Saturday, November 29, 2008
I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!
Sometimes, even when I'm in a really good mood, the 'uber-Christians' on the Right pull my poor, last, tired nerve.
Especially the ones who love to harp about the "hemorrhage" of membership from The Episcopal Church because of our "apostate" beliefs which are "contrary to the faith first delivered to the saints".
Never mind that the hemorrhage is due to the knife they are sticking into the back of the Body of Christ, all in the name of Jesus, of course, and all to "save the soul of The Episcopal Church"
Funny how no one is stopping to take the knife out of her back before they leave the building. Oh, right. They don't have time. They are rushing to the attorney's office to see how they can retain the building once they've "hemorrhaged" the membership.
Of course, there's no hard data from the 'break away' churches about how many Christians are flocking to their new churches.
Oh, I think the numbers we'll get from the churches in The South will be impressive. Then again, everybody goes to church on Sunday in The South - even Episcopalians.
I remember the first time I went to church in cities like Atlanta, Memphis, or Dallas. I was blown away worshiping with THOUSANDS of other Episcopalians - and it wasn't even a holiday or there wasn't a bishop or famous person in the place.
There wasn't a screen up with the words to hymns I had never heard, everyone held a prayer book with both hands, there was no one playing a guitar or a percussion instrument, and no one started a prayer with, "Fathergod, I just wanna say . . .," said the name of 'Jeeeessssuuuuusss' or made one reference to 'Satan and his Evil Powers'.
What I'd like to know is what's happening in 'break away churches' in the North or Northeast - like Pennsylvania, or those six churches in Connecticut (Remember the AAC's pathetic attempt to create 'the CT six' as a counterpoint to 'the PA eleven'? Yeah, right!).
I'm also very curious about the two churches in Central New York (one has already left the building, the other will be in court in early December) where the three former Episcopal Clergy there have quite a visible, if not flat-out hostile, presence in cyberspace. I wonder if they will use the same formula as TEC parochial report so we can more accurately compare statistics and demographics.
It would actually be to their advantage, so they can prove their predictions and triumph their victories.
Goodness knows, the numbers for these two churches were not impressive before their clergy "turned" - even after the folks from the Billy Graham campaign came through their town a few years back. Then again, why would you stay as a member of a church when you know the heart and soul of your clergy is not completely with the people but, rather, with carrying on a messy divorce with the institution?
My hunch is that we'll never get accurate numbers, but the rhetoric will be thick with high expectations for churches that are chock full of new Christians, just waiting to be newly formed in the "orthodox / Calvinist / High Catholic" understanding of what it means to be "Anglican."
Bullhockey! (There's a new term for Maddy and the newly sanitized OCICBW). Neo-puritanism tinged with heterosexism and misogyny has never exactly been a booming market share - with or without incense.
Well, here's some data from Katie Sherrod's blog, "Wilderness Garden":
"The (Diocese of Fort Worth) Bishop's Report of Official Acts 11/11/07 - 11/1/08, distributed in the delegate packets and reported officially by the bishop at the diocesan convention, notes 25 baptisms, 254 confirmations, 43 receptions, and 12 reaffirmations.
"Even using these official diocesan numbers, the 5 parishes with established rectors that are remaining in the Episcopal Church (not including all the parishes in exile from their property and those others which will remain Episcopal parishes but do not yet have rectors and other parishes who will soon declare their allegiance) account for 98 of the 334 official acts, or 29.3% of the entire diocese of 56 parishes and missions in the past year.
"Note: This report does not include the 11 confirmands and two receptions that Bishop Iker confirmed at Trinity Fort Worth [my parish] on 11/1 (though the report says through 11/1), which if added in shows that the five parishes actually account for a whopping 32% of the entire diocese during the past year.
"Former diocesan leaders claim that giving and attendance is down because people have left because of the heretical Episcopal Church. Well, not in the parishes that are strongly and publicly Episcopalian. In fact, folks are by comparison flocking to the Episcopal parishes in this diocese, even though they have had to work very hard to avoid the parishes which actively and constantly denigrate and undermine the Episcopal Church and have had to overcome the steady diocesan-sponsored drumbeat of diatribe railing against the presiding bishop specifically and TEC in general.
"And if we add in only 1/2 of the confirmations, etc. reported from the additional parishes that remain, the continuing diocese as of today accounts for a whopping 40% of the official acts.
Read the whole thing at http://wildernessgarden.blogspot.com/
I don't know about you, but I can't wait until this schism is finally over, until the last, unhappy Episcopalian has left and found her/his heart's delight in a place where everybody thinks (and looks) like them, the worship is "pure," the LGBT people are all 'healed and celibate' and the preaching is "biblical," lasts more than 15 minutes and everyone follows along in their own bible.
Oye! Don't make me clutch my pearls!