Friday, 28 May 2010

Los Angeles consecration of bishops service

As there are a number of people, even bishops, who have expressed criticism of this event, it may be helpful to link to the Order of Service that was followed.

It is in a PDF file, available here.

Direct links to the video recordings are also available from this page.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 28 May 2010 at 11:40am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA

I'm not known for my enthusiasm for liturgical innovation, but the leaflet looked to me like a standard 1979 prayer book Ordination Mass. The multilingual readings are not uncommon in middle-of-the-road parishes on Whitsunday, and acknowledgment of the original inhabitants of the region does not strike me as inappropriate. And at least the dancing was confined to the pre-liturgy! Overall, it seems less "cutting edge" than ++Kate's own installation.

My one complaint is the apparent absence of any Lutheran bishops among the co-consecrators.

Posted by: Geoff on Friday, 28 May 2010 at 12:38pm BST

Were there no co-consecrating bishops from ELCA?

Posted by: John(1) on Friday, 28 May 2010 at 12:46pm BST

Thank you for this Simon. I hope some of our critical bishops here in the C of E, might express rather more criticism of the mangling of the liturgy, or indeed its complete abandonment in too many of our parish churches.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Friday, 28 May 2010 at 1:19pm BST

Wow. Looks like it was an amazing and wonderful service. Spectacular and in many tongues.

Never having lived in Los Angeles myself, I was curious about the city's demographics. Here's what Wikipedia says:

As of the 2005–2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 48.7% of Los Angeles's population; of which 29.3% were non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans made up 9.9% of Los Angeles's population; of which 9.7% were non-Hispanic blacks. American Indians made up 0.5% of the city's population; of which 0.2% were non-Hispanic. Asian Americans made up 10.6% of the city's population; of which 10.4% were non-Hispanic. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.2% of the city's population; of which 0.1% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from some other race made up 27.3% of the city's population; of which 0.5% were non-Hispanic. Individuals from two or more races made up 2.8% of the city's population; of which 1.3% were non-Hispanic. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 48.5% of Los Angeles's population.

"Understood of the people" indeed.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 28 May 2010 at 1:19pm BST

This is a standard BCP'79 liturgy with modifications as allowed by the rubrics. Personally I find such liturgies to be over-long, but in my experience "you have to be there" to understand that they work, practically and theologically.

I'm guessing Tom Wright's criticism is based solely on the proof-reader(s) failure to notice that the introduction to the Epistle described Hebrews as "Paul's letter". This is a rather glaring error! We've known for centuries that Paul is not the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, I prefer "A General Letter to Hebrew Christians" as the introduction, while acknowledging that these Jewish followers of The Way probably wouldn't have recognized the moniker "Christian". This communicates the actual authorship (i.e. we don't know) and recipients (i.e. it's a general, not a specific document, directed at Jesus' Jewish rather than Gentile followers) of the letter.

I think it's embarrassing - but it's not the end of the world. I missed our administrative assistant's error in our of our Sunday bulletins where she had one introduction as "Paul's second letter to the Romans". As a biblical scholar I was mortified! Does that mean I'm unaware that the New Testament contains only one such letter? Hardly! It means I'm not likely to be hired as a proof-reader (which, given the likely demise of the print media, would probably not be a good career move anyway).

Tom's comments about the Episcopal Church are largely predictable. The questions are two-fold: what, in fact, does he see as wrong in the consecration service itself, and are his criticisms actually valid? My observations are also two-fold; he would have contributed to a useful conversation if:
a). He'd spelled out the basis for his criticisms; and,
b). If, in fact, the basis of his specific complaint has to do with the description of Hebrews as "Paul's letter" (a absolutely legitimate complaint, in my view) he had directed his comments toward sloppy proof-reading, rather than see it as an indication that the Episcopal Church is going to hell in a hand-basked because we don't understand scripture.

This was a teachable moment - he missed the boat! Instead it became a "point-scoring" moment, and that's just too bad for the level of dialogue that exists at the moment within our Communion.

