Al Gore's son was recently arrested for speeding with the suspicion of DWI. The children of the rich and the famous get in trouble all the time, so there's little news in this item. Except that the speeding, supposedly at 90 mph, was done in a Prius. A Prius! That's the car that is Ralph Nader and Daddy Gore's answer to prayer, a hybrid that can get upwards of 60 miles to the gallon. But not at 90. At 90 it's probably no better than my Taurus.
Driving a Prius as if racing a stock car is like running on a treadmill until your heart rate nears bursting levels. Neither the car nor the treadmill, excellent choices for conservation and good health, were meant for excesses.
The New York Times this morning reported on its Metro front page the brouhaha in Bristol over the decision of an Episcopal congregation to leave the Connecticut Diocese and link with an Anglican Diocese in Nigeria. The divisive issue originated with the ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire. The rector and most congregants of Trinity Church, Bristol CT believe any official sanction of homosexuality is a violation of Biblical injunctions against sodomy. It's an issue that rages not only in most major denominations in the USA but also in the body politic.
The Anglican Christians in Bristol in pursuit of Scriptural righteousness are, however, reverting to secular courts to set things right. Who owns the church properties is at issue. The defecting congregation claims its ownership predates the existence of the Diocese. The Diocese claims recent precedent in appeals court granting the larger church administration control over local properties.
Both sides in this controversy should have misgivings. The Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 6:1-11 takes to task those in the church who would take their disputes to a secular court. And it is this same passage that lists sodomites as unfit to inherit the kingdom of God. Verse 7 provides the apostolic condemnation and hints at a solution: "to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded. But you yourselves wrong and defraud-- and believers at that."
Which - Paul's last thoughts - makes me wonder about Anglican/Episcopal prayer and witness in Bristol. Why not just fold your tents and set them up somewhere else? Isn't that what Roger Williams did when the Puritan Pilgrims could make no room for him in their inn? I seem to remember someone else giving advice about inhospitable receptions, to shake the dust off your feet and travel on to the next place.
Yes, yes, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, an oft-quoted phrase attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, only his original line had an adjectival qualifier for consistency, "foolish." Foolish consistency is Jack Nicholson in "As Good as It Gets" studiously avoiding stepping on sidewalk cracks. Foolish consistency is the teetotaler missionary refusing a home-brewed liquor in a peasant's hut, choosing personal principle over compassion in a ritual of cordiality, and leaving the peasant wondering why the missionary is rejecting him. Foolish consistency is holding fifteen year old boys to your grandfatherly standard of study and work, if conveniently forgetting your own extended moments of laziness.
And I won't even begin to parse the gross hypocrisies, for and against, surrounding one I. Scooter Libby.
What environmentalists, Christians, and political partisans need is a sense of humor... at their own expense. Oh, that we could "see oursels as ithers see us." That's Bobby Burns' prescription for anyone's aggravated sense of self-righteousness. Fact is, I wouldn't be annoyed with inconsistencies such as mentioned in this piece if for a moment, just a moment is all I ask, the perpetrators would leave off their rationalizing self-justifications and admit, if only a whisper, that they too have indulged in hypocrisy.