Parody and satire are age-old means for exposing the foibles of error, unless …
You see, parody and satire “work” mostly by exaggerating this or that element of the error or the ones who promote the error. But, what happens if the target of parody is already so “out there,” so overblown that there’s nothing left to exaggerate? In that case, parody comes perilously close, maybe indistinguishably close, to reporting bare fact. And, so the object of satire becomes increasingly immune to satire.
Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam are gleeful exaggerations of two off-beat, outlandish, sometimes creepy male personality types. The TV cartoon sitcom The Simpsons extends the technique to an entire family unit. None of the Simpsons’ weirdnesses is truly fantastic. All the Simpsons are comic exaggerations of men, women, and children we have encountered many times in the past. It’s what makes them so immediately recognizable, so instantly familiar. Exaggeration of all their foibles and eccentricities that makes us laugh.
The Most Reverend Katherine Jefferts-Schori, currently the presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church™ (the current name of the cult, which until last June had styled itself the Episcopal Church in the USA), is one of those whom it is more and more difficult to lampoon. She is rapidly evolving into a cartoon.
In the few months since she became the first woman to lead the main-line Episcopal Church in America, Schori’s persona has eerily followed the character named Judge Doom played by Christopher Lloyd in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In the film, Judge Doom, a grotesquely evil human personality, is exposed at the climax of the film to be a malevolent Toon personality, intent on persecuting and enslaving all of Toon Town and its inhabitants. He is shown to be a traitor against his own kind.
In The Episcopal Church™ something along the same lines is unfolding over the past year. For one thing, Jefferts-Schori is already so toonish that it is getting near to impossible to satirize her. She seems bent on giving interviews to main-stream non-Christian media (for examples, see here and here, and if the original links have expired, try here and here; also check out the video of The Most Reverend’s visit to Cuba here ). In all these (and they’re just a sample of her media offerings), Schori delivers broadly heretical challenges to centuries-old Christian orthodoxy. Albert Mohler, from the perspective of a solidly orthodox American Baptist, recognizes that Schori’s faith is the Cino type (Christian In Name Only). See his commentary here .
Her own revelation as a True Toon comes this week in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, of all places, where 38 Anglican primates (heads of national Anglican churches) are gathering to deal with the errant American and Canadian Churches, which are bent on advancing the agenda of gay rights in both churches.
If one wishes to follow these events from a perspective very near to Ground Zero, you can’t do better than the web site Stand Firm in Faith , a web site run by “conservative” Episcopals. I put the word “conservative” in quotes deliberately, for though they are generally traditional in terms of the primitive Creeds of Christendom, the site’s leadership and most of its commenters support and promote recent innovations such as the ordination of women to the Anglican offices of priest and bishop.
Ordinary evangelical Protestants will not appreciate how radical is this departure from the Christian consensus and teaching of the Bible in an Anglican context. That is why reading “conservative” Episcopals is very much like watching a mime through glass bricks. If you stand back far enough, you can get the idea of what’s supposedly going on, but it is still badly warped from what you’d see except for the interference from the glass bricks.
Evangelical feminists outside Anglican climes will find much at Stand Firm to applaud. Protestant evangelicals who retain the Church’s and Bible’s view of the sexes will do well to ponder sites like Stand Firm, for this is where non-Anglican evangelicalism is headed in the next generation. The Anglican/Episcopal equivalents of complementarians at Stand Firm are, at best, tolerated; often they are churlishly admonished for their intransigent allegiance to Scripture and tradition; not unfrequently they are mocked and derided, most vigorouosly by the ostensible “conservatives.” For the next generation or so within broadly evangelical Protestantism, these are the wounds with which complementarians shall be wounded in the house of their “friends.”
At any rate, Stand Firm‘s website, in my opinion, is the best and most up-to-the-minute site to consult for the next two weeks, to get the latest news and commentary from Ground Zero in the Anglican Communion.
Meanwhile, keep your eye on The Most Reverend Katherine Jefferts-Schori for a living example of a woman morphing into the Episcopal version of Judge Doom. Non-Anglican evangelicals have many such crypto-Toons in their leadership ranks, and watching the career of Katherine Schori will give them a good preview of what’s coming down the pipe in their own environs.