Apparently, Orombi has completely abandoned the idea that dioceses and churches in the Anglican polity are geographical entities.
In that case, Jefforts-Schori would be perfectly in her rights to find a church in Uganda that objects to Orombi's policies and to "minister" to it as a parish in TEC.
I suspect Orombi would cry foul at that, however.
Well, Orombi shows himself to be an able politician in that he repeats the Donatist-Scismatic line with out even blinking. One could break each of these accusations down, but that has been done before in the rope-a-dope that passes for the communications of the Communion thus far.
I suppose that the most egregious is the insistence that Windsor makes no requirements of these purple clad thieves.
If a Brazilian Bishop wrote this we would hear accusations that it was paid for by TEC. Of course if I were to say that about the IRD as Orombi’s paymasters, I would be accused of racism. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander, are different things I suppose.
"... they support us, they give us money. Oh they give us money. Since we began to relate with our orthodox brethren they have given us much more money, much more money, oh yeah, much more money. They have given us more money."
Henry Orombi on his relationship with his "reasserter" brethren. Unedited transcript from an interview for Anglican TV. September, 2007.
TEC would not be in court had the departing Diocese of Virginia people not filed [simultaneous and identical - what a coinikidink!] lawsuits in an attempt to steal property held in trust for TEC.
The rest of his letter does not merit comment.
While I have to agree with your point, on the other hand I would argue that such a step (TEC trying to intervene in Global South jurisdictions in retaliation) not be remotely considered. We have to exercise as much restraint and charity as possible and hope to weather out the storm. Otherwise it just makes the schism a final reality, with no turning back.
Orombi is the man recently singled out by Bishop N T Wright of Durham as a "great leader".
He has recently said that the American church has to die: http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002677.html
His humility is well short of Archbishop Akinola's achievement of embarrassing people.
I am sure we all reach a point when this sort of behaviour undermines our confidence in the church, and in our Christian leaders. I am sad to say that I am reaching that point.
The only breathtaking arrogance I see is someone hypocritically claiming that, because his sin isn't as bad as the other sin, he should be allowed to keep doing it.
This is the same way hypocrites have always used homophobia. They make out homosexuality as the worst sin - even though it didn't make it to "the top ten." Then they can justify every act of idolatry, every act of covetousness, every other sin as acceptable or even holy because "at list I don't do THAT."
"Sure I'm an idolator, an adulterer and even a murderer - but at least I'm not gay."
A Ugandan making territorial claims in the Heart of the Confederacy*: oh, the irony...
* The Confederacy still cherished, no doubt, at this "a congregation that is part of the Church of Uganda" [sic]. Check this out: http://revjph.blogspot.com/2008/05/cana-show-their-true-colours.html (A member of Akinola's U.S. flock, afraid to ask him to send a priest, for fear he "will send them a black person.")
In that case, Jefforts-Schori would be perfectly in her rights to find a church in Uganda that objects to Orombi's policies and to "minister" to it as a parish in TEC.
I suspect Orombi would cry foul at that, however.
Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 16 May 2008 at 1:34pm BST
Orombi is not a balanced man and "fair play" doesn't exist for him:
Orombi destroyed the INTEGRITY UGANDA group/center and demoralized the leadership, scattered the flock and silenced it's +patron (perhaps the ABC wasn't paying attention or simply didn't care)...there was simultaneously a phony online emergency "fundraiser" to release from prison the priest in charge (heterosexual/I've got all the names correspondence if anyone is interested) of Integrity Uganda...the priest,Fr. Eric Kasirye, never was in jail...but later he was elevated within the Province apparently for his efforts to deceive/raise cash and outcast LGBT Christians in Uganda...personally, I bought into the con job to the tune of ONE THOUSAND U.S. dollars...foolish me, but very foolish of Orombi and his accomplice/puppets to show us the REAL lack of virtue the Provincial Ugandan leadership represented by them at the Anglican Communion...cheap at twice the price, that glimpse of cold-blooded abuse and arrogance.
This is one of the church leaders Archbishop Williams thinks he is going to pacify in the interest of unity? Good luck.
Archbishop Orombi doesn't seem at all interested in Windsor processes and peaceful coexistence in a spirit of love and respect for difference - just in getting his way, if he can. Meanwhile, it's Bishop Robinson who doesn't get invited to Lambeth. This is clearly the Anglican Communion's version of Bizarro World.
