Progressive Revival

Progressive Revival


Not Angels, but Anglicans

posted by Diana Butler Bass

For the last month, I’ve been in Australia and only
occasionally heard news from the United States.  I haven’t minded too much missing arguments over health care
and the Supreme Court confirmation hearings.  But I have fretted about missing the General Convention of
the Episcopal Church–my own denomination’s triennium meeting now happening in
Anaheim.

I know that sounds a little crazy.  After all, what kind of church geek would be jonesing for a
denominational meeting while looking out her hotel window at the Sydney Opera
House? 

But this meeting was particularly important for
Episcopalians.  Six years ago, in
2003, my church confirmed the election of Gene Robinson as the first openly gay
bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion.  That meeting made international news and led to a painful
theological backlash from conservative Anglicans and some churches in Africa
and South America.  Three years
later, in 2006, the Episcopal Church passed a resolution of “restraint” at the
convention, committing itself to conversation and no further ordinations of
bishops whose “manner of life” (i.e., they were gay or lesbian persons) was
offensive to other Anglicans. 
This, too, made news as conservative Anglicans launched a political and
legal assault to divide the Episcopal Church and drive a wedge between American
Episcopalians and the larger body of Anglicans around the world.

And now, in 2009, six years have passed.  Episcopalians have done a lot of
talking, some serious crying, much worrying, and have tried to honor the wide
diversity of Anglicans around the world. 
We didn’t ordain any more gay or lesbian clergy as bishops.  We practiced restraint.  We listened.  We tried to be nice. 
We prayed.  Yesterday, the
Convention meeting in Anaheim summed up what Episcopalians have learned in that
process.

By a 2-1 margin, Episcopalians agreed “that through our own listening the General
Convention has come to recognize that the baptized membership of The Episcopal
Church includes same-sex couples living in lifelong committed relationships characterized
by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest
communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to
see in each other the image of God.” 
And the Episcopal General Convention equally has come to understand
“that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in
The Episcopal Church.”  In plain
English, the Episcopal Church has now formally recognized the lived reality of
faithful same-sex Christian couples in our community and that the Holy Spirit
may call persons in such relationships to Christian ministry–even the ministry
of bishop. 

This affirmation
doesn’t demand that anyone do anything or anyone be forced to believe something
they find offensive.  Indeed, in
the resolution, the church stated that Christians are not of a unified mind and
that Christians “of good conscience” may disagree in regards to these
concerns.  But the resolution also
does two important things:  1) it
recognizes that many, many Episcopalians are perfectly comfortable and open to
being part of a diverse spiritual community that includes gay and lesbian
brothers and sisters; and 2) that local dioceses may chose their bishops by
discerning the best candidate for ministry without restriction placed on sexual
identity. 

Some may argue that
the Episcopal Church has broken faith. 
No, Episcopalians are struggling to be faithful and to live justly as
our society widens its understanding of human relationships and marriage.  The attempt to do so is not somehow
“secular” or untraditional. 
Rather, adapting to local cultures is an important part of being
Anglican. 

Around 600, Pope
Gregory the Great saw a group of blond-haired children in a slave market and
was told they were “Angli,” or “Angles,” from Britain.  Gregory replied, “Not Angles, but
Angels” and dispatched missionaries to the British Isles.  He instructed the missionaries to work
within the context of the culture they encountered in order to preach the
gospel and spread the church.  These
first missionaries accommodated their message to many of the spiritual practices
they found in pagan England.  It is
deeply Anglican to believe that God works within human cultures, in all their variety.  As recently as 1988, when African
Anglican bishops asked that the church permit polygamy as a Christian practice,
western Episcopalians and Anglicans approved the tradition of multiple wives as
an appropriate expression of faith in some cultural contexts. 

The same Anglicans
who have been mad about Gene Robinson for six years will continue to be
angry.  The same Anglicans who have
threatened schism will continue to threaten.  Maybe Anglicans in the rest of the world won’t understand.  Some people will see this as
unbiblical.  But, trying to figure out faith in particular cultural contexts is Anglican tradition.  For 1400 years,
Anglicans have believed weaving together the message of Jesus with human
culture and experience is the best way to embody the love of God and
neighbor.  We don’t always do that
perfectly, but we are trying. 
After all, we’re Anglicans not Angels. 



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Giles

posted July 15, 2009 at 6:44 am


As a non-US anglican with some sympathy for the ECUSA position and predicaments, I am trying to understand some of what others are saying. I am at a distance, yet people such as this priest here ( http://sbarnabas.com/blog/2009/07/14/anglican-schism-closer/ ), are suggesting that the ECUSA should be expelled from the Anglican Communion due to being more like Universal Unitarianists and not even Christian ( see comments on that blogpost )
Is there somewhere simple to go to to understand all of these resolutions, so-called-beliefs, and practices written down in tabular format. OK, christianity cannot be distilled into black-and-white tables of data, but I think such a format would be easier for the average layman to understand as to what’s happening. The alternative is to trawl around those expressing opinions on the media, on their blogs or wherever, which amounts to a lot of time and in the end maybe not very helpful subjective views.
Are you able humbly to help the confused of us out there ?



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LaVonne Neff

posted July 15, 2009 at 9:52 am


Well-thought out, well written, good points about cultural adaptation throughout church history. Just one objection: your usual irenic tone is compromised by your comment that “conservative Anglicans launched a political and legal assault to divide the Episcopal Church and drive a wedge between American Episcopalians and the larger body of Anglicans around the world.” As the close friend of some conservative Anglicans (though not one myself), I believe you are comparing the best progressives with the worst conservatives, which is hardly fair. The conservative Anglicans I know believe that progressive actions have ipso facto driven that communion-splitting wedge, and they (the conservatives) have been fighting to prevent the split from happening. Failing that, they are attempting to create a body that will preserve an Anglican presence in America that will be acceptable to the rest of the worldwide Anglican communion, so that American Anglicans will not be cut out of the communion entirely. Now, I know that you completely disagree with their theological perspective and ecclesiological strategies, and you may be right to do so. But do you really think that, if conservatives had gotten with the progressive program, the primates of the global south would have remained in communion with North America? The conservatives I know don’t think so, and are–with you–grieving the loss of communion, especially now that the break appears to be becoming permanent.



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robroy

posted July 15, 2009 at 10:24 am


Not Anglican but Episcopalian, you mean.
It is certainly understand why the greater Anglican Communion asked the Episcopalian denomination to hold off. The theology of this decision is hardly worked out. In fact, the theological content of the discussion of the resolution was nil. It was all, “I know this lesbian couple who are really sweet” and “I knew this gay boy who got teased and killed himself.” Rowan Williams, himself, came to ask the delegates to exercise restraint.
But in their arrogance, the Americans gave the Anglican Communion the middle finger salute. So not Anglicans but obstreperous, puerile Episcopalians.



