SCREWTAPE PROPOSES AN EPISCOPAL TOAST (21)

With apologies to C.S. Lewis

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
February 4, 2013

My dear Wormwood,

So the South Carolina Episcopalians have split with the minority playing the victim in the face of Bishop Mark Lawrence’s venality and intransigence. Make sure the press plays up the “fundamentalism”, “narrowness” and doctrinaire bishop and his fundie followers. Their lack of inclusion and diversity must ring around the communion and across the world. Paint them as the worst kind of narrow minded persons, never mind that “their way” is indeed narrow and “few there be that find it.” You must paint Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and her crowd as the open-minded ones, open to change and the winds of the spirit, whatever the hell that is and wherever the hell they blow. They blow of course right into our father’s furnace.

Keep the talk all sweetness and light, inviting those who did not cross the road with them to come back by warm invitation into the bosom of TEC…a bosom overflowing with largess and luminosity, but with fewer dollars. After all she is going to need several million dollars to finance lawsuits against Lawrence and his diocese, so one might have to contribute to that fund. Furthermore, remind them that they are still part of the Anglican Communion whereas Lawrence is not, and that HIS arms are wide enough to embrace all regardless of sexual orientation, even religion and not the stunted medieval dogma of those ghastly orthodox types.

At all times, religion must be conceived of in the broadest possible terms; that His love has no boundaries, all are embraced with no thought to behavior and discipleship (a horrible word) that forces people to conclude that it is “my will” and not “thy will” be done. Therein lies the harder, higher road and under no circumstances must that be taken.

The easy road leads to us, Wormwood, so pave it with good intentions, half-hearted commitments, all sexualities, endless social projects and concerns for the “other”. Let them chatter on about interfaith and interface, showing deep tearful concern for the “other” that they have no interest in converting. Under no circumstances must the fearful sight of a crucified Christ (I hate even to say the word) be visible on their spiritual radar screens. Divert, divert, divert. Keep people endlessly playing on their i-phones, i-Pads, chattering meaningless nonsense on Facebook and the half dozen social media that now inhabit the earth. Keep them endlessly tweeting, twittering and texting; but NEVER must they come to a knowledge of the truth that could radically change their lives and force them into a new direction. Keep the Kardashians not Christ ever before them.

The next move, and one I have positioned a personal demon onto, is that dreadful evangelical Archbishop-elect Justin Welby. We almost had it in the bag with Rowan of Oystermouth. Then the Church of England goes and does the darndest thing; they go for another George Carey type. This is too horrible to contemplate. Undermining him is now our top priority. The failure by Agent Slubgob to neutralize that ALPHA movement has caused our father great perplexity and deep pain that he will undoubtedly inflict on others, in due course.

Mercifully, The Episcopal Church is almost all ours with only a small handful of holdout dioceses. In time, they will elect moderates (we do so love them) as they think they are doing His will and not ours. Really nasty bishops like Spong, Righter, Dixon, Bruno, Jefferts Schori et al are too obvious. Obviously ours are the subtler ones, keep our serpentine father in a special hellish mode of artful glee as he contemplates their arrival with oh so much unctuousness. “Good day to you my lord bishop, welcome to Hell. What, you didn’t know you were coming here? What could possibly have made you think otherwise? Ah, you mean all that fine talk of compromise, via media and “generous orthodoxy” over Visigoth and gay Rites and queer marriages with women in the kitchen and boys in the bed…such sweet music to our ears bishop. Your confreres await you.”

The notion that God loves absolutely everybody, Wormwood, violates the whole notion of total obedience. The freedom of the Will to willfully abandon His commandments and the need for radical discipleship seems lost on these poor fools. The deeper truth, Wormwood, is that they were never His in the first place. They mistakenly thought that throwing a little water over them and saying a few words admitted them into His family, when in fact it was only a down payment for future promises of total surrender. It never happened. Their notion of baptism is little more than ecclesiastical gerrymandering. The floors of hell are paved with liberals, progressives, revisionists and Affirming Catholics.

Now make sure that lawsuits follow swiftly and painfully in South Carolina. This will brilliantly deflect from their mission and calling. It is a marvelously distracting moment and can run for weeks, months and even years, leaving little time to talk about Him and his life-saving Gospel. Distraction is the name of the game, Wormwood.

