"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

19 March 2009

A Sigh. (moved)

So, I noted today that the TEC bishops have put out a pastoral letter. It begins like this:

>>A Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of the Episcopal Church meeting in Hendersonville, North Carolina, March 13-18, 2009 to the Church and our partners in mission throughout the world.
I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

–Philippians 4:11b - 13<<

I couldn't help myself. My very first thought was "Oh, so that's why they're suing us." To my friends across the aisle, I'm sorry, but I'm about to snap! The blatant hubris and hypocritical thinking which is demonstrated when a church which is currently forging ahead with lawsuits and property grabs in every quadrant of the nation, with attorneys' fees in the millions of dollars, for the sole purpose of evicting faithful Christians from the properties where they've worshiped Jesus Christ for generations is overwhelming. The Episcopal Church has no idea what it means to have little, when their presiding bishop jets around the country blaming "global warming" on everything but her own emissions, when UN objectives and human efforts are the new gospel, and peace and perfection are believed to be accessible in our time if only man works hard enough; these things are antithetical to having little. TEC clergy don't go to bed hungry at night. These supposedly contented bishops have stipends and pensions and retreat centers in the mountains of North Carolina. They rest secure in the reasonable assumption that none of them will be gunned down, jailed, or otherwise persecuted for believing in Jesus. And yet they do not rest content, but call in the lawyers and sue, contrary to the command of Scripture, others who are faithful Christians.

The letter goes on to shake a finger at corporate greed, ignoring ecclesiastical greed. There is mention of wars and rumors of war, natural disaster and environmental scare mongering, but no peace which only Jesus can give, no Gospel. They even have the gall to compare our economic situation to the slavery of Israel in Egypt! (Oh for crying out loud! Pharoah is not murdering our children (at least not without parental consent to do so under the gentled term "abortion") or forcing our labor in the brickyards!)

To their credit, the letter ends well, but you have to cut through all the junk to get to the part about Jesus being the Incarnate Word. It fails to ring true; how can we comment on poverty when we have never really experienced it. Much like the bishops' march against hunger that ended in a sumptuous banquet at Lambeth last year, it is easy for us to say that God provides in tough times because we're still eating well, dressing well, and jetting around happily from place to place. How does that encourage hope, folks? I just don't get it.

I know some of my dear friends who read this blog are still in TEC. I know they are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. My arguements are not with them. I just don't understand how what was once so great a church, connected to the faith in a way which drew me from the church of my birth, can, in so brief a time, become something so vapid, so empty, as this.

If you care to read the letter yourself, it's here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_106036_ENG_HTM.htm

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