TEC General Convention: They caught the last train for the coast: Earth-Maker, Pain-Bearer, Life-Giver?

Tip of the tinfoil to SF.

It just gets goofier and goofier.

Here’s the official logo for the 2009 General Convention outside Disneyland next summer. And here’s how the official press release at Episcopal Life explains the logo to us:

Throughout the selection and design process, the judges were seeking a visual representation of the Trinity for the logo and that God the Father, Earth-Maker, is represented by the globe or circle, God the Son, Pain-Bearer, is represented as a cross etched onto the axes of the globe, and God the Spirit, Life-Giver, is carried in the colors and the movement of the figures around the center.

Earth-Maker, Pain-Bearer, and Life-Giver. Oookay! Can’t have all that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit stuff hanging about the halls of Anaheim, now can we? Looks like Don McLean was right after all.

UPDATE: This is “Circle of Life” paganism? Think not? Think again. The image at the right is a symbol of Lakota paganism – fascinating, but not exactly the imagery we’re looking for in a historic and global Christian denomination, is it? And certainly for a gathering of the Episcopal Church official government. Hmmm … It’s amazing, isn’t it, how this particular paganistic art strikingly resembles the Official Episcopal Church General Convention logo? You can read more about this circle of life image here. Uncanny, isn’t it?

If you don’t want to go West, then go East instead. There’s always the Wheel of Life, like this.

Ah, but wait, there’s more!

The theme for the Anaheim extravaganza is the reimagined “I in you and you in me” – which of course – IS NOT FROM THE SCRIPTURES. Nope. The “press release” says it’s from the Gospel of John – but that is false. Oh, way false, my friends.

Here’s what the scripture actually says:

20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23

It’s not “I in you and you in me,” it’s “I in them and you in me.” And it’s Jesus speaking to His Father (oops, there’s that Father-stuff again, nix that). Just who is in charge of the Episcopal Church any way? This guy? This is a key doctrinal point – Jesus is the Mediator, we do not approach God on our own merit (there’s no “I in you and you in me” – just who is “I” and who is “me” anyway – ambivalent isn’t it? Right-o!), but only through His Son, Jesus Christ – through His Cross. “I am the resurrection and the life,” says Jesus in John 14;6. “No one comes to the Father but through me.”

No, it is not “I in you and you in me,” but “I in them and you in me.” And that’s Jesus speaking to His Father. We’re listening to his High Priestly Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane that night He went to the cross. He’s not just some esoteric “pain-bearer” – He’s the Father’s only begotten Son. The phrase is lifted right out of John 17. It also hints at John 15, “Abide in me and I in you,” but of course, it’s missing the key word: Abide. No small thing, that word. It’s not “I in you and you in me” (what the next line – “free to be you and me?“) – it’s “Abide in me and I in you.” The difference in the meaning of the words is the difference between being a Unitarian and a Trinitarian – and oh, so much more, between leaving the orthodoxy train stop, casually waving to unitarian universalism while passing right through to, as Os Guinness has written – post-Christian paganism. This is a major theological and philosophical and political shift.

“I in you and you in me” – free to be you and me?

Perhaps they should make this the official GC Theme Song:

But we’ll be singing this instead:

I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news,
But she just smiled and turned away.
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before,
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play.
And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.

Think we just may go to Disneyland next year instead.

At least there they admit they have a Goofy.

UPDATE: Let us review the “second part” of TEC’s new-and-improved “trinity.” Pain bearer? Hardly. Jesus is the sin-bearer, He bore the sin of the world. He bore my sin. He bore our sin. He felt our pain, oh yes, but he bore our iniquity.

The Lord laid on His Son the iniquity of us all.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:6

SATURDAY UPDATE: Matt Kennedy has written a very good explanation of the Trinity, focusing especially on the Son. As a former unitarian Christian Scientist who did not know that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, it is perhaps the single-most important discovery of my life. What caused me to get out of my head (which is where Christian Science resides) was to see the lives radically – and I mean radically – transformed before my very eyes by those who followed Jesus as their Messiah and Lord. Matt puts together a succinct and reasoned explanation on the nature of Jesus as the Son of God, countering efforts that diminish His position in the Godhead. But the letter he is responding to is also very well written and it’s that kind of “conversation” that can be quite exciting. Thanks for posting the letter and your response, Matt!