We were delighted to learn that recent polls show a growing majority of Americans no longer feel comfortable with words like “sin”. Such a word is highly offensive to defenders of the Sexual Revolution; the mere mention of the word creates apoplexy. My, how times have changed, Wormwood, and to our advantage, no less. We much prefer words like “dysfunction”… far more satisfying.

There was a time when preachers and pastors railed against sin and evil and the darkness that followed and then the free offer of salvation and hope. No more. What traditional Christians have believed for 2,000 years about sexual behavior is now considered narrow and intolerant. So-called Christian denominations like The Episcopal Church are content to rewrite the rules even as they diminish and decline. What were once simply mainstream evangelical expressions of sexual morality have now been marginalized and degraded. It is sweet music to our ears, Wormwood.

Remember that the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over till it’s over” still ring true. The other side has an arsenal of possibilities. When people are down and out, they turn to Him for rescue and guidance, not us. When the storms and thunder clouds roll and children are slaughtered by their mad gun laws, they turn to Him for solace. Such random acts of violence rarely benefit us. The one lonely gun-slinging soul who makes his way here is vastly offset by the knowledge that children wing their way to heaven and to their Father. Our Father goes mad with rage.

Choose your battles carefully, Wormwood. Don’t overplay your hand. We love moderate men of all shades of opinion, agnostics and skeptics who are not sure He exists, atheists who deny him and materialists who concern themselves with only their own comfort unmindful of the life to come. The Hawkins and the Dawkins are sweet music to our ears. Blot out the future, Wormwood. Make them think only of the present…starve their souls. Then they are ours.

I remain your affectionate uncle,

Screwtape

Three Brief Positives for Mississippi Episcopalians

At first glance, you may not think these three positives are “happy things”—but as I’ve watched the past few days unfold, I’ve been struck by themmississippi afresh.

1) You can take heart that all over the United States, in almost every Episcopal diocese, Episcopalians who believe the Gospel have had done to them just what Bishop Duncan Gray did to you. One can go through and count up all the dioceses with bishops who have lied to you, manipulated you, calculated how to get you to stay silent and inactive, attempted to control you, tried to figure out how to keep you giving and supporting, and betrayed their promises to you—and it’s almost every single diocese. StandFirm and other blogs have posted details of those stories—over and over and over and over again—during an almost ten-year period; they’re sitting nicely archived for future research and wonderment.

That’s the way this generation of Episcopal bishops is.  We don’t know precisely why that is—it’s just the kind of leadership that has come up through The Episcopal Church over this past generation. It’s very very rare that a bishop has been open and aboveboard, honest and frank, in their public pronouncements. Instead, they’ve relied on sophistry, double meanings that confuse people and blur decisions, shamelessly lied, and bullied their way through their dioceses, hidden their intentions, and only when they feel safe to maintain their power, have they revealed their hearts—the truth about who they are and what they believe.  We may speculate about why that is—basic cowardice and self preservation, a scheming, grasping, sly disposition, or a simple sociopathic disorder—we just don’t know.  But we do know that the vast vast vast majority of Episcopal bishops in this generation have demonstrated what they are over a ten year period. They are not honest, and they do not serve the Gospel or you. You must protect yourself and your loved ones from them. Many many thousands now have chosen to leave The Episcopal Church in order to protect themselves. Others who have stayed have taken other steps to protect themselves.

But you have to take some comfort in the fact that you have many thousands of brothers and sisters whose hearts have been stunned and broken and horrified and repulsed by the deceit, guile, and gross betrayal of their bishops.

You are not alone.

2) This will teach you a lot—and it has taught tens of thousands of other Episcopalians who believe the Gospel much too.  They’ll mull over the mistakes they made, the passivity they showed, and the misreading of character they trusted. They will carry the lessons they’ve learned, the caution and wisdom they’ve achieved, the ability to see manipulation and cowardice more easily, into all of their endeavors: their work, their churches, and please God, into secular politics, which I’ve noticed conservative Episcopalians entering.

If the Spirit of Christ is within us, we will learn from suffering and the evil done to us by those who purported to be our spiritual leaders.

It’s not wrong to be angry.

