At St. Mary's on 9/11 in Daytona Beach Fr. Taylor baptized my baby daughter, Anne-Marie. I know, the date looks unfitting, but I chose it at first unknowingly to coincide with the Feast of the Holy Cross. Then, on seeing that Sunday was 9/11, my wife and I figured a baptism on that anniversary served to symbolize God's victory over the power of chaos and evil in human history through the triumph of the Crucified Christ: a divinely sanctioned middle finger, if you will, up against Satan, evil powers, and personal sinfulness.
I did not think then that the power of evil would reach so far so quickly as to threaten the integrity and survival of our parish--I hope, of course, that I am simply wrong, that my worry is unfounded, that this time five or ten years hence I will have occasion to smile at the anger gripping me now. But--and here is the problem--I just do not know. I do not know whether there will be a Diocese of Central Florida. Our Bishop, Bp. Howe, threatens to leave ECUSA and remain with--well, he said he would choose to "walk" with the Anglican Communion. I fear he really means, and perhaps has secretly meant for some time, the Akinolan, Alexandrian, or XYZ (your guess is as good as mine) Communion. And he means to take parishes with him--perhaps up to 2/3 of the parishes in the diocese. I fear the equivocation among AAC/ACN schismatics ("we are going to stay put") is mere lawyerly parsing, an attempt to lull faithful Anglican ECUSAns into failing to prepare for their upcoming nadir.
The AAC and ACN seem to me like a pair of the evil powers I promised to renounce and raise Anne-Marie to renounce--powers suffused with the spirit of theft, of lies and deception, of unprincipled bigotry, of bizzare heretical theological innovations (e.g. the ACN's theological charter/confession), of murder (recall the IRD's work in Central America). I understand full well why the IRD and other reactionary-big-$$ in the vicinity of Bp. Duncan in Pittsburgh would want to subvert ECUSA through the AAC and ACN, and while they're at it, the Anglican Communion, bending them into an international fundamentalist presence spreading a reactionary ideology not merely here, but throughout the Global South, an ideology convenient to a number of reigning reactionary elites.
Until now, I did not think ECUSA had preached the Gospel of Christ and God's Kingdom with sufficient clarity and force to bring down such tidal wave of malice against it. You're familiar with the Year A BCP lectionary for Ordinary Time--you've read the same passages as I have, describing the resistance the Church will encounter in the face of preaching Christ. This is just a tiny taste of it--imagine its intensity if we preached with the clarity and force God would prefer. We are called to ratchet it up, to focus and refine our proclamation of Christ, right in the teeth of these schismatic reactionaries.
I have no idea what Howe will unleash on faithful ECUSAns in central Florida who will not leave our church in order to fulfill his peculiar lusts--I intend to use our unique times to evangelize. And the first step is to be clear about the nature of the Beast rising up to face us--I propose a reading of Thomas' "ST" with an eye to those sections where he details the vices opposing theological virtues. In the following weeks, I'll take a look at what he says about unbelief, schism, discord, et al--and you are welcome to join me.