The mainline Protestant churches have long been beyond parody. America gave us the first Episcopal minister who’s also a practising Muslim. Now Canada gives us a minister from the United Church (the merged Congregationalists, Methodist and Presbyterians) who wants to move beyond the whole Jesus thing:
Though an ordained minister, she does not like the title of reverend. It is one of those symbols that hold the church back from breaking into the future — to a time “when the label Christian won’t even exist” and the Church will be freed of the burdens of the past. To balance out those symbols of the past inside West Hill, there is a giant, non-religious rainbow tapestry just behind the altar and multi-coloured streamers hang from the ceiling.
“The central story of Christianity will fade away,” she explained. “The story about Jesus as the symbol of everything that Christianity is will fade away…”
Ms. Vosper does not believe in the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the miracles and the sacrament of baptism. Nor does she believe in the creeds, the presence of Christ in communion or that Jesus was the Son of God.
In With or Without God, her book that was formally launched this week, she writes that Jesus was a “Middle Eastern peasant with a few charismatic gifts and a great posthumous marketing team.”
The head of the United Church of Canada, the Reverend David Giuliano, feels ”it is not his job to condemn”:
Even Rev. Giuliano agrees that the name Christian — which carries the baggage of colonialism and other ills — should probably be phased out. Instead, he would replace “Christian” with “Follower of the Way” or “Follower of Jesus.”
Why not just replace the Cross with a giant version of Robert Ferrigno’s “I’m Sorry” button?