February 27, 2017

December 29, 2011

Presiding Bishop Christmas Eve Sermon

i liked the beginning.

“The eternal hope and yearning of the human race emerges from darkness into light in the birth of this child both humble and divine,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori noted in her homily for Christmas Eve, 2011. “We gather to celebrate his birth and recover that eternal hope.”

Not so much the end. 

Jesse’s angels guided the night-watching shepherds to his side and led him to shelter.  The elders of Leadville guided him into the heart of a welcoming community table.[3]  That table has room for all who hunger and thirst – in body and in spirit.  It is peopled by the poor and the better off, by Spanish speakers and Anglos, by people from Ireland and Greece, by the wounded and the outwardly well.  Each one comes into a stable like this one, hoping to meet the holy.  We meet that holy child in every vulnerable human being, in every one who hungers and thirsts.  We meet him growing to maturity in all who answer their neighbor’s vulnerability and need.  He is present with us at this table and at every table and meeting where need meets response.  Salvation lies all around us.

Where is the holy child born again?  Who gathers to watch over, nurture, and guard the growing redeemer in our midst?  Will we indeed recognize the image of God on all faces, and call that divine mark into fuller stature and greater glory and more abundant life?  We share this creative and redeeming drama in ways beyond our knowing.  Will you gather around the holy one?

The entire sermon can be found at Episcopal News Service.

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Sorry…I need a decoder to figure out what mush she is saying. Does someone actually stake his or her soul upon these epiphanies?

[1] Posted by Intercessor on 12-29-2011 at 08:07 PM · [top]

The special aired nationwide on December 24

I would have watched it too, but my parish sponsored a steel cage grudge match on Christmas Eve between St. Nicholas and some 80 year old homeless guy who was dressed up to look like a retired Episcopal bishop.  I mean, a heretic of some kind.

The rector’s wife did a fine job and her opponent didn’t stand a chance.

But if this is all I missed . . .

Perhaps an English translation would be helpful.  Where’s Pageantmaster?  If he’s through reinterpreting Tract 90, maybe he could at least explain this part:

Jesus is born anew in human hearts every time we meet the vulnerable – which is all of us, once we awaken to the reality of our own longing.

The reality of my own longing is ready to keep hitting the snooze button until someone tells me what this means.  Although the sermon does make me feel vulnerable.

[2] Posted by episcopalienated on 12-29-2011 at 08:51 PM · [top]

RE: “I would have watched it too, but my parish sponsored a steel cage grudge match on Christmas Eve between St. Nicholas and some 80 year old homeless guy who was dressed up to look like a retired Episcopal bishop.”


This was heavily promoted with the implication that it was an equivalently traditional and inspiring service to the BBC’s traditional Lessons and Carols.  What a hoot.

If somebody had offered to make me watch a 19 hour special of the Ultimate Fighter reality show versus watching this service, I would have promptly chosen the former.  No way was I going to click on the link with all those guys up there trying to look English-choral-dignified, but instead succeeding in being entirely themselves in all their ludicrous clownish buffoonery.

You have to wonder if any of them recognize just what a mockery so many Episcopalians make of them.

[3] Posted by Sarah on 12-29-2011 at 09:02 PM · [top]

Yeah, we need a new age, chr-islam to English translation for any of the ruminations that emit from the PB.

I wonder if anyone will actually realize the massive damage she’s done to TEO?

[4] Posted by Bill2 on 12-29-2011 at 09:06 PM · [top]

Seriously, I think the interpretation in keeping with her theology is “we are all one, and we are all Christ and if all of us would recognize our Christness like Jesus did the world would be a happier place.”

Standard issue old-timey fundamentalist-heresy.

[5] Posted by Sarah on 12-29-2011 at 09:18 PM · [top]

Her 685 words was mercifully short but fatefully foggy.

[6] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-29-2011 at 09:19 PM · [top]

Yeah it starts well, but ends up in more Universalist drivel. It’s another example of the Social Gospel getting divorced from the Supernatural Soul-Saving Gospel.

Part of it can be justified by Christ’s words “What you have done to the least of these, you have done unto me.”  But just that without including the words of John 3:16 leaves someone temporarily physically full, but permanently spiritually empty.

[7] Posted by billqs on 12-29-2011 at 09:40 PM · [top]

Her 685 words was mercifully short

That’s looking on the positive side of life smile

[8] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 12-29-2011 at 09:40 PM · [top]

I thought the Queen’s Christmas Day address was far more theologically sound.

But then, I have always admired the Queen, and her parents.

[9] Posted by sophy0075 on 12-29-2011 at 10:09 PM · [top]

Who do you figure actually wrote it?  Griswold?  Douglas?  One of her “theological advisers”?

