Sunday, July 8, 2012

Good Morning, ECUSA - Welcome to Your Future!

Two telling glimpses of what the Episcopal Church (USA) is becoming, in front of our very eyes, appeared in General Convention commentaries today. The first came up in the context of a proposal to authorize the use in church readings of the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible. The ESV is essentially a revision of the already-authorized Revised Standard Version of 1971, and has received scholarly approval, on the whole. (Your Curmudgeon has the Study Version on his desk, and consults it regularly to compare with other versions. Its complete text, like that of the New English Translation, is available free online.) Let on-the-scene reporter Lauren Anderson tell the tale:
The House of Deputies is considering the authorization of new translations of the Bible, including the English Standard Version with the Apocrypha, for use in lectionary readings.   
While discussing a proposed resolution to add the Contemporary English Version (1995) and The Contemporary English Version Global (2005) to the list of authorized translations, the English Standard Version was proposed as an additional translation option. 
Proponents said the ESV is widely used and growing in popularity, and has the additional benefit of being available free on the web, making it an efficient option for preparing handouts and PowerPoint media. 
“The English Standard Version is a wonderfully popular version. We’re trying to be relevant. We’re trying to be current. We’re trying to become more and more in touch with the world around us. This version is,” said the Ven. David Collum of the Diocese of Albany. 
Others opposed the amendment, saying it is not within the purview of the House of Deputies to make a decision about authorizing Bible translations. 
“I think for us as a body to micromanage the work of the theologians of the Episcopal Church is not our job,” said Denise Crenshaw of the Diocese of Michigan.
This is the Episcopal Church (USA) as it used to be -- expressing viewpoints of wide diversity, from all over the map. But watch what happened next (pay close attention, now -- I have added the bold to assist you):
Deputies voted in favor of the amendment to add the ESV translation to the resolution, but later reopened the discussion when the validity of the translation was called into question by a deputy who found a verse from the ESV that used the word homosexuality. The house ultimately decided to reconsider the amendment as its first order of business July 8.
Oh, my goodness -- do you realize what happened here? According to the standard LGBTQI mantra, "homosexuality" is a term that cannot be used to translate any word or words in the Bible, because the Bible was written two thousand years ago, when no one could even conceive of, let alone depict or describe, what the term "homosexuality" covers. (See, for instance, the explanations of Resolutions D002 and D019 which passed the House of Bishops earlier today.)

So because of that one word appearing at one place in the ESV, that translation must be BANNED from ALL Episcopal lecterns and pulpits. All thanks to the diligent and quick work of one deputy, whose terrifying announcement was enough to cow the entire House of Deputies into reconsidering the matter.

Anyone care to guess how these paragons of political correctness will vote today, July 8?
[UPDATE 07/08/2012: This morning, in its collective wisdom, the House of Deputies voted viva voce to return the measure back to committee, as though it had never been amended. In effect, it was a vote to let the pro-ESV and anti-ESV forces hash it out in committee, and then see what the Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music sends back to the House.]

Now let us turn to the second glimpse of ECUSA's future. Cherie Wetzel of Anglicans United should need no introduction to SF readers, but she and her husband have been attending and covering General Conventions for nearly twenty years, and perhaps longer. She is a member of a "Prayer Warriors" team at this GC, and takes her duties very seriously, as a loyal, upstanding and orthodox Christian should at these Church-wide affairs. But look what happened when she accidentally and innocently wandered into this (my bold emphasis):
To my surprise this morning I walked into the bathroom designated for transgendered people. The door was not labeled ( it is now) and I was clearly not welcome. Yes, transgendered people are making their presence known at this Convention and making the push for their place at the table.
Welcome to your future, O Episcopal Church!

Further comment, at this point, would be superfluous.


  1. Think I will read from the ESV in our liturgy the first Sunday after it is banned.

  2. If I could ask KJS one question (that she had to answer), it would be something like this: "You talk about love and including all peoples in the church you lead, but when we look around the Episcopal church and hear the stories of individual Episcopalians (and former Episcopalians), we get another picture of how this institutional church treats people whose belief differs from what is now being professed by your church leaders. How much longer can you keep claiming that ECUSA is an 'inclusive church' when it seems like ECUSA makes more people feel despised and unwelcome than loved and welcomed? (And before you respond, we have the attendance roles for your attention.)"

