A Response To Deb Milner – Why Folks Who Stay In TEC Feel Hurt By Those Who Leave

Deb made an interesting observation here:

We chose to walk apart, but in doing so, we lost many “friends” from the diocese who stayed. People we have known and have been to Cursillo and who worked Kairos with for years, have suddenly given us the “cold shoulder”, who when they speak to us at all, do so in a rather ugly fashion. It is as if some of our old friends believe that because we left, we have somehow caused them harm and they will not longer associate with us on any civil level.

While I certainly wouldn’t justify anyone treating anyone else with a lack civility, the only thing I can say is the churches are families, and when someone leaves a family it hurts the rest of the family, even those who bear no fault for the person leaving. This is a sad dynamic that Deb points out, and I bet it is everywhere, even though it isn’t talked about much in the Anglican blogosphere. One thing that is important to remember is that while the theological differences are stark, at one point we all were one family, as dysfunctional as TEC was and is. We do a great job of working the theological differences, but the emotional side of this can’t be ignored.

8 Responses to “A Response To Deb Milner – Why Folks Who Stay In TEC Feel Hurt By Those Who Leave”

  1. 1 DaveG January 13, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    You are a constant reminder (like looking into a mirror) of how far they have drifted from the faith once delivered to the saints. Without ever saying a word about it, you shame them. Forced to ask themselves why you left and they stay, the absence of a Christ-centered justification for staying makes them uncomfortable. Stay strong: “When wicked men insult and hate you all because of ME, blessed, blessed are you.”

  2. 2 Sarah January 14, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I remain friends with many who have left TEC.

    But I suspect the people who are angry about others leaving are mostly revisionists. They know good and well why you left — because you believe their theology is unacceptable in a church.

    It’s hard to spin that kind of radical rejection of their foundational worldview and make people feel better about it!

  3. 3 Undergroundpewster January 14, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    I wonder if like the child/parent separation seen when the angry youth leaves the nest, that there is a normal antipathy in such circumstances, and this eventually passes allowing a new relationship to form at a later date once the two parties have had a chance to realize their independence.

    I am left wondering if we cannot see that some of their reaction is due to a healthy biological process.

    Not all splits lead to “the mother and child reunion,” but I pray that Deb and her friends will, in time, walk together in Christ once again.

  4. 4 Robert Easter January 15, 2009 at 5:02 am

    A story keeps recurring to me of a man in the persecuted Russian Church, asked (by Brother Andrew) why he didn’t take the opportunity to emigrate, answered, “If I leave, who will pray?” If we run away from anything we call persecution, or vanish in the face of heresy, who are we honoring? Arius, for a while, managed to co-opt the Church’s hierarchy: Athanasius continued to minister to his diocese if, need be, from exile or hiding, and the aged Antony came back from decades in the desert to preach truth in the city. Do we have that resolve?

  5. 5 DaveG January 15, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Fair questions Robert. But there are other fair questions that also need answers. Should families leave their children to be taught sexual license and immorality? Should we bring in our tithes and offerings to finance the spread of heresy? Do we participate in the embrace of the surrounding culture and bear witness to its excesses? If you have the fortitude and resolve to remain faithful in those circumstances, does it imply that everyone else does and ought to do likewise? Do I have the right to contribute to the sacrifice of the faith of my neighbor’s child?

  6. 6 AmmaKate January 16, 2009 at 12:48 am

    I, too, have many locals and Diocesan folks who respond to seeing me in Public, a Funeral etc as if they do not recognize me as someone they know. I agree with Sarah as those I have had negative comments/looks/rejection are revisionists.
    On an intellectual level, I understand. Emotionally, it is very difficult. AND we have adult kids who have not left TEC.
    So what does one do? Pray…Pray…and Pray more.

  7. 7 Alice C. Linsley January 16, 2009 at 3:15 am

    Yes, Robert, some must stay. They too pay an emotional price. Brad is right. Everyone pays and “the emotional side of this can’t be ignored.”

  8. 8 Truth Unites... and Divides January 17, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    No Robert, some want to stay and these “some” will justify it with self-serving rationalization. They are only fooling themselves.

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