Comments: Now on to C056

Sorry, but both extremes have been guilty of bad faith throughout this mess since 2003. The "Duncanites" claim this is about fidelity to Scripture, "the Faith once delivered" (whatever the heck that means), etc. The progressives have insisted this is a justice issue, being prophetic, etc. These 10% of TEC at the extremes has held the rest of the church hostage. Neither extreme complied with the recommendations of the flawed Windsor Report, clergy under vows in TEC conveniently ignored General Convention when it suited them and drove this wedge issue, and both extremes were prepared to "destroy the village to save it."

The reality is that D025 doesn't change reality, just perceptions. John Bruno in Los Angeles is going to continue doing what he wants to do and has done; Jim Stanton in Dallas and other "Duncanites" are going to continue to do what they want to do and have done. No diocese that wasn't blessing same-sex unions and ordaining non-celibate gays will change how they do business; and, no diocese dead set against same-sex blessings, etc., is going to change how they do business.

All this does is give the church politicians more ammo for beating each other over the head, and give the likes of Philip Turner and Ephram Rader more reason to pontificate while people ignore them.

What has been gained? What has been lost? Was the Kingdom better served by all this rancor while wars rage in Iraq, Afghanistan; while the threat of nuclear war (see Lambeth 1.11) grows; and, while children around the world continue to suffer every possible injustice we can imagine.

While my sympathies are with the gay community, please do not claim that this should have no impact on the Anglican Communion. It has, and unfortunately for the rest of us, will continue to haunt us for another three years until GC12.

God save us from ourselves.

Posted by pete at Thursday, 16 July 2009 at 2:13pm BST


I think many understimate the deep psychological need of the liberated homosexual mind for affirmation (I empathize). As a black male, I saw the same need with some of my afro-centric brothers who have made outlandish claims based on skin color. However, the Church Universal is not called to affirm our humanity, it is called to affirm the humaity of Jesus who reveals to us the will of God. When I was a really "bright" Phd. student in theology I thought statements like the latter were simplistic. I have repented. I was full of intellectual pride. I am quite at home in the ACNA, where the authority of Scripture, and reverence for the Tradition and the cultivation of Holy Wisdom are encouaged. I know its simple, but for some strange reason satisfying.

Pax,
Edward

Posted by Edward Craig at Thursday, 16 July 2009 at 4:35pm BST

Pete,
You wrote:
"While my sympathies are with the gay community...."

Okay. So what would you suggest could have been done differently? I can't escape the feeling that your "sympathies" are quite abstract, rather than having implications for how real people would be treated, "sympathies" with the gay community... but they better not do anything that rocks the boat?????

The problem I have with the idea that there is equal fault on "both sides," and that there are two equal extremes, is that it fails to consider that only ONE SIDE has consistently argued that its position had to be accepted by everyone else as a condition for communion and fellowship. For example, folks who want rites of blessing for same-sex couples have never argued that those who disagree should be forced to perform such blessings or should be punished, excluded, etc. But folks opposed to same-sex blessings have consistently argued for punitive action against "the other side." So, this is simply NOT a case of "both extremes" being "guilty of bad faith." One side has worked very hard to leave room for those who disagree while the other side has worked energetically for their exclusion.

Keep in mind that only ONE bishop properly consecrated by a constituent province of the Anglican Communion was actively excluded from Lambeth 2008: Gene Robinson. Jack Iker got to go. Bob Duncan got to go. Peter Akinola could have gone... had he not decided to boycott.

Posted by WilliamK at Thursday, 16 July 2009 at 5:35pm BST

Well, Pete, if we could just "agree to differ" -- as D025 and C056 say we should be able to do -- we could get on with the serious issues you rightly call attention to. I'm willing. I've been willing from the start. The problem is that ~+Minns isn't willing, ~+Duncan isn't willing, +Wright isn't willing, +Kings isn't willing, +ACNA isn't willing, ++Akinola and Sugden+ and the rest aren't willing to agree to differ. It's their way or the highway.

