Sunday, February 8, 2009

Drowning people are dangerous

You wouldn't know it to look at me now, but I was once lifeguard certified. This was a staff requirement at an Episcopal camp I served.

In the training, we were taught to approach a struggling swimmer with caution, because a panicked person can indeed throw a death grip on a would-be rescuer. We also learned push-offs and escapes. If people can't be calmed enough to participate in their own rescue, you have to save yourself and let them sink.

This came to mind after chatting with a neighbor today. This person does work for a Catholic health care organization, and shared sad news about the religious order that runs the operation.

The nuns have been taking the managers on "retreats" with two themes:

  1. We (the nuns) are aging and dying and there are no replacements coming - the system will be in the hands of you lay managers.

  2. Everything you've been told about the Catholic faith is wrong.

The nuns are putting the managers through a short course in revisionism - a melange of uncritically accepted "higher criticism", Spongian slogans and "Da Vinci Code"/new agey claims of hidden knowledge.

Like the Protestant Mainline, revisionist Catholic religious orders are sinking. And like the mainliners, they are in a panic, flailing about to pull others down with them as they drown.

One of my best Senior Wardens was a guy with military, government, business and academic credentials. Along with a wealth of experience, he brought a critical view of our fellow baby boomers who held most leadership positions. "Problems are not going to improve until this whole generation lays down and dies," was his matter-of-fact summary.

When it comes to the baby boom leaders of revisionist religion, the sad fact is that they will take a good number of well intentioned folks down with them.


Tregonsee said...

As a Boomer myself, I readily describe my generation as "The Most Worthless Generation," in comparison with what is accurately called "The Greatest Generation." About all that can be done is to minimize the damage, and hope it is reparable.

TLF+ said...

Well, in our defense, Tregnosee, that greatest generation was also the most traumatized generation (The Depression, WWII, etc.) and it does surprise me all that much that they raised us (boomers) to be what we are. Their wounds were deep and nasty.

But I can't argue with that "worthless generation" epitaph for us... hard to identify a positive legacy for boomers, at least so far.

Every generation has its vices and its virtues. All must be laid at the foot of the cross. "Who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

Dr. Mabuse said...

At least they'll be dead soon - that's always my secret thought when I have to listen to some decrepit boomer-era priest preaching "the latest thing" (circa 1978 or so).

Bob Maxwell † said...

Fr. Carol Simcox, at that time the editor of The Liven Church, once wrote in his column these memorable words:

Where there's death, there's hope!

Perpetua said...

Hi Tim+.
I also received certification as a Lifeguard. In my training, as well as what you write, we were actually taught to knock-out a swimmer that was causing trouble for us as we were bringing them in to shore. The idea was that this is life and death for the lifeguard. A lifeguard could be drowned by the person that was being rescued. So if there is a safety problem, bring the person in stunned or unconscious. It was pretty shocking training for me as a teenage girl. But they told us that was the way to stay alive and bring the person drowning in alive, too.

Floridian said...

These people should have been removed and released or reprimanded and placed under accountability/close supervision not allowed to promulgate their poison long long ago.

A woman I know has just come to the Catholic church BECAUSE she can promulgate her sly heresies undetected. She told me the priests do as they like...just subtly.

The Catholic church is no place to run for safety...I really am sorry for those who have done so, expecting to find the true priesthood, fellowship of believers.

Paul taught that the motives of men were not as important as that the Gospel was preached...but he also taught that immoral, false teachers, apostates and heretics were to be confronted and put out until they repent. Balancing this and actually weeding out the flock is not easy.

Speaking out the truth in love is not optional, though.

TLF+ said...

Thanks for all the good comments!

There was a pretty good book out a few years ago, called Death of the Church . I think the author was Mike Regele - he was laying out the demise of the mainline and positing possiblities for renewal.

He argued that there is death which is just the end, or death that leads to resurrection. The old denominational church is dying - will it just be dust, or will there be a resurrection of something new and greater in Christ? Pray that we all may be part of the latter.