Like many others, during the last several years I have wrestled over what is the appropriate and godly way to respond to the crisis that has enveloped all of us in the Episcopal Church. Like many, I have explored a variety of options in terms of action and attitude, and come away dissatisfied. Sometimes it seems almost impossible to maintain a balanced commitment to revealed truth, countering error, reconciliation, grace, forgiveness, the unity of the church, and biblical moral and ethical values. I can't think how many times I have wished that there were some simple formula that could be readily applied.
For many years I have bought and read everything Eugene Peterson writes, for there are few theologians who marry, as he does, careful scholarship, perceptive pastoral insight and an abiding and tested commitment to catholic values of the faith. So, a couple of months ago I picked up Peterson's latest extended essay on pastoral theology, The Jesus Way.
I started into it thinking it would give me helpful insights into my own personal discipleship, which it has, but it has also given me clues to help me address this thorny ecclesiastical controversy in a manner that is worthy of my Lord. Certainly, Peterson does not come up with those illusive easy answers, but identifies patterns of believing and being from the Scriptures, the life of Christ, and his contemporaries that if taken seriously have the capacity to begin the process of breaking the present impasse.
And impasse it is, with none of the actions of any side within going anywhere other than digging us ever deeper into the mire. While fudging the issues before us is not going to be a solution, neither is the hand-to-hand combat which we are treated to each day. It occurs to me that Eugene Peterson's insights might help us find our way out of this dark jungle of our own making.
Read it all.
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