Thus recently, someone at a conference was regaling his listeners about a recent episcopal consecration in the Pacific Northwest, and saying how wonderful it was to see every ethnicity and every gender possibility and every "identity" represented so extravagantly at the service. I raised my hand and asked, "How many theological traditionalists were present?" The speaker paused, and then said – before he had time to suppress it – "Well, uh... none."
Read the whole thing at Fr. Zahl's blog.
Note Fr. Zahl's having devoted the last few years simply to trying to get the opposition to show a little tenderness, to be generous and charitable. I remember when he came to BDS in 2003 (?) and preached at a community Eucharist. His sermon was an exhortation to that very thing. And I also remember how the loudest advocates of "radical inclusivity" were the same ones who mounted a protest at Fr. Zahl's very presence on campus. It wasn't his message that they objected to being proclaimed on campus: it was him. I remember them saying so quite straightforwardly. We had to have an anger-management session before he came. People were, according to one student, "mad and sad" that he had been invited because, in the words of another student, "he is against who certain people are." ("Who certain people are" was spoken with a kind of emotional gravity, as though vocally italicized. I remember it very clearly.) I also recall very clearly the consensus of my classmates expressed in a colloquium that the opponents of the ordination of women should no longer be tolerated in the Episcopal Church. It was time for them to go. Only the inclusive should be included. That's what "radical inclusivity" is taken to mean.
Of course its nonsense. It is a grossly hypocritical inconsistency. But no one can bear having that pointed out. It is always someone else who is a hypocrite. Never me. But this is ECUSA's new religion. One is often told about the mystical wonder of "holding [mutually exclusive] things in tension." This is understood to be the essence of Anglicanism. It is actually thought that the apex of Anglican virtue is Incoherence. And perhaps they're right. But if so, Anglicanism is doomed to die.
The principle embraced by the Radical Inclusivists -- that mutual exclusivities must be held in tension, that this is the meaning of Anglican (and Christian) Inclusion -- is Satanic. It is a denial of the condition of possibility of human language and of human life. The connection between life and language was not invented by Wittgenstein. Its in Genesis.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2.7)
Which immediately precedes
And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. (Genesis 2.19)
The divine breath of life, in virtue of which men are living souls is the grammar of human language. The Naming of the Beasts is impossible until man is animated by the Spirit breathed into him by God (in Hebrew "breath" and "spirit" are the same word). And at bottom of human language, likewise, is the relationship of opposition and distinction, what is often expressed as the Principle of Non-Contradiction or the Law of the Excluded Middle, a scholastic formulation of which is eadem est scientia oppositorum. One and the same is the knoweldge of opposites. It is from this principle that we are able to differentiate, one thing from another, and ourselves from l'autre. It is this principle that is the basis for the fundamental recognition of our being distinct from God -- and it was rage against this principle that manifested itself in Lucifer's non serviam.
It is this kind of spiritual angst that one sees in the power of ECUSA's hypocrisy and incoherence: rage that unnames the beasts by sucking the spirit of life from man, and reducing him to the dust of the earth. It killeth. It seeks to take the Spirit of God out of the waters of baptism, rendering the matter of creation chaotic, formless, and void, by a childish insistence that God's spirit not brood over these waters of our autonomy. This petulant rage undermining life and language denies the basis of obedience to God's command "thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
Nietzsche dreamed of murdering God by these means. In Twilight of the Idols he says "'Reason' in language — oh, what an old deceptive female she is! I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar." ECUSA is losing its faith in grammar. Its dream is an incoherent one. Inclusion through exclusion, and monotonous diversity. In The Gay Science, Nietzsche tells of a Madman who announces the death of God.
The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him -- you and I. All of us are his murderers.... Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us?.... Who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent?.... What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"