Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Fault Line: Culture Wars Playing Out in the Church

 

shutterstock_204326209There is a divide among American Christians. Less a disagreement between Catholics and Protestants — or other divisions of doctrine and theology — the difference turns on culture, and relates to a fundamental difference in worldviews that transcend the old schisms. In short it, is a matter of orthodoxy, with non-denominational evangelicals and cafeteria Catholics on one side, and traditionalists on the other. It has been talked about within the various churches for decades, but affects almost all of them in the same fashion, and reflects larger trends in the culture that mirror political parties.

A recent conversation on the Member Feed turned to the matter of how Christians consider each other with respect to true worship and doctrine. Along the way, member Gary McVey asked:

My “local” [Lutheran parish] is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America [ELCA]. To folks in the know, are they in or out?

Well, in or out of what, precisely? “Orthodoxy,” I say. There are Lutherans, and then there are Lutherans.

I think the ELCA Lutherans have a good foundation: the words in the “resources” page of the ELCA website are good. But there are many ELCA parishes that have pursued non-orthodox approaches to the Bible, and there are ELCA parishes that — on casual observation — are hard to distinguish from those of Universalists. While some ELCA parishes are still orthodox, they have become a minority. Several more orthodox ELCA parishes have broken away in recent years and set up new networks of congregations.

In 1998, I cut a syndicated column out of a newspaper, and have shared it a number of times over the years. (Yes, real paper and real scissors. I know: how quaint). Still available on the Internet “Ten Years of Reporting on a Fault Line” by Terry Mattingly begins:

Back in the 1980s, I began to experience deja vu while covering event after event on the religion beat. I kept seeing a fascinating cast of characters at events centering on faith, politics and morality. A pro-life rally, for example, would feature a Baptist, a Catholic priest, an Orthodox rabbi and a cluster of conservative Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Lutherans. Then, the pro-choice counter-rally would feature a “moderate” Baptist, a Catholic activist or two, a Reform rabbi and mainline Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Lutherans.

Similar line-ups would appear at many rallies linked to gay rights, sex-education programs and controversies in media, the arts and even science. Along with other journalists, I kept reporting that today’s social issues were creating bizarre coalitions that defied historic and doctrinal boundaries.

Later in the same piece, Mattingly describes James Davison Hunter, a professor at the University of Virginia, who is credited with coining the term “Culture War”:

The old dividing lines centered on issues such as the person of Jesus Christ, church tradition and the Protestant Reformation. But these new interfaith coalitions were fighting about something even more basic — the nature of truth and moral authority. … [Hunter wrote] “Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America,” in which he declared that America now contains two basic world views, which he called “orthodox” and “progressive.” The orthodox believe it’s possible to follow transcendent, revealed truths. Progressives disagree and put their trust in personal experience, even if that requires them to “re-symbolize historic faiths according to the prevailing assumptions of contemporary life.”

That’s what I was seeing at all of those rallies and marches. And that’s why, whenever I covered separate meetings of Catholics, Jews, Baptists, Episcopalians or whatever, I almost always found two distinct camps of people fighting about the same subjects.

Ask any big question and this issue looms in the background. Is the Bible an infallible source of truth? Is papal authority unique? Do women and men have God-given roles in the home and the church? Can centuries of Jewish traditions survive in the modern world? Can marriage be redefined? Is abortion wrong? Can traditionalists proclaim that sex outside of marriage is sin? Are heaven and hell real? Do all religious roads lead to the same end?

Many in the orthodox camp disagree on some of the answers, but they are united in their belief that public life must include room for those who insist eternal answers exist. Meanwhile, progressives are finding it harder to tolerate the views of people they consider offensive and intolerant. This is not a clash between religious people and secular people, stressed Hunter. This is a battle between two fundamentally different approaches to faith.

And so it is in Lutheran circles. The ELCA are the progressive Lutherans who take a “poetic” approach to the Bible and the historic documents of the Lutheran faith. I belong to the LCMS, where we are the traditionalists; we insist that eternal truth is revealed in the Bible, which is to be trusted as the revealed Word of G-d.

