Sunday, May 01, 2005

Doing God's Work

Here are a few items that caught my notice lately that demonstrate just how bad things are in the contemporary church:

1) At Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the seminary mascot Chapel Mouse "came out” in celebration of “Queer Week” on campus. Mark Tooley goes on to describe what is happening at American seminaries:

In a column for the seminary newsletter, the mouse sock puppet announced that he was changing his name to Ms. Chapelle Mouse. But do not assume that Chapelle will accordingly be dressing as a female mouse! If you do, you have succumbed to society’s artificial and restrictive gender expectations.

Chapelle, though now professing to be female, will remain male in appearance, to protest the false “construction” of a “binary gender system” by a “dominant society” that assumes that everyone must be male or female in appearance.

“Gender is a fluid and mutable category, open to a range of emotion and identity,” explains the sock puppet mouse. “We cross the boundaries of the traditional binary gender system all the time in our daily lives. In short, Ms. Mouse is a transgendered mouse.”

Chappelle Mouse helpfully explains that how you look to others doesn’t matter. Social constructions of gender may “trap or free you.” She will not be “going high fem” any time soon but reminds us that “female identified” people look great in trousers too. So while her name has changed, her photo has not.

The sock puppet at Episcopal Divinity School has probably been reading Omnigender: A Trans-Religious Approach, by Episcopal writer Virginia Ramey Mollenkott. Omnigender denounces the artificial and harmful static gender assumptions that force transgendered persons, and other curious people, to choose permanently between male and female identities.

That the secular entertainment industry would employ children’s characters to tout new visions of a genderless society without sexual boundaries was probably inevitable. That churches would be far more bold in claiming the promises of the sexual revolution and of a new omnigender utopia is perhaps a little more surprising.

2) With "Justice Sunday" just a distant memory, James Dobson says that Christians must make their voices heard on the judicial filibuster issue. Dobson says, "It will not come to pass without a response -- a massive response -- from people of faith and those who hold to conservative views." I heard recently that 95% of Christians will never share their faith with another person--so much for The Great Commission. Instead, we are being urged to get Dick Lugar's office on the horn and make sure he knows that we are demanding "an up-or-down vote on the president's judicial nominees."

3) In Connecticut it looks like six Episcopal priests may be removed because they disapprove of homosexuality.

4) Here's a thigh-slapper for you. A lesbian Methodist minister defrocked last year after admitting to living with a woman won an appeal against the church's decision. Evidently, the Methodists had not defined what it means to be a "practicing homosexual." Do they need a picture? Here is a little more from the story:

In a 14-page decision, the committee reversed both the conviction and the penalty on the technical grounds that the church has not properly defined the term "practicing homosexual". The committee also held that the church law under which the charges were brought was a new standard that had not been formally ratified by the church authorities and so could not be used to convict Stroud.

Stroud, 34, was originally found to have violated the church's Book of Discipline, which forbids the ordination and appointment of "self-avowed practicing homosexuals."

Stroud told the hearing she was in a committed relationship with another woman and had decided to be open about her sexuality because it was the honest, Christian thing to do.

Her stance was backed by many members of her Philadelphia congregation.

The committee said it recognized that "practicing homosexual" may involve engaging in "genital sexual activity" but that the term had not been clearly defined by the church and so it could not be used against Stroud.

5) Lesbian pastorette Nancy Wilson--no, she wasn't in Heart--has been tapped to lead the world's largest gay spiritual group, Metropolitan Community Churches.

6) Lest you think such nonsense confined to the Protestant, or miscellaneous, wing of Christendom, here is a story from Ohio about Catholic clergy abuse, and there is also evidence that as a Cardinal, the new Pope attempted to obstruct the abuse investigation.

Well, I'm off to church. Hope you have a blessed Lord's Day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Darrell,

I was baptised as an infant in an Episcopal Church and, although my family left that denomination shortly thereafter for a large Presbyterian Church in a neighboring community, one which sported a choir of a size great enough to interest my father, I've felt a certain connection to her. What has happened to this denomination over the last several decades is a great tragedy and it parallels the moral development of the closely-knit, private school outlook so typical of many of it's CEO members. Here is the morality of the business man, where appearances always count for more than substance and where social prominence and community "leadership" are absolutised. It is the same kind of morality that has enabled the abandonment of the American working class in favor of markets in China, a phenomenon almost certainly the love-child of many of these very same people. Is it really much of a surprize, then, that in a church populated and lead by such people that a homosexual takeover of it's "priesthood" was inevitable? I really don't think so. We're seeing that "coup" now in all of it's implications.

Now, with respect to the recently made charge that the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, while Prefect of The Sacred Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith, "abstructed justice" by sending a confidential letter to all Catholic Bishops in 2001, advising them as to the proper scope of any internal investigations they might make into allegations of the priestly abuse of minors. I have long felt that the matter of the recent homosexual or pedophilic abuse claims represents an unique opportunity for the Church to rid itself of a takeover not unlike that which now makes a mockery of the Episcopal communion. In my view, homosexuality both in Catholic seminaries and among ordained priests can only be classed as being at crisis proportions. Despite recent promises of remedial action respecting the question of homosexuality in the seminaries, one detects a decidedly unfortunate air in USCCB statements, a tendency to be rather ginger in how it describes the matter, whether out of over-sensitivity or self-centered concern one can only speculate. In any case, this crisis requires something more than a concern for delicate sensibilties. Nothing has been more apparent in the Church's treatment of the matter than it's inclination to circle the wagons. And I think that Joseph Ratzinger in public statements made while Prefect at CDF, has shown a similar inclination. But to accuse him of an obstruction of justice simply by advising the members of the USCCB in a confidential letter of his view of their limits in private, Church - repeat Church - investigations is utter nonsense. Would anyone seriously imagine that any such advice amounted to guidance by some kind of Vatican Office of Council? I mean, really! One notes that these accusations are the product of plaintiff's attorney, of course, and precisely as disinterested as all that might imply. There are fair and unfair accusations being bandied about in this controversy. This one is egregiously unfair.

Yours In Christ,

John Lowell

2:03 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

Good point, John, and perhaps poor word usage on my part.

I actually agree with many of Ratzinger's public comments. The number of children abused by priests is indeed small when compared to the victims of, to take one example, public school teachers. And Ratzinger is correct that the press has made much of these allegations in part to wound the Church.

I also agree wholly with you that what needs to be addressed is the homosexualization of Catholic seminaries. And, like you, I don't see this problem being addressed.

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