02 July 2008

"Compassionate Significance" Or "Quiet Desperation?"

A little snapshot of typical Episcopal Church self-aggrandizing (and highly mockable) pomposity:

The "historic" Episcopal church in the town where I live — it’s historic, by the way, because George Washington worshiped there — recently hung a banner on the elegant wrought-iron railings that top the brick wall around the 18th century churchyard. Suspended just above the spot where a marble slab commemorates a number of Confederate soldiers who lie there in a mass grave, the banner read: "The people of Christ Church lead lives of compassionate significance and prophetic impact. Come share the journey." Thereupon it guided bemused by-passers to the church’s website — where the lives of its devout parishioners are accounted for in somewhat more sober and conventional language.

The inflated rhetoric of advertising and public relations comes particularly oddly from a church, I think What do these sonorous phrases mean anyway? How do ordinary church-goers "lead lives of compassionate significance"? How is that different from just being compassionate, which seems quite hard enough for most of us? And then, on top of that, they are supposed to have a "prophetic impact"? Like the prophets? Which prophets? Are we to expect the Bible to be revised and expanded in order to accommodate the prophetic impact of so many of the good burghers of Alexandria, Virginia? The idea is ludicrous, and it discredits the church itself that it should allow such piffle to be promulgated in its name.

Here's the whole thing.


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