Friday, June 03, 2005

more sad stories

From Titusonenine. Thank you Fr. Harmon. Read the whole thing here. Its from Mr. Raymond J. Dague, who is Chancellor to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Syracuse. He's writing about the Diocese's unfortunate decision to invite Marcus Borg to speak to everyone at some event.

One of my pet peeves is Historical Criticism. It just won't preach, as they say. In other words, whether the price of olives in the first century actually caused St. Paul to be as angry as he was is just not a question that anyone has ever cared about asking (or answering). Who was the real Beloved Disciple? How we know Jesus really didn't walk on water, etc. Training ministers to investigate these things is, I'm pretty sure, an active ingredient in the church-poisoning theological concoction that's seeping into the veins of the mainline denominations. Anyway:

Weird things continue to pop up around the country with the name “Episcopal” attached. Last fall a husband and wife pair of Episcopal
rectors in Pennsylvania were discovered as having been longtime Druids.
Surely you would think that the bishop of these two priests would
discipline them. But when they renounced their Druid practices and
resigned from the “Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids” their bishop
disciplined neither of them. He issued a press release touting the positive
contributions they had made to the church. The husband later renounced his
Christian faith to become a Druid priest. The wife is still rector of her
Episcopal Church. Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold has uttered not a peep
over this apostasy.

The official website of the national Episcopal Church carried a “Women’s
Eucharist” which is pure pagan worship of the female body. When a circle
of women drink from a cup of wine they invoke the image of their menstrual
blood in an act which looks like Satan worship.

One of the most prominent Episcopal churches in the nation, Trinity Church on Wall Street in New York City, had a very interesting celebration on Trinity Sunday 2005. While we at St. Andrew’s were celebrating the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with the liturgy of the faith used for almost 2000
years, Trinity Wall Street had a clown mass. No words were said for the
readings which were instead acted out in mime. The congregation responded
with noise makers rather than said or sung prayers. The priest was dressed
up like Bozo the Clown rather than wearing liturgical vestments. Instead
of incense they blew bubbles around the altar. If you go to the Trinity
Wall Street website you can watch this entire hour-long liturgy travesty.

This is all very depressing to me. I'm not sure what I think about the so-called "clown eucharist". But I'm beginning to believe it is, at best, a manifestation of serious error about the Eucharist. At worst, I think its probably satanic. I mean, what are you trying to communicate in looking like Bozo the Clown as the celebrant? You know that this is not your Eucharist. It is our Lord's. It seems like an effort to make our Lord look like a clown. Its certainly nothing to do with the the perfect sacrifice for our sins on the cross. It can't conceivably be even an effort to present our Lord's sacrifice, obediently to make an anamnesis of it, until His coming with power and greast glory to judge the living and hte dead.

What do you think of "clown eucharists"? Comedy? Tragedy? Blasphemy?


J-Tron said...

I read about this on "Canterbury Trail" earlier in the week and then checked out the website that Trinity set up for it (although I have not watched the actual liturgy). Generally speaking, I like innovative forms of liturgy (particularly if they serve an evangelistic purpose) so long as they are not theologically problematic. Hence, I don't have a problem with come-as-you-are worship services, or services that incorporate hip hop or other modern and contemporary forms of music.

This clown Mass, however, disturbs me for a number of reasons. The foremost reason is that they "acted out" the readings in mime rather than actually reading them. Radical approaches to sermon delivery are one thing, but the Word must be read as it is or else we are proclaiming a gospel that does not have Christ at its center. Likewise, how is it possible to do anything but entertain with this sort of a Eucharist? The purpose of evangelism is to spread the word and open doors to God. That can't happen if God gets lost in the medium of delivery. Will people walk away from something like that understanding the gospel or being energized by the Holy Spirit? Or will they walk away thinking "that was fun, they should have a pony ride next week"

And finally, why clowns? Seriously, what kind of purpose do clowns serve even if we grant the most generous criticism and say that these are people who simply grew overzealous in their desire to be evangelists? Clowns are creepy. Didn't these people ever see "It"?

I do think, though, that at all future Masses 70 or 80 priests should arrive at once and emerge from the same small car.

Philip said...

Do they juggle the bread and wine? Do they use joy buzzers when giving out the host?

The Ranter said...

I think its a sad statement about the condition of the church today.

Anonymous said...

I went to a clown eucharist once, not knowing that it was going to be one. I was very critical and cynical when we realized what kind of service it was going to be. Then, surprise! God ministered to me in a very memorable way. I shall never forget the intercessory team of clowns gently and quietly rocking people in rocking chairs as they came for intercession, and gently stroking their arms and hair. It was a sight I'll never forget, depicting the very gentle loving embrace of God, our Father(Abba, Daddy).

The sermon was mimed and one of the most profound I've ever "heard." It was on the redemptive work of the cross and how through that work of grace Jesus brings us the only REAL peace there is. I do remember it vividly and am still touched by the thought of it.

The bubble incense was just fun. At least it didn't make the walls turn black. Actully I love regular incense, too, I just thought this was an equally good representation of our prayers rising to heaven. It made people happy. People were smiling in the "joy of the Lord." That's a good thing in my opinion. After all, it is GOOD NEWS! No? Reason to always have a happy face.

That has been several years ago and I've never been to another clown eucharist, but I would like to. Not every time I worship, but again sometime. It turned out to be a lovely surprise. Perhaps it got people's attention who might otherwise have gotten a bit jaded in the pews (always a danger). As with any worship, it's what's in your heart, isn't it? Maybe someone was touched anew at Trinity Wall St. I was the day I attended a clown eucharist. By the way, before that, I always felt clowns were a bit creepy, too. Still do. But those clowns were very loving that day. "LOVE the Lord with all your heart and... your neighbor as yourself." Everyone there was smiling that day, and I think the heavenly hosts probably were too.