The particular label Bp. Hanson referenced was fearful. After the decisions made this week at the assembly, there are those who are fearful of what this means for our church. With Bp. Hanson, I would call each of us to lay aside the labels: conservative, liberal, progressive, fearful, bold...whatever they may be that we so dismissively affix to ourselves and others. Once labeled, we don't have to listen to these people because we think we already know what they're going to say by virtue of the label we have classified them with.
For shame! Such diminishing of one another as God's children is sinful. It is also not helpful. This is the challenge before us:
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (Hebrews 12:1, The Message)
The NRSV translates it thus.
Let us lay aside the labels as the sin they are and keep our eyes on Jesus. As we were reminded yesterday by Bishop Hanson,
"We meet one another finally, not in our agreements or our disagreements, but at the foot of the cross -- where God is faithful, where Christ is present with us, and where, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are one in Christ."We have good news to share!