An evangelical ponders mysteries old and new ... though apparently new mysteries are old ones in disguise.
Thank you, Peter for this link - a very worthwhile sermon from Bishop Katharine about the real mission of the Church. Worth a look for those who might criticise TEC for its presumed obsession with buildings.
I know, Ron. I am anxiously scouring the ether to see the announcement that TEC has called off its many litigations, and endorsed +Lawrences decisions to send "quitclaims" to the parishes of South Carolina!
But, Peter, Larceny is not encouraged in the Bible. And taking the kitchen sink with you when you have a quarrel with the owner of your lodging is not a particularly Christian characteristic. Rules are rules!
But the issue here, Ron, is not the behaviour of parishioners in respect of their attachments to their buildings, but what the PB means when she says that buildings don't matter.Is this a sense-ible or non-sense-ible statement?
Forget the professed theology in this (ahem) sermon. If you want to know what people believe, watch what they do. Property is important to TEC because:1. It is TECs only effective means of coercion against a recalcitrant laity. The bishop can issue commands and thunderous pronouncements, but he can't compel people to obey. He can however take the property from them.2. It is TECs only weapon against those disaffected ex-Episcopalians who threaten TECs Anglican franchise in the US. Dispossessing the 'rebellion' of its property might cause it to dissolve. This btw is why Liberals are so spitting mad at Bishop Lawrence. The DSC stays intact no matter what.3. TEC needs money and much of its capital is tied up in buildings. The real conflict in TEC hasn't even started yet. That conflict will occur between declining dioceses and the national church. As dioceses become financially strained, they will spend their capital to sustain themselves. The national church however needs that money, and won't want it wasted in pointless efforts to prop up doomed dioceses - especially when said dioceses are in Flyover, USA. KJS has acquired power in her prosecution of the War Against the Orthodox. She isn't going to lay that power aside when the orthodox are no more. She is going to use it. Ironic really. TEC centralizes power locally even as it complains about the Covenant centralizing power globally. But then all that really matters is who holds the whip.carl
Carl talks about 'a recalcitrant laity'. I'm more inclined to think it might be 'a recalcitrant leadership' in the area concerned. Most people in the congregations will be wondering what all the fuss is about. Leaders in 'the revolution' have a lot to answer for.
Father Ron SmithCarl talks about 'a recalcitrant laity'.Contrary to condescending popular belief, conservatives are not ignorant, uneducated, and easily lead. If you would talk to them, you would discover their objections to TEC are rooted in particular knowledge of TEC's actions and beliefs. They are not simply parroting words from their leadership. That's why so many of the laity have simply walked out the door.I'm more inclined to think it might be 'a recalcitrant leadership' in the area concerned.No, I meant laity. The hierarchy has many ways to enforce its authority against clergy. But if the laity departs, so does the money. The bishops don't have any hold over laity in what is essentially a volunteer organization. The bishops can't levy taxes. They can't compel obedience. They can't make people stay. All they can do is apply pressure over attachment to a building. It's not much, and it doesn't work very well, but they have nothing else.Most people in the congregations will be wondering what all the fuss is about.Most people who know what all the 'fuss is about' have already left. Most of the rest simply want the conflict to go away. They want a nice comfortable happy church with a nice comfortable happy liturgy so they can be buried by the church before the church dies. And die those churches will. In droves.Leaders in 'the revolution' have a lot to answer for.For what must they give an answer? Guarding those in their charge from false teachers? Refusing to follow in the footsteps of heresy and apostasy? They have sacrificed security and prosperity and place for the sake of principle. They have offered a sacrifice at considerable cost. They have been despoiled for the sake of the Gospel. The true Gospel. Not the counterfeit social gospel offered as its replacement.carl
Father Ron, you have to be kidding. TEC's numbers have been in freefall since 2003, and the bleed hasn't been simply with people being led off to ACNA churches. The decline is far larger than the numbers who have ended up in another Anglican church - so many laypeople have just walked away from Anglicanism altogether.TEC's problem, and this is common among liberal denominations, is that it is more liberal the higher up the food chain you go. The average member is more conservative than their minister, and certainly more conservative than the average member of the House of Deputies or Bishops. They are either leaving, or they are attending less and less frequently (and so ASA is plunging) and giving less and less (slightly compensated at the moment by those remaining who seem to be giving a bit more to keep things going).TEC's leaders are imposing on the members a position that is not embraced by the majority. They can do that, TEC is not a democracy. But they are suffering the usual outcome of a voluntarist group that does that. People are voting with their feet and chequebooks.It's simply typical of a liberal to blame a conservative conspiracy for people's rejection of a liberal cause. If only no-one opposed them, everyone would either support their cause or not care. Although even that is problematic - what sort of democrat are you if are happy with changes that only pass because the majority are indifferent about the whole issue?Peter is on the money. This statement is so ironic as to border on disingenuous. All of TEC's actions deny the statement. But TEC has learned that the 'spin' matters more than the deed.