I think we have to make a nice little road for them, and tell them it's "their way," and set them off traveling down that nice little road so the rest of us can live in peace. Sometime in the future we might walk down that road to see how they are doing. We'll find they had split up into hundreds of tiny individual footpaths before they'd gone two mile markers down "their" way together.

Posted by Charlotte at Thursday, 16 July 2009 at 6:14pm BST

And speaking of "abstract"!

EdwardC, you STILL sound like a (your terms) "really 'bright' Phd. student in theology": safe in your ACNA-approved ivory tower, disconnected from the REAL LIVES of LGBT people.

"the deep psychological need of the liberated homosexual mind for affirmation"???

C'mon!

This is about human beings *falling in love* and *getting married* (and then being able to continue in one's vocation, regardless).

It's just that BASIC.

It's not some abstraction, or academic mindgame.

Hey, I'm all for "affirm[ing] the humaity of Jesus who reveals to us the will of God". But in his incarnation, Jesus reveals to us ALL of our humanity---including those Imago Dei created LGBT by Jesus's Abba---not just those who can (by virtue of being created straight) avoid ACNA-invented stumbling blocks.

Come down from your ACNA Tower (ignoring, for the moment, who actually built&owns said tower!), EdwardC, and get to know us queer Episcopalians IN the Real (Redeemed!) World? Meet us IN Christ, and there we can BOTH find "Pax".

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 16 July 2009 at 6:50pm BST

Hello JCF

I'm still around. I love to read and learn. By the way, I love my queer episcopalians. I render to them everything that I render to any other human being - truth and freedom (love). I would be careful about using the concept of abstraction. As you know, what is, is not always what ought to be. I don't accept that everything we encounter in nature is what ought to be, nor do I accept that everything found in us is a reflection of the imago dei. In fact, turning away from the Image of God in us can create patterns of behavior in individuals and groups that scar and deface the Image of God. I think that is precisely what old St. Paul asserted many moons ago. By the way, no ivory tower dweller here. I'm unapologetic marxist and my favorite historical figure from the 20th century is Che Guevera.

Pax et bonum,
Edward

Posted by edward craig at Thursday, 16 July 2009 at 9:14pm BST

...the deep psychological need of the liberated homosexual mind for affirmation....
------------------------------------------------
Uh-huh. Right. ...unlike everyone else, who don't need "affirmation"?

Actually, LGBT folk "liberated" in and by Christ don't "need...affirmation." They have something far more significant. Salvation. What they are asking of the Church is simple acknowledgement of what God has done for them in Christ.

Edward, as a "black male" you should be able to understand what it feels like to be told that you are ontologically flawed because you don't fit the master group's definitions of "good." I'm sure you have experienced racism. If you spend just a few minutes thinking about what the experience felt like, then you'll begin to be able to grasp what it is like to be gay and to have your full humanity denied and denigrated by the very Body that is supposed to help you "work out your salvation with fear and trembling."

If your gay-free, SEGREGATED ACNA is what you need, okay. But think back on the fate of past forms of segregation. Eventually, "STRAIGHT ONLY" is going to go into the rubbish bin of history along with "WHITE ONLY."

Posted by WilliamK at Thursday, 16 July 2009 at 9:20pm BST

Hello William K

The church is not in the business of affirming humanities - as though there is more than one kind. There are no black people, no gay people. Therefore we cannot be led to believe we are ontologically flawed. I have always observed since the 60's the parallel arguments made between those in the black civil rights movement and the later GLBT movement. The former ended up embracing a ghettoized view of itself reinforcing the very negative forces it was attempting to overcome. The latter group is walking the same path. It leads no where. The ACNA is not devoid of people with homo erotic inclinations, nor can it be. The white only types are there as well. The issue is not about the labels but about the church's "shared" understanding of doctrine and practice (The Gospel of Jesus Christ). The U.S Marine Corp have a motto - Semper Fi - always faithful. The church has its faith and its practice rooted in a shared understanding of scripture. It has a very specific mission - to remain faithful to the faith passed on. Maybe the church is not equipped to deal with the complex issues surrounding human sexuality in its many forms, maybe its not called to, just like the marines are not soldiers or sailors. The church has consistently taught that genital activity is acceptable only within the confines of marriage (the more traditional view would add and open to the transmission of life).

