9/17/2011

Time to rethink what sort of religious order we are in as Episcopalians.

There has been considerable foolishness in Anglican-land this past week, and some sadness. 

Lots of people who think they are running things in Anglican-land are simply winding down, getting old, fiddling with their hearing aids, fighting off the odds about when (not if) they are going to resign, retire, or simply die. And the new crowd is picking up and taking on new things, and there are brave new words for a way of being religious that may be losing its reason for being. 

The best things I have done this week in the effort to walk with Our Lord was to go to a funeral run by folks from the Church of God, go to an interfaith gathering on 9/11, and meet with a small group of clergy on such things as mission exploration trips and recasting the vocation to life long union. 

I think it is time to move on down the line, time to rethink just what sort of religious order we are in as Episcopalians, get off the nonsense of thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought.

No more world church crap. No more dumbing down of other people's faith. No more dumbing down of our own. It is time for spirit filled words that do not compute in the greater expectation that religion is the answer. 

The spirit sighs, it does not explicate. 

And, here is the best answer for the moment: Leonard Cohen. He is the young old, borrowed blue, sad true, mad lover on the run. And he sings it right.

15 comments:

  1. I think it is time to move on down the line, time to rethink just what sort of religious order we are in as Episcopalians, get off the nonsense of thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought.
    No more world church crap. No more dumbing down of other people's faith. No more dumbing down of our own. It is time for spirit filled words that do not compute in the greater expectation that religion is the answer.


    Amen to your words, Mark, and amen to the words of the young old man Leonard Cohen.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Talk about opaque! Are you doing OK? This is one of your more dyspeptic meanderings.

    What has set this off?

    Worries about Exec Council vis-a-vis PB and Staff, and financial/governance reality for TEC over next three years?

    GS statement from China meeting?

    Announcement re: RDW retirement and speculation festival?

    The HOB doing 60s Liberation Theology rear-view mirror driving in Quito?

    Forlorn hopes for a TEC type global anglicanism?

    Bart

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  3. Everytime Bart/Franklin and other obsessive haters of all things Episcopalian verbosely post here, I see the ghost of Khruschev banging a shoe on a desk and yelling, "We will bury you!!"

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  4. At risk of being branded an obsessive hater of all things Episcopal, I too find your post somewhat opaque, Mark.

    Lots of things are not going well in Anglicanland, and some things, even froma supportive Episcopal perspective, are not going well in the Episcopal church, but what in particular in this last week has catalysed your questions which I read as profound and heartsearching, if not heartbreaking.

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  5. Counterlight.

    A bit excessive, n'est ce pas? Is everything so extremist?
    'Obsessive haters of all things Episcopal.'

    One I suppose one could equally call progressive autonomy advocates that as well.

    Bart

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  6. http://www.thetablet.co.uk/article/161723

    'No more world church crap' surely condenses radically what have been the claims of Anglicanism, over against federalist national church ideas (Lutheranism etc).

    So is 'no more' a repudiation of Anglicanism as it has existed? or is it the claim that anglicanism has never been a catholic church with worldwide mission and coherence?

    Let's not let the dyspepia of TEC progressivism invent a polity after the fact, out of expedience. This would be to rewrite anglican history.

    Bart

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  7. Perfect, Mark. Perfect end to the day, amazing fit with the collect for the day. Just amazing, and Amen.

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  8. Counterlight

    Your remark about Franklin/Bart hating all things Episcopalian is troubling. I see no indication that either Franklin or Bart hates all things Episcopalian. What I see is that they disagree with the interpretation of the Episcopal/Anglican tradition given by those who now control the levers of power within TEC. By saying they hate all things Episcopalian you suggest that the way you understand all things Episcopalian defines that tradition and that anyone who disagrees hates, what? Episcopalianism? Or Anglicanism? It would appear that this is what you believe. This point of view is exactly why many judge that the present progressive leadership of TEC is in fact anything but pluralist.

    Baruch

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  9. I have to concede that sometimes Mark and all of the rest of us mat be opaque - even some of Bart's comments have been hard to fathom. But opaque or not, Mark has been clear about his conviction that the Anglican Communion is not one worldwide church as Rome is, but a fellowship of regional and national churches, each living the Anglican way in ways that are authentic within their contexts. Mark has also been clear, and I think wise, in seeing us as an order within the Church Universal, and not something that claims to be the Catholic Church. What I find distressing and depressing is that some within the Communion want homogeneity rather than unity, want a one size fits all Anglicanism.

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  10. Bart and Baruch, your attempts to use subtlety, shaming, and guilting betray your lack of a real wish for any kind of unity, consanguinity, relationship, listening, or any other interaction. That’s fine. It’s become such a classical conservative trope, that affinity for looking-glassism, that I can only chuckle at the transparency and utter failure of it all. Some good people will self-examine, apologize, and try to defend what will always be indefensible to those who play this game. I’m not fooled.

    Mark, thank you for this. I agree. Couldn’t be clearer either. God bless us all!

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  11. Grandmere Mimi and Lois: Thanks, you got what I was trying to say.

    Bart..I'm not opaque or dyspeptic. I have found joy and possibilities to consider in small events in normal life in a community of faith. So I'm doing the local. The question is how to think globally in a way that reflects faith which is always local.

    Meanwhile, your little list itself sets me off - particularly the dissing of the HoB considering the work that Liberation Theology has contributed to working out the local and the global together.

    I am working on moving on, but sometimes it gets hard to do.

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  12. I appreciate your response.

    Why is it hard?

    What is happening in TEC that makes it hard?

    Let's make Liberation Theology a hero for a day. Leave Quito out of the equation.

    NO PROBLEM CAN BE SOLVED UNTIL IT IS RECOGNIZED IN ITS FACTUAL BASIS.

    If we are headed toward a 'TEC recession' let's at least face into the problem.

    Bart

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  13. BTW, Bishop Dan Martins has an excellent, thoughtful assessment of LT and Quito at his blog, 'Confessions of a Carioca.' This is the kind of thinking we desperately need. Careful, honest, but also unafraid to use the bullsh-t meter. If we need substantial contractions of PB/Staff and attention to merging dioceses, let's get at it. Unlike the FED, TEC can't just print money. Drawing down DFMS funds ought to make every episcopalian sick to their stomach.

    Bart

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  14. “Everytime Bart/Franklin and other obsessive haters of all things Episcopalian verbosely post here, I see the ghost of Khruschev banging a shoe on a desk and yelling, ‘We will bury you!!’”—Counterlight

    Well you know what they say, don’t you, Counterlight? BS= bullshit; MS= more shit; PhD= piled higher and deeper!

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

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  15. Kurt--thanks, that's a big help. That's moving things along helpfully (to use Fr Harris's language).

    Bart

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