  3. Response to kiwianglo's demeaning question:

    We are happy to respond to questions here if (a) they are politely and civilly put; and (b) they show an understanding of what the article said. Your query demonstrates neither of those qualities, and so has been consigned to oblivion.

    Moreover, you directed it at the wrong person.

  4. I don't know nor care what kiwianglo said, but your response really tickles me!

  5. I appreciate the humor and insight, and I gratefully acknowledge your role in defending Christianity, but I am at the point where I regularly experience painful grieving at the dying of my church.

    I am finally beginning to understand the words "Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war..." May it now be sung in every church, every Sunday.

  6. Hmmm I like the ESV for its readability when reading aloud. I will say that there are several instances, beyond use of the anachronism "homosexuality," which would render the ESV a lesser choice for scholarly study.

    If you had followed tweets of the debates you would have seen that the issues over the ESV appeared to be Evangelical vs. Anglocatholic readings of the text (some folks simply considered it too "Protestant" relative to the RSV or NRSV) and the impression that ESV is a text for less literate folk.

    I note that this issue of Protestant vs. Anglocatholic approaches to Bible precede the matter of homosexuality....

    I personally would prefer folks specify the usage intended for the various translations/versions of does make a difference as I believe you might concur. Thoughts?

  7. It honestly never occurred to me that there would be approved (and disapproved) translations. I find it absurd (but not surprising) that they would want to ban a translation because of ONE word.

    In re: the bathroom... I think that one of life's greatest ironies is that those who claim to be liberal end up being some of the most intolerant. Open minded to everyone- except for those who disagree with them!

  8. Matthew:

    It is easy to be kind to those who are like you.

    That said, my brother was a college campus police officer and I teach at another small college, and let me tell you this: MOST OF THEM are constantly FIGHTING EACH OTHER! My brother says 90% of the late night disturbances were due to gays fighting other gays, or lesbians fighting lesbians...etc.

    This whole PR-image of a peaceful, 'sensitive and sharp' community of people living in an alternative lifestyle has been one of the most successful fictions in contemporary history.

    One reason so many of our senior churchmen have been 'taken in' is that most of them have never seen this side of the culture. (The professional activists try to shield those they con.)

  9. The kneelers are dusty, the pews are a bit emptier...5 year old children are taking communion "because it's cute", and the sneery Beatles song about Father McKensie and Eleanor Rigby is more true now because of the haughty and yes, exclusive, arrogant, haughty, liberation theologists and social justice people. They told us that making the Church "relevant" would fill the pews and save the Anglican traditions.
    It is MUCH worse now than the 35 years ago when I attended regularly. These people came in with the intention of destroying the Church for all times and all occasions. The Roman seminaries became involved in the recruitment of candidates who were interested in things other than becoming Roman Catholic priests. Methodist and Presbyterian pastors began serving on Planned Parenthood Boards, and we became very concerned about important things like enforced equality, social justice, women's rights, minority rights, "no justice - no peace", relevancy of the Church's new and improved "message".
    Protestant Televangelists built "Cathedrals"..(?)..and our message to the poor included an assembly of 341,499 "Food Banks" and "Feed all of people all of the time" programs.

    When was the last time any Orthodox or Protestant preacher went to the school board meeting and read, "Amendment I - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

    Who complained to whom about the archaic language of the Old Book? Almighty Father, we have erred and strayed from Thy ways like lost sheep...

    We have watched a great and loose conspiracy of those who hate good order, peace, beauty, good, and the exercise of un-forced Christian deportment. Those conspirators are the atheists, marxists,progressive elitists who are compulsively driven to fundamentally transform and control society. Destroy the institutions, the family, and the morality derived from a good and reasonable catechism....and we shall build you a Brave New World.

    Once again, it is humbling to the point of humiliation to throw my common words out on such a fine group of postings. It would have been nice to have had the opportunity to at least had a syllable or two of kiwianglo's concerns about insensitivity so that we could have all shared a bit of The Rt. Rev. AC's ire. He looks like such a jolly Friar Tuck in his picture, but his writings sometimes take the form of a very, very fine Samurai sabre.