Tuesday, April 15, 2008

OUCH! Truth is stranger than fiction in South Dakota

Robert S. Munday is the Dean of Nashotah House in Wisconsin. This is one of only two faithful seminaries left in the Episcopal Church (but its grads can't get positions in many Episcopal Churches, which don't want faithful priests, pastors and teachers.)

Anyway, Dean Munday just posted some comments about a recent book by columnist Mark Steyn. You can read the post, with some quotes from Steyn, right here.

Check out this paragraph...

"Most mainline Protestant churches are, to one degree or another, post-Christian. If they no longer seem disposed to converting the unbelieving to Christ, they can at least convert them to the boggiest of soft-left political cliches, on the grounds that if Jesus were alive today he'd most likely be a gay Anglican bishop in a committed relationship driving around in an environmentally friendly car with an 'Arms Are for Hugging' sticker on the way to an interfaith dialogue with a Wiccan and a couple of Wahhabi imams."

Sound like exaggeration? Sound like sarcasm? Uh, well, the FRONT PAGE of the March/April (aka Easter?) issue of the Diocese of South Dakota's newsletter was all about "Lighting, energy and recycling."

But if that's not enough, go to the "Diocesan Info Exchange" by clicking here. Scroll down a bit to the post for 3/28/08 at 10:52 a.m. This is what was up in The Diocese of South Dakota during Easter week:

"There will be two showings of the award winning film For The Bible Tells Me So -- one on each side of the state.

March 30, Sioux Falls, Zandbroz Variety, 209 S. Phillips, 3 pm
Co-sponsored by The Center East and All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church Social Justice Committee
Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Dan Karslake's provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible.
Does God really condemn loving homosexual relationships? Is the chasm separating Christianity from gays and lesbians too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuss to hate? Through the experiences of five very normal, Christian, American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson -- one discovers how people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child or family member.
Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, For The Bible Tells Me So offers healing, clarity, and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.
April 5, Rapid City, Journey Museum Theatre, 6:30 pm

This showing will be followed by a panel discussion consisting of:

Bruce Baum, pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Rapid City

Kathy Monson Lutes - Rector, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Rapid City
Richard Fisher, United Methodist Church Pastor, current Vice President, South Dakota Association of Christian Churches
Fred Magnavito, PhD Psychologist working with the Pennington County Sheriff's Department and PFLAG Dad
Carol Butzman, Mental Health Counselor in private practice in Rapid City and PFLAG Mom
Curtis Price, Treasurer, Equality South Dakota, Board Member, South Dakota Centers for Equality, State coordinator for South Integrity
Moderating the panel; Michael Coats, Director of the Center West"

Now, I want to let you know that one of the listed presenters did invite me personally to one of these events. And I'll admit, I didn't go. I've been hearing this stuff since my seminary days almost 25 years ago, and these exercises are pointless. When you shoot holes in their arguments, they simply whip out some new "evidence" based on some new "study" or something nobody else seems to have handy. And when you present evidence that contradicts them, they simply say, "Well, your sources are biased." So I don't go to this stuff anymore - it all comes down to what Steyn is writing about. Folks who have no confidence in the Biblical message of Jesus Christ will try to place the church at the service of lesser things.

And when you think about that, you shouldn't just laugh at the craziness - it should break your heart and make you cry out to God for all who are being misled and harmed.

P.S. I recently had coffee with an SD political figure. S/he remarked, "When I was growing up, The Episcopal Church ran this State. All the movers and shakers were Episcopalians. Now, nobody knows what The Episcopal Church is."


Anonymous said...

Heh. And I'm sure that these exciting sessions will be absolutely Packed Out, Standing Room Only.

; > )

Alice C. Linsley said...

And those who DO know what the Episcopal Church is, want no part of it!

Anonymous said...

Regarding Dean Munday's writing: Is it his (and your) contention that Jesus' ministry was not extended to those on the margins of His society? Is it his (and your) contention that Jesus would not be concerned with the current condition of the Earth His Heavenly Father so lovingly created? Is it his (and your) contention that Jesus would not be vehemently opposed to the proliferation of arms in the world? Is this the orthodoxy you promote? Truly, it seems as though it is you and people of your narrow-minded ilk who would have Jesus fit your narrow world view. That way Jesus, like you, could further marginalize people, be in favor of destroying the environment and celebrate any and everything which opposes His teaching. OR are you able to ignore these teachings altogether in order to bolster your compaign against the church? You know, there IS a reason graduates of Nashotah House are not normally welcomed in the majority of mainline Episcopal Churches. under the leadership of Dean Munday, this will continue. He,like you, would love to re-invent our Lord and chastise those who remain followers of Christ's teaching. May God bless you and help you as you struggle with your understanding of the One sent to save you.

john said...