"What I require is mercy, not sacrifice" The Word of The Lord
"Do not judge or you too will be judged." Followed immediately by, "Don't throw your pearls before the swine." [Scratches head] .. now how am I to know who the swine are if I'm not to judge????
Perhaps there is a difference between judgement and discernment ... between judging a pig is a bad pig or and inferior pig and discerning a pig from a cow!
In response to your last whimsical remark Peter, I'm sure we have an excellent animal husbandry expert on your panel.
“TEC's numbers have been in freefall since 2003…so many laypeople have just walked away from Anglicanism altogether…TEC's problem, and this is common among liberal denominations, is that it is more liberal the higher up the food chain you go. The average member is more conservative than their minister, and certainly more conservative than the average member of the House of Deputies or Bishops.” –Mark B.Mark Baddeley, YOU’VE got to be kidding! Stop trying to pull the wool over the eyes of these folks Down Under! You know perfectly well that ALL MAINLINE DENOMINATIONS here have been “in freefall” for a number of years! Conservative denominations such as the Southern Baptists and Missouri Synod Lutherans are losing members just as fast as so-called liberal denominations such as The Episcopal Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church. (And the American Roman Church would even be in worse shape than any of the above if you were to take away growth from immigration sources).It’s a long-term cultural paradigm shift in American (and Western) society, Mark, not a matter of one having “the correct” theology. If you believe otherwise, I’ve got a Crystal Cathedral that I want to sell you!Kurt HillBrooklyn, NY
Hi Kurt,With one difference compared to other churches: TEC has made changes to make it more explicitly an inclusive church for all ... yet finds itself in the position where, more or less, the growing parts of North American Anglicanism are the churches/dioceses which have resisted these changes and the further declining parts are those that have embraced the changes.
I don’t know where you are getting your information, Peter. ACNA was just formed a few years ago! In twenty years we’ll see if it’s growing or not. Indeed, part of the “decline” of TEC numbers is directly attributable to the splitting of the schismatics!Kurt HillBrooklyn, NY
Hi Kurt,You rather support my point with your observation: what kind of mission strategy for growth is it when a church decides to do one thing for growth knowing that people will leave?But, don't worry about ACNA stats: just ask how, say, South Carolina and New Hampshire are doing!
Isn’t it obvious, Peter, that TEC believes that we should do what God is calling us to do; that membership figures are purely secondary considerations. Besides, much of the “growth” in certain dioceses is due to in-migration from other states or countries, not indigenous development.Kurt HillBrooklyn, NY
When Jesus asked difficult things of his disciples, there was often a reluctance to follow Him. This is one of the reasons why Jesus was crucified. He was too 'liberal' in his openness to 'Sinners' - not what the Pharisees expected.The Gospel does not promise an 'easy road' for those who espouse it's costly liberation influence. Why is it that Opposers of Gospel 'liberation' are so intensely focussed on numbers? The Gospel is not about popularity. It is about the truth of a God who gave His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. God "so loved the world" - that He gave Him up to suffering for the sake of the world that rejected Him His main opposition was from the self-proclaimed 'righteous ones'.
"Isn’t it obvious, Peter, that TEC believes that we should do what God is calling us to do"No. The leadership of TEC belives in doing whatever is fashionably liberal and politically correct. God does not come into the equation for them.
