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At Covenant we embrace interpersonal verifiability as a criterion of authenticity. While we understand the appeal, and in some cases the perceived necessity, of anonymity, we do not see it as compatible with the peculiar nature of ecclesial discourse: in and after the Word incarnate.
To be an adult Christian is, in the Episcopal Church (as in most denominations), to have made a profession of faith, which amounts to a public confirmation to the gathered community that one accepts the faith of the Church. First, the candidate is presented by another member of the body, only to speak in turn for him or herself: “I do,” two times, and the congregation likewise in turn: “We will.” Then all together recite the Apostles’ Creed in a dialogue with the bishop, followed by more questions, answers, and prayers; till finally the bishop confirms the candidate, laying “hands upon each one” and saying: “Strengthen, O Lord, your servant N. with your heavenly grace.” Like God, therefore, who calls us by name (see Isa. 43:1), so too the bishop, as the apostolic icon of the community’s tangible, mutually recognizable, and therefore shared life.
In this perspective, it seems to us that an online community, if it is to have a place within Christian mission, will naturally follow the same rules of public identification outside the walls of our churches that we observe inside those walls to the end, as always, of deeper conversion to the love of God and one another, in whose name we dare to converse (incorporating debate, admonition, and encouragement).
These are the “fruit of the Spirit” after which we are called to strive: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22). Disciplining our tongues to avoid rants, sarcasm, and all forms of caustic wit that aim to cut others down, pray that we may advance some steps together in Christian holiness, even on the virtual pages of a weblog.
“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all” (2 Cor. 3:2).