Katie’s Big Bus Ride


Do you remember the apostate bishop on the bus ride from hell to heaven in C.S.Lewis’ masterpiece The Great Divorce? He wallows in a sentimental spirituality mixed with a pompous intellectual vagueness that values ‘the spirit of inquiry’ instead of following Truth.In reply to the friend who asks him to repent and come to the light the apostate bishop says, “Ah, we must all interpret those beautiful words in our own way! for me there is no such thing as a final answer. The free wind of inquiry must always continue to blow through the mind, must it not? ‘Prove all things’…to travel hopefully is better than to arrive…'”

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Kate Schori visited Arkansas recently and was interviewed by Laura Lynn Brown of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Schori could have lifted her replies straight from Lewis’ book…

Here’s Katies’s take on whether Jesus really is the Way to the Father…

ADG: Could you elaborate a little bit on your take on “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life” [a paraphrase of John 14:16]?

KJS: I certainly don’t disagree with that statement that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. But the way it’s used is as a truth serum, or a touchstone: If you cannot repeat this statement, then you’re not a faithful Christian or person of faith. I think Jesus as way – that’s certainly what it means to be on a spiritual journey. It means to be in search of relationship with God. We understand Jesus as truth in the sense of being the wholeness of human expression. What does it mean to be wholly and fully and completely a human being? Jesus as life, again, an example of abundant life. We understand him as bringer of abundant life but also as exemplar. What does it mean to be both fully human and fully divine? Here we have the evidence in human form. So I’m impatient with the narrow understanding, but certainly welcoming of the broader understanding.

ADG: What about the rest of that statement –

KJS: The small box?

ADG: Well, the rest of the verse, that no one comes to the Father except by the son.

KJS: Again in its narrow construction, it tends to eliminate other possibilities. In its broader construction, yes, human beings come to relationship with God largely through their experience of holiness in other human beings. Through seeing God at work in other people’s lives. In that sense, yes, I will affirm that statement. But not in the narrow sense, that people can only come to relationship with God through consciously believing in Jesus.

I love the ‘narrow construction’ and ‘broader constuction’ thing. It’s a juicy bit of Anglican double talk, like ‘Alternative Episcopal Oversight’ or ‘Two Integrities’ or ‘Elizabethan Settlement’.

You can also find Kate’s views on Southerners (surprise surprise, we’re ignorant racists) and men are more worried about sexual issues than women, and the life here and now is more important than the world to come (if there is such a thing as an afterlife).

You can find excerpts from the interview here on Standing Firm and Bible Belt blogger gives the full interview.

With conservative Anglicans we read the PB’s views and don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
However, we have to ask conservative Anglicans the $64,000.00 question: why should your conservative reading of Scripture necessarily be the right one and Kate Schori’s the wrong one?
Do you just stamp your foot and say, “Well, I’m just right, and she’s just wrong. That’s it.”
Is there any other source of authority to decide? Where is the authority? In New York? In Canterbury? In Arlington? In Texas, Windsor? Nigeria? Quite rightly most Anglican bishops say, “Don’t look at me! I’m not the final authority! That’s not the way we do things in the Anglican Church!”
Anglicans agree amongst themselves that they look not only to Scripture, but to tradition and to reason. But whose tradition, and whose reason? Both the conservatives and the liberals appeal to Scripture, tradition and reason. They just choose different interpretations of Scripture, select different strands of tradition and opt for different lines of reasoning.
Click here to see how some other Anglicans have resolved the questions.
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  • Aaarghh ! A female “bishop”?? Fr Dwight, you ought to have a health warning on your blog before putting up scary pictures like this!!

  • Don’t you mean ‘female dressed up as a bishop’?

  • jeron

    Forgive me, but this looks so wrong.

  • hey, that’s why I used the quote marks!! I was being polite, (like I am about Santa Claus when young children are around)… the anglicans believe they’re real.