Posted by edward craig at Thursday, 16 July 2009 at 11:10pm BST

"In fact, turning away from the Image of God in us can create patterns of behavior in individuals and groups that scar and deface the Image of God. I think that is precisely what old St. Paul asserted many moons ago."

Ecce homophobia! [No, I'm not literally arguing that Paul was condemning homophobia . . . anymore than he was condemning homosexuality (or spousal love between same-sex partners), equally anachronistic concepts.]

"I love my queer episcopalians": um yeah. Right. Sorry, EdwardC, if you don't love us *with our spouses*, AS our spouses, you don't love us. Period. (And pity)

[Sadly I, like many LGBT people, have met all-too-many homophobic Marxists (heck, I remember another who used to hang out regularly on TA! :-/)]

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 16 July 2009 at 11:28pm BST

JCF
Homophobia like the charge of racism is of absolutely no use. They are exhausted concepts - just like the old hitler analogies from yesterdays. The issue is, the issue. Is our faith an ojective realty revealed or is it merely the culturally conditioned subjective production of human minds. If the latter, then why does it matter, you believe and do what you like and so will I. If there is an objective content to our faith then what is it and am I being led by it.I Again as christian we are called to love of God in our neighbors. That does me loving you and your partner in truth; tt does not mean violating the precepts of our faith.

Posted by edward craig at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 12:06am BST

JCF,

By the way my comment about the consequences of turning from the Image of GOD was not about homosexuality per se. It is from St. Athanansius and I actually was thinking about excessive tatooing and body piercing, where the body becomes an inadequate substitute for our craving for the transcendent, as a result of turning away from that which is highest in us.

Posted by edward craig at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 12:14am BST

"That does me loving you and your partner in truth; it does not mean violating the precepts of our faith."

Fine. Then do not get in the way of God's call to each and every one of us.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 1:02am BST

Of course Tom Wright is going against Lambeth (1898 ) re-marriage after divorce condemned... Lambeth 1908 and 1920, contraception condemned and Lambeth 1948, female ordination condemned.


Canterbury will announce shock retirement... Sentamu to Lambeth and Tom to York ? Just an idle speculation at the start of the Summer holidays?

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 7:11am BST

Hello choirboyfrom hell,

I think this question must be asked of all of us,
since you invoke the will of God.
Is our faith an ojective reality revealed or is it merely the culturally conditioned subjective production of human minds. If the latter, then why does it matter, you believe and do what you like and so will I. If there is an objective content to our faith (revealed by God)then what is revealed is paramount.

Jesus once asked the question " who do people say that I am" that question permits both answers about the nature of our faith but affirms only one.

Posted by edward craig at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 11:29am BST

"That does me loving you and your partner in truth; it does not mean violating the precepts of our faith."
-------------------------------------------------
This raises an important question about what one does when there is a tension between love and "the precepts of the faith." Our Lord had some very strong things to say about putting "the precepts of the faith" ahead of mercy, etc.

Is it really "love" when what you offer people is enforced celibacy (usually involving a self-destructive pattern of constant "lapse" and "repentance")?

I feel deeply sorry for the "people with homo erotic inclinations" who have decided to be part of ACNA. They are embarcing the death-giving Letter rather than the Life-giving Spirit. [By the way, reducing homosexual orientation to "inclinations" is a fundamentally dishonest approach, as demonstrated by the constant failures of the so-called "ex-gay" movement.]

Posted by WilliamK at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 2:07pm BST

I would like to ask Edward Craig why he believes his own responses to questions of human sexuality to be free of cultural conditioning, and/or why he believes his own thoughts are not the subjective productions of a human mind.

Can he be certain he is not falling into the trap H. Richard Niebuhr called attention to, in Christ and Culture, of identifying Christ with his own preferred, perhaps somewhat nostalgically conceived culture? As Niebuhr noted, this is a trap that catches conservatives as well as liberals.

