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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

You may or may not have seen it, what with everything else going on these days, but the Episcopal Church is “considering” revising the Book of Common Prayer to eradicate all masculine references to God.  I put quotes around the word “considering” because I can tell you here and now that this is a done deal.  The Palie clergy and congregations – at least in my experience – have been doing this on the sly for some time, and its official adoption now that the proposal has been put up is only a matter of the paperwork.

And, at least according to one version of the proposal being batted about at this year’s convention, that ain’t the all of it:

Switching to gender-neutral language is the most commonly mentioned reason to make the change, but many stakeholders in the church want other revisions. There are advocates for adding language about  a Christian’s duty to conserve the Earth; for adding a liturgical ceremony to celebrate a transgender person’s adoption of a new name; for adding same-sex marriage ceremonies to the liturgy, since the church has been performing such weddings for years; for updating the calendar of saints to include important figures named as saints since 1979.

Oh, you betcha.  (Actually, I believe there is language about environmental stewardship in the Catholic Catechism already.  And I’ve got no problem with celebrating the Feast Day of St. John Paul the Second (October 22).  The other stuff? Yeah, you betcha.)

The Family Robbo were discussing this item at dinner last evening.  The sense of the meeting was pretty clear that if these things go through, they’re gone.  (The general idea seems to be in favor of seeking out whatever pockets of traditional mainline Protestantism remain (have I mentioned here that my great-grandfather on my father’s side was a Presbyterian minister?), or perhaps venturing among the Evangelicals.  Alas, nobody seems interested in Ol’ Robbo’s open invitation to follow him across the Tiber.  As terribly disappointing as this is, however, I have at least come to understand what a truly enormous thing it is that I’m asking – even if they don’t – and that it might simply be beyond them at this point.  I would not wish them to sign on for something they simply don’t understand.  I will thus just continue my policy of trying to lead by (admittedly feeble) example, and praying for their eventual enlightenment.)

Because of parliamentary procedures within TEC, consummation of this mucking about with the BCP will take some years.  What might make the family bolt much more precipitately is the fact that the longtime Rector of Robbo’s Former Episcopal Church retired a couple weeks ago.  He was as proggy as any of them. (I once heard him in an unguarded moment musing that Leviticus could be read not to prohibit doinking the livestock, but merely to insist on purification afterwards before entering the Temple.)  But he had enough biznay sense to recognize that the parish in general, and the Big Money Boys in particular, are fairly evenly split between Progs and Trads, and that it was in his best interest to keep his public ministry as neutral as possible.  If the Diocese is fool enough to install some hard-charging Lefty in his place, the Family Robbo won’t be the only ones making a bee-line for the exits.




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