Wednesday, 26 September 2007

New Orleans: yet more reactions

Church Society had this to say:

In some respects this is a positive move since it does show a willingness to try to satisfy the conditions laid down by the Primates. However, the problem is that at heart it changes nothing. Most of these Bishops are still committed to teach things that are contrary to Scripture (a fact which the Primates did not address) and they are determined to press ahead with their revisionist agenda. Although they have said they will not authorise services for same-sex unions, yet such services are happening in their Dioceses and nothing they have said will alter that. Their plan for episcopal visitors seems to fall a long way short of the sort of oversight the Primates envisaged and even further short of what many conservatives require. They clearly recognise nothing wrong in the fact that Gene Robinson is a Bishop and are merely biding their time.

All this is likely to mean that the whole unseemly mess continues without resolution. Moreover The Archbishop of Canterbury and the majority of the Primates’ Standing Committee are in agreement with the US revisionists, so they are going to play along with the charade and interpret the words as favourably as possible.

David Phillips

Anglican Mainstream appears to be more focused on the meeting in Pittsburgh and the comments of Bishop Duncan, which are reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in Bishop skeptical of Episcopal stance on gays by Steve Levin.

Fulcrum had fairly detailed comment from Graham Kings which starts out:

Initial Comment on the House of Bishops Statement from New Orleans

On a first reading, this statement is very significant and seems to go further and be more encouraging than many conservatives thought to be likely. The Presiding Bishop, and others who have worked hard with her from various traditions, deserve thanks for gathering support for an almost unanimous statement.

Moratorium on Consecration of people living in same sex unions. It clarifies the surprising last minute resolution B033 of General Convention 2006 by saying:

The House acknowledges that non-celibate gay and lesbian persons are included among those to whom B033 pertains.

This seems to make The Episcopal Church compliant with The Windsor Report concerning a moratorium on the consecrations of people living in same-sex unions.

Blessing of Same-Sex Unions. The pledge on ‘not authorising any public rites of blessing of same-sex unions until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action’ is important and welcome. However it still seems to allow space for private, unofficial pastoral services of blessing, in a minority of dioceses - this is implied in the statement that the majority of bishops ‘do not make allowance for the blessing of same-sex unions’. It also interestingly adds ‘…or until General Convention takes further action’, which stresses the autonomy of TEC polity…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 1:07pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA

Well I guess I should have my two-penneth as well.

Posted by: Peter O on Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 2:19pm BST

As predicted, the "conservatives" cannot live with a statement which real conservatives (Howe, Henderson) were prepared to accept. This is because the "conservatives" are not conservatives. They are schismatics. As the Chapman memo outlined, their strategy depends upon rejecting everything from TEC as insufficient, regardless of what's there.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 6:19pm BST

Given that the ex-gay movement has precisely no credibility in the UK (and clearly doesn't have the sympathy of the AofC) I would rather welcome conservatives association of themselves with it. I can't think of many more things which would make them look even more ridiculous!

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 26 September 2007 at 7:31pm BST

Maybe it depends, Mr. O.

The inferences from scripture, spelled out so clearly, so categorically by your views - (anything but strict celibacy or a most traditionalistic straight marriage is innately broken?) – (I believe the current Vatican prefers the phrase, intrinsically disordered?) - are just as much of an innovative stretch, as is our modern view that empirical data and common sense social life together disconfirm our received negative ideas (and feelings) about the competent caring and generous relationships of people who are not necessarily straight.

Even celibacy, hallowed as it has been in so many world religious traditions - not just among Christians - must pass the same motivational tests of the human heart and the same tests of how it contributes ethically to human community - as does any domain of our human embodiment or behavior scrutinized.

Clearly: Some celibate religious people have NOT become better, more wholesome people by their avoidance of sexuality or by their dedicated abstinence. Ditto, for how awfully some actively sexual people look to have been affected, even though they do not abstain. Ditto, for some very long-married people.

From alternative points of view: The pertinent ethical distinctions are personal, human, affectional, relational, communal - not categorical, not based on pseudo-facts presuppositionally read via unacknowledged hermeneutic strategies from sacred texts.

Certainly not nothing but the conservative moral system for exclusively straight citizens that you would have us pledge.

Reading a non-empirical, conservative biopsychosocial model – that just happens to be for straight folks only with a penchant for trash talking various outsiders - back into the scriptures is hardly worth all the new orthodox effort.

That secret new orthodox hermeneutic pretends to be putting scripture on the highest pedestal possible – as the only trusted authority; but in the end only offers scripture as just the sort of divine revelation that can be knocked over, pretty quickly, by the carefully hypothesis tested and social life observant facts about our queer folks as neighbors. (If you do not personally know any good, decent queer folks, maybe you need new associates?)

Maybe better to hold the modern and provisional facts in one hand while one cherishes and discerns scripture and tradition in the other. Prayerfully, and without bearing false witness against the ethical-spiritual commitment capabilities of neighbors, even those neighbors who might happen to be queer folks or alternative believers.

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 27 September 2007 at 12:12am BST

Peter O.,
On your blog, I note the following:

"Sometimes speaking God’s truth feels like banging your head against a wall. The people who should be listening aren’t. They don’t care."

This applies to the "other side" too. Speaking God's truth of justice certainly DOES feel like banging one's head against a wall.

"God is good enough to either support a life of faithful chastity or even powerful enough to heal the wounds of the past."

And for some of us He does neither. As to healing, well, I'm glad you found it in "ex-gay" places. I found it elsewhere, and I think what I found came from God as well.

"There are some of us who have trusted, eaten the word and found that it truly was in our mouths as sweet as honey and able to transform homosexuality, trans-sexuality and all manner of broken situations."

Implying that those of us whose mistrust of an "ex-gay" movement that seems to capitalize on people's self loathing and drives some to suicide is somehow linked to not trusting God? I think you'll find there are some of us who know and trust that God loves us without having to hate ourselves.

"ministries that help those who struggle with homosexuality are the resources we should now develop and promote."

In a way I wish you would. Then the flaws in "ex-gay" thinking can be more apparent. On the other hand, I'm not comfortable with the Churchpushing something that drives people to such despair that they take their own lives.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Saturday, 29 September 2007 at 4:48pm BST
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