Since the end of the General Convention in Indianapolis, the conservative pundits have been busily writing the obituary for the Episcopal Church. They cite falling church attendance in the past decade, which they blame on the inclusion of LGBT people, or they trot out the theology of retired Bishop John Shelby Spong as evidence of our "unorthodoxy." They've even taken potshots at some of the more harmless resolutions that recognize the importance of family pets and the bereavement process one goes through when an animal companion passes away.
Doom, doom, doom! The end is nigh! The sky is falling! Whatever happened to the good ol' days of WASPy, preppy, staid Protestantism that you could always count on from the Episcopal Church?
Somehow, in the world of a newspaper pundit, widening the circle of inclusion means that others are pushed outside the bounds of the circle. Because, for pundits, there have to be winners and losers. Otherwise, they really have nothing to write about. And then there goes their livelihood.
I don't even think this is a question of our circle getting wider in the Episcopal Church. I think it's getting deeper. The people who we say we're including (gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender) have been inside the circle for a long, long time. We may have appeared as black-and-white figurines inside this circle; now we've been colored in and we're being seen for who we are as multidimensional beings rather than cardboard cutouts to set up and knock down. I believe that each time we discover the people who are next to us and all around us in this church and see them as fellow beings in the Body of Christ, we go another step deeper into the pool of God's love and delight.
For the pundits, venturing further into the depths of that pool seems to be cause for alarm. I think it's reason for us all to commit to swimming lessons.