I saw this at Insight Scoop. This piece is an object lesson in why Anglicanorum coetibus was a great idea and why various bodies of Anglicans should sign on to Romanorum coetibus as soon as possible.
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?
I find that the “we’re no different from them” attitude tends to draw zero converts. It also makes Muslims laugh at us because they see Christianity as a bogus religion anyway.
I had a dental patient who was talking like this, so I burned a copy of Steve Kellmeyer’s free talk, “Catholic Perspectives on Islam”. It’s a very well-done talk. Here’s the link:
Sadly, there is no longer any real consensus on even the core beliefs. The PECUSA has become more and more bizarre since the mid 70’s. This anything goes view is too common among clergy and many laity. I crossed the Tiber after much prayer and after the Holy Father’s promulgation of Romanorum coetibus. I am not sure I will join the ordinariate if it becomes available in my area. I miss the BCP greatly, but see little use for clinging to the tattered remnants of Cramner.
This Episcopalian is saying, in other words, “I don’t believe there are objective, universal truths.” So, when Jesus said, “heaven and earth may pass away, but my words will never pass away” He must have been confused. Lawler thinks that something can be true and false at the same time (e.g. the Koran’s teaching that Christians invented the divinity of Christ out of thin air, but that Jesus only presented Himself as a prophet).
I think that it is Lawler who is confused, or at least in need of refresher courses in metaphysics and logic. However, that would not help him if he does not hold to the truth of at least self-evident principles.
Your last red word says it all Father !
Saints Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us!!
“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?).”
Apparently, Rev. Lawler has no idea what Episcopalians believe, either. Nor does he have a clue what his job is (“Giving Up Church for Lent”? Really?). There are times when watching the train wreck that used to be the Anglican/Episcopalian communion is amusing; there are others when you can see the spiritual damage being done is too great to laugh at.
Last one out, please turn off the lights. (That’ll probably be Charles, some time after he succeeds Mum.)
It was things like this that first prompted me and then pushed me to swim the Tiber and unite with Christ’s holy Church. The water was deep and cold, but I have never regretted taking the plunge.
So his panel includes “a Muslim, an atheist, a spiritual-but-not-religious person and someone who ‘lives a full, moral life but has no spiritual or religious foundation at all.’”
Did anyone else read that as his panel includes “a Muslim, an atheist, another atheist, and yet another atheist”?
RichR, it appears that the website you just linked to has been hacked, seemingly by a Muslim. Your link leads to a 404 error page, and when I tried to go to the homepage itself, there was Arabic writing and then a message that it had been hacked.
Ah, the tolerant and peaceful religion of Islam! And the wisdom of the Christian liberals who give up Christ for Lent to “understand” the mind of a Mahometan!
Perhaps next Lent “Rev.” Lawler will give up air, breathing exclusively water in order to better understand fish.
When I went to the link posted in the first comment, I got a “file not found” message. But when I went to the main site it is down, and there is a message saying “Hacked by Ghost of MorocCO.”
That really says all that needs to be said. The good news is that these parishes usually die off anyway and their congregants either become Catholic or stop going to church altogether. Better to be cold or hot, and not lukewarm.
You know, this poor soul could easily practice most of the requirements of Islam in a Christian context.
1. Make the shahada -(that one is out)
2. Pray five times a day – Ever hear of the Divine Office Rev. Lawler?
3. Fast – that’s part of Lenten practice anyway
4. Give alms – that’s part of Christian practice and even more so in Lent
5. Make a pilgrimage to Mecca – well, sorry no can do. Infidels aren’t allowed there. How about making one to Rome Rev. Lawler – it might open your eyes.
WHAT!? No problem reconciling Christianity and Islam? What about CHRIST and His identity?!
Yikes! Even the Episcopalians won’t stand for this. Even for them it is a bridge too far (I hope).
When I finally got to the point of thinking that a belief system truly had to be systematic, and that the words, the beautiful words, had to mean something, I left the Episcopal Church and became Catholic. I didn’t want to “feel good:” I wanted to feel humble, obedient, faithful, penitential, forgiven, and then, feel joy.
After hearing one too many sermons cautioning against being “too religious” (meaning, I suppose, to not be like the Pharisees) I sent a note to my rector, “It surprises me that, of all things, we Episcopalians are in mortal danger of being too devout.” But more to the point, the local Episcopal seminary teaches that you may or may not believe that the host becomes the body and blood of Christ (after all of the prayers of the Eucharistic liturgy says it does) and you may or may not believe in Hell, and, once out of seminary, you can get in a pulpit and say things like, “I’m not sure I believe there was a resurrection,” “The verse in Isaiah doesn’t say “virgin,” it says young woman [so you don’t have to believe in Mary’s virginity],” or, my personal favorite, “This is the age of Obama, and any church that hasn’t [done X: name your favorite lefty iconoclasm] really needs to examine itself [and get with the program tout de suite.]” One of the things we did to get with the program was to allow a Muslim to take communion.
But credit where it’s due: there is recent precedent for defrocking a priest for being a Muslim, but no real self-examination to see why Episcopalians are so susceptible to a religion that’s quite committed to intolerance.
Actually not all that surprising. Humour can best explain the unexplainable.
(What’s a modernist?….Also applicable to people who believe in “The Spirit of VII”)
(The heart of the CoE’s problem)
(Spiritual but not religious?)
‘So his panel includes “a Muslim, an atheist, a spiritual-but-not-religious person and someone who ‘lives a full, moral life but has no spiritual or religious foundation at all.’”
Did anyone else read that as his panel includes “a Muslim, an atheist, another atheist, and yet another atheist”?’
No, but I did wonder if the last one, in being distinguished from the atheist, implied the atheist is immoral. They normally don’t take well to being accused of a lack in morality because of their (lack of?) belief system. Perhaps the last, however, is agnostic, and simply allergic to even accurate labels.
While I can’t classify “spiritual but not religious” people as atheists unless they believe there is no supreme Spirit, I certainly don’t think much of anything they say or do… Spirituality without any particular religious truth would be merely goofing around, wouldn’t it? What spirituality is there that doesn’t have to do with some truth — play pretend?
On a related topic, what I can’t figure out about all these incidents is why a community that shies so far from anything perceived as “conservative” does not perceive Islam’s ethics (flawed as they are) and rituals as conservative. Surely one cannot think Muslims who take their faith seriously are farther from Phariseeism than Christians who barely do? Unless what’s masked as being “liberal” (that is, supposedly free of the shackles of conservative movements) is really just rebellion from Christianity.
This business of “giving up religion for Lent” is the province of the rabid anti-Christians. You can find it all over the Internet in that context.
If you can be a Druid and an Episcopalian Bishop, I guess you can be a Muslim and an Episcopalian priest too. I guess there’s prescidence for this nonsense.
Indeed. And they pat themselves on the back for being ever so clever and ironic.
Actually, it was a husband and wife ECUSA priest team that got caught being Wiccan priest and priestess on the side:
The husband wound up quitting, and started his own church called “St. Brendan of the Ninth Wave”. http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=13666
As for the Muslim angle, there was a ECUSA priestess on the Pacific coast who decided it would be a good thing to convert to Islam while simultaneously continuing to function as an Episcopal priestess. The local bishop was all on board with this idea, but the priestess was still under the jurisdiction of her home diocese back east, and her bishop (also female) told her to knock it off and inhibited her. I believe she was eventually removed from ministry because she refused to give up Islam, claiming she could be both Christian and Muslim at the same time.
Chris Johnson of the Midwest Conservative Journal promulgated “Johnson’s Law”: you cannot possibly parody the Episcopal Church because by the time you get it written they have done something even worse.