So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

Louie crew is the worst nightmare for many of my fellow conservatives in the Episcopal Church: he is an openly homosexual man, 65 years old, who often signs his Internet postings as "Quean Lutibelle of the Alabama Belles" and presses for changing the church's policy on ordination and marriage. Crew and I could not be much further apart in what we think about sex and who we consider our theological kindred spirits.

Yet in the week before Thanksgiving last, as a nationwide battle for the White House disclosed anew some of the deepest cultural divisions in America—state by state and often county by county—Louie Crew and I sat working side by side in a basement meeting room of an Episcopal cathedral in South Bend, Indiana. For the first time since I met Crew nine years earlier, we worked toward a common goal as friends. In earlier years, we had developed a cautious respect for each other; we offered one another friendly words, both privately and publicly, but we had never really sat together, one on one, with our defenses down.

We were both participants in a meeting of the New Commandment Task Force (NCTF), a joint project of Crew and the theologically conservative Brian Cox, an Episcopal priest who has devoted much of his pastoral ministry to reconciling unlikely parties, whether in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, or the Midwest of the United States. Eighteen people—conservatives, ...

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