Frederick Schmidt—Dumbing Down the Church

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Early reports indicate that the proposed changes to the liturgy that The Episcopal Church will consider at its General Convention this summer will include a "Litany for the Planet" that contains this prayer:
On eukaryotes and prokaryotes, archaea and viruses; on microbes of endless variety, the complex and the simple, Creator have mercy.

Those reports also include:

A recommendation that we authorize "The Message" Bible for liturgical use in the church.

And the sage advice that the Eucharist ought to be offered knowingly and in principle to anyone and everyone as an act of hospitality.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Theology

Posted May 1, 2012 at 11:33 am

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2. David Keller wrote:

Surely the proposed “prayer” is not real.  It looks like it came from the talking Visa “Onion” article.

May 1, 3:29 pm | [comment link]
3. C. Wingate wrote:

I have bad news for you, David: it’s exactly as bad as you are reading, and there is much, much more than that:

On the soil, that it may be built up and be fruitful,
Creator, have mercy.

On the minerals below the earth that nourish life,
Creator, have mercy.

On your volcanoes and lava flows,
Creator, have mercy.

May 1, 3:49 pm | [comment link]
4. samh wrote:

Lord, have mercy.

May 1, 3:56 pm | [comment link]
5. Undergroundpewster wrote:

This is a natural progression from “Classrooms and labs, loud boiling test tubes…sing to the Lord a new song…”

May 1, 3:59 pm | [comment link]
6. MarkP wrote:

But it’s not a “change to the liturgy.” It’s presumably an optional element proposed for trial use. The existing liturgy’s still there, and nobody has to deal with the various karyotes unless they want to. (How many parishes actually made much use of Enriching Our Worship?) The overwhelming majority of TEC parishes will continue to use straight BCP liturgies, following essentially all the rubrics (except, maybe, the one about the Celebrant receiving Communion first).

May 1, 4:14 pm | [comment link]
7. wvparson wrote:

Who ever wrote the bit about volcanos should be sent on a mission trip to live in the shadow of an active one.

May 1, 4:23 pm | [comment link]
8. Ian+ wrote:

How about moving 815 to the base of Mauna Loa?

May 1, 4:36 pm | [comment link]
9. David Keller wrote:

1. What samh said. 2. #8 How about inside the crater of Mauna Loa!

May 1, 5:06 pm | [comment link]
10. Sarah wrote:

You guys are just mean and divisive.

Some aspiring writer who has an artist’s heart and who attentively absorbed every last minute of An Inconvenient Truth carefully sculpted those words, led and inspired by the Holy Spirit and several glasses of sherry, and it was approved and commended by the Bright Lights and Leading Minds of This Great Church.

The fact that some bigoted neanderthal primitives can’t be impressed over the brilliant, creative mind who came up with this impressive list of results of the Fall [metaphorically speaking of course!] just demonstrates how little the Fruit of the Spirit is demonstrated in this hateful blog.

May 1, 5:33 pm | [comment link]
11. St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse wrote:

Perhaps I’m missing something, but I don’t remember any particular transgression committed by the rest of Creation (outside of Man), that would require the mercy of “Creator”. Creation still goes on, as God had created it; good.

May 1, 5:53 pm | [comment link]
12. Yebonoma wrote:

Just a darn minute! Who left out the mollusks?  It’s not inclusive if octopi are excluded.  Please see the accompanying new PB vestment design here -

May 1, 6:01 pm | [comment link]
13. c.r.seitz wrote:

#11—you are thinking too linearly. Lighten up.

May 1, 6:02 pm | [comment link]
14. MichaelA wrote:

Yes, the creation is in bondage to decay and cries out for redemption.  But I can’t think of anywhere in scripture where we are told to pray for it:

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” [Romans 8:18-25]

But this “liturgy” is just so silly.  Do these people not understand that they are already on the way to becoming a laughing-stock in the eyes of most people, and this will just accelerate the process?!

May 1, 7:21 pm | [comment link]
15. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Here’s my contribution:

All doctrine strange and heretical,
All invertebrates great and small,
All liturgies wierd and wonderful,
The Celaphopod rules them all

Some days I sit and think. Other days I just sit!!

May 1, 9:48 pm | [comment link]
16. Yebonoma wrote:


Very good work.  It made me think of shamelessly borrowing from Tolkien - “One cephalopod to rule them all.”  grin

May 2, 8:44 am | [comment link]
17. Clueless wrote:

Well, the bishops are for the most part invertebrates, so it makes sense to pray for them wink

May 2, 9:31 am | [comment link]
18. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

God made the world in six days.
On the seventh he said “I’ll rest.”
So he let the thing into orbit swing
To give it a dry-run test.

Four billion years went by and he took a look at the whirling blob.
His spirits fell, and he said “Oh, well ..
It was only a six-day job.”

May 2, 10:29 am | [comment link]
19. profpk wrote:

I hope that we will always continue to pray:
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-legged beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!
- Traditional Scottish Prayer

May 2, 3:29 pm | [comment link]
20. bettcee wrote:

If they really wanted to be taken seriously they would abandon word games and pray that God will protect the babies some call Zygotes and Fetuses from the sharp sword of Abortionists.
Of course this is not the kind of prayer they would recommend but it has enough clarity to be taken seriously. It seems to me that those who design prayers “On eukaryotes and prokaryotes, archaea and viruses” do not really expect to be taken seriously, their goal seems to be that of confusing and trivializing the language of the present Book of Common Prayer in order to control the liturgy of the future.

May 2, 7:06 pm | [comment link]
21. Rich Gabrielson wrote:

Might be the first prayer book ever to need a pronunciation guide ...

May 2, 8:57 pm | [comment link]
22. evan miller wrote:

Amen.  I love the tune but find the lyrics wanting.  The verse you cite here is pathetically banal.  The refrain is good though.
I’m sooo glad our parish uses the 1928 BCP!

May 3, 12:17 pm | [comment link]

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