I’m Proud To Be An Episcopalian…In The Anglican World

The first phrase of the title of this post is a phrase from a song that a priest introduced to the Cursillo movement some time ago in this Diocese. That priest is my good friend Hal Hutchinson. However, I am ashamed to be an American Episcopalian today, because I realize I am an Episcopalian in the Anglican World, a family, due to the remarks of the Presiding Bishop of Sudan who repeatedly today referenced the Anglican world. Watching this is what shamed me:

Now, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan’s words enthralled me earlier today. But, watching this diminutive (okay, so he’s six five – but he was humble and soft spoken) man speak, well, shamed me. Realizing that among the cuts of Ruth Gledhill’s video, he said things like this:

Because of the actions of the American church, “we are called infidels in the Islamic world when they hear of the same-sex blessings,” he said. “It will give [Islamist militants] reason to kill” Sudanese Christians he said.

The archbishop, known as an expert in the field of reconciliation said, “I am here talking to my brothers and sisters in America. We have experienced offense by their actions. I am not trying to offend them in return but tell them that I love them. We have had a painful experience and they must ask for forgiveness so we can go on together.

“If there is a cultural problem in America, it should be kept in America and not allowed to come into the Anglican world. I am not saying the Americans should all be excluded, but keep Gene Robinson away and we will find a way to help them.

“This issue of homosexuality in the Anglican Communion has a very serious effect in my country. We are called ‘infidels’ by the Moslems. That means that they will do whatever they can against us to keep us from damaging the people of our country. They challenge our people to convert to Islam and leave the infidel Anglican Church. When our people refuse, sometimes they are killed. These people are very evil and mutilate and harm our people. I am begging the Communion on this issue so no more of my people will be killed.

“My people have been suffering for 21 years of war. Their only hope is in the Church. It is the center of life of my people. No matter what problem we have, no material goods, no health supplies or medicine; no jobs or income; no availability of food. The inflation rate makes our money almost worthless and we have done this for 21 years. The Church is the center of our life together.

“The culture does not change the Bible; the Bible changes the culture. Cultures that do not approve of the Bible are left out of the Church’s life; people who do not believe in the Bible are left out of our churches. The American church is saying that God made a mistake. He made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Adam.

“We will not talk to Gene Robinson or listen to him or his testimony. He has to confess, receive forgiveness and leave. Then we will talk. You cannot bring the listening to gay people to our Communion. People who do not believe in the Bible are left out of our churches, not invited in to tell us why they don’t believe.

“I have just come from a meeting of the African and Global South bishops who are here. There were almost 200 bishops there. They support the statement my Church made yesterday. That’s 17 provinces.

“The Authority of the Bible is always the same. You cannot pull a line out or add a line to it. That brings you a curse. We are saying no. You are wrong.”

Realize that this comes from a bishop that has not violated Diocesan boundaries, has not boycotted Lambeth, and has nothing to gain and everything to lose in helping TEC. He has people dying because of what we did at GC2003. Because, despite our asseverations of provincial independence, we are a part of a family – His family – which includes Sudanese Episcopalians. What we do in America affects our brothers and sisters over there. We as the American Episcopal Church have been completely unmindful of that. Moreover, Bishop Deng kept referring to Anglicans as a family. That is how he sees Anglicanism, and that is how those outside of Anglicanism see it as well. Provincial independence does not fit into family. Moreover, how could we not see that what we do as Anglicans in North America affects the people with whom we sit at the same spiritual table in Sudan?

Whatever moral authority the Archbishop of Canterbury had, whatever moral authority TEC had, has been lost this day. Lost to a diminutive bishop from the Sudan who asked for reconciliation and to help us. All he asked was for one country bishop to resign so 300 bishops who preside over Dioceses that contain people and parishes that dwarf most Episcopal dioceses, could be present at Lambeth, and he said he loved us and would help us.

I know that when I stand before the judgment seat of God, it will be far more important that I can tell the Lord that I was in fellowship and relationship with Christians all over the world than if I followed the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. I will not tell Him of my ties to historic Canterbury, or the American Episcopal Church, because those won’t really matter, but that I shared the love of Jesus Christ with those in prison, and that I was in Communion – an intimate relationship of fellow Christians – with people like the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Sudan. I pray that if our Diocese has to make a choice between Communion with Khartoum or Canterbury, that we choose Khartoum. I would not presume to know the mind of God, but I honestly believe it is what Jesus would do.

Or, as the Bishop said, “I have been a part of the Anglican world since I was a child. I should not be hesitating to come here.” Amen.

14 Responses to “I’m Proud To Be An Episcopalian…In The Anglican World”


  1. 1 dl July 23, 2008 at 2:10 am

    Brad,
    Amen and thank you. I too am convicted by the Holy Spirit through this. I’m reminded of the message following the first Plano Conference, that our church got to this place because we all, especially we orthodox, have failed God. We all need to heed this call for repentance.