That said, I increasingly find that I have more in common with theologically-conservative Catholics and Baptists than I do with most ELCA Lutherans. I enjoy spirited exchanges with a Baptist preacher friend: we can go hammer-and-tongs over chapter and verse. In contrast, few ELCA Lutherans of my acquaintance are willing to engage this way, as they aren’t sure that faith should be “confined” by what the Bible says. They aren’t sure that what is true for me is also true for them. These arguments strike me as slippery and I lose patience.

My answer to Gary is this: I am not saying that the ELCA is “out” of orthodox Christianity. But if you want to investigate the claims of orthodox Christianity, expand your search beyond that ELCA parish and include some orthodox, traditionalist churches. At one level, it almost doesn’t matter which among those you pick.

There are 39 comments.

  1. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    Terry Mattingly is a professor of journalism and writes really cogent media criticism. Mollie Z. Hemingway used to write for his GetReligion blog. Here is a link to his 1998 column:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tmatt/1998/04/ten-years-of-reporting-on-a-fault-line/

    Here is a link to a Mattingly column from last year that re-visited this topic:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/2013/09/hey-ap-where-is-religious-left-on-religious-liberty-issues/

    Here is his latest column, on theologically liberal Christians ditching the Doctrine of the Trinity (he uses the word “consubstantial”):

    http://www.tmatt.net/columns/2014/11/9/foggy-faith-in-mushy-middle-of-american-religion-scene

    • #1
    • November 16, 2014, at 6:58 PM PST
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  2. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    ELCA and LCMS are not the only groups of Lutheran churches in North America, but they are the largest. All the others will describe themselves in relation to these two. There are lots of fine distinctions among Lutherans. We enjoy quarreling over Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, and we also can get really good set-tos going over beer and sports. The only things we agree on are that we are not “like Catholic,” and we want our coffee to be strong.

    • #2
    • November 16, 2014, at 7:00 PM PST
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  3. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    If you are curious about the inconsistent use of G-d, that is something I have recently started doing, in response to a couple of Jewish Ricochetti who said this past summer that they cringe whenever they come across the Name in print. But, I have not gone so far as to edit the spelling when I am quoting others.

    • #3
    • November 16, 2014, at 7:01 PM PST
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  4. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    Here is the money quote from the recent column by Terry Mattingly:

    “Things can get foggy and confusing in the “mushy middle” of the religious spectrum, where Americans worship a “Christian-ish god,” rather than the God of traditional Christian faith.”

    • #4
    • November 16, 2014, at 7:13 PM PST
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  5. Profile Photo Member

    Appreciate this, MJB!

    • #5
    • November 16, 2014, at 7:41 PM PST
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  6. Devereaux Inactive

    David Goldman in his book HOW CIVILIZATIONS DIE (and why Islam is Dying too) that one of the problems for Europe is the manner in which it became Christian. Mostly it was by mass conversion. The king would convert to Christianity, and all his subjects would then also convert. It was, in effect, a pagan conversion, much like has happened the world over when a conquorer took land. His gods then replaced the previous gods ad they must be more powerful, else why did he win.

    America was different. IT was populated by true believers – those who actually believed in the faith, and left for the new world so they could follow thier faith. This made the faith one saw in America basically different from that of the majority of Western Civilization. That sense is still seen in much of the evangelical movement here, as well as the “orthodox” segment you describe. The other side, the “progressive” view you mention, would be the pagan converts – those who don’t have real faith (although they would claim to) and find they don’t hew to the Bible for their guidance, and take or leave other parts as convenient or not.

    The problem, of course, is that the pagan believers (and I call them that without, hopefully giving any offense) will be amenable to change as a new “conquorer” arrives – in our situation a new philosophy. So without falling into open aetheism, these Christians pick up the mantra of modern alternate beliefs – abortion, same sex marriage, easy sex, and so on.

    This would be a good explanation for the differences that you note.

    • #6
    • November 16, 2014, at 9:41 PM PST
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  7. Gary McVey Contributor

    I’m honored to supply a question for an MJ Bubba post, anytime.

    The LCMS view on ELCA reminds me of something sharp, a touch cynical, and probably dead-on that I read about a particular type of country singer in the early Nineties:

    “Sure, they know how to do a “crossover”. But do they know how to bring the Cross over?”

