Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Presiding Bishop Curry: Living Into the Tension of the Election of Donald Trump

In the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election, we have seen a week of protests over the outcome, tears, hateful Facebook memes, and far more vitriol from the left wing than I can recall seeing coming from the right after the 2008 election.

In an effort to calm his flock, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal organization issued the following statement which I will decipher for you,

"Last week I shared what I pray was a reconciling post-election message to our church, reminding us that 'we will all live together as fellow Americans, as citizens.' Today I want to remind us that during moments of transition, during moments of tension, it is important to affirm our core identity and values as followers of Jesus in the Episcopal Anglican way."

What tension? I suspect that a huge majority of Episcopalians voted for someone other than the man who won the 2016 presidential election, and I have been reading all about their "tension" on their Facebook pages. Much of what I see is anger and hate. I guess that is how some people handle tension.

"Jesus once declared, in the language of the Hebrew prophets, that God's "house shall be a house of prayer for all nations" (Mk 11:17)."
The key words are "shall be". We ain't there yet.
"He invited and welcomed all who would follow saying, "come to me all who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens" (Mt. 11:28)."
More key words are "all who would follow". Not everyone, and not every denomination "follows". In fact, the Episcopal organization has chosen to follow its own path especially when it comes to human sexuality.
"We therefore assert and we believe that "the Episcopal Church welcomes you" – all of you, not as merely a church slogan, but as a reflection of what we believe Jesus teaches us and at the core of the movement he began in the first century. The Episcopal Church welcomes all. All of us!"
Not everyone is welcome in the Episcopal organization. Traditionalists, also known as conservatives, have been run out and are not welcome back. When was the last time you heard of any of those in the diaspora being asked to return by their progressive priest?

"As the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement today, we Episcopalians are committed, as our Prayer Book teaches to honor the covenant and promises we made in Holy Baptism: To proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ; To seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves; to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being."
There goes that Baptismal covenant argument again. The key word here is "dignity". When the writers of the 1979 BCP created this little gem, did they know that the definition of "respect" would come to mean "accept" and that dignity would come to mean an individual's unwise choices? Roberta Green Ahmanson explains the new meaning of "dignity" in a post at Public Discourse,  "The New Dignity: Gnostic, Elitist, Self-Destructive Will-to-Power", the new dignity to be respected/accepted is an individual's freedom to do the following,
"to remake our gender, to marry someone without regard to sex or the procreative potential of the union, to choose our time to die and enlist the medical profession in ending our lives, to not only abort a child developing in the womb but also to harvest his or her body parts for commercial gain. It also calls for new negative freedom, freedoms from—from all unwanted pain or discomfort, from limitations on what I can do to or with my body, from language or ideas that offend me or that challenge decisions I have made.
Dignity is no longer so much about who or what we are; it is about what our unfettered will can do, and what it can forbid others to do."
Every time someone pulls the Baptismal covenant argument, you might as well give up because the meaning of the words "respect the dignity" has been reduced to "Don't hurt anyone's feelings by disagreeing with them".

Getting back to the Presiding Bishop's letter,
"As Christians, we believe that all humans are created in God’s image and equal before God – those who may be rejoicing as well as those who may be in sorrow."
Only because the vast majority of his flock is in sorrow does he have to write this letter. If they were rejoicing, he would be writing a letter about Thanksgiving Day.

If there are any doubts as to for whom Presiding Bishop Curry cast his vote, the following paragraph should provide a clue,
"As a Church, seeking to follow the way of Jesus, who taught us, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself," (Mt. 22:39) and to "do to others as you would have them do to you" (Mt. 7:12), we maintain our longstanding commitment to support and welcome refugees and immigrants, and to stand with those who live in our midst without documentation.  We reaffirm that like all people LGBT persons are entitled to full civil rights and protection under the law. We reaffirm and renew the principles of inclusion and the protection of the civil rights of all persons with disabilities. We commit to the honor and dignity of women and speak out against sexual or gender-based violence.  We express solidarity with and honor the Indigenous Peoples of the world. We affirm the right to freedom of religious expression and vibrant presence of different religious communities, especially our Muslim sisters and brothers. We acknowledge our responsibility in stewardship of creation and all that God has given into our hands. We do so because God is the Creator. We are all God's children, created equally in God's image. And if we are God's children we are all brothers and sisters."
The underlying assumption is that President-elect Trump, while being opposed to illegal immigration, is out to curtail the civil rights of the LGBT, the disabled, women, "the indigenous people of the world", and Muslims. In addition, he is out to ruin the environment too.

To put the lie into one sentence, Curry finishes by writing,

"The Episcopal Church Welcomes You," is not just a slogan, it’s who we seek to be and the witness we seek to make, following the way of Jesus.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
Oh yeah, the Episcopal organization welcomes you, but only if you agree with the devastated, mourning, sorrowful, and "feeling the post-election tension" elite.

For a less biased and more Gospel centered approach please read the letter from Peet Dickinson, the Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston SC. 

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:35 AM

    Thank you. (Toronto, Canada)