After the momentous convention vote last Saturday, during a break, I was speaking with a lay delegate from another parish, someone who has served both the diocese and the Episcopal Church long and well. She asked, "How can something that's the right thing to do make me feel so bad?" I immediately identified with her sentiment. After the vote was taken, but before the results were announced, I used "personal privilege" to exhort the convention to refrain from any demonstrations when the tallies were made public. Contrary to the report of a popular conservative blogger, the convention indulged me on that one, and I was grateful.
On Monday, I was interviewed by a reporter free-lancing for the Church Times (London). After covering factual matters, he asked me the question that always makes me cringe when I hear a reporter put it to someone else, "How does all of this make you feel?" My immediate response was, "It makes me feel very sad." It still does. I am more acutely aware than ever that I have made myself complicit in something that could turn out to be a huge mistake.
I am also more acutely aware than ever of the pernicious influence in my diocese of what I call "digital thinking," whereby everything is framed into an either/or disjunction. I know this is the digital age, but when it comes to thought processes, the old analog model has a lot to commend it, I think. We are ill-served by rhetoric that casts every Episcopalian as either "Jesus-loving scripture-affirming orthodox" or a "scripture-distorting heresy-spewing apostate." There are countless degrees of gradation between those extremes. To presume to know where the definitive line should be drawn is...well...presumptuous.
(Of course, we are equally ill-served by rhetoric from the left that casts all Episcopalians as either "peace-loving justice-affirming followers of Matthew 25" or "misogynistic homophobic neo-Puritans.")
So I'm singing the blues today. I find it impossible to be a single-minded partisan on any corner of this conflict. There's a piece of me everywhere. I'm quite literally disintegrated.