Tuesday, December 06, 2005

ECUSA: Not "the Church"

The time change is killing me. I am trying to stay awake, but I don't think I can for much longer. This is a bad time to blog, i.e., since I'm tired and cranky, you get an odd little rant. Hooray. Heck, I'll probably take it back down in a couple of days (unless somebody links it!), but I know you depend on me for fresh content during your finals week, so here we go.
Dear Episcopalians,

Please stop referring to your little 2.3 million member denomination as "the Church." Maybe you can try, "the Episcopal Church," or even "a church," but not "the Church." Nobody seriously supposes for a single moment that this tiny splinter of warmed-over christendom somehow exists as the Church Catholic in its fullness - at least, outside of a few revisionist parishes and dioceses. Do other people talk like this? Certainly good Anglo-Catholics wouldn't; they know "the church" is the whole people of God. Let's open our eyes just a bit to see a wider world out there, poor dears. That's kind of what the Global South has been going on about, you know. I should tell Archbishop Akinola that sometimes, you've got to start with baby steps.

I regret the use of such direct language (it's so unenglish!), but some of y'all just don't take hints. Next time, I might have to write a strongly worded letter. Don't think I won't.

P.S. While I'm at it, "Episcopal" denotes an institution overseen by a bishop, and if capitalized, the Episcopal Church. One would not refer to a person as being "episcopal." The church is Episcopal, the people are Episcopalians. If we're going to be snooty WASPs, we must also be good religious grammarians.

P.P.S. Please discontinue that tract with the title, "The Episcopal Church: The Church for Thinking People." Do you not realize that the clear implication is that you think all other Christians are stupid? Even if you don't change your minds on that point, you really should be more subtle. It's just good manners.

Captain Sacrament
I also just kind of want people to notice me. I never knew the difference between good attention and bad attention.



naak said...

It is a danger to call one church, "the Church." I being Baptist, meaning that I am held to one set of doctrine, do not even begin to say that the Baptist church is the Church. I think that even in churches where false doctrine is taugh there are some whom God has chosen as part or His Church. And I can assure you that even members of my church, where good doctrine is taugh, are not members of the Church. So I'm sad to hear that a denomination would make such a claim as if they were all knowing or seeing.

+ simonas said...

being of anabaptist branch, i think we have to live in kind of a tension of acknowledging that others also "might be" [smirk] in the fold on one end and having a visible expression of the body on the other. i resist the "invisible church" talk, 'cause that's no church at all, but i don't like the idea that only one is it...

thanks for the post, even though it's not english manners you are showing off. it's not american weather that makes such a bad influence, is it?


+ simonas said...

by the way, there are double tags in your template:

a:hover { }
a:hover { }< / style >.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
< / style >

that is why you see
.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
every time you begin to load your page.

might want to check that out.

Kyle said...

Well, Naak, I should note (and this is one of the few times you'll hear me defend ECUSA in any way!) that it's only been individuals of a particularly parochial mindset that I've heard do this. And it drove me up the wall!

Thanks for the tip, Simonas! I think that I've fixed the problem. Best keep an eye on me, though.

Good point about resisting the "invisibility" talk; I think the more specific we try to be about something we can't by definition see, the more trouble we get into. Like all those heretics who compare the trinity to a four-leaf clover...