Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, October 20th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 29 Comments

We may have finally reached the point at which joking about the Episcopal Organization is no longer possible.  Matt Kennedy sends word of the following resolution to be voted on at the upcoming convention of the Diocese of Atlanta:


Contributions of Pelagius  

Whereas the historical record of Pelagius’s contribution to our theological tradition is shrouded in the political ambition of his theological antagonists who sought to discredit what they felt was a threat to the empire, and their ecclesiastical dominance, and   whereas an understanding of his life and writings might bring more to bear on his good standing in our tradition, and  whereas his restitution as a viable theological voice within our tradition might encourage a deeper understanding of sin, grace, free will, and the goodness of God’s creation, and  whereas in as much as the history of Pelagius represents to some the struggle for theological exploration that is our birthright as Anglicans,   Be it resolved, that this 105th Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta appoint a committee of discernment overseen by our Bishop, to consider these matters as a means to honor the contributions of Pelagius and reclaim his voice in our tradition  And be it further resolved that this committee will report their conclusions at the next Annual Council.

In addition, a number of interesting seminars and workshops will be conducted during Atlanta’s diocesan convention.  These include:

(1) Anglican Perspectives on Ganesh
(2) Molech – Monster or Misunderstood Reformer?
(3) An Evening with Zeus, Odin and Yahweh
(4) Living Into the Atheist-Anglican Tension
(5) Kevin Genpo Thew Forrester Presents Zen Anglicanism
(6) It’s Who You Know – Modern Perspectives on Arius
(7) Thor’s Hammer – Norse “Pagan” Influences on the Celtic Church
(8) Reclaiming the Marcionite Tradition – A Roundtable Discussion
(9) Toward a Canon for Our Times – An Introduction to the Gospel of Mary Magdalene
(10) A Shinto-Anglican Dialogue
(11) The “Orthodox Christian” Threat to the Church And What Must Be Done
(12) Do We Really Need So Much Bible? – A Report from the Scriptural Revision Committee

29 Comments to EVENT HORIZON

October 20, 2011


Dale Matson
October 20, 2011

That many seminars is going to split the attendees into mighty thin slices.

October 20, 2011

I like Ganesh; he’s one of the nicer members of any pantheon. I also like Hanuman and Sun Wukong, so why ignore the other primate members?

Unfortunately, I can see some at least of these seminars being all too feasible. The Moloch one would surely attract Katherine Ragsdale as the keynote speaker, and I’m fairly sure the Sea of Faith crowd have the “Living Into the Atheist-Anglican Tension” angle covered (kindly note they describe the principal speaker at the forthcoming November conference as “‘atheist’ theologian Don Cupitt”).

I can see this one being a runner, too: “Thor’s Hammer – Norse “Pagan” Influences on the Celtic Church”. After all, devotees of Thor wore hammer amulets which could be compared to tau-crosses, and if Wikipedia is to be believed, “Mjölnir amulets were most widely discovered in areas with a strong Christian influence including southern Norway, south-eastern Sweden, and Denmark. Due to the similarity of equal-armed, square crosses featuring figures of Christ on them at around the same time, the wearing of Thor’s hammers as pendants may have come into fashion in defiance of the square amulets worn by newly converted Christians in the regions.”

Obviously, they’ve got that one the wrong way round, and the Christians were copying the native religionists (isn’t it laid down as a Fact Which Everyone Knows that the Christians took over pagan holidays and artifacts as their own?)


Smurf Breath
October 20, 2011

This is all an elaborate practical joke on their part, no? “Contributions of Anton LaVey” would have been too obvious. I appreciate subtlety in comedy. Kudos to the Diocese of Atlanta for their sense of humor.

October 20, 2011

Ganesh is a cute little guy. For some reason, in Maharashtra at least, his idol is usually pink. For those of you who don’t know, he’s got multiple arms, a pot belly, and an elephant’s head. We used to say to each other (in private, of course), “They’re worshipping a pink elephant.”

William Tighe
October 20, 2011

Dagnab it, CJ, you beat me to it – but here’s my “take:”

Some things are beyond parody – except in the Episcopal “Church:”


But perhaps they got their history from this film:


in which Pelagius is brought in at the beginning as “Arthur’s” teacher and mentor, and advocate of freedom, equality, democracy and “free will.”

After Pelagius, Marcion (and perhaps Montanus, patron of “new things” and especially WO), then Valentinus, Basilides and Nicholas of Antioch. The Sethians and Ophites might take a while to rehabilitate, but give it time; I’m sure the Bishop of New Hampshire finds much to favor in their ethics.

Broad Churchianity, indeed.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
October 20, 2011

I keep hoping to wake up from this nightmare but I only find myself being chased from one room to the next by Margaret Hamilton wearing an ovenmitt on her head.