Good idea Pat! Why not? The Presiding Bishop would be quite within her rights to found congregations in Africa as you suggest. There will certainly be Lesbian and Gay Africans who would welcome such a move. Let the Apostolic mission commence...
Kudos to Orombi for speedy, efficacious spin doctoring in reply to KJS' letter to him.
He will eventually reap all or most or some of the whirlwind blowback he is so busily sowing to the four winds in an effort to narrow Anglican spaces, and claim Anglican oxygen that God offers to everybody as his own special, high-conservative blend O2. Or not. Or not much. God after all graces us with something less that tit for tat in our frail, brave lifecycles.
KJS had to write him, however, for to let his visit pass without noticing right before Lambeth would not exactly be ethical, either.
Best parts? Well this whole conservative business of having to be protected from queer folks - say the highly trained neurosurgeon who is operating tomorrow on your young son's hematoma due to traumatic head injury? - is sad and hilarious and factually as weighty as pink cotton candy - all at the same time.
Don't ask Orombi's help in signing the consent forms, then, for your son's urgent treatment. He is still too afraid that your son as patient must be duly protected - by folks just like him? - from queer folks and their cooties.
Alas. Lord have mercy.
The third world countries don't have the nation-state traditions to the same extent as the West and maybe the idea of national churches is a casualty. The Global South churches are more like personal prelatures, centered on the charisma of their primate, and welcoming members from anywhere in the world. Tribal, in a way. I think the naational churches are going to have to adapt to it.
"The Global South churches are more like personal prelatures, centered on the charisma of their primate..."
And what happens to the church when that charismatic primate dies...or is revealed as having feet of clay...and his replacement is not as "wonderful"?
For that matter, what prevents such a "personal prelature" from becoming a cult of personality?
Take it from me, white southern or Bible Belt USA conservatives do not want to find themselves taking orders from strict African bishops or priests, any more than they would set themselves up to take orders from some bishop or priest whom they regarded as revisionist aka liberal aka progressive.
In odd and combination ways, the heat and ire against queer folks gathers often to itself this or that remnant of former - now less automatically true and worthy? - prejudices about non-white citizens and about women - all in traditional negative frames that owe much to tribal and cultic orders of superior male being or power. Less abstractly, white males still think and feel that surely God must have meant for them to exist at the top of the global heaps, to live and wield power over non-white citizens and over women. These beliefs are just not all that dead, nor all that far back in our global histories.
So they still lay vigorous claim to being essentially Anglican.
"personal prelatures, centered on the charisma of their primate, and welcoming members from anywhere in the world. Tribal, in a way."
How is this---in any way, shape or form---ANGLICAN, Truckee? (nice handle, BTW: brings back memories of the Sierra Nevada mountains)
And if it's not, why should the national churches of the ANGLICAN Communion "adapt to it"?
"The only breathtaking arrogance I see is someone hypocritically claiming that, because his sin isn't as bad as the other sin, he should be allowed to keep doing it."
Hmmm, the Dar es Salaam stated that the interventions were unfortunate but would continue till an oversight scheme was put into place. This was assented by all the primates including KJS.
I just got back from a wonderful Anglican men's retreat. ABp Orombi was a featured speaker. Though a lot of the readers here are too hard hearted to hear this, but he is a humble, caring man seeking after God' heart. Bp O'Neill at our last convention stated that if he wasn't addressed by "Rt Rev O'Neill", he would not recognize the speaker. I contrast this with ABp Orombi who put on no such airs. He brought several lay men from Uganda and they discussed how their faith impacted their marriage and work lives. They were obviously in awe the archbishop, but he would have none of that and graciously thanked them after their talks and referred to them as brothers (as he did to all of us). I talked to him on several occasions and he was simply warm and caring. One of the guys was moved to dedicate his life more fully to the Lord after hearing a talk by ABp Orombi, not just go through church motions. ABp Orombi heard about this and invited him to his cabin and they prayed for an hour. The older guy recounted this encounter with the archbishop for the full group and had tears welling up. It was very moving.
There still remains, it seems to me, the small matter or decency and manners.
Not to mention treating others as one self would like to be treated...
If KJS assented to anything at Dar, she was mistaken in doing so; the PB of TEC has no power to agree to anything for TEC...only general convention (or, in between GC years, the House of Bishops) can make binding policy for TEC.
I'm pretty sure KJS knows this and wouldn't have assented to anything beyond saying something like "I will take this to my House of Bishops".
Oh--and that description of your encounter with Orombi sounds an awful lot like descriptions of encounters with the likes of Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts, and many even worse on the US scene.
