I posted this as a response at a friends blog in discussing what the middle road is all about. Some would believe it is only about avoiding conflict or having no convictions. I believe it is something else...
As a person who has committed himself to walking the middle way, and being committed to expressing it and teaching it in the parish I serve, I am convinced that it has nothing to do with selling out, with compromising for the sake of avoiding conflict, or any thing to do with lack of conviction!
Being willing to walk the middle way means practicing a type of sacrifice where a person is willing to lay down their own opinions, and their own comfortable resting place within an ideology to be able to minister to all conditions of people. As a parish priest, I am called to minister to liberal and conservative, pro-life and pro-choice, pro-gay rights and pro-no special rights for homosexuals alike. I am not afforded the luxury of political opinions that I wear on my sleeve like some club membership pass. As the examination reads that Episcopal priests affirm before ordination...
"...As a priest, it will be your task to proclaim by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to fashion your life in accordance with its precepts. You are to love and serve the people among whom you work, caring alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor. You are to preach, to declare God ’s forgiveness to penitent sinners, to pronounce God ’s blessing, to share in the administration of Holy Baptism and in the celebration of the mysteries of Christ ’s Body and Blood, and to perform the other ministrations entrusted to you.
In all that you do, you are to nourish Christ ’s people from the riches of his grace, and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come..."
I don't recall anywhere taking a vow to be a prophet. That doesn't mean I don't have standards or that I don't call people to confession who are in need of repentance...But the reality is I'm not the one deciding who is in and who is out of God's grace. I have simply and and times with some difficulty vowed to be a minister of it. It means being able to be very articulate about the differences between the priestly role and the prophetic role.
And in that articulation between the priestly and prophetic role, Bob Duncan and Gene Robinson have failed miserably and oft times tragically. They are sacrificing the Church they have been afforded the privilege to help govern on their individual altars of self-satisfaction. These altars all too conveniently vested in the mantle of being lead by the Spirit. But God does not send a spirit of division...Only the enemy does.
In the end, it is not about me or my opinions and it is certainly not about groups like Integrity and the Anglican Communion Network, it is about taking the Grace of God to a hurting and broken world, and bringing healing to the people through the Sacraments of the Church. And for those who choose to ride on the extremes wings of the Church and find they cannot in good conscience any longer be a part of the Episcopal Church as it is currently constituted...the middle way has always known the solution to your dilemma...its called being a non-juror...look it up! Because what you are currently doing by dividing spoils only shows your hand that lust for power is what you are after and not the faith of the Church.
The middle way has nothing to do with being luke warm or indifferent...or walking an easy path...It is about a higher calling, a higher road that leads to self emptying so that we might be filled with the love of God.
I remain, albeit sick and tired of taking hits from the right and the left, your fellow servant, JQ+