Welcome to the Madhouse

An inhabitant of the future egalitarian madhouseA current inhabitant of the Anglican madhouse.


This summer the worldwide Anglican communion is coming apart at an accelerating rate .  The “presenting issue” was Gene Robinson’s consecration to the office of Bishop in the autumn of 2003.  You see, Robinson divorced his wife and took up “married” life with another man.  The negative reaction of the rest of the Anglican communion – mostly concentrated in the Southern hemisphere – and the Episcopal church’s repudiation of their objections are combining to fracture the Anglican communion as I write these words. 

But, Gene Robinson’s consecration was merely the presenting issue.  The real madness is  much deeper.  Here is how one Anglican described it recently.  Read Peter’s parable first, and then I’ll connect a dot or two for you:

OK, so here it is. We as a church have had a wasps nest of heresy and apostasy on our porch and, rather than doing the painful but necessary thing (which, by the way is mentioned as both necessary and painful in the Bible – y’know that book that…oh never mind) we have decided to ignore and tolerate it.

So, what happened? Well, funnily enough that wasp’s nest, over the course of the summer, grew, expanded beyond the confines of the box and suddenly, rather than a tiny little wasps nest we have a great big wasps nest – on our porch, stopping us getting in and out, getting the kids stung and generally making daily life difficult.

We tolerated it, and look what we became: the spectre of Catholic bishops tolerating ‘Catholic’ politicians supporting abortion and other innovations of the zeitgeist.

Simply put, you don’t tolerate wasps, you don’t tolerate sin, because if you do it just grows.

But wait a moment, where do Anglicans fit into all this, you may ask? Well, for the record I am not a good Anglican. If I was a good Anglican I would have taken that wasp’s nest inside and placed it at the centre of the mantelpiece. I would have watched it grow with pride, congratulating myself on my diversity and tolerance, glad that I had found it in my heart to be so inclusive. I would have been stung, and watched my children being stung and have rejoiced in this new relationship that the spirit was working within us.

Welcome, friends, to our world. Welcome to the Anglican Madhouse.

A madhouse indeed, with the inmates in charge.  Evangelicals have been running the same sorts of institutions for 20 or 30 years now.  And, they all started out with exactly the same conviction that the Anglicans embraced when they first ordained women back in the Seventies, namely, the egalitarian premise that sex has nothing to do with church order, church offices, church ministry, or the ordering of marriage.  It’s the feminist premise baptized and installed in the evangelical magisterium (i.e. seminaries, publishing houses, and mission boards). 

Looks normal, right?Now, what’s wonderful about religious madhouses is this:  they usually appear utterly normal.  All the psychic (or, theological) horrors are well hidden behind the visible veneer of civility, piety, and bible-babble.  Stained glass, well-polished and padded pews, tasteful colors and the soft rustle of choir robes or clerical vestments render it all so … well, staid.  If a stranger to the Episcopal madness were to wander into Gene Robinson’s Prayer Book Eucharist and didn’t pay very close attention to what was said outside Prayer Book texts and responses, he’d likely have no idea that he was worshiping in an Episcopal madhouse. 

No doubt, the scene was also quite staid, civil, and effused with somber joy where this happened:

This also looks normal, right?Synod 2007 made a historic decision last night, voting to remove the word “male” as a requirement for holding ecclesiastical office in the Christian Reformed Church.  This opens the way for any CRC congregation to ordain women as ministers, elders, deacons or ministry associates.

Today, synod will take up two remaining proposals that include opening the way for women to serve as delegates to synod.

The decision last night also reflected synod’s desire to maintain unity in the church by respecting the convictions of those who believe the Bible prohibits women serving as office bearers. It allows classes to set restrictions on women serving as delegates to classis meetings.

The pastoral psychosis embedded in this event is a tad easier to see in the remarks of two supporters of the change, reported in the Kalamazoo Gazette :

The Rev. Joel Boot prayed that God help the CRC’s “disagreeing and sometimes disagreeable people to be one.”

That already is happening, said elder Henry Baron. He said the 150th anniversary celebration Sunday gave delegates a motivating vision of a more-inclusive future.  “This is a wonderful, exhilarating step toward togetherness, reconciliation and healing,” Baron, a Synod clerk, said of the women’s decision.

Even those who oppose women clergy hope the CRC will benefit from moving beyond a decades-old conflict.

