Monday, November 26, 2007

More Church Snarkiness

I had an excellent Thanksgiving with my family. So I have a huge reservoir of snark that accumulated during my much needed break. Here goes.

I was looking up a priest at the episcopal clergy directory. I generally see three book advertisements every time I use the directory and this time was no exception. Here they are, in all their 'glory'. The three books are written by two priests and a theology instructor at General. "Jesus Family Values" is the most scholarly of the lot. It is also the least persuasive unless you adhere to the revisionist credo. It will persuade no one of anything, it will only reinforce existing beliefs.

I can't really comment about the 'Womb of Advent'. I just can't. It's the sort of reflective writing that really needs never to see the light of day.

Which brings us to "Gay Unions". I know Gray Temple. At the time I knew him, he was a very liberal priest in charge of a charismatic, growing parish. Membership peaked at his church back in 1997 and has declined since. Average sunday attendance has declined steadily since 2003 (Now, what happened in 2003?).

His theological tendencies have not changed and his church has, over time, adjusted itself to fit him. St Patricks, is to my mind, a good example of how important it is to have a sound rector. I haven't been there in several years (I am not a charismatic), but the reports I've heard from both past and present members is that the church is going to decline even more. It's growth was despite Gray Temple, not because of it, and now that the theology of the Episcopal Church has been revealed as little more than Unitarianism in drag, it will decline further. There is little room for true charismatic expression in the modern Episcopal church.

On to the book. He's not a bad writer. But the theology is mushy. And the Scripture is restricted to the usual array of biblical verses selected to demonstrate God's unconditional and unwavering love for us, despite anything that we might do. And that's true as far as it goes. But there is nothing about sin. What sin really is and what forms it may take. And there's even less about marriage, as in the reasons for it and the Church's take on it.

I have always been surprised by the lack of discussion by those who use the three legged stool as justification for gay unions because the stool has at best one leg. Scripture is dead against it. There is a whole, lovely discussion on marriage in the 1928 prayer book that states the Church's tradition about marriage. It's also in the 39 articles. One would think that since the tradition of the church on matrimony is encapsulated in those sources, and since the author of the book was ordained back in 1968, he might have some passing familiarity with it.

Is there so little teaching of logic in our seminaries, or has the faculty for it atrophied by inactivity?

One would think that such a sensitive and caring man would have had more regard for the environment to have had such a book published, thus resulting in unnecessary slaughter of so many trees.


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