Posted by Charlotte at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 3:58pm BST

"Is our faith an ojective reality revealed or is it merely the culturally conditioned subjective production of human minds."

If I can weigh in here, how would you go about proving the first contention? I suspect the second part of your question is somehow referencing Spong. I am still having a difficult time getting through a piece where he speaks of this idea, I find his writing so infuriating. But, while I believe Christianity is an "objective reality" in the way you are using the phrase, I don't think that can have much meaning in this context. You simply cannot prove any of the clams of Christianity. That's why it's called faith. Faith can only ever have subjective reality, not because it is a construct of the human mind, as Spong seems to propose and you seem to fear, but because it deals with ineffable things that cannot be analysed or touched or studied. They are no less real for being that way, but that fact means that faith can only ever be subjective. Seriously, what does it mean to say Christianity is an "objective" reality? Do I believe God exists? Yes, Do I believe God is active in my life? Yes. Can I prove these things? No. So how is the religion I profess an objective reality? I ask this because it seems that, in reaction to Spong et al, many conservatives are defining "religion" versus "reality" as though what we believe is demonstrably real in the way that what is believed by the "liberals" is not. It can even extend to other faiths, so Christianity is an "objective reality" while, say, Islam or Buddhism are not. But what does "objective reality" mean here? It seems to this outsider that this new, to me at least, idea of religion vs reality is another desparate attempt by conservatives to discredit their opponents. In so doing, they reveal a certain emptiness of soul. It has to be objective, by God, or it isn't real, and "we can't believe myths now, can we, because myths are only fairy tales, and our religion is True!!!" Sorry. I find this all really frustrating. It's what I call "soulless", this attitude that what is of value, what is real, has to be concretized in some way. There is no room for the mystical, the numinous, in that attitude. It is so prevalent that I once had an Evangelical counter my accusation of lack of mystical thinking with the statement that Evangelicals were actually more mystical because they believed the miracles in the Gospels were actually true events as opposed to the liberals who did not! Seriously. Talk about missing the point! So what does "Christianity is an objective reality" really mean?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 4:25pm BST

I'm paying attention
William K
great point. I agree with that. But does that mean I must overturn the consensus of the faithful on this point of sexuality. Being a monogomous male is difficult for me as well. I struggle with it. If I were a Musliim, would struggle with four wives as well.
Charlotte,
I agree with you as well. Of course my understanding of human sexuality is culturally condition, but the question remains. Does the Church have an historically conditioned understanding of human sexuality and its proper use. I believe so. Is the Church's scriptural understanding at odds with my understanding often. See above again.

Hello Ford,
I agree with you as well. However, when I use objective I 'm not using it as the opposite of subjective. In other words, that which is truly subjective is rooted in what is objectively true. I'm not a fundamentalist. The scientific method itself is a subjective exercise that assumes (has faith) that there are objective realities that will affirm the authenticity of its subjective questioning - the move from theory (simply in mind) to verification by experimentation (in my mind and in the universe). So, I'm simply asking if I make a claim about human sexuality as a Christian, what do I appeal to that verify that claim as Christian one (scripture/tradition/the praxis of the church). That does not say that there are not valid understandings of human sexuality outside of the historic Christian one. They just are not Christian ones. By the way, I symatize with Spong (I feel him) I just disagree with his conclusions.

Posted by Edward Craig at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 5:21pm BST

"I am still having a difficult time getting through a piece where he speaks of this idea, I find his writing so infuriating"

And yet it would help your understanding of him considerably if you bothered to read to the end instead of keep referring to him here completely unprovoked and then criticising him.

Did you read James Alison's idea that for Christian discernment the right question has to be not just "why not" but "what for", and if you can answer that in a positive Christian context, chances are your discernment is right?

So ask what the self giving love of lgbt people is for, what it achieves - and you discover that it achieves the same as heterosexual love - and here: http://www.jamesalison.co.uk/texts/eng58.html he concludes that "It is the Baptismal living out of love unto death that makes a marriage sacramental." And that is the same "what for" that homosexual love can achieve.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 5:54pm BST

So Edward Craig, if your precepts of faith call you personally to oppose ordination, consecration and ordering of LGBT people to holy orders, then my response would be the second part of Jesus asking who people say he is, in that by your fruits you shall know them.

