Popping by StandFirm this morning and couldn't believe it - thought at first it was a brilliant parody. Not so. In fact, it's a picture of what is a major influence in Episcopal Church leadership thinking. The central theological grounding is that "creation spirituality begins with the theology of original blessing instead of original sin." Note carefully the word blessing - this view is even all over the 1979 Prayer Book where the theological of original sin is downplayed to such an extent if you don't believe it to be true, it does not bar you from entering into prayer book worship as Kendall Harmon has outlined in his writings on the Episcopal Church's 1979 Book of Common Prayer revision.
Now one can make fun of this view (I did think it was a parody at first), but this is at the heart of Christian Science as well. It's not new, but this view, this theological grounding is very much at the heart of so much of the Episcopal Church teaching and justifications for its actions on matters that affect the worldwide Anglican Communion. It was all over every General Convention I have attended.
Here is a profile on the "Cosmic Techno Mass" in the Episcopal Church:
Tip of the Tinfoil to Matt Kennedy and StandFirm. Read more here.
I haven't had time to view more than part of the video, but I would offer two observations:
Matthew Fox has been writing and talking about creation spirituality for a generation. While I agree that the loss of an affirmation of original sin is dangerous, I have found helpful the reminder that God looked at creation a declared it good. I have found James Alison's book on original sin, "The Joy of Being Wrong," very helpful, especially his observation that original sin is only understood in the light of the resurrection.
Fox's point about pews is nothing new, but pews might be said to be. Although I have worshiped most of my life in churches with pews, it has been delightful to worship in churches with movable chairs, churches where you faced other members, and not just the priest. And sacred dancing goes back a very long way. I think it would be unfair of me to say anything about the nature of the dancing shown in the video. It certainly didn't appear to be as shocking as King David's dancing when the Ark was brought into Jerusalem.
Fr. Weir, I suggest you continue to watch the video, especially the snippet of the "consecration" where "The Goddess" and Buddha are invoked. I don't think we're talking about mere dancing with abandon in the glory of the Lord here. They're saying, "whatever you worship is OK". This doesn't belong in a Christian setting - ever.
This is "creation spirituality", folks. It has nothing to do with creation as understood in the Bible with its fixed order and binary distinctions which reveal God's power and divine nature.
I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with the dancing, or removal of pews or even "rave" style worshiping. It's not my thing, but if other Christians want to worship in that manner that's fine with me. The problem here isn't the style, it's the belief system. This is not a Christian church this man has started. It's something else.
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