Rock, Paper, Scissors

Resident Druid that I am, even I have a problem with this.

Participants at this summer’s national meeting of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will be asked to ratify a paper that says the Trinity is female.
The 217th General Assembly will be asked to ratify the 40-page report, “God’s Love Overflowing,” which suggests “Mother, Child and Womb” as terms equally appropriate to “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
“In recent years new ways of speaking of the Trinity in the prayer and theology of the church have been proposed,” the report states. “Some of these proposals are helpful; some are unsatisfactory. What must be clear is that we cannot distinguish the persons of the Trinity simply by assigning different attributes or acts to each of the persons. The divine attributes are held in common by all three persons: all are holy, all are loving, all are wise and powerful. Similarly, an action of God cannot be restricted to one of the three persons. All of the acts of the triune God are indivisible.”
…”In praising the triune God we use biblical language, both classic – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and surprising – Mother, Child, and Womb,” the report says. “We may use words that speaks of the inner relations of the Godhead – Lover, Beloved, Love, and those that speak of the loving activity of the Three among us – Creator, Savior, Sanctifier, Rock, Redeemer, Friend, King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love.”

According to an AP report this morning (which I canNOT find online), the delegates voted yesterday to “receive” this policy paper “on gender-inclusive language for the Trinity, a step short of approving it”.

“This does not alter the church’s theological position, but provides an educational resource to enhance the spiritual life of our membership,” legislative committee chair Nancy Olthoff, an Iowa laywoman, said during Monday’s debate on the Trinity.

Church officials get to propose ‘experimental liturgies with alternative phrasings for the Trinity’. In my jaundiced eye, that’s all well and good, inclusive and cutting edge but…anything that leaves “Son” out of it sort of defeats the whole point of “Christian”, does it not? Jesus was a real, LIVE person, not a “fill-in-the-blank” concept.
UPDATE HAH! The AP link, thanks to Bingley’s beady eyes and Mark in Mexico. Now, who the hell is St. Athanasius?

Bingley Update: Well, it all goes to prove that us Frozen Chosen are human too:
(link deleted)
Gosh, that’s great! Poor baby jeebus!

40 Responses to “Rock, Paper, Scissors”

  1. Robb Allen says:

    And hence, every day my departure from the Presbyterian church makes more and more sense.

  2. Mr. Bingley says:

    The national leadership is so out of touch with the membership…and scripture. Everytime the General Assembly meets it’s an embarassing time to be a Presbyterian.
    At least it looks like they are backing away from the Israel Divestment crap from last time.

  3. Mr. Bingley says:

    Well, if my church followed the General Assembly too closely I’d be with you, Robb.

  4. mojo says:

    “We do NOT refer to the Holy Trinity as ‘Big Daddy, Junior and The Spook’, young man!”

  5. I think the whole thing’s amazing. So who went to the party from your church this year, Bingley? Are you going to cast the first stone when they get back?
    And then I think you need to volunteer to go to the next one.

  6. Mr. Bingley says:

    No, there’s a couple of layers to go between my church and the national level. We have a representative on our Presbytery, and then one or two folks from there go the General Assembly.
    Shockingly I was not chosen to be a delegate (in part because I didn’t run…but not a very large part).
    No, I won’t cast stones, as it’s too typical and not surprising. The touchy-feely radicals always seem to end up on the governing bodies.

  7. Mike Rentner says:

    We atheists are laughing at this! 🙂
    It’s only 1500 years of constantly drumming the “father, son, and holy ghost(spirit)” into the culture that makes it not already sound absurd. And a few wars to enforce it. And the banishment and destruction of the Aryans. And a few more wars. None of which makes the trinity any more logical.
    So, despite the logical dissonance at equating “womb” with “holy spirit,” it’s still just as whacky before and after to me!

  8. Dan Collins says:

    “None of which makes the trinity any more logical.”

  9. Mike, Mike, Mike ~ a logical person who’s even completely disinterested in religious organizations of any sort has to acknowledge “Father, Son, Holy Spirit” as pretty much the basis for the whole ‘Christian’ thing. I guess you could argue descriptive terms about the former or the latter, but Jesus was a FACT, whether one believes he was the Saviour or not. And for politically correct, hip with the times ‘Christians’ to remove him from the equation? Whacky doesn’t begin to cover it.
    ‘Authentic frontier gibberish’ might.

