Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ecumenical Priorities - Schori-style

Dr. Schori decided to opt-out of the pope's reception of American religious leaders in April because she had to (get this) attend the opening of a new Episcopal building in Utah. Actually, I shouldn't act so surprised. After all, PEcUSA's priorities are clearly about retaining property, not about retaining the Christian faith, so it's quite fitting that she should have planned her schedule accordingly.

However, it occurred to me that, while she was out there, she ought to do a bit of ecumenical work to "make up" for having dissed the pope and meet with the Mormons. After all, they too pretend to be Christian while rejecting the teaching of Christian Scripture, importing recycled heresies, and advocating all sorts of weird new teachings. I mean, labyrinths and druid worship pale by comparison to getting fancy underwear and (if you're very good) a whole new planet or universe all to yourself! Maybe she could even pick up some pointers while there.

To help her out, I even wrote her address for her:

KJS's speech to a Mormon Assembly
Salt Lake City, Utah

My dear friends and fellow travelers on the path of faith! I greet you in the name of our shared quest for truth, social justice, and the divine within us all!

In my days as an amateur pilot in the adjoining state of Nevada, I periodically flew over your beautiful state, and I am very happy to finally be here on the ground amid you all. I have spent a lovely visit here so far and enjoyed the company of our bishop Irish -- who, as you know, was raised and baptized as a Mormon and still holds her childhood faith close in her heart. And I must take this opportunity to again thank President Monson for his lovely and thoughtful gift to me of some of your ceremonial undergarments. I'm eager to show them to our liturgical consultants back in New York and see what we can do with rainbow patterns and tie-dye.

But I also feel greatly privileged to address you today for I know just how much we have in common. Your founders came to this land seeking the freedom to pursue the dictates of their consciences, despite what leaders of so-called "established" religions in other parts of the world might think. You were led by a prophetic spirit, and you followed it with courage. We in the Episcopal church have, like you, followed our consciences, listening to the dictates of our spirits and prophets, and traveled into a new spiritual land that we might hold fast to the integrity of our priorities, positions and principles.

Your founder, Joseph Smith, received a new revelation here in the wilderness. So, too, we in the Episcopal church, though surrounded by the wilderness of Biblical fidelity and historical literalism, have received our new revelation -- one that taught us that the heart of the Christian message is not creeds or catechisms... but is to seek social justice, to uphold the rights and choices of the victimized and marginalized, to seek to nurture and preserve the planet on which we live, and to have sex with whomever or whatever, wherever, however we feel like. For like your polygamy, these are our natural urges, and how can they be wrong?

You have this beautiful Temple here behind me from which you bar all those not initiate into your faith. Inspired in part by your example, we are now driving from our temples all those unclean ones who do not share our faith -- all those voices of oppression, bigotry, anti-institutionalism, common sense, moral decency, liturgical good taste, credulous creedal Christianity, and hamburger eaters.

For we have moved beyond the gaia-destroying Judeo-Christian rape of mother earth -- the arrogance and patriarchy imposed by that tradition ever since the Jews broke from their Canaanite and wholistic polytheistic brethren in a myopic pretense of finding a unique mnotheistic path to salvation -- for we move beyond the oppressive shackles of claims to objective morality or deity and into the shalom of a deeper truth.

And while we may have our differences -- you believe god to be a man living on the planet Kolob, while we believe god to be simply a symbol of the divine within us all -- you believe you shall ascend to be gods and be given new planets to rule, while we believe we are already adequately divine and must busy ourselves with healing this planet through the blessed MDGs -- still there is more than unites us than divides us. Indeed, recognizing this commonality, I invite you all to come worship and receive communion with us at St. Mark's cathedral tomorrow... for, in the end, what really matters is that we can worship and break bread together, whatever we may personally happen to believe.

And so it is that I have chosen to with you today, here in front of your beautiful Temple, celebrating our common commitment to a new spirit and a new revelation, rather than assembling with the representatives of antiquated and oppressive faiths who are meet this weekend in New York City.

For, like you, we in the Episcopal church know that our god is doing a new thing... and we are it! Salaam and shalom be with you!

First posted on the MCJ blog.