Christian “or” Muslim

So, the Episcopal priest who considers herself both Christian and Muslim has now received a pastoral directive from her bishop to “take a year  off” from her responsibilities and duties as a priest, to think and pray through the spiritual journey she is on, with an eye toward achieving some clarity about where she wants to come down with respect to some of the mutually exclusive claims of Christianity and Islam.

It is my understanding that she was willing, all along, to submit to whatever discipline those in authority over her in the church decided and that both she and her bishop agreed to the terms of the directive as well as staying in touch regularly over the next months. Altogether, it seems to me, a thoroughly pastoral Anglican approach — sensible, compassionate, but clear.

For those who continue to believe that there are no limits or boundaries in the Episcopal Church these days, perhaps this will prove instructive. Bishops, Standing Committees, clergy and lay leaders make these kind of pastoral and disciplinary discision every week, usually quietly, patiently, and without fanfare. The “doctrine, discipline, and worship” of  the Episcopal Church is summarized in  the Creeds,  codified in the Canons, and  set out for all to see in  the Book of  Common  Prayer.

May those of us who have chosen to live out our Christian commmitment within the broad comprehensiveness, the “generous orthodoxy” of the Episcopal Church recognize that, just as in any family, there are norms, expectations, and limits which define that common life. And may we always have the grace to honor those so that “we all may be one.”

4 Responses to “Christian “or” Muslim”

  1. Douglas Wilkie Says:

    If the bishop of Rhode Island had not acted, Ms. Redding would have certainly retained her clerical status in the Diocese of Olympia (based upon the lavish praise heaped upon her by the bishop of that diocese). It should also be pointed out that this unacceptable theological duality had persisted for some 15 months. Only when the publicity became heated and embarrassing to TEC did her ‘canonically residenced’ bishop lower the boom. I trust that Ms. Redding will benefit from her year of reflection, absent not only her normal priestly duties but a salary as well!

    Finally, why be so circumspect about the players in this pathetic display of Episcopal institutional confusion, if not anarchy? I would think that Ms. Redding’s ‘manner of life’ would fit the criteria promulgated by the Windsor Report. Not all deviations from the Anglican norm are sexual in nature, good bishop!

  2. ecubishop Says:

    She’s not “a bishop,” for one thing, which is what the General Convention Resolution was talking about. However, I agree that “manner of life” does mean far more than sexuality and that (beyond what the Windsor Report or B011 says) one’s manner of life is surely a major consideration for ordination, and for Christian living geneally.

    The question is, assuming the priest in question faithfully took her vows at the time of ordination and, at some later point, questions them or her faith. What should happen then? I maintain that what should happen, did happen. Some time was given for the dust to settle, her bishop met with her, they agreed on a course of action, and it was taken. It was not done in fear or reactivity, but with sober deliberation. Anglicanism at its best.

  3. Bill Fulton Says:

    The case of Ann Homes Redding is fascinating. It’s probably inevitable that in our pluralistic times, in a global world where religions are coming into intimate contact, that this should happen.

    What happened in the person of Ann Homes Redding is a microcosm of what’s happening in the world. She simply internalized the meeting of world religions.

    I appreciate your pastoral approach, Christopher. This is a pastoral matter, and her bishop acted appropriately. I wonder where she’ll go from here. She sounds like a sensitive, thoughtful person.

    To me it seems impossible to hold these two religions together with integrity in one person. Something has to give. But it will be interesting to see how she handles it.

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