Category Archive 'Episcopal Church'

27 Jul 2012

Episcopalians Decide That God Makes Mistakes

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Bookworm has news of a theological breakthrough by the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church in America.

On July 9, 2012, the Episcopalian Church officially banned discrimination against transsexuals. …

What makes the decision to do so funny is that, as one of those who opposed the proposal pointed out, those advancing this successful viewpoint about gender identity issues were explicitly arguing that God erred:

The Rev. Canon James Lewis, Deputy from South Carolina, said that while “gender identity and expression” may have meaning for the proposers, “to be honest I would be hard pressed to explain the boundary between identity and expression.”

    “No explanation of these terms or a theological explanation has been offered,” he said, adding that the arguments put forward by supporters were incoherent and contradictory. Canon Lewis said that the arguments put forward for the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the church was that as God had made them that way, and that God did not make mistakes, so the church should not exclude them.

    However, the argument put forward by the supporters of the transgendered resolution said in effect that God had made a mistake when he made transgendered people, who by seeking surgery or other means to change their gender were correcting God’s error.

It seems to me that an official resolution that is predicated on God messing up sort of negates the whole God thing. It’s one thing to revisit what He’s said and reinterpret it in different ways (making the Bible the religious equivalent of a Living Constitution), but doesn’t it take things to a whole new level to go out to ones congregants and say that God is as fallible as anybody else, and that it’s up to the Church to take proactive steps to shield individuals from the consequences of God’s errors?

What the Episcopal Church obviously has done is simply correct the old medieval notions of Ontological hierarchy, preeminence, and omniscience.

In the bad old days, people believed that God was perfect, the supreme ruler of the universe, and omniscient. We now know that the elite community of fashion possesses superior insight and moral understanding and consequently outranks God.

Go and make trouble about any of this, and they’ll take your historic church and sell it to the Muslims for a mosque.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

10 Jul 2009

Ubuntu Has No “I” In It

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Episcopal High Priestess Katherine Jefferts-Schori

Addressing delegates at a recent triennial meeting of Episcopalians in Anaheim, California, Katherine Jefferts-Schori won this month’s Rand villain award by arguing passionately that the Christian doctrine of individual salvation was all wrong.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told delegates to the group’s triennial meeting July 8 in Anaheim, Calif., that the overarching connection to problems facing Episcopalians has to do with “the great Western heresy — that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.”

“It’s caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus,” Jefferts Schori, the first woman to be elected as a primate in the worldwide Anglican Communion three years ago, said. “That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of being.”

Schori said countering individualistic faith was one reason the theme chosen for the meeting was “Ubuntu,” an African word that describes humaneness, caring, sharing and being in harmony with all of creation.

“Ubuntu doesn’t have any ‘I’s in it,” she said. “The ‘I’ only emerges as we connect — and that is really what the word means: I am because we are, and I can only become a whole person in relationship with others. There is no ‘I’ without ‘you,’ and in our context, you and I are known only as we reflect the image of the One who created us.”

Jefferts Schori said “heretical and individualistic understanding” contributes to problems like neglect for the environment and the current worldwide economic recession.

“The sins of a few have wreaked havoc with the lives of many, as greed and dishonesty have destroyed livelihoods, educational possibilities, care for the aged, and multiple forms of creativity,” she said. “And that’s just the aftermath of Ponzi schemes for which a handful will go to jail.”

She said in order to be faithful, “we need to be continually rediscovering that my needs are not the only significant ones.”

“Ubuntu implies that selfishness and self-centeredness cannot long survive,” she said. “We are our siblings’ knowers and their keepers, and we cannot be known without them.”

“We have no meaning, no true existence in isolation,” she said. “We shall indeed die as we forget or ignore that reality.”

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