Wednesday, November 29, 2023

On the $7.00 Tempest in the TEC Teapot

Some quick background for those who missed the latest episode of As the Episcopal World Turns:

The Washington National Cathedral (WNC) roll out of its annual "come to the cathedral for Christmas" campaign included a $7 fee to cover the cost of processing the passes that make managing the Christmas crowds possible.

Not making an explicit option for those for whom the fee was a financial hardship was inarguably a blow it … a blow it which the WNC folks quickly corrected -- making the fee optional but encouraged. 

My take on what became SevenDollarGate -- an explosion of social media shame, blame and pearl clutching -- is 20% unforced error in the roll out and 80% displaced anxiety, dread, fear projected onto the WNC, blowing up into a tempest in the TEC teapot — a tempest that was not coincidentally fueled by a blog post from Juicy Ecumenism … a mouthpiece of the IRD whose stated goal is to disrupt and dismantle mainline churches in order to precipitate a “return to Biblical Orthodoxy.”

It was nothing less than a textbook effort to polarize and divide us at the very time when our unity and mobilization on behalf of the Good News in Christ Jesus is so desperately needed in this beautiful and broken world. It’s enough to give Baby Jesus colic — and more than enough to convince those who think they know enough about Christians not to want to be one that they are right.

So let’s all take a breath. Resume our preparations for the Advent season of preparation for the coming of the one who loved us enough to become one of us in order to show us how to love one another. And then let’s work a little harder to live out that gospel we proclaim. 

Because at the end of the day, watching Christians be horrible and spiteful to each other will turn a whole lot more people away from coming to the manger than any seven dollar processing fee for a Christmas Eve worship service pass would ever do. 

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