Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Church Schisms As Normal As Potluck Suppers and Dull Sermons

At a general convention in California of the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori blamed controversies within her church thus: "Schism is not a Christian act, the great Western heresy [is] that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God ... that individual focus is a form of heresy."

As T.R. Fehrenbach saw this in his San Antonio Express-News column differently. The great Texas historian writes a weekly opinion piece every Sunday. Like my own columns they are all over the place. He takes the bishop to task.

If there is anything outstanding about Christian history it is one of "schisms." Even before the 1st century was over, men were spreading out in all directions as "Christian sects." They could not agree on much of anything. When the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church could no longer agree they split, never to reunite. And then came the Protestants, who keep dividing up to this 21st century. There is no end in sight for the non-denominational, post-denominational and "don't give us a name" churches all over the country-side.

Dr. Fehrenback says: "A schism (from the Greek for "splitting")is as Christian as potluck suppers and dull sermons."

It is not heresy to seek God as an individual. That has been the thrust of most of the Protestant denominations. This includes Baptists, even though they like to say they never protested the Roman Church. Well, they did and some on the fringes continue to see Babylon demons when cleric collars appear.

Jesus prayed his followers might be one with Him in spirit (and community, I add)and this may be the oldest prayer ever formed that has yet to be answered.


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