The House of Bishops and the Deadly Meaning of “Until”

In his Anglican Action blog, Ralph Webb, Director of Anglican Action at the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) noted the most significant detail of the "Mind of the House Statement" from the recent Episcopal House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans:

I (Webb) asked Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori why the mind of the house statement said:

"We … pledge not to authorize for use in our dioceses any public rites of same-sex blessings until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action" (emphasis my own)

instead of: "unless a broader consensus … unless General Convention …"

as the primates’ communique said.

The presiding bishop responded that "until" was Windsor language. I concurred and asked if any bishop objected to the use of "until" as opposed to "unless," and she replied, "no." She could not recall any opposition to this major shift in wording.

That’s incredible. Let’s remember that while the Windsor Report said "until," the primates deliberately changed that word to "unless."

There’s a huge difference here. The primates asked the House of Bishops for assurances that they would stop consenting to the consecration of bishops in a same-sex relationship unless the mind of the Communion ever changed on these matters.

For those of us who have listened to liberals in and out of the Episcopal Church, the use of "until" is all too clear. They’re waiting for something, aided by their duplicity and delay, to change the Communion’s mind on the subjects of same-sex blessings and openly homosexual bishops and clergy from what it is to what they would like it to be.

To illustrate the point, the novel The Final Decision ends with the funeral of the heroine’s mother.  The Catholic priest officiating recalled his one encounter with the deceased:

I was in my office one day when she (the deceased) came to see me; she has the distinction of being the only member of the Committee for Personal Liberty to have ever darkened my door. She wanted to talk about Terry (the heroine). It was a difficult conversation; she accused me of having programmed her into a cult and deprived her of basic human fufilment. I found that hard to believe given the lifestyle she had led. Our dialogue was an exercise in futility; we ended up talking about our opponents in the difficult political climate we were in during that time. That didn’t help things; she finally ended the debate by telling me the following: ‘You cannot win this struggle of yours. Neither can my daughter. The world is going our way. It will never return to yours.’

The idea that the deceased was expressing here is one of historical determinism.  To those who adopt it, history is going only one way (ours,) and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it.  Such an attitude is an inheritance from Marxism, which made it a centrepiece of the ideology.

Now it should be obvious that what the Episcopal Church is setting forth isn’t orthodox Marxism, or even a realistic path to economic equity.  Marx would never approve of much of what they are doing, especially their pro-homosexual agenda (as Marx’s correspondence with Frederich Engels makes abundantly clear.)  However, irrespective of the agenda they’re touting, be it social or economic, liberals and leftists always seem to come back to historical determinism to buttress their argument or at least make them feel better about themselves.

But the fate of Marx’s own followers should give us pause about historical determinism.  It started in Marx’s own lifetime; he bitterly protested the rise of the Social Democrats in his native Germany, who moved towards the mixed economies prevalent in Europe today.  In those countries which did give his system a chance, ending the exploitation of surplus value only ended its production, which ran the economy down and bankrupted the country (as took place in the old Soviet Union.)  Today we see the largest "bastion" of Marxist-Leninist thought–the People’s Republic of China–in the hands of what it used to call "counter-revolutionary double-dealing capitalist roaders" on the way to building the largest economy in the world.

Those liberals in the Episcopal Church–and that’s just about all that’s left–need to take heed from their Marxist predecessors.  History is not a straight canal but a winding river:

So sung:
O so vast, O so mighty,
The Great River rolls to sea,
Flowers do waves thrash,
Heroes do sands smash,
When all the dreams drain,
Same are lose and gain.
Green mountains remain,
As sunsets ingrain,
Hoary fishers and woodcutters,
And some small rafts and calm waters,
In autumn moon, in spring winds,
By the wine jars, by porcelains,
Discuss talk and tale,
Only laugh and gale.
(opening song to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms)

It’s a river that also changes course, as the Great River (the Huang-He) and others have done.  And, of course, there the great Builder himself that can and will alter things as he sees fit.

The left needs to see that theirs is not the only "game in town," lest they too be swept away.

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