[10] Posted by tjmcmahon on 12-29-2011 at 10:48 PM · [top]

Not commenting with regard specifically to the sermon, but I frankly thought that was one of the creepiest Christmas programs I have ever seen.  Joyless and empty.

[11] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 12-29-2011 at 11:39 PM · [top]

In person she is a very winning person, if you don’t pay attention…Kind of like going to Church and hearing the Bible read is very comforting, if you don’t listen too closely…

[12] Posted by FrVan on 12-30-2011 at 01:10 AM · [top]

#3 by Sarah is, sadly, right on *sigh*

[13] Posted by FrVan on 12-30-2011 at 01:41 AM · [top]

Amen to that, Sophy at #9.

Jesus came to this earth to save us from our sin. Yet in almost 700 words, KJ Schori fails to mention that. By contrast, the “religious” part of the Queen’s speech was about 130 words long, and it says everything needful:

“God sent into the world a unique person - neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.

Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.

In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, there’s a prayer:

O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin
And enter in.
Be born in us today.

It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.”

[14] Posted by MichaelA on 12-30-2011 at 05:33 AM · [top]

I am drawn to read her sermons just like I’m drawn to rubber-neck at accidents on the highway.  I’m not proud of it, and I always come away feeling a little bit sick and sad, in both cases.

[15] Posted by Cindy T. in TX on 12-30-2011 at 09:37 AM · [top]

But I her sermon doesn’t come close to the nuttiness of that of the sermon given by “Bishop” Boodie at National Cathedral in which she begins by singing a poem.

[16] Posted by Mopar5 on 12-30-2011 at 10:40 AM · [top]

“It is peopled by the poor and the better off, by Spanish speakers and Anglos, by people from Ireland and Greece, by the wounded and the outwardly well.”

If I wasn’t depressed about our economic situation before, I am now.  Being patted on the head in a sermon by the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church; compared (to our disfavour?) to a homeless young drifter?  Tell you what, I’d happily share a pew with Jesse, but when Her Primatialness starts in on the pitying, I feel like… saying something rude about her vestments.

(Sitting here shoeless in the rain and the cold, holding out her styrofoam coffee cup to beg from the nice passers-by on their way to a TEC church, happy Christmas tide and a joyous new year to you all from Martha!)

[17] Posted by Martha on 12-30-2011 at 10:49 AM · [top]

The following stood out to me:

“Angels draw our attention to the holy in our midst.  Parents, elders, and teachers…”

(these categories of individuals could be our ‘angels’)

“...steward our growing wisdom and awareness and guide us into growth toward the full stature of Christ…”

So our angels or teachers are stewards of our (Gestalt?)awareness.  By growing in ‘awareness’ (and naturally assuming her more advanced, progressive views), we thereby can attain (or progress toward) the ‘full stature of Christ.’

“...the glory of God in a human being fully alive.”

It is difficult to say if this is an attempted description of Christ, or ‘the full stature of Christ.’  If the former, then she is saying that Christ was the ‘glory of God in a human being,’ which is not necessarily the same thing as one person of the Trinity - but see Hb 1:3. 

Nevertheless, the consistent message is that we can progress or grow to the stature of Christ.  From here: 

“Gestalt therapy is a method of awareness practice (also called “mindfulness” in other clinical domains), by which perceiving, feeling, and acting are understood to be conducive to interpreting, explaining, and conceptualizing (the hermeneutics of experience).[5] This distinction between direct experience versus indirect or secondary interpretation is developed in the process of therapy. The client learns to become aware of what he or she is doing and that triggers the ability to risk a shift or change.[6]

The objective of Gestalt therapy is to enable the client to become more fully and creatively alive and to become free from the blocks and unfinished business that may diminish satisfaction, fulfillment, and growth, and to experiment with new ways of being.[7]”


[18] Posted by tired on 12-30-2011 at 11:37 AM · [top]

She denies individual salvation but tries to explain Christ in the ueber-individualistic language of therapy?

[19] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 12-30-2011 at 12:32 PM · [top]

#14—Thank goodness the Queen’s chaplain was John Stott rather than Katherine Jefferts Schori.  I suspect the Queen got rather better theological grounding and training than the PB did.

[20] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 12-30-2011 at 01:07 PM · [top]

#20 But the PB was the Dean of a Divinity School… um… oh yeah…. erp….

[21] Posted by billqs on 12-30-2011 at 01:48 PM · [top]

Surely wherever two or three are gathered, with a pot of tea, pith helmet, and BCP, one can declare a seminary for training in divinity? Candy making is becoming a lost art, good for her! Our TEC seminaries need something meaningful and useful to train…

[22] Posted by FrVan on 12-30-2011 at 01:58 PM · [top]

Surely wherever two or three are gathered, with a pot of tea, pith helmet, and BCP, one can declare a seminary for training in divinity?

