A Green Easter in TEC

In Katharine Jefferts Schori’s Easter missive, the message of Jesus’ Resurrection is like the seed scattered among the thorns: it is choked by weeds – green weeds.

In reading her Easter guide to spring planting, I remain uncertain as to whether or not the gardener is Jesus. I note the lack of a capital “G”. He himself is planted and then spring[s] up green, so my abiding suspicion is that this is nothing other than a roundabout way of encouraging churches to enhance their electrical plant by installing more rooftop solar panels.

Meaning does occasionally struggle defiantly to raise its head in this epistle, but it is ruthlessly suppressed by the keen mind of the Presiding Bishop.

You can read the whole panegyric to Easter shrubbery here:

She peers in once more – who are these, so bold appearing? “Fear not, woman… why do you weep?” She turns away and meets another, who says the same – why do you weep, who are you looking for? This gardener has himself been planted and now springs up green and vibrant, still rising into greater life. He challenges her to go and share that rising, great news of green and life, with those who have fled.

Still rising, still seeking union with Creator, making tender offering to beloved friends – briefly I am with you, I am on my way. Go and you will find me if you look.

The risen one still offers life to those who will look for evidence of his gardening – hope, friendship, healing, reunion, restoration – to all who have been uprooted, cut off, to those who are parched and withered, to those who lie wasting in the desert. Why do we weep or run away when that promise abides?

We can find that green one, still rising, if we will go stand with the grieving Marys of this world, if we will draw out the terrified who have retreated to their holes, if we will walk the Emmaus road with the lost and confused, if we will search out the hungry in the neighborhood called Galilee. We will find him already there before us, bringing new and verdant life. The only place we will not find him is in the tomb.

The Anglican Church of Canada has its way with the Athabasca oil sands

One of the most elegant punishments God visits on his rebellious people is to allow them to have what they want. The Anglican Church of Canada loves nothing better than to fulminate against the evil of fossil fuels, in particular the Athabasca oil sands. The collapse of oil prices has made oil extraction from the sands less attractive, leading to the loss of around a 1000 jobs.

From here:

While the dramatic downturn in oil prices that has occurred over the past six months has had a wide-ranging impact on economic prospects across Canada, those who have been hit hardest are people who were already on the margins, according to the Rev. Dale Neufeld, priest-in-charge of the parish of Fort McMurray, Alta.

[……]

Some of these layoffs have been quite dramatic. Last week the Financial Post reported that 1,000 construction workers had been laid off from Husky Energy’s Sunrise oil sands project near Fort McMurray. Suncor Energy said earlier this year that they, too, would be laying off around 1,000 workers, and Royal Dutch Shell is cutting around 300.

[……]

The church’s response has largely been pastoral.

Since the church has worked so tirelessly to undermine the oil sands, the only pastoral response that has any integrity would be for it to financially support those laid off. Assuming, of course, that the Anglican Church of Canada has any remaining vestige of integrity.

Anglican Church of Canada discovers what is preventing peace in the Middle East

It’s the fault of Evangelical Christians and their misguided support of Christian Zionism. If only we could persuade these benighted fundamentalists to repent, the rockets descending on Israel, the beheading epidemic, extreme Muslims bombing less extreme Muslims, people being burned alive for no particularly good reason would all immediately cease.

Why did no one think of this before?

From here:

Canadian Anglicans are invited to join members of other traditions at an upcoming conference that will explore a belief many see as one of the biggest obstacles to peace in Israel and Palestine.

[….]

A movement rooted in conservative evangelical Protestantism that emerged in the mid-20th century, Christian Zionism holds that the contemporary State of Israel represents the culmination of biblical prophecy and thus merits strong—and often uncritical—moral, financial and political support.

An Anglican Church of Canada Easter

It’s all about politics, apparently: “oppressive political regimes, torture, capital punishment, non-violent political action, and martyrdom.”

From here:

The church where I served as student minister has a number of very large stained glass windows: Christ with the children, the women at the empty tomb, and a rather lurid depiction of Christ on the cross, featuring a great deal of purple and agony. My son was three years old while we were at this particular parish and, of course, he loved that crucifixion. As a result, we (or rather, my husband and son, as I was generally otherwise occupied at church) talked quite a lot about Christ’s death, conversations that naturally (for my husband and son, at least) became conversations about oppressive political regimes, torture, capital punishment, non-violent political action, and martyrdom. Holy Week is not for the faint of heart.

According to the Rev. Rhonda Waters, the “good news of God’s Kingdom” is not that Jesus bore our sins on the cross, suffered the wrath of God on our behalf, reconciled us to God the Father and ensured that we would live with him in eternity. No, that is far too trite; instead Easter invites us to confront the really profound truths that the “world is a deeply loved and loveable place”. Non-transcendent Christianity at its finest:

Jesus still taught the radical good news of God’s Kingdom because the world is not a hopeless place. In fact, the world is a deeply loved and loveable place, and Holy Week invites us to confront the depth of both of these truths.