Posted by: Nigel Taber-Hamilton on Friday, 28 May 2010 at 2:50pm BST

This is not entirely helpful as most of what upset people was not included in the written order of service. Rather it was incorporated into the welcome and preservice action. For example the bishop in cope participating in American Indian rituals which invoked the spirits of animals and in which he was 'smudged' according to pagan practice. Standfirm has the full video and it shocked and appalled me

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Friday, 28 May 2010 at 3:12pm BST

The News service of the Diocese of Los Angeles states that two bishops from the ELCA were present;
"Other guests included President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson and Bishops Dean Nelson of the Southwest California Synod and Bishop Murray D. Finck of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Ecumenical guests included representatives from the United Church of Christ and the Methodist and Presbyterian churches."

Since the concordat of full communion between the ELCA and TEC, Called to Common Mission, states; "They promise to include regularly one or more bishops of the other church to participate in the laying-on-of-hands at the ordinations/installations of their own bishops as a sign, though not a guarantee, of the unity and apostolic continuity of the whole church," do we have any evidense that the two mentioned Lutheran bishops did not participate in the laying on of hands?

Posted by: David | Dah•veed | on Friday, 28 May 2010 at 4:01pm BST

I watched the entire liturgy several days ago; considerably more "orthodox" than Sunday mass at St. James, Piccadilly.

Posted by: John D on Friday, 28 May 2010 at 4:07pm BST

There was in fact attendance of and participation by the regional ELCA bishop. My wife and I met him at the dinner for the attending consecrating bishops and others the evening before. I would be happy to answer any other questions about the service.

Posted by: Richard Zevnik on Friday, 28 May 2010 at 5:15pm BST

Thank you for posting this. In the never ending campaign of disinformation by American and British schismatics, many Anglicans and Episcopalians believed that the bishops had been ordained in some sort of pagan New Age ritual. The rabid right, including N.T. Wright, continue to suggest that the service was something less than orthodox and Christian. Many in the blogosphere seem to object to the American church's efforts to include non-whites and non-Europeans in the service. On the contrary, the Diocese of Los Angeles takes the Gospel and the Book of Common Prayer to places where it has never been heard. This is real evangelism.

Posted by: Scott on Friday, 28 May 2010 at 5:53pm BST

The Los Angeles Ordination Mass was probably no more exotic than similar Celebrations in many African Churches - where 'Missa Luba' stirred us all by its daring use of local dance and music.

Surely the local context needs to be celebrated in any act of worship of the God of the Whole Earth. There was nothing in the L.A. Mass that would have in any way offended the local ethnic tribes of the North American Continent. We need to remember that Jesus was not an English-man.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 12:12am BST

"Standfirm has the full video and it shocked and appalled me" - Ed Tomlinson -

Why am I not surprised? It seemingly does't take too much to shock Ed. However, when he gets into the esoteric liturgies of his new Ordinariate, it will be interesting to see what he thinks of the Pope's interference with what he can do there.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 12:56am BST

Wouldn't it be fair to say, Ed, that BECAUSE it "shocked and appalled" you, then by your definition, that's what MADE it "pagan practice"?

Christianity has been inculturated WHEREVER it has gone. Little stone churches w/ red doors are an inculturation to northern Europe. "Inspired" singing and dancing in the aisles is an inculturation in much of Africa (and the African diaspora). Are only Indigenous Californians NOT allowed to inculturate Christianity?

