Saturday, November 21, 2009

Is the Episcopal Church Nationwide Ad Dishonest Advertising?

This ran in USA Today and appears to be a ad that the Episcopal Church wants to see run in local newspapers.

There is some Anglican discussion from the more conservative side about this ad here.

As noted in the comments it is pretty clear that this ad is also aimed at Catholics that disagree with their Church and no doubt is a response to all the news of the last month.

Here are the points (the bolding is mine).

As Episcopalians, we are followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and believe in
the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Episcopal Church has members in the United States, as well as in Colombia,
the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy,
Switzerland, Haiti, Honduras, Micronesia, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Venezuela,
and the Virgin Islands.

We strive to love our neighbors as ourselves and respect the dignity of every person.

The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and traces
its heritage to the beginnings of Christianity.

Our liturgy retains ancient structure and traditions, and is celebrated in many languages.

We welcome men and women, married or celibate, to be ordained as bishops,
priests, and deacons

We believe in amendment of life, the forgiveness of sin, and life everlasting.

Lay people exercise a vital role in the governance and ministry of our Church.

Holy Communion may be received by all baptized Christians, not only members
of the Episcopal Church

We uphold the Bible and worship with the Book of Common Prayer.

We affirm that committed relationships are lifelong and monogamous.

Episcopalians also recognize that there is grace after divorce and do not deny
the sacraments to those who have been divorced.

We affirm that issues such as birth control are matters of personal
informed conscience

We celebrate our unity in Christ while honoring our differences, always putting the work of love before uniformity of opinion.

All are welcome to find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church.

Again by what it touches on it is apparent who this is aimed at. I like the ad because for the most part it is honest with perhaps one exception. (Actually two. Everyone knows that it is common in many areas for the Unbaptized to receive communion and not much of a fuss is raised)

That is:

We celebrate our unity in Christ while honoring our differences, always putting
the work of love before uniformity of opinion

Is this actually true at all beyond the nice window dressing? These seems to the the talking points of the media and a many good folks. Lets look at the inclusive all welcoming Episcopal Church.

After watching this saga now for decades how much honoring of differences is actually done. In fact is not a uniformity of opinion being forced. I guess it is all how one views it and what side you are on.

Again what was deemed optional at one point is now the new "Orthodoxy".

That is why Bishop Spong can make outrageous comments that he would will no longer talk to people that have the tradition Christian view toward sexuality.

One wonders how many differences and different opinions are honored in the placement of key positions in the Episcopal Church.

What about the crucial area of Episcopal seminaries? As a Catholic I saw how the more progressive Catholics branch for many decades ruled with a iron fist there. Many priests had to learn to give the "right answers" back in those days to get ordained. It appears to me that for the most part that is the rule of thumb in some of the Episcopal seminaries too.

Let us look at The Reverend Katherine Ragsdale who is the new Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School who said:

And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion – there is not a tragedy in sight — only blessing. The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing.

These are the two things I want you, please, to remember – abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.

I want to thank all of you who protect this blessing – who do this work every day: the health care providers, doctors, nurses, technicians, receptionists, who put your lives on the line to care for others (you are heroes — in my eyes, you are saints); the escorts and the activists; the lobbyists and the clinic defenders; all of you. You’re engaged in holy work.

We learn also learn:
The Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, EDS trustee[and Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts], said, “I am thrilled with the appointment of Katharine Ragsdale as the president and dean of EDS. She brings a wealth of small parish ministry to her new position and it is critical that the new president and dean be able to train and form parish priests for the growth of progressive parishes across the country. She brings a wealth of experience, talent and creativity to this new position.”

Let be honest here. What are the chances that a Episcopal seminarian that is against legal abortion, against homosexual marriage and does not think women should be ordained to the Priesthood is going to be able to graduate from there?

Let us talk about these "progressive parishes" that are mentioned. What happens if you are a pretty traditional Episcopalian that moves to a new town where the "progressive" Episcopal Church is the only Anglican church in town.

In the above ad there is a lot of talk of lay control and lay ministry. I highly suspected that if you are a "conservative" Anglican you are likely to find yourself frozen out. That is just the way of things.

When I see major Episcopal voices ranting against the Catholic Church involvement in the abortion debate one wonders how people in the Episcopal Church themselves that support the traditional pro life view.