    • #7
    • November 16, 2014, at 10:02 PM PST
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  8. Lucy Pevensie Inactive

    This whole piece and your explanatory comments were fantastic. I often struggle to try to explain the Anglican Church in North America, the organization to which my church belongs, to people who are unfamiliar with divisions in North American Christianity. This sets the existence of the ACNA in a broader context, and I am going to bookmark it for future use.

    • #8
    • November 17, 2014, at 3:29 PM PST
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  9. Songwriter Member

    Just as an aside – Mattingly and I attended the same university, graduating about the same time. We were acquainted, but not in the same circles. It’s interesting for me to read his work all these years later.

    • #9
    • November 17, 2014, at 3:50 PM PST
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  10. Profile Photo Member

    I hate to cause you difficulty in avoiding offense, but trying to avoid blasphemy on account of a spelling technicality is dangerous.
    It’s at the center of much of Christ’s rebuking of the Pharisees. They hid the depth of God’s law by adding mindless regulation around it.

    • #10
    • November 17, 2014, at 6:23 PM PST
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  11. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    Lucy Pevensie:… I often struggle to try to explain the Anglican Church in North America, the organization to which my church belongs, to people who are unfamiliar with divisions in North American Christianity. …

    The journalist that I quoted from, Terry Mattingly, is an interesting guy. He left the Southern Baptist Convention and joined the Episcopal Church in the 1980s, and he left there in the 1990s for the Antiochan Orthodox Church. He wrote a column that showed just how spiritually bankrupt the Episcopal Church had become in the early 1990s:

    http://www.tmatt.net/freelance/liturgical-dances-with-wolves

    • #11
    • November 17, 2014, at 6:23 PM PST
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  12. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    Matt White:I hate to cause you difficulty in avoiding offense, but trying to avoid blasphemy on account of a spelling technicality is dangerous. It’s at the center of much of Christ’s rebuking of the Pharisees. They hid the depth of God’s law by adding mindless regulation around it.

    To me, the Name that should be handled with care is YH…(you know). In my own church we are careful not to use the Lord’s Name in vain, but we are not avoiding its use. That is a Jewish thing. Nevertheless, I am choosing not to give offense.

    • #12
    • November 17, 2014, at 6:29 PM PST
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  13. Benjamin Glaser Inactive

    One of the fun things about being a minister in a small Presbyterian denomination is bringing out this handy chart to help explain who we are:

    connection_900

    (I’m a minister in the one that says “Associate Reformed Pres. of the South” which was formed in 1822 and has never been a part of the “mainline” tree. We dropped “of the South” around the turn of the 20th Century are now just the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. :)

    • #13
    • November 18, 2014, at 9:45 AM PST
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  14. donald todd Inactive

    First, I believe that you have hit upon an idea which is obvious to anyone who really follows religion: eg, there are those who are “orthodox” in their religions and those who are not. In my case, there are people who use the Catechism of the Catholic Church and those who are cafeteria Catholics, with cafeteria meaning the one picks what one wants and avoids the rest. Cafeteria is a substandard view of religion.

    When I was a young evangelical, I met Jacob AO Preus who was president of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, which was experiencing a schism. Preus was more conservative than his predecessor and worked to return the Missouri Synod to a more conservative position.

    (As an aside, I am going to note the word “president” and that Preus held that position from 1969 to 1891. The word “president” is not historically associated with religion, but rather with elected politics. What was occurring in replacing a moderate Lutheran synod president with a conservative Lutheran synod president involved politics.)

    Preus was not of a mind to explain the “why” of the (then) upcoming split to me but he did note that what he was experiencing was like a “divorce.”

    The schism found the smaller moderate to liberal group of formerly Missouri Synod Lutheran churches forming the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches; and later several other moderate to liberal Lutheran churches banded together with the AELC to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

    Lest I be mistaken for saying that this was politics, I believe it was over dogma, but it was handled politically.

    • #14
    • November 18, 2014, at 9:46 AM PST
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  15. Fredösphere Member

    The orthodox believe it’s possible to follow transcendent, revealed truths. Progressives disagree and put their trust in personal experience, even if that requires them to “re-symbolize historic faiths according to the prevailing assumptions of contemporary life.”

    I’d just like to point out a deep irony: the tendency of progressives in practice to impose orthodoxies. The desire for philosophical and theological anchors cannot be denied. If your ideology denies them, they will find a way to impose themselves with a vengeance.

