Turning away from Jesus

On the cover of Harpers Magazine is Garret Keizer’s article called “Turning Away Jesus: Gay rights and the war for the Episcopal Church.” Keizer discusses the effect of sexuality battles in the Episcopal Church on our mission, and asks questions about whether our attention on these issues helps us ignore other gospel mandates.

Here is the first of two excerpts that we are re-printing with permission from Harpers:

For me it is the methods more than the motives [of realignment leaders] that invite scrutiny, and the similarity of these methods to those of corporate culture that has the most to say to readers outside the church. What is “provincial realignment” at bottom, if not the ecclesiastical version of a corporate merger? What is “alternative oversight” if not church talk for a hostile takeover? For that matter, how far is “hostile takeover” from the sort of church talk that makes frequent reference to the mission statement, the growth chart, and evangelism’s “market share”? Martyn Minns, Peter Akinola’s irregularly consecrated missionary bishop to the breakaway churches of the conservative Convocation of Anglicans in North America, told me that he had learned more during his years at Mobil Oil Corporation than he’d ever learned in the seminary. I suspect that is a much less exceptional statement than either Bishop Minns or the rest of us would care to admit.

I was more surprised when I asked Minns what writers in the Anglican tradition had most influenced him, to have him cite Philip Jenkins’ The Next Christianity and Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat. Friedman’s status as an Anglican aside, this is a ways from Richard Hooker. This is sola scriptura with a weird appendix, Matthew Mark and Mega-trends—and it is this aspect of the “global crisis” in Anglicanism and of the cant attending it that one would expect to be of greatest concern to any person marching under the flag of orthodoxy: this reverential awe for the “global forces” that we ourselves animate, the idols that speak with your voice. The global dynamics of Anglican realignment work in a manner not unlike the global dynamics of outsourcing and extraordinary rendition: the Galilean carpenter (or the Kabul cab driver) has his part to play and his cross to bear, but it’s the little Caesars calling the shots.”

We will publish another excerpt later this afternoon.

There are other quotes on the blog Alive on All Channels: Turning from Jesus.

The Harpers cover story is available by subscription only here.

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