Thursday, 2 December 2004

Los Angeles: Orombi's reply to Bruno

Uganda is a long way from Los Angeles, but yet was close enough to Pittsburgh for Archbishop Henry Orombi to have been a guest at their diocesan convention on 5/6 November, see picture here.

The full text of Archbishop Orombi’s reply to Bishop Bruno’s letter, dated 3 November, inviting him to come to a meeting in Los Angeles, has now been published. You can read that reply here. The original report about Bishop Bruno’s invitation is here.

The letter from Orombi concludes:

Our churches in Los Angeles came to us like children who were running away from home, and we have offered them a safe place to be. So for us, the first question that must be asked is Why are they running away? We didn’t look for them or hunt for them. We are responding to a need. And, we will continue to respond to a need until the local problem is resolved; we will not relinquish them into a spiritually dangerous situation. Therefore, we see no need for a meeting until you and the Diocese of Los Angeles have repented of your participation in and promotion of unbiblical behavior and teaching.

What the Windsor Report said was (my emphasis added):

150. In these circumstances we call upon the church or province in question to recognise first that dissenting groups in their midst are, like themselves, seeking to be faithful members of the Anglican family; and second, we call upon all the bishops concerned, both the ‘home’ bishops and the ‘intervening’ bishops as Christian leaders and pastors to work tirelessly to rebuild the trust which has been lost.

and also:

155. We call upon those bishops who believe it is their conscientious duty to intervene in provinces, dioceses and parishes other than their own:

* to express regret for the consequences of their actions
* to affirm their desire to remain in the Communion, and
* to effect a moratorium on any further interventions.

We also call upon these archbishops and bishops to seek an accommodation with the bishops of the dioceses whose parishes they have taken into their own care.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 2 December 2004 at 9:34pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

Apparently there are some "recommendations" of the Windsor Report that Bishop Bruno is himself choosing to ignore. While he himself has said he would not perform any more same-sex blessings, he will not prohibit priests in his diocese from doing them. Some bishops with principle and backbone have said there will be NO same-sex blessings in their diocese while they are bishop, our own Bishop Herlong in Diocese of Tennessee among them. Let's look at what caused this crisis in the first place, namely the abandonment of obedience to the plain teachings of Scripture revealed by its ultimate author, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will never contradict the Word. Jesus did not come to "do a new thing", rather He came to make all things new.

Posted by: Milton on Friday, 3 December 2004 at 10:03pm GMT

"Some bishops with principle and backbone..."

You mean like Bishop Bruno ? Or Bishop Johnson of W. Tenn. (if you want a conservative) ? People with the guts to do the right thing in the face of constant vitriol from the "orthodox" organizations like the AAC/"Network"/whatever they're calling themselves this month ?

Hey, if we're gonna talk about backbone, how about +Gene Robinson ? He has to face more hateful garbage than *any* of these others, to say nothing of wearing a bulletproof vest out in public (BTW, I've always wondered, are the ultra-conservatives *proud* of the fact that +Robinson has to wear that, hire bodyguards, etc... ?)

Posted by: David Huff on Saturday, 4 December 2004 at 7:57pm GMT

David, I'd be interested in even one actual quote of "vitriol" from AAC or ACN or the continuing Anglican groups. Please don't set up non-Christian crackpots like Fred Phelps ("God hates fags") as your straw men to knock down; no one in their right mind takes those pathetic cases as serious representatives of orthodoxy. As for +Gene Robinson wearing a bulletproof vest, why does he? Has there been even the hint of an attempt to attack him physically, or verbal threats made to him? Please quote them, if you know of any. Of course, if you take the pointing out how he has broken canons referring to divorce without cause (Jesus allowed only one cause, adultery; Paul also allowed abandonment, neither of which +Gene's ex-wife committed) as "hateful garbage", then you simply have a problem with the truth being pointed out. Simply pointing out where someone is in error or sin is not hateful or "judging" them ("judge not, lest you be judged"), but rather showing discernment and concern for the fellow sinner. The New Testament calls on "those who are spiritual to come alongside a brother who is caught in a fall and to point out his ways to him", and to "speak the truth in love". Certainly if this is done with self-righteousness (looking for specks while ignoring our own logs) or anger, then this is not Jesus' way. He spoke without condemnation to the woman at the well, who was living in sin with her current lover after five previous divorces. However, He did not condone her state either, nor did He condone adultery. He told the woman caught in adultery, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and sin no more", not, go on as you are. Ultimately, each of us has to lay our life, our plans, and our will on the altar to Jesus, trusting Him to remake us in His image and spirit. "If any man would be My disciple, he must die to himself, take his up cross daily, and follow Me" "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My word shall never pass away", and we must submit to the WHOLE word of the Bible as the writers meant it, not as we reconstruct it to our liking. David, the peace of God to you, as I found His peace after 40 yrs. of self-will in surrender to His will as revealed by the Holy Spirit in the whole word of God.

