Friday, June 04, 2010

"Let the Galled Jade Wince "

A little Shakespeare came to mind after studying the recent exchange of Pentecostal letters: the first letter was from the Archbishop of Canterbury who indicated his advice to remove the Episcopal Church from certain councils because of the continued ordination of non celibate homosexuals, and his advice for members of the Anglican Communion to agree to the "Anglican Covenant," and the second letter was from the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church who claims to be going with the Holy Spirit while ignoring her catechism:
Q. How do we recognize the truths taught by the Holy
A. We recognize truths to be taught by the Holy Spirit
when they are in accord with the Scriptures. (BCP p. 853)

Okay, I promised you a little Shakespeare, so here it comes,

Ham. Madam, how like you this play?

Queen. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Ham. O! but she’ll keep her word.

King. Have you heard the argument? Is there no offence in ’t?

Ham. No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest; no offence i’ the world.

King. What do you call the play?

Ham. The Mouse-trap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna: Gonzago is the duke’s name; his wife, Baptista. You shall see anon; ’tis a knavish piece of work: but what of that? your majesty and we that have free souls, it touches us not: let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act III. Scene II. William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

There are so many fitting lines in Act III that I lost count and settled on my first impression from the play within a play. Pick your favorite and see the parallels between Hamlet and Rowan and Katherine.

Some readers might not be familiar with the earlier Acts or the players in the modern tragic play that we might call "T.E.Churchlet." The play itself is part of a series of tragedies from the same author (another puzzle for you to solve). As some comments in the above links have noted, the author uses the human tendency to sin to full advantage in shaping his characters and their actions. Even though I am familiar with the plot, I remain puzzled as to why the lady doth protest too much. Is she doing this out of anger at the great Archbishop? Is she hurt? Is she merely trying to appease her minions? Is she trying to place the blame elsewhere, or is she revealing her own guilt?

"'Let the galled jade winch, our withers are unwrung:' i.e., let the one who has a guilty conscience wince; not us, who don't have guilty consciences. A 'jade' is a bad horse, one that is hard to control. A horse that is galled has a sore, caused by the chafing of its saddle or other tack. If the sore is on the withers (the ridge between a horses shoulders), the withers are wrung, rubbed sore."(from notes)

The Archbishop's "action" might start to marginalize the Episcopal Church on the Aoc's "second track," but that alone should not stop the lady from continuing in her spirit (little "s") led path. That path will lead to several sequels for our viewing pleasure, the first of which will be the "liturgization" of blessings for same sex relationships. The background resources for these "blessings" are currently being gathered by a task force on which our young curate has been selected to serve. This task force was authorized by the passage of resolution CO56 by the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal church, and the task force is to report the materials it has gathered to the 2012 General Convention.

Unfortunately, we pewsitters have roles in the tragedy as well. It is we who are financing the next installment in the tragic series. Our pledges, which were made with the intention of building God's Church, will buy us tickets to its destruction.

Alas, poor church! I knew it, Horatio, a church of infinite
patience, of most excellent fancy. It hath bore me on its back a
thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is!
My gorge rises at it.


  1. Great post. The Shakespearean parallels are convincing. But to refer to a much older story: where is Elijah? And when will Jehu arrive?

  2. When will there be a contest with the prophets of Baal? 1 Kings 18:18-40

  3. I note, with some chagrin, that the curate in question is a graduate of EDS, having learned her theology at the feet of Isabel Carter Heyward and others of her ilk. How do you feel about this? How does the parish at large feel about it?

  4. Do you mean Isabel Carter Heyward, the lesbian feminist theologian, teacher and priest?

    The congo is in the dark, and I would gues that 90% don't care. A few more might care if they understood that those false teachings learned at EDS can't help but be passed on to the youth of not just ECOOS, but Grace Lutheran (which is engaged in their version of the "Listening Process" as we speak according to our insider Lutheran reporter), and Winthrop University.

  5. Marvelous post. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis' "It's all in Plato" remark at the conclusion of the Narnia series, "it's all in Shakespeare."


  6. Anonymous8:51 AM

    I suppose the PB's letter is in keeping with her interview in the Greenville News on the day of the consecration; that the issues of sexuality are behind TEC and that it has brought TEC in closer communion with the worldwide Anglican Church.

  7. You are referring to her unbelievable statement in an interview with the Greenville News. The PB said,

    “There are certainly parts of the Anglican Communion that continue to be unhappy with the Episcopal Church and the church in Canada,” she said, “but we continue to build relationships across the communion, mission partnerships, and I think those are probably stronger than they were 10 years ago, and there are more of them.
    “So we're beginning to understand each other's contexts a little bit better.”

    This was made before the AoC sent his letter saying in effect "not so fast, you have wrung my withers."

    The PB is living into an alternative reality. Or maybe she has "moved beyond" it.