  10. Crusader says:

    Yikes. Sometimes it pays to be a Southern Baptist, even though we have our own sort of…..interesting members/ideas, shall we say.

  11. KG says:

    The more I think about it, the more I think the ancients had the right idea with polytheism.

  12. Nightfly says:

    Someday I’ll get all of my lunch hours back from you guys. Manual trackback.

  13. Nightfly says:

    PS to KG – or, you could agree with CS Lewis that the polytheists had the right question but the wrong answer. =)

  14. P.S.: To mojo ~ hiLARIOUS!!

  15. Mr. Bingley says:

    All I can think of ‘Fly is gangsta acta Eddie G…”Yeah, see, we’re gonna make dis cow, see…a golden calf, see…yeah”

  16. Mike Rentner says:

    THS, I never said Jesus didn’t exist and I certainly understand the importance of the Trinity in the modern (i.e., post circa 300-400AD or thereabouts) version of Christianity, but the Trinity is a pretty far fetched and contrived concept. It was a very long reach to get from Sermon on the Mount and other nice stuff about Christianity, to the Trinity. It’s a theological construct designed to solve a theological dilemma that only existed in the minds of a few.
    There’s a reason they fought so many wars about it, it’s because it doesn’t make much sense except to people who were willing to destroy others over their idea. The idea that someone wants to change the name is blasphemous to those that killed so many people over it before.
    So, in a way, I’m kind of happy that people are now free to change the concepts of the Trinity without being boiled alive, but it still doesn’t make much sense before or after.

  17. the polytheists had the right question but the wrong answer.
    Rocks and trees, people. Rocks and trees.
    Oh. And chickens for sacrificing, but basically just rocks and trees. It’s much simpler.
    Or it was until cellulite showed up.

  18. Ken Summers says:

    Pardon me while I take a Strange Interlude with Gamble Rogers…

    …[he] walks by the Unitarian Church. That’s the one with the lightning rod on the steeple. Agamemnon Jones says those Unitarians trust the Almighty in all things except electricity…

    No reason, I just had nothing substantial to add to the discussion.

  19. (Just as well, since I have no clue what you just said…)

  20. Mike Rentner says:

    Rocks, trees, and people? I thought it was rock, paper, and scissors.
    The Greeks loved fish as a delicacy, for one main reason, there was no religious association with eating fish (although one city in Ionia used to sacrifice sword fish, I believe).
    For eating meat, the slaughter and butchering of the animal had to be done by ritual, resulting in the animal being divided up, not by steaks, but by sections. They didn’t have any good cuts of meat, thus they didn’t much enjoy steak like we do today. Pity them. I’d rather have a good steak than worship Zeus.
    There’s a school of thought that the Trinity was imposed and accepted by Christians because the polytheistic culture of most of the Mediterranean preferred it that way. It’s a way to claim monotheism required of Judaism and still have more than one personality. Add in the saints and you’ve got a whole new substitute pantheon. 🙂

  21. Rocks, trees, and people?
    Oh, Mike, there’s hope…

  22. Ken Summers says:

    John! You know Gamble! You rock!

  23. Nightfly says:

    Mike – on our accounting, the polytheism of many cultures arose because God knew what He was about, and cast hints to all cultures so that they could recognize a part of themselves and their most cherished beliefs in the Gospel, and thus accept Christ, whom God intended as the salvation of the whole world.
    You have a definite point about theology not being the Sermon on the Mount. It’s not meant to be. But any system of belief is going to have to answer questions from within and without, and develop answers to those questions.
    In 150 years the rules of baseball have gotten more and more complicated too – it’s a long stretch from “3 strikes and you’re out” to “must replace pitchers after second mound visit and new pitchers only get eight warm-up tosses unless replacing an injured pitcher.” It’s even further from all that to the collective bargaining agreement and Rule V free agency. None of those things will help a ballplayer be better at hitting or fielding, nor help the average fan enjoy the game, but they have their impact, and the better they are, they more enjoyable the actual games are for the fans and the players.
    In theology we attempt to describe divinity in mortal terms – so on the one hand you are dealing with ultimate truth, and on the other you are dealing with the inherent limitations in describing that truth, and the disagreements that naturally arise. If you change baseball’s basic structure too much, soon you’re not talking about baseball any more – and beyond a certain point it’s no longer important to say that, well, it’s still softball or wiffleball or blernsball. It’s not baseball – and likewise, if you get the theology wrong you lose part of your understanding about God. The Sermon is still there but the Christ who gave it becomes merely a good guy with cool ideas, or a great moral teacher, or a proto-hippie, or an amalgam of several itinerant prophets, or a historical fiction who fathered the kings of France.
    See the turn? If we aren’t careful we wind up with the Jesus we want instead of the One who wants us. Not to be all preachy (he said at the end of the homily!), but I wanted to offer a view from the other end…