Would you like a copy of the home study course used here in N Mich to train clergy?  Authored by KGT Forrester. No BCP actually required, since the Nicene Creed and other “historical documents” are now “optional” liturgically and theologically.
Start here, and work through the series:
the book to start with
the program
No experience or special training required. Makes seminaries a thing of the past.  And it is way less expensive.
As a rule, no pith helmet required either.  Up here, plaid hunting hat or stocking hat considered more fashionable.

[23] Posted by tjmcmahon on 12-30-2011 at 02:18 PM · [top]


Up here, plaid hunting hat or stocking hat considered more fashionable.

I think it’s blaze orange now.

[24] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-30-2011 at 03:33 PM · [top]

I missed the special because our CBS station aired a midnight service from a local Presbyterian church. Sounds like I shouldn’t be disappointed though.

[25] Posted by Kubla on 12-30-2011 at 03:58 PM · [top]

Fr. Dale,
Da orange hat is fer huntin season.  Dis is ice fishin season, eh.  Da only guy dat wears orange outa season is da bishop in Massachusetts.
Uh course, it is also snowmobile season, since we got a few inches finely da udder day.  Dis duz lead to some confusion, as to what hat youse should wear, cause dey tell ya to wear a helmet for dat nowadays.  Too many choices.

[26] Posted by tjmcmahon on 12-30-2011 at 04:10 PM · [top]

You gotta love those Yoopers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb9yhhflmvY. By the way, the team poster on the wall is for Green Bay which makes it authentic. Yoopers would never pull for the Lions.

[27] Posted by Fr. Dale on 12-30-2011 at 05:05 PM · [top]

#25 Kubla, don’t worry, you can catch it all here: http://news.gts.edu/?p=2339

What I find shocking is that Cathy Roskam starts out by reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to a bunch of children. Why would she read this sexist, racist garbage to an impressionable group of young children? Doesn’t she realize how it subconsciously conditions them to accept white male privilege? Ie. stereotypes that only white men are ingenious enough to devise ways of manufacturing enough toys for all the world’s children and distributing them in a single night, etc.

[28] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 12-30-2011 at 07:27 PM · [top]

Creepy.  The whole thing is just creepy.

[29] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 12-30-2011 at 07:38 PM · [top]

Listened to link (thanks to SJSP above) and heard Katherine say “Gooood Evenning” at the pulpit I jumped as I thought it was Vincent Price from the Dead…!It is at the 40:00 minute mark.

[30] Posted by Intercessor on 12-30-2011 at 09:20 PM · [top]

Every time I think of that woman, it gives me the creeps.  It makes my skin crawl.

[31] Posted by cennydd13 on 12-30-2011 at 09:36 PM · [top]

You know, the Oscar Romero quote re: “an authentic Christmas” has been going around this year quite a bit.  There’s a section of her homily that makes me think she took Romero and versed it differently, along with another excerpt from his Christmas homilies. 
Would that be theological plagiarism?

[32] Posted by Rob Eaton+ on 12-30-2011 at 09:59 PM · [top]

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

I may be mistaken but I don’t remember that other Presiding Bishops have identified themselves as “Primate” in letters and publications before the “Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori” identified herself this way. Does anyone know if this is an innovation on her part or if other Presiding Bishops have used the title of “Presiding Bishop and Primate” in the past.

[33] Posted by Betty See on 1-1-2012 at 11:13 PM · [top]

Wasn’t Allin the first designated such when the title AB was voted down? Seems like Browning used it… No one remembers or cares about Griswald - BUT I WANT TO AFFIRM HIM IN THE strongest possible way…...

[34] Posted by FrVan on 1-1-2012 at 11:27 PM · [top]

There is something cold, low, and flat about her speaking style.  Her message is wrapped in the colorless, scuffed, paper and bows of Christmases past, full of the leftist’s favorite yarn; that of the poor “Jesse’s” of the world.  Jesse, through no fault of his own, has been done wrong.  We, using the vestments of the once legitimate church, must change society’s view, and the governments role, in helping all the Jesse’s of the world.  We must lobby governments, march in the streets, and advertise our political positions.  This is most important.

It seems to me that Christs message was a much more personal message.  “Render unto to Caesar” is totally morphed into “Become entwined, and have influence with Caesar”.

“Go and sin no more” becomes “We will create an agency for you, in order that you might be more comfortable in your current state.”  Christ did not call for comfort for us in our current broken state.  Rather, he wanted us all to change from the ways of the world, of which Caesar was a large part. 

Most importantly, Jesse is totally ignorant of the life giving salvation that is offered through Christ.  Surely we must feed the hungry, and shelter those who lack.  We would do this for an animal that wandered into our path.  But as Christians, we must let them know that Christ cares for them, loves them enough to have died for them, and offers hope and salvation for our life here on earth. Jesse has to be told that there is more to Christ than getting him out of the Colorado winter wind.

