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I preached against the bombings at St. Michael's, New York - and almost had my head handed to me. The deacon said with disapproval "you forgot the Albanians" - my response was that the USA was not, so far as I knew, bombing Albania.

Fr. Serge

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FYI, George Bush was baptized and raised an Episcopalian; he didn't join the UMC until he married Laura. He would have been baptized with the formula from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:
" baptize thee In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
see:
http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1928/Baptism.htm

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From my experience, the ECUSA is much more liberal than the UMC. I would think, if anything, the Episcopalians would be more prone to change the baptismal formula than the Methodists.

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Alexis, here's an article from 2007 which confirms your experience:
Originally Posted by http://www.downanddromore.org/?do=news&newsid=430
Bishop ponders in his heart about some liturgical trends in America
Friday 14 September 2007

The following article by Bishop Harold Miller was published in The church of Ireland Gazette on Friday 7 September 2007:


Pondering in my heart: Reflections on personal experiences of ECUSA, six years ago.

I should probably have said all of this six years ago, when I had just returned from being in the United States on Sabbatical, but it all seemed very subjective. What I noticed then were several trends in the Episcopal Church in the USA which have probably become more pronounced over the intervening years. Some, if not all, of these first-hand but subjective observations bring into focus key issues which are at the heart of the new ways of understanding the faith in The Episcopal Church today. These highlight the fact that the divisions we are experiencing in the Anglican Communion are not simply to do with sexuality. I write about these because it is important to note that there really is the beginning of a new kind of religion in parts of The Episcopal Church - a religion which not only re-interprets the traditional central tenets of the Christian faith, but which in fact has the potential to jettison many of them altogether.

My first observation six years ago was the gradual replacement of the word �Lord� in reference to Jesus Christ. There was a perceptible change as I travelled across from the east coast to the west, from the traditional: �The Lord be with you� in the liturgy, to the revised version, �God be with you�, and eventually, on the west coast �God is in you�.and also in you�! The reason for the change is relatively obvious: �Lord� is not only male, it is also perceived as authoritarian. But there is a great seriousness about a simplistic removal of the word, which would eventually preclude rather than necessitating the basic early Christian declaration of faith �Jesus Christ is Lord� � the very declaration which all will make when every knee bows and every tongue confesses him.

Secondly, and aligned to the last point, is the removal or weakening of the title �Father� in relation to the first person of the Trinity. This has led to an uncomfortableness for some with the basic baptismal formula: �In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit� and to replacement �blessings� such as �The blessing of God - Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer� where God is described by function rather than in personal names. Last year at the General Convention a series of prayers were introduced for every situation from a child coming out of nappies to a person passing a driving test, and including, of course, a �coming out� prayer. When I asked myself why it was necessary to provide liturgical prayers for such occasions, the answer immediately stared me in the face: All the prayers were devoid of the words, �Father�, �Son� and �Lord�, and clearly were enabling people to pray in this new way! But the removal of �Father� (a revealed name of God) would be a disastrous move, since it is the name by which Jesus taught us to address God in the Lord�s Prayer, and it is also central to the first tenet of the Apostles� Creed: �I believe in God, the Father Almighty��.

My third observation was an emerging new theology of baptism. This was clarified for me when I was taken with members of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation to a radical Episcopal church in San Francisco. When we entered into the liturgical space, I could see the table, which was unbounded by rails and clearly open to all. But I could not see the place of baptism. When I asked where it was, I was taken out the back, and told that it had been placed there so that baptism would not be a stumbling-block to newcomers. In other words, the idea goes, all people are welcome to the table no matter what their belief or lifestyle, as Jesus had table-fellowship with prostitutes and sinners. Baptism can be looked into later when there is time to think things through. This is, of course, a reversal of the biblical model, where baptism was the sacrament freely and always available for all who come to repentance and faith, and communion, the table fellowship of the baptized for which self-examination was necessary.

Aligned to that, I have also observed, and have seen particularly in the West Coast, an uncomfortableness with repentance and confession of sin. The theory, as I understand it goes something like this: The archetypal Eucharistic rite is focussed around the gathering, the word, the intercessions, the table and the going out. Confession is an optional extra. This was almost encouraged by the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation document on the eucharist, and by the pattern where the confession in the middle section was displaced when there was, for example a baptism, marriage, or an ordination. There has been a reclaiming of penitence in some of these rites recently, especially in the Church of England, by placing the penitential section at the beginning of the service. It is one thing to omit penitence in a church which has the expectation of personal auricular confession, but quite another to omit it in a church of the Reformation which enjoins General Confession. There is, in my view, behind this, a serious underplaying of personal sin and personal salvation.

The next element of the liturgy to be �downplayed� was historic Creeds. Again, we are told that the Eucharistic prayer is creedal (a part-truth), or that Creeds are not a necessary part of worship (another part-truth), but the eventual reality which I observed was the omitting of the historic creeds altogether in the main Sunday liturgy. I was sensitized to expect something of this sort several years ago when I met a very radical Presbyterian minister from Albuquerque. I asked him did they have the historic creeds in the worship of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. His answer was this: �Yes. We have fourteen declarations of faith at the back of the book and they all interplay with each other�! There is a real reaction to and distancing from propositional statements of faith, even the historic ecumenical creeds - and in some cases from their central tenets and beliefs.

Sixth, and following on from the last point, there is an inclination to try to find ways of holding all faiths together as believing in a common god. This is seen, for example in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, where there is an interfaith labyrinth and an interfaith chapel, in which the symbols of all the major world faiths are displayed. This makes its way into the liturgy, where, when the Eucharistic bread is broken, I heard words similar to the following used: �We break this bread for our ancestors in the Jewish faith, our brothers and sisters in Islam, our friends who are Buddhists etc��� � and this at a key Christocentic part of the liturgy.

