We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, July 15. 2012
They are dying, and not very slowly. We have often posted on this topic. The reason is obvious: these churches have been co-opted, captured by soft or firm Lefties who have replaced the search for Truth for political attitudes. People want God, but they are delivering pet funerals.
I suppose you could call that one aspect of "the long march through the institutions." Non-profits and other sorts of do-gooder organizations are vulnerable to being corrupted by that sort of activism because they often attract a certain sort of person.
My Protestant church is bursting at the seams with tons of young couples and tons of little kids. I know our pastors pretty well, but have no idea what they think about any political or otherwise controversial topic. Nor do I care, because they view their job as one of saving souls through Christ and that's what they do. Lots of people hunger for that.
There are many reasons people take two hours on Sunday morning to go to church, but politics and trendy silliness are not among them.
From Akasie: What Ails the Episcopalians - Its numbers and coffers shrinking, the church votes for pet funerals but offers little to the traditional faithful:
Re the latter, so much for mission work, I guess. "Gee, I'm sorry we told you about Jesus"! My view of ministry is simple. Preach the Word to all, visit the sick, inspire the marrying and comfort the bereaved. Mostly, preach the Word of God. What people decide to do with the lessons should be no concern of churches.
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Good job, BD!
Apologising for missionary work is heretical.
I saw the Colosseum for the first time this year. Those Christian martyrs died there witnessing to their faith. From Christians rejoicing in the love of God, sharing it with all, because Jesus came to save all, the Episcopalian liberal hierarchy has degenerated into a bunch of milquetoast PC twits.
I sadly left the church I was born into over a dozen years ago after finding that one was viewed as extremist for focussing on the Gospel, on sacraments that infuse lives, on afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. As opposed to the current PC political propaganda promoted by theological Stalinists like Schori.
Well, in a sense the Episcopal Church really is returning to its Anglican roots - it's become the dedicated Court religion of a particular political culture.
Of course that was true before; the Episcopal Church having been the home congregation for many of the old Protestant elites. The difference was that by and large they didn't expect the religion itself to bend to, endorse, and proselytize on behalf of their social wants and needs; or if they did, not the petty level of pet funerals. Though I wonder how much of a public position it may have taken on issues such as slavery, women's suffrage, prohibition and the like.
I am not religious, but it pains me to see this kind of cheap, transparent political contamination.
I grew up in South Carolina as a Methodist, but spent a lot of time attending Episcopalian services and participating in Episcopal youth group activities. Near all my South Carolina cousins are Episcopalians. When my home town Methodist church was damaged by fire, we held our services in the local Episcopal Church while ours was being repaired.
So though I'm not religious, and not currently a member of any church, I have know a lot of Christian, and specifically Episcopalian, religion - or what it's supposed to be.
The Episcopal Church's doctrinal changes and maneuvers over the last twenty have been such painfully obvious attempt to square core Christian doctrine with contemporary Liberal political postures, it's just embarrassing. Though I don't have a personal stake in the Episcopal Church's future, it's hard not to wince and cringe a little when you see a people putting a fraud over on themselves because they can't bear something as it is, so they pretend it's something different. Something much more comfy that doesn't rub you awkward.
I mean the Church is supposed to be built around some pretty harsh realities - the notion that, back in the day you died and you were damned. But now you've got a chance to beat the damned part thanks to Mr. J.H. Christ.
In other words, it's sort of a pain and travail to be alive at all. Looks to me the new Episcopalians want to pretty pretend it isn't. Which makes sense, as so much of Liberal doctrine is basically a flinching away from the pain of being alive.
I don't know why it bugs me so much; partly sentiment because I've known so many (old school) Episcopalians I've admired and loved a great deal, who were very dedicated to their church.
But also because I hate seeing people knuckle under to a transparent fraud. The worst and most dangerous lies are the ones we tell ourselves, whether in religion or anything. It's an ugly thing to watch, when it so plays out so clearly and in public.
Left the Episcopal church (I had attended for eighteen years) eight years ago when we were told my father's funereal couldn't be held there "since my parents hadn't been attending regularly in the last few years".
Started going to the Congregational Church, helped with the fairs, did whatever I could do, even served on some church boards. Good people.
The minister, when strictly attending to his pastoral duties was great. But he was a lefty, and pushed all the causes of his ilk both in the congregation and in town. I joined the congregation but refused to join or pay yearly dues to the UCC. When he frequently usurped the pulpit on Sunday to give strictly political speeches, I squawked and usually got up and left. Lots of members, especially the older ones were unhappy but disinclined to act.
