The Liberal Progressive Word Games of Episcopalians and Catholics
[From the perspective of a “conservative” Protestant Episcopalian]
By David W. Virtue DD
October 26, 2015
Beware the language of liberal/progressive/revisionist Episcopal-Anglican clerics and their followers. We shall call it Episcospeak. The language is designed first to gently coerce you with a soft shell approach, then badger you and beat you down (or over the head), finally numbing you through either guilt or apathy into full acceptance.
The language has nearly always to do with sex, specifically same sex attractions (and that never to be repeated word “sodomy”), and those who would broker pansexuality into the Anglican Communion. None of these words apply to the Nicene Creed, but they have a lot to do with niceness or being nice to people you disagree with.
Now, in the course of listening to pansexualists wanting their linguistic way with you, you may feel a strange urge or need to be “compassionate.” We strongly advise you to resist the urge because you will only play into their hands. The moment you show any “compassion,” you will be accused of harboring years of homophobia that you will need to repent of, along with years of bottled up hatred you have for people you never knew were afflicted with same-sex attractions. You’re guilty anyway.
You have just been blindsided.
The following is an index of words which, when you hear them, you should take note of and tune out while realizing what is being done to you. Alternatively, you might want to run for the hills.
Diversity: This word was not invented by pansexualists, but it has become one of the favorite buzzwords used by Integrity forces in TEC to soften the idea that heterosexual couples are not the only type of acceptable [sexual] partnerships. This is a departure from what older generations understood diversity to mean. Our predecessors viewed diversity through the lens of morality (the right thing to do), compliance, and equality. Not anymore. Millennials and the gay lobby have twisted the word to incorporate anything they feel is their right. There are now no moral boundaries or epistemological models underpinning the contemporary understanding of this word.
Inclusivity: This is a much-favored word by pansexualists. (It usually goes along with diversity.) The sodomy crowd (I shall use the politically incorrect word because it is biblical) like inclusivity, which often goes hand in hand with one’s alleged “rights” and the freedom “to be who you are,” whatever the blazes that means. It also has a side bar meaning that makes anyone who believes in exclusion, dares to practice exclusionary behavior of any sort, or makes exclusive claims (people like, say, Jesus Christ) a fundamentalist, another word thrown about by anyone who doesn’t believe what inclusivists believe. This gives inclusivists the high moral ground to look down on anyone who is not . . . well, inclusive. The only exception to this rule is when you talk about Islam and Sharia Law. Islamists are full of advocacy for society’s inclusion of their own religion, and if you dare say otherwise, your (Christian) throat will be slit; alternatively, you can convert at gunpoint. If you try to convert to Christianity from Islam, your life will also be shortened.
Listening: This is a word made famous in Episcopal circles by former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold (along with pluriform truths and generous orthodoxy, but we’ll come to those words later). Frank of the Flexible Wrist used the word a lot with orthodox primates when he wanted to make the point (over and over) that we should listen to the experience of homosexuals, the idea being that if we listen to their plaintive cries for [sexual] acceptance, we would understand and accept them just the way they are and love them despite their behavior. Is Griswold really telling us something about himself? The point of his listening was not that people might be persuaded by the theological, Biblical, moral, psychological, and medical evidence that homosexual behavior is an unacceptable behavior–a dangerous pathological behavior, at that–even though no gene exists to predetermine sodomy. In time, the Church would come to believe, having been worn down to accept LGBTQI folk’s lifestyles as just plain normal like those of the rest of us. It has decidedly worked in TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC), but the Africans, Asians, and Latinos are not buying it. The Global South have “listened” themselves to death and now they won’t go to a Primates’ meeting or Lambeth Conference ever again. They know it’s going to be more about the whine for sodomite acceptance by whatever presiding bishop is in charge, and they have no interest in spending hard earned money “listening” to it all again.
Pluriform truths: This term was also made famous by former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, who uttered the words in Philadelphia in 2004. Griswold said there are pluriform truths: your truth, my truth, his truth. “My basic task is to keep as many people at the table as possible, and to remind everyone that though they have their own particular point of view, there are others who have another point of view, and they are equally members of the church . . . and it’s in the tension, often, that the truth, whatever it may be, gets more fully revealed.” The high point of Griswold’s “pluriform truth” leadership came when he became the chief consecrator of Gene Robinson, a partnered homosexual priest, to the episcopacy, an act that has cost the church dearly with 200,000 Episcopalians fleeing TEC and lawsuits involving nearly $1 billion in property values.
Generous orthodoxy: Another phrase made famous by Griswold. He used it to try to persuade first Archbishop George Carey and later Rowan Williams that the Africans were not “generous” enough in their understanding of truth as Griswold, and that God was clearly far more “generous” than regular orthodox folk. Griswold, an affirming catholic (not to be confused with Anglo Catholic), believed that God was more “generous” than either Anglo Catholics or evangelicals and that He would therefore allow sodomy because we have new, 21st century revelations and understandings about same sex attractions that St. Paul simply would not have understood.