  • DGus

    Fr. sez: “We have to ask conservative Anglicans the $64,000.00 question: why should your conservative reading of Scripture necessarily be the right one and Kate Schori’s the wrong one?”To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And to the ex-Prot RC apologist, every Prot error looks like a problem of lack of authority.We understand the point you are making, and it’s a point that must be addressed in the RC-Prot debate, but it is NOT a point implicated here. Schori’s view is NOT a “reading of Scripture”; it is an explaining-away of Scripture, a disregard of Scripture. No serious person wonders how Lev. 18:22 or Rom. 1:26-27 should really be interpreted; their meaning is rather obvious; and the approach of Schori and their ilk is NOT to suggest an alternate meaning but to posit that they simply do not apply, for a variety of proffered reasons (Jesus superseded the cruel OT god; Paul was a misogynist; the Bible reflects an evolding human understanding; that was then, this is now; whatever). If someone regards the text of the Bible as authoritative (whether literalistically OR more broadly), then any coherent sexual ethic derived therefrom or consistent therewith will preclude homosexual acts.This post risks giving comfort to the Enemy, by ignoring or contradicting the clarity that the Bible DOES have on this particular issue. Save your Bible-is-not-clear-enough argument for instances where the Bible is not clear enough. Occasionally, set down that hammer and pick up another tool.

  • Indeed DGUs, and I agree with your essential points.However, my point is that Kate Schori and her ilk really do honestly believe that their interpretation is the right one. They really do. Just as much as you think yours is right. They think your view is simplistic and crude, and that even the Scriptures that seem clear are more subtle and nuanced than we like to think. She doesn’t think she’s explaining away. She thinks she is probing into the real meaning of the text. Why should she necessarily be wrong? Just because you say so?She would say that all Christians actually do what she is doing anyway. They ‘explain away’ passages that are perfectly clear, but which they find difficult.So we Catholics ask why Evangelicals explain away the clear meaning of the passage in Matthew where Jesus founds his church on Peter, or the perfectly clear passage in John 6 where he says the ‘eating his flesh’ is necessary and that ‘his flesh is the bread of life, or the passage in the gospels where Jesus lifts the bread and says, ‘This is my body.’We’d say you are doing a ‘Schori’ when you interpret these passages and ‘explain them away.’ Do you not therefore have the same rubbery authority system of private interpretation that she does?

  • DGus

    Father: I think you don’t appreciate a distinction I am urging. I’m quite sure that Schori sincerely thinks she’s right about the licitness of homosexual acts. However, I think she does NOT think that the Bible’s teaching on this subject is that homosexual acts are licit. Rather, she thinks that what the Bible says on the subject is simply not controlling. This is not a difference of opinion about Biblical interpretation; it is a difference of opinion about whether the Bible is authoritative, or whether instead it must be set aside when (supposedly) it is superseded by other authority (viz., our opinions).The other issue you mention (related to Jesus and the Eucharist) DOES implicate differences of Biblical interpretation. Thus, feel free to see it as a nail and, when discussing it, take out your hammer. I’ll suspend my comments on that issue until you make a post on that subject. In the meantime, my point is simply this:For the purpose of making partisan jabs in the RC-Prot debate, do not join the Dark Side in obscuring the clarity of the Bible when it IS clear, as with the issue of homosexuality.

  • DGus, aren’t you the one who is clouding the question? You have brought the homosexuality issue into the discussion when it was never part of the original post, and attempted to shift attention away from the $64,000.00 question.The post was about Ms Schori’s rubbery approach to Biblical interpretation generally, and my question still stands, why should her (admittedly liberal) rubbery approach be wrong and the conservative Evangelical rubbery approach be right? She’s rubbery on John 14.6 you’re rubbery on John 6.50-56. I could use her language about a ‘narrow construction’ and a ‘broad construction’ and come up with something very like the explanation the typical conservative Evangelical gives when trying to explain John 6.You may say that Mrs Schori doesn’t actually believe the Scriptures are authoritative. I’m sure she does believe they are authoratative, but perhaps not as much as you do, or in the same way you do. Again, who is to say just how the Scriptures are authoritative, for whom, and when?

  • John Gerardi

    lol, as good as I’m sure your book is, Father, I was expecting that the last link there would be to vatican.va!

  • The best argument against women ordination is priestesses. The ECUSA priestesses I’ve known…eek. Bishop?! Deliver us.However, they could use a fundamentalist, literalist interpretation of Scripture in their favor, if they wish to, endorsing women only ordination:Call no MAN father!