March 24, 2017

July 8, 2012

ECUSA’s Future: a Glimpse Afforded by the Present

Two telling glimpses of what the Episcopal Church (USA) is becoming, in front of our very eyes, appeared in General Convention commentaries today.

The first came up in the context of a proposal to authorize the use in church readings of the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible. The ESV is essentially a revision of the already-authorized Revised Standard Version of 1971, and has received scholarly approval, on the whole. (Your Curmudgeon has the Study Version on his desk, and consults it regularly to compare with other versions. Its complete text, like that of the New English Translation, is available free online.)

Let on-the-scene reporter Lauren Anderson tell the tale:

The House of Deputies is considering the authorization of new translations of the Bible, including the English Standard Version with the Apocrypha, for use in lectionary readings.

While discussing a proposed resolution to add the Contemporary English Version (1995) and The Contemporary English Version Global (2005) to the list of authorized translations, the English Standard Version was proposed as an additional translation option.

Proponents said the ESV is widely used and growing in popularity, and has the additional benefit of being available free on the web, making it an efficient option for preparing handouts and PowerPoint media.

“The English Standard Version is a wonderfully popular version. We’re trying to be relevant. We’re trying to be current. We’re trying to become more and more in touch with the world around us. This version is,” said the Ven. David Collum of the Diocese of Albany.

Others opposed the amendment, saying it is not within the purview of the House of Deputies to make a decision about authorizing Bible translations.

“I think for us as a body to micromanage the work of the theologians of the Episcopal Church is not our job,” said Denise Crenshaw of the Diocese of Michigan.

This is the Episcopal Church (USA) as it used to be—expressing viewpoints of wide diversity, from all over the map. But watch what happened next (pay close attention, now—I have added the bold to assist you):

Deputies voted in favor of the amendment to add the ESV translation to the resolution, but later reopened the discussion when the validity of the translation was called into question by a deputy who found a verse from the ESV that used the word homosexuality. The house ultimately decided to reconsider the amendment as its first order of business July 8.

Oh, my goodness—do you realize what happened here? According to the standard LGBTQI mantra, “homosexuality” is a term that cannot be used to translate any word or words in the Bible, because the Bible was written two thousand years ago, when no one could even conceive of, let alone depict or describe, what the term “homosexuality” covers. (See, for instance, the explanations of Resolutions D002 and D019 which passed the House of Bishops earlier today.)

So because of that one word appearing at one place in the ESV, that translation must be BANNED from ALL Episcopal lecterns and pulpits. All thanks to the diligent and quick work of one deputy, whose terrifying announcement was enough to cow the entire House of Deputies into reconsidering the matter.

Anyone care to guess how these paragons of political correctness will vote today, July 8?

Now let us turn to the second glimpse of ECUSA’s future. Cherie Wetzel of Anglicans United should need no introduction to SF readers, but she and her husband have been attending and covering General Conventions for nearly twenty years, and perhaps longer. She is a member of a “Prayer Warriors” team at this GC, and takes her duties very seriously, as a loyal, upstanding and orthodox Christian should at these affairs. But look what happened when she accidentally and innocently wandered into this (my bold emphasis):

To my surprise this morning I walked into the bathroom designated for transgendered people.  The door was not labeled ( it is now) and I was clearly not welcome.  Yes, transgendered people are making their presence known at this Convention and making the push for their place at the table.

Welcome to your future, O Episcopal Church!

Further comment, at this point, would be superfluous.

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Yes: The myth of inclusion: thanks for Cherie Wetzel and for her report.

If the media did their job showing the realities beneath the surface of the whole ‘sexual identity’ experiment (thus better informing the public) sexual identity would be dead as an political issue.

Does anyone wonder why the vote is close almost every state that has a ballot initiative on same-sex marriage, but once the rowdy demonstrators move in and we start seeing those PR-posed pictures of two men or two women (dressed in wedding garb) outside of our courthouses, that these measures are largely and soundly defeated?

I think that regardless of how people think about homosexuality in theory, regardless of how the gay PR has influenced them, when they are confronted with it, they immediately see a different side and instinctively vote a different way.

Which begs the question…have any of these TEC people ever met a real homosexual? If they had, they would know just how ‘inclusive’ and ‘loving’ lots of these people really are. Not that all gay and lesbian people are the same, but many of them (in my experience) are only interested in themselves and their own needs.

And yet, most of the people at my former parish were just like this…‘inclusion’ and ‘love’ were only buzz words (part of the litany they recited without thinking, like when they said ‘forgive us or trespasses’ on Sundays) all while they protected their little clubhouse with a steeple on top.