“Animosities should vanish and people should be liberated to freely move forward and live for Christ,” said the Rev. Joel Nederhood. “There’s no reason why conservative people can’t develop their full potential in this denomination.”

An inhabitant of the future egalitarian madhouseClearly, the disagreeable people Rev. Boot has in mind are those opposing women clergy who are, nevertheless, going to benefit from moving beyond a decades-old conflict.  Whether they like it or not, those conservative people WILL develop their full potential.

For a really well-developed look at what this potential becomes, revisit the modern Anglican madhouse.  They’re about 50 years down the road from the CRC and other evangelicals.  The future for today’s egalitarian-infatuated evangelicals appears to be no less deranged than what the Anglicans are already enjoying.  There are even pockets of this madness within Roman Catholicism, that ostensible bastion of male privilege and power. 


Filed under Egalitarianism

8 responses to “Welcome to the Madhouse

  1. apbiddle

    Borrowed from MCJ, I believe. Another way of looking at the same thing:

    TEC is the Anglican Communion’s crazy Aunt Melinda, the aging hippy who comes to family reunions in a floaty tie-dyed mumu, carrying an immense, daisy-appliqued straw handbag. In that bag she has a ziploc of grass and a S & W Model 10 (“for when the pigs come for me”), asks everyone if they want a toke, and then talks loudly about her sex life in explicit detail. Melinda, though, is rich with money left by generations, and money has bought her tolerance – up to a point. Recently, some members of the family have wondered if she’s past it, have begun refusing to come to parties and events if she shows up, and some are even muttering that maybe Melinda needs a trustee.

  2. Truth Unites...and Divides

    Geez Louise, I’m a 1st-time visitor to this blog and I happened to be frightened out of my wits by those horrific pictures of screaming mouths in places where eyes should be.

    If you wanna scare people into heaven, just say this is what hell will look like. That’ll get ’em to bow their knee and confess with their tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior… mighty quick!

    I kid you not… those pix are Fright Night scary!

  3. apbiddle,

    Thanks for the MCJ parabolic analysis of TEC. It has obvious parabolic insight into TEC for those who know it. It probably doesn’t work so well for broadly evangelical Protestants because the underlying ecclesiologies don’t really “map” to the parable in the same way — they can’t map, in fact, they’re so different.

    The parable at Peter’s place maps very well, however, because the point of the parable isn’t the ecclesiology, but the attitude of the inhabitants of the church (conceived as a house, rather than a family), and the attitudes of those who insist on living with wasps, or (as Patrick explains) installing wasps’ nests into their homely environs.

    This is what egalitarians do within evangelicaldom, who look at TEC and say “we’re not like them!” when in fact they will become exactly like them for the reasons I explained above.


    Welcome to this blog. I’ve seen your comments in other venues and found them informative and insightful.

    Sorry to scare you. The horror pix capture so very well the surreality of Anglican indifference to discipline generally, and TEC irrationality vis-a-vis the current unpleasantness specifically. Would that everyone 50 years ago had had the reaction to the original illegal ordinations or to Bishop Pike before that as you’ve had to these simple pictures. I submit the pictures are far less scary than the errants they point to in this blog. Folks have eyes to see the latter, but so often no eyes to see the former, and no hands to undertake the admittedly noisesome work of disciplining heretics.

    Consequently, those with unseeing eyes and unworking hands shall grow screaming mouths in their odd places.

  4. Glad the analogy was helpful, and yes this Madhouse is more than just ours….


    Peter (not Patrick, but no matter 😉 )

  5. Welcome, Peter. Thanks for dropping by. And, thanks for correcting your name. I changed it in the blog. Who knows where I got “Patrick” from — but once I had it, it stuck.

    Fr. B

  6. Ditto on the scary pictures, but you are right it is a scary, frightening road. It makes me very sad. When people use the arguement “but look at all the good that is coming from {homosexuals, women} as ministers. People are still being ‘saved, fed, ministered to (I’m really stretching those terms aren’t I)'”, I just can’t help but say “but what power would be unleased and great things done by wholeheartedly obeying the Scriptures and getting behind the men in leadership”. I know it is a purely pragmatic arguement that they offer, but they don’t see the greater end that obedience brings–God glorified and honored as holy AND people being saved, fed and ministered to. I love your thoughts. Been on a blog break and coming back to shorter internet time, but I will definitely keep popping in here. The Lord bless you and keep you.

  7. One of the other scary things about that picture is it looks sexless.


  8. Pingback: Jack’s Pipe » Madhouses

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