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the four-square gospel

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 28, 2007

The Rev. Thomas Gaisford was Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, from 1831 to 1855, and an accomplished classical scholar. The coda of his famous Christmas sermon at Christ Church Cathedral is notable for capturing -- indelibly, if inadvertently -- the world-view of the entire social class to which he belonged:

"Nor can I do better, in conclusion, than to urge upon you the study of the ancient tongues, which not only refines the intellect and elevates above the common herd, but also leads not infrequently to positions of considerable emolument."

For the love of Christ, as has been said so well, compels us.

In her own way, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, has managed to capture -- inadvertently, and delibly -- the world-view of today's better class of Anglican divine in her Easter Message for 2007. There have been changes in fashion since Gaisford's day, true, but they mark divisions of caste as clearly as ever (NB: if you're worried about spoiling your late-Lenten sobriety by batheing in paschal jubilation ahead of schedule, don't be).

For my own part, I will celebrate the new life that has been growing hidden in the lives of leaders in this church. We are blessed with leaders, lay and ordained, who are increasingly aware of their God-given ministries to lead this people into fuller participation in God's mission of healing the world. I celebrate the work of God expressed in the gathering of Anglican women at the United Nations in late February and early March, who were able to say to the world that attention to mission is what unites us as a Communion ...

Attention to mission. Got it.

... I celebrate the gathering of people from all across the world in South Africa, at the TEAM (Towards Effective Anglican Mission) conference, to build stronger partnerships for doing that healing work, especially around AIDS and HIV. I celebrate the gracious way in which the bishops of this Church engaged each other in discussing challenging and difficult matters in the meeting just past, and affirmed the focus of this Church on mission. I celebrate the many, many healthy and vital congregations of this Church, engaged in God's mission of healing the world. The Executive Council joined in worship at one, St. Michael and All Angels, in Portland, Oregon, recently, and saw passionate engagement in children's ministry, the work Episcopal Relief and Development, abundant outreach in the community, and a lively life of worship.

Portland, Oregon, recently, and ... I beg your pardon, I'm afraid I must have nodded off during the last bit. At any rate, I distinctly heard a mention of HIV and the United Nations, and if that doesn't say "He is Risen!" then ... well ... maybe it wasn't meant to be an Easter Message, after all.

P.S.: Passionate engagement in the project of "fuller participation" not only elevates above the less-enlightened, but also, we've been assured, leads not infrequently to positions of considerable emolument.

(tip to the Web Elves.)

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Mar. 28, 2007 1:58 PM ET USA

    And all the time I thought the cure for HIV and AIDS was a very simple faithfulness to marital monogamy and chastity! Perhaps that excludes too many "gays" and doesn't allow for infidelity. Oh, well! So much for the "simple" solution.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 28, 2007 1:30 PM ET USA

    Babel,Babel, Babel

  • Posted by: - Mar. 28, 2007 1:05 PM ET USA

    "God-given ministries to lead this people into fuller participation in God's mission of healing the world." Ah yes, the 'great commission' and all this time I though it was Matthew 28:19!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 28, 2007 11:47 AM ET USA

    It is my understanding that her Grace, Bishop Schori, also holds a doctorate in the study of mollusks--a vital background now for anyone hoping to rise in the progressive American Episcopal Church. Perhaps the time she spent studying oysters may have provided her with special insights into organizational mission statements not easily accessible to those of us who lack her special expertise, so to speak.

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