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Kevin Johnson

posted July 15, 2009 at 12:17 pm


Well said, Diana! I have never been more hopeful as an Anglican.
Robroy,
It would be bad manners for me to engage in a debate in Diana’s “home” here, but I am compelled to point out that the tone of your comments has much more the overtones of an obscene hand gesture than do the actions of GC.
I am that “gay boy” you disparage in your comment, and at one point in my life, as the church’s message to me was that I was rejected by god (i.e., my “reprobate” mind was due to a rejection of god), the end of my life was contemplated. If I was in god’s will, as told to me by the church, then why was I in despair?
But at that point, the “theology work” that I needed was granted by the Spirit, as I began in earnest to live into what I knew to be true about God, and that did not lead to self-destruction, but rather, peace, authenticity and truly “incarnational” ministry as I became of earthly and heavenly use as God’s creation as opposed to pretending to be something else at the prescription of others. A member of my former church home told me that what I experienced was simply “relief,” causing me to wonder that if one confuses relief with peace, is it possible that one has not encountered peace.
If you and other readers cannot understand that, I am sorry, as I can make it no more clear than that. But, I live in faith knowing that the Spirit will provide to all the opportunity to come to the end of oneself as we dive into the loving arms of our Creator.
And with that, I pray for you the peace of Christ.



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Stephen Griffith

posted July 15, 2009 at 12:46 pm


The challenge for us Christians always is to find ways of remaining true to the faith while assessing the validity of particular expressions of the faith for this time and this culture. Many of us “have come to recognize” that same-sex couples we know are living faithfully in relationships that are as admirable as any opposite-sex marriages. And many of us know gay and lesbian ministers whose lives and ministries are as obviously touched by God’s Spirit as any straight minister. If, then, God is blessing these relationships and these ministries, are we to deny what God has done and shut out these whom God is using? So here we are: in the middle of the muddle, with the task of sorting out our theology to match God’s unfolding reality. It’s messy and unfinished, but it’s where we are, no matter our denomination.



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robroy

posted July 15, 2009 at 3:41 pm


Mr. Johnson, I praise God that you have a heart for our good and gracious Lord.
I would say this, however. I did not disparage “that gay boy.” On the contrary, the reality of depression and suicide in both heterosexuals and homosexuals is a terrible thing. I do note that the suicide rate among homosexuals is 3.6 (or higher) times in the homosexual population – a figure that doesn’t vary in terms of external culture: the US or the Netherlands. But anecdotal stories have nothing to do with whether the Church should consecrate practicing homosexual bishops. But they have everything to do with our being called to open our arms and welcome them as God-loved.
The distressing thing about this whole business is that it brings disunity to the body of Christ. I do believe that it is inappropriate for people outside of Christian marriage (necessarily male/female) are not appropriate for the pulpit, but very appropriate for the pew!
It is clear to me that there are many people in this battle whose interest is not furtherance of the good news of Jesus Christ but rather the advancement of a secular cause – seeking an ecclesiastical blessing so that they might obtain a secular one. These people maliciously inflict harm on the church for their own selfish purposes. There are others, like the foolish Ms Bass, that have duped by irenic sounding words like “inclusive” and “justice”. These words are simply deceptions.
Ms Bass has made a name for herself by denying reality – the reality that the liberal message of moral relativism and the Christian Church are compatible. They are not. She finds exceptions to the catastrophic decline seen in the liberal churches and tries to say that these exceptions are something more than what they are – isolated exceptions, which in time will also succumb. Even the scandalous All Saints in Pasadena has seen attendance peak and now seemingly is falling. Her research has the same integrity as that of the “researchers” hired by the tobacco companies that found examples of people that lived long despite smoking.
Gamaliel spoke long ago, “For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
The liberal message bring only disastrous decline.



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Diana Butler Bass

posted July 15, 2009 at 7:40 pm


Lavonne,
Martin Marty once said, “There are two sorts of Christians–nice ones and mean ones.” Indeed, in this post, I’m not referring to all conservatives (there are lots of nice ones, of whom you are an example), but only those who have turned the church’s honest struggle into a politicized inquisition of international dimensions. And no, I don’t believe that this whole business would have turned out the same way without western interference into global affairs.
When I was a student at Gordon Conwell almost 30 years ago, a group of people tried to recruit me to their cause of “destroying the liberal Episcopal church.” I wanted no part of it. So, there are conservatives who are not nice–and they have worked in a systematic way for a long time to cause schism in the church.
That said, there are mean liberals, too. I’ve sure known my fair share of them.
What needs to happen is that nice Anglicans need to reach out toward one another and really, truly try to understand how we understand Scripture, discipleship, and tradition. My support of gay and lesbian persons draws deeply from the Christian tradition in engagement with contemporary culture. I am confident that other Christians interpret these things differently–for Christians always do. But, as theologian Kathryn Tanner writes, “The Christian tradition is an ongoing argument over the nature of discipleship,” and I am confident that the church stands well within this definition of tradition in making space for bishops who may be faithful Christians in same-sex relationships.
Anyway, thanks for letting me ruminate further. You are truly a nice Anglican and I am always glad to be your sister.



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robroy

posted July 16, 2009 at 1:42 am


Ms Bass writes, “So, there are conservatives who are not nice–and they have worked in a systematic way for a long time to cause schism in the church.”
(I am afraid that Ms Bass considers me a “not nice” conservative.)
Is this delusional paranoia? No, I think it is more puerile irresponsibility. It’s everybody’s fault but mine! My teenager does better. Let’s review the statement unanimously agreed upon primates statement in 2003 (including the weaselly Griswold):
“If this consecration proceeds…This will tear the fabric of our communion at its deepest level, and may lead to further division on this and further issues as provinces have to decide in consequence whether they can remain in communion with provinces that choose not to break communion with the Episcopal Church (USA). Similar considerations apply to the situation pertaining in the Diocese of New Westminster.”
Hmmm, nothing about scheming, “not nice” conservatives being responsible.
Coincidentally, we have this to another immature liberal screaming, “It’s not my fault!” Kendall Harmon wrote this a couple days ago:
“And what do we have today as an example? The Bishop of Lexington, Stacy Sauls, saying in a press conference that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s response to D025 was Rowan Williams fault! He doesn’t understand what was being said! Ah.
Memo to the Bishop of Lexington: When Rowan Williams and Integrity Understand D025 to intend to repeal B033, the problem does not lie with them. It lies somewhere else, much closer to home.”
I only wish the conservatives had been scheming. They seem to only be able to react and always with surprise. “Surely the liberals won’t do that? Ooh, they did do that, what are we going to do? Let’s release another statement!”
So grow up, Ms Bass and take responsibility. “We did what we darn well wanted, and the rest of the Communion can kiss our hindquarters or we’ll take our marbles and go home.”
Care for a smoke? Cigarettes really aren’t harmful.



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toujoursdan

posted July 16, 2009 at 9:35 pm


Oh come on Robroy.
ALL minority groups have higher rates of suicide, alcoholism and other social dynfunctions.
You’ll find higher rates of violence and divorce amongst African Americans; higher rates of alcoholism amongst aboriginals/Native Americans, and the world’s highest rates of suicide amongst the Inuit. Being a minority in a culture where you are not fully accepted leads to self abusive behaviour.
At least the kids in these other groups have the advantage of being born into their ethnic communities and get support from their parents, extended family and other institutions. Gay people are born into straight families and get none of this support. In fact, a fairly high percentage of the teenage and young adult homeless in North America are gay kids expelled by their non-accepting family.
None of it has to do with homosexuality per se and it wouldn’t be stopped if the church rejected them.