Local Option: This term become much favored early on in the Episcopal debate regarding homosexuality by Episcopal gays and lesbians when they wanted to circumvent official church teaching, Scripture, history, reason, tradition, and revelation. They got away with it . . . over and over again. Conservatives never called them to heel when liberals and revisionists allowed rites and blessings of same sex persons, even though General Convention had yet to pass these “options.”
Lived context: This is the cultural argument: you have your cultural context, and I have mine. We should see all truth through the lens of culture rather than through Scripture. The “lived context” decides what truth is and how people should live. Don’t expect the Bible to take precedence. It is culture-bound and not God’s full and final revelation of Himself to us.
Contextualization: This word, like decentralization, became a famous buzzword at the recent Synod of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome. Liberals tried to push the view that the Church’s magisterium was no longer the sole repository of truth and that theology could therefore be interpreted locally. This included the issues like divorce, remarriage, and the acceptance of gay couples to Holy Communion. African prelates went ballistic with language unprecedented from the mouths of Catholic cardinals, but now these words are part of the language lexicon in Roman Catholic circles.
Decentralization: (See also above.) Likes its twin, contextualization, decentralization became another new buzzword after Pope Francis’s loosening of the theological and doctrinal strings regarding what constitutes sin and forgiveness. Whether and how this will ultimately play out only time will tell, but liberals like Cardinal Kasper and Cardinal Wuerl have jumped on this bandwagon with the aim of weakening the church’s central doctrinal body and allowing bishops and cardinals to decide what is true in the local context.
Reconciliation: When things are going badly for progressives, liberals, and revisionists, this word is rolled out to try to harmonize everything and get everyone on the same page. Of late, the evangelical Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has been using the word when he travels, and he has his theologian (Graham Kings) and various Lambeth Palace-appointed reconcilers and facilitators to press reconciliation, even in the face of the Law of Non-contradiction. Welby believes it is important for the Anglican Communion to hold together, doctrine be damned, and not collapse into a large pile of historical poop. So far reconciliation is not working, but the ABC is hoping for a miracle in January when he calls the primates together in Canterbury. This could be the Anglican Communion’s last tango.
Cultural context: Like “lived context,” these words are used to say that there are no absolute biblical principles holding things together. Everything must be culturally determined, so if you are African, you see things through an African lens, but if you live in Philadelphia or New York, you will see truth through a different set of lenses. That’s okay because we would not want to limit ourselves (and presumably God) from having an absolute moral order that we are called to obey. God forbid.
Indaba: Originally an African word that involved a meeting of an intra-African council of indigenous peoples of southern Africa to discuss important questions, it infiltrated the Anglican Communion in a skewed form as a corrupting force to push the “Listening Process” (see Listen above) in an attempt to resolve the Communion’s differences regarding theology, sexuality, and the authority of Scripture. This process was paid for by a retired Episcopal priest who advocated same-sex blessings. The money given by the Episcopal priest allowed a group of sex “experts,” including a certain Philip Groves, to advocate for a vision of sexual freedom and “justice” that bore little resemblance to mainstream Christian doctrine or tradition.
These “experts” believed that pornography, bestiality, and multiple sex partners were not inherently harmful or wrong. They worked quietly in the background to increase the voice and influence of progressive religious groups in the public sphere.
The Listening Process, also known as the “Continuing Indaba Project,” was announced at the Kingston, Jamaica meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council after a briefing by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Anglican Communion Office (ACO). The staff of the ACO, under the direction of the Archbishop of Canterbury, obtained a $1.5 million gift that was given to fund this project. To date, Indaba has achieved nothing, and the Anglican Communion is more divided than ever and will stay that way until something conclusive happens.
Injustice: When in doubt about anything, just scream injustice. If you are a woman who feels disrespected for whatever reason, scream injustice. If you think that there are not enough women priests or women bishops, scream injustice. If you own a bakery and won’t bake a cake for two sodomites who want to marry, those wanting to have their cake and eat it too can scream injustice, and they’ll probably collect a large sum of money and close your business down. If you are Gene Robinson and want permission to bugger anybody you want without criticism from African evangelical Anglicans who refuse to agree with you (and who also know how to make churches grow when you don’t), just scream injustice. One could write volumes on what purports to be injustice both inside the church and outside of it.
“Evangelism”: The Episcopal Church’s new Presiding Bishop Michael Curry is bringing back the word “evangelism” with a vengeance. He all but exploded at General Convention using the word, frightening liberals on the one hand while causing evangelicals like Bishop Greg Brewer (Central Florida) on the other hand to rejoice. But a closer reading of how he was using the word should give one pause. He soon made it clear he wasn’t using the word “evangelism” like say, Rick Warren does. Curry wants us to “listen to people and hear their stories.” (See listening entry above.) Evangelism does not mean or lead to conversion. Bishop Curry is clear about that, and he won’t hear of homosexuals needing converting because apparently the Bible only addresses people who are abusive or in abusive relationships. So don’t look for the Episcopal Church to grow. It won’t. The Decade of Evangelism is dead, the 20/20 vision to double the church by 2020 is dead, and so is TREC–the Church’s attempt to reimagine itself into a new fantasy world of growth. Two thirds of The Episcopal Church is now made up of women over 60, and they are going nowhere except to columbariums.