Monday, May 17, 2010

There's Nothing About Mary

What if they gave a big, dramatic gesture and nobody came? That's what happened this weekend, when The Episcopal Chicks...er...Church "consecrated" a phony "bishop" whose novelty act is being a lesbian. The event took place in the 13,500-seat Long Beach Arena, and drew a less than impressive crowd of 3,000.

Like Sarah Hey at Stand Firm, I totally forgot about this event, even though I drop by my regular Episcopalian blogs pretty much every day, and had been reading comments about this shindig right up until the day before it happened. When it came right down to it I just didn't remember - too boring. And judging by the press coverage, I wasn't the only one. I found small blurbs on the wire services and CNN, and a couple of local LA papers covered the story, but that was it as far as North American interest goes.

The British press covered it more, I expect because right now they're dancing around the issue of women bishops in the COE, and so it's temporarily topical for them. Next to them, the only interest was from the predictable homosexual interest sites.

Carl's comment on the press indifference seemed just right to me:
What is news ... what drives the media to cover the story ... is the fight with conservative religion. The secular cosmopolitan world fears conservative religion, and the media thrives on conflict. That’s why VGR got covered. It was the beginning of the real fight. Now that the fight is all but over, and the forces of peace, justice, enlightenment, and sexual incontinence have emerged victorious, the story has lost all the hooks that made it interesting. TEC really doesn’t understand this. It thinks it has a role to play in forming the brave new progressive world. But TEC is going to find out the hard way that the secular world is no more interested in liberal religion than any other kind.
The liberals in TEC were never important to the press; the only people who ever were important in this story were the conservatives. What would WE say? How would WE react? No story about the ravings of the Madwoman of Second Avenue or the Simple Country Bishop of New Hampshire was complete without the quote from an appalled or saddened conservative. The fashionable liberals only mattered as goads and weapons to be used against the real Christians. Now that those people are gone, the tools are carelessly dropped on the ground and abandoned.

I'm reminded of a scene from Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged', when Hank Reardon's horrible quisling brother reports to his masters on how dangerous his brother's state of mind is:
"Because of my political ideas and...and everything I've done for you, you know what he thinks of me! I have no hold on him at all!" "Well, that's your tough luck." "Claude!" Philip had cried in panic. "Claude, they won't leave me out in the cold, will they? I belong, don't I? They've always said I belonged, they've always said they needed me ... they said they needed men like me, not like him, men with my ... my sort of spirit, remember? And after all I've done for them, after all my faith and service and loyalty to the cause--" "You damn fool," Slagenhop had snapped, "of what use are you to us without him?"
Actually, 'Atlas Shrugged' is a very appropriate book to read right now, because it just occurred to me that TEC has "gone Galt". There were lots of references to this right after the last American election, with people declaring that they would "go Galt" and refuse to support a morally bankrupt government and social system. In the case of the Episcopal Church, it's actually happened. The people who believed, who did things, made things, kept the whole show running with their faith and energy, have withdrawn, like the "men of the mind" in Rand's novel. Now, all that's left are the freeloaders, the moochers, the parasites, the "second-handers", and the system they preside over is falling into chaos and collapse.

3 Comments:

Blogger Matthew said...

As one who has left the Episcopal Church, there were some similarities to 'going Galt'. There was a tortured 'night of the soul' before I made my final decision. There has been peace since.

There is one difference of course. Ayn Rand was an atheist. I'm not. I would be willing to put up with any amount of corruption and incompetence if I believed that God were present as well. After all, any human organization is inherently flawed.

What solidified my desire to leave was my conviction that God has nothing to do with 815, the diocese I live in or any of the churches near me. He cares for all the people involved, of course, but the organizations are no longer part of the Church as they do not care about nor have any interest in following Him.

What's happening now is what happens when you abandon God. He abandons you to your own devices. There are all manner of apocalyptic and dire warnings in Scripture that foretell this sort of thing. How it works out is that those who are interested in God do not come to place where He is not honoured and obeyed.

They have appealed to the world. Let the world save them.

6:42 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Yes, Rand didn't foresee her model being applied to the (to her) completely irrational world of religion. And yet it's funny how neatly her morality tale fits in this case. And what's odd is that she visualized a sort of enlightened Pied Piper who would come to rescue the virtuous, explain the truth to them and then whisk them away to an earthly Valhalla. In the case of TEC and ACA, there was no leader to organize the "strike"; just thousands upon thousands of people, many alone or just with their close friends and family, decided to withdraw on their own. But the basic point remains the same: when life departs, the corpse can remain propped up in position for a while, and will even fool a casual observer...for a while. But then decay and collapse sets in and is irreversible.

8:55 pm  
Blogger TLF+ said...

Aw, Mabuse, you underestimate your own flute work.

11:47 pm  

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