The Diocese of South Dakota has a companion relationship with the Diocese of Arkansas. As a result, we get The Arkansas Episcopalian newsletter in our parish mail.
The Aug./Sep./Oct. edition just arrived. Bishop Benfield's front page article is about "Open Door Sunday." It seems to be some kind of evangelism/church growth initiative, but check out this quote from +Arkansas:
We need to understand that the good news of resurrection - that unconditional love conquers everything else in all creation - is why we exist as a church.
OK, except for that last bit about something called "church," is this much different from what I might get in a Chinese restaurant fortune cookie?
Notice that it is not "THE Resurrection" (of Jesus). In fact, I've read the article over again and I can't find "Jesus" or "Christ" any place in it. (There are a few waves at "God," but it's a generic brand deity). Resurrection in this bishop's presentation is some kind of human experience that "transforms us."
And "unconditional love" is detached from the cross (also unmentioned in the article). The Gospel - THE Good News - is that Jesus Christ showed God's love (sacrificial, not "unconditional") by dying on the cross for sinful humanity. And God proved that this one sacrifice is unique and definitive for the human race by raising the one who was crucified.
The slippery Episcopal language is not the Good News of Jesus Christ. No matter how good church makes us "feel," it is meaningless without pointing us to the crucified and risen Lord who loves us first, best and most. Better off giving Him thanks over a nice Chinese buffet than sitting in an Episcopal Organization self-affirmation meeting on Sunday morning.