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panthera

posted July 16, 2009 at 10:23 pm


The fascinating thing about this whole discussion is to see how it reveals the deep hatred and passionate loathing conservatives such as COE and robroy manisfest.
Clearly, the best thing is for these hateful people to separate from the rest of us Christians and go worship the idolatry of their cherry-picked belief system.
The rest of us can then focus on practicing those parts of Christianity which are truly challenging. Showing the world what being a Christian means through manifesting the fruits of the Spirit and not the hateful viciousness of those who refuse to accept what science and medicine have shown us: Transexual and homosexuals are normal, healthy people and every bit as worth as are heterosexuals and those who are born in to a body which matches their gender.



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panthera

posted July 16, 2009 at 10:23 pm


Make that ‘manifest’. Sorry!



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Your Name

posted July 17, 2009 at 12:00 am


After years of prayer, study and reflection, I became a Catholic at the Easter Vigil 2009. Neither my rector nor my church family ever came close to convicing me of the biblical support of non-celibate gay clergy. Christians must stay true to Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. God Bless to all…



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Tony Djentuh

posted July 17, 2009 at 5:38 am


Homosexualism and for that matter lesbianism,is an abomination to JEHOVAH GOD that Christians worship.Those who lead Christian churches
must not be associated with this offensive lifestyle.The Scripture clearly states that homosexuals cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
The ordination of a gay bishop is a SHAME and a big SHAME.It is an anti-christ phenomenon.



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love4hisword

posted July 17, 2009 at 9:45 am


1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (New International Version)
9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Now maybe I’m crazy but I think this is pretty clear. For you “progressives”, it’s not about hate, it’s about doing what is right based on the scriptures. This is why so many of the traditional denominations are dying because of the infighting. Go back to the Bible, Gods word is what matters. He also said, hate the sin, not the sinner. We are all called to love, Jesus said the most important of the commandments was to Love others as you love yourself. LOVE EVERYONE but do so while being obedient to his word!!!



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IONA

posted July 17, 2009 at 9:59 am


I was raised as an Episcopalian, complete with the parochial education. My last service at an Episcopal church was one served by a woman priest, with openly homosexual men and women in the congregation smooching during the service. This was not just a NY thing in my opinion, and was definitely not a Christian thing. I left the church on that day, disappointed that this was so open and in my face lack of respect for our God. This was 30 years ago. This isn’t about culture, but God’s laws, and living by them. Yes homosexual people need love too. They need to be accepted in a civil way, but their behavior is not acceptable. You cannot compare them with with cultural groups, because they are not a cultural group no matter how you try to make them one. It is unfortunate that the Episcopalian church that I grew to love as a child is sinking into the swamp, but it is of their own doing. I was able to jump off the sinking ship 30 years ago, and climbed on board the Orthodox ship which hasn’t had the issues because they only accept the truth.The church hasn’t rejected the homosexual, they have in fact rejected the church.



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Roodog

posted July 17, 2009 at 10:43 am


As an Evangelical, I am bound by Scripture in matters of Faith and Morals.Therefore, Scripture compels me to disaprove of the decision made recently in the face of appeals by the wider communion to not go there. This has already affected the Anglican Communion and it will impact the rest of Christendom in a manner that is a cause of grave concern. This decision was not made in a vacuum it will be felt throughout the Body of Christ.



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E.E.Edwin

posted July 17, 2009 at 11:05 am


“But, trying to figure out faith in particular cultural contexts is Anglican tradition. For 1400 years, Anglicans have believed weaving together the message of Jesus with human culture and experience is the best way to embody the love of God and neighbor.”
With these words Diana Butler Bass ended her essay. Is it now a matter of culture or examining culture in the lighht of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Which superscedes the other, Christ or culture? Every society has its peculiar cultural practices. What happens when they encounter the Good News? In the history of evangelism, the gospel filters every culture it encounters. Evangelists have always looked at the culture in the light of the Word of God. In certain communities certain cultural practises were either abandoned because they contradicted the gospel and others accepted because they enhanced human life and more importantly, they were in conformity with the gospel. It might interest Diana to know that in some parts of Africa twins babies and their mothers were killed before the advent of Christianity. It was regarded as abomination. Christianity stopped this practice. How would anyone react today if African Christians were to tell the world that because they are trying to weave “together the message of Jesus with human culture…” as a result they are going to revive the old practice of killing twin babies and their mothers.
The place of GLBT is not not a matter of justice and fairness. It is not even that of human rights. We are talking about the Christian faith for God’s sake. How does anyone explain GLBT in the light of the gospel. The Word of God describes these practices as “godlessness and wickedness of men” (Romans 1: 18. ) In his letter to the Church in Rome the apostle Paul describes this sexual revolution as “the sinful desires…” of humanity to which God left them because of their stubbornness. Paul goes on “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (Romans 1: 24-27). Here we have a case of a cultural practice which God hates and in this generation and time a part of the Church of Christ thinks they are listening to the Holy Spirit by upholding the GLBT agenda.
It is no gain saying the fact that the Episcopal Church has chosen to alienate itself from the rest of the Anglican Communion the world over by truncating the gospel. The whole Christendom does not need TEC to redefine marriage for us. The idea “applying restraint, let’s talk it over, listen, and draft papers” etc will not change. It has been the method of TEC to briefly back away from any theological issue only to stage a come back and impliment what they had already decided to do. In this case the sky is their launchng pad. Right now animals are brought to the Church and are prayed for because they are man’s best friends. In no time someone would tell us that he loves his dog so much that he would like the Church to bless both of them in holy matrimony because they are compartible. It will happen and we are waiting for it.
The gospel transforms culture and not the other way round. When culture refuses to bow before the gospel, it crumbles of course. Do we have to wait for Elijah to rise up and tell us the reason why TEC is gradulally and steadily declining while orthodox anglican voices are on the rise? Let’s I forget, unless TEC comes to realize its sins, confesses, repents, preaches and teaches that personal salvation is real, their path to her recovery will be very dim and winding.



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Russ

posted July 18, 2009 at 1:18 am


What happened to the church I loved so much…Where do I go now?



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IONA

posted July 18, 2009 at 7:48 am


RUSS go East, many people, Anglican/Episcopal, even Roman Catholic are going home to the East. Orthodoxy was in England, Scotland and Ireland long before Roman Catholicism came into being. Check out the writings of Frederica Mathewes-Green, you tube videos of her series on Men and Orthodoxy. Good luck.



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Gordon

posted July 18, 2009 at 8:29 am


Gen. 1:23-25 states God’s intent. But what can you expect for a 9church) that Henry the VIII started. The Ep. church is the culumation of all of the apostoicy we are to expect in the End Times.



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robroy

posted July 18, 2009 at 8:49 am


Traditionalist: I, like the majority of Americans including the liberal president of the United States, think that marriage should be for a man and a woman.
Panthera: YOU HATEFUL, BIGOTED HOMOPHOBE.
Yawn. These terms are so abused by the likes of Ms Panthera in hackneyed fashion that they have nearly lost all meaning. I guess she learned her rhetorical skills from Perez Hilton. (I do like her moniker, though. Grrr!)

