Thinking Anglicans

Bishop Katharine: some recent items

First, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued this reflection “For the People of the Episcopal Church”: In this season: Christ in the stranger’s guise. In part it reads:

As the primates of the Anglican Communion prepare to gather next week in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I ask your prayers for all of us, and for our time together. I especially ask you to remember the mission that is our reason for being as the Anglican Communion — God’s mission to heal this broken world. The primates gather for fellowship, study, and conversation at these meetings, begun less than thirty years ago. The ability to know each other and understand our various contexts is the foundation of shared mission. We cannot easily be partners with strangers.

That meeting ends just as Lent begins, and as we approach this season, I would suggest three particularly appropriate attitudes. Traditionally the season has been one in which candidates prepared for baptism through prayer, fasting, and acts of mercy. This year, we might all constructively pray for greater awareness and understanding of the strangers around us, particularly those strangers whom we are not yet ready or able to call friends. That awareness can only come with our own greater investment in discovering the image of God in those strangers. It will require an attitude of humility, recognizing that we can not possibly know the fullness of God if we are unable to recognize his hand at work in unlikely persons or contexts. We might constructively fast from a desire to make assumptions about the motives of those strangers not yet become friends. And finally, we might constructively focus our passions on those in whom Christ is most evident — the suffering, those on the margins, the forgotten, ignored, and overlooked of our world. And as we seek to serve that suffering servant made evident in our midst, we might reflect on what Jesus himself called us — friends (John 15:15)…

Second the American newspaper USA Today carried this interview with Bishop Katharine recently:Episcopal church’s new dawn. Some quotes from it:

“…It’s no longer the social norm to be a Christian,” Jefferts Schori says. Her answer isn’t to ramp up on orthodoxy but to reach out to all ages and cultures with Christlike social action.

Critics say she equivocates on essential doctrine — the necessity for atonement and the exclusivity of salvation through Christ. They cite interviews in which she has said living like Jesus in this world was a more urgent task than worrying about the next world.

“It’s not my job to pick” who is saved. “It’s God’s job,” she tells USA TODAY.

Yes, sin “is pervasive, part of human nature,” but “it’s not the centerpiece of the Christian message. If we spend our time talking about sin and depravity, it is all we see in the world,” she says…

…Indeed, asked about her critics, Jefferts Schori doesn’t blink. She leans in, drops her voice even lower and cuts to the chase.

She sees two strands of faith: One is “most concerned with atonement, that Jesus died for our sins and our most important task is to repent.” But the other is “the more gracious strand,” says the bishop who dresses like a sunrise.

“It is to talk about life, to claim the joy and the blessings for good that it offers, to look forward.

“God became human in order that we may become divine. That’s our task.”

Anglican Scotist rebutted some of the unwarranted attacks on her a month ago in PB Schori and Right Belief. And Jim Naughton had this piece on the same day.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
28 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
13 years ago

Something of a refreshing and hopeful vision of the Christian calling when compared with the gentleman currently in charge of a diocese 100m north of here. The AAC reaction, that it’s ‘bizarre’ to see that there’s rather more to the Good News than sin, tells us more about the AAC than they might want us to know. Frankly, their guy reminds me of the pro-Arian bishops who arraigned Athanasius on the charge of murdering Arsenius and cutting of his hand to use in the black arts (‘a hand of glory’ I believe it’s called). When Athanasius ran Arsenius down in… Read more »

laurence
laurence
13 years ago

Wonderful ! She brings Christianity to life. Her emphasis on Frienships from the fourth gospel, is very important and timely. She makes faith seem possible. She speaks my mind.

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

++Jefferts Schori quotes a Celtic prayer with a beautiful trinitarian reference; but, sadly and predictably, it will be grist to the mill of her self-styled orthodox detractors who accuse her of being a pagan or a New Age wiccan priestess. Never has anyone had so many detractors among so-called Bible-believing Christians, claiming to sit on the righ hand of God judging the “quick and the dead”.

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

As Christians we are commanded to love the World God gave us contra mundum. However, the forces of darkness are strong and ever-rising:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20070128_christianists_on_the_march

(I pinched this link from the mailing-list of the House of Bishops & Deputies)

Pluralist
13 years ago

There’s a real sense, isn’t there, that whereas all around people seem to be losing their heads, Katharine Jefferts Schori is keeping hers.

laurence
laurence
13 years ago

Goran – thanks for the link. Very interesting -and worrying.

Pluralist – that’s IT –she keeps a clear head. She keeps her head under pressure. What an evangelist is she !

