Friday, March 22, 2013

plain old anglican snark

As I was lying face down on the couch yesterday listening to one child read Dinosaurs Before Dawn, giving a spelling test and checking over some math, I also watched a tiny bit of the new ABC Enthronment. I came in on it as the last lesson before the gospel was read and figured I'd had enough as the gifts from around the world were being laid on the altar-- so essentially, I heard some hymns, saw the African dancing, heard the sermon, and did not by any means miss out on the exceptionally weird voice of the woman inducting Welby into the pulpit/see of Canterbury. Well, it's a stretch to say I actually heard the sermon (see above), a few lines washed over me.And I must say, after a decade of watching liberal/episco-Unitarian white boomers pander liturgically to the rest of the true believing world--swaying back and forth and clapping ineffectually, or raising the hands to the latest Native American wind--I am frankly grossed out by all the showcased ethnicity. Archbishop Welby in no wise was made to look more believing or relevant by the dancing and singing. Taken together with his "sermon" (I think scare quotes are more than appropriate), the liturgically enshrined ethnicity showed a hollow husk of a church that once brought the truth into the darkness of a world broken by sin and death, but now is just dancing around in the dark, clapping to songs of a light it doesn't know or understand. So the "sermon". I expect some were really happy that the new ABC was so bold as to say both "Jesus" and "Christ" in church. I used to be one of those people--pathetically grateful that the sermon wasn't about cloning or the Buddha. And he even noted that we should be "reconciled" to God through the cross. But here's the tiny little problem. None of those words mean anything any more. "Reconciled" doesn't indicate the cross to anyone who hears the word any more. It just means that God won't mind whatever we do as long as we agree to women bishops and gay marriage. Those are the two things He, God, really cares about now, and so it's no problem for all the world to be "reconciled" to him. Except if you really believe the old worn out word, "reconciled", can only be applied to the person who dies to himself and clings to Jesus and the cross. No less a Jesus who joins with the Father in wroth against the marrying of one man to another and two women together. If you believe in that Jesus, so much so that you're not willing to play the game, then no reconciliation for you. So color me bored by the sermon. And irritated by the cheesy 'Christ Believing Courage' or whatever it was that his Grace applied to institutions like the NHS along with other so called Christian items, none of which I can remember at the moment. I'm sorry, but societal stability is not what Jesus is most worried about in the year 2013. If you want to know what's really on his mind, your going to have to flip open the electronic device of your choice and dig around for an app called t.h.e b.i.b.l.e and then you have to touch it with with the soft pad of your finger and then touch the little audio play icon in the corner and then try very hard to pry your eyes open and your ears and listen to all the amazing things it says, without your fingers crossed behind your back. All the way through, starting at the beginning and going all the way to the end--not just the lectionary readings. And when you don't understand something you might open a book or get on the Internet or talk to a real c.h.r.i.s.t.i.a.n. But if you don't want to know, just keep doing what you're doing because its working really really well.

6 comments:

chorale said...


'Plain old Anglican snark'

You mention several times that you did not bother to pay much attention to the enthronement ceremony.Nevertheless, you WERE able to pass judgement on Archbishop Justin's sermon, as indeed would have been all of the multitude of differing vested interests present in that building.
Was that intensely ceremonial occasion really the place and time for what you wished to hear from him ?
I congratulate you however, on choosing an exquisitely precise title for your piece.

God bless you and yours,
Chris Baker - Durham UK

Anne Kennedy said...

Yes, I think it would have been a perfect occasion to clearly exposit the scriptures and articulate the heart of the gospel.

Dr. Alice said...

If the Pope was able to do it, why shouldn't the Archbishop? The Gospel, we are told, speaks to everyone. Surely the best way to make the enthronement ceremony multiculturally friendly should involve focus on the Gospel.

Sheryl said...

I do like your snark. It's good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Exquisitely wonderful analysis. Keep up the good work.

Jackie

Anonymous said...

Right on! It is so very frustrating to see and hear what we must see and hear in the "church" today. Thanks for sharing your take on the scene at the See. My husband and I both loved it and appreciate you for "nailing it".

Bryan Creasy