Monday, April 13, 2009

Episcopal Church tries to follow Jesus' model

Opinion from Hawaii-

As a rabbi, Jesus talked a lot. He did not merely parrot "the law and the prophets," but, in the finest rabbinical traditions, he would quote Holy Writ and comment upon, enlarge upon, rephrase and sometimes posit something new. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath," and, "On these two hang all the law and the prophets" are examples of new thinking on Jesus' part.

In these early years of the 21st century, there are plenty of religious talkers. Some people hurl verbal scriptural bombs at many issues and, sadly, at various persons, groups and indeed whole faith communities. In my adopted Episcopal Church, there is a small group decreeing that the "church is apostate" and has departed the true ways of the Anglican tradition, though there is no agreement on just constitutes "Anglican tradition"!

Part of what lured me from fundamentalist evangelical upbringings toward the Episcopal Church is what seems to be the target of a small but noisy minority: the notion that thinking for oneself is more important than parroting dogma learned presumably at the time of confirmation. Some in the Episcopal Church insist that "The 39 Articles" (found in our Prayerbook 1979) are indeed binding statements of the "true faith and order of the Episcopal Church." Few have read these 39 articles, and most ignore them as being "historic documents of the church for another time and circumstance."

It is the notion that Jesus was a "walker" that has fascinated me. Instead of remaining in his mother's newly bought home in Capernaum, Jesus literally walked all over Roman Palestine and the neighboring political entities. His walking was not only to talk, which he did frequently, nor was it only for prayer and meditation, which he frequently was described as doing. Jesus healed the sick, welcomed the outcasts, debated the Pharisees, fed the hungry, healed the lepers, talked to women, visited Samaria (where people considered "half-Jews" lived and worshipped) and generally kicked the slats of rigid Pharisaic Jewish thinking.


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