Sunday, January 27, 2008

Syncretism On The Left Coast

Garden Variety Episcopal Priestess
"This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience in worship service," said Bob Bland, a member of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church of Thousand Oaks, who was among the 260 attendees. "There was something so holy -- so much symbolism and so many opportunities for meditation"

The "worship service" was a joint Hindu-Episcopalian service in Los Angeles. Here is the story by the LA Times.

The presiding Episcopal bishop, a Right Reverend Bruno, issued an apology to the Hindus present for past sins, the primary one being trying to encourage them to convert to Christianity.
"I believe that the world cannot afford for us to repeat the errors of our past, in which we sought to dominate rather than to serve," wrote Bruno in a statement read during the service.
I think some Episcopalians somehow misunderstand outreach. "Proselytizing" is now off-limits. Because there is no longer any belief in Christ's atoning work--that silly old superstition--it is considered bad form to speak to people of other faiths about the hope that is to be had in the Trinity. We're way past the Trinity here. We've moved on to Divine Presence, which any good Hindu can resonate with. Strangely, this was a communion service, and the Hindus were invited forward and some partook--In One Form, as Hindus do not take wine. Others were given a flower instead. What a beautiful thing.

For the Hindus, it was all good. Swami Sarvadevananda, the presiding...Hindu leader, had this to say:
"By declaring that there will be no more proselytizing, the bishop has opened a new door of understanding," Sarvadevananda said. "The modern religious man must expand his understanding and love of religions and their practices."
The bishop has indeed opened a new door.

Garden Variety Hindu Diety


Elephantschild said...

Harumph. I follow a few orthodox Anglican blogs, and they're nearly apoplectic, the poor people.

Whenever Lutherans get our gym shorts tied up in knots over this issue or that issue, we'd do well to remember how Very Much Worse it Could Be.

Bruce Gee said...

What you said.
We Luterans are a mere twenty years behind 'em. Unless you call yourself ELCA. Then you've caught up to the adventuresome episkopals rather well.