Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What a whole lotta Episcopalians will hear if they go to church the Sunday after their Convention

Proper 11: Year B, RCL: "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it."

And they'll likely say, "Yah, it's all about inclusion. That's what we do in our church, not like those dummy-Christians."

But the inclusion put forward in the New Testament takes all of its power and meaning from Christ: his body broken and blood shed on the cross. An equality formed by peoples' common need of God and God's gift of reconciliation in Christ for any and all who will receive it.

Why wouldn't Episcopalians, if they are so concerned with "inclusion," lean on radical Bible passages like this, and appeal to the cross and blood of Christ to make their case?

1) Because that would be to assert a politically incorrect position: that Jesus is unique. That doesn't serve Episcopalians' need for cultural elite approval.

2) Because this Bible passage says that those who are included by Christ are "made new," and that's just not gonna fly when inclusion is code for the justification of certain favored sexual behaviors.

And once more, for the record: the cruciphobic, Christophobic Episcopal religion is not inclusive. By almost every marker, it is a small, ingrown group of older, white, affluent people, disproportionately female and gay. Yes, there are exceptions. Yes, the South Dakota diocese is 50% L/Dakota, and many of its people come from places of great material deprivation. But the national picture is captured by an old cartoon, in which a church matriarch says to the priest at the church door, "Now what's this about evangelism, Father? All the people who should be Episcopalians already are."

12 comments:

David Handy+ said...

I wholeheartedly agree. You nailed it.

TEC's leaders have embraced a false gospel of phony inclusivity, because it ironically excludes traditional Christian orthodoxy and even excludes Christ himself.

Qui Vidit et Dicit said...

I also agree. You have indeed hit the bulls-eye.

The Episcopal Church--and liberal Christians in general--only affirm an article of Faith if their secular lobbying group of choice permits it.

Their heart is *really* somewhere else the whole time. They're Christian-like, to the extent permitted by their real faith community.

I assert that the right wing has also committed this bad blunder--but less, and less perniciously so. Bad presidential choices don't necessarily lead to damnation.

As I've said elsewhere, it's the difference between guilt and shame. Conservative Christianity should feel a bit of guilt for making mistakes; the liberal Newfaith should feel shame for being a mistake.

What has the conservative side gotten wrong, you ask? Ah, it'll cost you a martini to find out. ;-)

TLF+ said...

David+ - "excludes Christ himself" - great choice of words. Hadn't thought of it that way but it is more than hyperbole. He stands at the door and knocks, and they just turn up the music and ignore him.

Qui Vidit - good to hear from you! Which conservatives do you mean? TEC/ACNA? I like your distinction between "making" and "being" a mistake. That cuts to the heart of the difference.

Christianity has been able to survive much social upheaval and be present all over the world because it holds onto its core of supernatural claims. It has adapted to changing cultures, political systems and events because of this. Imagine a religion that once endorsed "divine right of kings" surviving the rejection and collapse of absolute monarchy! No small feat, and only possible because of the truths of God's kingdom that are not dependent upon earthly forms.

TEC/liberal protestantism make the mistake of jettisoning the core faith claims to run after culture fads, ending up with nothing left when the fads inevitably pass.

As for martinis, my wife knows better and I must consult with her before taking such a wager. I'm more a tequila shooter guy.

Anonymous said...

I happen to believe that we have to ask why Jesus didn't marry a woman. What was his sexual preference? all that long hair? hanging around with men all the time?

Anonymous said...

I have to ask what it is about inclusion that so frightens you. What is it about TEC which emits such bitterness? You hide behind the cloak of "orthodoxy," castigating those you deem "unorthodox." What exactly are you fearful of? That the love of God as manifested in The Episcopal Church might reach ALL and not just those whom you find favor with?

TLF+ said...

Anonymous: What fear? I am saying, "Peachers must be true to the message that we pledged when ordained - that the the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God containing all things necessary to salvation." The love of God is expressed through Christ. Our equality is in our need for God and equal access to the gracious gift of Christ. Inclusion and unity are at the cross and by the washing of his blood.

As I wrote, that is a better foundation for talking about "inclusion" than is TEC's definition (and it seems yours), that "love" is about entitlements to ceremonies and ordinations. People who live in the real world say "No" to people they love all the time, if you think about it.

How can you claim to be a "loving" person when the first card you play is to say that my interpretation of the Bible passage, which is on our lectionary for this Sunday, is based on "fear"? In other words, you call me a neurotic without even engaging the ideas. This is the "inclusive love" y'all are about?

NO WONDER THERE'S NO EVANGELISM, GROWTH OR VITALITY IN THE GENCON CHURCH, as the publicly available reports admit.

slave to obedience said...

Anonymous:

Nothing about inclusion frightens me. I am for inclusion of all things permitted under God's law. I wish I could support the kind of "inclusion" that the GC has recently voted to approve. I really do. But one with much greater Wisdom than I, and one who has a much greater claim on my heart, soul, mind and strength has said, "No." And so I make his will my own.

Alice C. Linsley said...

TEC is gnostic when it comes to the Blood of Jesus. Much safer this way since the Blood that saves repentant sinners is also the Blood that condems the unrepentant.

St. Paul makes it clear that the Blood of Christ gives life to the world and eternal life to those who "put on Christ." There is no life apart from Christ.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I meant to add this: Have you noticed how mention of the Blood of Jesus Christ often draws crazy responses? And very often drives away anonymous blasphemers? I've noticed this at my blog.

Dr. Mabuse said...

There's one small error in your post. Now that the bishops have eliminated male pronouns from the liturgy, what Episcopalians will hear in church the Sunday after the Convention will be this:

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For Christ is our peace; in Christ's flesh Christ has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. Christ has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that Christ might create in Christsself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it."

Anonymous said...

This anti-Christ organization is helping to create a HUGE opportunity for ACNA.

TEC will die. God will not reward the wicked nor give them rest.

I pray that the friends and family I have remaining inside this cult will get out while they can.

Smarry said...

Very nice thanks for sharing..............

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Smarry
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