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Monday
Aug032009

Re: Dancing to the Precipice (Robert George)

In the wider realm of the American culture wars, Robert George has an op-ed about marriage, gay marriage, and the law.

He is writing about our society from a secular/legal point of view, but there is a fearful symmetry with respect to the movement within the Episcopal Church.  Normative marriage and family values have been deeply eroded in the United States.  Traditionally, religious institutions have been critical to supporting the norms and helping families stay together.  For the gay community, particular churches have been the means by which they gain a certain "moral" authority to change the definition of marriage, and none has more cultural influence among the elites than the Episcopal Church (even Tom Wolfe remarked about this in "The Right Stuff": John Glen, of course, was Episcopalian.)  If the Christian communities, and particularly the elite, intellectual, and historic Episcopal Church in America, give their imprimatur to the redefinition of marriage, then many people who identify themselves as Christian will be swayed.

In any church, there is a substantial population of people who trust that the leadership are doing "what's best" and don't give it much more thought.  There are a few who don't know enough to debate or even question the issue, if it ever arises in any discussion.  These people may feel uncomfortable about the way things are going, as I did for many years.  And there are many who are stalwarts of the church who put their finger to the wind and gauge the likely outcome.  In my church, I have noticed that most conservatives have voted with their feet.  Many left around the time that I joined or within five years. I hardly knew them, but I remember that it seemed evenly split politically when I joined.  My personal experience as an outspoken Conservative has been instructive.  I was the only person in the history of the Episcopal universe to have a group of parents demand my dismissal as a middle school Sunday school teacher- nothing salacious, mind you (thanks to some great Christians, they weren't successful.)  I think I'm the only person who's been there for 15 years with a college degree who has never been asked to be on the vestry (lay leadership.)  I've watched while others get asked to serve again, and still others who had only become Episcopalians and Christians in the last confirmation class be given places on the vestry.  Yes, it's very easy to stack a vestry with people who will play ball and be easily manipulated by the clergy and his/her allies. 

The Episcopal Church is a great prize for the Gay/Lesbian lobby and they will use it to some effect, even as they cut funding for evangelization (remember that?  bringing people to Christ?)  They are closing churches as we speak, but that's OK.  We have Ubuntu.  In the immortal words of Katherine Jefferts-Schori, it may be worth a schism.

 

 

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Reader Comments (3)

I still think that the GLBTetc.are not, for the most part, interested in the church. Rather, the few are engaging in a clear Cloward-Piven strategy to destroy two bourgeois institutions, church and family. There were always gay men in church. That's why we have a Fellowship of Christian Athletes, to make it plain that you don't need to be a 'sissy' to be a Christian. Why would that have been necessary, if the church were a bastion of macho patriarchy?

There are the usual useful fools, of course, but the underlying plan is destruction. BTW, the Russian word translated fool or idiot is more accurately rendered 'sucker' or 'gull'.Find a church and pray for America, and against Rousseau.
August 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Adams
Oh, yeah, I like the Blake allusion, any Blake allusion.
August 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Adams
As the late Jane Jacobs would tell us, church hierarchies are 'Guardians', sharing values with armies and politicians. They "guard" territory and prerogatives. Her 'commercial' syndrome's values are also often described as bourgeois values, in which honesty is the most important, and openness, transparency, etc count for more than they do among the guardian. The Medieval Catholic church was purely Guardian, indistinguishable from government. The Protestant Reformation did not bring about the rise of the bourgeoisie, as some would have it. Rather, it was a result. The most Protestant churches, Baptists, in my estimation, with Presbyterians a very close second, organize church according to those bourgeois values. Power is divided. Business is conducted openly. The clergy have very strict limits on funds available for use solely at their own discretion. Deviations from these principles are cause of great scandal. So, is it any wonder that clergy who lean toward a greater dominance of society by its guardian class, AKA 'liberals', would want to play around with the function of lay leadership? The clergy were supposed to represent the Church as an institution, and the Vestry were intended to represent the people. Clergy who know best want to manage the laity, as well. Politicians who know best, want to manage things for us, too. As it happens, I disagree.
August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Adams

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