THE ADAMS' FAMILY
'Smashing your world can never been my rightful aim but destroying the context of your accustomed way of life may be an inevitable side-effect of energetic pursuit of Truth and Justice as I honestly see it.’
Thus the Revd Marilyn McCord Adams, in a sermon entitled 'Holy Conflict' to the Yale students in 1994, encapsulating the driving force of the liberal destruction of the American Anglican Church.
Long ago? Far away? Not any more. The lovely Mrs McCord Adams, a favourite author of Archbishop Rowan's wife Jane, is in our midst. By a curious quirk of the unreformed appointments system the former Professor has recently become Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford.
Mrs Mac's speciality is medieval theology and philosophy (Ockham and all that) but her views are, unsurprisingly, right on militant Affirming Catholicism. Her works include, In praise of Blasphemy and Trinitarian Friendship – same gender models of godly love in Richard of St Victor and Aelred of Rievaulx. This last jolly was formerly entitled, Yes to Bless or The Trinity as the Gay Men’s Chorus. Curiously enough Mrs Mac previously assisted at the parish of St Thomas, New Haven, Connecticut which is the home of the Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus (current production, 'Flaming Saddles'. Next Yuletide they stage ‘Queer Eye for the Magi’). Mrs Mac is noted for wearing a magenta biretta during the liturgy and it is rumoured that one of her farewell gifts was a set of vestments made of leather. Christchurch regulars haven't been so excited for years.
The website of ‘Inclusive Church' (for which read 'Affirming Catholics on the net') is an uplifting experience. Consisting of endless lists of people who want the Church to be ‘inclusive’ (gender, race, sexuality etc etc) it turns up some highly entertaining supporters. Apart from our old friends from the Open Episcopal Church (very generously not suing for copyright) Bishops Palmer, Elizabeth Stuart and ‘rent a bishop’ Blakey, there are very few episcopal signatures. The brothers Ball, once quaint overseers of Truro and Gloucester, are there but of the current bunch only ‘Eds and Ips’ has seen fit to expose himself as a supporter. (Readers will recall that it is no longer policy for bishops to openly belong to Affirming Catholicism or lookalikes. That way their numbers can grow unnoticed while continuing to support and fund the liberal cause covertly.)
Other enthusiasts include the ‘Armchair Activists’ and the ‘Agapeist Atheists’ led by a Revd Jeremy Hardy. Aristocracy is represented by ‘Sally, Countess of Malmesbury’ and youth by Aidan Fincham, aged two and a half, who regularly, he says, attends St Michael's, Sutton Court, and St Mary's Convent at Chiswick. Good to see such liberal conviction in a young child, Aidan. The vicar (the Reverend Nicholas Fincham) must be proud of you.
In the good old days of the Soviet Union when there was always full employment and a potato on every table, a joke went around the workforce.
An industrialist from the capitalist West visited a Russian factory. As he did the rounds he observed four men pushing a small trolley. ‘Why’, enquired the exploitative running dog, ‘are there four men pushing a trolley?’ ‘Because’, the enlightened workers' representative replied, ‘the fifth man is off sick.’ This almost unique example of Soviet humour from the Gulag era sprang to mind when a recent letter arrived in 30 Days office.
The author, a recently retired cleric, had just had a glimpse of some diocesan synod documents and was in full flow. The papers reveal that one in six diocesan paid employees are administrators of one kind or another (many of them clergy). He considered this ratio scandalous in any charitable body and fulminated accordingly. But he has missed the joke. The plan is to gradually run down fully trained, fully paid clergy and replace them with NSMs, house for duty wallahs, hobby priests and women whose husbands can afford to keep them. With paid clergy only in hierarchical and administrative jobs plus heading up strategic multi-benefice town centre, NSM-staffed incumbencies, the remaining assets, judiciously sold or mortgaged, could keep the administrative elite in the style to which they have been accustomed well into the next century.
ST PAUL'S GAY SHOCK
The latter day liberal theological psychoanalysts of St Paul have often claimed that the great apostle protested too much (see Romans) about other people's sexual preferences. That his ‘thorn in the flesh’ was not anything from a degenerative illness to migraine but rather the painful suppression of his own homo-eroticism. How appropriate, therefore, that St Paul's on the Green, Norwalk, Connecticut, should be in the vanguard of repairing the poor old peripatetic preacher's homophobic reputation.
St Paul's is hosting a monthly session of ‘Gay Bingo’. As the Rector, the Reverend Nicholas Lang explained, ‘We're a little different kind of church.’ The $20 ticket will go to a local Aid's charity. Hostess for the opening evening at St Paul's was Sybil Bruncheon wearing a white dress with red polka dots and a sash proclaiming ‘Rhumba Queen 1933’. The lovely Sybil, a female impersonator from New York City, declared Connecticut to have ‘a great gene pool’ and suggested, to much applause, that the number many players really wanted was not on their bingo card but rather the telephone number of the guy next to them. If only St Paul had known about Gay Bingo, even the Laodiceans might have warmed up.
BRECHIN WIND VOL 94
The Christmas issue of Grapevine, the magazine of the 'Flagship Diocese of Brechin' has belatedly arrived on the desk of 30 Days. Filled with items that would be edited out of any decent parish magazine, even by the most desperate compiler, it is a tribute to the unfailing ability of the proprietor, Bishop Neville Chamberlain, to bring laughter into his readers' lives. 'Nev the Rev', hero of the 'Mad Cow Crucifix' outrage and 'Atilla the Nun' – the divisive Dean saga, is on top form.
His Christmas message contains one of his own poems, which, although not up to his fellow countryman McGonagall's standard, nonetheless brings a tear to the eye. But his ‘devotional’ centres around a sturdy defence of the appointment of Canon Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. ‘I have liked what I have seen and heard of Bishop Robinson’, Nev confides, and Gene’s eucharistic solemnity of his divorce and finding love with a person of the same gender should not be held against him. Nev reminds us that St Peter 'betrayed' (sic) Jesus, St Paul likely murdered Christians before his enlightenment and St Augustine put it about a bit before his conversion. Whether Gene would appreciate such penetrating advocacy is altogether unclear. Of course the great fathers of the Church repented of their sins rather than gloried in them but that, these days, is a minor detail.
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