Friday, October 1, 2010

Hey hey, ho ho, church's lawsuits got to go

From this morning's lessons:

"They utter mere words;
with empty oaths they make covenants;
so litigation springs up like poisonous weeds
in the furrows of the field."
Prophet Hosea 10:4

For those who don't know (and most don't - we've been good at making ourselves irrelevant to all but our own egos), Episcopalians avoid most issues by appealing to "our baptismal covenant." We say that the organizational membership established in the ceremony connects us to some spiritual reality that makes us unaccountable for anything but authoritative about everything.

Most people just want to ignore a very real symptom of this - the millions upon millions of dollars of lawsuits among North American Anglicans, the bulk of it generated by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The poisonous weeds of litigation grow up in furrows of empty language - pledges to work on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (the barest fraction of what is spent on lawsuits goes to these), broken promises to refrain from scandalizing other Anglicans around the world, broken baptismal promises to let Jesus be Lord of our lives and to show others the love he shows us.

My lay leaders don't want to hear about it. "Don't read about that stuff - it will just upset you" is their counsel. Most people in the public don't even know about it, but those who do are revolted. As several readers have pointed out, the "new atheists" don't have any new arguments, but they have plenty of examples of poisonous behavior by "Christians."

The lawsuits need to stop. The world has no need of an example of some "side" declaring a courtroom outcome. It certainly needs the witness of bitterly divided people who, in honor to Christ and their vows to him, make peace.

1 comment:

The Underground Pewster said...

I read those words earlier today and the same thing hit me about the poisonous weeds of litigation. When reading about the lawsuits in itself becomes poisonous, it is time to step back for a second.

Woe be it unto us if we do not heed the words of the prophet. Woe to those resting in the contentment of their self justifications.

"For now they will say:
‘We have no king,
for we do not fear the Lord,
and a king—what could he do for us?’"