|Bishop Budde of the Diocese of Washington.|
In fact the NPR program is promoted by focusing on the "decade of schism in the American Episcopal Church" saying that has indeed "taken a toll." The program interestingly enough focuses on the recent damage to the Washington National Cathedral as a metaphor of this toll of schism.
Bishop Budde, who speaks glowingly of her time with what she calls the "radical" Catholic Workers movement and ardently endorses what she describes as the political and prophetic voice of the Episcopal Church, sees herself as a community organizer placed to make that political and prophetic voice resonate by somehow buttressing up the busted up local parishes of the Diocese of Washington and getting new people to fill up the emptying pews. She rightly understands that if this new prophetic thing is really going to take off, the flight from the pews has got to stop.
Yet how on one hand can someone be defending the Episcopal litigation as protecting the Episcopal legacy, while at the same time telling the local churches its no longer business as usual and the legacy stuff has got to go? Though she presents herself not as the politically charged rhetorical political activist promoting active conflict, she sees herself as a conciliatory strategist like an ecclesiastical version of Barack Obama, circa 2008.
Sadly, she categorizes the schism as just a typical problem of the changey stuff, an unfortunate reation to the God-mandated embrace of the hot cultural innovations and social experiments of our time. She still pulls out spiritually charged and frankly progressive fundamentalist rhetoric herself (how can there be any honest conversation if the current crop of TEC leaders, including this one, continue to express that they have heard directly from God and that all they are doing is His New Thing?), branding those that disagree with her as the "fundamentalists" and "literalists" who apparently are all about promoting centralized super-authority to bishops (talk about transference, those comments reveal more about the current internal conflict in the Episcopal Church itself over the authority and role of bishops now that some of diocesans are waking up and seeing red ink). She starts off her vision-thing as sounding so reasonable and just plain nice, until she is left to disparagingly categorize those who hold the views of the vast majority of Anglicans around the world. Hope fades.
If one is really interested in building trust and openness, it might be wise to start with comprehending why churches like the name-checked Truro Church and other sister churches in Virginia saw 7,000 of its members vote to separate from the Episcopal Church in 2006. Like the National Cathedral, it isn't just about a few spires on the roof toppling over, but of a deep lost of integrity within the foundations of the church itself.
Listen to it all here or here.