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
13 years ago

“++Jefferts Schori quotes a Celtic prayer with a beautiful trinitarian reference; but, sadly and predictably, it will be grist to the mill of her self-styled orthodox detractors who accuse her of being a pagan or a New Age wiccan priestess” Or a Pelagian. We all ‘know’ that Celtic spirituality is thinly-disguised neo-Pelagian nature-worship! Seriously, I emailed ++Katharine’s complete piece to a friend who has been away from TEC for some years, discouraged by what she sees as its lack of spiritual direction and mealy-mouthedness. She emailed me back saying, ‘Wow! THIS is a breath of fresh air!” I’m hoping she’ll… Read more »

Byron
Byron
13 years ago

Yes ++Katherine is wonderful. Let us hope she can use her considerable clarity of thought and warmth with the hard-hearted Primates beginning next week. She is speaking at our church here in Oregon in early March – I can’t wait!

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“she has said living like Jesus in this world was a more urgent task than worrying about the next world.” This, or course, is an utterly shocking statement. I mean, Redemption is really all about getting into Heaven when we die, right? Otherwise, why obey? +Akinola himself has said that human suffering doesn’t matter, so it doesn’t matter, simple. Besides, living like Jesus means obeying, right? Tongue out of cheek, I think she’s terribly refreshing. I would really like it if one of her detractors would tell me where it is she repudiates Christian orthodoxy, as they claim. Statements have… Read more »

James
James
13 years ago

I am not going to leave the church because of Bishop Schori–but I don’t agree with her theology. I think it’s flakey and new-agey and not particularly orthodox, but probably too ill-defined to be heresy. The fact that I support staying in TEC is not a vote of support for her or her theology. I really hope she comes away from this meeting with a realization that life is not just a bowl of cherries, and the problems facing the Global South, or anywhere, can’t be solved with nicey-nice pictures of Jesus singing Kum-Ba-Yah.

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

David Virtue is ranting and raving against PB Schori’s post-modern theology that calls for compassion toward the poor, while, allegedly, denying Christ’s atoning death on the Cross. In support of his reading of ++Schori’s theology, Mr. Virtue quotes the Rev. David C Anderson, no longer a member of TEC but of the schismatic CANA Club headed by the Primate and Metropolitan of the Church of Nigeria.

May the good Lord deliver us from the “evangelical” gospel of indifference to plight of the poor, ignoring as it does our Lord’s teaching in Matthew 25!

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“I think it’s flakey and new-agey and not particularly orthodox” How so? “David Virtue …… allegedly, denying Christ’s atoning death on the Cross.” This, as far as I can see, means she has her doubts about Penal Substitutionary Atonement, probably linked to her unwillingness to state that if you ain’t Christian, you are going to Hell. The first time I expressed my doubts about PSA, I was accused of denying the need for atonement at all, as though 1500 years of Christian ideas about the Atonement meant nothing, if it ain’t PSA, it ain’t atonement! How did this one particular… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
13 years ago

She is a breath of fresh air. With a theology that looks at the implications of Jesus’ intent and actions for THIS world, her foot keeps open a door that others would like closed. May her respect for the souls of this world (Christian or otherwise, liberal or otherwise) inspire others. This inclusive, compassionate, accountable kind of theology has hopes of bringing God’s life to parched lands. My prayers are that in making a stand against Schori, those who dismiss the needs of this world are as discredited when they tried to stop the greening of the evangelical movement last… Read more »

Prior Aelred
13 years ago

On another site last night I was defending ++Katharine from the charge of gnosticism because she said, “God became human that human might become divine.” That is, of course, a quatation from St. Athanasius “the Apostolic” (as the Copts call him — “Raisuli” in Arabic) — you don’t get more orthodox that “Athanasius contra mundum!”

Pluralist
13 years ago

Talking about other views, I think Ruth Gledhill’s latest journalism in her “wow” about Zimbabwe and the Mothers’ Union fighting the evils of homosexuality is a new low in her stir-it journalism. She sees it simply as added pressure, of mothers adding pressure to primates in Anglican affairs. This is in Zimbabwe for goodness sake, a nasty, failed, hungry country if ever there was one, and all it can come up with is a demo on anti-homosexuality – no doubt approved of by its embarassing fascist leader Mugabe to gain the approval of this Nigerian-Anglican led drive. She should know… Read more »

James
James
13 years ago

Far from being a breath of fresh air, Bishop Schori is a breath of that tired old “Jesus-is-my-buddy” 70’s theology. I would like a Presiding Bishop who realized the atonement was best expressed in our Prayer of Humble Access. I would like a Presiding Bishop who believed that Jesus was God’s Only Son, God’s unique and complete revelation of Himself. I am an inclusivist, but one who believes all roads lead to Jesus. (As Stephen Colbert so wittily put it, “I think there are a thousand different paths to accepting Christ as Savior.”) I think she needs to stop dressing… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“Bishop Schori is a breath of that tired old “Jesus-is-my-buddy” 70’s theology” Actually, I see this more clearly in Evangelicalism, what some younger Evangelicals have referred to as the “Jesus is my boyfriend” phenomenon. Can you please explain how she denies the uniqueness of Christ, since what I read seems to be the “all roads lead to Jesus” idea that you find so acceptable. I’ve read this charge a hundred times, no-one has ever backed it up. I know people who read what the AAC prints like to trumpet it quite loudly but the ACC’s ability to distort reality to… Read more »

