You may wonder at times where the daily lectionary posts are. Well, they have changed, because I am reading the lectionary acoustically. The daily reading list I am using was published in 1662.

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We have chosen is to use the Book of Common Prayer. The old one. My edition is from Everyman: which says in its introduction that this is a liturgy that has become high literature.

Within this is the following prayer, to be said, within the Anglican polity, by priests alone.

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live; and hath given power, and commandment, to his ministers to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of their sins: he pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repentand unfeignedly believe his holy gospel.

Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him which we do at this present; and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

There is an alternate prayer for the laity if there is no priest. No matter. Within our family, I am accountable before God for those within and we say this in the morning devotions.

I am reformed, and part of that is a suspicion of the ministers and bishops. The reformed churches got rid of them: initially having groups of elders or consistories, and then having the congregation as a ruling body. A retired minister told me that the Presbyterians gained many congregation sin earlier years because the ministers did not want to be ruled by the laity.

Perhaps that is because the laity has more faith, or perhaps less.

But I have seen churches go corrupt because the leadership has collectively lost their first love in the gospel. Perhaps that is the besetting sin of clerics and academics, and perhaps they, together with the social activists, form one class in society. Or the eldership are simply cowardly.

The new clerisy are not of Christ, but they have the sociological stigmata of a priestly caste, for they demand that we think their way: though their predictions and prophesies are false.


Photo by Random Institute / Unsplash

By “priest” we don’t mean someone overtly in the business of making supernatural claims. We mean a member of a priesthood, and by a priesthood, we mean what the Chinese call a “knowledge faction” – a bunch of intellectuals who conspire together to give everyone the same story and use the same shibboleths, so that it sounds more convincing.

In practice, even when a priesthood vehemently denies making supernatural claims, as for example the communists vehemently claiming to be strict materialists, they frequently wind up sounding remarkably similar to those that do make overtly supernatural claims. Thus “occupy” meetings sound like prayer meetings. The Occupy Priest chants an incantation, and the congregation chants a response. Similarly the Chinese communist party is always talking about faith and values. Everywhere in communist China there are official party books about “How to be a good party member who has faith”, “Chinese people have faith in the party”, “Have faith in the …” In China, you are forbidden to call Communism a religion, but it is perfectly OK to call Communism a religion in every way short of actually calling it a religion and the Communist Party itself does this all the time.

The claim that all men are created equal is transparently supernatural. The Marxist theory of history is the God of nineteenth century Judaism renamed “History”, a thinly disguised supernatural claim. Holocaustianity is the tenth commandment inverted, a somewhat better disguised supernatural claim.

But what makes a priesthood a priesthood is not supernatural claims. Long lived religions usually restrict their supernatural claims to unfalsifiable issues, like transubstantiation and so forth. In the long run, falsifiable claims, claims about this world, claims that conflict with science, lead to problems, as for example the progressive claim that men and women are indistinguishable, a claim that every music video must endorse, which restriction makes music videos and comedians boring. What makes a priesthood a priesthood is that they get together to get their story straight, so that all of them are on message – which is what makes them a knowledge faction. Lots of people are knowledge workers, but the essential element that makes a priesthood a faction is that they coordinate to get their story straight in order to make it sound more convincing, and what makes them a priesthood, a knowledge faction, is that they seek power by controlling what people think.
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This the church should stand against. It should always stand against. As the Orthodox did when the Communists tried to take over, or the Chinese Christians are doing now. We should always note who the cadre is, and when their sulphuric stench invades our committees we should remove them. For if we do not, they will remove us.

There is another risk, more subtle. If we do not have families worshipping, and elders advising fathers (while Godly grandmothers teach younger women how to love their husbands ahd children, ministers and priests wives included) then there is a risk that the church becomes the priest.

This means that the vulnerabilities of the true priests: the intellectual temptation of novelty, and the ongoing battle to remain chaste (if not, as the Romans command, in godly celibacy), to to not use the faithful as a means of prophet, or neglect to teach what is needed, not what is wanted -- become apparent.

It is far easier to be a false priest. All you have to do is damn yourself and become part of the cadre.

But GOd doe snot care about our knowledge factions. He cares that the apostles and prophets and pastors and teachers proclaim the gospel.

And no other. For we cannot be them, nor like them.