I'm not impressed by men who claim no special abilities, yet accept that others grant them to them.
Robroy's account of Archbishop Orombi's visit - the charisma I was talking of above.
"And what happens to the church when that charismatic primate dies...or is revealed as having feet of clay...and his replacement is not as "wonderful"? For that matter, what prevents such a "personal prelature" from becoming a cult of personality?" -Pat O'Neill
Nothing prevents it from becoming a cult of personality, like megachurch and TV preachers. In fact, it tends to become a personality-centered church all down the line. That's surely the impression I get from the South American San Joaquin diocese, for example. When the central charismatic figure departs, the followers have to look around and find another one, which may take a while or even be unsuccessful for some. Like when a megachurch figure dies or falls into disrepute - people scramble around.
"How is this---in any way, shape or form---ANGLICAN? And if it's not, why should the national churches of the ANGLICAN Communion "adapt to it"?" - JCF
If geographic provinces are required to be Anglican, then it is not Anglican. But I am not sure this is the essence of Anglicanism. The national churches have to adapt to it because the incursions have happened and will likely continue, and there doesn't seem to be anything to be done about it, other than complain to a decreasing audience of people willing to listen. Just the facts on the ground.
He may be visiting a parish that has purported to place itself in his care, but of course such a move is ultra vires and invalid. If they are an Anglican church in the United States, they are subject to the canons of ECUSA - unless they want to start their own continuing denomination, a far more honest option than saying one wants to belong the Communion through a Province one does not live in.
Robroy, try telling the truth about what the Dar document said. Any conservatives telling the truth would be a refreshing change.
Robroy wrote: "Hmmm, the Dar es Salaam stated that the interventions were unfortunate but would continue till an oversight scheme was put into place. This was assented by all the primates including KJS."
One for thenm!!! is the motto of this Age, don't you think?
The Age of Guantánamo.
BTW I have heard of several AlPO schemes being proposed over the years for the benefit of the seceders, but all to no avail.
All have been rejected.
So I don’t think “alterative oversight” is more than a (another) ploy.
Malcolm+ writes: "Robroy, try telling the truth about what the Dar document said. Any conservatives telling the truth would be a refreshing change."
I don't really understand this. ABp Orombi quotes the document directly. Here are the fuller citations:
"The Windsor Report did not see a “moral equivalence” between these events [actions by the churches of Canada and the U.S. and "border crossing"], since the cross-boundary interventions arose from a deep concern for the welfare of Anglicans in the face of innovation."
"Second, those of us who have intervened in other jurisdictions believe that we cannot abandon those who have appealed to us for pastoral care in situations in which they find themselves at odds with the normal jurisdiction. For interventions to cease, what is required in their view is a robust scheme of pastoral oversight to provide individuals and congregations alienated from The Episcopal Church with adequate space to flourish within the life of that church in the period leading up to the conclusion of the Covenant Process."
"he is a humble, caring man seeking after God' heart."
Well, then, let him prove it. Let him acknowledge some truths. Let him repent of his role in opposing such truths. He could start by addressing the following:
gay people do not choose their sexuality; so called "ex-gay" ministries are dangerous, drive people to suicide, and manipulate damaged vulnerable people; the current rhetoric from the Right is contributing to an environment that legitimizes anti-gay violence, and he could also at this point admit that there actually IS such a thing as anti-gay violence. Let him acknowledge that TEC is not actually under the control of faithless pagans who are seeking to destroy the Church, let him acknowledge that despite his profound disagreements with them, his opponents in TEC are actually acting in accord with what they believe is God's call to them. Let him disavow claims that gay people are unhuman, less than animals, and deserve imprisonment. Let him do these things, since they are all surely the actions of a man who is "seeking after God's heart". Can you not understand why it is hard for people like me to see in him someone who is "seeking after God's heart"? What in his public statements would give me any indication that this is true?
Ford, Don't expect an answer from RobRoy to your latest post. I lurk on TA a lot. I have noticed that the conservatives tend to abandon their posts, so to speak, the minute a passionate challenge like yours appears. I finally figured out (slow me) that the difference between so-called conservative free speech and progressive free speech is that what conservatives want is the right to publicly vilify those they despise. They want to call people names. What they don't want is dialogue that demands that they examine their assumptions in the light of actual facts, and they refuse to admit the harm that their kind of speech inflicts. When it comes to that, they slope off or fall into the "Yo mama" boilerplate typical of the right wing. Mostly they slope off. I wonder if it's because they don't really take any of this seriously. It may be that they are just counting coup, if you are familiar with the practice of the indigenous people of the Great Plains. They're making a raid on the enemy and going back to boast about the scalps they could have taken.