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 1:06am BST

Smudged according to "pagan practice". What a choice of words, but if you're going to be a naysayer, why not make it up as you go along? First, the attitude which calls native traditions "pagan" has led to much suffering throughout the world at the hands of so-called Christians. In Canada the churches and the government have made apologies for this attitude to those harmed by such a lack of understanding or compassion. These rituals have more in common with respect and politeness. The way "white people" do things like open Parliament or greet the Queen are similar and are not overtly Christian-they have developed over time or are ancient cultural traditions that are easily done by Christians without risking their faith. For that matter, much of Christian liturgy and Catholic custom developed over time and some has roots in pre-Christian culture. Christians have "baptised" cultural, even pagan things for a long time-all we have to do is to look at the Christian festivals. If Ed Tomlinson feels so strongly, he should get the Christmas trees out of church.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 1:15am BST

RE: Attributing the Letter to the Hebrews to Paul: Oddly enough, this is exactly how it comes from TEC's own Rite Stuff. It is something upon which one would otherwise assume one could rely. There are other bugs in that package as well and I have learned from experience to proof-read the resulting texts closely.

Posted by: (The Rev) Rick Whittaker on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 1:24am BST

For once I have to agree with Fr. Ed. When a service becomes so self-aggrandizing, as this one appears to me, it becomes not focused on God, but upon ourselves. This is not at all what worship is about. Of course impediments to to consecrating worthy people should be overcome. Nobody (except you Ed) are arguing this. But giving token performances from native Americans does not make a service of true diversity. By encouraging all peoples to participate and be elevated in elegant liturgy towards Christ is a reflection of what the church should be, from all peoples. Not a three-ring circus under a one-ring tent.

I'm sorry, I just can't stand it when liberalism "grandstands" and this seemed like it to me.

Posted by: evensongjunkie on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 1:48am BST

"For example the bishop in cope participating in American Indian rituals which invoked the spirits of animals and in which he was 'smudged' according to pagan practice. Standfirm has the full video and it shocked and appalled me..."

"I'm shocked...shocked to find gambling going on...."

Sorry--couldn't resist. Is it your position, then, Ed, that God is not present in all his creation, even in animals? That other religions, other cultures, do not and cannot call upon God in their own ways? If so, what a sad, constricted view of the divine you must have.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 2:30am BST

" which he was 'smudged' according to pagan practice."

The irony of reading an Englishman's queasiness about adapting pagan practices to Christian liturgy so soon after the feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury is delicious.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 3:20am BST

Jesus did not know a note of Byrd, Stanford, or Vaughan Williams.

This being so, why is that music more Christian than the music that the Los Angeles consecration featured?

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 3:36am BST

As a Vatican II Catholic, I found the Ordination and Consecration Mass in Los Angeles quite beautiful and in all areas, completely "orthodox" in that all of the essential elements of the Mass and the Consecration ceremony itself were not only present but presented in a most beautiful way. There are so many approaches to Eucharistic celebrations and I am amazed that some Anglicans feel that this beautiful Consecration and Mass are not up their "standards". I am suspicious of the negative comments. I watched the entire Mass and Consecration (Laying on of hands) and marveled at its' beauty and inclusiveness. I am quite certain that Jesus approved.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 4:03am BST

Ed's comment is the closest to what the critics around here felt. It was the "pre-service" that raised tempers. Around here smudging ceremonies are used by the local tribes, there are four, to chase away evil spirits and ask for the Earth's and other spirits' blessings. Lion dances are also traditionally used to chase away evil spirits and bring good fortune. Gee, for a church with so much pomp, circumstance, and liturgy, they sure needed a lot of help. If they had sung only Christian songs/translations in Native languages-like the Mongolians' and had dances without prayers to/invoking pagan spirits, the critics would have had much less to complain about. However, that might not have been "prophetic" enough for California. It was rather funny, though, when the Native American said they'd been sinless for 1000 years before--undoubtedly, before those heathen Brits showed up! Who was laughing at whom?

Posted by: Chris H. on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 4:38am BST

Our First Nation peoples would be offended to read that someone thought that smudging was some 'pagan ritual.' How does smudging differ from flinging a thurible?

Posted by: Lee on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 4:42am BST

Tom Wright and Ed Tomlinson, it seems, are just a pair of colonialist prigs who hate the people of the First Nations of North America.

Ed's particularly ignorant comment about "pagan" smudging demonstrates his own utter cluelessness about both smudging and paganism.