Allen Lewis
October 20, 2011

It seems that TEO has devolved into a permanent joke and is now self-parodying itself!

When will TEC add Arius, Marcion, and Pelagius to their book of saints, or whatever they call that thing – Feasts and Fasts (?) something like that.

Looks like TEO is trending toward being an organization whose sole authority rests with the PB and Executive Council unless General Convention is in session.

This is beyond silly. They are rapidly becoming totally irrelevant as far as Christianity is concerned. Who needs them?

Clown Celebrant
October 20, 2011

What about a deeper understanding of Clown Christianity? Oh, right, that’s already being “explored.”

October 20, 2011

I predict Jezebel is next in line for rehabilitation.

Michael D
October 20, 2011

It actually kind of makes sense. Those old heretics were probably closer to orthodoxy that many TEO and ACC church leaders.

October 20, 2011

Dr. Tighe, I imagine it would be easy to rehabilitate the Ophites under the auspices of His Grace, Bishop Chumley “Fireball” Watts and the snake-handling services he oversees.


October 21, 2011

But of course; this is what growing into the modern Epicopalian theology of “Age quod Agis” or “Do what you will” and, “encourage a deeper understanding of sin, grace, free will, and the goodness of God’s creation, and whereas in as much as the history of Pelagius represents to some the struggle for theological exploration that is our birthright as Anglicans”.

Sybil Marshall
October 21, 2011

“…our birthright as Anglicans…”– another day, another episode of Anglican-hands-down-their-pants (apologies for such “elevated discourse” but am not feeling well). This phenomenon is, to me, even worse than the individual instances of it such as this Piece. Of. Work…..put another way, as Chris often has, do you notice what two words are absent here (and so often), one beginning with J and the other with C? Mark Lawrence and others may truly believe they are staying and fighting, but they are lying down with dogs, and though they may survive that, the fleas of those dogs will drain their Little Ones dry, sooner or later. I can’t believe that any ecclesiology can justify that, not WRT anyAnglicanism anymore in my own case but surely not within TEO. Will
they not reconsider???……….Chris, apologies if I am raining on your hilarious list-of-seminars parade. I do agree that inasmuch as that *prowde spirit* which is fueling this cannot abide laughter, it is a wonderful weapon….just think we must also remember the stakes for those still in thrall…

October 21, 2011

Well, it makes sense. Their theology has been Pelagian for a long time now. It is only a matter of time until we see a church dedication to St. Pelagius.

It would be nice if this would inspire the dedication of an Ordinariate church to St. Augustine.

Christopher Hathaway
October 21, 2011

My “favorite” was Molech – Monster or Misunderstood Reformer?

Yeah…Maybe next year they will have Lucifer – Patron Saint of Liberty

Why the hell not?

Christopher Hathaway
October 21, 2011

In all seriousness, this is nothing but the practical working out of the theological implications of the Pike trial. When the Episcopla court declared that heresy was no longer a relevant category for TECUSA how then can it be used to separate past Christian thinkers? If we couldn’t call Pike a heretic how can we really call Pelagius one?

Seriously, who doesn’t think Pelagius was a more orthodox Christian than the majority of bishops in TEC from the 60’s to today? I think Pelagius would be embarrased to have such admirers as these.

October 21, 2011

Fuinseoig ol’ buddy, this year is Bishop Fireball Watts talkin’! Hit’s always good to talk to you! You say hey to the Pope fer me, would you? My and ol’ Bennie go way back!

As Head of the Holy Roller Wing of the church, I jest wish some of these year finely educated morons would reach down in one of our snake boxes and pull out a big ol’ diamondback that’s all puffed up with indignation!

Whoop! That’d git their faith focused raght quick! It’s hard to be thinkin’ heretical thoughts when youse focused on whether or not two big fangs dripping pisen is ’bout to be sunk in yore arm!

Lemme tell you this – when the Holy Ghost hits you – he doan make yore mind say: “Now whut was ol’ Pelagius talkin’ ’bout?”

Nosir! He makes your body say: “Whoop! Whoop! Awww I gotta git my feet a movin’! I gotta git my arms a wavin’! Whoop!” an’ you bust loose a jitterbugging as you start twirling that ol’ rattler above yore head!

Yessir! That’s whut we need! Less of this year Pelagius thinkin’ and more of that good ol’ fancy foot steppin’ rattler twirling!”

You know, back when the PB assigned Bishop Spong as my new-bishop mentor, I ast him oncet “Bishop, how do you go on snake-handlin’?”

I never did quite unnerstan’ his answer which took him about 40 minutes to navigate and emendate, but hit was something on the order of: “I’ve always know’d the viper in the bosom of the church.”

