here or here or here about the pleas from some in the Anglican Communion that the next Bishop of Canterbury must be a traditionalist. Nevermind that none of the current candidates could be seen as traditionalist -- except in terms of the most radical theological and ethical extremes of Anglicanism. Apparently, traditionalist does not mean what it implies but simply references a return to where the Anglicans (and ELCA) were prior to the consecration of Gene Robinson or the ordination of openly gay and lesbian priests. It is a liberalism different from the present churches by degree rather than essence.
Some years ago (3 to be precise) I raised the question of whether or not the issues in the ELCA and Anglican Communion were merely about sex. While some were quick to assure me that this was not, indeed, about sex but about orthodoxy in fiath and practice, the fears seem to have been proven true. Those leaving the ELCA do not want an orthodox Lutheranism but an ELCA minue the most egregious social Gospel liberalism and an ELCA content to duck the GLBT question and worship in LBW. Now I may still be proven wrong but it seems highly unlikely at this point that those who have left the ELCA are disowning any of the other issues that threatened the orthodoxy of their former home. Women's ordination, feminist theology, politically correct speech about God and everything else, and historical cricitical methodology and presuppositions are all firmly entrenched in the NALC and LCMC. The same is true of Anglicanism. The voices for traditionalism have not heard what the African Anglicans are really saying. They want to dial back the pace and progress of liberalism but not disown it.
I might add that Missouri faces its own parallel when it comes to worship and music. We want to dial back the degree of diversity but not embrace the formal principle of a commonality rooted and shaped by the official worship books of our Synod. We differ in degree more than in essence with those troubling extremes. Perhaps this is why it is so hard for some to hear Pres. Harrison and his call to repentance or to have an honest conversation about the ramifications of our wide divergence of worship forms and communion practices.
In all of this I fear that I am also misunderstood. I do not hearken back to a Waltherian utopia. I long instead for a Lutheranism so fully at home with and and in tune with its confessions that it becomes the evangelical and catholic church of its origins. I long not to be more conservative or less liberal but to be the church we claim to be in our confessions --both in expression and in practice. Where we are neither embarrassed nor ill at ease with this catholic identity so fully rooted in the Gospel but happy and proud and confident that this is not only who we are but is who we should be still. I long for a Lutheranism which is less Missourian and more Confessional and Catechetical (the kleine version).
The more entrenched liberalism becomes, the more we will be content to slow its pace instead of casting off its shallow identity and false face of Christian truth, doctrine, and identity. And that is what I fear most of all... for ELCAites on the move out... for Anglicans seeking a minor course correction... and for Missourians who want to be more like their Grandpa's Lutheranism than the one the Pastors pledge to in their ordination and the parish holds up as its standard of doctrine and faith in their counstitution.