Sunday, October 12, 2008
Oscar Wilde and the Emergent Church
Every time I see the following dialogue in Oscar Wilde's play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," I can't help but think of some clerics in the Emergent Church. The scene is where Jack announces the death of his fake profligate brother, Ernest. The local Anglican priest, Dr. Chasuble, offers to make application in his Sunday sermon . . .
JACK: He seems to have expressed a desire to be buried in Paris.
CHASUBLE: I fear that hardly points to any very serious state of mind at the last. You no doubt would wish me to make some slight allusion to this tragic domestic affliction next Sunday. (Jack presses his hand convulsively) My sermon on the meaning of the manna in the wilderness can be adapted to almost any occasion, joyful, or, as in the present case, distressing. (All sigh) I have preached it at harvest celebrations, christenings, confirmations, on days of humiliation and festal days. The last time I delivered it was in the Cathedral, as a charity sermon on behalf of the Society for the Prevention of Discontent among the Upper Orders. The Bishop, who was present, was much struck by some of the anologies I drew.
Rich, isn't it?