Monday, July 30, 2012

Let Us Now Praise the Late Sixties

Today, in recollection of the uncanonicalirregular ordinations in Philadelphia back in 1974, we have been given a paean to their ilk by Louie Crew. It is praise afflicted with a certain nostalgia, not to mention some self-exaltation: Dr. Crew, as a founder of Integrity, surely must be numbered among those whom he praises.

And perhaps some did sit in jails; but nobody involved in those ordinations was at any risk of that. The worst that could have happened was that a bunch of women would continued to be numbered among the laity, and a few retired bishops might have had some ineffectual discipline directed at them. I eventually realized that what I was seeing was not a group of isolated rebels, but a more or less organized coup.

Dr. Crew's part in this was carried out during his rise through the academic establishment. In the same era, women's studies enjoyed the same elevation (the department was established at UMCP before my arrival there in 1977). The protest establishment still waxed nostalgic over "four dead in Ohio" (ignoring the two dead in Mississippi), but the inconvenient fact that these six constituted the entire scope of the carnage was giving way to the more prosaic reality that the next generation wasn't going to get to live as well or with such noble causes at hand. It was easy enough to see that the church was being taken over by liberals who intended to use the structures of the church to push their views on everyone else. Or in other words, they just wanted to supplant and become their supposed oppressors.

But beyond that, the attitude fostered (and which the conservatives unfortunately picked up from them) was that being a jerk for Jesus was not only perfectly OK, but that it was the way people should act: contemptuous, loose with the facts, power-hungry and, well, self-righteous. When I look back at 1974, I think about how much more civil and mutually respecting the church might be if they had waited for GC's approval. And a little remorse for the damage they did to church order would also be in line. But humility, it appears, has passed away.


The Archer of the Forest said...

I'm surprised they haven't canonized these people in the Holy Women, Holy Men calendar of saints.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Crew is still alive. And writing poems about how his partner has other sexual partners but that doesn't matter because they don't have "that kind of exclusive marriage anyway". Which poem can be read on Episcopal blogsites.