Recently Bp. Scharfenbeger gave a speech to an interfaith group in Albany. At least one Protestant didn’t like what he had to say.
From the Times Union of Albany, NY.
Rev. Sam Trumbore
First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany [Unitarian Universalist… what is that, I wonder.]
Bishop Scharfenberger’s after dinner speech last night at the Capital Region Theological Center Fall fundraising dinner seriously missed his audience and likely ruffled a few feathers in the interfaith, largely Protestant audience of about 230 community leaders.
Many of us in attendance were very interested to hear the recent replacement for long serving Bishop Hubbard, to hear what his message to the interfaith community might be. The Capital Region Theological Center is a wonderful ecumenical organization founded by the collaboration of the founding partners: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Reformed Church of America, Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ. […] Their values welcoming and supporting all faith communities seeking peace, justice and a more sustainable planet and a spirit of collaboration, discussion over judgment, and diversity rather than uniformity line up well with the values of my Unitarian Universalist congregation.
So it surprised me with the new Bishop stood up after dinner and launched into a finely crafted Catholic sermon about the nature of freedom in Catholic theology. He spoke little about the work of CRTC nor much about the community gathered to hear him and gave what sounded like last Sunday’s sermon at the cathedral. There were some surprising references when he began about the common religious history of slavery among ancient peoples suggesting that the Ancient Greeks, Jews, and Christians all took it for granted. As our denomination has been keenly interested in the Catholic Doctrine of Discovery and its use to subjugate Native Americans and enslave Africans, [?] I was curious if the Bishop would talk about this, dare I say apologize for the massive death, destruction and suffering it caused. He did not. [?!?]
I’m not going to be able to pull apart all the subtleties of his speech for us but he took us to the Garden of Eden to reiterate the Original Sinfulness of humanity and our rebellion against God. The evil in the world is our fault because we do not use our freedom wisely. We pursue power for our separate selves rather than the good and the love of God. Humanity falls into sin by choosing the freedom to get over the freedom to give. Real freedom isn’t the absence of constraints but to choose the constraints that God gives us. Most surprisingly given the liberal theological climate in Albany, he spoke about what was missing today was fear of Hell.
Fr. Z kudos to Bp. Scharfenberger. ¡Hagan lío!
Read the rest over there for a good chuckle.
Meanwhile, let true dialogue begin!