The new lie being perpetrated by Ms Bass’ crowd: When the Episcopal denomination gets past the controversy and gets on being the “inclusive church”, the denomination will grow. For example the lesbian priestess and president of the homosexual group, Integrity, Susan Russell said this, “And I’m of the mind the decisions we’re making are going to encourage church growth rather than decline.”
Gene Robinson told Episcopalians, when asked whether it is the “gay church”, to respnd, “You bet it is.” It has worked so well in New Hampshire. Attendance has dropped 15% overall in his tenure, 6% last year alone.
The controversy won’t be going away anytime soon just because the liberal leadership has issued this fiat. The denomination was known, after all, as the “Republican party at prayer.” The average age is 60 and getting older. The over 50 lawsuits instigated by Ms Schori are going take years to wend through the courts.
And lastly, the implicit assumption is that if there were no controversy, then the denomination would see growth. This is belied by the fact that there is another denomination even more liberal than the Episcopalians, the UCC. It hasn’t seen the controversy, but what is the fastest declining denomination? The UCC, of course.
I am quite confident that the TEC will again be the fastest declining denomination next year and the year after when the exiting of the four dioceses is taken into account and the ramifications of the General Convention decisions play out.



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Bud Johnson

posted July 18, 2009 at 10:22 am


Ms. Bass
I know folks that are unfaithful in marrage, gay, lesbian, liars, theives, drug and alcohol addicts, etc. and love them all. I, because I judge their activities as wrong, do not condemn them, that is up to God. I, because I oppose what they do, am not angry at them. I am not an angry homophobe because I disagree with you and the direction of the modern Episcopal Church. Homosexuality is not a new aberration. I think your opinion is wrong and severly misguided because of what I understand from the book. I forgive you, I am not angry, I am a follower of Christ. I do not think your opinion has any more value than anyone else’s. Denomination is of absolutely no importance.
I choose to walk apart. God is not concerned with our opinions only that we love each other.



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panthera

posted July 18, 2009 at 10:40 am


robroy,
Make that Mr. Panthera, please.
Latin declensions aren’t really masculine, feminine and neuter, much as I wish they were. That sixth declension just about cost me my A in Latin.
On the subject of human and civil rights I am as tenacious as one of the big cats defending her young, so thank you for the compliment.
The fundamental conflict between us is not really based on interpretation of scripture. Realistically, even if we reject all that unpleasantness codified in Leviticus and embrace poly-blend shirts and shrimp (that is, you are free to, as a gay man I wouldn’t dream of wearing permanent press anything), we are still left with a broad range of restrictions and rules in the New Testament which we heartily ignore. Support for slavery by Paul, despite Erin Manning’s best efforts to pretend isn’t really supported in the Bible, very much can’t be wished away. Yet, no Christian today (except for those such as the racists over at crunchycon) desires a return to enslaving Negroes.
Our conflict, in simple terms, is one of accepting what science and medicine have taught us or not.
Either one accepts that there is no scientific or medical basis for treating those of us who are gay and or transgender differently from those who are heterosexual and born in the body which matches their gender or one does not.
This is why, ultimately, your position is becoming more that of the illiterate and superstitious cultures on this earth and the rest of the Christian church is embracing our humanity.
No, you are neither illiterate nor do I believe you to be intentionally superstitious. Rejecting well-founded knowledge is, however, not a good basis for building an argument pro-discrimination.
Truly, my soon to be 25 year monogamous, true, faithful and loving relationship – the last four and one-half years legally married (am not, thank goodness living in America) is nothing but a good thing for society and our church.



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Prof. Emmanuel Kalenzi Twesigye

posted July 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm


Issues of sexuality and Christianity have tragically divided the Church. They are complex and will continue to divide the Christian Church. God’s revelation in the Hebrew or Old Testament and in the New Testament is affirmed as central guides to Christian theology and not the corrupted or pagan cultures.
According to the Christian tradition, fallen, corrupted or errant pagan cultures and their values had to be abandoned by Christians at conversion, especially by the Batismal Covenant. These practices that were condemned included human sacrifice, homosexuality, witchcraft and idolatry. Polygamy was not condemned. Celibacy and virginity were considered higher virtues due to a manifestation of self-discipline. Natural law, reason and their universality were for Aristotle, Jesus, Paul, Augustine, Aquinas and other moral thinkers, divine and better rational moral guides to normative behavior and moral principles. Cultures are not always rational and universal reliable moral guides for ethics, laws, rational moral conduct. For instance, recently in Uganda, many children have been kidnapped and ritually sacrificed to God or gods in quest for divine atonment for sins, success, healing, peace, wealth and well-being. These quests are good. But the cultural instruments or means to attain them are morally deviant, unacceptable and evil. This is simply one example of the dangers of employing cutlural traditions as guides to moral conduct. In the case of polygamy and homosexuality as cultural values, as longer as there is no harm inflicted on the community, both local and international, then, they can be left to the positive affirmation of the communities that cherish them. But thse communities should not seek to impose them on their neighbours. That would amount to cultural harrassment and imperialism.
Prof. Emmanuel Twesigye,
Ohio Wesleyan University, USA



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Grassy Holly oake

posted July 18, 2009 at 4:54 pm


Do your beliefs find a place in the Holy Bible or in what you consider to be God’s revelation for today’s world. If Almighty God has changed His views on homeosexuals as anyone can see in His Holy Word, then He cannot be the same “yesterday, today and forever”. While you keep trying to justify your perversions the Lord suffers quietly, that those how will hold fast to His unchanging Word will prevail when they stand to give account for how we have treated His Word.



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panthera

posted July 18, 2009 at 6:44 pm


Ah, yes, Grassy Holly oake,
Why not just line us all up against the wall and shoot us?
You can take your ‘perversions’ and climb right back into the nasty, hateful christianist hole you crawled out of.



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Your Name

posted July 19, 2009 at 12:27 am


“Orthodoxy was in England, Scotland and Ireland long before Roman Catholicism came into being.”
Iona- Say What? The Holy Catholic Church was in existence from the time Christ Himself handed Peter the keys. The reformers are guilty of the first heresies and they have gotten increasingly worse. The evidence is in the very sad news we are discussing today!



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robroy

posted July 19, 2009 at 3:04 am


Mr. Panthera brings up the tired and thoroughly and repeatedly refuted “shellfish” argument, or rather the mixed fiber variant. How sad. In case you hadn’t heard, Jesus himself released us from the purity laws. But in the same passage where we are released from purity laws, we see that He explicitly did not release us from sexual morality (see Matthew 15:18-20), and there is no credible Biblical scholar who would say that a first century Jewish rabbi would not have included homosexuality in a list of sexual immorality.
Science and medicine? I understand both science and medicine, because I was a scientist and now am a physician (MD PhD), but what in the world does science and medicine have to do with whether something is good (God sanctioned) or not, whether the Church should bless it or not? Absolutely nothing. And their invocation is simply ludicrous.
Christian sexual ethic: Sexual relations are reserved for heterosexual marriage.
Now, the good Lord didn’t give us the Law because he was mean, rather He gave it to us because He loved us. To the degree that a society deviates from that Judaeo-Christian norm, one has proportionate increases in suffering. Who suffers from our “sexual freedom”? Women and children who more and more are trapped in poverty.
“…nothing but a good thing for society and our church.” The homosexual activists infiltrating the church has been disastrous. But good will come of it. Schism isn’t inevitable, it is already upon us. The churches are being split into a post-Christian culture appeasing sect and Biblically faithful. The first group is already dying off for they have no life in them. The second group will be stronger having rid themselves of the parasites.



