The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding said in a recent Christian Century article titled "Episcopal Priest who embraced islam suspended for a year" that she is both Muslim and Christian. "I'm both an American of African descent and a woman. I'm 100 percent both. At the most basic level, I understand the two religions to be compatible. That's all I need." Redding told her story to the Seattle times in June.
Her Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf, suspended her for a year to "reflect on the doctrines of Christian faith and her vocation as a priest." Wolf states that he sees "the conflicts inherent in professing both Christianity and Islam."
Our Peregrini discussion divided the conversation into several parts.
First, no one thought any bishop would take such an action against a lay person. Some of our group doubted that some bishops would even take a similar action against some priests that they suspicion might have similar leaning, or at least embrace another religion like Buddhism.
Second, there was some serious conversation given to the idea that the priest, as an employee of the church and having taken vows of holy orders has an obligation to be one who "proclaims the gospel." However, it was pointed out that it would be hard to find any priest that weren't in violation of such canons. Who would be the keeper of the "orthodoxy?" Would we be heading to more inquistions?
Third, some made the point, "who really cares?" Until religion can get over itself and begin understanding itself as all a part of One Holy God and not holy apostolic and catholic Church, it will be at the root of conflict and even war. Because we may not be able to accommodate The Rev. Redding, we probably are driving others who are eclectic in faith, away from the church as a whole. Just another form of fundamentalism? What do you think?