LAITY, IN FACT MORE CONCERN AND INVOLVEMENT AND ENERGY
THAN I HAVE EVER SEEN. THERE IS A VERY SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN BIBLE
READING AND STUDY. PEOPLE HAVE HAD TO SERIOUSLY QUESTION JUST WHAT THEY
DO BELIEVE, WHAT IS THE AUTHORITY IN THE CHURCH, WHAT PLACE DOES THE
BIBLE HAVE IN THE CHURCH AND IN THEIR LIVES.

WHY DON'T WE AGREE THAT THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT THEOLOGIES AND
RECOGNIZE THAT THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH US ARE NOT ANY DIFFERENT THAN
THEY WERE BEFORE AUGUST 5, 2003. WE WERE DOING PRETTY WELL BEFORE THEN.
MEMBERSHIP IN OUR DIOCESE HAS GROWN 20.7% SINCE 1991, PLEDGED GIVING IN
CONGREGATIONS IS UP 79%, and ATTENDANCE AT WORSHIP IS UP 26.3%. WE HAVE
STARTED SIX NEW CONGREGATIONS IN THE LAST SEVEN YEARS. PERCENTAGE WISE,
WE ARE THE FASTEST GROWING DIOCESE IN THE AMERICAN CHURCH. IF YOU WANT
AN IDEA OF THE STRENGTH OF OUR DIOCESE, READ THE "DIOCESAN MINISTRY
OUTREACH 2003" BOOKLET FOUND IN YOUR CONVENTION PACKETS. IT IS A
COMPILATION OF MUCH, BUT BY NO MEANS ALL OF THE OUTREACH MINISTRIES
THAT ARE ALREADY GOING ON THROUGH OUR CONGREGATIONS. IT IS A TESTIMONY
TO THE MAGNITUDE AND VITALITY OF OUR SERVICE TO OTHERS IN THE NAME OF
JESUS.

THE PRESENT SITUATION IN THE CHURCH HAS BEEN DEVELOPING FOR A LONG,
LONG TIME AND IT IS GOING TO TAKE A LONG, LONG TIME TO FIND ANY .
RESOLUTION. LET ME SUGGEST SOME SIMPLE THINGS THAT WE CAN DO. FIRST,
HAVE PATIENCE - I KNOW THAT IS HARD, IT IS VERY HARD FOR ME, BUT THIS
MAY NOT BE RESOLVED DURING MY LIFETIME. LETS STOP DEMONIZING EACH
OTHER. THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH THE GENERAL CONVENTION ACTIONS SHOULD
NOT VILIFY THOSE WHO AGREE. THOSE WHO AGREE WITH GENERAL CONVENTION
TALK A LOT ABOUT INCLUSIVENESS, THEREFORE THEY SHOULD NOT EXCLUDE THOSE
WHO DISAGREE WITH THEM. LET ME PUT THAT ON A PERSONAL LEVEL. I AM
FRANKLY TIRED OF BEING SHOT AT BY THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH ME. NO ONE
LIKES TO BE INSULTED BY MEAN SPIRITED BEHAVIOR. I DON'T AND NEITHER
SHOULD YOU. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN WILLING TO TELL YOU WHERE I STAND AND
WHAT I BELIEVE. BUT IN CASE THERE IS ANY DOUBT, I THINK THE ACTIONS OF
THE 74(tm) GENERAL CONVENTION ARE WRONG. RESOLUTION C051 DOES NOT TELL
US TO DO ANYTHING AND ALTHOUGH IT HAS BEEN USED TO JUSTIFY BLESSING OF
SAME SEX UNIONS IN OTHER DIOCESES, IT HAS NO EFFECT IN THIS DIOCESE.
NEITHER DOES THE APPROVAL OF THE CONSECRATION OF GENE ROBINSON. I DO
NOT RECOGNIZE HIM AS A BISHOP AND HAVE DECLARED THAT MY COMMUNION WITH
THE DIOCESE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE IS IMPAIRED. THAT IS MY PERSONAL DECISION
AS A BISHOP, IT IS NOT A DECISION OF THE DIOCESE. 1 WILL CONTINUE TO
STAND FOR AND UPHOLD THE TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH AND WILL
DEFEND THE FAITH AS I PROMISED WHEN I WAS CONSECRATED A BISHOP IN THIS
CHURCH. AT THE SAME TIME, NEITHER THE DIOCESE NOR THE BISHOP HAS OR
WILL ACT IN WAYS THAT ARE PUNITIVE TO THOSE WHO DISAGREE WITH THE
BISHOP. WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT, WE ARE IN THE SAME DIOCESE AND THAT
MEANS WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN WORK THINGS OUT.

