Note: Ever the ecumenical fellow, throughout my life, I have made a multitude of friends from a variety of faith traditions. After learning that the Church of England has offered congregations some guidelines for affirming transgender identities, I was flummoxed. So I sought my progressive Anglican priest friend, Victoria Vivian Jambutter, hoping she might explain what’s happening across the pond. What follows are the thoughts and predictions of Rev. Jambutter, who is a totally real person.
Wonderful news, lads, ladies, and gender-nonconforming sentient organisms! As Helena Horton put in a recent article for The Telegraph, “the Church of England has encouraged its clergy to create baptism-style ceremonies for transgender people to welcome them into the Anglican faith.” Or, to state things a bit more thoroughly, the Church of England has released some guidelines for using a ceremony known as the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith to indicate God’s, and the church’s, acceptance of those identifying as transgender.
If a man declares that he is actually a woman, the guidelines essentially say, let’s augment the Affirmation of Baptismal faith in such a way as to include her new name and pronouns as an indication that both God and the Church of England accept her new identity.
“Now, wait a second,” you might be asking yourself if you’re one of those stuffy traditionalists who falls somewhere on the “actually Christian” spectrum of Christendom, “if the Church of England accepts Reginald’s claim that he is now a she known as Regina, isn’t this a gnostic rejection of the Triune God who created Reginald as a male, redeemed him as a male, and will resurrect him as a male?”
Why, yes! Yes, it is!
“Why, then,” you may respond, “are Church of England progressives placing social justice inclusivity above biblical faithfulness?”
The answer is quite simple: Because that’s how we resolve our religious anxiety.
Divided Christendom is a stressful thing, forcing all who dwell within it to ask themselves “How do I know that my group is right instead of one of the other ones?” There are many ways to answer this question. Catholics resolve this anxiety by pointing to the pope and saying, “The Catholic Church is the true church because it’s the only church that has him.” Baptists point to the Bible and say, “the Baptist Church is the right one because we teach what the Bible really teaches.”
For progressive Christians like me, however, the purpose of Christianity is not so much to find God in his supposed representative on earth or in his unchanging word but by moving beyond the bigotry of the apostles. Christianity, you see, is not about faithfulness. It’s about evolution. For progressives, the best way to convince ourselves that we are the most evolved Christians is to embrace every sin that’s condemned by the fundamentalist fuddy-duddies around us.
This is why we progressives in the Church of England embraced women’s ordination in the 1990s, despite St. Paul prohibiting it. It’s why we stuck it to St. Paul again and embraced gay marriage a few years ago. It’s why we’ve casually swatted away that whole “male and female He created them” bit from Genesis 1 in order to embrace the chief tenet of genderism, the new progressive religion that’s all the rage these days.
It’s also why we’re not done tweaking old liturgies or inventing new ones to embrace the culture war’s latest sin du jour. At some point, we’ll get bored with the transgender cause. We’ll look for another morally marginalized group to defend. When we find it, we’ll give them our complete and unconditional acceptance in an attempt to convince ourselves that we’re far better at following Jesus than the cretins who still believe the stuff he said.
In fact, I’ll be so bold as to make a few predictions. Here are three new ceremonies to expect from the Church of England (and other progressive church bodies) in the years to come.
1. Holy Throupling
“God instituted marriage as the union of one man and one woman for the purpose of procreation.” This mindset was responsible for the patriarchal oppression that hindered human progress for millennia. But after God liberated us from biology through the birth control pill, things began to move in the right direction. First, we realized that marriage and childbearing needn’t be a package deal. Next, we realized that there was no reason to exclude same-sex couples from receiving God’s marital blessing.
But now, through the prophets of Eros, God is revealing that marriage need not be limited to two people. Ladies, if you want to transfer sexual duties to a new husband after you cease being attracted to your stay-at-home, child-raising husband, you deserve our praise, not our condemnation. You have the right to make marriage in your own image. And in a few years, when we need to ease our “Maybe I’m a heretic” anxiety with another “True Christianity Is Woke Christianity” pill, we’ll be happy to bless your “he + he + me = we” relationship through a rite known as Holy Throupling.
It will be a beautiful ceremony, quite similar to that of Holy Matrimony. The only major difference will be leaving out the “if anyone objects” bit in order to prevent your parents, neighbors, or any random passersby from screaming about your moral bankruptcy and the death of western civilization during the service.
2. Blessing Of Incestuous Relationships
According to the apostles and prophets, God expects us to avoid a laundry list of sexual taboos—adultery, sex before marriage, pornography, lust. Evolved Christians, on the other hand, confess the truth that God has revealed through the sexual revolution, namely, that you can do whatever you want, as long as the other person (or people) are up for it (or down with it).
Because “consent” is our only sexual ethic, and because we’re always looking to intensify our progressive credentials by embracing something that Christianity has always opposed, in a few years, expect us to have a service blessing the sexual union of two (or three or 25) closely related, consenting adults.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Hang on a minute, incest is almost universally reviled. There’s no way the Church of England would embrace it,” you haven’t been paying attention to how we progressives fight the culture wars. All we had to do was shout “bigot” at people for a few years and, voila, now we pretend that a 6 feet 4 inches tall man rocking breast implants, size 16 pumps, and a five o’clock shadow is the paragon of female beauty.
The same trick will work with regard to incestuous relationships. In a decade or so, a sizable chunk of English folks will obediently praise the bravery of brother-sister couples and the like. When this happens, the Church of England will gladly welcome them into our congregations, inviting them to pledge loyalty to their lover from the same mother.
3. Fur Baby Dedications
It’s high time the Church of England moved beyond its idolatry of the traditional family and embraced all kinds of households, including those where pets take on the role traditionally filled by human offspring.
“Hold on a moment,” you might be thinking. “Shouldn’t we see procreation as a good thing? Doesn’t Psalm 127 state ‘Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord?’”
Why, yes! Yes, it does! But if you had a bachelor’s in Ancient Palestinian Grievance Studies, as I do, you’d realize that the psalmist doesn’t identify the species of the children in question. It could be human children, but it’s just as likely that she’s referring to dogs, cats, or emotional support peacocks.
Also, in many ways, fur babies are a far more ethical choice than traditional children. They’re less destructive to the environment, less burdensome on taxpayers, and far more easily euthanized after birth, should they become a burden.
On account of this, we progressives will eventually want to signal our moral superiority by welcoming the puppies or piglets of our non-procreating parishioners into the family of God. Granted, we won’t baptize the little fuzzballs. Out of love for the powerless traditionalists in the Church of England, we’ll compromise with them by inventing a new ceremony that just as effectively violates their beliefs without technically desecrating one of the sacraments Christ instituted. So, in the near future, get ready for another innovation, a ceremony known as the Dedication of a Fur Baby.
Of course, that’s presuming that the Church of England still exists in the near future—hardly a safe assumption. In every church body, whenever we progressives cast off our dogma to impress the secular world, it drives away far more people than it draws in, leaving us with precious little to do besides using the sacred space our pious ancestors left us for abortion advocacy photo ops and the occasional birthday bash for God-hating, self-worshiping pop stars.
But don’t worry. It doesn’t matter if our pews are empty. You see, building the First Church of Wokery isn’t our way of doing evangelism. It’s our way of doing therapy. And it won’t bother us a bit if no one shows up on Sunday morning, as long as we’ve successfully convinced ourselves that our doctrine is pure and our hearts are acceptable to our Father in Heaven. Or Mother in Heaven. Or however God identifies.
If only we had some way to find out Zir preferred pronouns.