Sunday, June 03, 2007

Poor St. Athanasius

We went to a local Episcopalian church this morning to hear a friend play her flute at the service. It's actually kind of educational, because it points out to me, every time we go there, why Episcopalianism is doomed.

The priest really seemed to be trying to preach a good, encouraging sermon about the importance of the Trinity. He clearly seemed to think that the Trinity was A Good Thing, sort of. Unfortunately, he seemed very hazy about why it was, or why it would make any difference to anyone.

I knew we were in trouble when he got the congregation to turn to the Athanasian Creed in the back of the Book of Common Prayer (and Catholics take note: why don't our missals have the Athanasian Creed in them?), and provoked a laugh -- a laugh -- with his reading of this sentence:

As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Uncomprehensible.

It was as if there were two people at war in the guy's mind: one who revered the mystery, and one who felt it was his modernist duty to say, Who can understand this stuff?

Ah, but he did get in a dig at Dick Cheney in the same sermon. Don't ask me how.

So, poor St. Athanasius. He fought hard for what we now take for granted as the orthodox view of the Holy Trinity, at, as they say, considerable personal inconvenience. His championing of our Catholic understanding of the Trinity saved Western Europe from Arianism, which, as Hilaire Belloc proposed, would have left us with more or less the same worldview as Islam. But for all that, he sure didn't get much respect this morning.

This Episcopal priest just seemed to be unable to make up his mind. Which pretty much sums up my impression of the Episcopal Church at large. Which is why it's doomed.