Saturday, May 3, 2008

"She still loves the stories"

No cross, no Bible, no incarnation, no resurrection, although those may be nice metaphors for something or other. How terrible it is when those charged with "the faith once delivered" don't believe it themselves. From Canada's National Post:
There is a Bible on a pedestal in Gretta Vosper's West Hill United Church in Toronto. She would prefer it did not have a special place, she said, because it is just a book among other books. In a similar way, the cross that is high above the altar has no special meaning, but there are a few older congregants for whom the Bible and the cross are still nice symbols so there they remain.

Though an ordained minister, she does not like the title of reverend. It is one of those symbols that hold the church back from breaking into the future - to a time "when the label Christian won't even exist" and the Church will be freed of the burdens of the past. To balance out those symbols of the past inside West Hill, there is a giant, non-religious rainbow tapestry just behind the altar and multi-coloured streamers hang from the ceiling.

"The central story of Christianity will fade away," she explained. "The story about Jesus as the symbol of everything that Christianity is will fade away." ....

Ms. Vosper does not believe in the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the miracles and the sacrament of baptism. Nor does she believe in the creeds, the presence of Christ in communion or that Jesus was the Son of God.

In With or Without God, her book that was formally launched this week, she writes that Jesus was a "Middle Eastern peasant with a few charismatic gifts and a great posthumous marketing team."

The Bible is used in her services, but it gets rewritten to be more contemporary and speak to more people. Even the Lord's Prayer - also known as the Our Father - does not make the cut because it creates an image of a God who intervenes in human existence. And then there is the "Father" part that is not inclusive language and carries with it the notion of an overbearing tyrant who condemns people to hell. ....

Ms. Vosper did not change her views over time but said she felt the same way when she took her divinity degree at Queen's University in 1990. She said when the creed was mentioned, which contains those declarations of faith that acknowledge basic Christian tenants, it was uncomfortable. "I fled when I had to read the creed," she said.

For all of this, she still feels rooted in the church. She still loves the stories, metaphors though they may be. And she still measures her life against the meaning of those metaphors. ....[more]The fact that she was ordained is mind-boggling, but since the head of her denomination doesn't think she should be condemned and himself believes that the term "Christian" should be "phased out," perhaps it isn't so surprising after all.

Thanks to Mark Steyn at NRO for calling attention to this story.

Christianity without Christ

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