All Christians -- conservative and liberal alike -- need to remember that Jesus gave just one new commandment: don't be afraidI realize many Episcopal priests do not cotton to traditional ways and consider Holy Scripture to be history asold men wanted it to be and is open to change. We are left to assume that the Rev. Ehrich is of that belief since the Bible I read says this in John 13:34:
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.The command to Be not afraid or Fear not is repeated frequently throughout the Old and New Testament. I've been told that command appears 365 times in the Bible. Haven't counted but it should make the point that it was not a new commandment.
Giving it some thought, should we consider the possibility the Rev. Ehrich took his theology courses in Oregon at the Good Samaritan School of Theology? It could explain a lot -- especially his penchant for inflammatory rhethoric. The Rev. Ehrich spared no quarter (except the truth) in describing Governor Perry's participation in The Response .
Whipping posts, stocks, pillories and other instruments of public humiliation and suffering have been standard fare in human societies, but they have been used with special zeal when religion and crown, or religion and state, were making common cause in repression. Religion gave God's imprimatur, the crown or state supplied torturers, and the sharing of repressive power left both institutions more powerful.His rhetoric was an obvious attempt to smear evangelicals and conservatives by aligning them with horrors such as the Inquisition and other "unholy alliances." Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the event but the reports I've read about the event said nothing about Governor Perry calling for revenge as the Rev. Ehrich alleges.
Saturday's strange scene in Texas -- where a governor invited people to a Christian prayer day, then stoked both their heartfelt desire to pray for America and their fears that some dreaded other is taking America away from them -- seemed a lot smoother than McCarthy's demagoguery but not substantively different. Play to people's fears, link their fears to religion's supposed enemies, merge the two impulses, and get faithful people shouting for revenge.In the interest of truth, we do know someone who actually attended and I can't think of a more reliable source for information than Jill Woodliff. Let's see what Jill reported about the event.
There was no mention of Democrats, Republicans, debt ceiling, bond ratings, or lawsuits. The focus was on God and on the church in America. Two governors appeared in person and one on video. They were simply Christians participating in a worship service.Realizing, of course, that I may be seriously hampered because I am not a priest and do not have the advantage of having attended a seminary that would have "enlightened" my ability to read Scripture, I am struggling to find the words where Governor Perry calls for revenge. Possibly they are hidden in the words of Joel where we read that the Lord is slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. No? How about Isaiah? He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Are these the words that the Rev. Ehrich believe are calling for revenge? No, it must be in that insidious letter to the Ephesians when they are being exhorted (threatened, surely) to be rooted and established in love. Try as I may, I cannot find the calls for revenge in the Scripture readings. Wait, you don't think it was in the dastardly act of (gasp) praying for our president and his family?
Governor Rick Perry of Texas and Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas both read scriptures. Perry read Joel 2:12-17, Isaiah 40:28-31, and Ephesians 3:14-21; Brownback read 2 Chronicles 7:12-15 and Matthew 5:2-16. Governor Perry led a prayer; I can’t remember if Governor Brownback led a prayer or not. For me, the most heart-piercing moment was Governor Perry praying for our president and his family.
In all seriousness, it is irresponsible journalism like the Rev. Ehrich's article that has convinced so many the media is not to be trusted. It is words like this that have taught many a seeker all too many Episcopal priests fall in the same category as the media. ENS should be forced to print a retraction ... but they won't. On the bright side, unless some blogger picks up their articles, only caged birds actually see the words they publish, and, thankfully, those are quickly covered by the ....debris. Fitting, don't you think?