James
James
13 years ago

She has said things to the effect that for her, Jesus is the Savior, but God is not limited to Jesus. I believe that God is limited to Jesus as a means of salvation–though Jesus might be at work invisibly in other religions. But whenever someone is saved, it is because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. That is what inclusivism is–and I don’t see that Bishop Schori is an inclusivist. I really see her brand of theology as Jesus playing a white piano, singing, “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try/no hell below us, above us… Read more »

Chris
Chris
13 years ago

I have three issues with the Anglican Scotist analysis of PB Schori’s statements: 1) If we accept that there are multiple paths to God, then what is the point of Jesus’s death and resurrection? We can say its a demonstration of God’s love, but is it a reasonable demonstration? Is it an effective or relevant demonstration when we are left with so many problems? We claim God gave us reason and that He is the source of reason, therefore His actions should be reasonable ; a meaningless, ineffective demonstration of love does not seem reasonable. Self sacrifice to the point… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Dear Chris,

your point one is the Great Neo Platonist Error.

God is not The Highest Being. He did not give y o u His Reason.

Nor for you to judge what is “reasonable”. Read Job!

Nor for you to judge at all, actually. Read the rest of the Bible!

seeker
seeker
13 years ago

James do you relish the thought of ‘the sufferings of the damned’ then ? If you leave out the ‘Evangel’, you are left with ‘icalsim’.
The white piano is your picture, a product of your mind–not the PB’s. Yes, I’m afraid it seems to be a case of :-

ICALISM

Chris you might want –eventually to branch out from your chosen verse. No hury. Meanwhile, here’s another for you (same page, so no pages to turn ! : – )

IT is : –
John 14: 1

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“She has said things to the effect that for her, Jesus is the Savior, but God is not limited to Jesus.” Well, unless I miss my guess, the Church’s attitude to other religions is that they are not incorrect, but incomplete. The pagans saw some of the Light, the Jews were allowed to see more of it, we see it in its fullness. So I don’t really see that saying God is not limited to Jesus is heretical. “whenever someone is saved, it is because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross” I don’t see this as contradicting the above… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

Chris, The salvific effect of the Incarnation, all of it, is not because we believe it. God becomes a created being so He can restore all of Creation to the state of Grace it existed in before the Fall, the result of our disobedience, corrupted it. Creation is redeemed whether WE believe in Christ or not. For a reason only God knows, He could only redeem His creation by becoming part of it. Our faith is our assent, our acknowledgement of what He has done, and our statement that we want to walk in the light, not in the darkness.… Read more »

seeker
seeker
13 years ago

Brilliant ! Ford. Tanks

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

James,

I believe that it is God-in-Christ Who saves: some way, some how, some time/all-the-time.

It is not the human action of BELIEVING in God-in-Christ (much less, a *particular* belief) which saves.

I stand w/ ++Katharine (and, IMHO, the Christian faithful of the ages): your God, James, is TOO SMALL.

Fr Joseph O'Leary
13 years ago

What is admirable about Bp Jefferts Schori is her policy of bringing love to bear on her worst enemies — she wants to educated them in the ways of dialogue and acceptance, and that is indeed the attitude of a mature Christian pastor. I was very disappointed with Bp Wright’s recent rants — they savour of ideology rather than of comprehensive pastoral vision.

Chris
Chris
13 years ago

Goran – I am not judging people I am critiquing an idea someone prospered. No, God did not give us – or me – His reason, but He did give us reason and expects us to use it. seeker – thanks…. Ford – Yes, we do agree and that was very well said. I heed Paul’s call to the Philippians; I do struggle with how God will judge those who either don’t hear the Gospel or are unable to construct a response to it (i.e. the very young or mentally challenged, etc.). I’m not a theologian either so I’m sure… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
13 years ago

Chris confessed:
I do struggle with how God will judge those who either don’t hear the Gospel or are unable to construct a response to it (i.e. the very young or mentally challenged, etc.).

Don’t struggle: it’s God’s problem, and if he wants to set up unjumpable barriers he can do, I suppose. Makes him a pretty rubbish Saviour, though.

That well-known scourge of Conservatives JPII had something to say on the subject, I recall, which implied that he didn’t think scripture had the last word on the fate of those who trespass on the more exclusive bits of GJ.

28
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x