Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Death of Languages: Episcospeak and Episcobabble

In her sermon today, our priest attempted to convey the need for those of us in the congo to participate in our "Strategic Visioning Process," and in particular, to attend today's meeting that was to focus on "Faith Formation" (AKA Christian Education). The message in her sermon was to imagine a future where the words "Baptism" or "Resurrection" lose their deeper meaning. To illustrate this, she suggested that one half of the world's languages will die by the year 2100 (she may have been referring to the National Geographic Society's Enduring Voices Project which can be found here).

Our priest told us that languages tend to die once a population shrinks to less than one million people who speak that language. Given the fact that the average Sunday attendance in the Episcopal church has been below that threshold for more than a decade and is dropping like a stone (TEc research shows that the average Sunday attendance across the church in 2010 was 657,831 in the United States. That compares to 856,579 in 2000), could it be possible that Episcospeak and its related tongue, Episcobabble, are in the process of going extinct?

Anyone familiar with the rambling letters of our bishops, and the sometimes difficult to comprehend social activist rants of our priests, will see that this extinction business might not be a bad thing. Lest they protest that I am hoping that their revisionist language go the way of the dodo, I should remind them that they themselves sought to eliminate another language, and that was the language of my parents and my youth when they came out with the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.

I might also remind them that the very words that our priest fears might die have already been hijacked and have seen their meanings revised. The following are taken from the "Revisionist Dictionary By Irenaeus First Edition—August 2007" published in five parts on-line at StandFirm in Faith. I will post the entire thing later this month and put up a link when it is done.

(1) Traditionally, the covenant made at baptism by which we repent, renounce sin, accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and become members of Christ, redeemed by his atoning sacrifice. “Obdurate sin grieves the Holy Spirit and violates our baptismal covenant.”
(2) For Progressives, two related ideas: that baptism irrevocably confers good standing in the church so neither “sinful” conduct nor heterodox belief disqualifies any baptized person from holding church office; and that baptized persons need little trouble themselves about “sin”*, repentance*, or amendment of life*. “A moratorium on ordaining noncelibate homosexuals would betray our baptismal covenant.”

RESURRECTION: Feeling that Christ is alive. Formerly, the crude notion that Christ rose bodily from the dead.

And don't forget the biggie that we recite every time we say the 1979 Baptismal Covenant and the one that shows up in any argument about human sexuality and the Church,

JUSTICE: P.C.* outcomes, by any process. “The 1959 revolution did much to establish justice in Cuba.”
"Justice," in Episcospeak, also has the deeper meaning: "My will be done, not Thine." The Revisionist Dictionary may need a second edition.

In an earlier post I quoted CS Lewis on the "Death of Words," and it bears repeating in this context,

"What is the good of deepening a word's connotation if you deprive the word of all practicable denotation? Words, as well as women, can be 'killed with kindness'. And when, however reverently, you have killed a word you have also, as far as in you lay, blotted from the human mind the thing that word originally stood for. Men do not long continue to think what they have forgotten to say."

C.S. Lewis, "The Death of Words" From (C.S. Lewis On Stories, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1982, p. 107)
We should not pass on to our children through any "Faith Formation" process words that have been "killed with kindness," or words that have been so perverted that they have not only lost their ancient meanings but have taken on new and more dangerous ones.

Whether or not Episcospeak and Episcobabble deserve to die, they will (if the statistics are accurate and are predictive of extinction). The attempt by Episcopal revisionists to change the meaning of words in order to foster and justify the social and moral changes popular amongst the majority of clery of the Church was doomed from the get go as it went against the very Word passed down to us through Holy Scripture.

When Epsicospeak goes extinct, don't blame people for not teaching it to their children.

Instead, blame "The Word" for the death of "those words".

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:32 AM

    Good one here! Thank you! I reposted it to the Apostasy Yahoo site without your permission.

    Jim of olym