Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Anything Goes

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now God knows,
Anything goes!
Good authors too who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
Writing prose,
Anything goes!
If driving fast cars you like,
If low bars you like,
If old limbs you like,
If Mae West you like,
Or me undressed you like,
Why nobody will oppose.
When every night the set that's smart is
Intruding in nudist parties in studios,
Anything goes!

---From "Anything Goes"

According to the Times of London, a Church of England priest has continued to officiate as a cleric in spite of his conversion to Hinduism. The Rev. David Hart's diocese renewed his license even though he moved to India, changed his name to Ananda, and serves in a Hindu temple in Thiruvananthapuram, a village in southern India.

Hart, er Ananda, recently published a book entitled "Trading Faith: Global
Religion in an Age of Rapid Change," where he discussed his conversion to
Hinduism. It should also come as no surprise that Hart was a Fellow of the
Jesus Seminar and secretary for the World Congress of Faiths.

In an interview, Mr. Hart said, "I have neither explicitly nor implicitly
renounced my Christian faith or priesthood." However, in his capacity as
Hindu priest, Hart daily blesses a congregation of about 60 with fire that
has previously been offered to Nagar, the snake god.

Hart believes his move will "be read in the spirit of open exploration and
dialogue which is an essential feature of our shared spirituality." "My
philosophical position is that all religions are cultural constructs," he
said. "I am acting out God's story in local terms." Nothing like diving headlong into a stew of theological relativism.

I know that I should probably critique the unbiblical, heretical view
of God on display; that I should point out the flaws in his soteriology, parse his
syncretism, and harp on his gross violations of God's holy and perfect law. Clearly his epistemological foundations are in need of challenge. But I'm going to resist those urges and in the spirit of Elijah (see I Kings 18), will resort to a bit of sarcasm instead.

When I read this news item, all I could think of was "The Simpson's"
episode entitled "Homer the Heretic," where Homer rejects Christianity. At
one point, he is discoursing with Apu at the local Quickie Mart. Seeing a
statue of Ganesha in the "employee lounge," Homer chides Apu:

"Hey, Ganesha. Wanna peanut?"

"Please do not offer my god a peanut."

"No offense Apu, but when they were handing out religions, you musta been
out taking a whizz"

So true. But even worse are the "Christians" who allow such idolatry from their own clergy.

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