SECOND, WE CAN DO OUR WORK. OUR MISSION IS CLEAR. IT IS ON PAGE 855
OF THE PRAYER BOOK: THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH IS TO RESTORE ALL PEOPLE
TO UNITY WITH GOD AND EACH OTHER IN CHRIST. WE CANNOT DO THAT WHEN OUR
ENERGIES ARE FOCUSED ON OUR DISAGREEMENTS. THIS IS A CRITICAL TIME FOR
OUR MISSION. IT IS A TIME WHEN WE NEED TO BE MORE DILIGENT IN OUR
EVANGELISM AND OUR OUTREACH, MORE GENEROUS IN OUR SUPPORT. IF WE BACK
OFF NOW, THEN WE HAVE LET THE ISSUES OF THE MOMENT DEFEAT US. IT IS OUR
INTENTION TO CONTINUE TO PRESS FORWARD ON OUR MAJOR GOALS; TO HAVE A
TRAINED YOUTH WORKER CONNECTED TO EVERY CONGREGATION BY 2006, TO
INCREASE THE SERVICES AND SUPPORT OF THE DIOCESE TO CONGREGATIONS, TO
MAKE EVERY CONGREGATION A MISSIONARY OUT POST, AND TO PLANT ONE NEW
CONGREGATION EVERY YEAR TILL 2006.

THIRD, WE MUST PRAY. IF THERE IS ANYTHING THAT THE PRESENT CRISIS
HAS DONE, IT HAS INCREASED EXPONENTIALLY THE PRAYERS OF OUR CLERGY AND
PEOPLE FOR THE CHURCH AND FOR EACH OTHER. REMEMBER, PRAYER DOESN'T
CHANGE GOD, IT CHANGES US. WE ALL NEED TO REPENT AND WE ALL NEED TO BE
REDEEMED. WE ALL NEED TO PRAY.

ALL OF THE ACTIONS AND REACTIONS TO GENERAL CONVENTION ACTIONS HAVE
BEEN EMOTIONALLY LOADED. AND WHEN OUR SENSITIVITIES ARE HEIGHTENED AND
OUR FEELINGS ARE ON THE SURFACE, THEN EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS SEEMS TO
HAVE GREATER SIGNIFICANCE THAN IT WOULD OTHERWISE. THINGS THAT
PREVIOUSLY WOULD NOT HAVE HAD ANY PARTICULAR MEANING BECOME HOSTILE
ACTIONS AND CONSPIRACIES AGAINST US. RUMORS ARISE AND ARE SPREAD. WHEN
YOU HEAR A RUMOR, CHECK IT OUT, GO TO THE SOURCE AND FIND THE TRUTH.
LET ME DISPEL A FEW THINGS THAT I HEAR THAT NEED TO BE PUT TO REST. 1
AM NOT GOING TO LEAVE THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH, OR LEAD THE DIOCESE OUT OF
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH (I COULDN'T DO THAT ANY WAY AND WOULDN'T IF I
COULD.) THE ACTIONS OF THE BISHOP AND COUNCIL ARE NOT PEJORATIVE; THEY
ARE SIMPLY DEALING WITH THE REALITIES OF THE MOMENT. NO CONGREGATIONS
HAVE LEFT THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH AND NO CLERGY HAVE RENOUNCED THEIR
ORDERS OR DONE ANYTHING OF AN ILLEGAL, IMMORAL, OR EXTRA-CANONICAL
NATURE.

I KNOW THAT AT THIS CONVENTION YOU WILL SPEAK WITH RESPECT AND
MODERATION. WHILE THE ISSUES WE WILL CONSIDER ARE IMPORTANT, THEY NEED
NOT BE DIVISIVE. HERE IS A PUBLIC OPPORTUNITY TO DEMONSTRATE THE TRUE
CHARACTER OF THE DIOCESE OF TENNESSEE. I KNOW THAT YOUR BEHAVIOR WILL
BE POSITIVE AND GRACEFUL.

I KNOW THAT THE WAY AHEAD IS DIFFICULT AND PAINFUL. BUT I ALSO KNOW
ABOUT THE STRENGTH AND WILL OF OUR CLERGY AND PEOPLE. I KNOW AND HAVE
SEEN THE POWER OF GOD WORKING IN AND THROUGH YOU. I KNOW THAT THE
PRESENT THREATS CAN STIFLE HOPE AND INITIATIVE. BUT WE HAVE AN
UNBELIEVABLE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THE BEST OF THINGS IN THE WORST OF
TIMES. IN WORLD WAR II WHEN BRITAIN WAS AT HER LOWEST POINT AND THE
ENEMY HAD BROUGHT HER TO HER KNEES BUT SHE REFUSED TO SURRENDER,
WINSTON CHURCHILL SAID, "THIS WAS OUR FINEST HOUR!" SO MAY THIS CRISIS
IN OUR CHURCH OPEN NEW OPPORTUNITIES AND NEW POSSIBILITIES FOR MINISTRY
AND SERVICE. AS ST. PAUL REMINDS US, "HAVING THIS MINISTRY BY THE MERCY
OF GOD, WE DO NOT LOSE HEART." WE MUST NEVER SURRENDER. MAY IT BE SAID
OF US, "THIS WAS THEIR FINEST HOUR!"

