Let me digress to my childhood for this installment. My father was a local democrat. Not a "bleeding heart liberal" as we used to differentiate ourselves, but one who voted democratic on the local scene, especially with regard to helping the black community rise out of its unfortunate unequal economic and social standing. He was a fiscal conservative, and usually voted Republican in National Elections. That was a broad model to grow up in in my household. And we talked about it (not like the caricature of "let me tell you one thing, Sonny Boy!" but more in the considered, gentle manner of instruction and give and take--civilized discussion). He also was Vice President of the Medical University for Development and Public Relations. He spent much time working with the South Carolina legislature, mostly trying to make sure that public monies would not get "trapped" in Columbia, and forget to make their way to the Medical School in Charleston. He would take me once in awhile to see the goings on and the debates in the State House and Senate, as well as the discussions over drinks and lunch with elected representatives and lobbyists. Sometimes the ideological differences were profound. Sometimes discussions were impassioned. But ALWAYS, ALWAYS there was table fellowship, courtesy, mutual respect and actual FRIENDSHIP. I once even witnessed political betrayal. Frank discussions followed. But they made up, shook hands and moved on as friends and with mutual respect. That was the extraordinarily beautiful model that was provided for me.
By contrast, the precipitous departure by the Diocese of South Carolina from TEC (some would say a precipitous response to precipitous ideological shifts), was so radically different in tone from the model shown to me in my childhood that it "felt" to me like the wrong course to take. By contrast, I experienced more love and respect among political opponents back in the day than I did in my Diocese and among some of my colleagues today. I will address the high priestly prayer of Jesus that we be one and love one another so that the world may know that we are His disciples at another time.
So as for "why I stayed", reason number one is: "My father modeled for me a different way." Next installment: "Back to Bennettsville"
I realize that this auto-biographical format does not lend itself well to comments. They are invited, nonetheless.