Hi Kurt: It isn't obvious to me how we know what God is telling us!Hi Ron: I suggest 'self-proclaiming righteousness' is a self-cancelling factor in this context. Proclaiming that the liberation of Jesus runs against the grain of his Law abiding approach to sexual morality is a self-proclaiming righteousness, as is [on your arguments] proclaiming that Jesus meant what he said when he denounced porneia/sexual immorality, and did so in such a manner which ruled all sexual intercourse outside of marriage as porneia.As for numbers: Jesus said that by their fruit we shall know the true prophets from the false ones, so, in the end, I think it does matter how many respond to the proclamation of the gospel, unpopular though it often is.
Ron,"His main opposition was from the self-proclaimed 'righteous ones'."Evangelical and conservative Christian do not claim to be righteous. They claim to be sinners, like everyone else.The self-proclaimed righteous ones in the Church today are those who espouse the so-called "inclusive church" and who disdainfully attack anyone who does not agree with them.In the few short years I spent at St Michaels I often heard self-righteous sermons and statements claiming that liberals were morally superior than all those hateful redneck evangelicals.On the other hand, when I went to Grace Vineyard I never ever heard a bad word said about any other church or any other Christian or theological position. While Jesus extended God's grace to those who were considered beyond it, He did so on the basis that they were in fact sinners in need of healing. He did not tell them their sins were not sins at all. Biblical inclusiveness and Liberal inclusiveness are not the same thing.It's easy for liberals to hide behind the claim that numbers do not matter, because they have failed so badly to grow the Church and even to hold on to existing members. Thst just an excuse though, and a weak one at that. Of course numbers matter. Jesus told us to go and make disciples of all nations. The church is to bring the whole world under Christ's Lordship.At one point the entire Western world was largely Christian. Now, thanks to the mainline denominations selling out to the liberal spirit of the age, it is largely pagan again.
My one question to you now, Shawn is this: "Why ever did you leave your 'Vineyard Fellowship' if it was so according to your own beliefs - moving back into the Anglican Church which does not espouse your opinion of homosexuals? Except, perhaps to try to undermine its liberation theology?
“At one point the entire Western world was largely Christian. Now, thanks to the mainline denominations selling out to the liberal spirit of the age, it is largely pagan again.”--ShawnActually, Shawn, polls here in America (at least), show that 30-some years of con evo political and religious reaction have produced a generation of young people who, at best, simply reject Jesus as irrelevant to their lives; at worst they view Christianity as backward and bigoted, and unworthy of serious consideration by educated people. Conservative Evangelicalism, not the mainline denominations, has done more to turn more American people off to Christianity in the past few decades than all of the women priests and gay bishops combined. The con evos are increasingly viewed as the religion of ”the 1% at prayer.” And the position of the 1% here is progressively more untenable (pardon the pun).Kurt HillBrooklyn, NY
Hi Kurt,can I follow up your last comment with a couple of questions (the sort that seek info rather than make a point)?First let me once again say that the identification of (conservative) evangelicalism with right wing politics in your country is a tragedy IMHO.Are the "con-evos" seen as the 1%, or rather as the foot- soldiers of the 1%, or even the dupes of the 1% at prayer?Given that the con evos are concentrated in the South of your country, is there evidence that they actually run things (the 1%), rather than being an influential voting block that may do the electoral bidding of the 1%, but are not the 1%.Is there evidence that con-evos are particularly wealthy? (as distinct from a small group among them who are)?Do these questions make sense Kurt?
