Thanks to Susan S. for bringing this article to my attention. Reverenda Lauren R. Stanley is an Appointed Missionary of the Episcopal Church serving in the Sudan and she is very clear about what is important in mission.
These two passages impressed me the most:
In Sudan, we are fighting for our very lives.
In the United States, we are fighting over how to interpret words written by mere mortals centuries ago.
In Sudan, people battle hunger, disease, land mines left over from the war, militias and bandits who pull people off buses and shoot them dead in broad daylight.
In the United States, people battle over who knows the mind of Christ the best.
In Sudan, the Church leads the way in breaking down the barriers of tribalism and ethnic hatred.
In the United States, the departing parishes lead the way in throwing up barriers of hatred and homophobism.
Even the Episcopal Church in Sudan, which disagrees with actions taken in the American Church in the last three years, understands this last part. In January, the Sudanese Church said that although it condemned some actions of the American Church, it wanted both churches to continue to walk together, because we are all sinners. More important to the Sudanese was the fact that the American Church had walked with it throughout the long, deadly national civil war. Now, in its time of need, the Sudanese said, they would walk with us through our own small version of a church civil war. Because there is a chance that indeed, we could all be wrong.
Those leaving the Episcopal Church claim they must do so to survive.
They seem to forget that in many parts of the world, the Church is concerned with REAL survival.
And in those areas where REAL survival is at stake, the Gospel that is preached is one of inclusiveness and love, because only inclusiveness and love can overcome the hatred that has left millions of Sudanese dead in the last 50 years.
Hatred has no place in the Sudanese Church.
It has no place in the American Church either.
God's love -- and how that is lived out -- is the ONLY thing that counts.