We can’t go on like this, and if we keep trying to have a church that stands for nothing in its theological past, we will end up with no church at all. We pick saints who are not Christian, say prayers which omit the most basic claims taught from the beginning, and join the Body in communion to those who are more likely to follow Bacchus or even Moloch than Jesus. Our “leaders” hate our buildings, our words, our music, and even a lot of their own members. And there’s no hope that the more orthodox liberals will act to rein this in, because they sold themselves to the high church Unitarians because they thought the latter would be needed as allies against the troglodytes, as though the Unitarian crowd would ever have done anything else. The worst of it all is that the old liberal notion of the church as a force for social good is completely bankrupt. Nobody takes our moral voice seriously, and nobody should. We are too obviously in hock to the mores of our class.
—C. Wingate in “Amnesiac Church”
Is there hope? Well, perhaps, but only if priests who cannot get through the creed without crossing their fingers are defrocked, and bishops who cannot do so are deposed. The prayer book should be left alone for another thirty years, and priests who cannot resist tampering with it should be kept out of parish ministry. Preaching social justice needs to give some ground to preaching basic doctrine and personal virtue. We need to recover the old Anglican virtues of common sense, simple orthodoxy, and sensible solemnity (meaning, we do still need to remember how to laugh at ourselves). If we cannot do these, we will continue to fade away, and we will deserve to do so.
But I think [Holy Women, Holy Men] has a very good chance of being passed, because the theological problems don’t have traction in a church where giving communion to the unbaptized is being seriously considered. Increasingly it seems that the church is directed by men and women for whom the religious functions of the church are unimportant; what matters is the church as a platform for carrying out a social program.
—C. Wingate in “Bathing and Sainthood”
Of course, this will eventually destroy us. People don’t need to go to church to feel good about their environmentalism (John Muir) or their patronage of the arts (Bach, Durer) or their resistance to racism or sexism or anti-homosexuality (here I stopped keeping track); even the heathen do as much. Maybe it’s too bloody obvious to be said, but the only way we are going to continue to have an Episcopal Church is to convey to potential members a reason to become Episcopalians! Instead, the additions to the calendar and communing the unbaptized send the message that there’s no need to join the church; we give up having any sort of sacramental or communal reason for being. Eventually people catch on, and they don’t join us.
Of course, many Americans who cite Christianity to justify their economic conservatism may not have actually read the Bible. In that sense, religion has become more of a superficial brand rather than a distinct catechism, and brands can be easily manipulated by self-serving partisans and demagogues. To know that is to read the Sermon on the Mount and then marvel at how anyone still justifies right-wing beliefs by invoking Jesus.
No doubt, only a few generations ago, such a conflation of religion and right-wing economics would never fly in America. Whether William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” crusade or the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s poor people’s campaign, religion and political activism used to meet squarely on the left — where they naturally should.
Thus, the findings from Britain, a country similar to the United States, evoke our own history and potential. They remind us that such a congruent convergence of theology and political ideology is not some far-fetched fantasy — it is still possible right here at home.” —David Sirota in “The Wild Hypocrisy of America’s Conservative Christians” (via honor-not-honors)
Budgets – plans to obtain and to spend money – express values and tell stories. Good budgets tell good stories. Unfortunately, The Episcopal Church (TEC) proposed 2013-2015 budget suggests that TEC:
—George Clifford in “Part 1: The Story the Budget Tells”
1. Highly values ecclesial governance and structure
2. Faces significant organizational problems
3. Intends to continue business as usual
4. Lacks a clear vision of, and focus on, TEC’s mission.
Well, anon, since you heard me say that and you’re not my girlfriend, I invite you to ask me these questions at the Didymos Forum.
The only priest I’ve ever made a confession to is Russian Orthodox and speaks English with a thick accent and some difficulty, despite having lived in this country for a considerable amount of time. My first lessons about God were in my mom’s prominent Spanish accent.
That said, the Roman hierarchy is willing to close parishes, force parishes to merge, force parishes to share priests (with the decline in pastoral care that comes with it), force priests to work past retirement age and, yes, subject many parishioners to priests who are basically incomprehensible to preserve its commitment to an outdated clerical law dating from 12th century Europe.
A reasonable command of spoken English is not too much to expect for someone whose major function on Sunday mornings is to speak and read things out loud.
So, while may statement was crass, I stand by it.
I’m just going to assume you mean the Roman Catholic Church, and I don’t.
I have several gripes with the American Roman Catholic hierarchy: for shuffling around pedophile priests, for its attitude toward the victims’ advocates, for its willingness to speak loudly and fallaciously about birth control while speaking softly on other economic and social issues, and for viewing itself as entitled to government contracts to provide social services and complaining loudly when their discriminatory stance causes those contracts to go away.
None of these gripes have anything to do with my disagreements with what they believe, which, for the record, are much smaller than what we hold in common.