Saturday, September 22, 2007

Anglican Fudge: Just Dessert

Anglican Leader Urges Church To Find Accord Amid Turmoil -

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Anglican Communion, made a rare visit yesterday to a meeting of Episcopal bishops to urge them to compromise in the face of international pressure over their approval of same-sex unions and gay clergy...more is at stake than the 2.2 million-member Episcopal Church, or even Anglicanism, experts say. Other faith groups, including Presbyterians, Muslims and Jews, are struggling with similar debates about issues such as whether Scripture should be taken in historical context and how much weight should be given to centuries-old interpretations. Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun, wrote this week in the National Catholic Reporter: "The struggle going on inside the Anglican Communion . . . is not peculiar to Anglicanism. The issue is in the air we breathe. The Anglicans simply got there earlier than most. And so they may well become a model to the rest of us how to handle such questions."

The issue is even bigger than they imagine. It's a question of whether churches have any business formulating and promulgating moral doctrine. Ironically, the Episcopal Church attempted to lay down the law to establish liberal dogma. It was the same old thing though--priests who imagined that they had the expertise to enlighten us and the credibility to promote their views to the world. Who the hell are these twerps to think that they have anything to teach me, or any other literate, educated member of the Church, about sexual ethics or anything else?

The only proper business of the Church is running the cult and maintaining the buildings--supplying the props for religious experience. But as their credibility, prestige and power waned, these presumptuous priests' self-importance inflated--reminiscent of the pope who declared himself infallible after losing all temporal power. They crapped up the liturgy. They gave less and less and demanded more and more. Now it's biting them in the butt--and they deserve it.

As I write, they're in New Orleans at yet another confab, piling Anglican fudge higher and deeper as the Sept 30 drop-dead date looms. There are meetings and negotiations, "international pressure," elaborate diplomacy, mounting tension--as if they were dealing with high stakes issues like nuclear proliferation, economic meltdown or the crisis in healthcare, when the whole thing is transparently nothing more than office politics and a squabble over property in an institution which, for all its wealth and size, is of no more significance to the world than the Chula Vista Historical Homeowners Association. It produces nothing. It is a little alternative universe in which bitchy castrati hold meetings to make themselves feel important and provide one another with busywork--St. Martha's Guild writ large.


MikeS said...

Wow, you are nearly there! Congratulations. Now think of similar pronouncements from other dogmatic and unjustified traditions. We'll make an atheist of you yet.

Unknown said...

No way, Boofykatz. Religious doctrines are a metaphysical issue and, regardless of the pretensions of churches and clergy or how they screw up that doesn't disconfirm theological claims. Admittedly, my theism such as it is is a pretty minimalist deal and I'm agnostic anyway.

I like the pigs on your blog but comparing them to Rush Limbaugh and Jade Goody strikes me as something next door to cruelty to animals. I don't know where to draw the line but I suspect pigs go on the side with humans, dogs, cats, parrots like Alex, primates, ravens and crows and rats.

It would be interesting to get together though I think you're way up north if I'm not mistaken. I, Boofy, have a great adventure planned for my January break: fly to England, visit Mum in Swindon, then east, east, east--through the Chunnel, wander south though France to the Mediterranean, across Italy to the Adriatic coast where the Byzantine stuff is, to Athens where Our Founder walked and then to the goal of my pilgrimage: Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. I'm going to blow everything on a Eurail pass and stay at hostels. I've never been to Continental Europe but I'm a Byzantine freak and also, sort of, checking out possible places to live in the remote future when we retire. Though I think my husband wants to live somewhere around Cirencester.

MikeS said...

So you discard the inductive and abductive reasoning that informs your politics when it comes to religion? If Dr Johnson was correct that 'patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel' I would add that in my opinion metaphysics is often the first; which is not to imply in any way that I consider you a scoundrel.
As for pigs, I have to agree, and I'm sure you are familiar with Winston Churchill's opinion on the matter.
Let me know when you are going to be in Swindon if you think you may have a spare hour one evening. I have family nearby and I could treat you and your husband to a pint of 6X or Archers in the best pub in the area - the Plough at Wanborough. The UK is not a big country and it is only a half a day's drive from Huddersfield back to the county of my birth, and it might encourage me to pay a too infrequent visit to my mum in Salisbury.
I can imagine why Cirencester might be on your list of desirable areas in which to reside, although it is getting a bit busy these days. You might consider Letchlade or Highworth, or somewhere near Enford in the upper Avon valley, where lives my brother - the lucky dog. Personally I intend to retire to France. Make the most of it as you pass through - I have found that, outside of Paris, the French are the most civilized people in europe, even if the Greeks are more fun!
I'm jealous of your great adventure. I've been lucky enough to see some of the places you intend to visit and I have been fascinated by Byzantine history and art since I 'wasted' my lower sixth form year, when I was supposed to be doing science 'A' levels, by bunking off to Salisbury library and reading the entire Cambridge Ancient History. Unfortunately my acquaintance with Byzantine culture has yet to reach Istanbul - the closest we have ventured was Mytilene, where I at least got to visit Erresos, the birthplace of Sappho - it is shameful that there is no memorial to her in the village.
Anyhow, I expect you will have a wonderful time. Nice people usually do.

Unknown said...

I'm blowed--you're from Wilts! I like Lechlade ok, especially being on the water--one of my favorite shortish bike rides--and know Highworth and I bet both are still affordable. I know that whole area better than any place in the world--every village, every church and every dry-stone wall--I've biked there. Our fear is that by the time we're ready to retire the entire area will be gentrified, turned into a theme park--Cotswoldland, with mechanical sheep grazing on astroturfed hillsides, and too expensive for normal human beings, particularly if the exchange rate stays close to where it is now.

Anyway, if I really do this thing the plan is I go to a conference on the East coast just after Christmas, then fly to the UK around New Years Day +/- a day or two, visit my mother-in-law and at most stay over a night if that, and then head out for the Great Adventure. So, if I really get the guts to do this thing we need to coordinate, and email. I don't know how to find you but I think you may know how to find me. If not, I should note that my family name is very local to the places I've biked around (and want to live) in north Wiltshire, south edge of Gloucestershire and north Somerset--Baber.

Not trying to be coy--this blog is my personal hobby and doesn't reflect the views of my employer so this is the way I think I need to do it