Skip to comments.This is My Church. This is My Church Slimed By the Washington Post
Posted on 01/05/2007 6:30:35 PM PST by sionnsar
I mentioned some time back that my church-- The Falls Church in Falls Church, Va.-- was breaking away from other Episcopal Churches in what amounts to a pretty big shake-up for the Anglican Church.
I'm not a member, but I attend regularly, along with about 2,500 other worshippers, including Alberto Gonzales, Fred Barnes, and Porter Goss. It's a conservative, Bible-based church that thinks Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life," and doesn't cotton to the "evolving" teachings of the Episcopal Church that aren't so sure about that whole Jesus thing, which is the entire basis of our faith.
It is a lovely church that welcomes people of all denominations, or no denomination in my case. It is a church that sends folks to build houses in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, that recently broke ground on a community building in urban, Southeast D.C. for ministry there, that brings children from other countries to America for complex cardiac surgeries they can't get at home, that sends missionaries beyond its walls, and that serves thousands of people within them. In short, it's a regular American church.
But how does the Washington Post characterize it? First paragraph:
Parishioners say it happens quietly, unobtrusively: As the sick make their way to the altar, some worshipers begin speaking in tongues. Occasionally, one is "arrested in the spirit," falling unconscious into the arms of a fellow congregant.
Now, I have seen people speak in tongues. I've seen it in Pentecostal services, and in non-denominational services in Georgia, when I was in school there. It happens. No problem with it. I was raised in the South. People love the Lord in many different ways. But I have been going to The Falls Church regularly for over a year, and I have NEVER, EVER, ONCE seen anything even remotely close to anyone speaking in tongues in that congregation.
When I read the lede, I had to check to make sure he was talking about my church, so far off was it from my own experiences. If anything, the congregation at The Falls Church is achingly normal, with its merino wool V-neck sweaters, and Vera Bradley diaper bags, and 2.5 children per family-- shaggy-haired, flip-flopped teenaged boys and dirty-blonde pre-teen girls flipping their first sets of highlights.
But noooo, in the Washington Post, the church is something else indeed (emphasis mine):
But the votes appear less sudden or surprising when one realizes that for more than 30 years, Truro and The Falls Church have been part of a "charismatic revival" within mainline Protestantism, said the Rev. Robert W. Prichard, professor of Christianity in America at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria.
Charismatic, in this case, refers to an ecstatic style of worship that includes speaking in tongues, a stream of unintelligible syllables signifying that the Holy Spirit has entered the worshiper. It is a hallmark of the fast-growing Pentecostal movement but unusual for Episcopalians, who are so thoroughly associated with solemnity and tradition that they are sometimes referred to teasingly as "the frozen chosen."
Yeah, that's us! Listen, I'm not saying it doesn't happen in my church sometimes, but I have NEVER, EVER seen it or even a hint of it, which makes me think this is a very unfair characterization. In my experience, we sing praise songs instead of straight-up hymns. We have a drum set in the sanctuary. Sometimes people raise their hands toward the ceiling while singing. Cuuhhhrazzy stuff, huh?
But to the WaPo writer--conservative congregation breaking off from the wise and kind liberals? Must be a bunch of backwoods, shine-swillin', snake-handlers, right Cletus???
Well, looky here:
Parishioners say the practice continues today in both congregations, though not at Sunday morning services. Some members have never seen it.
Coulda used that in the lede or near it for some context, no? But that would have ruined such a neat picture! Ooh, it gets better:
Unlike many Episcopal churches nationally, neither Truro nor The Falls Church was active in supporting the civil rights movement or in protesting the Vietnam War.
Snake-handling bigots and war-mongers! Is there anyone out there who thinks that little bit of "context" wasn't just a cheap shot? This church full of racists, by the way, is breaking away to join the lily-white Anglican province of Nigeria.
The last two paragraphs finally get down to the real disagreement between the conservative Episcopals and the Episcopal Church:
Many say the rift involves something deeper -- whether the Bible is the word of God, Jesus is the only way to heaven and tolerance is more important than truth. When he was a newly ordained priest almost 20 years ago, Wright said, he talked with several other priests about how to respond to a teenager who asked, "Do you really believe in the Resurrection of Jesus?"
"The rest of the priests agreed that it was a sticky question, and they felt that way because they didn't believe in it, but they didn't want to say so," he said. "That's where the Episcopal Church has been for the last 20 years. It's not where we are."
Yeah, we believe in Jesus. It is Christ that makes us Christians, and being a part of a larger organization that does not believe that, and that may someday keep my church from preaching that, does not serve Him. So, we break away.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Oh, and the snakes and the tongues. Don't forget those.
