Skip to comments.LA Dodger [TEC]
Posted on 07/15/2006 5:45:24 PM PDT by sionnsar
Los Angeles Episcopal Bishop J. Jon Bruno responds to Charlotte Allen's Los Angeles Times op-ed of a week ago and basically proves all Ms. Allen's points(WARNING: before proceeding, immediately swallow whatever you are drinking and remove any liquids from the vicinity of your computer):
In recent years the Episcopal Church has acted from a firm foundation of biblical, historic faith, not on "whatever the liberal elements of secular society deem permissible or politically correct" as contended by Charlotte Allen in her diatribe against the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches, "Liberal Christianity is paying for its sins" (Los Angeles Times, Sunday, July 9, 2006).
That was cathartic, wasn't it? There's nothing quite like a good, long, hearty laugh. But exactly what does Double J mean by that opening joke?
Episcopalians seek to follow Jesus own understanding of scripture when he identified two commandments from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18): "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength" and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" as greater than any other portions of Scripture (Matthew 22:36-40).
Episcopal orders, ladies and gentlemen. You non-Anglicans have no idea how embarrassing it is when you know more theology than your pointy-hats do. Double J? You are aware that those two commandments sum up the law. They don't supersede it, you blithering idiot.
We believe that the central biblical mandates are clear: to love, welcome, and include all people into an egalitarian Christian fellowship, in which "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11). It is in these overarching commandments and central mandates from the Bible as a whole that we find the authority of Scripture. We do not look for that authority in any handful of scattered, isolated passages selectively gathered to rationalize intolerance, cruelty or unfairness.
Kind of like "the spirit of the Windsor Report," isn't it, Double J? As long as you invoke the "overarching commandments and central mandates from the Bible as a whole," you can excuse anything you care to as long as the pledge checks clear.
By the way, if you're interested in how many times the word "repent" occurs in the Gospels, click here. Not that Double J. thinks you have anything to repent of, mind you, since Bruno's "church" is basically a pseudo-spiritual liberal debating society.
This basic call of God in Christ leads Christians in each age to new awareness of still unresolved divisions and unaddressed exclusions in the Church and in society. In our own times, this dynamic has led the Episcopal Church and many other American churches into conflicts over injustice and oppression against people of color, the poor, and immigrants, as well as over the equality of women and the full humanity of gay and lesbian people.
And doesn't seriously believe much of anything at all.
The Episcopal Church is open to all people regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. Within the broad parameters of essential Christian conviction and practice, it celebrates a diversity of opinions and positions on many issues. We are bound together by common prayer and shared worship, so we have no need to impose uniformity in thought and doctrine. At our best we are open-hearted and open-minded followers of Christ. We democratically elect our bishops, priests, and lay leaders at all levels of the church. We respect each persons right to conscience. We know our understanding is limited and often mistaken but we strive together to hear Gods voice in Scripture, in the tradition of the Church and in our God-given capacities to think and feel, to reflect and to learn.
Unless you refuse to ordain women or espouse orthodox Christianity in which case Double J will come down on you like a ton of prayer books. Oh and did you know that Bruno wouldn't know a conservative if one knocked the miter off his head?
The Episcopal Church was never simply "the Republican Party at prayer." It always has been and still is home to people who are both theologically and politically conservative, moderate and liberal. It is the church of Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, but also of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a life long active Episcopalian whose social conscience was formed by the Episcopal schools of his youth.
George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford. Conservatives. Anyway, Double J. thinks that churches that believe things are dying out.
Christianity in North America is moving through a great historic transition which may have first expressed itself among mainline denominations, but is not stopping there. We have moved into an era where, regardless of nominal identifications, only a minority of Americans are active, church-going Christians of any stripe. The rivers of societal sanctions and cultural norms no longer flow through church doors depositing people in the pews. Today the majority of Americans no longer fear either social ostracism or eternal damnation when they choose not to go church.
Why would they fear damnation when so many "churches" have abolished hell?
The palpable tone of hostile resentment in so many public voices of American Christianity today arises out of grief at the passing of that socially conventional church. But we are convinced that its passing is all to the good. Too often the motivation of religious fear bore the bitter fruit of anxious lives and judgmental communities, hardly the joyous fruits of the Spirit which the poetry of St. Paul sings praises to (Galatians 5:22-23). Far better for churches of any size to be filled with people who have consciously chosen to sing praises faithfully and gratefully towards the loving God they find there.
Actually, Double J, what these gutless atheists are doing is pretending to worship a deity who never gets in their way, basically the Great Personal Assistant in the Sky. But to-may-to, to-mah-to.
The only Episcopal churches that are "filled" these days are the ones the size of broom closets.
I believe Jesus also said "if you love me, keep my commandments," so I don't see how the command to love God and neighbor supersedes the striving for moral virtue.