Where was this "Why Can't we all Get Along Episcopal Church" around the date of the Obama inauguration and the controversy over poor ole Rick Warren. From the Episcopal Bishop of D.C.

The Right Reverend John Bryson Chane Bishop of Washington D.C. said and I think it is worth quoting in full:
December 18, 2008
I am profoundly disappointed by President-elect Barack Obama’s decision to invite Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church to offer the invocation at his inauguration. The president-elect has bestowed a great honor on a man whose recent comments suggest he is both homophobic, xenophobic, and willing to use the machinery of the state to enforce his prejudices—even going so far as to support the assassination of foreign leaders.

In his home state of California, Mr. Warren’s campaigned aggressively to deny gay and lesbian couples equal rights under the law, relying on arguments that are both morally offensive and theologically crude. Christian leaders differ passionately with one another over the morality of same-sex relationships, but only the most extreme liken the loving, lifelong partnerships of their fellow citizens to incest and pedophilia, as Mr. Warren has done.

The president-elect’s willingness to associate himself with a man who espouses these views as a means of reaching out to religious conservatives suggests a willingness to use the aspirations of gay and lesbian Americans as bargaining chips, and I find this deeply troubling.

Mr. Warren has been rightly praised for his efforts to deepen the engagement of evangelical Christians with impoverished Africans. He has been justifiably lauded for putting the AIDS epidemic and global warming on the political agenda of the Christian right.

Yet extravagant compassion toward some of God’s people does not justify the repression of others. Jesus came to save all of humankind, and as Archbishop Desmond Tutu has pointed out, “All means all.” But rather than embrace the wisdom of Archbishop Tutu, Mr. Warren has allied himself with men such as Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda who seek to “purify” the Anglican Communion, of which my Church is a member, by driving out gay and lesbian Christians and their supporters.

In choosing Mr. Warren, the president-elect has sent a distressing message internationally as well. In a recent television interview, Mr. Warren voiced his support for the assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. These bizarre and regrettable remarks come at a time when much of the Muslim world already fears a Christian crusade against Islamic countries. Imagine our justifiable outrage if an Iranian cleric who advocated the assassination of President Bush had been selected to offer prayers when Ahmadinejad was sworn in.

I have worked with former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami to improve the relationship between our two countries as hawkish members of the Bush administration pushed for another war. He has spoken at the National Cathedral, which will host the president-elect’s inaugural prayer service, and I have visited with him several times in Iran and elsewhere. Iranian clerics are intensely interested in the religious attitudes of America’s leaders.

In choosing Mr. Warren to offer the invocation at his inauguration, the president-elect has sent the chilling, and, I feel certain, unintended message that he is comfortable with Christians who can justify lethal violence against Muslims.I understand that in selecting Mr. Warren, Mr. Obama is signaling a willingness to work with both sides in our country’s culture wars.

I appreciate that there is political advantage in elevating the relatively moderate Mr. Warren above some of his brethren on the Religious Right. But in honoring Mr. Warren, the president-elect confers legitimacy on attitudes that are deeply contrary to the all-inclusive love of God. He is courting the powerful at the expense of the marginalized, and in doing so, he stands the Gospel on its head.

Can one just imagine in their wildest dreams the Catholic Archbishop of Washington D.C. attacking someone like this? By the way he was from from being alone. If this is how they view Rick Warren how do they deal with more "traditional" Episcopalians in their own flock?

I could go on and on about lawsuits to the current Episcopal Church leader repeatedly violating their version of Canon law and even dishonestly over and over trying to imply that Bishops that have disagree with her have given up their orders.

Again this is a important fight. People that truly believe in their stance have fought for it and are fighting tooth and nail for it today. They have played some Church political hardball and will continue to do it. This hardball will continued to be used against people they disagree with in the Episcopal Church.

I respect that!!!

However lets have some truth in advertising shall we about the talking point of :

We celebrate our unity in Christ while honoring our differences, always putting
the work of love before uniformity of opinion.
Finally it should be noted that the folks that talk about "honoring differences and always putting the work of love before uniformity of opinion" have because of the stubborn attitude about their beliefs have now caused a practical world wide schism in the Anglican Communion. The biggest crisis the Anglican Church has ever faced.
Does anyone see a contradiction?

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