Sunday, September 30, 2007

The church’s unfoundation

If the Lutheran Church’s greatest contribution to hymnal theology is “A mighty fortress is our God,” then certainly one of the greatest of the 19th century Church of England is Samuel Stone’s “The Church’s one foundation” (set to the tune of Aurelia by Samuel Sebastian Wesley, grand-nephew of Methodist Church founder Charles Wesley).

London Times religion reporter Ruth Gledhill feels guilty about reprinting the satirical take on the TEC (PECUSA) modernism that is expressed as a satire of the Stone-Wesley hymn. It culminates in this final stanza:
Our church has no foundation
And Christ is not her Lord.
She is our new creation
By our own mighty word.
The Bible's too oppressive,
And morals leave us bored.
Who then is our salvation?
It's our own selves - adored.
Perhaps she'd be even more reticent if she knew it was posted to David Virtue’s website more than a year ago. The Wayback Machine seems to be malfunctioning, but my e-mail archives show that I forwarded these same lyrics (quoting Virtue) to friends back in August 2006.

Postscript: One of Gledhill’s readers added this one from the early days of the women’s ordination debate, sung to Bill Joel’s “She’s always a woman”:
She can reverence in style, genuflect with a flair
She can keep you entranced with a flick of her hair
Then she'll hold up the elements so you can see
She looks like a priest but she's always a woman to me

Oh I consider it fine
If she takes bread and wine
In her kitchen at home
But if she starts that round here
Then I'm sorry my dear
I'll be heading for Rome

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