Posted by: Milton on Sunday, 5 December 2004 at 6:47am GMT

"he has broken canons referring to divorce without cause (Jesus allowed only one cause, adultery; Paul also allowed abandonment, neither of which +Gene’s ex-wife committed)"

While I do not for a moment want to suggest that +Gene's ex-wife Isabelle committed adultery or abandoned him, the (happy) fact remains that she remarried long before +Gene even _met_ his partner Mark. In the interpretation of most Anglicans (I believe), +Gene would be entitled to remarry without ecclesiastical hindrance (it's only the *gender* of the marital partner that is at issue here).

Milton, much of the rest of your words strike me as quite pastoral. The problem is, there isn't anything that you've said that 1) I haven't heard before (equally unpersuasive in its ideological-conversion project), but more importantly 2) there isn't anything in its pastoral (and faithful) tone, that I wouldn't say back to *you*.

Ergo, I hope the following does not sound "hateful" (rather, shows my concern for you as a fellow sinner):

Milton, *_you_ are in error*.
Milton, *_you_ are not correctly interpreting Scripture* (but that there is so much bad Scriptural formation out there, tends to make most so misinformed Christians of negligible personal fault themselves. However, regretfully for you, that "grace-period" _ends in this moment_: no more excuses, Milton!)

Re "as I found His peace after 40 yrs. of self-will in surrender to His will as revealed by the Holy Spirit in the whole word of God." How easy it is to self-judge our own *complacency* as "His peace"! How shallow to posit our own fallen, *narrow views* as "the whole word of God"!

To the extent, Milton, that you _willfully persist in your misinterpretation_ (straining at gnats, to swallow a camel), *_you_ are living in sin: Repent!*

_(And pray for me also, a miserable sinner)_

In Christ's Name, Amen.

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Monday, 6 December 2004 at 8:08am GMT

"I’d be interested in even one actual quote of “vitriol” from AAC or ACN or the continuing Anglican groups."

My goodness, such a "target-rich" environment you've given me :) OK, how about practically anything on the website VirtueOnline http://www.virtueonline.org/ ? (esp. in the comment sections, they're *overflowing* with Christian love ;) Or Nigeria's Archbishop Peter Akinola who infamously branded gay people as "worse than dogs and pigs" ?

And no, you *don't* get to discount Fred Phelps. He is as much a creature of the Christian Right as retired Bishop Jack Spong is supposedly of the progressive wing. (BTW, as an aside, I think many Christians misinterpret a lot of what Bishop Spong has written and said - willfully, so as to make him a whipping boy for their "orthodox" views)

"As for +Gene Robinson wearing a bulletproof vest, why does he? Has there been even the hint of an attempt to attack him physically, or verbal threats made to him?"

Yes, there have been. In an interview on the long-running CBS news show "60 Minutes," they reported that "Because of numerous death threats, Robinson wore a bulletproof vest under his robes and was flanked by bodyguards, one disguised as a priest." during his consecration.

Posted by: David Huff on Monday, 6 December 2004 at 9:33pm GMT

J. C. Fisher, I am certainly willing to repent of sin pointed out to me. But reading your post, I can't quite tell what sin you are finding in me, other than, perhaps, disagreeing with your interpretations of Scripture, which seem to be in line with the reappraisers view. That view rejects the clear consensus of nearly 2000 yrs. straight back to the church fathers who walked with Jesus while He walked this earth. Of course, this makes me, since I disagree with you, narrow-minded and in some unspecified error. Complacency is not something I think applies to me nowadays, though it did when I thought New-ageism and my own opinion were a sound guide. Several train wrecks in my life later, I realized that I'm no engineer and I should let God run this train.
I would like you to spell out just what my "misinterpretations" of Scripture are so I won't need any more "excuses". Though I will point out you are not following Jesus' command to Peter, "forgive not 7 times, but 70 times 7".