    • #15
    • November 18, 2014, at 9:49 AM PST
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  16. Bereket Kelile Member

    Fredösphere:

    The orthodox believe it’s possible to follow transcendent, revealed truths. Progressives disagree and put their trust in personal experience, even if that requires them to “re-symbolize historic faiths according to the prevailing assumptions of contemporary life.”

    I’d just like to point out a deep irony: the tendency of progressives in practice to impose orthodoxies. The desire for philosophical and theological anchors cannot be denied. If your ideology denies them, they will find a way to impose themselves with a vengeance.

    It’s a rigid ambiguity they impose. They use it as a cloak to avoid grappling with questions and being held to account for their answers. Try to undo their “orthodoxy” and you’ll find out how poetic they can be.

    • #16
    • November 18, 2014, at 11:59 AM PST
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  17. TG Thatcher
    TG

    Bereket Kelile:

    Fredösphere:

    The orthodox believe it’s possible to follow transcendent, revealed truths. Progressives disagree and put their trust in personal experience, even if that requires them to “re-symbolize historic faiths according to the prevailing assumptions of contemporary life.”

    I’d just like to point out a deep irony: the tendency of progressives in practice to impose orthodoxies. The desire for philosophical and theological anchors cannot be denied. If your ideology denies them, they will find a way to impose themselves with a vengeance.

    It’s a rigid ambiguity they impose. They use it as a cloak to avoid grappling with questions and being held to account for their answers. Try to undo their “orthodoxy” and you’ll find out how poetic they can be.

    “a rigid ambiguity”

    I like that phrase.

    • #17
    • November 18, 2014, at 12:03 PM PST
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  18. donald todd Inactive

    Fredosphere: #15 “the tendency of progressives in practice to impose orthodoxies.”

    I am caught on this Fred. As an orthodox Catholic, I am required to hold and accept what the Church holds and teaches. That is not a problem for me as I really was converted. When I have a question, I grab the catechism.

    Yet at the same I am watching some churches drift from a scriptural or moral stance to a political stance. For instance, several churches are okay with abortion under some circumstances. What the child did to deserve death is never addressed, but killing the innocent under some conditions is acceptable.

    This has led to organizations such as Presbyterians Pro-Life. They name themselves because they are in opposition to their church which has taken a different, and previously unknown view on the value of the unborn. One wonders what scriptural or moral excuse was used to justify this deficient view of unborn human beings by the leadership of that denomination?

    We’ve watched a move to accept SSM and are waiting to see who will and who will not perform weddings.

    Several denominations have decided that Israel is wrong to defend itself and its people, so doing business with Israel is now wrong. They divest themselves of shares of Israeli business. (One wonders if they will invest in whoever is making the rockets that the terrorists use to pound Israel?)

    If I were to suggest that the powers that be for these denominations were liberals, I wonder how that would be received. One assumes that they would be indignant.

    • #18
    • November 18, 2014, at 3:00 PM PST
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  19. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    Devereaux (#6):…one of the problems for Europe is the manner in which it became Christian. Mostly it was by mass conversion. The king would convert to Christianity, and all his subjects would then also convert. …

    America was different. IT was populated by true believers – those who actually believed in the faith, and left for the new world so they could follow their faith. This made the faith one saw in America basically different from that of the majority of Western Civilization. That sense is still seen in much of the evangelical movement here, as well as the “orthodox” segment you describe. …

    I don’t think the mass conversions of the European countries are much relevant nearly a thousand years after the most recent instances, except in the sense that that method of spreading the faith left the Europeans with many pockets in which the faith was always relatively shallow and was mixed for many generations with old folk superstitions. Not that much of the old Pagan ways survived, but superstitions mixed with Christianity serve to diminish the Good News of redemption for sins. Perhaps this heritage has been borne out in the way most of Europe has thrown off their faith and are effectively “nones” (as in “none of the above” on survey forms).

    Yes, I agree that our faith heritage in America is different. My denomination, LCMS, was founded in the 1840s by German Lutherans leaving after the Kaiser decided to leverage German efficiency by having the state collect the tithes and deliver them to the church. My own great-great-grandpa came over in 1890 with a boatload of German Lutherans for whom the last straw was when Bismarck decided that, since the state was providing the funds for the churches, then the state should have a say in who was elevated to the post of bishop.