[1] Posted by All-Is-True on 7-8-2012 at 08:16 AM · [top]


[2] Posted by MichaelA on 7-8-2012 at 10:09 AM · [top]

Regarding the ESV it seems to be a solid translation, if you go for that sort of thing. It was amusing that someone would object to word ‘homosexuality’ since the original word might be a lot stronger. This is not surprising as there are many in the Episcopal Organization who wish to rule over what is Holy Writ, rather than be governed by Holy Writ.

[3] Posted by Stefano on 7-8-2012 at 11:48 AM · [top]

I thought you’d be saying that they didn’t want the ESV used because it’s an “evangelical” translation, or at least the study notes tend evangelical, and in revisionist thought that’s bad.  But this is instead a case of not wanting to face what the scripture says.  For those of us still using the 1928 Sunday lectionary, we hear the list of what behaviors God does not approve read in church, and there’s no getting around it no matter what word is used.

Um, do they carry signs saying “I’m transgendered”?  How did they know Mrs. Wetzel isn’t?  I suppose they must have recognized her and thought she was there as a spy.

[4] Posted by Katherine on 7-8-2012 at 12:22 PM · [top]

Also, do not overlook the pronoun thing. The ESV is a transparent translation and it is politically incorrect when translating the text correctly.

[5] Posted by Pb on 7-8-2012 at 12:43 PM · [top]

#4, Katherine, for this simple reason: Cherie is a true lady.

[6] Posted by Michael+ on 7-8-2012 at 12:54 PM · [top]

In prayer-writing, I have compared translations of various passages countless times.  IMO, NRSV is the least poetic and ESV is strongly poetic. 
One of the greatest assets of Anglicanism is the beauty of the words of worship.  For Anglicans to reject a translation that is both honest and poetic is to strike a blow at their own identity.  To reject the ESV because it used the word ‘homosexuality’ (which, as Stefano pointed out, could have been translated much more strongly) is an example of the tail wagging the dog.

[7] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 7-8-2012 at 01:45 PM · [top]

What stuns me is that they didn’t check the ESV prior to green-lighting it.  With all of TEo’s taboos, hang-ups and fetishes you’d think that would be the first order of business, a sort of reverse-bowdlerization.

And the next time Mrs. Wetzel happens to wander into the Trannies’ Room, she’d do well to have a good excuse to deploy, maybe something along the lines of her being pre-op, but she’s known since she was a little girl that she’s a gay man living in the body of a woman.  Maybe carrying some leather cuffs would get her street cred.

[8] Posted by Jeffersonian on 7-8-2012 at 05:43 PM · [top]

The ESV is really good for the most part. I use it and the KJV to help with Greek study.

The NRSV is way too much of a paraphrase, and the NIV takes certain liberties.

In the case of “homosexuality,” the offending word appears twice, once at 1 Cor 6:9, and again at 1 Tim 1:10. In each case, it appears in the context of “men who practice homosexuality.”

In 1 Cor 6:9, the phrase “men who practice homosexuality” translates the Greek μαλακοὶ (μαλακός) and ἀρσενοκοῖται (ἀρσενοκοίτης). The first word is a very strong pejorative for effeminate men who receive sex from other men (using it will still start a bar fight in modern-day Athens), and the second refers to men who would take other men to bed. So, the English is not really the best translation choice. The NIV uses “men who have sex with men,” which is also a paraphrase.

In 1 Tim 1:10, the phrase “men who practice homosexuality” translates the Greek ἀρσενοκοῖται. The word μαλακοὶ isn’t there.

While it’s clear that homosexual practice was well-known in the era of Koine Greek, I’m not sure sure that there’s a word for the transsexual or transgender state, other than καλιφορνία.

[9] Posted by Ralph on 7-8-2012 at 06:56 PM · [top]

Soooo… what word for “homosexual” do they find acceptable?  Would they like these passages to read “homosexual (not that there’s anything wrong with that)...”

Maybe they should keep the ESV and supply free fainting couches should anyone run across such a shameful and disgusting word?

[10] Posted by Bill2 on 7-9-2012 at 03:08 AM · [top]

Bill2- The whole revisionist argument is based on the statement “the Bible never specifically mentions homosexuality”- so they will not likely authorize a translation that does- or which uses any modern equivalent.  Noting Ralph’s translations above, they did, of course, have words that meant that.  Note that the Greek implies activity, not necessarily inclination or predisposition.

