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Comes The Dawn [TEC]
Midwest Conservative Journal ^ | 1/02/2007 | Christopher Johnson

Posted on 01/02/2007 6:01:33 PM PST by sionnsar

The Rev. James B. Simons, rector of St. Michael’s of The Valley Episcopal Church of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, appears to be having a serious case of buyer's remorse:

Q. How many members of The Episcopal Church are there in this country?

A. About 2.2 million. It used to be larger percentagewise (sic), but Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations.
New York Times Magazine. Sunday Nov. 19, 2006

The New York Times was lobbing soft balls to the new Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, when this exchange took place. The more I have thought about her answer to this simple question, the more I am convinced that in a single sentence the Presiding Bishop illustrates rather dramatically the crisis that faces The Episcopal Church. She does so in three ways.

First, she confirms our sense of cultural elitism. In an essay reflecting on his short sojourn into The Episcopal Church, Garrison Keillor described us as the “church in wing-tips, the church of the scotch and soda, worshipping God in extremely good taste.”

Mrs. Schori came out and said what too many Episcopalians apparently think.

Apparently in this case, caricature is reality. We see ourselves as better than other Christians, more privileged, more enlightened. What’s even more amazing is that we are apparently willing to announce this publicly. “We’re better educated than other denominations” would seem to me to be in the class of statements such as “You look pregnant.” Even if it were true, why would you say it out loud, let alone to The New York Times? I think the answer has to do with mistaking hubris for honesty.

Of course there are all those barbarians we have to share a denomination with.

This statement is also a slap at our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion where the church is growing rapidly. The clear inference is that those in the global south are less educated and so they have more children, hence the enormous growth of those provinces. This understanding is of a whole cloth with The Episcopal Church’s continued insistence that we know better than the rest of the Communion about issues of sexuality and doctrine. We can dismiss the primitive musings of an uninformed, if growing, Communion. We are, after all, better educated.

And completely clueless.  Or willfully blind, Simons isn't sure which.

Second, the statement illustrates the enormous denial of our church leadership regarding the denomination. People are leaving congregations, congregations are leaving dioceses, and dioceses are seeking a way to be Anglican without being Episcopalian. Even a cursory reading of the pages of this publication will reveal that controversies over issues of sexuality, biblical interpretation, and doctrine are among the primary issues causing this flight. My daughter, who attends a well-respected liberal arts college, reports that when classmates find out she’s an Episcopalian, the reaction is either one of raised eyebrows and awkward silence or an enthusiastic “You must be liberal.” It’s gotten to the point where she’s reluctant to tell people.

The Episcopal Church, once the proud church of presidents and the barons of industry (oops, there’s that elitism again) has become a punch line. What makes it even sadder is our inability to recognize that we have become synonymous with liberal extremism or that this might be a problem. Our refusal to affirm the basic tenets of the faith, drifting increasingly further from the rest of Christianity, is causing our diminishing size, not our failure to make enough babies. Only someone in serious denial could assert otherwise.

TEC, notes Simon, scorns the one thing that could make it grow.

Third is the assumption that the denomination is somehow held captive in size to our fertility rate. What rector in his or her right mind would try to grow a parish by having the members conceive more children? Churches grow not because we have more children, but because we go out into the world and tell people about the transforming power of Jesus Christ. This is called evangelism, a concept apparently now alien to our leadership. Our failure to tell people the good news is, of course, tied to our increasing reluctance to assert the uniqueness of Jesus: If Jesus is just one of many ways to the Father, I surely wouldn’t want to share my beliefs with you because your way is probably just as good as mine.

The Episcopal Church has deliberately turned itself into the United Nations with funny clothing.

When describing the purpose of the church, the new Presiding Bishop has spoken repeatedly about clean water, the eradication of disease, and a world where no one is hungry. These are noble and good aspirations for any organization to have. However, it is difficult for me to see any distinction between the Presiding Bishop’s vision for the church and Bill Gates’ vision for his foundation. What I need to hear is that our desire to improve the world is tied to the transformative experience we have had with Jesus. I’m not sure that our leadership believes in such an experience, let alone wants others to have the same.

Well, at least there aren't a lot of whiny kids running around.  Or much of anybody else, for that matter.

At the General Convention in Columbus, I voted to confirm Katherine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop. I did so because I believed that she would, unlike her predecessors, clearly articulate who we are as a church and where we are heading as a denomination. In her answer to one simple question she has already exceeded my wildest expectations.

One wonders why Simons, an obviously orthodox priest, voted to confirm Schori and why he seems so astonished by any of this.  Anyone who took the time to read knew perfectly well who Katharine Jefferts Schori was and where she and the rest of the Episcopal left wanted to take the church.  

There was absolutely no chance that Schori or her supporters were ever going to tell Episcopalians "that our desire to improve the world is tied to the transformative experience we have had with Jesus."  As Simons correctly observes, most of the Episcopal left doesn't believe in such a thing anymore.  So far, one charge that cannot be credibly leveled against Katharine Jefferts Schori is that she is a surprise.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant; Other non-Christian

1 posted on 01/02/2007 6:01:36 PM PST by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; piperpilot; ex-Texan; ableLight; rogue yam; neodad; Tribemike; rabscuttle385; ...
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Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 01/02/2007 6:02:40 PM PST by sionnsar (††|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: sionnsar; Peanut Gallery
The Episcopal Church has deliberately turned itself into the United Nations with funny clothing.


3 posted on 01/02/2007 6:07:15 PM PST by Professional Engineer (Dad, why do we live in Texas? Because it's the best place on Earth son.)
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To: Professional Engineer

Yeah, pretty much.

4 posted on 01/02/2007 6:26:58 PM PST by rabscuttle385 (Sic Semper Tyrannis * Allen for U.S. Senate in '08)
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To: sionnsar
What rector in his or her right mind would try to grow a parish by having the members conceive more children?

What's wrong with growing by having more kids?

My current (Big "O") Orthodox parish grows both through evangelism and marked fertility. I love seeing all those babies. Who do ECUSAns think will take care of them in their old age?

No wonder ECUSA is dying; it's all old 'n gray these days.

5 posted on 01/02/2007 7:15:28 PM PST by Martin Tell
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To: Martin Tell

I'll tell you exactly why no rector would encourage fertility in his congregation: those whiny kids might disrupt the service. Having a baby let out a fuss while the choir and organ perform the Gloria in perfect 3 part harmony would eliticit the same indignation as someone spitting on the host in a Catholic Church.

6 posted on 01/03/2007 9:15:51 AM PST by bobjam
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To: bobjam
LOL. I'm reminded of when my wife and I visited (very high church) St. Margaret's in London and discovered they did not have a nursery for our 3 year old.

I later mentioned it to a dear friend who is an Anglican priest. He dryly replied, "Ah, children. At St. Margaret's they are vaguely aware of them, not sure where they come from, and are thoroughly disgusted by the whole process."

7 posted on 01/03/2007 6:11:20 PM PST by Martin Tell
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