Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Suffering for an Evangelical Faith
An Address to the National Evangelical Anglican Congress, Blackpool, England, 9/21/03
by Peter Moore, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry

"...By any standards of measurement I am privileged, comfortable, secure, and as the string of degrees after my name indicates educated well beyond my intelligence. I have money in the bank, even a beat up old sports car in the garage at home. My wife doesn’t have to work. I grew up in the affluent suburbs of New York, got a scholarship to an elite private school, went to an Ivy league university, have a degree from Oxford, and – though I need to say it sotto voce these days – was baptized and cradled from birth in that bosom of the religious establishment, the Episcopal Church. What can I possibly say about suffering that can hold a candle to what so many others can tell you?

A significant handicap
I do, however, have one significant handicap. Because of it I am branded as an untouchable in some circles. I am treated with polite disdain and occasionally castigated as ignorant, bigoted, intolerant, homophobic, simplistic – and even dangerous. Three times when I have spoken in public I thought graciously and sanely I have had to have bodyguards. In certain circles I notice at social occasions I must initiate every conversation, and especially within certain parts of the Church the institutions with which I am identified are held in virtual contempt by people in positions of authority. My handicap? I am an evangelical...

Evangelical is a dirty word in American Episcopal circles – at least when it means something other than old Virginia low churchmanship with its fondness for Morning Prayer. And to be described as a "British evangelical" puts you just about on the bottom rung of the ladder..."

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