You cannot make this stuff up…
… and, sadly, you don’t have to (via The St. Louis Post-Dispatch):
The Rev. Steve Lawler should have just given up chocolate or television for Lent.
Instead, Lawler, of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ferguson, decided to adopt the rituals of Islam for 40 days to gain a deeper understanding of the faith.
On Friday, he faced being defrocked if he continued in those endeavors. [Contrary to what some may think, Anglicans have laws.]
“He can’t be both a Christian and a Muslim,” said Bishop George Wayne Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. “If he chooses to practice as Muslim, then he would, by default, give up his Christian identity and priesthood in the church.”
Lawler, a part-time rector at the church, didn’t foresee such problems when he came up with the idea. He merely wanted to learn more about Islam, he said, especially in light of the ongoing congressional hearings on the radicalization of the faith.
Key point in the article: “Speaking to a reporter that afternoon, he had no problem reconciling his Episcopalian views with those of Islam…” ‘Nuf said.
And, to top it off:
He also talked about how he was born and raised Roman Catholic but left it during his early 20s because he didn’t care for its conservative viewpoints.
“The Episcopal church is a fairly open church,” he said. “If I was the pastor at a very conservative church, I could come in one day and have the locks changed (for doing the Islamic rituals).”
Surprisingly, no Muslims have yet expressed their belief that their Islamic views can be reconciled with Episcopalianism, although several Muslims did say they had no idea what Episcopalians believe (okay, I made that up. Or did I?). Finally:
That seems about right. But how about showing some real conviction by giving up Islam for Lent?
[Lawler] does, however, plan to go ahead with a series of informal public discussions at St. Stephen’s that will include a Muslim, an atheist, a spiritual-but-not-religious person [I love them.] and someone who “lives a full, moral life but has no spiritual or religious foundation at all.”
The free series begins March 22 and is called “Giving Up Church for Lent.” [Idiot.]
The Insight Scoop piece ends:
[H]ow about showing some real conviction by giving up Islam for Lent?