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Update: Church approves prayer book revision for gender-neutral God

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As I have previously written, the has been a concerted, decades-long effort among a growing segment within the Episcopal Church to strip the Word of its masculine references to God, beginning with the 1973 publication of “Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation.”

These efforts to amend church materials in conformation to ideological post-modernist thought drew national attention this year after the Washington D.C. diocese adopted a resolution urging the national church’s General Convention to revise the prayer book and, when doing so, to remove the use of gendered pronouns for God in all future revisions. The Book of Common Prayer includes liturgies, prayers, the Bible’s Psalms, etc., was last revised in 1979.

A July 11, 2018, statement by the national Episcopal Church now informs us that this year’s General Convention has indeed concurred, passing a resolution that calls for the revision of the prayer book to include “inclusive and expansive language and imagery for humanity and divinity.”

♦Resolution A068: Plan for the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer declares:

Resolvedthe House of Deputies concurring, That the 79th General Convention, pursuant to Article X of the Constitution, authorize the ongoing work of liturgical and Prayer Book revision for the future of God’s mission through the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.

 

♦As the Episcopal News Service reported from the convention:

The Rev. Jane Johnson, deputy from Fond du Lac, said that since human beings, in all their diversity, are made in the image of God, then the church must move away from an image of God that is white and male. “God’s pronouns are them and their, not he,” she said.

 

The original resolution was re-worded by the House of Bishops. The adopted resolution utilizes language which is more palatable to the public, especially Bible-believing conservatives.

 

One inclusion in Resolution A068 which is, without doubt, an attempt to ease the concerns of conservatives, states (emphasis mine):

ResolvedThat this Convention memorialize the 1979 Book of Common Prayer as a Prayer Book of the church… 

 

♦Resolution A068 lays out a process through which prayer book revision will begin:

Resolvedthat our methodology be one of a dynamic process for discerning common worship, engaging all the baptized, while practicing accountability to The Episcopal Church….

ResolvedThat the 79th General Convention create a Task Force on Liturgical and Prayer Book Revision (TFLPBR), the membership of which will be jointly appointed by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies, and will report to the appropriate legislative committee(s) of the 80th General Convention, ensuring that diverse voices of our church are active participants in this liturgical revision by constituting a group with leaders who represent the expertise, gender, age, theology, regional, and ethnic diversity of the church, to include, 10 laity, 10 priests or deacons, and 10 Bishops…

ResolvedThat bishops engage worshiping communities in experimentation and the creation of alternative texts to offer to the wider church, and that each diocese be urged to create a liturgical commission to collect, reflect, teach and share these resources with the TFLPBR…

 

Required components of the new, revised prayer book, according to Resolution A068, must include (emphasis mine):

ResolvedThat such revision utilize the riches of Holy Scripture and our Church’s liturgical, cultural, racial, generational, linguistic, gender, physical ability, class and ethnic diversity in order to share common worship; and be it further…

ResolvedThat our liturgical revision utilize inclusive and expansive language and imagery for humanity and divinity…

 

According to the Episcopal News Service, “In the process set out by the SCLM, a revised Book of Common Prayer will be created by 2024, with three years of trial use after that. Final adoption of that revision by two successive General Conventions would result in a new prayer book in 2030.”

 

The US Episcopal Church has, for decades now, published an inclusive supplement to the Book of Common prayer, entitled “Enriching Our Worship.” It appears that the Book of Common Prayer will be revised to further align with said inclusive supplemental material.

I have already reported on the problematic language used in Enriching Our Worship,” such as the alteration of Biblical Psalms and the changing of God’s pronouns, often resulting the resulting in the changing of tense of Biblical passages.

In addition, there are times when core Christian doctrine is either watered down or is voided by the text’s efforts at employing inclusive language.

♦As Father Brown of Trinity Church wrote in 2011 (emphasis mine):

The opening invocation of the Eucharist, “Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy [Spirit]…and blessed be his Kingdom now and forever” gives way to, “Blessed be the one, holy, and living God…Glory to God for ever and ever.”

