Thursday, February 26, 2009

Include me out

Greg Griffith has posted an excerpt from a "why can't we all just get along?" lament by a TECorp bishop, which deplores the base and primitive notion that we can set boundaries to what is acceptable in a church. This is the root of TECorp's most sacred mystery (now that they no longer have the pocket change to fund the formerly sacred MDGs) "inclusiveness".
Second, what we are saying is that the notion that there are no boundaries to "inclusiveness," that there is no belief that should not be welcome in the church, is false. We are saying that to be a Christian means to hold certain things as true, and that to open certain things to ambiguity or "multiple interpretation" on the grounds that "inclusiveness" is our highest calling, is to gut the Gospel of its meaning, and thus make Christianity incoherent.

The ACC is no slouch when it comes to inclusiveness, either. At the national synod two years ago, the theme was "Draw the circle wide; draw it wider still", and the explanation for this theme encapsulates the idea nicely:
“Draw the Circle Wide… Draw It Wider Still”, the theme for General Synod 2007, incorporates concepts of inclusivity: language, race, culture, theology and the dignity of all people. The circle, with Christ as its centre, can be infinitely wide and draws all to Christ. The circle, a symbol of creation and life, is significant to Indigenous people representing healing, sharing and teaching. The inner circle, the Medicine wheel, contains the words of patience, humility, hope and respect. The inner circle shows how we need to be with each other for the circle to be wider. The circle never blocks anyone out and we continue to learn as the circle goes round, ever widening. We hope that graphic representation of the theme can be an open circle, so that the Church is never seen as closed but open and inclusive of all.

This is an example of a woolly idea that falls apart upon examination. Chesterton once wrote a paragraph about windows, which covers the same territory and speaks to me personally, since Vatican II was often touted as an opportunity to "throw open the windows". The same illogical concept was at work, however. Chesterton wrote that nothing could seem more positive than a window - what's not to like? They let in light, air and beauty. Everyone must agree that a window is a wonderful thing. But the unbridled love of windows will lead a person to make a window larger and larger, until it is so large, the wall around it has completely disappeared. And then, coincidentally, so has the window. A window only exists when it is bordered and constrained; make it supreme, and it destroys itself through its own success.

A circle is the same thing. The idea behind this sentimentalism is easy to understand - a circle around a campfire is a nice, warm, cozy thing. The person outside it is cold and to be pitied. So make the circle bigger! More people are now in the cozy warmth, instead of outside in the cold - how wonderful! Don't stop, make it bigger still! Make it so big, it's infinite. And then you'll find that there's no circle anymore. A circle by definition must have an "outside". If it's "infinite", then not only is there no boundary to define it, there's no "center" either. The revisionist idea that they can manufacture a limitless "circle" is a doomed conceit; the only thing that contains everything is everything, which is another way of saying that they are constructing nothing.


Blogger Priscilla said...

I like your campfire analogy. If we let everyone in, and the circle gets bigger everyone gets colder - everyone except those in the "inner circle". Sound familiar?

4:57 pm  
Anonymous Toral said...

As the circle gets "wider" (are circles really narrow or wide? I thought they had the same shape -- circular) it and its centre seem to move as well. so that some of us suddenly find that we're on the outside looking in.

Which is a good position to be in as regards the ACoC.

I wonder if there was even one person at ACoC HQ, even one person, who seeing this draft theme circulated said "Shouldn't we have a Christian theme for our synod?"

2:26 pm  

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