Tom, as usual, simply cast ignorant aspersions without feeling any need to be specific - giving him room, no doubt, to always pretend he meant some other partt of the service when his bigotry on any given point is exposed to the light of day.

It is the Tom and Ed attitude of smug, English superiority that led to the tragedy and crime of the Indian Residential Schools in Canada and the Anglican Communion's complicity in an attempted act of cultural genocide.

No thanks, Tom and Ed. The Anglican Church of Canada is still suffering for having listened to your type of hatemongering filth the last time out.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 7:30am BST

Do look in on the preliminary programme - before the actual Service, and move to the final item of music sung and played on the guitar by the Revd. Canon Deborah Dunn, Rector of St. Peter's Church in Santa Maria. She presents her version of "All My Trials, Lord, Will Soon Be Over". What a wonderfully, deeply spiritual, rendering of this classic Negro Song!

I'm sure that even Bishop Tom Wright - not to mention Evensonjunkie - maybe even Ed Tomlinson -
would appreciate this moving tribute.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 8:04am BST

As others have said it is hard to know what offends Blessed Tom.
If it is, as Ed suggests, the smudging of a bishop in cope and miter then this prelate finds himself in interesting company

Reading this, it is heartwarming to know that those about to leave for Rome have their own versions of David Virtue, Matt Kennedy and Sarah whatchamacallit to support their thinking.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 10:16am BST

Very nice, Martin.

Posted by: john on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 11:52am BST

Given their background in the CoE, what probably shocked Tom and Ed most of all was the site of a church that was not 3/4 empty.

Posted by: JPM on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 12:54pm BST

Chris H said: "Around here smudging ceremonies are used by the local tribes, there are four, to chase away evil spirits and ask for the Earth's and other spirits' blessings. Lion dances are also traditionally used to chase away evil spirits and bring good fortune."

Chasing away evil spirits? Where? When?

If the Gospels are any evidence, I think Jesus would want to join in the fun.

He might even take it one step further, and not just drive the evil spirits away, but talk to them while doing it.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 2:45pm BST

If you look closely at the Canadian church, you would find that smudging ceremonies and similar rituals are very common in the most "orthodox" dioceses (like Yukon, Caledonia, Keewatin, Athabasca, the Arctic).

Here in the "apostate" diocese of Montreal, our liturgy is pretty much by the book, masses with smells and bells, sung mattins, etc. Even our cathedral (whose posting for a new dean includes prominent mention of the rainbow flag in the church), has more services using the Book of Common Prayer than the Book of Alternative Services. Inclusive liturgy means fighting over how much French to use.

Malcolm has it right.

Posted by: Jim Pratt on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 6:34pm BST

It would appear that Anglicanism is no stranger to the Lion Dance:

Gosh, they even did if for the Queen, and she's the Surpreme Governor of the C of E !

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 7:07pm BST

the theological level on this thread is tragic. Jeremy your suggestion that Christ would drive evil spirits away using pagan invocations rather than under his own authority is just wrong.

I am sure most thinking Anglican commentators are good souls and impressive theists but this thread makes me seriously question if they are credal Christians in ANY sense of that word. There are a few exceptions. One thing is clear - we need to walk apart- we really do not share a faith at all

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 7:09pm BST

In the Central part of the Americas we have a majority of native first people who occupy the land (and culture)...although heavily Roman Catholic after the Spaniards the shaman are still very active (probably even more than we know and you can hear their distant drumming out in the camp at night)...personally I feel very comfortable and spiritually blessed when I attend a ceremony of cleansing (lots of Catholic symbolism included)...once the smoke from the fire enveloped me and a swarm of bees landed on my outstretched arms...dozens and they stayed for a minute then flew away...Mother Earth and Nature are truly astounding...God is everywhere.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 8:06pm BST

When John Paul II visited northern Canadian natives, I am sure he was "smudged". Actually, driving away evil spirits seems very Gospel.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 9:04pm BST

"...but this thread makes me seriously question if they are credal Christians in ANY sense of that word."

