Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The First Theological Council of Upper SC Part III

In trying to analyze our bishop's latest letter about the upcoming "First Theological Council of Upper SC," I thought back to his address to the 88th Convention of the diocese on October 16, 2010
(available at the EDUSC web pages). His address seems to indicate that the "theological council" is indeed part of a plan to let the diocese go down the path that so many dioceses in TEc have gone before.

"Last March, on my first gathering with the clergy of this diocese we began this dialogue by talking about the norms by which we are called to be in relationship with each other. Among the norms I named were some that are intended to shift the way we talk about the difficult theological issues in the church."
Intended to shift...
"For example, it is not acceptable for left-of-center Christians to scoff or speak sarcastically or dismissively of their more conservative brothers or sisters. Nor is it acceptable for right-of-center Christians to dismissively judge their more liberal brothers and sisters as having abandoned scriptural authority."
Left of center = dismissive
Right of center = judgemental
"There will always be persons on both sides of an issue who have long since lost interest in reconciliation or the ability to let go of what they believe to be an unalterable scriptural or sociological principle. To those, I say that church history is itself a witness to the need for deep humility regarding such claims."
Do you see the strawmen he just created?
"To the rest of us,"
He is trying to set himself in the middle. If he believes that he really sits in the middle, then I have some ocean front property in Fairfield county that I would like to sell him.
"I say that in a spirit of trust and transparency let’s put those things that make us stuck out on the table and speak of them together with evident and disciplined love and respect for one another. This, I think, is true discipleship!"
Hey, that's just what I have been doing! Sometimes you have to hammer your fist on the table to get people to pay attention.
"...I must add that the one voice missing so far from this conversation so far is the open voice of brother and sister Christians who are gay or lesbian."
That is absurd. In fact he recently canned one of the ringleaders of that conversation.
"As we move into further scriptural and theological discussions in the coming months and years, their voice will be needed and invited to the table, and the same norms of evident and disciplined love and respect will apply."
Shades of the "listening process."
"There are of course other areas of tension—how we prioritize our money, how we develop our congregations and evangelize for new membership and new Christians, how we address questions on the relationship between baptism and eucharist, and so forth. There are any number of other things that may or may not make us feel especially stuck, but which do represent challenging opportunities for us to be faithful to Christian koinonia, to our sharing in fellowship and mission within the Body of Christ."
Once again I repeat, like a stuck record, you cannot build a church upon the shifting sands of liberal theology.

Are you listening?

4 comments:

  1. You can't build a church but you can build a club where the insiders just know and the rest just pay dues.

    It can't communicate itself to outsiders (or even ostensible members) so it can't grow. But the insiders do get invited to all kinds of cool events put on by people in other clubs they admire. And they have a nice letterhead on which to issue statements and their endorsement ads a line or two to the statements of the other clubs who won't join them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nor is it acceptable for right-of-center Christians to dismissively judge their more liberal brothers and sisters as having abandoned scriptural authority.

    And here along, I thought I was supposed to judge whether a self-proclaimed prophet was inspired by God by inter alia but primarily comparing the prophet's words to The Word.

    I would be interested to hear the good bishop explain precisely what role The Word is supposed to play in the lives of Christians if not to provide authority for our actions. After all, evangelizing he foresees derives its legitimacy from Christ's injunction in The Great Commission.

    Your bishop seems intent on providing a case study in leading a flock into apostasy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Your bishop seems intent on providing a case study in leading a flock into apostasy."

    I believe Brother Sherman has hit the nail on the head.

    ReplyDelete
  4. UGP,
    "Nor is it acceptable for right-of-center Christians to dismissively judge their more liberal brothers and sisters"
    Your formula is not correct. Those of us who are right of center Christians are dismissive AND judgmental while those left of center are only dismissive.

    ReplyDelete