Monday, February 9, 2009

Editorial Philosophy?

I was listening recently to Bishop Steven Charleston, the Ethnic and Multicultural Minister for the Diocese of San Francisco and the new provost at Grace Cathedral, who was appearing for the first time on that church's excellent "weekly program of conversations and issues that matter" called The Forum (sound familiar?). I was really inspired by Bishop Charleston's Feb. 1 comments, and I wanted to share a short excerpt here because I thought they expressed a great vision for the vocation of the Episcopal Church (we get asked about that a lot) and perhaps also a useful editorial philosophy for this blog. I encourage you to check out the podcast, which is currently available at the above link and will probably soon move to the archives here. (Incidentally, Bishop Charleston is a hell of a preacher as well, and you can also catch his sermon from that day.) These comments came around the twenty minute mark:

Why is there an Episcopal Church? What's the point? Why are we here? Listen, I've thought about this and I'll tell you something. I believe that the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, is here not by accident. We didn't just happen; we're here for a reason and for a purpose. We follow a God of history, do we not? We follow a God that we say is a God who intervenes and acts within time and space in the lives of real human beings to effect change, to make something happen. And that all of us play a part in it.

What's the part the Episcopal Church is playing? Why are we here? I believe it is because the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion as I said, represents common ground where men and women can actually come and believe that it is possible for them to hold very different opinions, and live very different lifestyles, and still have a common ground where they can live in reconciliation and peace with one another and share for the common good.

I believe the Episcopal Church was created for this purpose and for this moment in time and history. Pardon me if I wax a little metaphysical on you, but as a Bishop of this church I've staked me life on it. And I'm here to say to you, in all honesty, I believe we were made for this moment. I believe we're the church made for crisis. We're the church that is prepared for conflict. We're the church that understands what it means to live in a moment like this, when people are anxious and afraid because things around them seem to be falling apart.

I'm always a little wary of blog posts where the quotation is longer than the accompanying analysis, but I'm afraid there's not much else I can add to that. Except maybe to say thanks to Bishop Charleston for articulating the intermingled hopes and anxieties that I think many of us around here are feeling. And to encourage you to check out the whole podcast.

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