Et tu, Ed?

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 10:53pm BST

"One thing is clear - we need to walk apart- we really do not share a faith at all"

Then why do you keep coming back here? Oh, and don't thank Erika and myself at defending you, you're welcome just the same.

And how dare you question our commitment to the do need to walk away, and just plain grow up.

Posted by: evensongjunkie on Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 11:12pm BST

Ed, I have often remarked to myself that it's a good thing that you announce every five or ten minutes that you are a Christian, because otherwise no one would ever suspect it.

Every word you post here is carefully chosen to yield the maximum offense. Everything you say and do here serves only to confirm every ugly stereotype about Anglo-Catholics, things that I believed to be malicious falsehoods until you began gracing this site with your presence.

Honestly, you are not a good witness for what you claim to believe.

Posted by: JPM on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 12:02am BST

You're right, Ed. We don't share a common faith.

My faith is about Jesus. Yours is about imposing English cultural norms on the First Peoples of North America.

My faith is about the Gospel and Love. Yours is about colonialism and hate.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 1:57am BST

"this thread makes me seriously question if they are credal Christians in ANY sense of that word"

I have searched high and low in the Nicene Creed for anything that would forbid anything that was done in the LA consecration ceremony. I can't find it.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 2:18am BST

"the theological level on this thread is tragic"

Said Ed from On High.

Now I have as much trouble living true Christ-like humility as the next sinner, but COME ON, Ed: don't you EVER feel awkward "taking the highest seat at table"?

"One thing is clear - we need to walk apart- we really do not share a faith at all"

It physically hurts to say this---but Please Stay. I'm sure you must have SOMETHING unique to contribute to the Body of Christ!

But if, regretably, you can't transcend your felt "need to walk apart"---I'm quite certain that NO ONE will stop you.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 3:51am BST

There is nothing in this thread that deserves Ed Tomlinson's remarks above.

But it is a good example of the way people like him operate and find the reassurances they need - the only things he cites to justify his views are deeply flawed or a twisted interpretation of another's post (Jeremy).

As we have seen smudging and its variants are welcomed all ov er the world by Popes and "orthodox" adherents and there are many examples of indigenous expressions of Christianity that mirror precisely that which we can hear in California. Celtic prayers and those from Assisi have identical characteristics.

But let's not allow the truth or facts get in way here. Tomlinson comes with an agenda and he hears only what he wants. That is so sad.

Elsewhere Tomlinson bemoans the fact that the recent letter from Rowan Williams presents the views from the majority of TEC as a legitimate and sincerely held position - an argument deserving respect and needing to be listened to. But that is exactly the view we find in the Windsor Report - the Lambeth Commission had several representations urging Tomlinson's view that homosexuality was a decided matter - they rejected this and took the bother to ring us the night before the presentation of TWR to tell us this and ask us to read the report in the light of paragraph 146.

This obviously represents a disappointment to Ed Tomlinson - but I see he is leaving so .....

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 8:56am BST

Ed has lost the argument on the facts--smudging, the local varieties of Anglican liturgical practice, Gospel references to Jesus driving out evil spirits.

So he's resorting to criticizing me for things I did not say ("using pagan invocations rather than under his own authority") and to personal remarks about all commenters.

By their fruits ye shall know them.

Posted by: Jeremy on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 11:22am BST

I am sorry to say it but it appears that most people who post here need to grow up - or at least be thinking rather than jerking knees; It seems to me that this blog should more accurately be renamed to "overly sensitive and easily wound up Anglicans", or "emotionally at the edge and unthinking Anglicans". I presume that the 'Thinking' in the title is supposed to imply a reasonable level of careful reflection based on rational processes? Also an allusion to a higher form of consideration that brings ratiocination in close companionship to a compassion that derives far more from clarity of mind than it does from imperious injunctions out of tradition or an overly developed sense of projected self-pity? The world (or at least part of the Anglican one) reads this stuff - could there at least be some tacit recognition of this, and the views people are likely to take away each time they read what most non-religious people would find utterly bemusing at best and liable to condemnation at worst? This is your own picture of Dorian Gray, except that it's hung in public, while your real selves offer a visage to the world that is in all probability far more measured, and rightly so. Think about it.

