Wednesday, July 1, 2009

If you confirm me as a friend on Facebook, you are as significant as my wife

Baby Blue Online caught some Tennessee coverage of the Episcopal Church (TEC)'s Presiding Bishop.

The PB's comments on marriage are priceless: "We say that the primary goal and good of marriage is companionship. That's different from even what the first Anglicans said."

She makes her case by saying that the Book of Common Prayer leaves out all kinds of silly old Christian assumptions about marriage. But does it? Here's the exact language of TEC's current BCP:

Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony. The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.

The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord. Therefore marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.

And that this relationship is unique is explicit in the vows, when the man and woman both pledge to "forsake all others," and in the exchange of rings, where the man and woman say, "With all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

Marriage is established by God "in creation", reflecting divine design and purpose. Yes, it provides a deep companionship. So deep, however, that it "signifies the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church." A relationship based in sacrificial love, enduring commitment, fidelity across chasms of misunderstanding and the exercise of constant mercy and reconciliation. Much more than being a friend on Facebook. Different, even, from the precious relationship one has with a best friend.

Where is the PB going with this companionship argument? Well, as in all things TEC these days:

"...maybe we could think about people of the same sex living holy lives together."

So her view of marriage is formed to advance an interest group agenda. Which is an absurd inconsistency given her denigration of the Biblical message of salvation:

"Is Jesus just our savior, a tribal savior?" she asked. "Or is Jesus the savior of the whole world? … Most Christians will affirm that Jesus' life, passion, death and Resurrection changed something between God and humanity. Jesus died for the whole world — and when you start there, Jesus can't be a tribal savior. He is the savior of all humanity."

Got that? The church just asserted universal entitlement to heaven because we would be, well, "tribal" if we didn't. (Hey, non-believers, don't look now but we are still presuming to define your eternal destiny, albeit most progressively!). But we also need to throw out our understanding of marriage because, well, the LGBT advocacy "tribe" will be miffed if we don't advance its agenda.

I guess she's consistent after all: no matter what the issue, find the position of Christianity's critics and accept it, uncritically. And those atheists, secularists, members of world religions and just everybody in the whole warm, fuzzy world comes flocking to share this "good news," right? Nope:

In view of losses due to the age structure and declining birthrate of The Episcopal Church, as well as losses associated with controversy, an emphasis on evangelism and recruitment of new members would seem a natural, almost inevitable consequence. Interestingly, the 2008 Faith Communities Today Survey revealed that under 20% of our congregations report active evangelism programs and less than 5% report that evangelization is a congregational specialty.
State of the Church Report for General Convention 2009

The Bible says that the message of Christ is a "stumbling block," an "offensive odor," a "scandal" and otherwise unappealing to those who don't accept it. The Bible also says to preach that message, while attempting to live at peace as much as possible with those who disagree. TEC has strayed from its spouse (Christ) to jump into bed with church critics who promise much but will never leave their worldly commitments for the needy old denomination.


+Edmund said...

Your photography, friend, is absolutely stunning. Time and again, I'm seriously impressed.

I wish I could say the same for your theology. Here, I find you are out of focus and underexposed. Your ASA is too low (damn, that's a good pun) and you prefer an instamatic to a Nikon.

The problem: you are not permitted, as an Episcopalian, to resist "italicizing the pronouns" in the marriage rite.

The reason: you accept their italicization in the ordination rite.

Of the two, the latter is a full-on biblical monstrosity; the former, an issue of social mores only.

It is shockingly offensive to "ordain" a woman to a pretended diaconate, priesthood, or episcopacy. Paul is UTTERLY CLEAR on this point. He is not at all, even a tad, clear on who gets to love whom.

Have the guts to be honest. Admit that your anti-gay posture is anti-biblical and a craven deference to a bunch of besotted cowboys at your local saloon. Stand up for Jesus, you p*-whipped soldier of the cross. Stand up for two men kissing on the mouth, and drag the dominatrices off Christ's altar.

God. I'm in the effete northeast, and a confirmed flamer, and I'm more manly than you are.

Wilf said...

oh goodness.

If you now go about disproving my existence I ...

Alice C. Linsley said...

Father, The PB is a heretic in her teaching and an apostate in her unbelief.

I've parsed her comments on messy marriages in the Bible here:

TLF+ said...

Thanks, Alice. When the PB says " We believe this or that", of whom is she speaking?

TEC is run by a sorry inner circle of people who only talk to one another and are convinced that they are right beyond question.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I guess that's why what we hear from these people seems so rehearsed, repetitious and dull.