Skip to comments.New Bishop show bankrupcy of 'religious left'
Posted on 11/23/2006 8:12:57 AM PST by Alex Murphy
The Democratic takeover on Capitol Hill provides new energy and aggressiveness for the nation's Religious Left - that faction of clergy and activists who seek to associate organized faith with the liberal agenda in cultural, economic and foreign policy debates. While deriding Christian conservatives for their alleged "intolerance," "ignorance" and "fanaticism," the religious leftists manage to turn off most religious believers of even moderate outlook with their own displays of arrogance and radicalism, and their smug dismissal of traditional values.
The controversial new leader of the Episcopal Church in the United States provided a prime example of these alienating attitudes in a startling interview in the New York Times Magazine on November 19th with Deborah Solomon. When Solomon asked about the current numbers of Episcopalians, for instance, Bishop Jefferts Schori took it as a point of pride that her church experienced declining membership.
Q: How many members of the Episcopal Church are there in this country?
A: About 2.2 million. It used to be larger percentagewise, but Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations.
In other words, it's just those uneducated, unsophisticated Evangelicals and Catholics and Mormons and Orthodox Jews who are bothering with the messy, dirty work of producing and raising kids. Naturally, the Presiding Bishop defends the low Episcopal birthrate as a sign of enlightenment:
Q: Episcopalians aren't interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?
A: No. It's probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth, and not use more than their portion.
In other responses, Bishop Jefferts Schori showed far more sympathy for Muslim extremists than she did for "fundamentalists" within the Christian tradition:
Q: As a scientist with a Ph.D., what do you make of the Christian fundamentalists who say the earth was created in six days and dismiss evolution as a lot of bunk?
A: I think it's a horrendous misunderstanding of both science and active faith tradition...
Q: Pope Benedict...became embroiled in controversy this fall after suggesting that Muslims have a history of violence.
A: So do Christians! They have a terrible history... I think Muslims are poorly understood by the West, and it is easy to latch onto that which we do not understand and demonize it.
Note that when the good Bishop speaks of the shameful record of violence by Christians, she says "they have a terrible history" - not we. In other words, she instinctively excludes herself when she talks of Christian tradition.
At a time when Muslim fanatics seek to influence politics and mores around the world, conducting tireless conversionary efforts in the European and North American heartland of Christendom, it's deeply disturbing that the leader of one of the most influential Christian denominations refuses to recognize what many thoughtful Muslims freely acknowledge-that Islamic culture, today and yesterday, has been marred by uniquely warlike and violent elements. The idea that Christians (or even Muslim reformers) who seek to identify and confront those ugly influences merely "latch onto that which we do not understand and demonize it" is to diminish the significance of the worldwide Islamic terror campaign that's claimed literally tens of thousands of victims from Mumbai to Madrid, from Nairobi to New York.
Finally, Bishop Jefferts Schori casually dismisses the familial and marital norms that most believers embrace and defend as the very essence of Judeo-Christian faith. Instead of traditional pride in a husband and wife building a home together, making heroic efforts and even significant sacrifices to share a life, the Bishop happily announces that she and her spouse occupy opposite ends of the continent.
Q: You were previously bishop of Nevada, but your new position requires you to live in New York City. Do you and your husband like it here?
A: He is actually in Nevada. He is a retired mathematician. He will be here in New York when it makes sense.
In other words, it doesn't "make sense" for a retired mathematician to be at his wife's side when she takes on the leadership of one of the nation's most significant Christian denominations? It doesn't make sense for the first female Bishop to head this denomination to try to model marital togetherness?
The questions and answers with Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori eloquently (if inadvertently) demonstrate the bankruptcy of the Religious Left. If the movement's attitudes toward marriage and child-bearing reflect the trendy ideas of secular environmentalists rather than timeless Biblical truth, then who needs religion? Most Americans understand that the purpose of organized faith is to bring unchanging values to bear in challenging and modifying the fads and temptations of the moment. Religion means nothing if we rather begin with fashionable contemporary ideas and use them to alter the fundamentals of faith. Moreover, what's the point of maintaining any sort of organized Christianity if one of its most prominent leaders will instinctively condemn her own faith tradition while excusing or dismissing the violent excesses of the deadly Muslim enemies of the Christian world?
