Here is a quote from her sermon:
"Loosening the soil so that it might be fertile terrain has a great deal to do with softening our own hearts. When we’re certain that his person or that can’t possibly be a God-bearer, it is our own soil that fills with rocks, or grows massive thorns. It is a particularly religious, and Christian, challenge, for we search endlessly to be certain that we are doing 'the God-thing' right. But when we get too certain about God and God’s judgment, our soil turned over by the surprising love of the gospel and the unexpected nature of divine economics."
She is preaching from Jesus' own "Parable of the Sower", which was the Gospel in many churches today. Read Jesus' word to us and then let's compare it with what the PB preached:
Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: "Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!"
"Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty."
Do you see how the Presiding Bishop's sweet sounding message of "softening our own hearts" actually distorts what Jesus is telling us? She is falsifying the word of God.
- The PB wants us to "loosen our certainties." But Jesus is telling us to be very certain - to have "deep roots" in the word of God so that we won't fall away from it when hassles and persecutions come.
- The PB says that if we don't consider some other person to be a "God-bearer", then we must have the problem. But Jesus says that there will be "persecutions." Some people out there will come at us bearing an agenda that is not God's.
- The PB wants us to "loosen up our soil" so that we aren't about God's judgment, just a vague "love of the gospel." But Jesus tells us that we are "good soil" when we receive the word of God, which contains both judgment and love. Living by the word of God brings forth the good fruit.
What's so sad is that the lesson contains a full and specific interpretation of the parable. The Presiding Bishop ignores Jesus' specific explanation of "birds, rocks and thorns." In so doing, she shows herself to be "the path" on which there is no soil at all - the devil came and snatched away the word before the PB could even understand it.
And I can't help but be drawn to the "plants choked by thorns" in Jesus' warning. The "thorns" are "cares of the world and the lure of wealth." This Presiding Bishop is spending millions of church dollars to sue congregations for real estate and bank accounts. The word that God gave so generously to this PB is being choked by worldly desires and her church is fruitless - the fastest dying denomination in America.
Please pray for Katharine Jefferts Schori. Church leaders and teachers are held to a high standard in the Bible, and false teachers and destructive leaders are to face terrible judgment in the presence of God.
And pray for church people - pray for yourselves! - because so many are accepting sweet sounding words that misrepresent Jesus and substitute human agendas for the divine love and life that Christ offers to all people.