Wednesday, June 4, 2008

An unintended prophecy?

Now, here's something that wasn't written about the Episcopal Church... or, by divine design, was it?

"It takes the convoluted abstractions of a Carl Schmitt or a Heidegger to offer apologetics for Hitler; a Sartre, to temporize about Stalin; a Foucault, to defend Khomeini. In this respect, I stand with George Orwell who spent the 1930s and 1940s denouncing the obscurity of intellectuals' prose as a cloak for tyranny (and, incidentally, who was also accused of being an anti-intellectual). Intellectuals spray polysyllables like squid ink, to evade the democratic decencies of conversation. I'd like not to be one of their number."
From here. My emphasis added. Hat-tip: Billy Ockham.

OK, so who's the celebrated Episcopal intellectual who knows beaucoup about squid?

BILL MOYERS: When you look at a squid what does it tell you about the world?

BISHOP KATHARINE JEFFERTS SCHORI: The incredible wonder of God's creation and the incredible diversity of God's creation. Things that come in different sizes and colors and shapes and body forms are all part of that incredible diversity of creation that's present below the waters where we never even see them. And the Psalms tell us that God delights in that. That creation is in some sense God's way of-- loving the world.
From here, if you dare...


David Handy+ said...

Great quote. A true intellectual, St. Paul, once wrote something apropo about God often choosing to use the foolishness of the gospel to shame the "wise," and the weak of this world to shame the "strong" (1 Cor. 1:18-25).

But is the PB, ++Katharine Jefferts Schori, actually an intellectual? Sure, she has a doctorate in oceanography, but she actually show virtually no interest in serious theology or biblical scholarship. Frankly, she strikes me as grossly deficient in any real curiosity or imagination.

I'd call her a pseudo-intellectual myself.

TLF+ said...


Rick Hills' article makes a distinction between intellectuals and what he calles "the intelligensia". What they might lack in depth they make up for in sheer numbers of words. I think it was David Roseberry who mentioned being at a church growth conference with Bp. Schori, who had much to say about growth but no depth of experience in leading or nurturing it.

Her quote to Moyers is not all that bad compared to some of the things she's said about the person and work of Jesus Christ. I agree that God delights in creatures - it is a Biblical insight. But I agree with you that much of what she says as PB is pure TEC - a shallow but dense spray of words that push people away from the truth (truth about God and truth about the authoritarian elitism of TEC).