Thursday, November 02, 2006

Out with the old, in with the new...

First of all, Karl and I sincerely apologize for the lack of updates. It turns out that law school is challenging, and that senioritis is real. Oh well.

I just wanted to juxtapose two news stories going into this frigid first weekend of November.

Today, Pastor Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (which has essentially replaced the Christian Coalition as the "political arm" of conservative Evangelical Christians in the U.S.) resigned his position as Senior Pastor of his megachurch over allegations that he has been paying a man to have sex with him for the last three years.

When I read the story (sent to me by my boyfriend), I actually said to myself, "Oh my God, holy fucking shit." It was surprising... but then again, it seems like we've been seeing more and more of these kinds of stories recently. Mayor Jim West, Governor Jim McGreevey, Rep. Mark Foley - I don't need to go on. In all fairness, Pastor Ted says that his church (of which he was until today the unqualified boss) has an "independent" (he used that word like ten times) process to investigate the allegations and then discipline him. So I guess I can't just assume... though, it doesn't make sense that a Senior Pastor should just step down suddenly unless greater truths were afoot. Let's see what happens.

But enough about Pastor Ted. On to Pastor Katharine!

I really shiver with pride and excitement that this Saturday, the symbolic leader of mainstream Christianity in the United States will be a woman. A progressive, former university professor from Oregon named Katharine Jefferts Schori will become the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. She has selected one of her favorite parts of the Bible to define what her leadership of the Church will look like:
[Jesus] stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
-Luke 4:14-21
In this passage, Jesus has just come back from being tempted by the devil and is officially starting his service to humanity. Jesus himself chooses this portion of the scripture to define his mission. Now, Bishop Katharine has done the same. (I offer more analysis of this scripture on another blog.)

I think God is having fun with good timing. Pastor Ted is the set up, Pastor Katharine is the punchline. The world's ready for some new laughter. I think this is what "good news" looks like.

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