But far more important than emotions, which come and go, hold on to those lessons that you’ll discover, and remember the mistakes you made. People often get better at things by messing up. You will too.

3) The truth shall set you free indeed.

I really believe that. No matter how painful or devastating or initially horrifying truth is . . . we don’t get better until we see it. And if we live in not-truth, we become—our own selves become—more and more distorted and mis-shapen and dysfunctional to live in a delusory world that is false and misleading.

Be thankful that you see the truth about this one person who has claimed leadership and influence and power and authority over your life.

Freedom sometimes doesn’t feel fun, and casual, and breezy. But if we’re fortunate, freedom is what we get.

in one small area of your life, you have that truth that leads to freedom.

Thank God for His mercies!

Warning The World of The Consequences of SSM

February 5th, 2013

By Paul Burgess

Isaiah 8 – Should Christians be squealing?

Alex Motyer writes in his Devotional commentary on Isaiah: “The secret of the un-worrying people in a worried world: ‘fear him, ye saints, and samesexyou will then have nothing else to fear.’ Sheltering in the Lord, they possess the ‘testimony’, ‘the teaching’, the ‘word’, i.e. believers, by being different through displaying un-anxious peace, witness as they nourish their minds and guide their lives by the Word the Lord has spoken, and face the uncertain and cloudy future with calm and certain expectations.”

Reflection on above:

In the current debate on SSM, we should not be emphasing the discrimination against Christians posed by secular / gay agendas, but rather the moral, psychological, health and material consequences for a secular / gay dominated society. i.e. for marriages, family life, youth development and the community. This requires more complex research and reflection than simply citing cases of previous discrimination against Christians.

 

The Power of ‘My Story’ in The SS Debate

Dr Robert Gagnon, when submitting his script of The Bible and Homosexual Practice to his revisionist-inclined publishers, was asked to omit a 50 page chapter on Church Policy on the grounds that it was ‘too practical’. The following extract perhaps explains why!

The stories of those who want to engage in homosexual behavior have an intentionally seductive quality. They are, to use ancient categories, testimonia with a single, “protreptic” aim; namely, to win converts to the view that homosexual behavior is normal and natural. These stories subtly inject the theme of individual moral autonomy: this is my world, these are my pains, these are my experiences. No one else can question what I feel. The hearer gets sucked into this story-world and, if not careful, may forget the larger world, the overarching moral universe, that makes a claim on us all. These testimonia, while discouraging hearers from passing moral judgment on homosexual behavior, encourage hearers to make clear identifications of victims (homosexual persons) and victimizers (those opposed to same-sex intercourse) based on who feels the most pain. Pain becomes a pass from moral scrutiny. Hearers are invited to adopt the fastest balm for alleviating such pain: acceptance of the behavior in question. Thus the focus is put on three elements: first, the individual rather than the community; second, the subjective realm of feelings rather than church doctrine or the objective effects of the behavior; and, third, the short-term, easy solution of gratifying desires rather than the long-term, difficult program of transforming thoughts and actions.

Women are being brutalised by ‘equality’

February 5th, 2013

By Francis Phillips, Catholic Herald

I got some stick last year when I wrote in a blog after the Olympics that the thought of women punching each other in a boxing ring depressed me. This view has nothing to do with the characters of the young women so engaged; it is my battle (using words rather than fists) against these latter decades of feminism which has made such a pugilistic scenario possible. Over boxing I wrote, “It might seem a victory in the on-going feminist struggle of women’s complete equality with men, but it strikes me as a hollow victory; a blow against the nature of womankind; indeed, a step backwards for civilisation.”

Last week we larned that in the US women are going to be allowed to engage in front-line combat duty alongside men. I see it as a further downward slide; what will be next?

Soon, as Yeats wrote in the context of the Great War, “mere anarchy” will be “loosed upon the world.” I am not being alarmist; nor am I alone in my opinions here; Robert Reilly in a good article in Mercator Net, challenges US General Martin Dempsey who has proclaimed that “The time has come to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women and eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.” As Reilly comments, it is ideological pressure that has created this supposed requirement – not military necessity.

He points to research in 1994 for the Heritage Foundation which has shown that “the presence of women has had a devastating impact on the effectiveness of men in battle.”

Read here