Friday, February 13, 2009

Episcopal Symptoms

Sunday, as a favor to a friend, I went to an Episcopal church I had attended in the 1980s, located about ten blocks north of the White House. To my great disappointment, its peculiarly Episcopal symptoms of the terminal illness affecting Christianity convinced me of the relative wisdom of my current apostasy and agnosticism.

First, of course, the church was near empty at the mid-morning second service of the day, typically the best attended. They'd disguised it with the oldest church trick in the book: removal of pews. But the church still looked empty.

Second, the black female homilist was a walking, talking Republican advertisement against affirmative action. It wasn't bad enough that she read her flat, uninspiring and derivative sermon. She simply could not read! I'm not kidding. The words and their pronunciation were entirely foreign to her, although she spoke with an accent as American as apple pie.

Third, there were a slew of announcements by church committee heads. All expressed that false American Protestant cheer ("ha, ha") to signal the good, clean fun of a book and CD sale or the fulfillment of hearing teens' "profound" questions to the church's seminarian about his trip to the Military Republic of Kumbaya, where distressing things are happening. They all made a pitch for more volunteers since, from the look of things, they were the only members of their activities -- and no wonder.

The rector (not the homilist) was the parish's second female in that position, not the elegant former actress I had had a hand in selecting, but one who made an earnest Episcopal try to sound horsey and look dowdy, all reinforced by robust bursts of entirely forced laughter.

Let's not leave out the after-service coffee and its swarm of men with bejewelled ears and tones borrowed from their mothers.

No wonder the Episcopal Church is falling apart.


Anonymous said...

You need to get your Kierkegaard books out again. Christianity and Christendom are not the same thing. Crab all you want to about "Christians" who aren't reflecting Christianity - they have existed for as long as Christianity has. It still isn’t a good excuse for agnosticism.

Anne said...

All the churches are falling apart.

Can I sell you an indulgence?

Geneviève said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cecilieaux said...

Anonymous: I don't understand how Christians can hide behind responses like yours.

Anne: no, thanks, I'm indulgent enough as it is.

Re comment removal: I have never removed a comment. "By the author" means by the author of the comment, not the author of the blog.

Anonymous said...

And I don't understand how apostates can hide behind words like yours.

Cecilieaux said...

I don't see any hiding on my part, Anonymous. My words call things out as I see them. You may not like them, but that's another story.

On the other hand, for Christians to keep insisting that "oh, well, there have always been some bad apples" is simply absurd. It shows just how little you have to say for yourselves. After 2,000 years the best you can do is shrug and sigh? Please!

Lisa said...

Cecilio, you're too smart a man to be suckered into stating things like "the people who use the product suck, so the product itself must suck" - yes, every religion on the plantet has, unfortunately, human beings in it. And people are quite often smelly, rude, obnoxious, and inane and/or insane. As well as a number of other adjectives I could use. And yet, good men and women from all over the world, from every culture have risen above the seething slime of the masses and offered their lives for them. Why? Are the good insane? Or does something or Someone inspire them. You say you're an agnostic - so you believe in some sort of "higher power" - isn't that just a cop out of someone who's not willing to commit? Someone who takes their own anger and frustration with TPTB, and shoots themselves in the foot? Gotta wonder...

Cecilieaux said...

What you forget is that the "product" is supposed to convince people not to suck, so to speak. The product just doesn't work.