Susan, as I just explained on another thread, my postings here do seem to generate some heat, but I do not want to overstay my guest status here, so I limit my postings to a couple a day. But let me respond briefly to Ford's questions:
"Gays don't choose their sexuality." Possibly true, possibly false but wholly irrelevant. (There was a study that showed that 70% of females who stated they were lesbian as a teen, said they were heterosexual in their 30's.) A disposition towards alcohol or drug dependency is most certainly hardwired. This can be genetic or acquired. (The use of drugs in adolescence upregulates neurotransmitter receptors to that drug.) We, Christians, are called to be sober regardless.
"Ex-gay ministries cause suicide." The problem of suicide in homosexual youth is disturbingly real. Have ex-gay ministries(EGM) been shown to increase the rate? As one African-American minister said, I don't know any ex-blacks but I know personally hundreds of ex-gays. I would argue that programs that seek to convince confused hormone-raging teens that they are homosexual are much more dangerous.
"...gay people are unhuman, less than animals, and deserve imprisonment." I think you confuse ABp Orombi with the attempts to bear false witness against ABp Akinola. The exact quote of Akinola was "I cannot think how a man in his sense would be having a sexual relationship with another man. Even in the world of animals - dogs, cows, lions - we don't hear of such things." Thus, ABp Akinola argues, perhaps not very effectively, that homosexuality is unnatural, not "less than human" or "beneath animals." So should ABp Orombi disavow slanderous remarks made against ABp Akinola?
I would invite you to go to AnglicanTV and look at the videos of the man before you judge him.
"Ford, Don't expect an answer from RobRoy to your latest post."
Oh, I don't. After 2 years here, I have realized that any such statements on my part are just so much venting. That's largely why I tend to slip into sarcasm and scorn more and more frequently. Even those conservatives who, in some cases I believe sincerely, claim to want dialogue put the walls up the minute you challenge their base assumptions. They have so far bought into the persecution myth that it is now, I think, impossible to change those assumptions. Anyone who isn't an Evangelical, or at least agrees with them on homosexuality, is perforce a liberal. Any such person, by definition, believes in nothing other than the adulation of the world. They have no faith because they do not have Evangelical type beliefs. Now where have I heard THAT before? Even Evangelicals who dare to go to Lambeth with the heathen are suspect. Also, the Gospel is under great threat from these liberal pagans. God will allow the Gospel to disappear, it seems, if the conservatives don't rally the troops and drive off the forces of unrighteousness, as defined by their lack of unbridled hatred for homosexuals. Oh but they don't hate gay people! THEY don't say all these nasty things! No, they just let other people do it for them and say nothing against it. The idea that God would let the Gospel die reveals to me a lack of faith far greater than anything they accuse the Left of. What's interesting is they way they can't seem to see that their malicious actions put the lie to their pious words. I don't even think they need to stop behaving like that. It is incredibly hard for me to stop reviling them, after all, so I can cut them a great deal of slack on that score, but they could at least admit that reviling one's neighbour is mentioned as a bar to the Kingdom IN THE SAME VERSE as homosexuality!
"Possibly true, possibly false but wholly irrelevant."
I agree we are called away from things we may be hardwired to do. Yet, the Right deliberately gives the impression that gay people are wilfully rebelling against God. The same has been said here. It is used to paint us out as evil, and makes it easier for the haters to hate, so it isn't irrelevant. Gay people and science tell you quite clearly it is false. Why do you, a straight man, say otherwise? The fact that you know a lot of vulnerable people, many of whom may not have been gay in the first place, who were manipulated by people with a conservative religious/political agenda? Great sample! Did you make a conscious choice to live a heterosexual lifestyle? If not, what makes you think I made a choice? If the way we are hardwired is irrelevant, why do conservatives ignore science that says otherwise? Why do they defend a propagandist masquerading as a scientist (Cameron)? Can you not make the argument that we are called to celebacy without misrepresenting the facts of our lives? It is a perfectly reasonable argument that would have a lot more weight if it were not couched in falsehood, propaganda, and misrepresentation.
"Have ex-gay ministries(EGM) been shown to increase the rate?"
