A Stunning Comment On An Old Thread I Linked Yesterday

From Michael, whoever he is:

The internet has finally showed what organized religion is all about — making money and keeping a lot of unemployable people afloat as clergy. As for young people…they are not interested in spending Sunday singing hymns, watching repetitive rituals and believing in some guy name Jesus is the son of God. I was raised an Episcopalian, boarding schools etc., and NOT ONE OF MY RELATIVES go including me. Everyone I know that are cradle Episcopalians are atheists or agnostics. They might get buried or married in the church but its a more social thing than anything to do with some God reinterpreted by the British to keep the aristocracy going. The Episcopal Church has become sort of a joke and refuge for women who want a second career and a lot of power. Aesthetically it is from hunger.

Well, I am a cradle Episcopalian and still Christian. However, as I go along, I realize as much as the Episcopal Church may have done to kindle my faith, I think the thing that has most helped to keep me going in the faith in Kairos Prison Ministry, and not so much the church. Reading this just struck me. What do you all think? I am not entirely sure what Michael means when he says “Aesthetically, it is from hunger.” I am puzzled by this observation and not sure what it means, but I am intrigued by what I am sure Michael thought was a simple remark. BLD

25 Responses to “A Stunning Comment On An Old Thread I Linked Yesterday”

  1. 1 illinisouth August 4, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    I’m wondering if Michael is being totally honest with us. Apart from whatever else they may teach, Episcopal boarding schools would surely have given him a better grasp of the English language.

  2. 2 Henry August 5, 2008 at 12:54 am

    He may be being completely truthful…he sounds to me like he should be made a bishop in some dioceses in the TEC!!! I’m sorry that he has had such a horrible experience of the church and Christianity…somehow, like much of the TEC, he missed out on the joy of Jesus,the love of our Father, and the redemption of His grace. May he find God’s peace in his life.

  3. 3 Doug Stein August 5, 2008 at 2:03 am

    “It’s from hunger” is a derivative of teen/20s Millenial/Gen-Y slang indicating something is severely lacking in its essentials. Here, the context is that the aesthetic environment of and Episcopal is dated, irrelevant, a poor semblance of anything truly tasteful, etc. If we were talking about clothing, the phrase “I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing that” would be the closest translation.

    Hope this helps…

  4. 4 Doug Stein August 5, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Oops – that was “…aesthetic environment of an Episcopal church is dated…”

  5. 5 descant August 5, 2008 at 3:04 am

    Thank you Doug. That helps.

  6. 6 JaneD August 5, 2008 at 4:36 am

    Here is my family’s take on this. My dad and his sister grew up and loved the Episcopal church. My aunt raised her 2 children, now in their 50’s in the church and both would say they are Episcopalian because they go on Christmas and Easter. Neither has had any children so they are the end of the line. My dad had 5 children from 2 marriages. My oldest brother, in his late 50’s has no church and has not been in a church except for family events in years. If there are many paths to heaven, he will “take one that does not require him to get up on Sunday morning”. My youngest brother and his wife have 1 child and are active at an Episcopal church. My sister, my other brother and myself and 9 of dad’s 10 grandchildren ages 17 to 4 are all active in the Catholic church. Each of us individually has felt forced from the church. One in the diocese of California, one in the diocese of San Diego and one in the diocese of Los Angeles. I do not know how long my youngest brother and his family will hold out. I still feel that we are morning the death of the church of my father. We all moved to protect our kids and to try to give them some of the faith that was handed down to us without being ambushed from the pulpit. My kids and most of my nieces and nephews are old enough that we need good doctrine now and we can’t wait for ABC or Lambeth to get things in order if they ever do. Mom goes to church by herself and comments that there are no children in her parish.

  7. 7 Michael August 5, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    One of the fatal mistakes that people make about Church is the desire to constantly be “fed”. This could mean a desire to be spoon fed their religious experience so that they don’t have to exert any effort on their part. It could also mean that they are addicted to that “mountain top” experience and have never learned to live their lives on the plateaus or in the valleys.