This last example points to a more profound adjustment: the avoidance of the Trinitarian formula, “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

 

♦In terms of the application of gender-neutral language for God, Father Brown explained (emphasis mine):

Can we affirm our divine adoption in Jesus without privileging the use of male language? Can we say the same thing with neutral terms such as “parent” and “child?” Actually, no. Not quite. Such neutral terms, become abstractions and generalities. By contrast when Jesus calls God, “Father,” he is being personal and specific. Jesus’ use of “Father” is part of a syntax of familial language that runs through Scripture. Jesus is the Son of the Father, who in turn is also Father of Israel in the Old Testament (Hosea 11:1). Through Jesus, we are adopted as sons, and share in the “Spirit of Sonship,” becoming “fellow heirs” – that is, “part of the family.”

This interweaving of familial language also includes nuptial imagery in which Israel is betrothed to God, who becomes her husband as a result of his Covenant. The prophets repeatedly denounce Israel’s proclivity to pagan idolatry as marital infidelity. Hence, in Jeremiah 31:32, God speaks of “my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband.”

If we are to be related to the God who reveals himself in Jesus, we must inhabit the linguistic syntax in which God has made himself known. That language has a certain fluidity. Father – Son, Husband – Wife, Bride – Bridegroom all intertwine in a way that only makes sense if they are understood analogically. In this way, Scripture provides a collation of “mixed metaphors” that work together to configure the divine – human relationship, as well as inner three-fold relations of the persons of the Trinity.

 

I would be a shame for those attending Episcopal churches around the country to be deprived of a familial relationship with God and with one another.

Time will reveal the fruits of this effort… In the meantime, let us pray for them.

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Culture and Religion

Justin Trudeau’s blackface and the world the left is trying to create

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Justin Trudeaus blackface and the world the left is trying to create

There’s a reason we’re only hearing now about progressive superhero Justin Trudeau’s blackface incident. The Prime Minister of Canada has been in the public eye for some time, but when he first entered politics, the progressive charge he’s trying to lead hadn’t really picked up the steam it has today. The people weren’t “woke” enough to go after anything and everything from the past that are condemned today.

Now, we’re ready. Any monuments of people from the past who participated in slavery must be taken down and erased. Any mascots that could offend someone are removed and replaced by politically correct variations. And anyone who wore “blackface” in their past, even at times when people were more sane about the use of makeup to pretend to be someone else, must be racists.

They must be. Otherwise, every element of the left’s current worldview is brought into question.

But Trudeau us unlikely to face the same backlash that a conservative in the same situation would face. That’s the narrative that’s quietly being spread – progressives get a pass while conservatives must be prosecuted in the court of public opinion. This is why Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is still in power. It’s why nothing is going to happen to Trudeau the way it would happen if a conservative were caught doing the same thing 18 years ago.

Progressives aren’t trying to create a world that is more understanding of our differences, despite their proclamations otherwise. They’re trying to create a world in which their sensibilities are condemning when a conservative is in the hot seat but forgiving when it’s a progressive facing the same situations. They want to take away guns, as long as they’re given a pass to keep their own firearms. They say words are violence, then they use their own words to attack others while feeling justified in their heinous speech.

It’s a world in with a group proclaiming to be anti-fascist uses their own variation of personal fascism and intimidation to quash the voices of anyone on the right… or even the center.

The leftist’s dream society of socialism and open borders crumbles when the rules they want applied to others are applied to them. This is why Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders scream about socialism while elevating their own wealthy status through capitalism.

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly opposed to the truth. Even churches are ignoring sound doctrine, replacing the teachings of the Bible with anecdotes to promote their self-help agenda.

When an organization that tries to prevent as many women as possible from becoming a parent can call itself Planned Parenthood, we see where society is heading. When its supporters call opposition to their cause hateful bigots while ignoring the organization’s founder was a self-proclaimed hateful bigot, we know we’re heading in the the wrong direction.

It permeates across all aspects of American society and the leftist’s approach to promoting their agenda. They change words to have different meanings. Today, they don’t want a differentiation between legal and illegal immigrants. They want all of us classified as immigrants so they can say President Trump’s policies are anti-immigrant instead of the reality that his policies work against illegal immigration.

