Do you remember the apostate bishop on the bus ride from hell to heaven in C.S.Lewis’ masterpiece The Great Divorce? He wallows in a sentimental spirituality mixed with a pompous intellectual vagueness that values ‘the spirit of inquiry’ instead of following Truth.In reply to the friend who asks him to repent and come to the light the apostate bishop says, “Ah, we must all interpret those beautiful words in our own way! for me there is no such thing as a final answer. The free wind of inquiry must always continue to blow through the mind, must it not? ‘Prove all things’…to travel hopefully is better than to arrive…'”

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Kate Schori visited Arkansas recently and was interviewed by Laura Lynn Brown of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Schori could have lifted her replies straight from Lewis’ book…

Here’s Katies’s take on whether Jesus really is the Way to the Father…

ADG: Could you elaborate a little bit on your take on “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life” [a paraphrase of John 14:16]?

KJS: I certainly don’t disagree with that statement that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. But the way it’s used is as a truth serum, or a touchstone: If you cannot repeat this statement, then you’re not a faithful Christian or person of faith. I think Jesus as way – that’s certainly what it means to be on a spiritual journey. It means to be in search of relationship with God. We understand Jesus as truth in the sense of being the wholeness of human expression. What does it mean to be wholly and fully and completely a human being? Jesus as life, again, an example of abundant life. We understand him as bringer of abundant life but also as exemplar. What does it mean to be both fully human and fully divine? Here we have the evidence in human form. So I’m impatient with the narrow understanding, but certainly welcoming of the broader understanding.

ADG: What about the rest of that statement –

KJS: The small box?

ADG: Well, the rest of the verse, that no one comes to the Father except by the son.

KJS: Again in its narrow construction, it tends to eliminate other possibilities. In its broader construction, yes, human beings come to relationship with God largely through their experience of holiness in other human beings. Through seeing God at work in other people’s lives. In that sense, yes, I will affirm that statement. But not in the narrow sense, that people can only come to relationship with God through consciously believing in Jesus.

I love the ‘narrow construction’ and ‘broader constuction’ thing. It’s a juicy bit of Anglican double talk, like ‘Alternative Episcopal Oversight’ or ‘Two Integrities’ or ‘Elizabethan Settlement’.

You can also find Kate’s views on Southerners (surprise surprise, we’re ignorant racists) and men are more worried about sexual issues than women, and the life here and now is more important than the world to come (if there is such a thing as an afterlife).

You can find excerpts from the interview here on Standing Firm and Bible Belt blogger gives the full interview.

With conservative Anglicans we read the PB’s views and don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
However, we have to ask conservative Anglicans the $64,000.00 question: why should your conservative reading of Scripture necessarily be the right one and Kate Schori’s the wrong one?
Do you just stamp your foot and say, “Well, I’m just right, and she’s just wrong. That’s it.”
Is there any other source of authority to decide? Where is the authority? In New York? In Canterbury? In Arlington? In Texas, Windsor? Nigeria? Quite rightly most Anglican bishops say, “Don’t look at me! I’m not the final authority! That’s not the way we do things in the Anglican Church!”
Anglicans agree amongst themselves that they look not only to Scripture, but to tradition and to reason. But whose tradition, and whose reason? Both the conservatives and the liberals appeal to Scripture, tradition and reason. They just choose different interpretations of Scripture, select different strands of tradition and opt for different lines of reasoning.
Click here to see how some other Anglicans have resolved the questions.