Wednesday, 25 August 2004

more trouble in Los Angeles

A third parish in the Diocese of Los Angeles has announced its relocation to the Diocese of Luweero, Uganda.

Larry B. Stammer in the Los Angeles Times has the story:
North Hollywood Parish Is Third to Leave the Episcopal Church

There was also this in the Long Beach Press-Telegram
3rd church to leave diocese

The parish is St David’s North Hollywood (warning: the front page of its website is over 1 Mb in size) but this page on the Los Angeles diocesan website is small.

The other two parish websites:
All Saints Long Beach
St James Newport Beach

Other recent press reports:
AP wire service based on LA Times Third SoCal parish breaks off affiliation from Episcopal church
earlier AP report Angelican [sic] archbishop supports breakaway Episcopal parishes

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 25 August 2004 at 8:23 AM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

It is good that the living, vibrant Christianity of the East Africans has gained this harvest at the expense of the sometimes solipsistic and worldly Christianity of some current Episcopalianism, whose worldview is not that of New Testament Christianity. It is precisely insofar as it is not New Testament Christianity that it is showing itself powerless either to produce growing churches as more orthodox congregations do, or to be different enough from the world around to change that world for the better.

Posted by: DR CHRISTOPHER SHELL at August 25, 2004 06:36 PM

“It is precisely insofar as it is not New Testament Christianity that it is showing itself powerless either to produce growing churches as more orthodox congregations do.”

For the same reason Islamic, Hindu, and Jewish fundamentalisms are growing as well?

This a sociological phenomenon—-that institutions w/ more strict personal requirements (at least, strict as far as who one can sleep with!)—-tend to grow.

. . . but it is also cyclical. Rigid sects break-off, eventually settle into churches: and then new sectarians break off from them.

Which is why I ignore the phenomenon. The Church doesn’t exist to “capture the market”: it exists as Christ’s Body in (and for) the world!

We’ll learn on Judgment Day who was more faithful to Scripture, Tradition and Reason, but if the Church is going to err, it better do so on the side of loving acceptance.

Bean-counting be (literally) damned. Enter by the Narrow Gate!

Posted by: J. Collins Fisher at August 26, 2004 03:57 AM

To a large extent I agree with Mr Fisher. In fact, neither large nor small size can be used as a barometer. But many different and mutually exclusive small groups all quote ‘Enter the narrow gate.’. The Church of the Book of Acts (which is all our starting point) was an explosively growing church; and it’s universally agreed to be reasonable to say that where there’s life there’s growth.

Posted by: DR CHRISTOPHER SHELL at August 26, 2004 01:19 PM

But the observed growth of the “Church of the Book of Acts” was seen in hindsight: already “the good old days” according to the now-fractious Christians reading the account of the Glorious Physician.

Yes, explosive growth CAN be a sign of “the fruits of the Spirit” (John Westerhoffer, IIRC, has a particularly lovely phrase about people catching the “scent of love” from the earliest followers of the Nazarean).

But it can just as likely be a worldly phenomenon. As in the Kingdom of this World. As in subject to You-know-FromtheHotPlace-Who.

There is no shortcut, no guarantee, no empirical proof (via growing numbers) that we’re doing things God’s Way. There is only faith.

And I have faith in ECUSA. Not because of who’s in it (just another miserable pack of sinners), but because it actually tries to follow the example of the Lord of Love, whose Body it claims to be.

In all its recent opponents, the only example of love practiced is some “tough” purported version thereof: “See, the loving thing to do, is to Say No to the sinner, by hating the sin, and saying so: ‘No, we won’t marry you two homos.’ ‘No, Bishop Bruno, you apostate, we won’t honor the vows we made to you. Buh-Bye.’”

But where is the humility in the above? If love is “patient and kind, never demanding its own way” then the above Tough Love is just the opposite: demanding the right to define love. Demanding the right to define sin. And doing so in the face of those making exactly the same appeals to exactly the same authorities (Scripture, Tradition and Reason).

No, what “Tough Love” has going for it, is Toughness. Hardness. Surety.

And in a world filled w/ mystery (much of it painful, or at least confusing), Toughness, Hardness and Surety are very appealing.

. . . and Satan is one Tough, Hard and Sure kinda guy. No wonder his way is perennially popular!

Posted by: J. Collins Fisher at August 27, 2004 06:48 AM

I guess that Christians advocate tough love for two main reasons:
(1) it is the way of Jesus and of the NT, by following which we identify ourselves as Christians. No love without challenge, no rights without responsibilities. (And vice-versa).
(2) It is the way that works in practice, whether in marriage, in bringin up children, in educating children, in policing a city etc..

My main hesitation is over the fact that many countries at many times make Jesus in their own image. Schweitzer identified this problem 1000 years ago. It is just too neat to ‘discover’ that Jesus was all along a Western liberal. But historians want to be honest, and can only say that he wasn’t and isn’t.

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell at August 27, 2004 08:51 AM

(Sorry, make that 100 years!)

Posted by: Dr Christopher Shell at August 27, 2004 08:52 AM

People join churches and movements for lots of reasons

1) fear and anxiety [fear of kids growing to be crackheads, or of death, or of gays, or of Christians, or of Muslims]
2) food and medicine [say presbyterians and methodists in Korea]
3) political connections [any established church]
4) convenient enemy [communism, homos]
5) Healing and God’s real presence

Posted by: John Wilkins at August 29, 2004 07:22 PM
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