I am a sinner, so is Jesse.  Christ is our hope.  He was miraculously born, and we celebrate this world-changing birth, for what it can mean to all of us.

[35] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 1-2-2012 at 10:24 AM · [top]

I think Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message was briefer and more to the point!

[36] Posted by rdrjames on 1-2-2012 at 08:21 PM · [top]

34.  As far as I know, neither bishop ever used the title “Archbishop and Primate,” and it wasn’t used until Schori was elected.

[37] Posted by cennydd13 on 1-2-2012 at 08:32 PM · [top]

“Cold, low, and flat?”  Certainly, like that of a person capable of no emotion or feeling.

[38] Posted by cennydd13 on 1-2-2012 at 08:34 PM · [top]

The present PB does not use the title “AB and Primate.” PB was used exclusively for most of our history in TEC, until AB was voted down, and primate was added. I think, ironically, to create an even playing field on the worldwide Communion table when leaders came together, and changing the function of PB to add negotiation power as representative of the HOB…#37

I know several Anglican groups in USA do use AB as a title…

[39] Posted by FrVan on 1-2-2012 at 09:41 PM · [top]

She can’t use the title “Archbishop” because she isn’t one….and I don’t think she likes not being one.  Not on a level playing field, y’know.

[40] Posted by cennydd13 on 1-2-2012 at 10:56 PM · [top]

Actually cennydd13, I think it “ironic” because with the greater the title, the lesser the influence…Same with other Anglican groups as well… Y’know.

[41] Posted by FrVan on 1-2-2012 at 11:10 PM · [top]

I wonder how it is we read the same Bible…

”...We meet that holy child in every vulnerable human being, in every one who hungers and thirsts…”

Matthew 25: 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

”...He is present with us at this table and at every table and meeting where need meets response…”

Matthew 18:20 -“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

”...Salvation lies all around us….” 

Acts 2:21 - And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Acts 17:27b,28-  He is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.

And so it does….just saying!



[42] Posted by seraph on 1-3-2012 at 09:30 AM · [top]

That’s a good point Seraph: There are many biblical allusions in her speech.

But what is entirely missing from her speech is a reference to what Jesus primarily came here to do - save us from our sin.

[43] Posted by MichaelA on 1-3-2012 at 04:02 PM · [top]

Hmmmm.  Most interesting post here does not concern KJS.  It’s about the Yoopers!

[44] Posted by Goughdonna on 1-5-2012 at 01:49 PM · [top]

“...But what is entirely missing from her speech is a reference to what Jesus primarily came here to do - save us from our sin…”

How perverse that at the birth of God Incarnate, an event that forever changes the created order in itself, we have to necessarily reference his death and our sin…! Maybe she can do that on good Friday, methinks!



[45] Posted by seraph on 1-5-2012 at 02:13 PM · [top]

Blessings to you also, Seraph.
Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 

We celebrate “God with us”, the savior.  We are all remiss if we don’t remember - and remind others - that He is our Savior, and why.

[46] Posted by GillianC on 1-5-2012 at 03:59 PM · [top]

“How perverse that at the birth of God Incarnate, an event that forever changes the created order in itself, we have to necessarily reference his death and our sin…! Maybe she can do that on good Friday, methinks!”

I agree, it is “perverse”, in the sense that it doesn’t make sense to our human wisdom.  The mighty act of “changing the created order” was only incidental to a higher purpose, which was to save us from our sin. The angel told Joseph:

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” [Matthew 1:21]

And St Paul tells us:

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” [‘1 Timothy 1:15]

Thus, when the Queen linked Jesus’ coming to this earth with his saving work, she was in very good company - the best company, in fact.

Not only did Katherine Schori entirely miss the main point of Christmas in her sermon, she always seems to miss it - its difficult to find any speech or sermon where she refers to Jesus’ paying the penalty to save us from our sins. It almost seems to be something that she doesn’t want to think about.

As you say, maybe we will see her make a reference to it on Good Friday… maybe!

[47] Posted by MichaelA on 1-5-2012 at 04:11 PM · [top]

Here are a couple more places where the Bible drives home to us that Jesus’ main purpose in coming to this earth was to pay the price for our sins:

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” [John 3:17-18]


“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” [Luke 19:10]


“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” [1 John 4:14]

[48] Posted by MichaelA on 1-5-2012 at 04:29 PM · [top]

#42 you pull your quotes out of context and thus avoid interacting with the point of the post. nice.

#45 have you ever heard of Philippians 2?

Do you take any of this seriously at all? If not, why bother to post?

[49] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 1-5-2012 at 05:03 PM · [top]

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