Sunday, May 25, 2008

What’s the Use of Worrying?

Today's sermon was delivered by Charlie, who started out with a caveat, saying that today's lessons were used in the past to keep people from questioning authority. At that point, I knew I was being given the go-ahead to be a critic. It was suggested that the "do not worry about tomorrow" bit in Matthew 6 was used in the past to pacify those suffering privations caused by poor governance. Charlie seemed to say that these verses have been used to drug people into inaction. When Charlie said that "Marx was right, religion is the opiate of the people," I shrunk in my seat. Not exactly the best choice of words for Memorial Day. If I had been medicated, I would have smiled and "let it pass," for "today's trouble is enough for today," (Matthew 6:24-34 ). I wanted to shout "Marx was wrong, wrong, wrong, and history and our servicemen have proven it so!" The United States has never had a National Religion to serve as a mouthpiece of the powerful to keep the masses placated with warm and fuzzy scripture readings. What we should be saying on this day is, "Bless the slumber of all those who died for our freedom, so that we would not have to worry about the KGB, kangaroo courts, about how or where we will live, or about what we will eat, wear, or speak." How do today's readings relate to Memorial Day? I have to think of the soldiers, sailors and airmen in the field, what do today's scriptures say to them?
After this brief bit of trouble, I almost packed it in, but was rescued by a thought of an old tune...

Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,
And smile, smile, smile,
While you’ve a lucifer to light your fag,
Smile, boys, that’s the style.
What’s the use of worrying?
It never was worth while, so
Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,
And smile, smile, smile.

Charlie also spoke of the religious maturation of people. Paul had gotten to the point where he did not even judge himself (1Corinthians 4:1-5). In other words, Paul was not going to waste time bashing himself for his sins, but if there was anything "against" him, "It is the Lord who judges me." To Charlie, part of religious maturation is to know when to be silent. He is right, and I guess that I have not got religion yet, as this blog proves.

I really was ready to be silent today, I just was not given the chance. Where was anything said about Memorial Day? I know that Memorial Day has been a contentious issue in the South ever since it was forced upon us by the Union (see Order 11 ) following the War of Northern Aggression. In my day, it was not a school holiday, while Confederate Memorial Day was always remembered. Enough water has passed under the bridge, and the National Holiday Act of 1971 changed the meaning of the day, but Charlie reminded us today about the terrible conditions in South Carolina after the war, after the Union troops had taken all the livestock and the people had to worry about starvation. Still, I don't think this was the reason we dissed Memorial Day.

Since we did not recognize in church today those who gave the supreme sacrifice, I would ask for a moment of silence at this time.

Our Bishop has asked our clergy to be silent, but not for the above reason. David Virtue got a scoop and published this warning letter here. I guess Bishop Henderson thinks the clergy may lack the spiritual maturity to keep their mouths shut on the matter of St. Christopher's breakup in Spartanburg. The Bishop may be assured that Charlie kept his silence today and tried to stick to the scriptures in his sermon. But my question is this, will we hear any of our upstate clergy question authority about the Bishop's warning letter? If we do not, then the whole thesis of today's sermon will have to be thrown out. We will rewrite the scriptures that tell us that we have nothing to fear from such earthly concerns.

If this post upsets anyone, you must be needing a dose of conservative happiness (see earlier post). Refusing that, I will kindly rewrite your scriptures to read, "Worry about what you say, about what you will wear, and where you will pray, take out your troubles from that old kit bag, and scowl, scowl, scowl."


  1. Your sense of humor is starting to grow on me. I guess it is an acquired tastes.

  2. Maybe you should see a doctor about that growth P. I have only visited Perpetua of Carthage a couple of times, but I think it belongs in the "Mostly Trusted Links" column.

  3. I would be honored to be in that company.

  4. Out here, we remember a different Order No. 11.


  5. Thanks for the history lesson. Another fine example of the Union Army at work.

  6. Anonymous3:38 PM

    You know - I sat in the same room you did - but I sure didn't hear what you did - dude - if you are that miserable may I suggest seeing a doctor about getting medicated?

  7. I believe Pewster's quote was accurate, but anonymous must have been narcotized by religion and slept through the offending reference to Marx.

  8. I am not miserable. I am insanely happy. And to prove it, here is how my warped mind works when I learn that people slept through the Gospel according to Marx.
    "Ha-ha-ha-ha. Poppies. Poppies. Poppies will put them to sleep. Sle-ee-p. Now they'll sle-ee-p." (The Wizard of Oz-Dude)

  9. Anonymous3:19 PM

    I would like to address this to those of you who found Charlie's Marx quote as offensive - If history offends you - then there is not much that I can say - however, Marx did say it and Charlie used the quote. I can't help for worry and pray for those of you who are so easly put off by history that you close your mind to the entire point of the sermon.

    I have no concept of where the Pewster gets the idea that Charlie "dissed" Memorial Day. However, I am beginning to believe that we listened to different sermons. Memorial Day is a secular event - will the Pewster rant about Charlie "dissing" Columbus if he doesn't preach a Columbus Day sermon in October?

