Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

I had to give "fork-poking" points for the speech our Presiding Bishop gave at the opening of the Episcopal Church's 2009 General Convention last week. She sure stirred up some fundies with this quote:

"The overarching connection in all of these crises has to do with the great Western heresy—that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God. It’s caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus. That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of being. That heresy is one reason for the theme of this Convention."

I was sitting there reading it, thinking, "Yeah...so?"

But she's right, you know. Especially that "idolatry" thing, and that "individualism" thing.

Like you, me, or anyone has the power to "save ourselves" by saying "the sinner's prayer." I might as well click my heels together three times and say "There's no place like home." I can't see the God I worship meeting me at the gate and going, "Eh, eh! Not so fast! You didn't say the magic word!"

I followed some of the more fundamentalist-type links, and the comment on one of the sites that cracked me up was this one, meant to infer the PB was a heretic...

"I guess that the "bishop" has never read a Bible. She needs to read Acts 4:12; Salvation is not in a religious organization but in Christ alone."

Well, DUH, did that commenter read what he/she just said? "in Christ alone." Like "not by YOU or anything YOU did." DUH. And when you look at Acts 4:8-12...

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

Well, DUH, hellloooooo? She said that our words are not what saves us. Nobody said you have to DO anything; Jesus does what Jesus does, and it ain't got nothin' to do with you.

Then there was their so-called "poll"...



I guess that's the meaning of "push poll," huh? Not a single choice like "Uh...maybe she's right."

Sometimes, I get a feeling people need to remember there is "intent" with "repent," when we use the word as it truly means.

I mean, let's say I owe my friend $100. If I tell her, "I'll pay you on Friday," and I have no intention of paying her on Friday, telling her that meant nothing. But if I've paid her, it was not a hollow statement. Do I get to absolve myself if I didn't pay her on Friday by saying, "Well, I told her I would, so it counts." Hell, no!

Now, the people who see this salvation thing differently like to point out "all have fallen short of the glory of God."

I'm with you, there. 100%. No argument there. There is nothing--not ONE thing--that I can do to measure up for the gift of God's grace. But that still does not mean that getting "saved" in a certain prescribed method approved by certain segments of Christianity will assure "my" salvation. If you were to ask me what assures me of salvation, I would say it is being able to look at how I have changed my life as a result of my desire to do God's will...and it's not "my" salvation. It's just "salvation."

I sooooooo dislike that emphasis on "a personal relationship with Jesus" thing. It reeks of "I've got mine; too bad YOU'RE going to Hell." Truth is, we are defined by others. It's that "loving your neighbor as yourself," thing. In my case, I so often fall short in even beginning to "love myself." "Loving myself" means to stop always making it about me. When we make it about us, that's not "self-love," that's narcissicm. If we were all loving our neighbors as our selves, in the way God meant for us to, this stuff about our own salvations wouldn't even come up. We'd just know.

In the meantime, I am grateful to God for my uncertainty. Without it, I'd never try to do better. If I had the smug self-assurance that some of the "saved" do, I would never feel I ever had to change a thing about myself, because I'm already"in". As the years roll on, I worry less and less about being "in" or "out." That's not what salvation is about.

3 comments:

I hadn't heard about the PB's speech. I enjoyed your analysis.

Hey, Show Me piskie!

Ain't she something else? I would follow her almost anywhere.

I can't believe she got any guff for that. So sad that the "orthodox" are so far removed from Orthodoxy.

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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