Saturday, April 29, 2006


Discussion of the Diocese of Washington expose in Father Jake's blog has escalated from the original point to commendations of Bishop Chane's supposed courage and a long sermon that begins:
Building is slow, sometimes painful. It requires continued daily effort over time. Ages, centuries.

Destruction is quick. It’s done in no time. It doesn’t cost anything (apart from what’s destroyed).

Courage; yes this is rare in deed. And Bishop Chane is courageous. And no one have stood up to defend and support him.
I don't think what Chane is doing requires any courage, but that's not the point. To do justice to the author's work would require quoting almost all of it, but by the time we get to the end of it, we learn that bullies are destructive, it only takes one, it's all about fear, "political Calvinism" means that "the organization is to serve the Body of Christ", that St. Paul is relevant (but presumably not those passages in 1 Corinthians), that tradition is spent bullying one's neighbors, that we are called to love our brothers and sisters....

Obviously most of this is of the same ilk as a congressman or senator's speech yielding to no one in his defense of motherhood, apple pie, truth, justice, and the American way. It's empty rhetorical calories, or worse, self-congratulation. And just about the only content in this speech is a rather dubious condemnation of Cantuar for not attacking Akinola in his Easter sermon instead of addressing an issue (The Da Vinci Code) which is of more relevance to his own diocese and in my opinion more germane to an Easter sermon anyway.

But let's turn to all this talk of bullying and destruction. As a gardener, I can testify that planting takes minutes and weeding takes forever. The weeds have a different perspective on this, for it takes a weed a while (but not long enough for me!) to grow to seeds, and a second for me to pull it up. And when I turn from my flowers to the moral teachings of the church, it's surely a matter of perspective. It's reasonable to attribute it ALL to destruction. But then, from every life some weeds must be pulled.

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