He had kinda a sly lookin’ grin on his face when he said it, and I got to tell ya, a felt a little cold chill down my spine.

Sybil Marshall
October 21, 2011

Chris seemed to like this when I sent it to him as a
way of introducing myself last winter, and I think this thread may be a good time for it here. Wrote it back in the summer of ’97 (when we *should* have left, instead of waiting until 2000!). The cutesy title is because *Niceness Creed* was already taken.
Hope it brings you guys a smile and some ammo for the fight (thus excusing its length, I hope)

*The Dry Self Ages Creed*

We believe in our Selves,
the source, the goal,
definers of our chosen boundaries,
of all that matters,
which is our Selves.
We study one equal, Jesus,
merely one of many authentic
(though certainly not superior)
Self from Self, Esteem from Esteem,
imagined, not living,
of purely imaginery (and optional)
Being with the Self,
through which all things are evaluated.
For us and for our Selves’ affirmation,
he or she came in from New York;
by the power of his or her personal spirituality,
he or she became expert at yoga,
and achieved authentic Selfhood.
For our approval,
he or she suffered demeaning remarks and was denied promotion.
On the third day,
he or she took charge of his or her life,
and defined his or her Self in accordance with the trends;
he or she made a personal decision to live in deliberate simplicity,
which had never, ever been thought of before.
He or she will come again in imaginary presence to excuse the living,
and his or her books and lectures will have no end.
We believe in personal spiritualities,
which proceed from Who We Are and What We Are.
With the Self and the Desires they are worshipped and glorified.
They have spoken through happytalk sermons and feelgood music.
We believe in one horizontal and centerless community.
We acknowledge no baptism, since there is no such thing as sin.
We look for the endorsement of the living,
and the acceptance of our Selves precisely as they are. Amen.
(couldn’t get the spacing etc right in this setting;

Martial Artist
October 21, 2011

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,

I rather think your reference to Margaret Hamilton is terribly (and unjustifiably) unkind to that fine actress. After all, she was only acting.

The person to whom you are actually alluding is, however, not acting, she is being true to her own spiteful, vindictive and tyrranical nature.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

October 21, 2011

“I predict Jezebel is next in line for rehabilitation.” Actually, for the last decade or so, that’s been an ongoing schtick on the “expose” brand of TV so-called documentaries on the Old Testament. I particularly remember one frizzy-haired feminist Biblical “authority” going on…and on…and on…in more that one episode of “Mysteries of the Bible” about how Jezebel was the poster girl for those bad old patriarch’s fears of female sexuality, power, etc., whatever, so on, so forth, ad infinitum, ad nauseam…

Dale Price
October 21, 2011

“The Office of Cultic Prostitute: An Idea Whose Time Has Come ‘Round Again.”

Smurf Breath
October 21, 2011

Re: point 2… the Episcopal Church has formally apologized for slavery, but have they ever formally apologized to all Pagans for the systematic persecution of Pagans by Christians and Jews throughout the ages?

From the blood of the righteous high priests of Baal to the the blood of Bill Melnyk, whom ye slew on his way to the altar. Or something like that.

I propose this as a proof of concept of the so called “Johnson’s Law”. We’ll see if it pans out.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
October 21, 2011

Fair enough Martial. Sorry Margaret!

October 21, 2011

Dale Price: “The Office of Cultic Prostitute: An Idea Whose Time Has Come ‘Round Again.” What do you think all this emphasis on promiscuous sex is about? It amounts to the same thing, really, sexual intercourse treated as a sacrament, with offerings to Molech in the form of aborting the results.

October 21, 2011

In a church where a Muslim can be a member in good standing, why not anyone else? That is **anyone**.
NO matter who, no matter what.

Clown Celebrant
October 21, 2011

When a TV show becomes a caricature of itself, when it goes beyond “relevance or recovery” as Wikipedia aptly puts it, it’s sometimes called “jumping the shark.” A recent example is Nancy Grace and that Bono fella on Dancing with the Stars. Are you kidding me–do you really call that entertainment? In a similar vein, the New Yorkopalian Church jumped the shark many years ago. As CJ points out, it’s just plain difficult to exaggerate the “church’s” bizarre actions enough to make it funny. Too close to reality. It’s not funny any more. You just gotta cringe.

J.M. Heinrichs
October 21, 2011

13. Toronto Maple Leafs- Suffering Without Rebirth?


October 25, 2011

Perhaps St. Jerome was harsh in calling Pelagius the Latin equivalent of “oatmeal for brains.” He should have saved it for these supposed Christians who think Pelagianism is nice and sweet, and don’t understand that it actually puts more onus on you-the-sinner than regular Christianity.

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