And last, though in fact there are many other observations I could also make, there is, in my personal subjective view, a dawning realization that the heart of the central act of worship (the bread and wine of communion) is the doctrine of the atonement � a doctrine increasingly disliked in the new religion. I noticed an increasing emphasis on the eucharist as �community meal�, a reduced emphasis on the sacrificial death of Christ in some newer eucharistic prayers, and the preference in some places to distribute the elements with words such as �the bread� and �the cup� rather than �the body� and �the blood�. Alongside this, the issue has been raised as to whether the Words of Institution (�this is my body�� �this is my blood�) are required for a eucharistic prayer. Whatever disagreements on eucharistic doctrine there may have been between �catholics� and �evangelicals� in the past, there was always an agreement that the heart of the matter was the sacrificial, atoning death of Christ.

I write all this because we need to be aware that change is incremental. It is only noticed after a period of time. I do not say this to �damn� the Episcopal Church. Indeed, my own diocese is in a very happy link relationship with a diocese of the Episcopal Church. But changes are happening, and changes which are not peripheral, but central to our identity as Anglicans and indeed as Christians. The issue which we face, as has so often been pointed out, is not essentially one of sexuality but one of authority and doctrine. In so many ways, parts of the Episcopal Church have been losing deep aspects of their identity. If God is not Father, Jesus is not Lord, the Son is not unique, baptism is not necessary, the creeds are optional, repentance and sin are dated concepts and the atonement is marginalized or even rejected, where do we go from here? The faith remaining will be a very different faith from the Christian faith once delivered to the saints � and I, for one, am not going there!

Harold Miller

August 2007

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Dear Memo:

I said "most Protestant baptisms" because as you know, in our country, most Protestants belong to the modern sectarian groups (Evangelicals, Pentecostals, etc.).

Presbyterians, Methodists, Anglicans are a very small minority, they don't proselitize and I haven't seen local members of these religions becoming Catholic (but I suppose their baptism is recognized as valid). I just saw cases of Americans who converted to Catholicism here, and they were probably Baptists or Evangelicals.

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Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
As to the bombings of Kosovo - I distinctly remember hearing how much of a villain Mr. Clinton was for doing that, as well as the airbombings of Baghdad (I distinctly remember right wing pundits - Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity - calling it a real-life 'Wag the Dog' scenario??)

That might have had something to with the major impeachment vote the next day . . .

smile

There was no dispute that Sadam had WMD; he had already used them. The question is what happened to them, and if they had actually been destroyed (without any records!) prior to US involvement.

hawk


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I have serious doubts that Saddam had WMD during Clinton's time, when was the last report of him having used them, 1992 - remember that prior to that in 1982, Saddam used them with the expressed permission of the Reagan administration? Remember the oft-repeated video of Rumsfeld shaking Saddam's hand - that was right around the gassing of the Kurds.

Any WMD acquired during that time would be expired or unusable. I'd say Israeli intelligence planted this story to get the US to react.

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Originally Posted by dochawk
Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
As to the bombings of Kosovo - I distinctly remember hearing how much of a villain Mr. Clinton was for doing that, as well as the airbombings of Baghdad (I distinctly remember right wing pundits - Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity - calling it a real-life 'Wag the Dog' scenario??)

That might have had something to with the major impeachment vote the next day . . .

smile

There was no dispute that Sadam had WMD; he had already used them. The question is what happened to them, and if they had actually been destroyed (without any records!) prior to US involvement.

hawk

I kind of think it must be like finding all of his jets buried in the sand. Who knows, one day, maybe all the sand will blow away biggrin That is of course they really did get to Iran and Syria.

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Well, not *everyone* believed Hussein had WMDs or that we should go to war.

Believe me or not, and I don't really care, but I'm telling the complete and honest truth when I say that I, back in 2002/early 2003, when we were gearing up for war, never believed Iraq had WMDs, or that we should go to war.

Let's see...at the time, I would've been.. 15 and 16 years old? If a 15 year old could be right on both counts, then I don't see why other, older, more educated and interested people have an excuse for being wrong. I roundly condemned the war, and was roundly viewed as being "extremely liberal" and "unpatriotic" by most of my sheep-mentality classmates.

I remember one time in Spanish class we all got into it, a lot of people yelling at me because I was so stupid to believe that Iraq didn't have WMDs. Perhaps a bit too bold, I said something to the effect of "Well, it'll all come to light in the end, and we'll see who's right and who's wrong...and I absolutely guarantee I will be right and you'll all look foolish." Well, looky looky! I was right after all!

My point is that I just don't buy the idea that every single person bought the orchestrated political agenda which was being pushed on the American people. I didn't, and I knew plenty of people who didn't buy it either (my parents, for example).

Alexis

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Hi,

Originally Posted by Mexican
Dear Memo:

I said "most Protestant baptisms" because as you know, in our country, most Protestants belong to the modern sectarian groups (Evangelicals, Pentecostals, etc.).


Yes, I know that about our country, and that is the point I wanted to make.

In our country, we put together, under the umbrella of "Protestantism" all the non-apostolic Christian (and even the semi-Christian) denominations.

Many members of the Communities of the Reform (Lutherans, Presbyterians, etc.) would actually take issue at us lumping them up with Pentecostals or Brother Aaron's "Luz del Mundo".

Shalom,
Memo

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