    (Those conservatives in 1840 were right when they opposed an expansion of state power.)

    • #19
    • November 18, 2014, at 5:14 PM PST
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  20. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    Donald Todd (#14):…

    When I was a young evangelical, I met Jacob AO Preus who was president of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, which was experiencing a schism. Preus was more conservative than his predecessor and worked to return the Missouri Synod to a more conservative position.

    (As an aside, I am going to note the word “president” and that Preus held that position from 1969 to 1891. The word “president” is not historically associated with religion, but rather with elected politics. What was occurring in replacing a moderate Lutheran synod president with a conservative Lutheran synod president involved politics.)

    Preus was not of a mind to explain the “why” of the (then) upcoming split to me but he did note that what he was experiencing was like a “divorce.”

    The schism found the smaller moderate to liberal group of formerly Missouri Synod Lutheran churches forming the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches; and later several other moderate to liberal Lutheran churches banded together with the AELC to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

    Lest I be mistaken for saying that this was politics, I believe it was over dogma, but it was handled politically.

    Politically, yes. The LCMS Lutherans adopted a very American practice of electing a president. This keeps the lay members in the power loop and does not let a presiding bishop surround himself with like-minded clergy and lurch the whole church off in some direction that leads away from the Gospel. (As happened in The Episcopal Church.)

    My formative years were lived in the midst of the “schism,” which was precipitated when the LCMS fired over half of the professors in the seminary. Yes, it was handled politically. How else could such an organization enact a course correction?

    Francis Schaeffer said the following year that he wished that the Presbyterians would follow the Lutheran example.

    • #20
    • November 18, 2014, at 5:27 PM PST
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  21. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    Fredösphere (#15):

    The orthodox believe it’s possible to follow transcendent, revealed truths. Progressives disagree and put their trust in personal experience, even if that requires them to “re-symbolize historic faiths according to the prevailing assumptions of contemporary life.”

    I’d just like to point out a deep irony: the tendency of progressives in practice to impose orthodoxies. The desire for philosophical and theological anchors cannot be denied. If your ideology denies them, they will find a way to impose themselves with a vengeance.

    Yes. Just ask Lucy Pevensie what happened to theologically-conservative Episcopalians.

    There was a case that I did not particularly follow, but as I recall it, an Episcopal diocese (in NY?) chose to sell an empty church building to a group of Muslims for a lower price than had been offered by its former congregation.

    • #21
    • November 18, 2014, at 5:32 PM PST
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  22. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    Donald Todd (#18):…

    If I were to suggest that the powers that be for these [theologically-liberal] denominations were liberals, I wonder how that would be received. One assumes that they would be indignant.

    They would have been indignant twenty or thirty years ago. Now they are proud to stand up as progressives.

    That is how the left works. For generations they pleaded for Pluralism; “surely there is room here for us; can’t we all just get along?” Nice, easygoing committed Christian members kept making room for positions that were further and further away from their roots. Especially in the 1960s and ’70s, as church administrations started growing by leaps with all sorts of boards and commissions, the leftists, pseudo-Christians packed the boards and commissions with their fellow travelers. By the late 1980s they were able to swing votes, and by the late 1990s they had majorities.

    Once they had a majority, then they became much less interested in Pluralism. Since they have the votes secure, they are no longer interested in making room for traditional Christians.

    • #22
    • November 18, 2014, at 5:41 PM PST
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  23. Lucy Pevensie Inactive

    MJBubba:

    That is how the left works. For generations they pleaded for Pluralism; “surely there is room here for us; can’t we all just get along?” Nice, easygoing committed Christian members kept making room for positions that were further and further away from their roots. Especially in the 1960s and ’70s, as church administrations started growing by leaps with all sorts of boards and commissions, the leftists, pseudo-Christians packed the boards and commissions with their fellow travelers. By the late 1980s they were able to swing votes, and by the late 1990s they had majorities.

    Once they had a majority, then they became much less interested in Pluralism. Since they have the votes secure, they are no longer interested in making room for traditional Christians.