Posted by: Achilles on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 11:32am BST

"One thing is clear - we need to walk apart- we really do not share a faith at all."

Ed, as some of us have already indicated: You are free to move - or to stay. However, if you choose to stay you'd better settle down to the fact that the Church of England already recognizes the call of women into its ministerial work-force. Nothing you can do or say - on this web-site or anywhere else - can change that.

It seems to me that you have a persecution complex and that life would be much more bearable for you if you just accepted the inevitability of women as being capable of leadership roles - in the Church and in the world for which Christ died. If you remain in the C.of E. with your unchangeable view on women in the Church, this could only lead to further mental and emotional stress - for you and your congregation. There's no need for masochism to prove your fidelity to Rome, you're halfway there.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 11:58am BST

"I'm sorry, I just can't stand it when liberalism "grandstands" and this seemed like it to me." Don't"liberals" know better than to do things that will get the right wing riled up? Can't they hide their paganism? You don't want to get the conservatives mad at you-what if they leave and start their own churches? What if they attack you everywhere on any pretext? What if they distort things to justify their agenda? What's that? Oh, yes, they have already done these things. They haven't even tried to hide their hate and contempt, but we should pander to them anyway. Evensongjunkie reminds of those "liberals" who say "I don't mind gay people as long as they don't act gay or put it in my face." Why is it that all the hatred, bigotry and homophobia we constantly hear is still inducing guilt? Why do we listen? Is it because the right are always telling us that God is on their side? They don't bother to placate anyone, yet we must tiptoe around them in case they are offended. How is that working? Oh yes, it works on Canterbury.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 12:13pm BST

Adam, there is a fine line between doing the right thing and then being obnoxious about it. It's also tantamount to the old saying, if you're going somewhere to look for a fight, then you're probably going to get in one.

Yes, I'm one of those "liberals" that was raised in the pre-1979 (TEC) BCP church. I believe that worship is about God and not a psychotherapy session. I'm gay, and quietly _effectively_ out in my congregation (I really don't talk about it, as polite people used to not do so, just live my life and don't make excuses or apologies) If you want to loo-loo-la-la wave dove kites at your worship "experience" that's fine; remember as liberals yourselves are wont to say, inclusiveness means everybody, even the Special Eds (even as much as you and they piss me off).

Posted by: evensongjunkie on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 6:37pm BST

Perhaps someone would be kind enough to expain to me why expecting authorised Christ centred biblical worship from within the Christian tradition at a Bishops Consecration service makes me colonialist?

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 7:37pm BST

"Perhaps someone would be kind enough to expain to me why expecting authorised Christ centred biblical worship from within the Christian tradition at a Bishops Consecration service makes me colonialist?"

I think you've missed the point of the post and comments, Father. The parts of the program that you seem to be objecting to (a) weren't part of the liturgy, and (b) seem to have been used at other Anglican and RC venues without objection. Plus, of course, the unexamined assumption that the Amerindian content of the program was "pagan."

Oh, then there was the business of telling us that because we were not in as high a dudgeon as you had worked yourself into, we were obviously heretics. But that's probably another issue.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 11:34pm BST

For the record, just because someone doesn't find the liturgy, even with the pre-liturgical filler, damnable heresy doesn't mean that they *do* find it an example of good liturgy. I'm not a fan of convention center liturgy, or even big, massed liturgy in general (I think most televised Vatican liturgies I've seen are tacky). And I'm more of a Stale Expressions of Church sort of guy, anyway. But the service wasn't meant to appeal to me, necessarily - I'm not from LA, I'm not part of that local community, and I'm positive that there are lots of places in Anglicandom where I'd find the liturgy equally not to my liking.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 11:43pm BST