    Either way, the failing here is a matter of asceticism which comes from the Greek askesis meaning excercise or renunciation. A major failing of the Episcopal Church, particularly in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s was in the teaching of discipline and the excercise of one’s faith and personal piety. I blame this on a generation of priests and bishops who were more interested in avoiding the Draft than in following a calling.

    The solution is for the Church to once again stand for something – namely the Gospel; and for the Church to teach and preach a lifestyle of discipline that focuses attention on God and not on the things of this world.

    And no, I am not the Michael that started this conversation.

  8. 8 Joe Roberts August 5, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree with Michael, the second, and in particular his observation that far too many Episcopalians today are focused on “being fed” rather than taking personal responsibility for doing the often hard work involved in walking the way of the Cross.

    There is no question but that the Church needs to steadfastly remain committed to its single mission, bringing people to God through belief in the Christ and in so doing, making disciples (Matthew 28:19). And, in making disciples, the Church cannot retreat from its obligation to tell people the truth including that they must “…enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14).

    God’s peace.


  9. 9 R. Scott Purdy August 6, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    I cannot dispute Michael’s observations – if you focus on the people. Michael well recognizes their fallenness.

    If, however, you focus on Jesus, the perspective changes.

  10. 10 Richard Naff August 7, 2008 at 4:40 pm


    I accidentally posted a reply in “Sarah Hey’s Travelling Music” by clicking the wrong “comments” link. Would you be so kind as to move it here, please? If that’s not possible, would you at least delete it from the “Sarah Hey’s Travelling Music” thread?

    And then delete this request.


  11. 11 descant August 9, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    I once had someone I was evangelizing make a similar comment to me. She said, as best I can recall, all churches have one appeal and that’s to provide the hocus-pocus missing from the Me-And-My-Bible approach.

    I didn’t spend a lot of time delving into that but in order to understand her view I asked a couple of questions. From her perspective, which seemed to be Jungian with a twist of Anna Freud, the human psyche needs some sort of magical incantations or gesticulations in order for the “magic of God” to work. She cited (with some derision) Baptism and the Eucharist. It was not enough to merely accept God’s Word and lessons, not enough to believe in the Christ. You had to cast some sort of magic spells and engage in physical movements to make it work. Hocus-pocus.

    She explained a few points in several faiths that had some parallels but I didn’t see a need to go further into those for this one point she was making. To her, and I understood her position to be one of “I’m wise to it and better than that” arrogance, there was no need for any organized religion, let alone bulidings where people meet to experience these purely psychological needs.

    Needless to say, I was unsuccessful in getting her to move a little away from “I’m wise to all the deceptions” to something more along the lines of “Perhaps I shouldn’t build impenetrable walls around me.” She claimed to be Christian but she held the post-Christian idea that Jesus was merely a man with a special insight to God. She didn’t believe there was a sacrifice involved in the crucifixion nor was there a physical resurrection.

    When I asked how she came to those beliefs, she said it was in her Bible. I asked which one and she said the NIV. Well, I just happened to have a copy in my car so I took a moment to fetch it then showed her the passages refuting her claims. Her response was that those passages didn’t say what I thought they said but that I had learned my understanding in a church along with my eucharistic beliefs. Quad est demonstrandum, according to her.

    She walked away and I’ve never seen her since. But I consider the encounter to be helpful because I realized there is a mindset out there where a sort of academic arrogance flourishes to the point that some people simply will not ‘condescend’ to step into a church because they think they’re above it all. Church is for weak, immature or intellectually dull people who can’t read the Bible and figure it out for themselves.

    Perhaps this is close to what your Michael meant when he mentioned ‘hunger?’

  12. 12 Bill Befort August 23, 2008 at 12:16 am

    Michael is picking up on an old American catchphrase, “strictly from hunger.” Anything of desperately poor quality was strictly from hunger, baby. The expression was current far enough back for S.J. Perelman to use it as the title of an early collection of comic sketches; Amazon gives 1937 as the publication date.

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