Then this year I reached the end of my patience when by a blatant and outright lie the minister was able to replace the old "Pilgrim Hymnal" with the new UCC approved "New Century Hymnal" (Secularism triumphant with all that "God the Father" stuff happily purged). To continue to worship there would be allowing them to put their words in my mouth. Couldn't stand the taste.
And yes, I didn't care for the pet funerals either.
Now where do I go?
it's all about the local church. I went to an Episcopal Church for a while that was "born again." Part of every service was waving our hands around and "speaking in tongues." (Babbling).
In my neighborhood, I go to the the local Lutheran Church. But if I moved, I'd try them all out, and join the one that I liked.
If you think about the national church, for almost any Protestant denomination, you'll make yourself crazy.
Check out every local church for the one that is the least political, the most spiritual, and has the most inspiring combination of preaching, music, prayer for YOU.
I have been UCC and Lutheran (pre ELCA), but left. Both had real strengths, and I could tolerate the addition of all this extra stuff we were supposed to keep in mind while preaching the Gospel. But the extra stuff gradually became the real stuff, and the Gospel a set of cliched forms - not to be food for the starving, but only as historical reminders of how we had understood the critical doctrines differently than other Christians. Not being Catholic, or not being fundamentalist, or not being Reformed, became more important than Being Christian.
We have been in the Evangelical Covenant Church since 1986 or so, and I remain comfortable there. Originally an offshoot of Swedish Lutherans during the revivals of the 19th C, I would call it a bridge church between mainstream and evangelical thinking. YMMV.
I grew up in the Episcopal Church. They began the destruction of the church with the destruction of the language - by destroying the Book of Common Prayer (which stretches back to at least 1622) and replacing it with a new prayer book that contorts the language through liberal filters until it sounds like something translated from Ukranian. As with most totalitarian societies (and the Bishops were tyrants) once the common language was destroyed, all thought was destroyed.
C.S. Lewis attended a meeting at an Anglican seminary and was asked what he thought of their curriculum. He said that if they preached that sort of thing, they would make their flocks atheists, or they would make them Roman Catholics.
I was confirmed by Bishop Paul Moore of NY who was later outed by his daughter as having had a male lover for 30 years. "The New Yorker" ran a glowing story about what a great guy he was, as did most of the press. "Brave" and all of that rot. Nice, huh? Stupidly it took me 25 years to leave the twisted sister that is the ECUSA. There ARE good alternatives if one does a search for "Continuing Churches." I never heard of the Anglican Catholic Church (high) or the Reformed Episcopal Church (low) until I Googled to find someplace traditional, liturgical and preaching the Gospel. I have been to both the ACC and REC and love them both. I am more a "bells and smells" enthusiast so I went ACC.
One of the puppies sent me this after I had been ranting a bit too long about vapid clergy and a PC hierarchy;
Quote from the Screwtape letters :
"... At the first of these the Vicar is a man who has been so long engaged in watering down the faith to make it easier for supposedly incredulous and hard-headed congregation that it is now he who shocks his parishioners with his unbelief, not vice versa. He has undermined many a soul's Christianity. His conduct of the services is also admirable. In order to spare the laity all "difficulties" he has deserted both the lectionary and the appointed psalms and now, without noticing it, revolves endlessly round the little treadmill of his fifteen favourite psalms and twenty favourite lessons. We are thus safe from the danger that any truth not already familiar to him and to his flock should over reach them through Scripture. But perhaps bur patient is not quite silly enough for this church—or not yet?"
"What people decide to do with the lessons should be no concern of churches"
Sorry, I can't agree w/ that BD. Read Amos, read Isaiah, read Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc, the prophets were very clear that there were expectations from the lessons taught.
Then go to Corinthians, or the gospels where we read calls to repent by John the Baptist, and most importantly, Jesus. What people do with their lessons was most assuredly a concern.
Many "conservative" churches have taken this evangelical approach of just preaching "The Word" or convenient parts of it. But the truth is, they're shrinking too. And even worse, they're playing a short game where they're getting squashed and soon won't even have opportunity to preach their select pieces of the Truth.
I agree that people do not come for trendy silliness of theologians who haven't any (and probably never had) faith. But the Church has a mandate to go into all the world in order to transform it using both justice and mercy.
