Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Anglican Church of Canada has a master plan

Amid all the talk about "diversity" in the Anglican Church there is one liberal sacred cow that has been a little neglected recently - education. Well, fear not, the ACC is dusting off this oldie but goodie for its grand plan to fix problems in the church. The solution is to improve training of clergy, and the man in charge is none other than the Bishop of Ottawa, John Chapman.

This should be unobjectionable, until you look at just what sort of training clergy will be undergoing, and what tasks they will be enabled to do.
Ottawa Bishop John Chapman, who is leading the initiative, believes a savvier clergy would help bridge the church's current bitter divisions over issues such as gay priests.
Those are serious problems, no doubt about it. How is education going to help? Let's start with a little obligatory spin:
"The genius of the Anglican Church has been its capacity to live in difference," Chapman said in an interview
Yeah, yeah, "living in tension" and "middle way" and all that. In other words, when you look at the burned-out shambles that is the ACC today, don't let your lying eyes fool you; nothing has changed, we've always been this way, it's always worked for the last 400 years, so it will keep working because WE HAVEN'T CHANGED AT ALL, got it? Cranmer would feel right at home if he dropped in on the homosexual couple being "married" at the Church of the Blasted Fig Tree by the rainbow-vested lesbian "priest", and don't let any conservative troublemakers tell you otherwise. (They're all secretly gay, anyway.)

But first, a little journey into the past, to congratulate ourselves on how much better we are than earlier generations:
As much as the church is badly divided these days, at least people care, "and that's not what I remember as a child. I don't remember people working up that kind of energy about anything. It was still the club; it was the social life. You found yourself there every Sunday and you weren't even sure why some times.

"I can't imagine my childhood church getting worked about human sexuality," said Chapman. "These are one of the most exciting times; there is a passion for faith."
Yes, as Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye who travail and are heavy-laden, and I will give you an exciting, dynamic thrill ride into the fashionable and the up-to-date."

And they didn't get worked up about human sexuality, for some reason! (Nice of him to limit the topic to human sexuality, but isn't that a bit narrow? Oh, well, give him another 10 years or so, and who knows what "exciting times" may bring.) Not like people today. Maybe there was a reason why they weren't worked up about it. I'd say it's the same reason Bishop Chapman isn't "worked up" about the possibility of having human feces for dinner tonight. Because he doesn't consider it within the bounds of sanity or decency. But that just goes to show that he's as narrow and unimaginative as those earlier Anglicans he's so proud to have left behind. If a determined group of coprophragiasts should start loudly demanding that their exotic gastronomic tastes be included during Communion, I think Bishop Chapman would be surprised to find how quickly he'd find himself getting "worked up".

But on to business. How is this turmoil to be eased through education? The answer is unsurprisingly sketchy:
But pastors need new skills in calming congregations at war over sexuality or steering communities through traumatic change like closing a church. "There is quite a variety of need ... that has exploded in last 25 years and we have not, in terms of a common standard ... kept pace with that."
Ah, there we have it. The goal is to "calm" people who are upset - even though he's just finished boasting about how wonderfully exciting all this turmoil is. The clergy have to be taught how to administer the right doses of reassuring lies to keep people from bolting and taking their money with them. And, coincidentally, they also have to be trained as hospice workers for dying parishes. Once again, how to administer sedatives to people in pain so they won't lash out and do something regrettable. I wonder if this is being discussed up front with people entering the clergy: "Your duties will be to supervise the closing of dying parishes." Is that really how divinity students visualize themselves when they first think of going into orders? As bankruptcy managers and liquidators?

Most of Chapman's enthusiasm is for "diversity" training:
"The crux of the problem is to find ways of training people that are culturally appropriate.

"How do we be faithful as Christians in the marketplace ... in the public forum, for example? And that would be different for someone in northern Ontario and someone in Toronto."
Naturally, there is the obligatory reference to "First Nations", as if the Anglican Church is outfitting missionaries for remote outposts where they can convert the natives. In fact, most native Indians are ALREADY Christians; they were converted generations ago, work which modern up-to-date Anglicans like Chapman are pretty much united in deploring and apologizing for. The "culturally appropriate" training is not going to consist of better Bible knowledge - it's more of a marketing tool as the Anglican Church gives up on the outside world and tries instead to merely hang on to their traditional constituency.

4 Comments:

Blogger John A. Hollister said...

Curious that Bishop Chapman never noticed there might be a connection between having wars over sexuality and the need to close dying parishes.

People do not come to church to learn the latest fads and bromides, they come to be taught the timeless truths that alone can help us cope with an otherwise confusing and threatening world.

When the church becomes just another social science experiment or advertising focus group, it offers nothing people need and so they stop coming.

10:59 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

What bugs me the most is that when you hear a church leader say "Clergy need more training" you immediately think, "Ah, more in-depth study of the Bible, or Church history, or the writings of the saints! Good!" Then you find out it's just more of this "culturally appropriate" relativist crap, and you know how THAT is going to turn out.

When it comes to parishioners upset over the gay obsession in the ACC, the new training isn't to teach the clergy how to draw from the Bible to prove that the Church is on the right track (not surprising, since there IS no Biblical foundation for the current decadence) - it's just to softsoap and tranquillize the laity so they won't make waves. It's so pathetic and disgusting.

4:21 pm  
Blogger K. Töpfer (aka Martial Artist) said...

I believe the word you were looking for was simply coprophages.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

12:20 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Ah, you're probably right! It's not a word I have ever had to use before (despite Dean's hearty recounting of the tale of the Byzantine emperor Contstantine V, whose nickname was "Copronymus" due to an unfortunate incident during his baptism). As they say, the Greeks had a word for everything.

1:17 pm  

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