Yes. One of the founders of Exodus quit when he realized how many he had done this to. The scientific community does not accept this "therapy". Even it's supporters give it a "success" rate less than 50%. If this were a drug, it would never receive approval for use.
Ford, if you are really interested in orthodox engaging in the "listening process", you will cease the ad hominem accusation that orthodox are "hateful." I follow Lambeth 1.10 which states "in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;" and "rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture." This is not hateful. I also believe that cohabitation is incompatible with scripture. If I say that also, is that hateful? No. I think that divorced and remarried people are inappropriate for clergy. Is this hateful? No.
"Did you make a conscious choice to live a heterosexual lifestyle? If not, what makes you think I made a choice?" My father and three brothers all have had problems with alcohol or drug dependence. I made a choice. While I am not a teetotaler, I don't drink more than one drink at a time and no more than once a week. People may not choose to have same sex attractions, but to act on them or not is certainly a choice.
"Even it's supporters give it a "success" rate less than 50%. If this were a drug, it would never receive approval for use." There are two drugs approved for smoking cessation. Neither are anywhere close to 50% success at 12 mos. Interestingly, it would improve longevity to renounce active homosexuality and take up smoking.
"Yes. One of the founders of Exodus quit when he realized how many he had done this to." As I said, suicide in the homosexual population is alarmingly high. And no, it is not because of societal homophobia, a theory debunked by looking at rates in liberal and conservative countries. One simply can't answer the question whether ex-gay ministries increases or decreases this rate with anecdotal evidence.
robroy: please do not confuse "orthodox" and anti-gay. You do not have a monopoly on the definition of "orthodox", and I'm getting so fed up with hard-liners telling me I'm not a Christian because I have a different view from them. To be orthodox or not has historically meant to be in agreement with the credal and conciliar statements of doctrine: I would be surprised if any of the General Councils of the Church had ever mentioned homosexuality; the creeds certainly don't. And the Lambeth Conference is not a General Council of the Church. So please, don't elevate an issue of petty prejudice to the same level as the really big heresies condemned by the General Councils of the Church, such as Arianism or Protestantism.
"Interestingly, it would improve longevity to renounce active homosexuality and take up smoking."
Really? How? Don't quote Cameron, please, give me some reliable science, not propaganda. And just because you think American, or British, society is besides the point. We still get killed just for being gay, even in what you seem to think is the Great Sodom. Me being gay is even seen in some places as mitigating circumstances that will get you a lesser sentence for killing me. Just because you are upset over Western liberality doesn't mean I'm safe.
I do not base accusations of conservative hatefulness on pious sounding statements of "disapproval" of homosexuality based on Scriptural interpretation. It is not their opposition to homosexuality, it is the way they make their point and the tactics they use. As I said elsewhere, I would have a very difficult time indeed opposing the conservative position if it were put forward with integrity and honesty by people whose lives revealed that they actually believe the principles they are trying to force down my throat, though I'd still have trouble with the idea that they had some sort of right to force those principles on me. This is not the case. The Conservative position is couched in dishonesty, dissembling, reviling, and hatred that is obvious to everyone but conservatives, apparently. I have been quite clear on what it is about the conservative line that puts the lie to their piety. If you have not listened, it isn't my fault, but disabuse yourself of the delusion that I take offence at your beliefs concerning God's will for gay people. And I repeat, I agree that what God calls me to be is more important than what He made me as in the beginning. You may be right, He may be calling me to celebacy. But, until the Right can make this point to me in an honest, caring way that reveals that they actually DO believe the Gospel and try to practice its precepts, why should I listen to them? They don't even understand some of its basic concepts, if their behaviour is anything to go by.
""Did you make a conscious choice to live a heterosexual lifestyle? If not, what makes you think I made a choice?" My father and three brothers all have had problems with alcohol or drug dependence. I made a choice. While I am not a teetotaler, I don't drink more than one drink at a time and no more than once a week. People may not choose to have same sex attractions, but to act on them or not is certainly a choice."
False analogy. In order to become an alcoholic or drug addict, one must first--in one way or another--be introduced to alcohol or an addictive drug. To imbibe or intake is definitely a choice. But to experience a sexual attraction to a member of the same sex requires only meeting other members of that sex. That's not a choice...that's life.
"I'm getting so fed up with hard-liners telling me I'm not a Christian because I have a different view from them. To be orthodox or not has historically meant to be in agreement with the credal and conciliar statements of doctrine: I would be surprised if any of the General Councils of the Church had ever mentioned homosexuality; the creeds certainly don't." I admit that you and Gene Robinson are free to call yourselves orthodox. Of course, there are no creeds saying "I will not be a homosexual." There are no creeds saying "I will not commit adultery", either. But if I set up the church of free love, most reasonable people would consider that unorthodox.
