Sunday, May 11, 2008

To Dream the Impossible Dream

Today's service brought another glaring example of our politically correct expurgated Episcopal Church lectionary. By openly declaring that we would not read,

"Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more."
from Psalm 104:35 (KJV) aren't we conceding to the ruling priestly class that they know what is best for us lowly pewsters? An informal poll performed today (by yours truly, a "pew"ster survey) revealed unanimous support for reading the forbidden passage and letting the Spirit do His work. Am I dreaming, or was this a hidden message to prepare us for the sermon?

Fr. Dunbar delivered today's sermon. He started with the O.T. reading from Joel and the prophesy that all will have the spirit poured out on them much to the consternation of the priestly class. This vision that God will become accessible to even those lowly male and female slaves must have sounded offensive in its' day, and if written today in reference to our P.B.
and the ruling elite of TEC would certainly lead to Joel being banished to the outermost fringes of the w.w.w.
Fr. Dunbar then skillfully led us though the Pentecostal Gospels before returning to Joel's prophesy that in that time ,
"your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions

As I read this, I think this is one of those forgotten positive messages of the Bible. After faith, hope, charity, love, redemption, and resurrection, we forget that after being born anew, we are really children (in Christ), and as such we are given freedom to imagine and to dream. The ruling elite must not forget the power of the Spirit to imbue us with dreams and visions, and must not ignore the truth that the Spirit extends to all who believe, even the lowly, despised, but ever-cheerful conservatives (see previous post).

"And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

Maybe I am just tilting at windmills...


  1. The announcement that we would not read Psalm 104 verse 35 prompted me to turn immediately to the offending verse, seeking out that which was forbidden. Looking around the hall, I'd venture that about 80% of the congregation did the same. If that was the intent, mission accoumplished!

  2. Anonymous12:42 PM

    Cato's reaction is mine also. I find the practice of skipping verses in modern lectionaries annoying. Curiosity drives me to look up the omitted material, which is usually sub-Christian (e.g., Psalm 137:7-9 and the aforementioned Psalm 104:35), but almost always interesting. A big boy now, I prefer to do my own censoring, but public worship is a different matter. There are parts of the Bible that are, shall we say, not suitable.

  3. As to the sermon, it was another stellar commentary by the ever-faithful Fr. Dunbar. A solid, biblically-based sermon is so refreshing after having heard so many other preachers chopping away at the pillars of tradition and scripture, publicly questioning core biblical truths and deriding central doctrines of the faith once received (+Pike was an early proponent of this slash-and-burn theology, while the current PB is the most recent advocate). Then, they stand incredulous, watching the inexorable decline in ASA, marveling that so many, once vibrant, churches now stand empty. Perhaps a return to Bible-based sermons and two thousand years of tradition might stanch the flow...but who knows. Further tilting at windmills, I suspect.

  4. Sub-christian? I thought that was when the kid making your sandwich at Subway prays for a better paying job.

  5. Ouch!!! Don't give up your day job.

  6. Anonymous4:53 PM

    The Episcopal Church of America has every legal right to maintain possession of its property - the congregations who chose to leave the Episcopal Church of America may do so - but the property will not go with them - the rogue congregations don't own the buildings or the assets - they only hold them in trust for the Episcopal Church of America.

    The way church charters and formation documents are written each congregation holds the physical plant of the sanctuary and other buildings in trust for the governing body - in our case the DUSC who holds the property in trust for the Episcopal Church of America. The Episcopalians / Congregations who have chosen to leave the fold can't take their 'toys' with them - the 'toys' don't belong to them - if they want to leave and be 'guided' by the Nigerian Bishops or whom ever, then I say "Go with God" - but before turning the keys to the sanctuary over to their newly chosen spiritual leader they should read the legal docs.

    The only group that may be able to retain custody of the buildings and asseta are in Virginia and then only because of an antiquated law dating back to the founding of this wonderful country and it may not hold up in court.

    To bring this closer to home - the group that split away from First Presbyterian and formed Westminster tried to take some or all (can't remember exactly) of First Presbyterian's assets when they left - they found out that they had to leave everything behind and start from scratch.


  7. Was that comment meant for a different post? It is an interesting legal issue between consenting adults. I have wondered what if a whole diocese decides to leave? I would like to refer C2G to the Curmudgeon's piece on "Can a Dioscese Ever Leave the Church?"