Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Big Tent: Doubt on Display in the Center Ring

Today's sermon was presented by our deacon who had the story of "Doubting Thomas" to deal with. The sermon tried to contrast the belief and worship style our deacon witnessed while visiting a mega-church on Easter with the freedom to be open to doubt that is found in the Episcopal church. He used the term "big tent" which has been used in the past to describe the Episcopal church, and that is about the time my mind started to wander...

Big tent, big top, circus tent all came to mind for reasons that may become clear if you consider the messages delivered to various Episcopal congregations over the past two weeks.

First there was Bishop John Spong (ret.), a man who denies rather than simply doubts Jesus' physical appearance to Thomas, preaching at a large Episcopal church in Richmond Virginia on Good Friday.

Then there was Bishop Mariann Budde of Washington burying the Resurrection in layers of doubt in a message to her diocese.

Bishops are the ringmasters when people step into the big tent called the Episcopal church. How many bishops and their priests might we expect to see jumping through hoops if asked to discuss the physical appearance of Jesus to Thomas?  How many of us would pay to see the show?

Too many I am afraid.

It is a big tent all right, but the side show freaks and clowns have taken over the center ring.

I can hear the barker now,

"Step right up ladies and gentlemen to see the greatest show on earth that probably never happened."

So from now on, whenever I hear somebody refer to the church as a big tent I will think of it as the Big Top.



  1. Pewster,
    I believe there is more than the camel's nose under the big tent.

  2. Dale,

    In that case we must alert PETA that one of God's creatures is in mortal danger!