Perhaps, Ed, because your very question presupposes that what you saw was not "Christ-centered." You apparently have a far narrower view of Christ than many of us.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 31 May 2010 at 12:35am BST

Dear Evensongjunkie. I am a "moderate" Anglo-Catholic who loves traditional music and liturgy and knows it inside out. I know the Prayer Book by heart. As a Canadian, I grew up with all of that and it's still my spirituality. (Iwas born in 1950) I don't go for the BCP Eucharist, but Evensong is just fine. A Solemn Eucharist with music by Byrd and Palestrina and some Vaughan Williams would be my first choice. I actually don't care very much non-traditional stuff and it makes me uncomfortable. But I can't deny its place or those who feel the need for it, nor judge it by my own standards and experience. To each their own. There was nothing truly objectionable about it, especially given some of the strange things done by so-called "orthodox" Anglicans on the charismatic/evangelical side. The "right wing" can have "prayer and praise",espouse some questionable theology, and do some very-unAnglican things, but that doesn't seem to bother you.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Monday, 31 May 2010 at 2:21am BST

Adam you are very good at putting words in others mouth's. Like Bill Dilworth, what I find objectionable is a point when liturgy becomes so self-consciously a show to make a political statement, no matter what the politics. It becomes an exercise in "all about me" in the vague memory of Christ. Psychotherapy with complementary w(h)ine and crackers.

For the record I find loo-loo-la-la kite-flying nonsense as ridiculous as the cursilio-inspired dreck posted on Baby Blue's Truro ex-Anglican parish clips, and what was once a common saying in the Episcopal Church (and suspect the C of E as well) that the only real commandment is good taste. And all of the above might actually fill the spiritual desires of the participants, that I cannot deny. But not liking it doesn't make me a part of the dark side of the force.

I'm not a limousine-liberal. I'm a snob.

Posted by: evensongjunkie on Monday, 31 May 2010 at 11:19am BST

Dear EJ, I'm not sure what words I put into your mouth, but perhaps I was assuming things you had not actually said. I actually agree with you and don't like all the self-conscious grandstanding that seems to go on. Large public liturgies are often overblown and seem anxious to please everybody and cover all the bases. Good taste is much rarer than we think, even among Anglicans. My point is that conservatives of all stripes from Anglo-Catholic to charismatics are also given to overblown and tasteless liturgy, espcially because they love to think that they're the real and only church. As a small town Canadian, who am I to say what should be appropriate in Los Angeles? (Or anywhere else, whether it is Westminster Abbey or somewhere in Africa.) It wouldn't be my cup of tea, but lots of things aren't and people still do them and life goes on. I hate dreadful liturgy, but I'm not the liturgical police.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Monday, 31 May 2010 at 2:34pm BST

It is obvious, Ed, that your entire knowledge of First Nations spirituality is drawn from having watched a few movie westerns as a child.
Here in North America, we need to engage First Nations people as they really are, rather than aqccording to some idiotic, quasi-Manichaean silliness based on the assumption that all Christian theology was written at Oxbridge.

Your attitude is colonialist because you are damning people based on nothing but your own ill-informed prejudices. Not unlike the English colonialists of a few generations back who established a lovely set of policies to kidnap First Nations children, imprison them in boarding schools and extinguish any knowledge of their own culture and language.

Here in Canada, we are still paying for that bit of arrogant, Eurocentric policy. We're not interested in having neo-colonialists like you and Tom Wright blathering on about things you clearly don't understand.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 31 May 2010 at 8:55pm BST

For some sort of record, though recent scholarship does incline away from Pauline authorship (as it does on a few other Epistles), the AV titles it, "The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews." Those using the NRSV should use the title it goes by in that text, however.

I will say that I dread "episcopal liturgies" of this sort, mostly for the length, not the content. Not my dish of tea, but not heresy either...

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Monday, 31 May 2010 at 10:41pm BST
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