Friday, October 20, 2006

Ottawa Synod

I did drop in on the Synod for the Ottawa Diocese of the Anglican Church - mostly because it was being held at the Orthodox church hall just up the street, so I could walk there. I didn't stay long - just for the morning - and the interesting stuff was scheduled for the afternoon (possible reorganization of the diocese). So what I saw was pretty boring. There was a eucharist at the beginning, so I can see assembling people for that, but for the rest, it was just people sitting at tables listening while others went to the podium and recited their reports. No discussion, voting, or anything - I guess the interesting stuff takes place at other meetings.

I've heard conservatives lament that they themselves are to blame because they couldn't be bothered getting involved in church politics, so it was all taken over by liberals (as Ayn Rand said, it's like cleaning sewers - it's necessary, and they seem to like it) with the disastrous results we see today. But I think there's some sinfulness in turning ecclesiastical work into such a stultifying bore that no intelligent person can endure it; serving God should be a bit more satisfying than THIS. There's a horror story in one of my anthologies, called "The Grey Ones" by J.B. Priestly, where a man becomes convinced that people's bodies are being taken over by hellish creatures who want to suck all the joy out of life and reduce humanity to insectlike conformity. When these creatures (who really look like giant toads) want to meet to discuss their plans, they state that it’s a meeting of something like the “Sub-District Municipal Planning Committee”, because they know that any normal human being would walk 10 miles in the opposite direction rather than turn up at such a thing.

One interesting thing I learned, from the presentation of the Youth Task Force representative: in the Diocese of Ottawa, "youth" is defined as covering ages 14 to 30! Apparently, they spent much of the past year surveying the diocese and other dioceses to reach an agreement on just what should be the age range for "youth". The kids seemed much more sensible, wanting the age to range from 12 to 20. The way it is now, (since people can legally marry at 16) it is theoretically possible for a 30-year old man and his 14-year old son to BOTH be included in the same age-group "ministry". I wonder why they came up with such a ridiculous age span? Maybe because there aren’t enough REAL “youth” left in the Anglican Church to build any ministry around.

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