Facepalm. Worse hermeneutics. Ever. Really. Reading stuff like this makes me embarassed to say I attend an Episcopal parish. Yes, that was so embarassing, I literally felt a shiver pass down my spine. Think I’m being dramatic? Read on, from Anglican Ink:
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has denounced the Apostle Paul as mean-spirited and bigoted for having released a slave girl from demonic bondage as reported in Acts 16:16-34 .
In her sermon delivered at All Saints Church in Curaçao in the diocese of Venezuela, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori condemned those who did not share her views as enemies of the Holy Spirit.
To illustrate her point presiding bishop turned to the book of Acts, noting “There are some remarkable examples of that kind of blindness in the readings we heard this morning, and slavery is wrapped up in a lot of it. Paul is annoyed at the slave girl who keeps pursuing him, telling the world that he and his companions are slaves of God. She is quite right. She’s telling the same truth Paul and others claim for themselves,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said, referencing the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans.
“But Paul is annoyed, perhaps for being put in his place, and he responds by depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness. Paul can’t abide something he won’t see as beautiful or holy, so he tries to destroy it. It gets him thrown in prison. That’s pretty much where he’s put himself by his own refusal to recognize that she, too, shares in God’s nature, just as much as he does – maybe more so!,” the presiding bishop said.
The New Testament passage goes on to say that Paul and Silas were imprisoned for freeing the girl of her demonic possession. Presiding Bishop noted “an earthquake opens the doors and sets them free, and now Paul and his friends most definitely discern the presence of God. The jailer doesn’t – he thinks his end is at hand.”
However, Paul now repents of his mistake in casting out the spirit of divination, she argues. “This time, Paul remembers who he is and that all his neighbors are reflections of God, and he reaches out to his frightened captor. This time Paul acts with compassion rather than annoyance, and as a result the company of Jesus’ friends expands to include a whole new household. It makes me wonder what would have happened to that slave girl if Paul had seen the spirit of God in her.”’
WAIT, WHAT? Um, Bishop Lady, the Scripture CLEARLY says the girl was possessed by a DEMON, not infilled with God’s Spirit. AUGH. Now you see why I had to do a facepalm?
She concluded her sermon by stating that we are not justified by our faith but by our respect for diversity.
“Looking for the reflection of God’s glory all around us means changing our lenses, or letting the scales on our eyes fall away. That kind of change isn’t easy for anyone, but it’s the only road to the kingdom of God.”
Salvation comes not from being cleansed of our sins by the atoning sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, but through the divinization of humanity through the work of the human will. “We are here, among all the other creatures of God’s creation, to be transformed into the glory intended from the beginning. The next time we feel the pain of that change, perhaps instead of annoyance or angry resentment we might pray for a new pair of glasses. When resentment about difference or change builds up within us, it’s really an invitation to look inward for the wound that cries out for a healing dose of glory. We will find it in the strangeness of our neighbor. Celebrate that difference – for it’s necessary for the healing of this world – and know that the wholeness we so crave lies in recognizing the glory of God’s creative invitation. God among us in human form is the most glorious act we know.”
Whatever. The thing I don’t get, seriously, is why continue to drape yourself in the Christian flag if you clearly don’t hold to much of anything it stands for? I’m not being facetious. I truly don’t get it. H/T: Mark Shea.