From Rob Merola, a former student, a friend, and an Episcopalian priest — outside of DC:
OK, I admit it. Sometimes I hate being a pastor.
Because sometimes I just can’t say the things I want to say.
There are times, for instance, when I’d love to jump into the political foray. But here’s the thing. America right now is a deeply divided nation. About half of us lean liberal, and half of us lean conservative. So if I come down on one side or the other, I give about half the people in the country an excuse to stop listening. That’s the mistake the Episcopal Church has made. In the end, our staggering decline may be as simple as over indentifying with a political position. For a church that prides itself on being welcoming, that sure leaves a lot of people out.
I believe the larger message of the Gospel—that we need to love God and each other and treat all people right—is too important for that. In other words, if I am to exercise the kind of love Jesus commends to his followers, then I need to consider how my words and actions will effect others—especially those who are different from me. If those words are hurtful for the purpose of furthering my own cause, getting attention, somehow boosting my own ego, or allaying my own insecurities, then I need to value my brothers and sisters highly enough to find a better way ahead.