Well, in regard to anonymous. It seems that during Jesus lifetime his concern for the marginalized was an issue of transformation, rather than facilitation. There were marginilization issues in Jesus time, much more than today, and his response seemed to be to bring reconciliation with the Father and transformation through the Spirit. I don't recall facilitating people's habits, addictions and sins as "ministering." That may be how the Episcopal Church is currently "ministeing" and I think the numbers bear out how well that is working. I also do recall there was a pretty big military empire around during Jesus time, and it seems that the people of his time were much more concerned about that than he was. While certainly Christians should be concerned with all good works, our PRIMARY work is spreading the Good News. The rest flows from that, not vice versa. Few Episcopal churches are in a place where this is their mission, so few would want Nashotah priests trained to do so.

Alice C. Linsley said...

People who write absurd and belittling remarks post comments anonymously. Such folks are false-hearted and lack courage to apply their names to their sentiments. They should therefore be ignored.

TLF+ said...

anonymous - my parish extended ministry to the marginalized by interviewing City officials and service providers to identify a list of unmet needs and underserved people in town - the truly marginalized. We then created a responsive ministry that is doing awesome work every week.

BTW, LGBT was not on the list of underserved people. In fact, LGBT have the favor of media, oldline churches like TEC, politicians and their own advocacy groups.

To talk on and on about LGBT is no more a ministry to the marginalized than washing rich peoples' cars.

Anonymous said...

Alice, Since when is the truth absurd and belittleling? Also, why choose to deem me "false-hearted," when you know neither me nor my heart? Ignorance of others points of view by people such as yourself is probably what's brought about this mess in the first place.
Tim, Maintaining an exclusive, country club aspect to God's Holy Church is the very definition of marginalization--see Bishop Smith et al's reaction to the ordination of GLBT people.
John, Since when is inclusion the same as "facilitation?" Does our Baptismal Covenant, which calls on us "to respect the dignity" of all of God's children equate to facilitating lifestyles which YOU judge unChristian? Can you really respect the dignity of all of God's children at the same time as you exclude them from full membership in the Body of Christ?
Just wondering.
God Bless you all as you seek truth in God's world.

TLF+ said...

anonymous: "Country Club" is exactly the nature of TEC by almost any deomgraphic marker. It has become moreso, not less, as it has become a facade for LGBT activism.

The recent revelations about Bishop Paul Moore of NY, a true "Country Club" type if ever there was, only highlight the emptiness of your argument. He made all the phony arguments about "inclusivity and justice", when in fact he was advancing his own personal psycho-sexual problems at the expense of the church.

You know what? All kinds of people are rejected by their families over all kinds of things. Who they marry, what school they choose, what career they go after...there are all kinds of rejected people all over the landscape.

This business that LGBT are the most special people in the world (either culturally superior or in terms of persecution) is the true expression of a "Country Club" mentality.

And again, if my parish is the "Country Club", why has our attendance doubled (and with considerable diversity of age, race and socioecomonic status), while "inclusive" Calvary Cathedral, 10 mins. away, hemmoraghed close to 100 active people over 5 years, and can't keep a Dean in office?

As far as "full membership" - what you are saying is "entitlement to ordination." The idea that the church is an exclusive provision of title, resources and largely empty buildings for LGBT "priests" is so far from anything in the New Testament that I'm not going to waste any more words on it.

Alice C. Linsley said...

"...not going to waste any more words." Ditto!

john said...

It is typical to refer to the baptismal covenant's last vow as the regula fidae of the liberal episcopalian. If only you would look at the promise to "conitinue in the Apostle's teaching" and take it as seriously. The Apostle's teaching, you know scripture and tradition, they have deemed certain things "Christian." Ultimately to be Christian is to live a certain way, in relation to God. Now we can decide how to live and impose that on God, and completely destroy the transformative power of the Gospel. (By the way, how is TEC's growth these days) Or we can live by what has been handed down and change our lives to conform to what the church has always believed to be Christian morals and discipline. I really would just prefer if the next anonymous comment would say "Let me believe what I want, because I like the god I've created in my own image better than the alternative" At least then I could respect the honesty of that statement. So thats all on this, that makes three who aren't wasting more words.

TLF+ said...

Good point about the Baptismal Covenant, john.

As Bp. Howe of Central Florida points out in a pastoral letter you can see on some of the national blogs, the Baptismal Covenant includes renunciations of the world, the flesh and the devil and affirmations of faith in, salvation by and Lordship of Christ.

The Baptismal Covenant is treated as a cafeteria document by revisionists. They pick the lines they like (well, there's really only one) and ignore the rest.