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Too Much Monkey Business

Watching a disaster or beholding a disintegration is inherently destructive, but there is also an element of morbid fascination.  Might there be, as well, a redemptive element in tracking the entropic parabola of the great fall of yet another Humpty Dumpty?

The national coverage of the recent conventions of the Episcopalian Church, U.S.A., and of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been mostly fixated on the politics of homosexuality, but, beneath that cloud of confusion, there is a larger story with a longer arc.  The story of the Episcopal Church is a substantial part of the history of America, considered as an Anglo-Saxon settlement; and the disestablishment of the old Anglican churches is an illustration of the meaning of revolution.  Add to that the history of the Presbyterian Church or churches, the demography represented by that church, and add again the history of the Methodist Church, the preaching of George Whitefield and another demography (and the founding of the first orphanage in America—where and when?  Quiz later), and you have the story of the mainline churches in America.  Their transformations are the changes of the country and a register of the history of the nation.

But these churches (and other churches such as the Congregationalist and the Lutheran ones) have a longer history going back through England and Scotland to the Continent.  And, if you want to get picky,...

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