I'm gonna e-mail this guy and find out if he got directions to the right church.
Update: My commenter Don makes a great catch. The writers of this article refer to the Episcopalians as the "frozen chosen," but that's a common nickname for Presbyterians.
I wrote an e-mail to the WaPo writers:
Dear Mr. Cooperman and Ms. Salmon,
I'm a blogger who also happens to attend The Falls Church. Your characterization of it as primarily "charismatic" and tongue-speaking based on a visit to the healing service was completely misleading. I've been attending the church for over a year, and have never seen anything even approaching tongue-speaking or "charismatic" worship.
I've been to Pentecostal services; I've seen people speaking in tongues. I know charismatic. To insinuate that The Falls Church is a church of that ilk is silly and inaccurate.
Which services did you attend, and how many, before you wrote this story? I imagine most people who've ever attended The Falls Church would quarrel with your characterization of it.
Also, the "frozen chosen" is a common nickname for Presbyterians, not Episcopalians.
I hope to hear back from you about how you came to characterize the church this way. Thanks for your time.
--Mary Katharine Ham
Yes, I didn't know.
It's more than divisive. Jesus said "I bring the sword" and he means for his church to stand before the gates of hell.
St Michael, the patron St. of soldiers has no problem with the sword.
Turn the other cheek doesn't imply - submit to Satan or deny christ.
The liberal protestants have twisted the truth by semantics and deny the divinity of Christ, his bodily resurrection and the Mysterium Tremendum of Christinaity as a whole.
AM1776, apology is accepted and issue is buried. My error (as I have been advised "backchannel", i.e. by my my wife and others) was in making a grammatical jest -- engineers and grammar can be dangerous combination. I am sorry.
Your post was funny -- I've heard an Anglican variation of it, though I don't recall the particulars. Maybe someone can post it here... (and ping me, please?).
If your sister has any questions about matters Episcopalian/Anglican, do aim her in my direction and I'll do what I can! I am no expert, but I learned quite a bit from my ping list predecessor Arlin Adams, RIP, and have many references.
The revisionist bishops are now threatening to take away church property from people whose great-grandparents are buried in the cemetery, and defrocking priests for no reason other than that they refuse to agree that "the Holy Spirit is doing a new thing."
We got out in 2003 -- fortunately all our folks are buried in a family cemetery and not anywhere near our former church.
I know all about engineers, I am married to one. My error was in not reading close enough and scanning over in a hurry.
You know how it is with family, it is alright to fight among yourselves, but let someone else come into the fray, and watch out.
Reading about the squalor and superstition of India, Pakistan and South Asia brought me to the realization that Christianity is an umbrella formed by millions of souls. The strength and effectiveness of that umbrella is due to the commitment of each soul - each link in the chain. Each soul either adds or subtracts from the efficacy of the body of christ.
Ministers and churchmen who deny the divinity, and the ressurection of christ are like poisoned water wells that pollute and destroy an entire community. Tolerance for those who harm to the christian community - even through ignorance - should be abandoned. period.
The scary thing is that the persecution is now coming from WITHIN.
I am sorry, I know that is disappointing to you. I have had some disappointments in Church leadership before.
I have to say, I just got wind of this problem within your church during the Holidays, and my sister was telling me about it, and we were also having some wine, and Christmas Treats, so I might of just missed a few details. However my sister did not seem too Bruised, but she did mention her church was now associated with a Church in Africa. Whatever that means.
Then it was brought to my attention again with the Gerald Ford service at the National Cathedral.
I hope you find the right church for you, I like tradition in Church too. Don't care too much for the fancy stuff.
We were "high church" - as my dad says, up in the rafters with the bats - so we swam the Tiber and are now Catholics.
It's amazing to me how little difference there is in theology between an Ultramontane Piskie and a Catholic. When we sat down with our current rector (who is everybody's idea of a Faithful Irish Priest with No Nonsense About Him), the only points of difference were the validity of Anglican Orders and the supremacy of the Pope. As my husband told Monsignor, "we can deal."
My 18 year old daughter still marvels occasionally at how little has changed.
That is good to know, they seemed happy with the change. God Bless! Glad we got this all straightened out. Freepers are a feisty lot.
Maybe you should talk with LibreOuMort about being married to an engineer. (I haven't quite converted this French Lit major but both our daughters are, or are becoming, engineers themselves! [OMG What Have I Done So Wrong!!])
Blessings upon you...
And may the Peace be with you!
