Shuck and Jive

Thursday, August 06, 2015

In Support of Gretta Vosper

United Church of Canada minister, Gretta Vosper, is in a bit of hot water with her denomination.  She is an atheist and calls herself that.  The denomination is doing something unprecedented.  They are investigating her to see if she should be removed from the ministry.  

Here is the story in MetroNews.
TORONTO – An ordained United Church of Canada minister who believes in neither God nor Bible said Wednesday she is prepared to fight an unprecedented attempt to boot her from the pulpit for her beliefs. 
In an interview at her West Hill church, Rev. Gretta Vosper said congregants support her view that how you live is more important than what you believe in. 
“I don’t believe in…the god called God,” Vosper said. “Using the word gets in the way of sharing what I want to share.” 
Vosper, 57, who was ordained in 1993 and joined her east-end church in 1997, said the idea of an interventionist, supernatural being on which so much church doctrine is based belongs to an outdated world view. 
What’s important, she says, is that her views hearken to Christianity’s beginnings, before the focus shifted from how one lived to doctrinal belief in God, Jesus and the Bible.
“Is the Bible really the word of God? Was Jesus a person?” she said. 
“It’s mythology. We build a faith tradition upon it which shifted to find belief more important than how we lived.”  Read More
The legalists are trying to get her on violating her "vows."  If you don't have an argument, crack open the old vow chestnut.
In response, Nora Sanders, general secretary of the church’s General Council, issued a ruling in May laying out a review process that could ultimately lead to Vosper’s defrocking.

Essentially, Sanders said, the review should determine whether she was being faithful to her ordination vows, which included affirming a belief in “God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Gretta and her congregation (as well as growing number of people within and without the church) know that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost have caught the last train for the coast.   We are talking about symbols and myths that have long lost any real referent.  The language has been poured out into humanitarian ethics.   As to the church and her boatswain?  To quote Don Cupitt:
The churches have not yet decided what they think about cultural Christianity, probably because so many of those who after realism continue to get aesthetic consolation from Christian culture are prominent amongst their own members--and leaders, too.  Such people know that the old apologetic arguments have all failed, but they do not wish to come out into the open about their own personal lack of strong, or 'literal', dogmatic-realist faith.  Nor do they wish to face up to the Death of God and the looming spectre of nihilism.  So it is generally more comfortable to stay where one is, as a theologian, a bishop or whatever:  to be quietly ironical and not 'come out'.  The old ship can sail on for a little longer yet.  It is not time to take to the lifeboats.   
I am not sure about that, though; for there are may indications that the old ship is rotten and is foundering.  (Creative Faith, p. 48)
In the meantime, they try to pretend that the ship is solid and sure and they do so by throwing the mouthy "heretics" overboard.
If we get rid of that pesky Gretta Vosper everything will be just fine.   Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are still there!  See!  In the clouds playing lawn darts and answering prayers (sort of)!  Just close your eyes and believe 
Gretta has chosen another way, a more courageous, authentic path.  She knows it is up to each us to find our way and to make our worlds, with or without God.

May her tribe increase.

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