Just before Thanksgiving, I had an email exchange with an old friend, who is now a member of the episcopal hierarchy… He asked me, with a small dose of annoyance, just what I wanted from the church.
I told him I could think of ten points……..
(1) I want a church that affirms the worth, the dignity, and the autonomy of every woman and man, compatible with the rights of others: a church that supports democracy and human rights and aims at the fullest possible development of every human being.
(2) I want a church that affirms the equality of men and women: that all persons regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation deserve respect and the freedom to live and love in peace.
(3) I want a church that stresses that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility: that a fair society is based on reason and compassion, in which every person plays his or her part.
(4) I want a church that stresses and practices tolerance and freedom of expression: a church that realizes that all doctrines evolve and that all official teachers (Magisterium) must also be humble learners. We don’t have all the truth. We pursue the truth….
(5) I want a church that rejects intimidation and holds that conflicts must be resolved through patient and humble dialogue.
(6) I want a church that upholds freedom of inquiry in every sphere of human life: the unexamined faith is a childish faith. Adult believers question and probe as they believe.
(7) I want a church that upholds artistic freedom, the value of human creativity, and recognizes the transforming power of art: a church that is not afraid of contemporary art.
(8) I want a church in which the ordained leaders dress and act like healthy contemporary leadership people not museum-piece Renaissance princes.
(9) I want a church in which humility and openness to the signs of the times are the key virtues rather than an arrogant condemnation of all that is contemporary.
(10) I want a church that realizes that the face of Christ is best seen and honored in the face of the woman or man sitting next to me on the bus as I go to work each day.