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.”

17 Feedbacks on "Ubuntu Has No “I” In It"


Ayn Rand would love this one!


“Ubuntu doesn’t have any ‘I’s in it,” she said.

No, but idiot does!


This leaves me with waaay too many questions:

What does Ubuntu have to do with Christianity?

What is the first person subjective pronoun in Bantu?

What is so admirable about how Africa is organized that makes any of its philosophies, relative to the hundreds/thousands/whatever of Europe, the Americas, or Asia, worthy of serious consideration?

Does the “Rand” refer to Ayn Rand? The atheist who said that the individual neither sacrifices himself for others or others for himself?

Isn’t Christianity is closer to Jefferts-Schori than to Rand?


The western church is riddled with fuzzy-headed marxism; it’s what’s killing it.

Central Pennsylvania Orthodox

[…] There’s no “I” in Ubuntu. […]

Rainbow Priestess Idiocy « Central Pennsylvania Orthodox

[…] There’s no “I” in Ubuntu. […]


This woman has sickened herself with her marxist hallucinations.

The only possible salvation is individual salvation.

If I have an individual soul, then that’s the only way it could be.

Maybe she’s ready to join that great Hive-mind, the Borg – the ultimate collective.

Maybe she missed out on the fact that all of human progress so far on this earth has been the story of our noble efforts to escape one miserable collective or another, and to live in freedom.

Hey, Katherine, there’s a small book called “Anthem” by Ayn Rand – you should read it.


That’s quite a feat, to declare 2000+ years of theology teachings as invalid, and on the basis of what? Political correct bullshit. Small wonder people are leaving the Episcopal church in droves.

Episcopal high priestess reinvents Christianity - City-Data Forum

[…] […]


As the saying goes, I never left the Anglican Communion, the Anglican Communion left me…at least in Canada and the US.

I wish them well, but they’ll have to get along without me.

Assistant Village Idiot

The Gospel of Nice.


Really? You’ve got to be kidding, right?

I think that what you really need is to get laid!


Rand’s defense of the individual in a formal economic structure has little to do with Jefferts-Schori’s remarks in reference to an ultimate salvation or a collective soul. She did not mean that, as individuals, we do not have our own place in the physical world, but that together we collectively make up the spiritual one. In other words, heaven – not earth – will be a collective.

@Peterrabbit: You can’t get laid on an individual basis. It requires a partner, or even – gasp! – a collective.

Maggie's Farm

Episcopal High Priestess Reinvents Christianity…

Story at Never Yet Melted.
My familiarity with Ubuntu is limited indeed, but I am familiar enough with Christianity to suspect that the Bishop is proposing to invent a new religion based on communitarian political principles rather than on …


I believe I’ll just stick with my unreconstructed Papist beliefs, thanks.


evolution of theology – end of orthodoxies finally

time to update the churches, mosques and synagogues about 500 years post Spinoza

hail to another episcopal chaplain John Eyrrick 1932-2004

Paul Emmons

>I am familiar enough with Christianity to suspect that the Bishop is proposing to invent a new religion…

You’re familiar with American Protestantism, obviously. But that is not representative. You and the other scoffers are obviously unaware that these remarks of Ms. Schori are in keeping with _Being as Communion_ by John Zizioulas, an eastern Orthodox bishop. This important theological work and its author are thoroughly traditional in their grounding: the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the ancient creeds, and the Fathers of the Church.

Google also for “From First Baptist to the First Century” by Clark Carlton, who converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, in large part out of disgust with Protestantism’s infatuation with the big I.


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