"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Two Fascinating Interviews on the Left

In the last few days the transcripts of two recent interviews have been published that are well worth careful reading. They shed considerable light on the present crisis in the Episcopal church.

The first is an interview the Presiding Bishop-elect, Katharine Jefferts Schori, gave to NPR. In it Schori addresses comments she made to Time Magazine shortly after her election on the uniqueness of Christ's role in salvation (or rather, His lack of uniqueness). Amusingly, after reading Schori's recent comments to Time the interviewer ended her question with: "Are you a UNITARIAN?!?" Please read the entire interview here. One highlight from Schori: KJS "It-it-it says that Hindus and people of other faith traditions approach God through their... own cultural contexts; they relate to God, they experience God in human relationships, as well as ones that transcend human relationships; and Christians would say those are our experiences of Jesus; of God through the experience of Jesus. (RY: It sounds like you’re saying it’s a parallel reality, but in another culture and language.) KJS: I think that’s accurate... I think that’s accurate.

The second piece is a Los Angeles Times interview with Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. In it he comments on his understanding of Anglican comprehensiveness. One quote conveys the flavor well: We don’t find our unity in a unanimity of opinion. We find it when we go to the altar rail and receive the body and blood of Christ — then we go back to the pews and fight about everything. You’ll find us all over the map on abortion, stem cell research, who should be president and everything else one can think of.

It is fascinating to me how the Elizabethan settlement's tolerance for a range of opinion on disputed, marginal issues of doctrine and liturgical practice in the sixteenth century has been transmuted by the present-day left into an ethos of tolerance for pretty much anything under the sun (except "intolerant" traditionalist opinions). The good bishop apparently believes it is absolutely fine to share "the cup of salvation" together at the altar rail and then go "fight" over a host of hot button moral issues facing our denomination. While I would not insist that all members of our province must be in complete agreement on every contested moral issue, it hardly seems laudable to me that these kinds of divisions are common place within TEC--let alone that this divided status quo should be our paradigm for handling the present crisis.

This is a long way from tolerating differences of opinion over whether or not there should be candles on the altar, a corpus on the cross or chasubles at the Mass! To the modern theological liberal it appears pretty much everything is adiaphora--even whether or not salvation is uniquely found in Jesus Christ!


Blogger father wb said...

Well said.

An interesting question for KJS would be: what exactly DOES make you different from a Unitarian? I wonder whether she could give a satisfiable differentia in terms of the contents of her belief -- i.e. and not just "well, I wear a mitre" or something like that. Bp. Stanton has been saying lately (sardonically... I hope) that ECUSA is really just dressed up congregationalism. I think its really more like dressed up UU-ism. Its bad enough that the laity should espouse warmed-over UU "theology." But its clearly infected the hierarchy pretty thoroughly.

11:37 PM  

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