The other day, I posted about loss. I was mostly thinking about the loss of the church I've worshiped in for the last 5 years, or at least the loss of the building. Naturally, it got all mixed up with relating it to another loss – Mom – and how losing something you love resonates every time you lose something else. And then I saw this post at Sarah Dylan Breuer right afterward, talking about when you lose people when they decide they no longer want to worship with you, that the differences are more important to them than the shared history, love, and sense of mission.
So I have profound sympathies with both Anglo-Catholic and evangelical concerns, though I often suspect that to evangelicals I seem more Anglo-Catholic and to Anglo-Catholics I seem far too evangelical. Either way, I feel most at home in communities and traditions that include both. When evangelicals or Anglo-Catholics leaving The Episcopal Church, I feel a personal sense of loss; I find myself thinking, "crap — there goes someone I wanted to learn more from," as well as "drat — it's going to be much harder for us to accomplish things in God's mission without that person." Even strictly in terms of my own agenda in church politics, I lose out when people leave The Episcopal Church — I'm losing an ally in advocating for biblical literacy, or for beautiful and excellent liturgy, or for justice for the poor, or for other things, and most likely in multiple categories. I guess that's what happens when you're a charismatic Anglo-Catholic evangelical progressive. And I know that for personal as well as theological reasons, I'd like it to happen less often.
I'm not down so much with the charismatic and evangelical, but I'm an Anglo-Catholic progressive, and a lot of the folks at St Nicholas often adopt charismatic gestures. I don't think many of us would describe ourselves as evangelical, though. Then, Father Jake reminded me of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief. They're well-known enough that they've almost become platitudes, but they're very much what I've been going through during the last few months for various kinds of loss (sometimes overlapping in ways that weren't real helpful).
Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news. Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable. Anger stage: frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion. Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out. Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable. Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions. Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.
Dang. Well, on the Mom front, speaking only for myself, I think I'm finally done with depression, and I'm nearly done with testing, and closing in on acceptance. Got through the holidays, moped for months, and then once I got through with the closure of Holy Innocents at New Years', a fresh start and optimism about things to come again. As for Holy Moly, my feelings progressed pretty quickly once we got the final decision by the diocese. We'd been in the denial, anger, and bargaining stages for so long that the news was almost a relief, although a heartbreaking one. Now, we're testing, and once we get into Lent and then Holy Week, we'll get over those hurdles and be more forward-looking. But there are a few people who've left that make me feel as Sarah does: "crap," "drat," and all.