Sunday, March 15, 2015

House of Bishops 2015 Spring Meeting, Day Three

This being the Lord's Day, with the intention of "sabbath" built into the schedule, there is less to report. The Eucharist was at 10am, with John Tarrant, the Bishop of South Dakota, presiding. Once again, the Theodicy Jazz Collective led the music with great energy, skill, and sensitivity--they are really good--though I still remain unpersuaded that jazz as a genre plays well with eucharistic liturgy. Now, I don't want to sound whiny, but I can't not mention the level to which I was upset by the liturgy itself--ostensibly Rite II from the Prayer Book, but with the text generously emended to exclude masculine pronouns for God, which is the ideological hobgoblin of today's liturgical elite. I can usually take this somewhat in stride on such occasions--ideologues gonna be ideologues--but I had my own little meltdown when we sang Thomas Ken's Psalm paraphrase, the concluding verse of which is the ubiquitous 'Doxology,' and the text of that verse was altered to exclude "him" in the first three lines, and render the Holy Trinity as "Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit" in the last one. I can tolerate a little ideology, but heresy is a tougher pill to swallow, and any evocation of the Trinity that eschews "Father" and "Son" is most likely just that--heresy. I will probably absent myself from the Eucharist tomorrow and Tuesday. It's just not a spiritually safe place for me.

We were then addressed, while still in the chapel, by David Bailey, bishop of the Navajoland Area Mission. His assigned theme was "economics and class," but, as one might imagine, he chose to explore that territory through the lens of his experience with the Navajo people. Bottom line: In addition to upper, upper middle, middle, and lower, there is another class--invisible. And the descendants of native peoples in this land are generally invisible to the rest of us. The invading European-Americans treated them, in a word, shamefully, and largely as a result of that shameful treatment, native populations today suffer from a long list of social ills that is just plain depressing. Sobered by the picture Bishop Bailey painted, we repaired to our table groups to process our experience of and involvement in unjust social structures. My own opinion is that this subject is exponentially more complex and contradictory than most who are reflexively energized by issues of social justice are usually willing to acknowledge.

That brought us to lunch, after which we were free until dinner. I used the time for a nap, a long walk around the lake on a beautiful day, and to catch up on some reading. After dinner, we had a standard element in meetings of the House--a "fireside chat." We actually did meet in a room with a fireplace, but I don't really noticing an actual fire. This is a closed, of-the-record meeting, moderated by the Presiding Bishop, about which we are covenanted not to say anything. So I won't.

10 comments:

Dale Coleman said...

Nolite illigitimos caborundum est!

Tregonsee said...

Having a music group whose name includes a concept which in casual terms questions God's competence should be a pretty good tip-off that the rest of the service is going to be toxic to your spiritual health.

underground pewster said...

I wonder how many others will choose to avoid such services.

Ian+ said...

I'd like to think I'd have the nerve to seize the lectern mic and very noisily insist on doing the liturgy by the book, with the promise that I'd keep screeching loudly until physically removed from the room.

Jon said...

"Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit"? Ew. I don't mind phrases like "Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer" since it easily allows an orthodox interpretation, but mixing it with a more explicitly trinitarian formula is just asking for trouble.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your points about standing with the Nicene definitions. I continue to wince whenever clergy delete male pronouns when the explicit reference is to GOD THE FATHER or GOD THE SON. I hope you shared your dismay and boycott with your fellow bishops. I now step away from worship (or communion) when faced with the "post-Nicene" renderings of Enriching Our Worship.
Dick Mitchell, Columbia MD

Anonymous said...

One does get tired of having to absent oneself from the liturgies at the larger meetings. I no longer attend any diocesan liturgies in my diocese because I never know if we are going to worship the God revealed in Christ, or some shadow thereof.

Anonymous said...

With all the horror in the world, what does this nit-picking matter.? All this "eschewing" and boycotting and flashing of personality types...meanwhile, with all of this narcissistic activity taking center stage, the ship is in huge trouble. Get real!

Dale Coleman said...

To the cowards who remain "anonymous":
Stop it! Freedom of speech and especially in the Christian Community ought not allow these
reprehensible ways of communicating with the Bishop and members of the Diocese.
Simply type in your names, unless we have one person with a split personality!

C. Wingate said...

It's especially offensive when this sort of thing is done at ostensibly unifying services.