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panthera

posted July 19, 2009 at 9:20 am


robroy,
How convenient that you:
1) Ignored the fact that I agree on Leviticus, Deuteronomy et al. We all know that Christians are not subject to following the older laws. That was not and is not the point, as you also well know. Don’t assume that everyone who disagrees with you here is necessarily an idiot. This is not crunchycon, many people who disagre with you have been banned from there so you might not realize who very long this discussion has been going on. Dreyer and Manning only smile upon racists and people who share their views on homosexuality, everyone who presents serious arguments is pretty rapidly thrown off their blog.
2) Completely failed to address the slavery issue. Either you are out there advocating a return to enslavement or you are expressly ignoring the direct words of the Bible.
To the medical and scientific versus religious aspect of the issue, I do feel very strongly indeed that they are valid. Every single time that we, as Christians, pretend that observed phenomena aren’t valid, we disenfranchise and cheapen our message.
It wasn’t until fairly recently that science and medicine penetrated the hateful prejudice of many centuries of oppression to show us that being gay or a transgender person is simply a reflection of God’s world. As a natural scientist, you must be aware that the incidence of homosexuality throughout all high-order mammals would not have continued if it were not either neutral or positive.
We had the same foolish fight over the geocentric world view, over the human status of Negroes, over the function of women (merely brood cages for the emerging child whose entire physical self was contained in the man’s semen), the flat earth, global warming…need I go on?
Each time, those who cherry-picked Christian writings and previous beliefs to support such false positions did us great harm in the eyes of intelligent people.
There is no basis for your pretending my love is a sin. I do agree with you that it is best we split from each other. Of course, when the 3-10% of the hateful Christians’ children who are gay and the somewhat smaller number who are in the wrong body for their gender suffer great harm from your hatred, that will be our fault for not finding a way to free you of this hate.
Wish it weren’t so, but can’t change it.



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advocate

posted July 19, 2009 at 7:57 pm


“To the medical and scientific versus religious aspect of the issue, I do feel very strongly indeed that they are valid.”
Well, panthera, when God himself elevates you to the level of a Prophet I’ll take your opinions on the “medical an scientific versus religious” aspects of the issue seriously. Outside of that it doesn’t matter what your opinions are – God has already made His will known concerning sexual perversions inside and outside of marriage (which He’s already defined and doesn’t need your help on) and you know what that will is. And your willful disregard for it is nothing short of arrogance. You seem to think God should change his mind because of your personal “enlightenment” on scientific matters.
I love all my brothers and sisters, regardless of what challenges they face and problems they need to overcome in this life, but what you ask for flies in the face of thousands of years of God’s teachings to mankind. Again, why should I care about your opinions?



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panthera

posted July 19, 2009 at 9:25 pm


advocate,
Fortunately, it is God’s will that matters and not your hateful, bigoted christianist opinion.
So sorry you missed the 1930′s in Germany, you’d have found many to denounce and send to be tortured and killed.
Still, I do understand the North Koreans and one or two South American dictatorships are still run along the lines you so embrace.
‘God’s will’ has been an excuse for killing, raping, beating and torturing untold millions through the years because people like you willfully ignore what we have learned through science.



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advocate

posted July 19, 2009 at 10:01 pm


Good panthera, attack, attack, attack. Based on your hateful responses to others I expected only more of the same. Disengagement and ad hominen attacks are your tools and you seem to enjoy them. You still haven’t answered my question nor those posed by others, but in the end it doesn’t matter what you “think”. As if anything that anyone writes on the Internet is really that important or should have equal value (queue all the narcissists of the world reaching for their stones).
If you don’t believe God means what he says then don’t try and pass yourself off as a believer or try to water down his Word by your impotent opinions. And quit with the personal attacks on anyone that doesn’t fit into your world view, it’s really getting old.



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panthera

posted July 20, 2009 at 12:14 am


Advocate,
Having called me a pervert, I daresay you are the last person here who should be levying charges of an ad hominen attack.
You are also presuming to speak for God.
Not bad – as I wrote above, you have all the characteristics which made the National Socialists such charming people.



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robroy

posted July 20, 2009 at 3:34 am


“As a natural scientist, you must be aware that the incidence of homosexuality throughout all high-order mammals would not have continued if it were not either neutral or positive.”
Panthera unfortunately shows his ignorance of genetics, but he is in good company of many of my conservative colleagues. His argument is interesting:
Implicit assumption – homosexuality is genetic.
Fallacious genetic statement – any trait that is “negative” will eventually die out.
Specious conclusion – Homosexuality is either genetically neutral or positive.
I have seen the “same but different specious line of argument to conclude the opposite by proof by contradition:
Homosexuality is genetic.
Homosexuality confers negative reproduction ability (or at least it did for the past 2 million years), thus homosexuality would have died out.
Conclusion: homosexuality can’t be genetic.
Both lines of “reasoning” suffer from the same flaw, the assumption that genetic traits that convey reproduction disadvantages automatically die out. If that were so, we would not have Cystic Fibrosis (male sperm are immotile), muscular dystrophy (most die before puberty), etc. etc., These would have long “died out.”
From the The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe:
“Logic”, said the professor [Digory] half to himself, “Why don’t they teach logic in these schools?”



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panthera

posted July 20, 2009 at 9:00 am


robroy
There have been many studies through the years showing that there is a direct relationship between the expression of certain beneficial characteristics and other characteristics which we either consider neutral or beneficial.
“Homosexuality is genetic.
Homosexuality confers negative reproduction ability (or at least it did for the past 2 million years), thus homosexuality would have died out.
Conclusion: homosexuality can’t be genetic.”
Your syllogism is invalid on many levels. Which you very well know.
Professor Kirk might well point out to you that it is survival of the species and not survival of the individual of which Darwin wrote. C.S. Lewis may not have been a scientist, but he had both the brains and access to natural scientists to have a firm grasp of logic. You, sadly, do not.
Many heterosexual people never have children, Roman Catholic priests and nuns come to mind as an example. These people have, none-the-less, a direct and measurable influence on the survival to reproductive age of very many children. Through their work in education from pre-school through high school. Through their work in clinics and hospitals. Through their charitable institutions. Despite the fact that their reproductive contribution is negative and thus the phenotype which they express – and there is a genetic coding for helping others – is very much a contribution to survival of the species. According to your flawed logic, however, such genetic coding could not survive past one generation.
Many studies in various high-order mammals (including humans) have shown that gays are over represented in the groups which contribute to survival of the species. Take the time to read some of the studies. They are easy to find, just google.
Your errors in reasoning are manifold. Predominate is the assumption that genetic coding is only concerned with individual fertility. Let’s pretend for a moment that this is so. Oh, dear, your arguments fail yet again: Recent studies show a direct co-relation between higher rates of children surviving to adolescence among families with a greater number of gay offspring than families with a lesser number. It turns out that the genetic coding which is one way to make women more (successfully) fertile also results in a higher degree of male homosexuals being born into the family.
No surprise to me, that is precisely what has been found among wolves and dolphins.
Do spend some time researching. If such trivial academic work is beyond you, I’d be happy to supply the links to such studies.



