Dancing on the Head of a Pin

There is a legend of St Thomas Aquinas asking "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" At this blog we ask all questions dealing with our faith and spirituality. Some are down to earth, rubber meets the road questions, while others are more lofty...like, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In essentials, unity; in non-essentials liberty; in all things charity


The above quote is from John Wesley who stole it from someone else. The gist of it is, in the things that are really important, let us agree. In the things that aren't so important, let's live and let live, but no matter what we do, let's love one another. There's been a lot of talk in the Anglican world about essentials and non-essentials. In the Episcopal Church we are in the middle of the debate concerning human sexuality and the relationship of sexuality and church leadership. It's a difficult debate. The word adiaphora has been thrown around (Windsor Report, for one) to identify literally, "things that do not matter" - think non-essentials. The question is, can we agree on what is non-essential? For some a person's sexual orientation is irrelevant, but for others it is very much an important issue. I have no desire to get into all that right now, but I do want to point out two things: 1) we are not in agreement over essentials and non-essentials and 2) until recently, there has not been a lot of love (charity) in "all things." I said until recently.
You may not have heard, for it has been under the radar in my opinion, that Bishop Gene Robinson, the homosexual bishop of New Hampshire, has checked himself into a 28 day program for alcohol abuse. I checked many of the conservative Anglican sites and blogs for their comment and to a blog/site, there were no "See I told you so's!" or "Ha!" but instead I saw people promising to pray and offering their support for the polarizing bishop in his recovery from alcoholism. Now I'm sure there are some who are, shall I say - pleased, at Bishop Robinson's condition, but the main voices in opposition to the Bishop's consecration were - loving.
At the end of the day we may not agree, in fact we may have to agree that we cannot be in communion, but there is hope that real charity can exist between us when we are struggling with the essentials and non-essentials.

Steve+

3 Comments:

Blogger King of Peace said...

If none of us in the Anglican Communion can love those with whom they disagree then in what form we continue as a communion is rendered irrelevant, for without love, whatever continues would be just a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal.

peace,
Frank+

6:31 AM  
Blogger kendall said...

The saying is not John Wesley's nor Augustines nor any of the usual people cited for it, including Richard Baxter.

It is from Peter Meiderlin a Lutheran

http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/unitas/essrev.html

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The quote originally came from St. Augustine. He certainly predates Peter Meiderlin. Read Rom. 14 for clarification on essentials/non-essentials.

11:40 PM  

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