  2. 3 Alice C. Linsley July 23, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    The Archbishop of Sudan speaks truth and truth always convicts us of our sin. He spoke to the press room, since the Anglican Communion News Bureau refused to schedule him. Cherie Wetzel reports that some of the reporters there who support TEC were laughing at him.

    I was also moved by Cardinal Ivan Dias’ remarks to Lambeth. His diagnosis of Anglicanism is perfect. Read it here:

    http://college-ethics.blogspot.com/2008/07/anglicans-suffer-from-spiritual.html

  3. 4 Brendan July 23, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Full disclosure: I’m not an Episcopalian but, in the words of Bill Clinton, I feel your pain.

    While I don’t disagree with anything the gentleman said — and his humility was extraordinary — wouldn’t the Sudanese Muslims be trying to kill and/or convert Christians regardless of what the Anglican church said or believed?

  4. 5 dl July 24, 2008 at 1:40 am

    Brendan,
    Of course. But they don’t need these extracurricular reasons to be named infidels.

  5. 6 Brendan July 24, 2008 at 2:40 am

    >>Brendan,
    Of course. But they don’t need these extracurricular reasons to be named infidels.>>

    But, dl, that’s my point. To the Muslims they ARE infidels whether or not they raise women and gays to the episcopate, speak in tongues, or wear sneakers with a tuxedo.

    Nothing said, done, or merely considered by the American church would change that.

  6. 7 Katherine July 24, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Amen, Brad.

    Brendan, egregious examples of bad behavior or teaching, like TEC and the promotion of same-sex activity, do give Islamists extra reasons to agitate against Christians. Only look what happens when a newspaper somewhere else publishes fairly innocuous editorial cartoons about the Muslim prophet. In this case, this is a public teaching in favor of what both Sudanese Christians and Muslims view as scandalous and sinful behavior.

  7. 8 Brendan July 24, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Katherine,

    I don’t disagree.

    It may give them “extra reasons” to target Christians but they — at least according to the lights of the more radical among them — already had sufficient reasons to convert/harm Christians.

    I’m not an apologist for TEC (Heck, I’m not even an Episcopalian!)but neither do I believe that if TEC re-affirmed traditional marriage and limited orders to men then, suddenly, the Muslims would have no excuse for violence against Christians.

  8. 9 Hopper August 2, 2008 at 2:22 am

    The third paragraph above … regarding what the PB of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan had to say is as follows: <>

    That may well be true … but violence done by Islamist extremist in Sudan in response to actions within the Episcopal Church of the United States is hardly reason for our Church to change. Islamist extremist would rather NO Church exist … be it the Episcopal Church of the United States … or the Episcopal Church of the Sudan. Lets blame who’s at fault … it’s the Islamist extremist … certainly NOT the Episcopal Church of the United States!

    America and the Sudan represent two vastly different cultures … we’re never going to view things in even remotely the same way … not even the Bible. To expect American Episcopalians to live in the interest of the Sudan as opposed our understanding of the Gospel is abundantly self-centered.

    However, the most perplexing paragraph of all is as follows: <>

    Does anyone truly see this man as an expert in reconciliation after that remark? Frankly, his hypocritically pious remarks are astounding lacking in any attempt at serious reconciliation. Perhaps he should consider asking forgiveness as well!

    This PB seems to be more the expert in advising total capitulation to his completely self-centered point of view.

  9. 10 Hopper August 2, 2008 at 2:25 am

    The paragraphs referenced in my above post were somehow omitted … they are as follows:

    Because of the actions of the American church, “we are called infidels in the Islamic world when they hear of the same-sex blessings,” he said. “It will give [Islamist militants] reason to kill” Sudanese Christians he said.

    The archbishop, known as an expert in the field of reconciliation said, “I am here talking to my brothers and sisters in America. We have experienced offense by their actions. I am not trying to offend them in return but tell them that I love them. We have had a painful experience and they must ask for forgiveness so we can go on together.

  10. 11 Hopper August 2, 2008 at 4:27 am

    Sorry … my spell check is doing strange things to the word Islamic … turning it into Islamist … and my eyes did not pick it up. Someone here at the office has changed the dictionary … not I must determine how to correct it.


  1. 1 Brad Drell - TEC have lost any moral authority they had Trackback on July 23, 2008 at 10:48 am
  2. 2 Anglican Mainstream » Blog Archive » I’m Proud To Be An Episcopalian…In The Anglican World Trackback on July 24, 2008 at 7:54 am
  3. 3 Lambeth Blog Round-Up #10 « Journeyman Trackback on December 19, 2010 at 5:40 am

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