Deliberately splitting a denomination is an act of schism among God's children. That is a demonic deed you cannot deny. The decisions of the ECUSA this week might not be the will of God, but how can you be sure? Now as far as I know, the actions of Anaheim won't require each parish in the USA to hire LGBT people, nor will it require each and every one of them to marry them. That's up to the vestry and local cleric. The ones that think like yourself that this is 'violates the precepts of their faith' can continue merrily on, excepting the local community that slowly changes will eventually ostracize the parish in it's standoffish attitudes.

There is a church in Philadelphia (USA) that has postings to You Tube. As far as I know, a female has never been beyond the altar rail (except as a altar guild, if they have any female altar guild members there) but still maintains it's membership in the local diocese of ECUSA (via assessments I reckon). It laughlingly has it's participants in the services show up in mozzettas, capa magnas, and all other sorts of fun finery, but the point is, they won't split off, because they realize the magnitude (not to mention the cognitive dissonance of disobeying their diocesan bishop-which would be most un-catholic) of an action which would distance themselves from the rest of Christianity, let alone from effectively spreading the gospel of Christ. I give them credit for at least that. But they live in their own dream-world of incense, tryptics, thankfully fine music, and their mis-guided theology (misogyny?-shame on me, hate that when that happens) that the Diocese of Pennsylvania knows well to leave alone. What's to be learned from here? Let live and let alone those who want inclusion, and unfortunately put up with those who crave exclusion. That's the real dynamics of the real church. It's just that when you make the decision to leave, you are not only weakening the organization, you are weakening yourself. So learning to live with the idea that you might not be the only one who sees God as a "precept of your faith' is a human condition in getting along and being in the church of God.

Are you ready to do this? My paraphrasing by the way, of God's call to us comes from page 299 of the ECUSA Book of Common Prayer. I think you should do well to look at it.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 6:59pm BST

"bothered to read"

I am, Erika. The only way I can do it is to have another window oppen so I can write down my disagreements as I go. And it wasn't completely unprovoked. I took the "culturally conditioned subjective production of human minds" to be if not a reference to Spong, then at least to the ideas he expresses in the piece I am now struggling over.

Besides, I think it's a good thing for a conservative to learn that there are liberals who don't fit the stereotypes, that you don't have to espouse everything that is said by their particular bete noirs in order to disagree with them, that people they would identify as liberals sometimes have the same issues they do, but deal with them differently and don't necessarily see those issues in the same way they do. At least it helps to portray their "opponents" as not the homogenous group their leaders try to claim.

"for Christian discernment the right question has to be not just "why not" but "what for", and if you can answer that in a positive Christian context, chances are your discernment is right?"

Much like St. Theresa of Avila.

""It is the Baptismal living out of love unto death that makes a marriage sacramental." And that is the same "what for" that homosexual love can achieve."

No argument here. But is that what makes a marriage sacramental? I ask because, as I have expressed before, I can't really figure out the sacramental nature of marriage. It raises questions, since one can have sacrificial love unto death for someone one has no romantic attachment to, but we wouldn't call such a relationship a marriage.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 7:20pm BST

"Being a monogomous male is difficult for me as well."

We get this from conservatives all the time. "I have temptations that I have to resist, too." It is infuriating, because what I AM is not a temptation, it is what I am. I am not "tempted" to be gay in the way that I am tempted to overeat, and yes, conservatives have, on this site, compared being gay with having to resist that second piece of dessert after Christmas dinner. It shows that those who use it have little understanding of homosexuality. It relates to TEC's statement that their desire to be inclusive of gay people comes from 30 years of obedience to Lambeth conferences' calling us to listen to gay people. Well, they listened, and have found they can discern no other path than what they now seek to follow. That's a lot more powerful an argument than someone who compares my life to their difficulties resisting a second dish of trifle, especially when those same people then come out with statements about gay people that are untrue and often slanderous, think there's nothing wrong with throwing us in jail, or denying us services, and who actually defend these kinds of statements as "evangelism" and scream 'oppression' whenever anyone dares to suggest that hate speech and evangelism are not the same thing and perhaps they should be prevented from engaging in the former. Not accusing you of that, just pointing out where I come from, and the assumptions about conservatives I find it all too sinfully easy to make.