FRIENDS, WE ARE ON AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY. I DON'T THINK THAT
RECONCILIATION IS POSSIBLE AT THIS POINT OF TIME. BUT TIME PASSES. I
HAVE APPOINTED RICHARD KEW AND KEN SWANSON TO HELP US FIND WAYS TO KEEP
TALKING TO EACH OTHER. THAT WORK HAS ALREADY BEGUN. YOU WILL BE HEARING
MORE ABOUT THIS AS TIME GOES ON. I AM CALLING ON EVERY EPISCOPALIAN IN
THIS DIOCESE TO REMEMBER WHO WE ARE AND WHOSE WE ARE; TO REMEMBER THAT
OUR FAITH IS NOT IN THE CHURCH BUT IN GOD. THE CHURCH IS NOT
INFALLIBLE, IT CAN AND DOES MAKE MISTAKES. BUT THE CHURCH IS
INDEFECTIBLE; THAT IS TO SAY, IT WILL NOT BE ULTIMATELY DEFEATED
BECAUSE IT IS GOD'S CHURCH. AND AS ! SAY SO OFTEN AND BELIEVE WITH ALL
MY HEART, GOD IS STILL IN CHARGE AND GOD WILL WIN IN THE END. WE ARE
GOD'S BELOVED CHILDREN; WE ARE ULTIMATELY DEFINED, NOT BY OUR JOB OR
POSITION OR OUR PERSONALITY OR OUR SEXUALITY OR BY OUR THEOLOGICAL OR
POLITICAL POSITION BUT BY THE IMAGE OF GOD THAT HAS BEEN CREATED WITHIN
US. WE ARE ALL CALLED TO MINISTRY AND SERVICE AND COMMITTED TO GROW
INTO THE PERFECTION THAT WE HAVE SEEN AND KNOWN IN JESUS. WE DO THAT BY
LIVING OUT THE GREAT SUMMARY OF THE LAW - TO LOVE GOD WITH ALL OUR
HEART AND MIND AND SOUL AND STRENGTH AND TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR AS OUR
SELF AND IN SO DOING, FULFILL THE GREAT COMMISSION, TO MAKE DISCIPLES
OF ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON
AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND TEACHING THEM TO OBEY ALL THAT JESUS HAS
COMMANDED US.

IN THE FIRST "LORD OF THE RINGS MOVIE," "THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE
RING," FRODO BAGGINS, A HOBBIT, THE SMALLEST AND WEAKEST PEOPLE OF
MIDDLE EARTH, TAKES COUNSEL WITH THE LEADERS OF THE OTHER PEOPLES ABOUT
HOW TO DEAL WITH THE EVIL THAT CONFRONTS THEM. THE QUESTION IS WHO WILL
TAKE THE RING OF EVIL POWER AND CONTROL AND GO ON A JOURNEY INTO THE
UNKNOWN TO LITERALLY SAVE THE WORLD. FRODO IS INSECURE, ANXIOUS ABOUT
WHAT IT ALL MEANS AND HE IS DEATHLY AFRAID. BUT IN THE END HE SAYS, "I
WILL TAKE THE RING ALTHOUGH 1 DO NOT KNOW THE WAY."

IN OUR PRESENT SITUATION IN THE CHURCH, WE ARE INSECURE. ANXIOUS
AND AFRAID. GOD IS OFFERING US A RING, A RING OF HOLINESS AND TRUTH,
AND ASKING US TO TAKE A LONG JOURNEY INTO THE UNCHARTED TERRITORY, TO
LITERALLY SAVE THE WORLD. WILL YOU JOIN ME IN TAKING THE RING AND THE
JOURNEY INTO THE UNKNOWN? WE TALK A LOT ABOUT TRUSTING GOD. WELL, HERE
IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO JUST THAT WITH ALL THAT WE HAVE AND ARE. WILL
YOU TRUST GOD, WILL YOU PUT YOUR FAITH IN JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR AND
FOLLOW HIM AS YOUR LORD, AND WILL YOU DEPEND ON THE HOLY SPIRIT TO LEAD
US INTO ALL TRUTH? WILL YOU TAKE THE RING? AMEN

END

Subscribe
Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Letter to the Churches, text and commentary
Prayer Book Alliance
Trinity School for Ministry

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice

DrinkCoffeeDoGood.com

Go To Top