Friday, November 11, 2011

Frank Griswold Opines

Frank Griswold, scion and pastor to the Upper Main Line and 25th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, spoke of the calamities experienced by the church of late in an interview with Duke Divinity School's Faith and Leadership publication. Notably, he touches on the two earthquakes that have effected the body in which he was steward.

He speaks to the 25 million dollar damage experienced by the National Cathedral during the the Virginia quake of August 23, 2011, and the quakes radiating from the issue of gay ordinations during his tenure. In all of this, the Bishop views this as a Desert experience.

To use an image from the Old Testament, maybe this is the desert time.

The desert was a period of purification and self-knowledge in order that they were prepared to enter the promised land. All the things that happened in the wilderness, the struggle and the suffering, were part of being shaped and formed and being made ready to enter the promised land, especially where they could receive it as gift rather than acquisition.

I believe that Bishop Griswold is correct in his discernment of the Hand of the Almighty in the August temblor. Two historic American icons were shook and damaged; as easily as they could have been spared, they could have fallen in a heap. Yet, the Bishop has only captured one segment of the Desert Walk. True, Joshua, son of Nun and Caleb, son of Jephunneh stepped out of the wasteland on the other side; one million or so of their contemporaries were left to bleach in the sterile wilderness of the Sinai. Or if one considers the scapegoat, we see one who is sent to wander the desert never to return.

If Bishop Griswold is correct in his assessment, it would be helpful not just to identify his church's placement, but the purpose of this placement (and displacement). Herein will lie the result of whether the Episcopal Church emerges from the wilderness at Jordan's banks, or will permanently fall in the cruel Sinai.

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