"So, I'm simply asking if I make a claim about human sexuality as a Christian, what do I appeal to that verify that claim as Christian one (scripture/tradition/the praxis of the church)."

All the above. Not only that, but look at what Erika posted in response to me. That is an argument that goes straight to the Tradition. What IS marriage, after all? I have no truck with those who dress it up in fine clothes but whose attitude seems to be that it is a way to control sex to the point that it is acceptable. Changing the tradition of 2000 years is not to be done lightly, but it is also not impossible. It is Tradition that counts, not 'traditions'.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 7:36pm BST

Thank you, Edward Craig, but you haven't answered my question yet. If you care to give it, I'd still like to hear it.

Meanwhile, you say: "Does the Church have an historically conditioned understanding of human sexuality and its proper use. I believe so."

Well, then, two further questions.

1) What leads you to believe that the historically conditioned view of one part of the Church is to be preferred to the historically conditioned view of another part of the Church?

2) What leads you to believe that history is finished and unchangeable?

Posted by Charlotte at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 7:46pm BST

Erika Baker

I love the essay. Well argued. Thought provoking.
I always visit boards to present my thinking and to listen to others. That is exactly what a learning community is. It does not ask you to eject your convictions, but it does insist that you be attentive to what is around you and in you. EXAMPLE: I live in a crime infested, drug infested community. My faith has to be lived in truth. Sound bites are not enough. People in my community struggle economically and are not concerned with fighting quixotic theological battles. They want real faith, real love. Often, Thinking and acting well is the only gift I can give them.

Pax,
Edward Craig

Posted by Edward Craig at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 7:50pm BST

Edward,
in response to me, you wrote:
great point. I agree with that. But does that mean I must overturn the consensus of the faithful on this point of sexuality. Being a monogomous male is difficult for me as well. I struggle with it. If I were a Musliim, would struggle with four wives as well.
-------------------------------------------------
My answer to your question about overturning "the consensus of the faithful": I don't regard "the consensus of the faithful" as infallible. If it is a death-dealing consensus that puts Law ahead of Grace and Letter over Spirit, then it must be overthrown. This is basic to the Faith of the Reformation (especially in Luther's original formulation).

On your second point: It seems to me that you "moved the bar." I'd be happy to discuss the challenges of monogamy as they apply to both heterosexual and homosexual people (especially males). But, I didn't think that was what we were discussing. Rather, the issue is the "conservative" insistence that gay and lesbian folk can ONLY be celibate, regardless of whether they have this gift or not. This argument runs directly counter to Paul's memorable dictum: "It is better to marry than to burn (with passion)." What the position you are defending offers is nothing but "burning" for people you would deny marriage. The position TEC is moving towards affirms marriage as the Christian standard for ALL, "gay" and "straight." No one is advocating sexual promiscuity. Again, the issue boils down to Spirit versus Letter, Grace versus Law. Spririt and Grace point to the affirmation of monogramous, faithful same-sex partnerships.

Posted by WilliamK at Friday, 17 July 2009 at 8:24pm BST

What Erika said, and what Ford said on Friday, 17 July 2009 at 7:36pm BST.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 18 July 2009 at 7:44am BST

Ford
My point really was that Spong doesn't need to be a bete noire to anyone who reads him properly. Once you get to the core of what word he discards and what concepts he keeps, he's not half as scary as people often seem to fear. Richard Holloway, who is never cited with the same abject horror, is far more removed from the core of Christianity than Spong ever was.

We have to be very careful that we don't get sucked in by the stereotypes popular discussion has taught us to think in. Just as you're discovering that libruls and evangelicals are not necessarily like their straw man mirror images, so you might discover that theologians aren't either.

"It raises questions, since one can have sacrificial love unto death for someone one has no romantic attachment to, but we wouldn't call such a relationship a marriage."

