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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This'll Give 'Em Something to Chew On in Tanzania.

UPDATE: Oops, I've made an ass of myself (not for the first time, say my detractors). The interview of Katharine Jefferts Schori, quoted below, was not by Frank Lockwood of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette but by Laura Lynn Brown of same. Frank Lockwood is the religion editor of that paper and it is from his blog I lifted the interview. I have corrected my posting but place this mea culpa above it so to make plain to readers my carelessness. My apologies.

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Oh dear, the PB allowed herself to be interviewed by a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Laura Lynn Brown, who, unlike most reporters, knows a thing or two about religion. She thus probed matters more deeply and I think KJS may come to regret it. The interview is fairly lengthy but well worth reading if you want a good insight into the theological mindset of the Presiding Bishop and 815 Second Avenue.

Here's a small sample, just to whet your appetitite:

ADG: I want to ask you about a couple of other things you’ve said in interviews. One of those was in the 10 questions in TIME magazine about the small box that people put God in. Could you elaborate a little bit on your take on “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life” [a paraphrase of John 14:16]?

KJS: I certainly don’t disagree with that statement that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. But the way it’s used is as a truth serum, or a touchstone: If you cannot repeat this statement, then you’re not a faithful Christian or person of faith. I think Jesus as way – that’s certainly what it means to be on a spiritual journey. It means to be in search of relationship with God. We understand Jesus as truth in the sense of being the wholeness of human expression. What does it mean to be wholly and fully and completely a human being? Jesus as life, again, an example of abundant life. We understand him as bringer of abundant life but also as exemplar. What does it mean to be both fully human and fully divine? Here we have the evidence in human form. So I’m impatient with the narrow understanding, but certainly welcoming of the broader understanding.

ADG: What about the rest of that statement –

KJS: The small box?

ADG: Well, the rest of the verse, that no one comes to the Father except by the son.

KJS: Again in its narrow construction, it tends to eliminate other possibilities. In its broader construction, yes, human beings come to relationship with God largely through their experience of holiness in other human beings. Through seeing God at work in other people’s lives. In that sense, yes, I will affirm that statement. But not in the narrow sense, that people can only come to relationship with God through consciously believing in Jesus.

Also, for your consideration:

ADG: . . . It seemed to some people that you were saying there isn’t an afterlife.

KJS: I don’t think Jesus was focused on that. I think Jesus was focused on heaven in this life, primarily.

You often hear it said, usually among the liberals, that in the Episcopal Church "you don't have to leave your brains at your door." Only your Christianity, apparently. I wonder how all this will go down at the primates' meeting next month.

Read it all, there's much more.

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