"The con evos are increasingly viewed as the religion of ”the 1% at prayer.”"Only among people quite detached from reality. The idea that Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Madonna, Johnny Depp and the rest of Hollywood "A listers", along with the CEOs of Fortune 500 - i.e. the richest 1% in the USA - are Christians of any stripe, let alone the dreaded "con-evos", is palpably laughable.Most con-evos have lower incomes than the median, because of the appeal to Hispanics.I am glad those squalid, crime-ridden camps have been cleared from the parks - they should never have been allowed.Martin
In a literal sense, you are quite right, Martin. But by viewing the statement in a literal way, you misunderstand my allusion.I think it’s fair to say that most Occupy Wall Street (OWS) supporters view conservative Evangelicals as part of “the enemy.” Not so much because of what is perceived as backward and bigoted theology (though that’s a part of it), but rather because many American Evangelicals support the conservative politics of Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Anita Bryant, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, etc. It’s widely known that these people have defended the policies, which have favored the very richest Americans for decades. That’s what I mean by saying that, to Occupy Wall Street partisans, con evos represent “the 1% at prayer.” In fact—it’s obvious—there are a number of prominent 1%ers who belong to The Episcopal Church. But TEC is not viewed as part of the “enemy camp” by OWS. (At least, not yet.)Of course, if Trinity Wall Street fails to step forward to aid the movement as requested—Duarte Square, etc.—that OWS consensus might change. Such a failure would provide an opportunity for us leftie Episcopalians to place our own demands on Trinity in the most colorful and photogenic way. (Be assured that we progressives know where all of Trinity’s bodies are buried, and which closets have skeletons!)I trust that this clarifies things for you, Martin.John (Obadiah) you have posed some interesting questions.I have not seen any poll on the subject, but I have had extensive discussions at Liberty Park, at demonstrations and elsewhere with OWS partisans. Religion and religious affiliation (or lack of it) was one subject that came up again and again. I think that con evos (at least the “lower class” elements thereof) are viewed by most OWS participants as “dupes of the 1%.” Their leaders (Pat Robertson, Michele Bachmann, etc.) are more likely to be viewed as “the 1% at prayer” per se. Nevertheless, both groups are clearly viewed as “the enemy.”Conservative Evangelicals do have political power in parts of the USA, often in our Southland, a region that is viewed by the rest of the country as the most socially backward section (e.g., Mississippi, etc.) I read a survey a couple of years ago (I think from Pew Forum) that placed conservative Evangelicals rather low in the socio-economic scale. TEC was among the highest. I would guess that, proportionately, there are probably many more members of TEC in the 1% than members of conservative Evangelical groups.Kurt HillBrooklyn, NY
"In a literal sense, you are quite right, Martin."In the true sense, you mean. "But by viewing the statement in a literal way, you misunderstand my allusion."No, I understood you well enough. It was a lazy smear. But your comments ("polls show etc") do reflect how bigoted snob- sorry, socially advanced New Yorkers envision the world from their bubble. But at least you can hold you head erect in the synagogue and thank God you are not as other men.The "1%" are just as likely to be Hollywood Democrat-supporters as anything else, and not at all likely to be in church.The despised con-evos are too busy looking after their families and running their churches to care.Martin
Well, Martin, you are welcome to your mean-spirited, con evo, anti-OWS, (anti-homeless?), pro-1%, pro-Repug, reactionary politics. The arch of history bends toward justice, and away from you and your cronies.Kurt HillBrooklyn, NY
What price justice, Kurt, if that same bend of history is curving towards the economic meltdown of meltdowns?Were the destitute unemployed of the 1930s cheered by the thought that the rich speculators on Wall Street in the late 1920s had got their comeuppance?The Occupy protest has some merit, but it is limited. The real merit these days is in someone(s) getting to grips with deeper economic problems than whether the 1% pay enough tax.
Peter, this IS the Season of Advent, when we are reminded that this world will not remain for ever. The New Creation of God is already in the offing. God's patience is infinite. God just wants ALL to be included in his gracious hospitality - which has already been guaranteed - to all who Believe in God's mercy, justice, peace, and power of redemption.Our parsimony, denial of justice, and lack of love, are brakes against The Day of His Coming! Even so. Come Lord Jesus!
Ron,"My one question to you now, Shawn is this: "Why ever did you leave your 'Vineyard Fellowship' if it was so according to your own beliefs"To support my wife in her ministry."moving back into the Anglican Church which does not espouse your opinion of homosexuals?"Yes, it does. The majority of the global Anglican Church does espouse the same view as me, and I strongly suspect most lay Anglicans in NZ do as well.Furthemore the fastest growing parts of the Anglican Church in NZ are evangelical, and in a very short time, a generation or two, will be a majority. So I am quite at home thanks, and very hopeful for the future of the Church here in NZ. Liberalism is dying."Except, perhaps to try to undermine its liberation theology?"Liberation theology is just Marxism thinly disguised as theology. I prefer Biblical theology.The only people undermining anything are the liberals trying to throw out Scripture and two thousand yaers of consistent Church teaching on Marriage.
Shawn, when you've done a little more theological study, I might engage with you. For now "The time is short". I see I'm hitting my head against a brick wall, and it hurts!
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