But that's exactly what people do when they say that the only proper setting for romantic/sexual love is marriage.
I don't understand what question it raises for you.

Edward,
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. You seem to be advocating living with just the kind of attentive listening that helps us to recognise Christ in each other. I completely agree that this is what we're called to do.
And I would say that, done properly, it makes us realise how our wrong our terrible sledgehammer certainties are, how badly we hurt real people by claiming that we know what's right and holy in their lives and what isn't, and they don't.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 18 July 2009 at 9:47am BST

"EXAMPLE: I live in a crime infested, drug infested community. My faith has to be lived in truth. Sound bites are not enough. People in my community struggle economically and are not concerned with fighting quixotic theological battles. They want real faith, real love. Often, Thinking and acting well is the only gift I can give them."

Newsflash, EdwardC: there are LGBT people *there*, in your community too (quite likely the least of the least). What are you giving THEM?

Something like "If I can be faithful to my *one* wife . . . then you all can go without an intimate partner the rest of your 'crime infested, drug infested, economically struggling' life---shoulder your burdens alone."

Do you think that sort of "gift" feeds them? Is that "real faith, real love"? (Is is "thinking and acting well"?)

I *salute*, truly, your "visit[ing] boards to present my thinking and to listen to others". Keep at it---as will I.

God, grant ALL your children More Light!

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 18 July 2009 at 9:05pm BST

"Once you get to the core of what word he discards and what concepts he keeps, he's not half as scary as people often seem to fear."

I think what sets people off when it comes to Spong is his arrogant dismissal of those who do not debunk, like he does, all the "traditional" ways of thinking and doing. An example that stays with me is one of his rather pompously named 12 thesis, the one where he discounts the Ascension because in a post modern world, we know there is no "up"! I find it mindboggling that a bishop could actually say such a thing. it reveals a very concrete way of seeing things that is, to be honest, disappointing in someone given spiritual charge over others. He, it seems, comes from a place not dissimilar from the one I do, but in coming from that place he trashes just about everything that informs my faith. All the things that are important to me in religion he just tosses aside as so much primitive thinking. It naturally gets people's backs up, like you would expect when someone with no more education than you have dismisses you as "primitive" because you don't think as he does. And his insistence that everyone has to go along with him (Why Christianity Must Change or Die? Honestly.) is just even more maddening.


"I don't understand what question it raises for you."

We can love many people sacrificially. We can live out our love for them "unto death". Indeed, speaking idealistically, that's the kind of love we Christians are supposed to have for all people. Yet we aren't married to everybody. Soryy, I don't mean to sound snide, but I don't see self sacrificing love as a unique component of marriage.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 20 July 2009 at 8:21pm BST

Ford
"We can love many people sacrificially."

I thought about that the other day when I read an article about marriage. Yes, it's true that we can love friends sacrificially unto death, but it is rarely the case that we live with them under one roof and share all our worldly goods (which creates additional ties and dependencies) and our bodies (which removes yet more personal boundaries), knowing that we have promised to make this arrangement last for the rest of our lives, come what may.

The kind or love, the extent of giving ones whole self, body, soul and mind, all one's worldly goods, to one other person is not really found in any other human relationship.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 21 July 2009 at 7:57am BST

"it is rarely the case that we live with them under one roof and share all our worldly goods (which creates additional ties and dependencies) and our bodies (which removes yet more personal boundaries)"

Absolutely. I'm not sure that I'm actually perceiving a difference here, or if it's one of those things where I start from my own pre-existing position and find reasons to justify it, but it seems to me that this is saying there is more to marriage than the self sacrificing love we are talking about. If it is shared by both marriages and "nonmarital" relationships, than what makes a marriage a marriage must be something else. Or are we really just talking about the process by which some of the things we originally found so endearing in our partners become quite the opposite after a few years of cohabitation. It happens, it's normal, the bloom goes off the rose, it is even a source of material for comedians, but is it really something different, or just the way the self sacrificing love of marriage matures?

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 21 July 2009 at 2:26pm BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.