Monday, July 16, 2012

Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

Spriro Agnew, then Vice President of the United States used to love to bait Liberals with name calling. This somewhat infamous Episcopalian, loved to hammer away at "Law and Order" issues. It was a nice cover for the alleged extortion, bribes and corruption which were the hallmarks of his somewhat checkered career. He became the first Vice President of the United States to resign after pleading "no contest" to charges of tax evasion. Nixon followed suit by resigning in yet another corrupt Republican Regime.

So now we have the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal taking the Episcopal Church to task for our "Liberal" bent which our recent General Convention seems to underscore in their minds. There are well documented responses to the inaccuracies and distortions that are the meat and potatoes of the aforementioned newspapers. Journalism as we now know it has sunk to a rather miserable level and I take it with a grain of salt when the print media notes numerical decline when they themselves are following a business model which has a rather bleak future.

We will still be here when the NYT and the WSJ are no longer with us at all. We may not be as popular as some of the "mega churches" around, but we refuse to indulge ourselves in bigotry or biblical literalism just because it is popular.

Many of us consider our struggles to be a reflection of the nobler struggles of our modern world. We have sought for and achieved Civil Rights and will continue to do so in the face of "Conservative" assaults against voting rights and immigrant policies. There is no doubt that Racism is still alive and well in America and we must fight against it with all our hearts, minds and souls. Women now stand at the Altars of our Churches as a sign that Gender Equality is a matter of central importance to us. We will contend against renewed assaults against women's reproductive rights with all our might. Our liturgy was restored to ancient practice in accordance with the finest scholarship available to us, and Lutherans and Roman Catholics have also embraced much of this scholarship in which we led the way with the work of Dom Gregory Dix and others. We follow in line with the finest Biblical Scholarship and Criticism and avoid the trivialization of the Sacred Writings we see in Pharisaic Literalism so prevalent in the Evangelical Right Wing. And now most recently we have embraced yet another minority so easily marginalized by the "wags and malcontents" of this passing age: our LGBT church and family members who happen to be made that way. God made us the way we are; all of us. 

If for these things you take us to task, be my guest!

Thus we read scripture. The story of Moses is the story of the struggle for freedom from slavery and the establishment of Law. Jesus then wrote the Law of Love in our hearts; the Love of God and the Love of our Neighbors. The Church is called to reach out in love to all humanity. I am blessed beyond any mere words to describe, that I am part of a Church that takes Jesus' inclusive love so seriously.

Much more than that, however, Jesus sought out the poor and the outcast, the prisoner the lame and the sin sick folk of his time. And when he comes again to judge the nations of the earth he will do so based on how well we treat the "least of these".

Frankly I don't expect much from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal when it comes to the efforts of proclaiming Good News to the Poor. Instead I expect that they would much rather raise the banner for Greed. Banks and the Financial institutions have led us to the brink of economic ruin. I am convinced that they will defend the immoral bonuses of the executives who are bleeding the middle class and the working people to the edge of extinction. They will defend their ravenous appetites for wealth, and the export of our jobs overseas and any other policy that leads to the lining of their own pockets. They will always end up with a bias for the Rupert Murdochs of this world whose primary driving force in life is the art of mass deception and popular prurience. 

The Church, or that portion of the Church that orders its life biblically and in concert with Jesus, will always end up with a bias for the poor.

Another great current struggle now comes before us. Shall we allow these "effete impudent snobs" to concentrate wealth to a degree that strangles the middle class and working class of this country? Shall we allow the capitalist system that has created so much wealth, merely degenerate into just another form of Modern American Feudalism? 

I don't look to the NYT or the WSJ for much leadership when it comes to responsible leadership in financial or class justice. That will have to come for the "Occupy" movement and others.

And watch out NYT and WSJ, the Episcopal Church and many, many others is a very intelligent church. We unlike, the public you seek to deceive, read books. We're onto you. And your days are numbered.

In fifty years we will still be here. I am not so sure about you.

In a thousand years, we will still be here. As long as there are poor folk, sick folk and outcasts, as long as there is warfare and injustice, there will need to be a Church.

Get with it NYT & WSJ; "Repent, God's Kingdom is Near".

Fr Paul

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