Friar John's Ruminations

Being the thoughts of an Episcopalian Layman. In Search of and service to "Evangelical Truth and Apostolic Order."

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

If one were to wander over to Ft Viagra today or to David Virtue’s site you’ll find out that the Arch Bishop of York has told off the African Bishops and their compatriots. Rather than accept the admonition, and take time to remove the log from their on eyes, they have lashed back. They’ve started up their normal chant of “Heretic, apostate” and are repeating all of their talking points. I’ve noticed that the keener the cut is, the more shrill their little litany of complaints, accusations and recriminations gets. They’ve now turned on Sentamu. During the GC in Columbus last year he was the darling of the Donatist, neo-puritan set. Now he’s been cast into the fire. They are lashing around blindly, and pulling all of their big rhetorical guns out. Some have even dug up the misquote of the Presiding Bishops speech where she quotes Dame Julian of Norwich.
The hyperbole and confusion of terms is not all that surprising. I mean these are people, from the comments that I scanned, reject mystical theology and the idea that the Fathers had no issues with connecting Jesus with the feminine Hokmah/Sophia of Ecclesiastes.
The widening declarations are paralleled by the Arian and Donatist movements from the early centuries of the Church. So certain were they of their correctness that they flailed about with all kinds of colorful phrases against the orthodox. As they slide down further into their particular combination of the two (a few of the commenters, in their insistence of male only language, damages their connection to the way the Fathers showed the preexistence of the Son – and well, I’m on the record about the rampant Donatism).
None of this is surprising simply because they started on such shaky ground to begin with. As their fantasy world begins to fade they will feel the need to lash out in increasingly strong, and imprecise, language to stave off fear and to help cement group identity.
As a side note, I think that the “reaserters/reappraisers” terms are far too limited. Kendall+ was trying to neaten up the conversation, which is admirable, but it places far to many controls on the conversation. It lumps far to many disparate theological visions into two, artificial camps. It also ignores, to all our peril, the large group who don’t care to much. I had one elderly lady in my parish say, ruefully, “When can we get back to being Church? When can we all share the joy again?” She’s tired, and worn by it all, and I think we all are. We’re being worn down and the danger of it all is that we will all share in the anger and hate.