From the history of ISSUES: Presiding Bishop Hines speaks to GC 1976

ISSUES, conceived in the living room of the late William Stringfellow, has been around as a voice for social justice at General Conventions since 1967.  This year we are going to reprint some articles from our history.  The more things change, the more they...

    September 11, 1976:


The Church is tempted, from time to time, to withdraw from an alien, un-understanding world: to dig her own catacombs; to huddle with the faithful in some cavern of salvation amid the incense and mysteries; to perfect her own peculiar pomps and “trappings of a nostalgic triumphalism,” - while the world goes by on the other side muttering, “My God - how unreal! How remote!”

Will it reported of the Episcopal Church’s 65th General Convention in after years - if there are those to ask and to reply - that when men and women knocked on these ecclesiastical doors, in the midnight of the world, asking for the “bread of life,” - we gave them the stones of an institutional idolatry both theologically and ecclesiologically? Or, when the world asked the Church for direction, and unity, and leadership of the imagination and integrity in the last quarter of the Twentieth Century, it received a set of Constitution and Canons (in which divided votes are counted in the negative), - a classical formula for ethical double-talk, a manual of sterile, uncostly religiosity, and an architectural drawing of a gilt-domed bomb-shelter of innocuous piety!

There is nothing in the pre-Convention material that promises to raise the issue behind and beneath all the issues.  There is nothing to indicate the “raising of a standard” to which all like-minded men and women, whose consciences are being violated by “the retreat from reality” - can repair.  It is not that housekeeping matters are unimportant.  Rather that we keep them in perspective.  

- The Rt. Rev. John E. Hines


Popular Posts