Really, the issue I think we should all be looking at is, why did Jesus die on the cross. This was the will of the Father, consented to willingly by the Son. "He is the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world.' "No man takes My life from Me. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again." "For the glory that was set before Him, He endured death, even death on a cross, while despising the shame." "He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." And there is our key. When Adam sinned, human nature itself became corrupt and unacceptable to God unless a worthy sacrifice could be offered. But God alone is good. Only One fully human and yet fully divine could both stand in for us and be a worthy sacrifice. Unless we acknowldege and accept that each of us needs a sacrifice offered for our sin (and we all do sin, see 1 John) then Christianity is meaningless to us. We may redefine the terms and practices to make Christianity into a theraputic religion, but it then ceases to be Christianity at all. If you do not accept those premises, then we really are not having a discussion, but simply talking past each other. J. C., I pray the Holy Spirit will show to each person for themself what He showed me: God as He truly reveals Himself, and my sinful self that was hopelessly lost without His intervention and my surrender to Him. From there the only and all-sufficient thing necessary is to ask Him to take over. See Galatians 2:20.

Whether we agree or agree to disagree, God's peace to you, J. C.

Posted by: Milton on Monday, 6 December 2004 at 9:33pm GMT

One issue I did not comment on from J. C.'s post. For +Gene to divorce his now ex-wife without Scriptural cause is enough to disqualify him from being a bishop, or a priest, for that matter. The fact that most Anglicans and probably most Christians take pre-marital sex (guilty myself and have paid a heavy price for that in hindsight), adultery, divorce, and remarriage so lightly and in near-total ignorance or defiance of Scriptural teaching simply shows how far, far, indeed we have fallen. You're right, +Gene or his partner's gender has no bearing on his previous divorce, though gay marriage WAS spoken against by Jesus. When the Pharisees asked Him if it was lawful to divorce one's wife for any reason, He said that Moses permitted it because of the hardness of their hearts, but it was not always so. "For God made them male and female, and for this cause a man shall leave his mother, and a woman shall leave her father, and the two shall become one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined, let no man put asunder."

Posted by: Milton on Monday, 6 December 2004 at 9:43pm GMT

It reminds me of the old saying: If you want people to believe something is true, just continue saying it often enough, and they will start to believe it, or at least to think it is more plausible.

Likewise with divorce. Divorce has never been other than hateful and (generally speaking) dominically forbidden. How can its frequency in modern American culture change this? Modern American culture is irrelevant to the case. But it does explain why people now take it more lightly. It is nothing to do with its being less bad. It is everything to do with people becoming more accustomed to it, and becoming desensitised.

Who in the world wants to live in a less sensitive, desensitised environement? On the contrary, what we need is increased sensitivity.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 7 December 2004 at 2:50pm GMT

"though gay marriage WAS spoken against by Jesus [:] “For God made them male and female, and for this cause a man shall leave his mother, and a woman shall leave her father, and the two shall become one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined, let no man put asunder.”

Now see, this is what drives me absolutely nuts! (and makes me most "disagreeable" I suspect): where, in the above quote, is the phrase *"gay marriage"*??? [To the response "Well, that's the clear implication/plain meaning/logical inference, etc. etc.", I can only say "No, that's *your* implication, meaning, inference: not Jesus's."]

May I say that I *hate* being a scold? Running around on various boards, saying "Repent!" when the words tastes like ashes in my sinful mouth (I mean, my _mouth_ is part of sinful me, that is). Where the heck do I get this authority? Who do I think I am?

Nobody, that's who. With no authority whatsoever.

*But the Holy Spirit (aaargh, what a pest!) _won't let me stay silent._*

Oh, it would be *So Easy* to say "you go your way, and we'll go ours" (and I read ECUSA-majority types who _do_ in fact, have that wish).

_But y'all are my brothers and sisters in Christ_. I *do* have need of you.

And when I hear _bad faith_ oozing out of you, *in love* I _must_ exhort you to repentance.

So give a queer a break? _Please_, turn your lives over to Jesus. _Rest in His Love_. [And, in fear and trembling and web- *silence*, let me do the same]

Shalom!

