The Elastic Identity of the Episcopal Church

“Elastic identity” is not an idea that I came up with. Instead, it is straight from the mouth of the President of the Episcopal House of Deputies at the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church this February.

“The last time we met, just over three months ago, I said some things. I said some things about standing on the threshold and about longing for change and about embracing our elastic identity.”

Are any of you bouncing up and down, eager to join a church with an elastic identity? If so, there are several things about elastic that you should remember. For one thing, elastic tends to wear out. Old socks start to sag. Elastic loses its spring as it ages and when it is overstretched (unless it is perfectly elastic). It can also snap back and pop you if you or someone else gives it a pull. And, some of us are allergic to elastic; just the thought of it can give us hives. So forget about to embracing it as Jennings suggests.

None of this is about to stop the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings from stretching the metaphor,

“I said — I looked this up to be sure — that ‘The world might swirl around us, but we know who we are, and we can stretch our identity to accommodate the changes we need to make.’ And I said, ‘I’m pretty passionate about these huge changes fermenting below the surface of our common life.’ ‘I’m feeling pretty elastic this triennium,’ I said, “and I’m ready to get started.'”

The Executive Council should be feeling pretty elastic as they have been stretching the budget and watching membership numbers bounce steadily downhill.

A lot has happened in the Episcopal church recently, and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings takes the blame although she probably said the following with tongue firmly in cheek,

“So, it’s entirely possible that this three-month roller coaster ride we’ve been on was a result of me tempting fate. I said that I was up for some huge changes and a chance to stretch, and apparently the universe heard me. We’ve certainly have had a chance to stretch since November, haven’t we?”

She is only saying that she is willing to stretch and does not mean it because there are certain subjects on which she is quite inflexible. One thing is her response to the Anglican Primates who have resolved to not allow the Episcopal church to vote on matters of doctrine (which means no voting on the Anglican Consultative Council).
Read her firm refusal to comply with the Anglican Primates,

“…I want to thank you, Michael, for the wisdom and steadiness with which you guided us all through the recent primates meeting and its aftermath. While confusion reigned and rumors swirled, you helped us understand, to renew, that we are still full members of the Anglican Communion, that our mission relationships with Anglicans across the world are strong, and that what binds us together is far stronger than what threatens to separate us. I will take your spirit with me when I travel to Zambia in April as the Episcopal Church’s clergy representative to the Anglican Consultative Council, where you can be assured that I will participate fully with a glad heart, a strong spirit and pride that the Episcopal Church fully affirms the dignity and worth of all of God’s children, including our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers.”

I think the elastic Episcopal church believes it is made of a secret form of elastic,”flubber”, and that it can not only rebound from its recent setbacks but rebound higher!

Tahnks to LP CoverLover

Flubber was fiction, and so is the elastic identity of the Episcopal church.

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