Even if the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion are broken homes, they are as decently equipped with sacraments and Scripture as any other, and better than most. We are ideally both Catholic and Evangelical, but in practice we are neither one nor the other. Our canons may allow gay marriage in some places, but they insist upon the Nicene Creed in every place. Even the most liberal, establishment Episcopalians are forced into relative conservatism. No one gets everything they want, and everyone makes do with what they have. As [Sir Roger Scruton] puts it: “I rejoice that the Church to which I belong offers an antidote to every kind of utopian thinking.”I will admit that most all churches are "broken homes" -- dysfunctional is the modern word. I know that my own church body has all sorts of problems. Sadly, even though our Confessions would seem to say otherwise, Lutheranism does not insist upon the Nicene Creed at the Divine Service even though we in the LCMS certainly do not allow gay marriage. It is a bit of a mess, to be sure, but I am not sure I would agree with the author who seems to claim that, since all are messes, it does not matter which mess your choose to call your church home. That is not something to which I can say "amen." The kind of mess matters and there are messes which require you to leave, to depart, and to find a better mess to call your church home. No, that does not mean you are prone to roam the sea of Christianity in search of a perfect (utopian) church but it does mean that some messes are deal breakers.
Lutheranism has it right. It is, unlike the author of this article puts it, both confessionally catholic and confessionally evangelical (the good sense of that word). The individual Lutheran church bodies reflect this "right" mix of catholic and evangelical to varying degrees. Even the ELCA would admit that it has consciously departed from the doctrine and practice of Lutheranism (even though they would also probably argue that Lutheranism's hold upon the Gospel requires it). Missouri holds it all right on paper but we have a problem with practices that challenge this identity (or at least the theory of it). We have worship practices that are all over the page -- from simply goofy stuff to things that do conflict with what we say we believe. What struggle with is how much uniformity is required for unity and how do we enforce and accomplish the unanimity and uniformity. We have a distinctly individualistic and congregationalist bent that begs both questions.
I rather like Gorsuch but I am mystified by his church choice. The Episcopal Church has allowed the likes of John Shelby Spong and has shown itself unwilling and unable to deal with those who violate the most sacred canons of Christian identity. Part of me suspects that Gorsuch has found a niche that is comfortable and one that allows him to retain his conservative Christian identity. Certainly there are many such "not in my back yard" spots that are pleasantly out of step with their own denomination but that is sort of like saying I ate some spoiled food once and did not get sick. Okay, but don't do it again.
It does matter what the mess is. When Scripture is but one of many voices that inform and shape and define belief, this mess cannot be tolerated. When individual interpretation refuses to allow any catholic voice to the Scriptures or faith, this mess is too messy to tolerate. When orthodoxy is no longer allowed, the mess requires an exit. When the public identity of belonging to the mess overshadows everything else, the mess is too much of a mess to be ignored. The Episcopal Church puts on a fine ceremonial but the sad truth is that not that many people belief what the ceremonial points to. The Lutheran Church is ambivalent about the ceremonial but the belief is spot on. I hate to say it but truth trumps ritual every time. Nevertheless, that does not mean ritual does not count -- especially when it flows from a solid doctrinal confession.
The kind of mess does matter.