    In the Episcopal Church, it was a very calculated, long-term strategy. My sense is that their goal was approximately a one-generation soapbox from which they could promote leftist ideas with the pretense that they were respectable church teachings, after which they are planning on rolling up the carpets, turning out the lights, and locking the door behind them. For example, the Diocese of Washington, DC, just recently broke a $26,300,000 trust so that they could spend the principle.

    I used to think that we had a responsibility to our forbears to try to fight the leftists, in order to be proper stewards of the gifts they had given for the glory of God. But, whew, once you get out there is incredible freedom.

    • #23
    • November 18, 2014, at 6:07 PM PST
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  24. Fredösphere Member

    MJBubba:There was a case that I did not particularly follow, but as I recall it, an Episcopal diocese (in NY?) chose to sell an empty church building to a group of Muslims for a lower price than had been offered by its former congregation.

    Wow. Double wow. Found the link.

    • #24
    • November 18, 2014, at 6:13 PM PST
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  25. Fredösphere Member

    Amazing: the Episcos are eating their seed corn. It’s only a matter of time, now.

    • #25
    • November 18, 2014, at 6:26 PM PST
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  26. Lucy Pevensie Inactive

    Here’s another link, to a story about a church my family attended for a while. (We took refuge there after the orthodox majority had been kicked out of our previous, beloved church.) If you don’t feel like following the link, here’s the story in brief.

    Bishops generally have the most power when there is a gap between rectors, and the rector of this church, which was 100% orthodox, died suddenly. The Diocese of Milwaukee threw the entire congregation out of the church, shortly after the last rector was buried there. The building stood empty for three years and then the Diocese of Milwaukee put it on the market.

    Oh, but one more detail; the church had a small cemetery. So the diocese exhumed and moved all the remains of all the people who had been buried there. And if people who had bought a spot in the St. Edmund’s burial garden don’t want to be buried at the new place, tough; they “lost the records” of how much money people had paid. It’s pretty shocking.

    • #26
    • November 18, 2014, at 6:28 PM PST
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  27. Lucy Pevensie Inactive

    It’s funny. Although I recognize that when you discard the idea of binding moral rules then all the rules are gone, I still find it shocking when these people are not only impious but also wasteful and cruel.

    • #27
    • November 18, 2014, at 6:33 PM PST
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  28. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    Lucy Pevensie:It’s funny. Although I recognize that when you discard the idea of binding moral rules then all the rules are gone, I still find it shocking when these people are not only impious but also wasteful and cruel.

    Wasteful and cruel are fun when you are filled with spite. The leftists take great pleasure in ‘sticking it to the man,’ long after they have become the man and the roles are reversed so that the traditional Christians are the vulnerable minority.

    I have called them pseudo-Christians. Their religion is progressive politics. The Episcopal Church is rapidly becoming a cult of real estate. They own a ton of extremely valuable assets and they have run off so many traditional Christians that they can sell it and spend all they like, since declining incomes are fine to support a declining organization.

    In another thread I likened their faith to “Jesus-flavored Universalism,” which I think is an accurate assessment. But what really drives them is the pure joy of tossing traditional Christians to the curb.

    • #28
    • November 18, 2014, at 7:46 PM PST
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  29. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    The United Methodist Church would have caught up to the Episcopal Church in the race to jettison all vestiges of the Gospel, but their politics are different. The United Methodist Church did not set up their third world missions as independent churches. It is votes by Africans that are applying the brakes to the UMC. I wish them well. Conservatives who remain in the UMC are collecting funds to help African delegates travel to the next General Conference.

    When I married Snooks, all her kinfolk were members of United Methodist congregations. Now there are none left. They all became Non-denominational Evangelicals, or Baptists, or Catholics, or Presbyterians, or else they dropped out and became “nones.” The ones who remained were way up in years, and now have all died. After 250 years of Methodist heritage, there are no family members continuing to worship according to the Methodist approach.

    I think that is really sad.

    • #29
    • November 18, 2014, at 7:56 PM PST
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  30. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba Post author

    Fredösphere:Amazing: the Episcos are eating their seed corn. It’s only a matter of time, now.

    Eat, drink and be merry. With membership declining as fast as it is, they can live off their endowment funds for a couple of generations.

    While funding progressive political causes from time to time.

    • #30
    • November 18, 2014, at 8:00 PM PST
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