Thursday, July 29, 2010

In the Name of the Nudge-nudge, and the Wink-wink, and the Huminah-huminah-huminah

I was hunting around on the Internet the other day, hoping to find some Bad Vestments bad enough to send to Chris Johnson's blog. (Hint: do a Google search for "rev* susan" or "linda" or "ann" or any female name you want to try, and you'll probably reel in a whole bunch of crummy pictures.) Unfortunately, his standards are pretty high. I kept finding pictures of crudely appliqued stoles, but it was like the scene in 'The Producers' where Bialystock and Bloom are hunting for the world's worst play: "'"Gregor Samsa awoke one morning to find he had been transformed into a giant cockroach."...It's too good.'"

Finally I came across the website of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto. I quickly realized that this what Dean and I call a Crazy Church. It's a "social justice" church, signed on to the whole menu of homo-marriage, homo-ordination, feminism, marxism, environmentalism...you name it.

The sermons are densely plotted excursions into the leftist wilderness, and I only looked at the most recent ones.

The sermon for the Fifth Sunday of Easter starts out "In the name of God: Lover, Beloved, and Love Between. Amen." I think this is the sort of thing the Orthodox Church is getting queasy about when it comes to recognizing the validity of Anglican baptisms.

It started off with a complaint that the higher-ups don't appreciate their wonderfully zestful sassiness:
And this week nine members of the parish met with Archbishop Johnston—planned well in advance of the ordination objection—and it would be fair to say that we were very clear in showing how the diocesan policy of discrimination affects us in so many ways and drains off so much creative energy—not only here but widely in the Church. But it would also be fair to say that the Archbishop also told us we are a parish much encumbered with what is perceived to be a rebellious history that still tells against us. We also heard that we have overstepped boundaries that we should not have transgressed—although we had earlier been told to test the limits, and we were given faint hope that there might be some movement in matters of justice and equity that we so heartily seek to have prevail.
This led into an examination of Acts 10 and 11. The story of Peter receiving a vision from God explaining the overriding of some ritual prohibitions quickly led to a present-day "Get Out Of Jail Free" card for anything we may feel like doing.
Now my parallel begins. He had broken the laws of the Jerusalem community. he was summoned before the Jerusalem believers and their community–the Jerusalem Church. They pointed out that Peter had stepped over the bounds allowed by orthodoxy. Peter retold the whole story about Cornelius. He says why he had transgressed the laws of acceptable conduct. The Jerusalem Church authorities were concerned that he had associated with Gentiles—and he admitted to the unacceptable acts, breaking the purity laws about who is pure, who impure —need I draw further the parallels to Holy Trinity before the Archbishop?

Then Peter explains his reasoning: he affirms that God has revealed to him not to call anyone profane or impure because that is that the heavenly counter-history. The story of heaven is the story of how we learn not to call anyone profane or impure or unacceptable, or unordainable, or unlicensable, or subject to any discrimination, on the basis of ethnicity and religion in Peter’s version, but on the basis of Peter’s vision, no discrimination on the basis of nation or race or colour or sexuality or age or ability or wealth or any other difference—so that a story is created in which there are, in fact, no impure or profane or discriminated-against people. The King James version reads “The Spirit bade me go with them [the men from Caesaraea, to Cornelius], nothing doubting.” But the RSV and other translations put it differently: “And the Spirit told me to go with them making no distinction—or, without discriminating, doing nothing to discriminate, between them and us.” That word “discrimination” in Peter’s argument is crucial. Diakrino Dia means through; and krino means “to separate, to judge between, to take to court over.” Peter was to go into the house of a Gentile, and by no means to separate out him from others with whom Peter could associate. He was not to discriminate against Cornelius, even though he was impure according to Jewish law —but his vision said he was not impure: so—no discrimination!
It's so wonderful to have a God who'll helpfully scrawl a faint outline, and then hand us the crayons to go on embroidering the picture with everything that takes our fancy. I don't suppose we could conclude that He actually meant something with specific with his vision of edible things descending from Heaven? I mean, he repeated it three times, and never saw fit to add little altars with human sacrifices, or people having orgies or abortions, and yet this modern twerp feels free to shovel in his own personal wish list and presume that it's all covered. And it doesn't make any difference that the traditional rules were being set aside for the sake of "A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway." No, no, no indication that there might be a hierarchy of values: that obedience to God's commands is good, but it's better to bring "natural believers" into the family. And in the crudest possible way, God even gave Peter proof that he was on the right track: the Holy Spirit descended upon Cornelius and his family. I've yet to see anything comparable in the churches that have arrogantly grabbed this as an excuse to celebrate sexual and social deviancy.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Trinity is such as beautiful Gothic building. Well worth a look if you're ever in the Eaton Centre.
I'm old enough to remember when the parish's radicalism in the 1940's was probably more in line with the "Red Dean" Hewlett Johnson.
I remember attending a service in Holy Trinity during the 1970's when all the gorgeous Victorian pews had been removed and we sat in a circle composed of office chairs and some of the parishioners smoked (!) during the service. What was oddball then, now seems mainstream now.

11:01 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Well, they still seem to do the "circle around the altar" thing, according to their bulletin: (http://www.holytrinitytoronto.org/wp/?p=355) Which, by the way, is a masterpiece of fussy bossiness, with stage directions for almost every activity: mill around during the Peace, but remember it's flu season, so make the old hippy "V" sign if you don't want to shake hands; "Please make your prayers brief"; "Please do not dip the bread into the wine. The bread and wine will be passed around the circle, but if you prefer you may receive at the gluten-free station at the altar"; no perfumes or scented deodorants allowed - etc.

12:54 pm  

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