He Said Earthquakes, Not Youthquakes!
[The United Church of Canada] is so nebulous, so diffuse, so insubstantial, as to constitute more of a religious gas. A kind of post-Christian flatus: intangible, but somehow still offensive.The "post-Christian flatus" line was good, yes, but so obvious as to preclude its inclusion amongst the multitude of pithy and insightful lines to be found in this space ... And the suggestion that the next step for the UCC should've been for it to move to "its natural place of worship: the rec room of an age-restricted condominium"--was, you'll concede, not prophesy, but mere prediction based on form.
It would be far more in keeping with the miracle of its conversion, then, that the United Church not seek to fill the seats of its own, now defunct, churches, but itself move to its natural place of worship: the rec room of an age-restricted condominium.
And, true to that form, the United Church moves ever closer thereto, as the National Post reports today:
"Shouldn't the United Church Just Throw in the Towel?" is the opening event of a four-day Church-sponsored conference that will look at the future of the country's largest Protestant denomination.'Zazzy title, what? The UCC might've completely abandoned its faith in God, but you gotta give them props for their unflappable devotion to the power of the ironically negative ad campaign. Christ was only a man, but let there be no doubt that the day of the Metrosexual so cometh as a thief in the night.
It's a sad story, though, as it would appear that there is at least one remaining Christian in the Church's hierarchy (sorry: leadership I imagine is the word they'd prefer used):
Rev. [Connie] denBok, who will be on tonight's panel, said the United Church has moved from being a Christ-centred body to become a "government-sponsored social club" in which all classic Christian doctrines are open to question.My heart bleeds for you, Reverend. Honestly. But please, please, please don't tell me that you're only twigging to this now! In Christian terms, when we're talking about the United Church, we're not talking merely of a dying man, or even a dead man--not a Lazarus; it's a corpse so rotten that even its bones have returned to dust. Behold the words of the Moderator of your General Council:
"I don't remember Jesus requiring anyone to subscribe to a doctrine before he healed them. I don't remember Jesus requiring anybody being saved before he ate with them. In terms of my understanding of Jesus, it was one of radical inclusion of people of many perspectives. And to suggest that one needs to subscribe to a narrow understanding of who God is and who Jesus is seems antithetical to the understanding I have of Jesus revealed in the Gospels."If Mr. Giuliano doesn't remember what Christ had to say, explicitly and unambiguously, about each and every one of the examples he gives above, then I'm afraid that Mr. Giuliano has never actually read the Gospels. And lest my saying this be dismissed as mere rhetoric, let me--at the risk of boring my reader with so pedantic an untertaking--supply Mr. Giuliano's sieve-like memory with the relevant passages that a ten minute gloss of the King James Version affords:
Re. "I don't remember Jesus requiring anyone to subscribe to a doctrine before he healed them."
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. (Matthew 21:12-14)Re. "I don't remember Jesus requiring anybody being saved before he ate with them."
And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. (Matthew 26:21-24)Re. "In terms of my understanding of Jesus, it was one of radical inclusion of people of many perspectives."
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:5-6)
For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14)Re. "And to suggest that one needs to subscribe to a narrow understanding of who God is and who Jesus is seems antithetical to the understanding I have of Jesus revealed in the Gospels."
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. (Matthew 23:23-24)
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:33-37)To the singular Ms. denBok, then, I say that you have cause both to rejoice and to beware. For it is, of course, the case that God is not dead, and that he is not mocked. But the United Church most assuredly is both of these things. Yours would be an honourable retreat were you to do so. (Or, if you prefer, a spiritual retreat--I know how keen you guys are on that sort of treacle.)
Just don't go to the Anglican Church! It is the UCC minus 5, perhaps 10 years.
ADDENDUM (2:30 PM)
The elusive Ambler forwards me this fantastically obtuse piece by United Church anti-Reverend Gretta Vosper, to which he adds a bit of dialogue:
What's saccharine, mommy?
Before my time, and you should probably ask your gramma, but I believe it was something they used before Splenda.