Actually Jesus doesn't specifically say it like "transforming the world" in quite the same sense as it would be used today. Matthew 25 is about community, not politics. Not that the politics of mercy and justice are excluded from the Christian's work, but they are not his focus. Only in the last few decades has the idea arisen that such is the heart of the Gospel.
I don't in the least accuse you of claiming that, BTW. I have significant agreement with your statement; but in this age I find that tight definition important to maintain.
A lot of what you get out of church is the congregation. Find a congregation with people you can truly bond with. If you read the Acts of the Apostles, Paul, etc, you will see that this was true of the earliest church as well.
Also, I love Adult Bible Study. Even more than the Sunday services, truth be told. My church is great becuase Adult Bible Study is no holds barred -- there's no clergy leading it, and we can make all sorts of "heretical" statements as we hash things out till we get to the bottom of a Bible passage.
the people in my ABS are not at all the same background as I am, but we share a commitment to truly think out what Christianity is all about.
Check out the Primitive Baptists at www.pb.org and www.marchtozion.com
There is a priest from some parish in South Carolina who writes a blog about his experiences at the Episcopalian General Convention - I have been following it for about the past 9 years ever since the consecration of the non-celibate gay bishop from New Hampshire business
One thing that has stuck with me over the years that I have read the blog is his observation that there are few if any public observations of the Trinity at the Convention.
In past years he noted supporters of the Church's liberal wing would keep pointing to inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This at the Convention's morning worship he noted that it was no longer the Holy Spirit but just the "Spirit" - he was surprised to actually hear Jesus mentioned by name at one such service, surprised because he hadn't heard it at any previous service.
It seems to my uneducated mind, that the Holy Spirit is the most vulnerable part of Christianity in terms of being misused, especially by Satan. In scripture, the Father and the Son said some very specific things - one item in the blog was the failure of some Convention legislation authorizing a new biblical translation due to the fact that the translation maintained text condemning homosexuality. However the Holy Spirit is more amenable to misuse to justify one's position in much the same way someone can claim justification for their misdeed because they were inspired by a higher source and therefore they were in the right.
One other thing to mention from both the blog and from my observations over the years is that the U.S. Episcopal hierarchy might talk about inclusion for all, the Spirit, and puppy dogs for all (as well as liturgy for their funerals) but if you try to cross them in terms of trying to break away from your diocese or criticize them they will come at you like a Chicago gangster.
There are numerous parishes in Northern Virginia who tried to break away and keep their parish buildings and the Church took them to court and won after some ruinous legal expenses (no "go in peace and love" huh?) In Binghamton, N.Y. the local parish on the South Side where my mother grew up tried to leave their diocese but lost the court battle to keep the buildings. When the breakaway parish approached the diocese to purchase the property, not only were they refused but the diocese sold the buildings to Muslims who converted the church into a mosque. Conservative bishops and officials who have publicly criticized the hierarchy face internal disciplinary hearings
As a general principle when I hear people wanting to buy the world a Coke and all that prattle I immediately look for the hard men behind the useful fools - in this case my eyes turn to the Presiding Bishop
I had a friend who was considering opening a pet hospice, to send one's animal friends to the happy hunting grounds with minimal pain and discomfort.
I suggested she call it "Doggie Go Bye Bye."
She was not amused.
There is no saving Liberal Christianity. First, the term is an oxymoron. God lays out his expectations in scripture, and the Libs have no desire to obey such a narrow minded deity. Second, the fact they have no desire to obey such a narrow minded diety makes them hostile to those with real faith in the diety that sent Christ to open the door to salvation.
God is a God of love. But, his mercy goes to those who repent of their sin, and the LIbs have no intention of repenting of anything, not will they make any sort of call for repentance. Both they and the people they "reach" will go down the broad road to destruction together. I pity the heretics in all the lib denominations who will stand before an angry God with no excuse for their sin.
Anonymous Mike, re "...when I hear people wanting to buy the world a Coke and all that prattle I immediately look for the hard men behind the useful fools" --T-Bone Burnett (most known as "O Brother Where Art Thou?" music producer), was asked in the course of an interview why as a man of faith he felt it important to go the church when most folk nowadays think they can be faithful without so doing. Burnett said, yes, he hears that from many folks, and when he does, he says, he always reaches back and pats his wallet to make sure it's still there.
Whitehall: "Out out damned Spot" --?