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James Gilmore

posted July 20, 2009 at 10:46 am


Thank God for the Episcopal Church of the USA and their standing up for Christian love in the face of those whose hatred, narrow-mindedness, and ignorance has overcome the love of Christ in their hearts. May the entire Church one day follow their lead.
To those who would continue to enshrine hatred of God’s children in the institutions of the church and who would support legal and social inequality in the name of a rather infantile, simple-minded, and logically inconsistent interpretation of Scripture – you’ve got some repenting to do. Ask God’s forgiveness for your hatred and bigotry, change your views, and support full equality for all of God’s children in the eyes of the church.



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robroy

posted July 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm


Panthera, if you look at my comment, I gave two “genetic” arguments one offered by you and one offered by some conservatives (not by me). Both are flawed as I very clearly pointed out. So your snarky comment only points to your inability to read carefully.
But since you don’t seem to understand, let me try to clarify. It is not true that “bad” genetic traits die out, nor is the converse true, that genetic traits that don’t die out are “neutral or good.” The example that I gave, of cystic fibrosis, as genetic trait whose incidence is constant disproves both these. CF hasn’t “died out”, but neither has the wild type (the “good” gene) dominated. I don’t think I can make it any simpler. Your argument that gay is “neutral or positive” falls on its face.



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advocate

posted July 20, 2009 at 4:28 pm


panthera, perfect response, you just proved my point. And I never called you a pervert, Freudian slip perhaps?



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advocate

posted July 20, 2009 at 4:52 pm


Wonderful that you quote C.S. Lewis. I’ll quote some more from him too for your edification:
“I take is for certain that the physical satisfaction of homosexual desires is a sin. Second, our speculations on the cause of the abnormality are not what matters and we must be content with ignorance.”
“In homosexuality, as in every other tribulation, those works can be made manifest: i.e. that every disability conceals a vocation, if only we can find it, which will ‘turn the necessity into glorious gain.’”
Of course now you’ll find a way to water down what he said as well, just as you have done with the scriptures. I don’t claim to know why/how some are born this way, but I also don’t know why people are born with any of the weaknesses or desires we have if only that we may overcome them. Frankly, I don’t care and it doesn’t change anything. I don’t hate you or anyone else that sins in whatever fashion they may choose, that’s between God and you, but don’t think that God expects anything less than what he has said or that you can justify yourself in these things.



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James Gilmore

posted July 20, 2009 at 5:30 pm


Wonderful that you quote C.S. Lewis. I’ll quote some more from him too for your edification:
So now C.S. Lewis is being cited as Holy Scripture? The man is capable of being wrong; I think he was quite wrong on that, as he was in most of his views on human sexuality.
Of course now you’ll find a way to water down what he said as well, just as you have done with the scriptures.
Are you married? If you’re a married man, please tell me exactly what you paid your wife’s father for her virginity. If you’re a woman, please tell me exactly what you’re doing writing on a blog at all, as the Bible makes it clear that women are to remain silent in the “congregations of the saints,” and a Christian blog is most certainly part of that. If you’re an unmarried man, better save your money. After all, the Bible on numerous occasions affirms the norm that a woman’s virginity is preserved by her father and is bought from him by her husband for a price, and that women are to remain silent in the congregations of the saints. If you don’t believe these things, then you’re watering down the Scriptures, aren’t you?
Since you’re obviously not subscribing to the above views – as they’re patently absurd to contemporary eyes – how about you be honest and admit that you, too, like all of us, put the Scripture into dialogue with the cultural norms and practices of the contemporary era, rather than simply accepting its worldview as an unqualified norm?
Moreover, it’s quite clear to me that your legalistic view of Scripture is not only a relic of Puritanism, but is also the very thing that Jesus stood to condemn when he proclaimed curse after curse upon the Pharisees. It’s also quite clear to me that, your protestations to the contrary, you do hate LGBT individuals – as is made most clear by your continued insistence that the very way God made them is dirty and sinful – and that you’re all too willing to bend your Scriptural hermeneutic to reflect your hateful and bigoted attitude.
It’s time for you to repent and change your views.



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advocate

posted July 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm


James Gilmore you don’t know what’s in my heart. You assume I believe that the way God made them is dirty and sinful. In fact my last response was quite the contrary and disputes your assertions emphatically. Keep up the protestations to the contrary.
And people wonder why the church membership is hemorrhaging.



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panthera

posted July 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm


Advocate wrote:
God has already made His will known concerning sexual perversions inside and outside of marriage (which He’s already defined and doesn’t need your help on) and you know what that will is. And your willful disregard for it is nothing short of arrogance.
Well, if saying my sexual relationship with my husband is a perversion does not mean you are calling me perverted then I daresay one of us is lacking in his/her understanding of the English language.
Frankly, I don’t care one bit what sort of hateful nastiness you practice within the walls of your bigoted, spiteful church. I do, however, care very much that people like you prevent American homosexuals from being recognized as human beings.



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robroy

posted July 20, 2009 at 6:34 pm


“I do, however, care very much that people like you prevent American homosexuals from being recognized as human beings.”
That caused a good chuckle. Oh, yes, we are conspiring to prevent you from being recognized as a human being! Panthera is degenerating into silliness or paranoia.
He learned discussion (or rather shouting) skills from Perez Hilton, whom I am sure that Panthera thinks is a great man.
We know who the hateful ones are, the Perez Hilton wannabes.



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advocate

posted July 20, 2009 at 7:43 pm


There’s definitely a common thread though in what panthera and James Gilmore say. And that is the fallacious belief that somehow your own sins and shortcomings define your humanity and should be lauded by others, even paraded about as a “good thing” (excuse us if others don’t share your enthusiasm). That an attack on how you choose to erroneously define yourself is an attack on your humanity. Nothing could be further from the truth. I applaud your humanity and your freedom to choose and worship as you may. But you both approach others who don’t think as you do as “prudish”, “puritanistic”, or extreme in our beliefs.
How far will it go? At what point will you stop and wonder “is what I am doing in keeping with God’s will”. Seriously, you name your lifestyle and there’s a church that will spring up to cater to it. Good for you. Or in the case of the Episcopalians that people can change from the inside (not that we haven’t always had issues with immorality in this church… elephant in the room). But why don’t we all just stop and ask ourselves what is true anymore? Or should we choose our churches, our beliefs, our doctrine, like we were selecting from a Values Menu at McDonalds? Lord knows that if there’s something we don’t like we’ll just ask for a different menu. Do you think this is pleasing to God? Do you feel justified in any way?
Of course you do. Keep playing the victim (yes I know there have been actual victims of hate against those who label themselves as HGLBT). Just don’t expect the rest of us who actually believe God when he speaks out against immorality to be in your parade.



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James Gilmore

posted July 20, 2009 at 8:30 pm


Oh, yes, we are conspiring to prevent you from being recognized as a human being!
Yes, in fact, you are. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?
To say that LGBT individuals should be denied basic human rights like the right to marry is, in fact, preventing them from being recognized as full human beings. If you believe, as I do, that rights are God-given, your opposition to LGBT individuals having basic human rights, and concomitant denial of their full humanity, is an insult to God God’s-self. Repent of your sin and change your heart.



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advocate

posted July 20, 2009 at 8:55 pm


James Gilmore, you know as well as I do that anyone who is of legal age and a sound mind can get married, they just can’t do it in most states if the other person is the same gender. If you have issues with the state recognizing that, take it up with your Congressperson, if you have issues with God recognizing that, take it up with Him. Last time I checked though, He’s had it this way for thousands of years so don’t hold your breath waiting for Him to come around to your way of thinking. Of course you don’t need to do that, do you. You’ll just have your Church come around to your way of thinking.
Whatever helps you sleep at night.



