Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Condescension of Christ

One of the things I have really seen throughout this conflict is how poorly trained Episcopal clergy are in conflict resolution, and how quick they are to resort to patronizing condescension — what I kiddingly refer to as the condescension of Christ.

While I have discussed the matter with relatively few clergy in the diocese of Virginia, the vast majority either resort to tired old saws about forgiveness that are not theologically sound, or dismissive BS about how I’m being hateful, etc.

But the reality is that Jesus had little use for clergy who saw themselves as better by virtue of their role as clergy. Nor do he shun people —including the “hateful,” such as tax collectors.

This faulty understanding of forgiveness, redemption and welcome, combined with lack of accountability and an unwillingness to tackle difficult issues, exists at all levels of The Episcopal Church. Some have rightly noted that this paradigm interferes with the church’s ability to address impairment, but the reality is it extends to challenges, problems, and conflict at every level of the denomination.

The Jesus I know is the Jesus of the radical welcome, the protestor against injustice, and the friend to the outcast. Most Episcopal clergy, however, know nothing of these things. Theirs is a fictitious Jesus: The Jesus of the prep school and the golf course.