As is so often the case with vapid Christianity, the pageantry is the only part that remains intact – even the Resurrection, although I suspect it signifies something different to the author:

As Christians, we need to experience Holy Week in its fullness—and we should include our children in that journey. By participating in Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and finally the Feast of the Resurrection on Sunday morning.

Although Jesus’ death was at the hands of the Romans, the instigators were the religious authorities of the day – an unpalatable truth for Waters, probably because, given the opportunity, the religious establishment would do it again. So the villain was empire building:

empire will go to horrifying lengths to preserve itself

The Question Why

In the ‘60s (or late ’50s – I forget) Malcolm Muggeridge used to host a TV programme on the BBC called “The Question Why”. He managed to attract an interesting bunch including, as I recall on one show, Norman Mailer and William F Buckley. The point of the broadcast was to ask why things are as they are instead of the usual how.

Nothing much has changed: few people are interested in the why of things – in fact “why” has almost come to mean “how”. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the rantings of evangelical evolutionists who, with monotonous persistence, keep telling us how we arrived here when the only really interesting question is why we arrived here.

What brought all this up, you may be wondering? This headline from the Daily Mail:

Scientists reveal why we have an anus: Study finds genes that create the same orifice in very different species.

Of course, just as every Anglican knows why the Anglican Church of Canada has bishops, every two-year old knows why we have an anus; it takes a scientist to discover how we have one and to muddle the distinction between its function and the method of its arrival.

Episcopal Church of Cuba votes to return to TEC

Presently it is affiliated with the Anglican Church of Canada.

From here:

Members of synod for the Episcopal Church of Cuba narrowly voted in favour of returning to the church’s former affiliation with The Episcopal Church at their recent meeting last month in Cardenas, Cuba.

The move came two months after the historic decision by the United States and Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations after a 54-year hiatus. The Cuban church had been part of a province in The Episcopal Church until the 1959 revolution, which made travel and communication between the two churches difficult. The Metropolitan Council of Cuba (MCC)—which includes primates of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Province of West Indies and The Episcopal Church—was subsequently created to provide support and oversight.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Archdeacon Michael Thompson, general secretary, attended the synod—which ran from Feb. 19 to 22—as representatives of the MCC.

This will mean a big change for Cuban Anglicans: they will move from a Province that is radically liberal, blesses same-sex unions, boasts practising gay clergy, believes dogma is redundant, and is losing people faster than Obama is losing votes to a Province that that is radically liberal, blesses same-sex unions, boasts practising gay clergy, believes dogma is redundant, and is losing people faster than Obama is losing votes.

The decision was made, it seems, largely so Cuban clergy could retrieve their pension funds, proving that, no matter how vehemently they may protest otherwise, when it comes to their livelihood, Cuban clergy are just like their North American brothers: capitalist running dogs:

Hiltz went on to explain that one of the significant factors behind the drafting of the substitute resolution is “the frustration of a number of people in the church in Cuba with the fact that since the break with The Episcopal Church and the political situation between Cuba and U.S., the pension fund for clergy has just basically been frozen [in the U.S.].”

Archbishop of Canterbury hosts multi-faith Lambeth schmooze

It should be the beginning of a joke and, in a way, I suppose it is: a Muslim, Jew, Sikh, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Jainist and Christian all walk into Lambeth Palace; they look at the Christian and decide he doesn’t belong.

From here:

The Archbishop of Canterbury last night hosted a reception for inter-religious and community leaders at Lambeth Palace.

Speaking at the annual event, which brings together members different faith groups to foster relationships, Archbishop Justin Welby reflected on the theme of reconciliation, which is one of his ministry priorities.

The event was attended by a wide range of people from Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Jain and Christian traditions.

I can think of a number of reasons why Welby might do this, none of which have anything to do with the hope of converting anyone, least of all the visitors, to Christianity.

The first is to demonstrate the pride with which Western Anglicanism holds firm to the proposition that it doesn’t much matter what anyone believes, so long as we can all get along.

The second is to disabuse those who are under the mistaken impression that the Anglican trinitarian god has three persons named Diversity, Inclusion and Equality; no, the one true Anglican god is now named Reconciliation.

The third is related to the first and second. If Jesus had simply learned to get along with everyone, to reconcile with them, he wouldn’t have ended up on that embarrassing  cross, removing a major stumbling block in our getting along with Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and Jainists.

Fourth, Justin Welby has finally realised that it is easier to find agreement between Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and Jainists than between Anglicans.

I write in jest, of course. To be absolutely serious, Welby himself tells us what this was really all about: the need to create a space that is relational:  a convenient void into which one can jettison unwanted relations. What could be clearer than that?