Friday, April 14, 2006

Bonfire of the sacristies: To the 2006 General Convention

You may have made the choice not to read anything from Virtueonline.

Make an exception for this piece by Allen Guelzo.

One extract:
So perhaps the problem is not in us, but in our stars, and we should content ourselves with the realization that Episcopalianism is a mandarin taste in religion (like Shostakovich or crème brule) and not worry our heads over what is, in reality, a mark of cultural superiority.

Or, just as comforting but slightly more exciting, we can blame Episcopal marginality on our progressive social/political postures, from civil rights to homosexual rights, and simply write off the membership losses and financial losses to the price a blue-state church has to pay for justice in a red-state nation. We are to be, as John Shelby Spong puts it, a "prophetic church," and prophets cannot be expected to be popular.

I wish I could take comfort in these rationales. But I cannot, since fundamentally, they share a suspicious characteristic, and that is, the giving of permission to ourselves to do nothing. Liturgical worship, it is true, goes against much of happy-clappy religious frisbee-throwing that passes for worship in many places I have been; but if the problem was liturgy, it would afflict all liturgical churches - and it doesn't.

The Episcopal Church, it is true, likes to see itself taking up brave and prophetic stances that must, for the sake of discipleship, cost it casualties. But what, exactly, have we been prophetic about?

No comments: