The head of the Episcopal Church gives social justice top billing

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Calling for economic evangelism and political advocacy, the Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, elected leader of the nation's 2.7 million Episcopal Church members, roused an audience of her denomination's regional leaders in Roanoke on Saturday.

"Pester your legislators" to be more aggressive in battling poverty and hunger across the globe, urged Jefferts Schori. "Annoy them."

The 53-year-old former oceanographer, who is said by religious scholars to be the only female top-ranked official of a major denomination -- except for Queen Elizabeth II, whose crown makes her head of the Church of England -- spoke with the conviction of a street preacher.

"When I was a kid I remember being taught that the world's food problems would be solved by protein from the ocean. T'aint going to happen," said Jefferts Schori, who before being ordained a priest in 1994 had a career in science that included a stint with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

As the Episcopalians' Presiding Bishop, essentially their chief pastor, the New York City-based leader has been outspoken about her belief that science and religion can comfortably coexist.

Read it all.



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1. Philip Snyder wrote:

AAAaaarrrrrgggg!
The first task of a Christian should not be “economic evangelism” but “Christ Evangelism.”  By focusing on “social justice” or “economic justice” we lose focus on Jesus Christ.  Rather than trying to turn clergy and lay church politicians (those who attend the various conventions) into economists and politicians, lets be sure they first understand the Christian faith and then get them to turn politicians and economists into Christians.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

January 27, 8:56 am | [comment link]
2. Katherine wrote:

The problem is that when “social justice” is not firmly grounded in the Gospel it can easily go astray.  She wants her people to pester their legislators on the goals of her choosing, but on the continued murder of 1.2 million American infants annually, her voice is silent; in fact, she supports the right to murder them.  And how about directing church funds to global relief rather than to pay for lawyers?

January 27, 9:02 am | [comment link]
3. Bill Cavanaugh wrote:

Vince Carroll, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Richlands. “She reminds me of something the Apostle Paul said, ‘The poor will always be with you.’

Obviously Fr. Carroll is as scripture and theology challenged as is the PB.  It must pain many on the left, for whom Jesus is the great Edwards/Obama/Clinton liberal, but in Mark 14:7 he says these inconvenient words—“The poor will always be with you”  He goes on to say “but you will not always have me”—this, too seems to be reality in many places in the Episcopal Church—the living God replaced by facile do-gooderism.

January 27, 9:03 am | [comment link]
4. more martha than mary wrote:

Sigh…..

Her activist message resonated with Southwest Virginia pastors such as Vince Carroll, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Richlands. “She reminds me of something the Apostle Paul said, ‘The poor will always be with you.’ But you damn well better do something to help them out.”

Actually, that was Jesus, Rev. Carroll who said, “The poor you will always have with you.” 
But the rest of the verse was not about how we “damn well better do something to help them out.” Jesus actually went on to say, “but you will not always have me.”

And sadly, it is apparent that TEC has decided that Jesus is not our first priority.  TEC has indeed forgotten about what Jesus called, “the one thing needful,” in favor of the gospel of social justice and good works. 

Thanks for clarifying that for us, Rev. Carroll.

January 27, 9:07 am | [comment link]
5. more martha than mary wrote:

We think alike, Bill Cavanaugh.

January 27, 9:09 am | [comment link]
6. Dannon wrote:

“Pester your legislators” to be more aggressive in battling poverty and hunger across the globe, urged Jefferts Schori. “Annoy them.”

See, first, I have a problem with making Charity a political responsibility. “Rendering it unto Caesar”, if you will. When I personally give my time or treasure to serve the poor, the elderly, etc, I am blessed by it right down to my soul, and those I serve may be blessed as well. But when money comes via a government agency (which ultimately came out of my pocket anyway, via taxes), the “blessing” effect is lost. It’s no longer me serving a brother or sister in Christ, but rather, the government, and the government has no soul to save.

There’s also the idea that we even can “eliminate poverty”. I remember reading somewhere that the poor will always be with us. My understanding of human nature is that, without Christ, we have no hope of saving ourselves, much less the world. +KJS’s “theology” states that we don’t specifically need Christ to begin with.

the New York City-based leader has been outspoken about her belief that science and religion can comfortably coexist.

I guess I can’t exactly condemn any news outlet for being slow on the uptake when it comes to this, but I personally don’t know anyone outside of hardcore atheists who seriously think that science and religion can’t coexist. The idea that science and religion “don’t mix” is based on the idea that we know so much more than those “ancient” cultures did. Truth is, the Greeks and other “ancient” folks knew a whole lot more about science and nature than we give them credit. Ptolemy knew that the earth was just a spec in the whole universe. But somehow, it wasn’t until “modern” times that this came to be considered an argument against God.

We’re told to pray for our persecutors, however, so I’ll pray for her. Though I admit I’m tempted to paraphrase the rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof: “May God bless her and keep her… far away from us!”

January 27, 9:20 am | [comment link]
7. libraryjim wrote:

“When I was a kid I remember being taught that the world’s food problems would be solved by protein from the ocean. T’aint going to happen,” said Jefferts Schori ...  the New York City-based leader has been outspoken about her belief that science and religion can comfortably coexist.

And when I was a kid, we were told by scientists that the earths population would exceed food supply by the mid 1980’s, Global COOLING would usher in a new ICE AGE by 2000, and pollution would be so bad that we would all be wearing gas masks.  We were also promised flying cars and daily trips to the moon.

So why should we take her word that science has anything like TRUTH to contribute to the discussion on religion?  I would also ask her what portion of the monies being spent on lawsuits and legal actions against dioceses and bishops and parishes that want to leave could be spent on programs allieviating hunger and other issues for the poor?  Isn’t that also ‘social justice’?

January 27, 10:48 am | [comment link]
8. Tom Roberts wrote:

Well, Schori is onto something here. I’d rather have her annoying legislators than continuing to do her job running ecusa the way she has been.

January 27, 11:10 am | [comment link]
9. Cousin Vinnie wrote:

1.  Yet another confirmation that TEC is just a left-wing political action organization.

2.  “Social justice” is no closer to justice than “poetic justice,” “rough justice,” “frontier justice,” or “street justice.”  It is just as colored by self-interest and point of view.  I can find in Scripture the principle that the poor should receive the same fair hearing as the rich, but it falls far short of what the liberal apparatchiks of TEC call “social justice.”

January 27, 11:45 am | [comment link]
10. Susan Russell wrote:

It’s the “two world view” thing again. Here’s how Ed Bacon put it in his speech last week on the IRS:

The focus of this Christianity is not the salvation of individual souls but seeking the salvation of the entire human community through radically inclusive love, justice and peace – for all – particularly for the marginalized and vulnerable both in our neighborhoods and in the world.

So what I’m wondering this morning is if we’ve really gotten beyond the place where there isn’t room in Christianity for both ... if we couldn’t yet find a way to be a people of God who believe in individual salvation not for individual salvation’s sake and who are committed to social justice not for social justice’s sake, but see it all as part and parcel of belonging to the God who called us to walk in love as Christ loved us and love our neighbors as ourselves.

It’d never work if my litmus test for your welcome at the table is how you vote on social issues and your litmus test for mine is if we agree on the same theological explanation for the salvific power of the cross. But what if we could agree that good people of deep faith WILL come to different conclusions on how God calls us to walk in love with each other—and what if we could regain that historic gift of Anglican comprehensiveness that leaves room for different theological understandings of the same God and Creator of all?

Not saying it will happen. Just wondering if it isn’t worth thinking about. Happy Sunday, T19ers!

January 27, 11:57 am | [comment link]
11. Katherine wrote:

Susan Russell, my problem with Schori’s approach to “social justice” is that the MEANS are what she is preaching about.  I can happily worship in the same pew with a socialist whose opinions about the means for a just society differ dramatically from my own.  He will vote for more government programs while I will vote against them, meanwhile opening my pocketbook to programs which I believe directly help people.  He will advocate UN-funded programs and other large governmental efforts, while I will continue to view these as corrupt and inefficient, preferring to give to well-supervised, predominantly church-operated charitable efforts.  “Pester your legislators” means Schori blesses one way and discounts the other.

Also, an approach to loving our neighbors which encourages the killing of unborn children is seriously flawed morally.

January 27, 12:38 pm | [comment link]
12. Connecticutian wrote:

Please.  Why should Roanoke or anybody else trust her on social justice, when she is at the forefront of a Mugabe-esque land grab across the country, most notably in Virginia?  Tyranny via quasi-constitutional process is still tyranny.

January 27, 12:49 pm | [comment link]
13. libraryjim wrote:

[if] your litmus test for mine is if we agree on the same theological explanation for the salvific power of the cross.

Susan, This IS the heart of Christianity.  Out of this flows all other aspects, including how we react to social justice issues.

The main probelm in the Episcopal church is that we have leaders who contradict how the Bible explains it, and how Christians through the ages, from the Apostles to the Reformers explained it.  Views other than this take one out of the Chrisitan community.  It’s harsh, but true.

Your quote from Ed Bacon

The focus of this Christianity is not the salvation of individual souls but seeking the salvation of the entire human community through radically inclusive love, justice and peace – for all – particularly for the marginalized and vulnerable both in our neighborhoods and in the world.

demonstrates that unfortunately, HE doesn’t get it, either.  It’s not through “radically inclusive love, justice and peace” that humanity finds salvation, but through the Person and actions of Jesus the Christ on the Cross.  Again, it’s very, very sad to see how the Gospel message has been changed. I pray for Mr. Bacon that his eyes be opened to the Truth.

In His Peace through the Cross!
Jim Elliott <><

January 27, 12:56 pm | [comment link]
14. more martha than mary wrote:

I agree with Rev. Russell about this being about two different world views.  I wish the two could be reconciled, but I don’t see how they can.

I do appreciate Rev. Russell’s tone this morning.  I found her post on this thread much more engaging than her usual ones. 

At least that’s something!

January 27, 1:23 pm | [comment link]
15. Words Matter wrote:

Of course individual and corporate salvation are both legitimate concerns, but not as competing, or separate ideas we tolerate in one another. Love of God - authentic love of God - leads one naturally to love of neighbor. My salvation naturally leads to a concern for you and, ultimately, to the building of a just society. I’m not saying we are going to build the Kingdom of God on earth, but that we have duties towards one another that are the out-working of our own salvation. St. John tells us that anyone who says he loves God but hates his neighbor is a liar; it’s that big a deal. Of course, our degraded religious culture has little notion of what might constitute “love”, but let’s skip that for a minute and focus on the fact that love of neighbor must be grounded in love of God. The vision of a just society must be grounded in the justification that Christ imparts to us before the Father.

It is this grounding, or context, if you prefer, which Bishop Schori fails to present. Thus her command to “pester your legislators” sounds (and I think it is) silly, if not pernicious. We can disagree about means without disagreeing about the End which we seek.  I’ve been pilloried on this site for suggesting that government can (and should) do some (not all) social service things, but that action does not ever replace the duty of each Christian, nor does it represent a different gospel, which cannot, I fear, be said of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

And that business about science and religion co-existing really is silly. I suggest reading John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio for reference.

January 27, 2:40 pm | [comment link]
16. Words Matter wrote:

I meant to mention that at one time (and perhaps still) one of the larger charitable organizations was the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, but, of course, they didn’t talk much about it.

January 27, 2:41 pm | [comment link]
17. William P. Sulik wrote:

T’aint happens…

January 27, 2:48 pm | [comment link]
18. Words Matter wrote:

Sorry for multiple posts, but I just read this from the Cardinal Archbishop of Houston which illustrates beautifully what I meant to say:

Sisters and brothers, you’re going to rally today—on behalf of life, on behalf of unborn children, on behalf of born children, on behalf of the elderly, on behalf of everyone who suffers from injustice, for this is indeed a justice issue we are rallying for today. But as you do it, make sure—in the joy of the Beatitudes—that you let the Lord Jesus shine through you in purity of heart. The more obedient you become to the Lord Jesus’ face, who’s looking on you, and letting it change you, the freer you are—and the freer you are, your witness in culture becomes infectious. You’ll become the Beatitudes—the best virus that could ever be let loose in our culture.

We have some bad viruses around—let’s let loose a good virus, the virus of a purity of heart filled with the Beatitudes that lets God work in us and doesn’t make us say, “God, if you’re not gonna do it my way then I’m gonna find a better way than you.”

That’s generally our prayer: “Jesus, hear me! Jesus, you know I know best! Jesus, follow me!” Friends, we’ve got it all wrong—even in the pro-life movement! “Jesus, you know best. You’re the Beatitudes. You’re purity of heart. In my desert heart, let the orchard grow—that will be freedom, then I will know you and love you.”

Sisters and brothers, do you realize if we get more and more people doing that what that does to the culture? It changes the culture towards one that grows in holiness—that’s what we need.

The whole sermon is here and worth a read:  Southern Preacher

l

January 27, 3:01 pm | [comment link]
19. Brian of Maryland wrote:

Social Justice within mainline Christian denominations: the art of spending other people’s money so as to free up your own for internal lawsuits ....


Brian

January 27, 3:02 pm | [comment link]
20. pax58 wrote:

There are some of us in the Christian community that have spent time taking the Hebrew prophets very seriously and think that Jesus pretty much too them seriously as well.  You cannot have a Christian faith that forgets that social justice is at the core of our faith as we try to be followers of Jesus. The whole of the Law (which Jesus said he came to fulfill not get rid of) balances the danger of a narcisistic inward directed faith, with an obligation to live with justice in the human community…our Presiding Bishop would not be a good pastor if she did not point this out.  My concern about the remarks on this blog is that rather than looking for Christ’s message in our Presiding Bishop many are looking to discredit her.  She is a Christian and she has been elected as the key leader of our Episcopal Church.  Why not affirm that she has something of Christ to share?  There are certainly others who God has led that we can listen to as well, maybe the challenge that you hear in her words is the Holy Spirit speaking to you, don’t turn God’s Spirit away…
peace,
Tim
Tucson, AZ

January 27, 3:25 pm | [comment link]
21. libraryjim wrote:

Pax,

The warning being raised here is not to get the cart in front of the horse.  True Evangelism, which is a call to the Gospel message of repentance, acceptance of Jesus Lordship and Salvation, comes before the resultant fruit of social justice.  Once a person truly turns his/her life over to Jesus, the Lord God puts into their hearts a heart for Him, and that includes those things in Matthew’s Gospel:

feeding the hungry
clothing the poor
visiting the sick and prisoners
etc.

There are truly committed Christians who are involved in social justice issues.  We often forget that Christians were in the fore-front of the calls for Civil Rights in the 50’s and 60’s.  Not in spite of their committment to the Lordship of Jesus, but BECAUSE of it.

When we see the leader of a Christian denomination calling for social Justice absent of Jesus, it raises red flags.  there is a bumper stickeer that goes:

No Jesus, no peace;
Know Jesus, know peace.

the same needs to be said for true social justice.  NO Jesus, no justice. Know Jesus, know justice.  I would further say that while it is good that the Government work WITH the Church in allieviating poverty, it is primarily the call of the Church to do these things.  The Government has made an unqualified MESS of their ‘war on poverty’, creating departments and programs that TRAP people in a cycle of poverty and governmental dependence.  Not good.

I would rather have seen KJS call for the CHURCH to devote her resources to starting or supporting inner-city missions (of all denonminations); inner-city evangelistic endeavors; homeless shelters; job training centers; programs for unwed mothers; etc.  Not petition the already over-burdened and debt ridden government to create more agencies that will be administratively top-heavy.

Peace in Christ—incarnate, crucified, risen, and coming again!
Jim Elliott <><

January 27, 3:56 pm | [comment link]
22. David Fischler wrote:

This article nicely illustrates four of the reasons why the mainline churches are in enormous trouble, losing influence in society, and failing most of the time to even do what they say they want to do. I go into a lot more detail here.

Sorry about the shameless plug for traffic, but hey, that what blog-evangelism is all about.  grin

January 27, 4:28 pm | [comment link]
23. Philip Snyder wrote:

Pax,
We do have two worldviews.  Yours puts “social justice is at the core of our faith.”  Mine puts Jesus and his salvific work on the cross for the redemption of all creation at the core of my faith.  We are required to seek justice as Christians - social, economic, political, religous.  But Justice is not at the core of our faith.  We will only know Justice when we know Jesus.  We will only know Jesus as we “continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers.”  (Acts 2:42, and our Baptismal Covenant).  When we make anything, other than God, our goal - even something as worthy as Social Justice or World Peace - we have become idolators and we will not acheive our goal.  But when we put God first in our lives.  When we work to follow His will, then we will work for Justice.  It is not a matter of either/or.  It is a matter of priorities.  Only when we submit to God will we even have a chance to have a more just society.  Only by spreading God’s kingdom - or God’s rule or reign - by incorporating more people into the Body of Christ, can we even have a chance at Social Justice.
The reasserters here do not work of an “unjust” society nor do they deny the need for justice.  We just differ on the definition of “Justice” and the best means of acheiving it.  We think of Justice as something that flows from God and that each person deserves because he or she is created in the image of God.  We also believe that it is wrong to take from one group of people to give to another.  It is unjust to take what someone worked hard to build in order to give to someone who choses not to work at all. 

So, the question comes up - what does a Just society look like and how do we work to acheive it?  I submit that we need to answer the first question before we answer the second.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

January 27, 4:32 pm | [comment link]
24. ElaineF. wrote:

RE:“In her address, she barely mentioned the traditional church mission of saving souls.”
No…really?

January 27, 4:40 pm | [comment link]
25. bob carlton wrote:

Many folks who are committed to social justice find their commitment thru Jesus Christ, who transforms their lives.  To play this as some type of either/or - salvation or justice - is so unlike Hebrew Scripture or Christian Scripture that it begs the question - why is the battle fought ?

As Wormwood would say - oh, the distraction.

January 27, 7:21 pm | [comment link]
26. Rick in Louisiana wrote:

I must (mostly? partly? sufficiently?) agree with Susan Russell. I wonder if it is a false dichotomy to say “well you have social justice at the core of your vision of the gospel, we have… something else {defined as the salvific power of the cross and so on}”. My beef with the Presiding Bishop (among a host of others) is I do not see or hear much about what God has done through the death of Christ on the cross. Jesus as illustrative rather than constitutive of salvation (to use a “William Witticism”).

Now if you shine a hot lamp in my face in a dark windowless room for a few hours… I would admit that I would rather start with the “theological” gospel in which one roots a social justice gospel… than start with a social justice gospel and never really quite get to Jesus/cross/sin/salvation gospel. One seems to have the hope of becoming more complete. The other just… never… seems to get there. Call it “both are equal - but one really needs to come first”.

I think Brian McLaren (among others) represents how to move past this false dichotomy. With respect to fellow “conservatives/orthodox” - I think we overstate our critique of the social gospel proponents sometimes.

Jesus is constitutive of salvation. But still illustrative. Both/and rather than either/or.

January 27, 7:27 pm | [comment link]
27. Choir Stall wrote:

“The 53-year-old former oceanographer…” 
Always with the scientist resume. Why never any reference to her short stint as a priest before election as a bishop? The Roanoke paper wouldn’t have absorbed these usual talking points unless KJS or her handlers kept repeating the non-pastoral experience that she relies upon.  OK..OK..OK SHE IS A FORMER SCIENTIST!! What has she done in pastoral ministry?!?!?!?

January 27, 8:34 pm | [comment link]
28. 0hKay wrote:

Susan—You know as well as anyone in TEC that the PB has been incapable of finding any place in her speeches and interviews for anything approaching a viable affirmation of the classic gospel of the “salvific power of the cross.” You also know that the last great effort in TEC to mount an evangelistic thrust—20/20 was “gutted” (to use Richard Kew’s first-hand word of testimony). You also know that no authorized presenter from TEC leadership was given a spot at GC to preach the classic gospel. I think you just want us to behave and to try to keep our little local things going until we retire, when the TEC “social justice” juggernaut will roll on into the future. No thanks.

January 27, 9:58 pm | [comment link]
29. Pb wrote:

Oceanographer. I thought she was a squid expert. But then that does not sound as imppressive.

January 27, 10:19 pm | [comment link]
30. Now Orthodox wrote:

Amazing!  I agree with at least one thing KJS said…folks can roll up their sleeves and do more to help the needy.  That having been said, the one thing we should not expect is our government to do it( the track record for government aid is abysmal).  The government rendition is nothing but fiscal slavery (takes us to May to earn enough to pay taxes now) and more taxation is NOT the answer.  The whole spiel sounds lack an ad for socialism/communism (where godless societies are encouraged). If everyone worked toward the tithe in giving, there would be less hunger, disease and death around the world.
Peace,
Barry

January 27, 10:24 pm | [comment link]
31. GrandpaDino wrote:

2.7 million Episcopal Church members

Wow! There must have been quite a ‘population explosion’ last week!

January 27, 10:25 pm | [comment link]
32. Philip Snyder wrote:

Bob - it is not the commitment to Social Justice that bugs me, but the equation of political activism - particularly along the talking points of the Democratic Party - with working to acheive Social Justice that bugs me.  I find the government to be grossly inefficient and heartless when it comes to solving poverty and the issues around it. 

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

January 27, 11:09 pm | [comment link]
33. sfmccalla wrote:

I generally do not believe everything I read in the newspaper, so I doubt they got it right when they quoted Presiding Bishop Schori.  Seems to me that we ought to get straight what she actually said.  Also, Scripture is FULL of references speaking against injustice toward the poor.  God has always cared about the poor, the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and we need to be reminded of this from time to time.  I find it much easier to love God than to love my neighbor.  In our prayer of contrition, we say”...Forgive us for what we have done and for what we have left undone…we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves…”  because being Christian does not exempt us from sinful behavior.  Like the old song says, “God has no hands but our hands with which to give them bread…”

January 28, 5:39 am | [comment link]
34. Tom Roberts wrote:

33- the logic of Scriptural references for a righteous society lie in the OT concept of Covenant. If you (both plural, indicating a nation, and singular, indicating a person) are in Covenant with Me, I will write My Law on your hearts, and you will be My people. Acceptance of that relationship, as indicated in Exodus and many times thereafter, is a prerequisite for even joining a righteous social context. Only after that point can one consider the implications for how a righteous society might be ordered in this world. Jesus fulfilled this Covenantal relationship by saving us from the personal defects which our sins bring to fulfilling that personal relationship with God. That is the point of Jesus’s preaching against the Pharisees’ calculated tithing when they were themselves whitened sepulchres. Well, we all are whitened sepulchres unless Christ saves us. But these personal matters are first steps, whereas the bounty which we ought to share with others is merely a consequence of the bounty with which Christ has shared with us individually.

I think that many of the objections above are due to Schori’s apparent inability to place first things, first.

January 28, 8:03 am | [comment link]
35. Larry Morse wrote:

Taken alone, Schori’s remarks are unexceptional. However, they really must be taken in context of what TEC has done and what Schori has said. The context makes it clear that she has little or no belief in or interest in the resurrection and the life to come, that she has little interest in what scripture actually says, and the TEC context is just as clear and just as a-Christian. I don’t need to repeat the evidence. You all know it.

  Look now at S. Russell’s comment. Taken innocently, it is unexceptional although well up the ladder of abstraction. But see her remarks about ““Anglican comprehensiveness” and the acceptance of different theological stances. IN the Integrity context, Anglican comprehensiveness in fact becomes a Trojan Horse, for the acceptance of this abstraction is in fact the acceptance of the entire homophile agenda, and different theological stances becomes
a similar horse, for its acceptance carries hidden the acceptance of scripture as “whatever pleases me.”

  I would inveigh against such hypocrisy except that I don’t think this is what it is, but rather simple blindness and a conviction that the speakers are Right and all others are Wrong. I grant that Russell’s remarks are self-seeking and are commonly so, but such self-centeredness is common to mankind. My real complaint is that, when the speakers’ contexts are examined, their words have precious little to do with Christianity in any sense, and everything to do with the assertion of power and its continuation. The suits being pursued and their attendant costs makes this clear. Their Christianity become another kind of horse, a stalking horse, and it annoys me greatly that they think me - and us -so slow witted that we are easy fodder for their remuda.        Larry

January 28, 8:17 am | [comment link]
36. rob k wrote:

While I believe that social just activity that is not rooted in conviction about the whole Gospel should not be the primary concern of the Church,  I wonder if anyone could discuss the fact that the only time in the Gospels that Jesus speaks of the Last Judgement is in the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew.  In discussing who will go to heaven Jesus does not line everyone up against the wall and ask “did you believe” or “what did you beleive” but did you or did you not commit the acts of mercy such as caring for the widow, visiting the prisoner, etc.  Thx.

January 28, 9:01 am | [comment link]
37. Harvey wrote:

Like a few of the blogers I wonder what real good the PB could do with her 2,000,000 dollar loan and increasing mandatory Diocese assessements besides spending it in court browbeating a group of dissenting parishes and Dioceses.  Of course she’s going to the UN.  Maybe she will find a lot of like-thinking persons.  But I wonder how many of the 200+ countries even claim to be Christ-believers???

January 28, 9:59 am | [comment link]
38. SaintCyprian wrote:

“The 53-year-old former oceanographer, who is said by religious scholars to be the only female top-ranked official of a major denomination—except for Queen Elizabeth II, whose crown makes her head of the Church of England—spoke with the conviction of a street preacher.”

Sorry if this is slightly off topic, but are we really to believe that the Roanoke Times actually consulted “religious scholars” to find out that the Presiding Bishop is the highest ranking female “official” of any denomination? Unless of course by “religious scholars” they mean “Wikipedia”...

January 28, 10:34 am | [comment link]
39. John Wilkins wrote:

Churches should not be loyal to a political party, but it has always had some kind of witness to the poor.  And in a democracy, it means that christians, as citizens, are premitted to seek such amelioration through both the state and through voluntary organizations.

“The poor you will always have with you” is an anti-utopian sentiment leftists should heed.  Because “the poor” is an abstraction.  You can’t eliminate abstractions. 

But you can respond to concrete needs.  Working for universal health care is not about eliminating poverty, or sickness (they will be with us) but a practial solution to the real suffering that we can mitigate.  Unfortunately lots of Christians believe that building weapons is more important than mitigating suffering.  And they don’t see that perhaps by providing universal health care, by creating jobs, abortions would decrease, without criminalizing women or strengthening the power of the state.

Phil seems to avoid the fact that for many people, as reported by the Barna Report, the word “Jesus Christ” conveys pushiness, homophobia, judgmentalism.  Schori is doing the soft-sell, conveying what salvation means without the religious language that sends lots of thinking people the other direction.

January 28, 4:30 pm | [comment link]
40. libraryjim wrote:

John,

I think you are setting up false dichotomies here.  While I think we do need a strong defense (9/11 showed us that the U.S. does still have enemies in the world), health care is indeed an issue, too. I just don’t think a socialist plan is “a practical solution”, as the Democrats do, nor do I feel that the higher tax burden it is bringing with it would help anyone.  But a church leadership that focuses on Mission-type evangelism would be a wonderful thing—look at all the good Catholic Charities have wrought over the years with their orphanages, hospitals, clinics, etc.  Why should we rely on a government who handles poverty issues so poorly (medicare and medicade are riddled with corruption and waste, as are most of the ‘war on poverty’ bred agencies—food stamps, WIC, etc.  Frankly, I don’t trust the government to do any better with ‘universal health care’ then they have with these existing programs.)

And if churches, especially those calling for governmental actions, would practice REAL evangelism, instead of an MDG based approach—presenting Jesus Christ, crucified, risen, and coming again—then perhaps we could head off the negative image TEC has caused by pushing into the limelight.  KJS has to bear some of this responsiblity through her actions of ‘retrubition reconcilliation’ and mega-lawsuits with every priest who disagrees with her views.  Her soft-sell is unfortunately more reminiscent of Harold Hill than Christianity, as she if offering a counterfeit in place of the real thing.

January 28, 6:21 pm | [comment link]
41. libraryjim wrote:

It’s cold here, I’m having trouble hitting the right keys, apologies for typos.

JE

January 28, 6:21 pm | [comment link]
42. libraryjim wrote:

Heh, I should have said, “More reminiscent of Harold Hill than Mars Hill.”

That would have worked better! Oh, well, I’ll blame the cold. grin

January 28, 6:44 pm | [comment link]
43. William Scott wrote:

Susan Russell Wote:
It’d never work if my litmus test for your welcome at the table is how you vote on social issues and your litmus test for mine is if we agree on the same theological explanation for the salvific power of the cross.

These disagements are not equal.

January 28, 7:51 pm | [comment link]
44. Tom Roberts wrote:

43- I believe that SR knows that, and wrote the post that way intentionally.

January 28, 8:01 pm | [comment link]
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