    In the middle of the 19th Century there was a horrible war fought on the soil of our majestic and grand country - however it ended more than a century ago - I have had to listen to people rant and rave about Yankees being no good, Rebels being dumb my entire life ... bla bla bla. There have been too many deaths and battles fought because of the Civil War or what ever you choose to call it. Like Marx - it is histoy and should be treated as such. LET IT GO! We live in the United States of America with the emphasis on UNITED. There are more important things in the world than which side of the Mason Dixion line you call home. You do not honor those who died in the Civil War by continuing to fight it more that 100 years after it ended.

    Next - David Virtue and the bloggers who commented on his posting of Bishop Henderson's letter are all trying to create trouble where there is none. The DOUSC is a Christian Organization and it is also a business. The Clergy (employees)work for the Bishop (the CEO) - thus the Bishop sets policy for the Clergy to follow while they are employed by the DOUSC. Requesting that questions from the media be forwarded to the Bishop is not unreasonable, nor is the request an attempt to silence anyone or a violation of the First Amendment (Don't forget Bishop Henderson is also a lawyer). It is purely and simply a good business decision on the Bishop's part. The companies my spouse and I work for have the same police - employees don't talk to the media - the public relations department or a designated representative of the company does - in this case the Bishop. I read the Bishop's letter and I found it to be a loving and Christian approach to a very difficult situation.

    On a personal note - I keep promising myself that I will no longer read this blog. However, since this blog is one of the few windows many on the world wide web have into the COOS and the DOUSC I keep coming back. The majority of the members of COOS and the DOUSC don't feel the same way as the Pewster and his fellow bloggers. We love COOS, the DOUSC, TEC and Bishop Henderson. Unlike the Pewster we do not air our complaints for the entire world to read.

    Many of you will attack this next statement as being of the "head in the sand" mentality. So be it - but to those of you outside of COOS and DOUSC I would like to say - - all is not doom, gloom at COOS, in South Carolina and in TEC. Bishop Henderson is a wonderful and Christian leader - one we are very proud of. Every organization, religious or non religious organization has to deal with people who constantly promote the negative - those who are never happy. To brousers on the WWW I would like to say that they are not the majority at COOS, DOUSC or the TEK.

    Ultimatly - we all can sleep well every night knowing that God loves us all - grippy or not. May the Blessing of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost be upon you and remain with you all always.

    Life Long Episcopalian

  10. Anonymous,

    If the minister of the church said "Marx was right, religion is the opiate of the people," then he was stating an opinion about theology, not merely discussing history.

    A minister could use the quote in a sermon to explain why Christians disagree with Marx.

    But I think you are missing the big joke -- here is the minister of the church extolling the importance of questioning authority, when, in fact, he and the church authorities crack down on any dissidents. The church authorities extol their own questioning of authorities outside the church, while they crack down on any questioning of their own authority.

  11. It would seem that "Anonymous" has his underwear in a very tight knot. Take two drinks and call me in the morning.

  12. Anam Cara7:35 AM

    I stumbled across this blog this morning. I will take more time this week to read past entries, but right at this moment, all I feel is a profound sense of loss when I read: Church of Our Savior, Rock Hill, SC.

    I attended Winthrop in the late 60's and was confirmed by Bishop Pinkney at the Canterbury House. I attended Church of Our Savior while at Winthrop. I baked bread for communion. I had forgotten that. There were many days spent learning the history of the church, memorizing parts of the Book of Common Prayer sitting in the library at Canterbury House. I read everything I could get my hands on regarding doctrine and theology. I so loved the Episcopal Church.

    It was so long ago - so much has happened in my life - I had almost forgotten that part of it - the beginning. The sense of loss is because the dreams I held there as a young woman have all died. I had imagined a life filled with the church, praying the hours as I could, the rich spirituality I had learned and loved - and which was thrown underfoot by one General Convention after another.

    After long struggles, watching the church change, first with ordination of women, then through teachings of Bishop Spong, I finally announced to my family (all Episcopalian) that I had not left the church, the church had left me when the heresy charges against Bishop Righter were dismissed in 1996.

    I finally found my way home to Orthodoxy where the beliefs haven't changed in 2000 years. Here they worship the undivided Trinty who does not change. I am far happier here than I ever was as an Episcopalian.

    To those who may be concerned about recent developments in TEC, I suggest you look into Western Rite Orthodox. Do a little homework and if you can't find a local parish, perhaps you can start a mission.

    I'm sure everyone I knew at COOS is long gone. I wonder what happened to them all....

  13. Anam, there are a few survivors from your time still living. Those who have passed on may still be in the rafters praying for us. To me, we too often run into trouble by straying from the orthodox, and I have been guilty myself of this error. You are correct that the National Episcopal Church, which seems so far removed to most parishoners, is leading them into what some call apostasy, some call heresy, some call heterodoxy, some call unorthodox. These topics should be discussed openly. As Perpetua alludes to, there is a "cone of silence" either real or implied that prevents any effective dialog (idea for a future post).
    You should give us a link to your current church. Keep the faith!

  14. Anonymous1:29 PM

    RE: "if you are that miserable may I suggest seeing a doctor about getting medicated?"

    My sense is that Underground Pewster is anything but miserable, but that his posts seem to make others quite unhappy.

    ER: Unlike the Pewster we do not air our complaints for the entire world to read."


    Well . . .

    Except when you aired your complaint about this blog and Underground Pewster and various other blogs and bloggers right here on this blog "for the entire world to read." ; > )

    Consistency not a strong suit of yours, I see.