We have talked about how liberalism has, in a couple of generations time, caused the near total elimination of Christianity in formerly Christian countries like Sweden. It is simply not possible to not question your commitment to the faith if you would like to replay these tragedies in Britain, Canada, and the U.S.
I think you will find it difficult to prove that it is "liberalism" that caused the decline of Christianity in Sweden (or anywhere else).
That one thing is on the rise while another declines is correlation, not causation. Many things correlate with one another that have no cause-and-effect relationship. For instance, temperatures rise in the Northern Hemisphere every spring while simultaneously millions of school children graduate. Are the graduation ceremonies causing the temperature rise? Or vice-versa?
And, if there is a cause-effect relationship between liberalism and Christianity, how do we know it is not the reverse of what you claim--that the decline of Christianity is causing the rise of liberalism?
Robroy, Nice to see you have proved me wrong for the moment. But you failed to answer the question: Did you make a conscious choice to live a heterosexual life style? You skipped that question to note the substance abuse in your family. By association, you class homosexuality as pathology with substance abuse. Apples and oranges.
My partner of 21 years (Ph.D. in genetics, ten years as a geneticist) says research does NOT show sexuality or substance addiction is hardwired. Both are extremely complex phenomena and neither (pace everyone who "believes" otherwise) has a definitive, traceable genetic pathway. You want to be able to predict outcomes. We are nowhere near being able to do that for sexuality, substance abuse or a host of human complexities that people would love to settle by claiming they originate in "nature."
One difficulty of drawing practical conclusions from scientific research is that you must be sure researchers are defining and measuring the same phenomena in the same way. Take your assertions about homosexuality and suicide. First, how did researchers identify the homosexual population? Were the suicides among self-identified homosexuals? Under what circumstances did they commit suicide? Did they belong to any other groups that are at higher risk for suicide than the general population, e.g. substance abusers, incest survivors, prostitutes, psychiatrists, social workers, lawyers, and combat veterans with post-traumatic stress? A person can belong to several of these categories. If homosexuals belonged to any of these groups, then how do you separate these factors from their homosexuality and decide which was decisive in their suicides? Are self-identified homosexuals not belonging to these groups at higher risk for suicide than the general population? Do you know?
LGBTs in the West have come decisively out of the shadows only in the past 50 years; our social profiles are changing rapidly. Research on Western LGBTs from only 10 years ago may not be valid today. Robroy, spend more time listening to us talk about how we came to understand our sexuality and our faith, and less time dismissing our experience with dubious "studies." As Christian LGBTs, we understand that we are called to be Christians, and as Christians to faithful monogamy, not celibacy.
"It is simply not possible to not question your commitment to the faith if you would like to replay these tragedies in Britain, Canada, and the U.S."
How so? It isn't about "replaying" these tragedies in other countries. The Church has fallen from grace in Canada because of past abuse of power. The resdidential school scandal for Anglicans, sexual abuse for Romans, all have cemented a developing disillusionment with the Church as the pit prop of society. Frankly, the Church has lost Her moral authority, and She won't get it back screaming for the "good old days" when She had the power to dictate everyone else's lives. It has nothing to do with creeping liberalism or the barbarians at the gate or anything else other than the past arrogance of the Church. This arrogance and abuse of power are the reasons why people who no longer HAVE to go to Church don't want anything to do with an organization they see as arrogant and hypocritical, or, as one of my friends calls it "a despicable religion".
robroy: the Church is going down the pan in Europe not because it is "liberal", but largely because it is in the hands of extremists who are more concerned with keeping people out than attracting new ones in. The reason they do this is not because they are specially godly, but because they use Church as a shield behind which to hide from all sorts of societal issues they can't deal with. Theology doesn't come into it, but psychology clearly does (and my degree was in Theology).
I don't need to be patronised about this: I work to bring people in to church, and I see again and again people who have been wounded by harsh institutional religion, who have been psychologically abused by clergy and others making them feel evil, because they are divorced/ single parents/ gay/ just see things a bit alternatively or whatever. Turning Church into a club for the oh-so-righteous stinks. Just let's concentrate on God-centred worship and developing a strong spiritual life, and the rest will all take care of itself: there's no need to try to excommunicate anyone else in order to achieve that.
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