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Saturday, 11 December 2004 at 5:00am GMT

J. C., first let me say I do not feel angered or attacked by you and I hear coming through your posts a person I think would like very much were I to meet you in person. Your same-sex attraction is not a threat to me, nor does it give me any feelings of loathing for you or superiority over you. I do wonder how you can miss Jesus' lack of defining marriage as male-male or female-female when He had a golden opportunity for a "teachable moment" to us slow learners.
As for the Holy Spirit apparently telling you that gay relationships are OK, consider that the Bible was written by men who were inspired by that same Holy Spirit, and that the Bible is only properly understood when its meaning is revealed to the reader by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would not contradict Himself by giving us interpretations contrary to those gleaned by taking the ENTIRE Bible into account. If one has become familiar with the entire Word over some years and listened to many teachers of it who have studied it in its original languages with an understanding of its contemporary cultures, it clearly takes shape as 1 book with 1 unifying message, the salvation and redemption of sinful man and the reconciliation of man with God through the one mediator and Savior, Jesus Christ. If we pick and choose which parts of OT, NT, or Gospels to keep and which to throw out, we make Jesus out to be a liar, since He affirmed the integrity of Scripture ("by every word from the mouth of God") and referred to Genesis, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Proverbs, Daniel, Psalms, to name the ones I can recall off the top of my head.
Repent? More than 7 yrs. ago I repented of my addiction to pornography, and Jesus took the using it and any desire for it from me that day. I didn't "break" the addiction, I was powerless to do so, even powerless to want to. He alone could do it, and He alone did do it. The Holy Spirit convicted me clearly, sharply, and unmistakably of that sin, unlike the still-unnamed sin of which you would have me repent.
J. C., how have you gained the assurance that the Holy Spirit approves of gay sex? From Scripture? From the WHOLE Scripture? From a conviction that God "made you gay"? Some people feel they were born with a violent temper, a tendency for addiction, coveteousness, gossip, lying, pedophilia, etc. That does not mean God made them that way, nor does it excuse anyone, including myself, from putting our entire being on the altar as a living sacrifice to God, giving Him utter freedom to remake us in the image and spirit of the Son Jesus Christ. I have done that and do it afresh every day. "If any man would be My disciple, he must die to himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me." If you can stand before the living God in your heart and say He points out nothing in you that He wants you to let go to Him for Him to remake it, more power to you. You should not need any agreement from me or anyone else in particular to confirm the rightness of your vindication from the Holy Spirit.
Sorry for the length and perhaps the rambling of this post, it's nearly 2AM here. J. C., I mean you no ill-will or to disturb your peace of mind. I'm only one beggar telling others where I, at least, have found Bread.

Posted by: Milton on Sunday, 12 December 2004 at 7:53am GMT

Some rebuttals to David Huff's claims. Blaming conservatives for Fred Phelps and the "religious right" is somewhat like blaming Jesus for the Crusades. Neither Phelps nor the religious right seems to have read the Bible very much and grace and forgiveness apparently are foreign concepts to them. Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world, but the religious right seems very much interested in temporal power, unlike the issues that drive Anglican conservatives. On the other hand, Jack Spong denies virtually every defining characteristic of Christianity, leaving only a Unitarian-flavored mush. His Jesus is simply a radical reformer who bumbled into crucifixion and was a convenient clothes-horse for the agenda of His disciples. Anything that would make Jesus divine (miracles, healing, resurrection, uncanny insight into people's hearts) Spong simply dismisses out of hand. The quote attributed to Bishop Akinola was in fact said by Robert Mugabe. See the quote below from Kendall Harmon's TitusOneNine blog and the link to the story from The Scotsman.

"What’s more, it turns out that attributing “lower than dogs” to Akinola is slander.

This is a Mugabe quote, not Akinola.

http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=155&id=1045722004

… started in 1993 when Mugabe stood up at a Zimbabwe book fair and lashed out, saying they did things not even dogs and pigs would do. 'They are worse than dogs and pigs', he yelled,"

Also, I still see no quotes of vitriol from LEADERS of ACN, AAC, or any continuing Anglican groups. ACN and AAC have no control over people who post to blogs, and I have not read or heard of anything they have done to encourage such abusive posts as I, too, have read. The death threats against Robinson are reprehensible and are condemned by any rational human whatever their theology. By the way, have the threats continued even now, more than a year after Robinson's consecration?

Posted by: Milton on Monday, 13 December 2004 at 3:20am GMT