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James Gilmore

posted July 20, 2009 at 9:06 pm


And that is the fallacious belief that somehow your own sins and shortcomings define your humanity and should be lauded by others, even paraded about as a “good thing” (excuse us if others don’t share your enthusiasm).
No, it’s more that you have yet to establish to any reasonable standard that homosexuality is a sin. To do so, you have to demonstrate that the few passages in the New Testament that forbid the same-sex sexual activities of 1st-century Rome can be mapped to our current understanding of homosexuality. The alternative is to claim that all Biblical norms continue to apply – which would mean accepting the Biblical view of marriage, in which women are chattel slaves to be bought and sold by men.
That an attack on how you choose to erroneously define yourself is an attack on your humanity.
No, an attack on LGBT individuals’ basic human rights – like the right to marry – is, in fact, an attack on their humanity, just as an attack on any other person’s human rights is an attack on their humanity. If rights are God-given, then to attack those rights is not only to attack the person but to insult God God’s-self.
I applaud your humanity and your freedom to choose and worship as you may.
Then state right here and right now for the record that you support full and equal marriage rights for LGBT individuals, and that support of such will be a condition for any elected official to receive your vote. Anything short of that, and that statement of yours is a complete lie, as you clearly don’t support LGBT individuals’ freedom to choose.
But you both approach others who don’t think as you do as “prudish”, “puritanistic”, or extreme in our beliefs.
You didn’t give me full credit here. Not only did I call your opinions prudish and Puritanic – which they are – I also very clearly and openly called them out as sin, which they also are. Repent of your bigotry.
How far will it go? At what point will you stop and wonder “is what I am doing in keeping with God’s will”.
I’d ask the same question of you. I have absolutely no trouble saying that homosexuality is completely acceptable in the eyes of God; after all, it breaks neither of the two Great Commandments. Homosexuality is not incompatible with loving the Lord their God with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength, nor is it incompatible with loving one’s neighbor as oneself. I would submit, though, that your hatred and bigotry toward your LGBT brothers and sisters in Christ and in humanity is, in fact, incompatible with both Great Commandments.
Seriously, you name your lifestyle and there’s a church that will spring up to cater to it. Good for you.
That’s true. We see that right now with the “Anglicans” breaking away from the ECUSA so that they can continue to practice their hateful, bigoted, and sexist (they don’t like women priests, either) lifestyle.
But why don’t we all just stop and ask ourselves what is true anymore?
I agree. A little bit of introspection as to how we come to what we believe as “truth,” and exactly how much of it is driven by the worldviews of the culture in which we live, is very much in order. I don’t think such introspection would leave the conservative churches’ theology intact, however.
Or should we choose our churches, our beliefs, our doctrine, like we were selecting from a Values Menu at McDonalds?
As I stated above in my brief meditation on Biblical marriage norms, it’s quite clear that we all already do. Some of us are just honest enough to admit it. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
Lord knows that if there’s something we don’t like we’ll just ask for a different menu.
Why? The one we’ve got lays out the basic guidelines perfectly. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. As Hillel said, all the rest is commentary.
Do you think this is pleasing to God? Do you feel justified in any way?
I do indeed think that working toward equality and love for all is pleasing to God. I think God smiles on my work, and I think God smiles on the ECUSA even as God (and we in the ECUSA) mourns the hurt that is caused by schism.
Keep playing the victim (yes I know there have been actual victims of hate against those who label themselves as HGLBT).
I’m not playing the victim at all. I’m a straight white male, privileged in any way. I certainly wouldn’t pretend that I’m being victimized by you. Our LGBT brothers and sisters might have a different take, however, as they have to live every single day with the possibility of violence and hate directed at them. In a very real way, bigoted and hateful attitudes do make them victims.
Just don’t expect the rest of us who actually believe God when he speaks out against immorality to be in your parade.
Aaaaaaand we come back to the beginning. If you can’t demonstrate that the Biblical prohibitions on the same-sex sexual activities of first-century Rome map cleanly onto our contemporary understanding of human sexuality, you can’t say that homosexuality is immoral according to the Bible.
To me it seems that your stating outright that the Bible says homosexuality is immoral is an act of incredible pride and haughtiness, presuming that you have the single authoritative hermeneutical perspective and that all other perspectives are prima facie invalid. It seems to me that the idea of mapping first-century Roman sexuality onto contemporary sexuality is murky at best – and more likely than not completely impossible, given the massive gulf between that worldview and ours.



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James Gilmore

posted July 20, 2009 at 9:12 pm


James Gilmore, you know as well as I do that anyone who is of legal age and a sound mind can get married, they just can’t do it in most states if the other person is the same gender.
And people in Virginia in 1966 who was of a legal age and a sound mind could get married, they just couldn’t do it if the other person was of a different ethnicity. No rights were violated there, right?
If you have issues with the state recognizing that, take it up with your Congressperson
First, I’m a second-class citizen of DC and thus don’t have equal civil rights like a Congressperson with an actual vote to take it up with.
Second, it’s not just my business… it’s yours as well. You also have the moral duty to demand of your Congressperson – and your state legislators, and every other elected official who could have a say in this – equal marriage rights for all people.
if you have issues with God recognizing that, take it up with Him. Last time I checked though, He’s had it this way for thousands of years so don’t hold your breath waiting for Him to come around to your way of thinking.
I think I’ve established above that the way God had it for “thousands of years” isn’t the way God has it today – unless, of course, you purchased your wife from her father. Are you disputing my presentation of the historical context?
Of course you don’t need to do that, do you. You’ll just have your Church come around to your way of thinking.
God willing, all churches will eventually come around to my way of thinking, just as most churches in this country have (at least officially) come around to dumping racism from the position of official church doctrine, and more and more churches are doing the same with sexism.



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advocate

posted July 20, 2009 at 10:10 pm


James Gilmore – You now ask me to provide the burden of proof to justify your behavior? Your arrogance astounds me. YOU provide the proof that the Bible doesn’t clearly speak out on homosexuality and dozens of other immoral acts if you want to alter an institution that has been enshrined for thousands of years. Absolutely amazing.
So now we need to warp the word of God and “map” it to your current “enlightened” understanding? Your mind is corrupt and if you think I need to repent, look in the mirror first. This discussion is over with.



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panthera

posted July 20, 2009 at 10:21 pm


James Gilmore,
Thank you so much for your honest, reasoned and Christian participation in these discussions.
You are a good person.



