Sunday, March 5, 2006

Why the Mainline Church is Shrivelling

If ever an interlocutor ventures to wonder why the mainline churches of European provenience are in demographic free fall point him or her to this article by Mark Tooley in the Weekly Standard.

It is one thing to bow before others as we wash their feet in self abnegating humility. It is something else to bow behind others to plant a smooch on their caboose in abject self-contempt.

The following are the apologies and self-flagellations of American churchmen and women at a recent World Council of Churches conclave:

"Our leaders turned a deaf ear to the voices of church leaders throughout our nation and the world, entering into imperial projects that seek to dominate and control for the sake of our own national interests," lamented the apologetic Americans. "Nations have been demonized and God has been enlisted in national agendas that are nothing short of idolatrous."

After thanking the WCC for its "compassion" after 9/11 and Katrina, the U.S. delegates acknowledged ruefully that they are "citizens of a nation that has done much in these years to endanger the human family and to abuse the creation." In response to post-9/11 sympathy, they said, the United States "responded by seeking to reclaim a privileged and secure place in the world, raining down terror on the truly vulnerable among our global neighbors."

"We lament with special anguish the war in Iraq, launched in deception and violating global norms of justice and human rights," the letter implored. "We acknowledge with shame abuses carried out in our name . . . Lord have mercy."

The U.S. ecclesiastics are also distraught that America has "violated" the "rivers, oceans, lakes, rainforests and wetlands that sustain us" and allowed global warming to go "unchecked" while the earth "veers towards destruction." Indeed, the United States has denied "its complicity and rejects multilateral agreements aimed at reversing disastrous trends."

In the face of global poverty, the United States "clings to . . . possessions rather than shares." And at the same time, Hurricane Katrina "revealed to the world those left behind in our own nation by the rupture of our social contract." Naturally, America refuses to recognize its racism at home and the "racism that infects our policies around the world."

The U.S. delegation thanked the WCC for the "hospitality we don't deserve, for companionship we haven't earned, for an embrace we don't merit." Seeking God's forgiveness, they pleaded, "From a place seduced by the lure of empire we come to you in penitence, eager for grace, grace sufficient to transform spirits grown weary from the violence, degradation, and poverty our nation has sown . . ."

There is so much nonsense and self-loathing in the mea culpas of our church leaders that it would take a book to unravel it all. Suffice it to say that the only thing more ridiculous than a pompous, self-righteous Christian is a pompous, self-righteous Christian who attempts to present himself as the very opposite.