Skip to comments.Fluff and Blather from the HOB
Posted on 03/23/2006 5:33:49 PM PST by sionnsar
This will only be a partial commentary on the House of Bishops, Word to the Church, issued yesterday. I intended to write a full commentary but found the statement was almost entirely taken up with fluff and blather.
Nevertheless, here we go:
.In Lent God calls us to examine our hearts and renew our companionship with the One who offered himself for the salvation of the world. We are very conscious of the larger context in which we gather and deliberate: in a country where the disparity between rich and poor persists, where we struggle to rebuild lives and communities along the Gulf Coast, a country whose daughters and sons are serving at war overseas. Increasingly we are aware that we represent not a single national church, but one richly comprising congregations in fifteen countries. We wish to share with you something of our journey with Christ during these days of our meeting together.
One of the more interesting forms of denial in which the Episcopal hierarchy has engaged over the last few years has been the desperate head-burying in liberation theology. The more difficult relations become Communion-wide, the more Episcopalian leaders anxiously speak out about war, racism, the poor etc.
ECUSA does spend a lot of money to help the poor and this is a good thing. But, as someone pointed out yesterday (and I cant remember where), the language used by the Episcopal Church with regard poverty and racial issues seems to assume that the world is dominated by neo-Nazi junk bond dealers to whom the idea of helping poor people and treating people of other races with equal dignity and respect is anathema.
Does anyone really think like that anymore? Is this sort of thing really prophetic? Patronizing self-aggrandizement seems more accurate. Look at us! Hey, look at us! Watch while we give .00075% of our endowment interest to the poor. See this photo of our PB hugging a man from Haiti. Those Haitians are mostly non-white you know...and we hug them! We care about poor people even though most of them dont look like 99.99% of us. Watch as we lecture the drooling masses about embracing the outcasts and offering hospitality to strangers. Watch, and be sure to snap a picture, as we give a cup of cold water to this starving person from an underdeveloped part of the world and then climb back into our air conditioned SUVs and head back to the Ritz Hotel.
Anyway, back to the denial bit. To any neutral observer the most pressing larger context in which the bishops gather and deliberate is not the disparity between rich and poor, but ECUSAs possible expulsion from the Anglican Communion. Poverty is a vital concern, yes, but indisputable and historically ever-present and as such it is NOT the most pressing immediate concern.
But thankfully, the bishops dont completely ignore the current unpleasantness. They address it in the second paragraph.
The unity, mission, and faithfulness of the Church are matters very much in our prayers. We strongly affirm our desire for the Episcopal Church to remain a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, and we recognize that the gift of communion requires generosity and restraint on the part of all.
However phrased, the we-strongly-desire-to-be-a-part-of-the-Anglican-Communion line has been standard ECUSAn rhetoric since the publication of the Windsor Report. It is more than a little disingenuous. The bishops desire to remain in communion but remain unwilling to take the required steps to do so. Someone, and I cant remember who, said that its like a husband moving his mistress into the spare room of the family home all the while expressing his love and desire to remain married.
Well says the wife, get rid of your mistress and we can talk.
But I love you both, says the husband. You just need a little more time to get used to the idea. Shes a really nice person. She volunteers at a soup kitchen.
You cant stay in this house with that woman.
Honey, arent you being a little close minded? How can we work this out together if we dont all stay under the same roof? How can we dialogue and share our feelings when Im living across town in a hotel?
After all, says the HOB, We believe that the most effective way to foster communion is to be present for each other, as often as possible, so that we may learn from each other, be corrected by each other, and discern the mind of Christ together.
But being present with each other is impossible when one party is yoked to Belial (2 Corinthians 6:14-18) . In such a case, the mind of Christ does not need to be discerned. It has been revealed. Put away your idols and then we can talk.
The second half of the second paragraph mentions two visitors from the Church of England. The first was Right Rev. Michael Langrish, who they say, encouraged and challenged us in respect to our relationship with the larger Anglican Communion.
I would love to know what bishop Langrish said and what they found encouraging and challenging about it. But his words, like those of the report from the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, were left unreported
The second visitor from the CofE was, Ms. Sue Parks, the Manager of the Lambeth Conference, representing the Archbishop of Canterbury. She briefed [the HOB] on the plans for the Lambeth Conference 2008.
It is very nice to make nice plans together for a nice meeting. Or, as Maj. Frank Burns from MASH once said, "It's nice to be nice to the nice." But as the ABC said in his recent letter to the primates, there are many practical questions still to be settled, like the guest list. and the coming months will bring some of them into clear focus.
Yes, they will.
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