Wednesday, October 7, 2009

If not a Democratic God, at least a Democratic Church

If not a Democratic God, at least a Democratic Church
Rector's Message
Written by Daniel C. Gunn
Wednesday, 07 October 2009
If not a Democratic God, at least a Democratic Church A few years ago I wrote an academic philosophy paper in which I argued that “God” is a democratic ideal. To attempt to summarize a twenty-plus page paper in a few lines would be futile, but in short I argued that the way we think about God is the triumph of a majority vote. Those who are in the minority with their views on God are the ones we label “heretics.” Orthodoxy, then, is whatever a majority of people believe. When I presented the paper to a scholastic theology society I was very nearly branded a heretic myself. I still think there’s merit to my idea. Recently while preparing to give a talk to a college class on the Episcopal Church I found myself making a similar argument. I told them emphatically that we are a democratic church even as we are also a hierarchical church. Certainly we have bishops, but our bishops are elected by the clergy and laity of the diocese. And yes we have a Primate, but that person is also elected. Even as rector, though the bishop appoints me, the Vestry first elected me. It is amazing to see how God can take the independent opinions of individuals and shape them into something to be used for good. This fall you have the opportunity to see our democratic church at work from every level and angle. Beginning with Diocesan Convention you can witness God at work through individuals. Even if you’re not a delegate you can volunteer to help make us a successful host. Then later in the month of October we will gather as a parish family for our Annual Meeting. At that meeting we will elect new Vestry members and delegates to the 2010 Diocesan Convention. You will also have the opportunity to hear about the state of your parish from the leadership and committee chairs. Finally, in November our Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Ph. D., D. D. (I have been advised to just call her Bishop Katharine) will be with us for an Evensong, reception, and question and answer session. She will preach at the Evensong and following the reception she will make herself available to answer any questions you might have, time permitting. I think I’ll dig out that old paper of mine on the “Democratic God,” and give some thought again about how God works mysteriously through flawed, broken people. This fall will be a good time to think on this, even if it makes me a heretic.
Fr. Daniel

No comments:

Post a Comment