All of this circles back around to the reality that Justin Trudeau will not face the same consequences for his “insensitive” portrayal 18 years ago that a conservative would. Our emerging post-truth society allows the left to see what they want to see.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Culture and Religion

Shame: Teens recorded fatal knifing of Khaseen Morris instead of helping him

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Shame Teens recorded fatal knifing of Khaseen Morris instead of helping him

Dozens of Long Island teenagers whipped out their phones an recorded the stabbing of one of their classmates instead of helping him, local police have reported.

Khaseen Morris, 16, was stabbed once in the chest while onlookers recorded the attack. The Oceanside High School senior had supposedly walked a girl home from a party the nigh before and was sought by the girl’s ex-boyfriend. Reports indicate somewhere between 50-70 teens witnessed the attack with many of them recording it instead of intervening.

Morris was transported to a local hospital where he died.

Opinion

Kids do stupid things. They always have. But this recent trend of recording events rather than acting on them stems from a cultural and spiritual disregard for humanity. Events such as these happen outside of reach once mobile devices become the go-to. The response is not to participate or help. It’s to record it. Many teens can’t imagine being at an “event” without having digital record of it occurring.

This shift in mentality is isolated to those who have grown up separated from the real world by the devices they carry constantly. They might forget their keys or wallet when going somewhere, but they never forget their phones. These devices have become a part of us, very much like a technological extension similar to the cyborg technology found in science fiction. But this is willful. Nobody is forced to carry their phones everywhere. We do it willingly.

What does that say about society when someone is murdered right in front of dozens of people whose first reaction is to start recording the attack? How have Americans become so lost that the notion of helping our fellow men, women, and children is an instinct that has been superseded by the need for something to share with friends on social media? It’s sickening.

These kids and their parents should be ashamed.

Quote

“Kids stood there and didn’t help Khaseen. They’d rather video. They videoed his death instead of helping him.” – Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick

Final Thoughts

Much of American society has become observers, recorders, and posters instead of doers. Young people in particular have grown up with faster reactions to their smartphones than to the world around them. This must change.

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Culture and Religion

Thoughts and prayers are exactly what we need

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Thoughts and prayers are exactly what we need

One of the more disturbing developments in recent years is the growing attacks on thoughts and prayers in the wake of tragedy. Not only are more and more shouting that thoughts and prayers are “not enough” in the wake of tragedy. Many are also doubling-down on the idea by calling thoughts and prayers an excuse to do nothing.

This assertion not only strikes me as wrong-hearted but fundamentally in ignorance of two honest observations.

Firstly, those who attack thoughts and prayers ignore the necessity to grieve and the resolve that arises in the hearts of those who mourn.

Offering thoughts and prayers provides a message of unity and compassion. It’s a unified message that the victims of tragedy do not stand alone. The time where we offer thoughts and prayers is a time where we can set aside our petty differences and unite in mourning.

Further, it has often been my observation that those who offer heartfelt and fervent thoughts and prayers are the ones which arise from their knees, wipe the tears from their eyes, and provide the most energetic actions towards the support of others.

Mocking thoughts and prayers is mocking the humanity of those who are overcome with the grief of a heart-rending tragedy. It’s to mock the natural response of caring, faithful citizens. Quite honestly, it boils my blood that anyone would mock or belittle a quiet, tearful prayer, a lit candle in the window, or messages on social media that are, for once, positive, supportive, and contemplative.

Secondly, the attitude of mocking the thoughtful and prayerful is yet another example of the degradation of what holds us together as a society. It is a manifestation of our nation’s rotting core of community and brotherhood.

Ultimately, it is a demonstration of the same societal decay that is itself responsible for the lost souls of those who not only perpetrate horrible crimes, like mass shootings, but who resolve to end their problems by ending their life or escape their hollow realities through substance abuse.

We need a more thoughtful and more prayerful society. If we are ever going to get to the bottom of what is causing people to grow so cold in their hearts to kill others or so fallen from hope to kill themselves, we must rediscover the compassion and empathy that can alone save our families, our communities, and our nation from abject dysfunction.

Thoughts and prayers are not keeping us from solutions to the problem. Thought and prayers are the only true beginning to real solutions for the problems that ail our country.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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