As with most leaders of the Christian Left, Bishop Jefferts Schori appears be very Left, but not very Christian. Her example shows the way that this new movement of religious liberals amounts to little more than a desperate effort to use the language of faith to repackage the tired ideas of secular, utopian leftism and moral relativism that have failed so spectacularly wherever they've been tried around the world.
In his sermon last night, my pastor stated that satan is trying to deceive us, by making us believe that sin and acts of perversion are somehow now acceptable to God. And our culture and media are playing right into that concept.
Is this interview a spoof? If it is not, I'm speechless, especially the part about "Better educate...fewer children".
The bishop is truly bankrupt if she actually said those things.
I'm rather stunned actually.
The New Episcopal Church -- Wardens of the Global Underclass
VirtueOnline-News ^ | 6/19/2006 | Rev. Gary L'Hommedieu Canon in charge of Pastoral Care at St. Luke's Cathedral in Orlando, Florida.
Posted on 06/19/2006 10:09:47 PM EDT by sionnsar
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1652180/posts [refresh browser]
"I hope you enjoy hearing the sound of another glass ceiling being shattered." (John Vanderstar, House of Deputies Delegate, Diocese of Washington)
"The fact that it happens on the thirtieth anniversary of the ordination of women is a sign that God's favor is with us." (Rev. Susan Russell, President of Integrity)
The above comments were both made by sympathetic supporters of the Presiding Bishop-Elect, the Rt. Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, upon the announcement of her election.
I suppose the decline of the Episcopal Church by about one third in the same thirty year period is another self-evident sign of God's favor. What else could it be in a "prophetic" church like TEC, where the "shattering of glass ceilings" is the only surviving ritual of a once great tradition?
Would Ms. Russell be just as euphoric looking back thirty years after the Great Society? Perhaps so. There are more sensitive, stern looking blacks in positions of high visibility in government, church and academe. What else matters? Not the fact that all the previous indicators of crisis in black families and neighborhoods have increased dramatically, if not exponentially: high-school and college drop out rates, children born out of wedlock, drug addiction, violence in the home and on the street. After all, victims are by definition hopeless, and decrying somebody else's hopelessness is part and parcel of the new ritual. This is thirty-years after the Great Society. Great for whom? Great for politicians, educators, and even clergy who boldly passed resolutions to spend somebody else's money, and otherwise absolved themselves of any stigmas from the era of segregation.
What else matters?
Hence the emerging theme of General Convention 2006: the clarity of the New Religion. If not stated systematically, it is nonetheless stated authoritatively.
"One of the great actions of this General Convention has been to name 'Justice and Peace' as the first priority of this church," said TEC's new Primate-Elect. There we have the new Revised Great Commission of the Episcopal Church, containing in germ the new church's doctrines of missiology and soteriology.
The new church has a distinct mission field, one that is truly "white for harvest" (and harvested mostly by whites) - to attach the names of all officially recognized victim groups to its unremitting lament as the ritual gathers an eerie momentum - the gnawing realization that nothing is really changing, coupled with the impulse to cast blame. And who gets blamed? The ghost of the unwise, unwashed Parent left over from the early sixties, like Norman Bates' mother rotting in an easy chair somewhere in the back of the house. Her death and demise do not prevent her frenzied denunciation by the son who never quite came of age.
The new church has its own doctrine of salvation. Baby Boomers will be absolved of their unfortunate identification with racism, sexism, militarism, materialism, anti-environmentalism, anti-pansexualism by mouthing the appointed slogan in a properly orchestrated moment. Perhaps also by elevating a few token representatives from victim groups - what was called in a revolutionary era "crumbs from the master's table".
