Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Popes and Anglicans and Leaning Towers of Liberals

The Pope and the Anglicans are in negotiations over bringing the Anglicans back into the Catholic Church. It seems the liberal leanings of one part of the Anglican Church have gone and ordained women and gay men into the priesthood and the more conservative elements have issues with all of this liberalization. Next thing you know the Americans will reject the British monarchy and start calling themselves Episcopalians instead of members of the Church of England. Oh wait. That already happened, didn't it?

Funny thing, once upon a time there was one Christian Church and the Romans saw to it that the radical responsible for that upstart religion was crucified. Then the Emperor decided Christianity was the one true faith and all of Europe had to become Christian. Then the Empire weakened and split in two and good old Constantine moved the capital to the East and named the city Constantinople (Great to have a city named after yourself, don't you think?).

Next thing you know the Christians in the East and the Christians in the West were arguing over the use of icons and there was an Eastern church at Constantinople called the Orthodox Church and one in Rome called the Catholic Church. This lasted a pretty long time. The two churches left each other alone and they both agreed that neither liked Muslims. There were some religious wars called Crusades.

The Dark Ages ended. The Renaissance came and more people started thinking for themselves. Along comes this monk named Martin Luther. Seems he had an issue with corruption in the Catholic Church, so he posts all of these theses on the Cathedral door, gets himself excommunicated by the Pope, and "Oh my God," the Protestant Reformation was on. The Catholic Church didn't want to be reformed, so Luther got his own church and, "Voila," there were Lutherans all over Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Last I heard, in places like Northern Iowa, the German Lutherans and the Norwegian Lutherans couldn't agree on anything so now there are separate German Lutheran churches and Norwegian Lutheran churches.

Well Luther started something and John Calvin came along and started preaching pre-destination and hellfire and brimstone, and copycats in France called themselves Huguenots and copycats in Scotland called themselves Presbyterians, and the French Catholics had no sense of humor and killed several thousand of those smarty-pants Huguenots. Presbyterians had better sense, and moved to America and became just one more group of Europeans that took advantage of the Indians.

Then along came Henry VIII of England and he wanted a male heir. Wife had a girl and for some reason couldn't get knocked up again. Henry wanted a divorce so he could marry someone else and the Pope wouldn't give him one. He was siding with the Spanish King, whose sister it was that Henry wanted to divorce. Henry said, "Screw it," started his own church, and gave himself a divorce. Dude went through six wives before he died and when he did, turns out his daughter by his second wife became Queen. (The only male was a sickly little shit and died.) Anyway, the Church of England was born.

Can't leave out the Puritans. Puritans came along and a bunch moved to Massachusetts and spread out all over New England, bringing one hell of a work ethic and the idea that anything remotely fun is sinful. Back in England where they started, they got rid of the king and set up a dictatorship run by this Alpha Puritan, Oliver Cromwell, and he ran shit there until he died, and then the British decided they liked kings better than Puritanical dictators, so they restored the kings to power. Meanwhile in America, the Puritans were busy killing Indians and hanging people as witches. (My personal favorite test for witches involved throwing them in the lake. If you floated you were a witch. If you didn't you weren't. Of course, if you didn't, you drowned, but you went to heaven, not hell.)

Over the next couple of hundred years we got Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Mormons, snake handlers, holy rollers, and next thing you know we had more Christian denominations than a dog has fleas. Not sure where Jehovah's Witnesses came from. Now the Pope and the Anglicans are talking about reuniting. Frankly they ought to take all of the cultural conservatives, the gay-bashing, keep women in their place (barefoot, pregnant, and in the home, that is.), kill criminals, give everyone guns, and outlaw all abortions and morning after pill conservatives and put them all in one church. They'd all be much easier to keep track of that way. And then it would all come full circle.

In the meantime, I attend services with the Reverend R.D. at the "Church of There Ain't No God, But There Sure As Hell Is Morality." We meet on Saturday evenings for services at your finer establishments of imbibery. We're partial to full-bodied red wines and sharp cheeses for communion. We have one key principle, "Judge not and we'll all get along a lot better. Can I buy you a drink brothers and sisters?" Oh and we hold special services during the week at about 5 PM. We call it the Happy Hour.


  1. Whew! What a ride! I like your crash course in the history of Christianity. And I especially like the sounds of this new church you're heading up. Simple - I really like simple.
    I think I'm ready for the quiz now, Rev.
    Looking forward to the next sermon.

  2. Okay Miss Lori, #1 Compare and contrast the three major monotheisitic religions of planet Earth.
    #2 List the similarities and differences between Hinduism and Buddhism.
    #3 Why the heck are all of the above always shooting at each other and blowing each other up?

    Use a #2 pencil only (But we're online! Tough! Work it out!). You have 10 minutes. Okay, forget the whole thing, relax and have a nice glass of Shiraz or Zinfandel. California or Australian, doesn't matter.