You should make that "formerly mainline Episcopalian." Today's mainline Episcopalians are an entirely different species.
Yeah? How's the music?! lol
And may the Peace of the Lord be with you and yours as well! Amen.
"she did mention her church was now associated with a Church in Africa. Whatever that means."
Truro and Falls Church have joined the Nigerian Church under Bishop Akinola - who, it is reported, favors imprisonment for gays, and the defense is that he has to placate Muslim leaders in Nigeria.
I am still a mainline Episcopalian, and while my church is sorting out its issues I will not leave it. I do not think my church should be in the business of placating Muslims, and I am not Nigerian.
(And imprisonment for open homosexual conduct in the streets is still the law over here, you know. Not so long ago it was a capital offense, drawing the death penalty - something of which Thomas Jefferson approved, BTW.)
I would wait and read the law itself plus Abp Akinola's actual statement, before I took the say-so of people who are anxious to put the Nigerian church down. I am not exaggerating when I say that the revisionists in ECUSA will put about any slander, no matter how untrue.
< grin >
Funny you should ask -- but here's the rundown on today's music:
Complete Latin Mass in chant, composed by our choirmaster.
Psalm chanted by cantor (actually Anglican chant) with responses by choir and congregation.
Offertory: "A Babe is Born All of a May", William Mathias.
Communion: "Jesu Redemptor Omnium/Gesu Bambino", Yon - with bass soloist and SATB.
Bach for the prelude, our choirmaster's own composition for the postlude (he's got a doctorate in organ performance from Juilliard).
We typically sing tons of Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony - especially Palestrina, Byrd, Tallis, Hans Hassler, lots of the English masters - and the better modern composers - the aforementioned Matthias, Rutter, Darke, Vaughn Williams . . .
Our choirmaster rocks! His ambition is to make our parish the center for Ancient Music in this diocese. And he's got the full support of the rector and his two vicars . . . who are both young, ultra-orthodox, and EXTREMELY enthusiastic -- especially about all the Latin.
Nice! Next time we're in the Atlanta area, we're visiting!
I'm not familiar with the name Louie Crew.
Can you tell me who's been imprisoned for "open homosexual conduct" here? Who has been executed?
(Note: I'm not in favor of gay people falling all over each other in public; I'm not in favor of straight people doing so, either).
Shudder. A cold blast from the past.
Anybody who gets imprisoned for soliciting or obtaining sex from another man in a rest stop or a public restroom has been imprisoned for open homosexual conduct. Of course, you are correct, it is also illegal for heterosexuals to engage in that conduct. I just wanted you to consider the possibility that the proposed Nigerian law is more along those lines, rather than executing people for eating together in a restaurant (which is what at least one hysterical revisionist said.)
People were regularly executed for homosexual conduct, even in private, in the 18th century in England and America (that's when Thomas Jefferson was alive, mostly.) In the 19th century they went to prison instead of being executed (vide Oscar Wilde). Things have changed substantially, but from the point of view of the law or the church, that's the blink of an eye.
There's coffee and breakfast before Mass (donuts, croissants, fruit, etc.)
"People were regularly executed for homosexual conduct, even in private, in the 18th century in England and America (that's when Thomas Jefferson was alive, mostly.)"
I'm certainly aware that they were imprisoned, but can't think of any capital cases offhand. Can you? (And thanks for the tip about Louie Crew - not an "activist" I'd be tuned into).
1624, Virginia: Capt. Robert Cornish was charged with buggery of his servant. He and the servant were hanged.
1631, England: 2nd Earl of Castlehaven was beheaded (rather than hanged, because he was a peer) for sodomy with his servants.
The old Newgate Calendar contains the criminal reports for London and the surrounding counties. Periodically in the 18th century they hanged somebody for sodomy, but generally they were imprisoned after being put in the pillory. A number of the convicted were so badly treated by the mob while in the pillory that they died.
In the 1730s some 20-30 people were executed in the Netherlands for sodomy.
The Marquis de Sade was sentenced to death for sodomy, but it was commuted to life imprisonment. He wasn't really missed.
Okay, one case in the seventeenth century, in America. Not something I'd really be nostalgic for. And at least de Sade left some thrilling literature behind. ;-D
It was clear from just a casual search that there were numerous executions for this offense, and that comports with my recollections from the history of the colonial period. From Blackstone forward this crime was held in complete abhorrence, and it was a capital offense until the general 19th century criminal reforms. Even the gay websites I ran across < shudder > agree with this, and seem to treat it as sort of like the Roman persecution of the Christians (iow, they glory in it.)
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