In this Convention the Bible has officially been designated by its actual hermeneutical function since the 1960's: as a compendium of hate speech for progressive clerics to decry publicly as part of the "glass ceiling" liturgy, even as they congratulate themselves for their prophetic boldness.
By invoking lex orandi lex credendi, the denunciations themselves become doctrine. We all know that the Bible has provided justification for systemic barbarism by ruthless oppressors.
Strange that writings of Karl Marx have not fallen under the same scrutiny.
The New Testament in particular is now officially "anti-semitic". Does this mean our church has real affection for real Jews?
No, only for those Jews that can be appended to the victim class for the purpose of our self-validation.
Anglican bodies in the West have been distancing themselves from Israel (the refuge of real Jews since the Holocaust) for decades, leading the pack in the cry for divestment. Is this out of affection for real Palestinians? Perhaps the handful whose "stories" have been included in the Green Book.
More likely it is part of a basic response of appeasement: hear the story, pet a victim on the head, pass a resolution, and go home validated.
"Justice and Peace" the first priority of this church? No madam Primate! "Justice and Peace" as slogans of a self-serving elite that continues to dehumanize the general public, and the oppressed in particular, by reducing them to a "category" of non-persons whose purpose in life is to validate the elite.
This could be, perhaps should be, a new definition of class warfare.
And now it's official. Now we have clarity.
The Wardens of the Global Underclass - this is a vision of salvation for an elite at the expense of those they claim to save.
It is an attempt to appease the burgeoning swarm that cannot hope for self-actualization apart from the posturing of self-appointed handlers.
It dehumanizes them, because it reduces them to a category of beings to be engineered by a superior class. Then it blames someone else when hopelessness begets despair.
The "oppressed" themselves are faceless, soul-less, less than human. Even after they "share their stories," they are not the ones being heard. What is "heard" is the echo of affluent guilt, which is easily assuaged by the expansive ritual.
For the benefit of the oppressed? Of course not. But the Wardens won't get that far in their "critical analysis". Here their shortsightedness preserves a certain innocence. They will only look as far back as the last "glass ceiling", the latest validation of themselves. They will likely have no inkling as to the effects their efforts - the destabilizing and demoralizing of a culture. Besides, the next opportunistic "glass ceiling" demands their urgent attention.
The New Episcopal Church is a parasitic organization that defines human need in terms of symbolic gestures whose practical purpose is to validate the organization and particularly its leadership.
It is an incarnate ritual of self-absolution and self-promotion. It does not serve or even help the nameless, faceless swarms whose sorry fate it decries with outrage and indignation. The outrage and the indignation have become ends in themselves - they ARE the ritual.
The Episcopal Church does not feed, clothe, or visit those in need any where near as efficiently, systematically, or generously as the very churches it has itself denounced recently as "racist and literalist". Why not? Because that is not what TEC is about. TEC is not about saving anyone but itself.
It will self-righteously die with the present generation of Baby Boomers who commissioned it to absolve white, affluent America of its liberal guilt.
Nor do the practitioners of the new faith seriously challenge the "systemic" nature of oppression, which is what distinguished the Marxian prototype of their ideology.
GET THIS ONE POINT: what explains the euphoria of General Convention is the final coming-to-term of a permanent status quo for a new class of opportunists.
This is a "justice" that the leadership of the mainline churches, as well as liberal America, must now at long last be held accountable for.
It is time for that and nothing else - time to call the bluff of all self-serving "progressives" who so haughtily condescend to "save" everyone, not noticing and not caring that perpetual hopelessness is the appointed role they themselves have fashioned for the oppressed.
This is no time for timid inch-deep "conservatives" to scan the room nervously for a token place at this table. There is nothing of substance to feed anyone at this table.
-- The Rev. Gary L'Hommedieu is Canon in charge of Pastoral Care at St. Luke's Cathedral in Orlando, Florida.
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