Archive for July, 2013

There Will Always Be A Church of England

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

First, it shouldn’t amaze me but it does that the Wall Street Journal sends out urgent emails to update me on the progress of the birth of the new heir to the throne. Can we look forward to a live broadcast of the royal son’s baptism? However moribund the Church of England sometimes seems, our spiritual motherland still makes news.

Second, declining though it may be, the C of E doesn’t lack imaginative clergy posts. A recent Church Times carried a letter from a member of the Ascot Racecourse Chaplaincy Service; the priest was pictured in clericals and top hat.

A more substantive letter asked for the General Synod to address the gender imbalance in many churches, which often runs 3 to 1 in favor of women. As the author points out, if the balance went the other way, “we would rightly want to address such an imbalance.” This pries holds the interesting title of Diocesan Missioner for Unreached Men in the Diocese of Oxford. —J. Douglas Ousley


God and Man in the Ivy League

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

When I was in high school in the 1960’s, I came across William Buckley’s wide-read book, God and Man at Yale, which decried the secular culture of the university Buckley had attended. As it happened, I went on to attend Yale myself and was an officer in the Yale Christian Union. In those years there were a couple of other small Protestant groups plus Catholic and Jewish congregations. 

It is interesting, then, that decades later, while church attendance has declined nationwide, Christian groups are flourishing at Yale and other Ivy League campuses. The Ivy League Christian Observer, a 50 page quarterly magazine, gives news of countless groups, missions, lectures, journals, and activities sponsored by Christian students. 

As it also happened, I met William Buckley while I was in a political organization at Yale, and I encountered him a few other times later when I moved to New York City. He surely would be pleased that, these days, God seems quite welcome at his alma mater. —J. Douglas Ousley


Marriage Equality

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

As I have remarked before, in the late 1960’s, I worked as a seminarian intern in a Manhattan parish that was active in promoting “gay liberation,” as it was then called. Blessing of gay unions were frequent even if they were technically heterodox. Gay marriage wasn’t in the cards. It wasn’t conceivable by traditionalists who believed that marriage could only take place between a man and woman. It wasn’t desired by gay liberals because they thought the institution itself was doomed.

Times have obviously changed. Marriage is taking place between couples of the same sex, like it or not. And many gays and lesbians are supporting the institution of marriage.

There are still strongholds of resistance. Last week, I heard a Catholic prelate claim that the counter-cultural message of Christianity demanded resistance to gay marriage–an interesting reversal of the idea of “counter-culture” that was developed in the 1960’s!

Even so, the reality is: times have changed. Thank God. —J. Douglas Ousley