  24. KG says:

    on our accounting, the polytheism of many cultures arose because God knew what He was about, and cast hints to all cultures so that they could recognize a part of themselves and their most cherished beliefs in the Gospel, and thus accept Christ, whom God intended as the salvation of the whole world.
    That sounds like a stretch, Nightfly. Especially considering that there are references to other gods in the old testament (in both Genesis and Pslams).
    What little reading I’ve done about the origins of religion seem to suggest that the Covenant was just that – an agreement between the tribes of Isreal and a god. Otherwise, there would be no real need for the first commandment.
    Oh, and heh – blernsball.

  25. Mike Rentner says:

    Nightfly, there’s not much point in too much explanation. First, I hardly think that collective bargaining in any way improved baseball. Second, it’s all still make-believe, so trying to cloak make-believe in pseudo-intellectual babble doesn’t make it more legitimate. That’s why it’s so hilarious that “womb” is equated to “holy spirit.” It makes no sense even in the pseudo-intellectual domain either. It couldn’t be funnier! 🙂 But to believers it’s not funny, it’s blasphemy.
    Maybe it’s just blasfunny.

  26. John (AGJ) says:

    St. Athanasius was a staunch supporter of the Nicene Creed. Not a very popular fellow among the Arian and Semi-Arian crowds…

  27. NJ Sue says:

    To me, the idea that a “womb” is some sort of metaphorical equivalent to “spirit” (breath, life) is just silly. There’s nothing gendered about the Holy Spirit, so I just don’t get the reason for changing it. Of course, the PCUSA (of which I am an increasingly reluctant member) is letting itself be dragged into the swamps of identity politiics by its more vocal nutty members. I love my local church, but we’re considering removing ourselves from its membership rolls. We’ll keep on attending and giving money to the local church for operating expenses and the local missions it supports, but I don’t want my money to go towards this junk at the national level.

  28. NJ Sue says:

    And Nightfly, I love that phrase, “the Jesus we want instead of the One who wants us.” Well put.

  29. Mr. Bingley says:

    Sadly, Mike, collective bargaining is not all still make-believe.

  30. Nightfly says:

    …it’s all still make-believe, so trying to cloak make-believe in pseudo-intellectual babble doesn’t make it more legitimate.
    Well, you did let the “babble” stand with no attempt at rebuttal, but if you don’t even want to take the field, I won’t make it an issue. =P

  31. Nightfly says:

    And Sue, thanks for the kind words!

  32. Mr. Bingley says:

    It was indeed well-put, ‘Fly.

  33. Mike Rentner says:

    Nightfly, I didn’t want to take the field because although I know that believing in magic fairies is ridiculous, I have a lot of respect for many people who nonetheless believe in magic fairies. I know that no amount of logic or discussion will change what fairies they believe in. I like to make a few points but I try to limit how far I push because I like to keep SOME friends!

  34. Mr. Bingley says:

    Thanks, Mike.
    You know the old saing about logic: it allows you to be wrong with confidence 😉

  35. Mr. Bingley says:

    And not using ‘preview’ helps me spell wrong with regularity…

  36. Nightfly says:

    I appreciate that Mike. On reflection, I think I see your point – it’s as if you jokingly asked me what color Thursday is, and I replied, in dead earnest, “Sixteen!”
    My own POV is that my life makes much more sense now than it did before my conversion – but sometimes I forget that conversion itself is not usually an intellectual conclusion, any more than any other love is strictly logical.

  37. By the by:
    Have a Happy Summer Solstice!!
    Clothes and shoes optional, certain restrictions apply. (Bingley…)

  38. Mr. Bingley says:

    The Presbyterian General Assembly has a history of disconnect from the local churches. Their deadly combination of wanting to be understanding of all viewpoints and fear of offending anyone leads them to the point where they can no longer say the letter “a” is not the letter “b”; instead, it’s very close to “b” in spirit and actually not that far removed from “c” and in fact is also rather close to “z” if one is open-minded enough to look at the bigger framework instead of focusing solely on antiquated linear relationships.

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