One of the few programs on television I watch religiously is on the Sci Fi channel. It’s called Battlestar Galactica. This is a remake of the campy late 1970’s series of the same name. But while the older series was a cross between space opera and silly comedy the new series is incredibly gritty, well written and blessed with superb acting. It is also dark. When I say dark, I mean midnight black. The motto of this program could be “remember it’s always darkest just before it gets even more hopeless.” Most television programs tend to end on a happy note. If that’s what you’re looking for DO NOT watch this program. Allow me a small example from the pilot miniseries.
(WARNING!!! PLOT SPOILER AHEAD FOR THOSE WHO MAY WANT TO GO OUT AND RENT THE DVD)
The pilot is set in an unknown time and corner of the universe with humans living on twelve planets in a solar system called “The Colonies.” A long time ago we are told in the written prologue, they made a race of machines called Cylons to serve them. But the machines rebelled and there was a war that eventually ended in a draw. The Cylons left and had not been heard from in a generation. Meanwhile The Colonies are seen as an advanced society that is relatively democratic, peaceful and prosperous. Then the Cylons came back.
In the space of roughly 24 hours in their time (about 3 1/2 hrs on DVD) the twelve colonies are annihilated. I mean gone, as in wiped out. Genocide is an often overused term. This program shows what a real genocide might look like. The home worlds are obliterated in a massive surprise attack with nuclear weapons raining down on cities. The Colonial Fleet is also destroyed except for a lone ship called the Galactica, a sort of space age aircraft carrier/battleship.
The Galactica survives the initial massacre by a stroke of luck and retreats to the far corner of the solar system to rearm. While there a handful of civilian space ships arrive lead by the erstwhile Secretary of Education, now President of The Colonies, Laura Rosalyn with perhaps 50,000 survivors left from a civilization of probably tens of billions of people.
There she meets the commanding officer of the Galactica, Bill Adama who quickly makes it clear he has only one interest. He wants to get back into the fight as quickly as possible. A stunned President Rosalyn asks him if he is serious. To which Adama replies with his own question. “What do you suggest we do? Run?” And that’s when Rosalyn gives the money quote that is at the heart of my post.
“Yes. We run. I respectfully suggest it’s the only sane thing to do. We leave and we don’t come back. I am not sure if you realize this, but the war is over. And we lost.”
(SPOILER OVER… SAFE TO RESUME READING)
There are today in the Episcopal Church (TEC) 110 dioceses and a significant number of retired bishops. Of those perhaps a dozen are at least somewhat orthodox (small “o”). Five are in open resistance to their own church, with one (San Joaquin) contemplating secession from TEC. The rest are to varying degree heretics or even apostates. The number of orthodox Christians left in TEC is not known but it’s unlikely that they comprise more than 10% of the clergy in most dioceses. There are exceptions to be sure. But in the big picture they are an extreme and dwindling minority in a denomination which has elected an apostate as its presiding bishop. How many times have we all heard of the few clergy and laymen who courageously soldier on against all odds, dreaming of a restoration?
My question is at what point does one step back and say the cause is lost? The few bishops who have not become formal heretics in TEC must at some point retire or die. Do you think the people running the show will tolerate many more Bishop Schofields? They came very close to taking steps to remove him as Bp of San Joaquin, and may yet do so. How long can one remain in communion with heretical or apostate bishops knowing them to be such? Even if your own bishop is one of the few, he (and by extension you) is in communion with heretics. Leaving is painful. But fighting for a cause that is lost can be more painful. It can warp one’s faith and allow bitterness and anger to intrude itself into the soul. Better to accept this defeat and focus on where to go for spiritual nourishment. For the Protestant minded there is no shortage of denominations available. Pick one.
For the catholic minded, that is to say those seeking The Church and not a denomination there are logically two choices, Orthodoxy or Rome. But wherever you go one thing needs to be said plainly though with love and empathy for the pain of this fact. Staying in TEC is no longer a moral option for an orthodox Christian. There is no longer any reasonable hope of reversing the fortunes of this fight. To believe otherwise is to be willfully blind to the truth. “The war is over. And we lost.”
Matthew 10: 14-15
14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.