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James Gilmore

posted July 20, 2009 at 11:08 pm


You now ask me to provide the burden of proof to justify your behavior?
First, if you’d bothered to read my previous post in response to you, you’d see that I’m straight. Not that it matters.
Second, I’m not asking you to provide the burden of proof to justify anyone’s behavior. I’m asking you to marshal evidence and logic to support your own claim – that the Bible’s condemnation of the same-sex sexual acts of first-century Rome apply to our current understanding of homosexuality today. If you can’t provide any support for your own claims, you probably shouldn’t be posting where reasonable people discuss things.
Your arrogance astounds me. YOU provide the proof that the Bible doesn’t clearly speak out on homosexuality and dozens of other immoral acts if you want to alter an institution that has been enshrined for thousands of years.
Again, as I pointed out above, the “institution of marriage” is hardly set in stone. Our understanding of marriage is completely different from what it was even 150 years ago.
Also, you’re the one claiming it’s immoral. You need to provide positive evidence to support your claim. Unless, of course, you’re suggesting that anything not explicitly condoned by the Bible is wrong… in which case you probably shouldn’t be driving a car or using a computer, since neither of those things is expressly permitted in Scripture.
So now we need to warp the word of God and “map” it to your current “enlightened” understanding?
No, we need to decide whether or not a certain thing in Scripture applies to the present context. We do the same thing with Scripture’s views on everything, every single day. Scripture permits and condones slavery; we’ve decided (rightly) that such a view was a reflection not of a timeless moral norm but of the cultures in which the Scripture was written. We map the Bible onto the current context all the time; it’s being honest in admitting it that’s the issue. I freely admit that the Scripture operates in dialogue with the culture – which I will also freely say is more enlightened culturally, politically, and scientifically than first-century Roman culture. You cling to the pretense that you’re somehow applying the literal Word of God, when my recent statement about the marriage norms of the Bible demonstrates that you’re doing anything but.
Your mind is corrupt and if you think I need to repent, look in the mirror first.
I know I need to repent of a great many things, but my attitude towards our LGBT brothers and sisters is not one of them. That, my friend, is something you need to search your own heart about.



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robroy

posted July 21, 2009 at 2:14 pm


Note that, due to the budget crisis of the Episcopal denomination, they have eliminated the entire evangelization program. “That growth stuff is over-rated. We prefer to be the fastest declining.”
Hmmm, who could have predicted that bad things would happen when you sacrifice your foundation (Holy Scripture) to pander to small segment of the population, most whom aren’t interested in organized religion.
Perhaps, they need to hire Ms Bass to give some more seminars.



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panthera

posted July 22, 2009 at 11:26 am


Ah, robroy, now we come to the crux of the matter:
The foundation of my Christianity is God’s love.
Your’s is your private interpretation of Holy Scripture.
I’d point out to you God’s position on idolatry, however you have made clear that all that OT nonsense doesn’t apply to your branch of Christianity.



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another opinion

posted July 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm


Interesting that ‘love4hisword’ quotes from the NIV. It is the only version of “The Bible” (TM) that contains the word ‘homosexual’, not surprising since the word was only coined about 100 years or so ago. Too bad all those many (many) other ‘versions’ don’t agree.
Perhpas l4hw should change his/her moniker to ‘selective love for certain parts of certain versions of His word translated the way I happen to agree with’. It would be far more accurate.
I mean, we’re not even discussing the same things. Men who lie with men as they lie with women aren’t gay men; they’re bi-sexuals at the very least. Pretty much all the homosexual men who post here do not lie with women – in any fashion. For many Biblical scholars, that passage describes nominally heterosexual men who are ‘on the down low’. Those I agree should be roundly condemned. They’re using people. They’re turning away from what is natural (for them, that would be sleeping with women) to something that is unnatural – for them. For gay men, lieing with men is perfectly natural.
Could we at least sing from the same song book? If the QJV was good enough for Queen James, it should be good enough for Amurrika, no?



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Your Name

posted July 23, 2009 at 5:01 pm


I dont agree one bit with gays or lesbians being ordained into my faith. Im not saying we shouoldn’t love them as christ would and has loved us, but, I am saying they shouldn’t be put in a role of sheopherd of My Lord’s people.
Sodom and Gommorah was destroyed for the practice of homosexuality. Paul writes about sexual immorality several times in the Epistles. And It says several times that God made man for woman and woman for man.
Being Gay is not natural if it were then God would have made adam and Steve. But this is not the case and my Episcopal leaders are very very naive to allow this atrocity to happen. I view Homosexuality as a disease much like drug addiction or alcoholism. They need a 12 step program.



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James Gilmore

posted July 23, 2009 at 6:20 pm


Sodom and Gommorah was destroyed for the practice of homosexuality.
No, they really weren’t, much as you’d like to believe in your bigotry that they were. They were destroyed because the men of the town wanted to gang-rape the visitors. That isn’t remotely analogous to or reflective of homosexuality, any more than male-female rape is reflective of heterosexuality.
Paul writes about sexual immorality several times in the Epistles.
Again – I’ve asked several times and none of you have done this. Please demonstrate to me that the same-sex sexual practices of first-century Roman culture – in which men would take boys as sex-slaves – is at all analogous to our contemporary understanding of homosexuality. If you can’t do that, then in the name of consistency you also have to throw out all of the other things we do to put Scriptures about slavery, marriage, gender roles, etc. into context.
Being Gay is not natural if it were then God would have made adam and Steve.
Automobiles aren’t natural; if they were then God would have put a ’57 Chevy in the Garden of Eden.
But this is not the case and my Episcopal leaders are very very naive to allow this atrocity to happen.
Atrocity? Genocide is an atrocity. War is an atrocity. Worldwide hunger is an atrocity. Even if you oppose the ECUSA’s position, it hardly rises to the level of an atrocity.
I view Homosexuality as a disease much like drug addiction or alcoholism. They need a 12 step program.
That’s a funny coincidence, because I view anti-gay bigotry – which includes believing in things like the idea that homosexuality is a disease or a shortcoming – as a disease much like drug addiction or alcoholism. But the solution to anti-gay bigotry isn’t a 12-step program, it’s a three-step program:
1. Realize that your attitude of bigotry has real, material consequences for millions of LGBT individuals worldwide, and that by holding such views and silently assenting to the promulgation of those views, you are in some way complicit in this country’s pandemic of anti-gay violence and hate;
2. Repent of your attitude of bigotry and hate and change your views to support full equality; and
3. Take action to support equality, including speaking out in your church and in the public square.
It’s really that simple. Won’t you take those steps today?



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RB

posted July 29, 2009 at 3:41 pm


I never thought I’d see the day Rob Roy was lamenting the fate of Father Jake. Amen.



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churchmouse

posted August 5, 2009 at 12:54 pm


James………
How do you explain these scriptures….
“Leviticus 20:13
“‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.”
This is not about rape. Why is lying with the same sex detestable?
Romans 1:24-27
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”
What did God mean about sexual impurity, degrading their bodies with one another?
What did God mean by unnatural relations?
What were indecent acts with other men?
None of these were about rape. So what sin where they doing?
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
What does one have to do to be sexually immoral?
What this does say is that idolaters, adulterers, prostitutes and homosexuals, thieves, the greedy,those who are drunk, slanderers and swindlers are sinning.
If this was the only scripture we had about marriage and sex, this says it all.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, “Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
God instituted this union. He created them different, female for male. The ONE man leaves his MOTHER AND FATHER and is joined to his ONE wife….and they become ONE. Nothing else should change this.
It might have been different in the OT but Christ came and we are bound to what He says.



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Phreeque shooooooooooooooooo

posted August 19, 2009 at 10:55 pm


Your commitment to ‘inclusivity’ hasn’t helped stop any financial or membership hemorrhages, has it? Your church just had to lay off 30 members, including some of those responsible for evangelism/membership increases.
2.15 million out of 305 million and shrinking. Without all the old WASP money, you’d be about as important as the Greek Orthodox.



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