July 29, 2007

This story from the July 18 Boston Globe, passed along to me by Goodboy Goose, BTW, (thanks, Goose!), illustrates the severe challenges being faced by the powers-that-be in today’s Episcopal Church (TEC) as it desperately seeks to hang on to its once-considerable prestige, influence, and power in the face of challenges both old and new – challenges that seem to confront it almost on a daily basis.

Ah, the good old days! There was a time when TEC, like all other mainline Protestant churches (Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, etc.) were pretty much battling the same forces faced by most religious denominations in the 1970s and ’80s – declining membership resulting from various societal changes and trends coming out of the ’60s and early ’70s, and an inability to articulate an effective, coherent, and relevant message in response to those trends. The Episcopal Church of the post-Vietnam era, especially, prided itself on promoting a socially-progressive Gospel that – at least at the start – distinguished itself in a number of ways, especially when it came to worldwide mission and permitting and promoting the ordination of women as priests and bishops.

Somewhere along the way, however, TEC began to lose its way, as it slowly and increasingly became infiltrated by people – men and women, bishops and lay people – possessing a radical anti-Christian bias (go figure!), a progressive view of human sexuality, and a watering down of the Church’s sacramental traditions and teachings on sin to the point where not only was it OK to be gay or lesbian and a priest or bishop in the church, but a non-celibate gay or lesbian to boot. This radical agenda reached its apex in the ordination of the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003; since then, the worldwide Anglican Communion (of which TEC is a member) has increasingly drifted towards schism, and TEC has become a den of controversy and infighting to the point where so-called “orthodox” parishes and priests have found themselves increasingly under attack by progressive bishops and TEC’s new Presiding Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori. Since then, requests by orthodox members of TEC seeking alternative Episcopal oversight by other TEC bishops and/or Anglican churches have, by and large, been rejected as Schori and her progressive hardliners seek to stamp out every vestige of orthodoxy in their midst. And why not? After all, the altar she and those like her worship at – the altar of the god of tolerance, acceptance, and diversity – wouldn’t, well, tolerate or accept such a thing!

Enter several African churches of the Anglican Communion. These churches, growing by leaps and bounds on the African continent even while living on the bleeding edge – literally – given their close proximity to radical Islam, have become increasingly bold in asserting their own increasing power, influence, and voice in response to TEC’s attack on those TEC priests and parishes who believe as the Africans do, and the Africans have even begun ordaining Americans as bishops in their churches and planting congregations within the boundaries of TEC dioceses. The Boston Globe story mentioned above provides the latest instance of this kind of thing happening:

The Rev. William L. Murdoch, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in West Newbury, will fly to Nairobi next month for his consecration as a Kenyan bishop, then return to Massachusetts to minister to other disaffected conservatives who are leaving the Episcopal Church over its 2003 decision to ordain an openly gay priest as the bishop of New Hampshire.

The extraordinary act is part of a new national movement, in which a handful of Episcopal parishes and priests are leaving the 2-million-member Episcopal Church USA and affiliating with the more conservative Anglican churches, called provinces, of Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda.

To the dismay of the Episcopal Church, the African provinces are now developing church organizations in the United States to reach out to those looking for an alternative.

Will it work? The fact is, the African churches stand for and boldly proclaim a Gospel that celebrates a traditional Christian message and view of the Church’s sacraments and moral teachings – teachings increasingly lost or forgotten in today’s TEC churches. TEC’s increasingly bold acceptance of the radical gay, lesbian, and transgender agenda, to the rejection of every moral teaching and sacrament traditional Christianity has ever stood for, needs to be shown for what it is – a pathetic and losing message promoted by worn-out has-beens of the 1960s counterculture seeking to celebrate their own narcissistic worldview and alternative lifestyles. Like teenagers left alone for a weekend by their parents with kegs of beer to keep them company, these so-called “progressive activists” are drunk on their own freedom and corrupt view of the world, and now that they have the power in TEC, they want to make sure anyone who stands counter to them are destroyed.

Fortunately for traditionalists, conservatives, and orthodox Episcopalians, they don’t have to put up with these juvenile idiots anymore. The power of the Gospel has come into their midst and to their rescue in the face of these African churches, and for TEC, life will never be the same again. Welcome to the marketplace of ideas and religious choices, Bishop Schori – in such a marketplace, your and TEC’s watered-down Gospel and oh-so-tired message of tolerance, acceptance, and diversity stands no chance. For you and those in TEC who think like you, the intervention of African churches and their powerful message of traditional Christianity serves as a one-way ticket to continued, assured irrelevancy and slow institutional death.

And it couldn’t happen to a better bunch of people.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:20 | Comments (2)
  1. May I remind you that at least one person whom you have called friend is one of the “juvenile idiots” of whom you speak so disrespectfully?

    Peace, Dona

    Comment by DonaFrog — July 29, 2007 @ 2:39 am

  2. Hi Dona! I hardly consider you among those I speak, for you have three essential qualities those I speak of seem to lack: 1) an underlying respect for the the Church and its sacramental institutions; 2) a vibrant and unique spiritual life that has taken the best from Judaism, Christianity, and monasticism; and 3) most importantly, an ability to look past the bullshit and think both practically and systemically, even outside the box if need be.

    As I’ve often said to those we both know, if there were more of you in today’s Episcopal Church, we wouldn’t be where it is today.


    Comment by The Great White Shank — July 29, 2007 @ 10:11 am

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