Monday, May 22, 2006

Analysing Spong
As Vernon Staley (a different and better brand of Anglican) wrote over a century ago (?), heresy is the intellectual vengeance of suppressed truth, or a stopped clock is right twice a day. The quondam Bishop of Newark (why be a bishop when you’re not even really a theist anymore — shock value, the pension?) has a point that religion has gone from being identified with noble-sounding causes like peace and the rights of minorities to (one can infer) the warmongering of Mr Bush’s fans but for the most part his statements employ crap logic: politically correct posturing with little critical thought.
"The public God we see today is mostly opposed to abortion and gay and lesbian people, and I find that really rather fascinating."

Thirty-some years ago, God was mostly mentioned in the context of the anti-war and civil rights movements, Spong said.

"That was the public voice of Christianity," he said. "Now it's the Religious Right, centered in the South and basically homophobic and anti-female."
• Perhaps his functional atheism is like that of some others: a convenient excuse to commit sins like bearing false witness. Fred Phelps, with whom Spong wants to identify all of us, doesn’t represent conservative Christianity, which goes out of its way to say it does not hate the sinner, only the sin.
• As humorist P.J. O’Rourke has observed, in real hard times like a depression when you don’t know if you’ll live through the next day, narcissistic self-pity like that of gay activism* (quoth Charley Wingate: the love that dare not shut up) and self-centred ‘spirituality’ are right out; people chuck it for real religion (submission of ego, of self, to a higher power).
• Why were the causes of mainstream churches 40 years ago noble? The anti-war movement was in part about the preservation of life, not the selfish taking of it like the pro-abortion movement. Equating one’s sexual wants to the real hardships (need) many blacks have endured is insulting. ‘We shall overcome someday... to fight for our right to party’?!
• Interestingly Spong doesn’t mention the real social-justice and peace issue of the Iraq war, only some pet causes of white upper-middle-class boomer narcissism/arrested adolescence.
• Once again, baby-killing as part of using women for sex — pig heaven for certain men — is presented as empowerment for women (so if you oppose it he slanders you as ‘anti-female’).
Bishop John Shelby Spong is a heretic ahead of his times.
Rewarmed 19th-century scepticism. Really ‘with it’.
The talks, under the heading of "Militant Language and Martial Metaphor," have so far focused on faiths other than mainstream Christianity - including Islam, the ancient Hebrew faith, rabbinical Judaism, Orthodox Christianity and Buddhism.
That’s news to Eastern Orthodoxy: for 2,000 years the Church Fathers weren’t mainstream Christianity and deracinated oldline Protestantism was**. Who knew? Mirror-worshipping rubbish.

Like anybody the Orthodox aren’t above criticism but what’s even funnier is when some conservative Roman Catholics try to throw the ‘You’re screwballs!’ argument at them (like Frank Kimball did in New Oxford Review a few years ago), making themselves sound like they’re really on the same team as the Modernists and opposed to their own authentic tradition!
It isn't nice but every time I've been at an Eastern liturgy I keep remembering Christ's comments on the Pharisees about repeating long prayers for appearance sake — just like Orthodox Judaism to this day.
Have fun at your guitar Mass — the way, you know, normal people (like the Irish?) go to church. Not that artsy-fartsy stuff that’s only for ethnic grease-balls, right, chaps?

In other news...

Narcissistic pop star whose albums I don’t buy tries to pull my chain
Yawwwwn...

From Fr Joseph Huneycutt.

*In Philadelphian terms, if you can afford to live around 13th and Pine you’re not enduring hardship.

**Looks like an an example of Americocentrism. World-wide I know that Roman Catholics and Orthodox far outnumber all Protestants combined. Do Orthodox alone outnumber the Protestants?

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