On the other hand, if you want to translate the Greek for “blood brothers” or “best friends” as “gay relationship” you can have your translation authorized for use in some dioceses before next Sunday rolls around.

[11] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-9-2012 at 06:16 AM · [top]

For those who really want to know what the resolution was in the HoD for the ESV translation- here is what happened according to John Burwell+, a clerical deputy from the Diocese of South Carolina. [For the rest of John’s observations and personal thoughts on GC 2012 go to his GC2012 webpage at Holy Cross’ website].

Here are his remarks on the ESV translation discussion and resolution.

We began the afternoon by Reconsidering A061 which added some newer Biblical translations to the list of officially authorized versions. Yesterday (that would be Saturday for those of you in real time), we added an amendment that would make the ESV an officially sanctioned version for the Church.

As we were ending our night last night, a deputy asked for reconsideration, because he felt that the House had been deceived by the people who offered the amendment. His main complaint was that we deputies had not had ample time to read the ESV version before being asked to add it to the approved list. (On that, he did have a point.) But then he said something very near to this [this in not an exact quote]: “I did read some of it, and in 1 Corinthians 6:9, it says, ‘Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality… will inherit the kingdom of God.’ We were told that this version is a literal translation, and it is clearly not. This version says that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

There were gasps in the room, and within seconds we voted to reconsider, which would mean that we would start back over, and present the original resolution, without the ESV amendment, for a vote. Killing the inclusion of the ESV. That’s where we ended for the night.

Evidently, overnight, someone did some checking and found that the RSV, the NIV, the CEV and several other versions of the Bible already approved for Episcopal Church usage used those exact words in 1 Corinthians 6:9. In fact, most of the versions that we were being asked to approve in this resolution also used that same exact offending word. Who knew!

So today, before anyone could bring any of these embarrassing facts up, the first person up at a microphone asked that we send the bill back to committee, saying that the bill “needed more study.” The bill was sent back to committee.

Sigh, so you see it was *resolved* in an very Episco-correct fashion- send it back to committee. Come on now deputies, now that you know there is a resolution concerning various translations better start reading!

Good grief!  We have several Bibles of various translations. The ESV is not my personal favorite but my hubby got one on the recommendation from a friend. He likes it but I prefer my NKJV study bible.

Does it give any one pause why the Episcopal Church is even “authorizing” translations for church use? Do we now have the TEC police for authorized Bible translations? When will they appear at your parish to check the Bibles there. Oh that is right this is TEC whose deputies nearly did NOT pass a resolution to read the Bible in 2013!

[12] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-9-2012 at 06:49 AM · [top]

Actually, I think clergy attending General Convention are “clergy deputies” not “clerical deputies”. My apologies to John Burwell+.

[13] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-9-2012 at 06:57 AM · [top]

TJ, you are absolutely right<b>. For many who believe this “homosexuality is just fine because such behavior was not known in the ancient world ” argument for the justification of “gay marriage”, to have <b>several… not just one…. but several translations agree and use the same “offensive” word just can not be true so the offending translation must not be a literal translation hence this deputy’s statement.

Some people simply can not and do not want to admit that the Bible says what it really says. So of course that leads them to the only conclusion and that is- Scripture is no longer authoritative and hence it can be dismissed.  If you don’t read and try to understand the Bible, this is the type of thinking it gets you.

[14] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-9-2012 at 07:09 AM · [top]

Sigh, i did not want so much bold in my comment but this kind of thinking to justify something that is not biblical (no matter how much some want to twist scripture to agree with their thinking) just really bothers me. bet you could not tell. wink

[15] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-9-2012 at 07:16 AM · [top]

No activist would want a literal translation here, and I’m not aware of a modern or historical translation that does so. Even the KJV uses “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind.”

Translation committees consciously avoid icky language, even when it’s that way in the original.

I think Paul was trying to startle his audience by using very explicit language that refers to both the passive and active partners. English has words that could be used. But, we’re not going to see those words in any Bible translation.

Scripture certainly acknowledges the existence of same-sex attraction, in that it warns people not to act on it, but as far as I know, same-sex attraction isn’t what Leviticus, Jesus in the Gospels, and Paul are talking about.

[16] Posted by Ralph on 7-9-2012 at 07:33 AM · [top]

Blu cat Lady at #12, that is priceless!  A roomful of deputies to GC of the Episcopal Church didn’t know something that is set out very clearly in the Bible, and in just about any translation you could name - had no idea in fact. 

Says it all.

[17] Posted by MichaelA on 7-9-2012 at 07:59 PM · [top]

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