Wednesday, January 03, 2007

There They Go Again

I bet you learned from your parents or grandparents the same truism I did: "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

I now have a different take on that proverb, tailored for our current disputes in the Episcopal Church: "You can displease all Episcopalians some of the time (though it'll take some effort). And you can displease some Episcopalians all of the time. But you can easily displease all the disaffected right-wing faux Episcopalians all of the time."

Because our illustrious governor chose to make Missouri one of two states in the nation that ignored President Bush's call to make Tuesday a national day of mourning, I was hard at work in my office and could not see President Ford's funeral at the National Cathedral yesterday. However, I read the Reverend Robert Certain's sermon and thought it quite "meet and right" for the occasion.

Not so at the supposedly civil TitusOneNine! They have spent the past 24+ hours fulminating against the homily and against the Gospel reading.

Never mind that the Ford family apparently chose the readings. The nattering nabobs of Episcopal negativism [to re-strike a timely phrase] see a vast left-wing conspiracy in the fact that the reading from John's Gospel ended just before the phrase "No one comes to the Father but by me." Most hilariously, they seem to see the hand of She Who Must Not be Named (a.k.a. Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori) in that curtailment.

I am most dismayed at their virulent attacks against the Rev. Certain's homily. He delivered a simple, humble, and respectful sermon for a man whom he (apparently) had grown to know well. I can't say I "know" the Rev. Certain. But, by virtue of my work at The Episcopal Majority, I have had occasion to have some frank exchanges with him. He has challenged me, and has challenged The Episcopal Majority to be more moderate.

If you want to read the Rev. Certain's definition of what it means to be a moderate – and of the difficulty of being a moderate in this day in the Episcopal Church – go to his parish website and read his "Moderation in All Things," written (as I understand it) early in the 2006 General Convention. Everything he cites in that essay is a tenet I can fully support. Surely most reasonable Episcopalians could!

So I am dismayed that the right-wingers have chosen to attack him and the funeral service out of hand.

You know, these folks have gone so far over the edge that it is downright laughable. I'm moving beyond anger at the right-wing of our Church, and beginning to see them as actors in a Mel Brooks farce on what it means to be Episcopalians. In the Cold War days, some folks saw a "Commie under every bed." Now, it seems, the misnamed "orthodox" see a reappraiser under every bed, behind every door, and beneath every clerical stole. They need to relax.

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