Comments: yet more reflections on General Convention

One must wonder if the article subtitle was "Archbishop of Canterbury unable to mince and do the splits at the same time". What on earth is an episcopal gay move? The cakewalk?

Posted by MrsBarlow at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 10:10am BST

Is there any American Bishop who is as obsessed with the Church of England as + Rochester is with the Episcopal Church?

Posted by J. Michael Povey at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 10:40am BST

What on earth is an episcopal gay move? The cakewalk?

No - the moon walk!

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 11:51am BST

Thank you for you continuing posting of articles to help us make some sense of our situation - pro and con.

My greatest concern is that TEC seems unwilling to accept that being a Christian sometimes means you have to stand over against the secular culture. That's part of the job. To those who want slavery: Slavery is wrong. To those who say Jesus never rose form the dead: He is risen. And quite possibly to those who want to make 'marriages' out of same sex relationships: It can't be done. 'Marriage' is between a man and a woman.

This failure of courage in the face of culture is very serious. Our job is not to be conformed to the world, but to stand loose to it and its sinful ways. It may be ok to eat flesh offered to idols, but not if it offends your brother or sister, or causes them to stumble.

I believe that a great crisis has arisen for those in TEC. They are being led away from their anglican roots. Their current options in America are to remain with the seriously damaged (schismatic) TEC or go to ACNA which repudiates all those teachings of catholicity which so mark the Deposit of Faith. Hobson's Choice.

We remnant need a better solution. This is the time when we shall look to our traditional anglican partners for a solution, or we may have to look elsewhere. Neither Constantinople or Rome appear to want us without major capitulations and lots of "I told you so'. We can embrace it if we must. But must we?

Posted by Allan K at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 12:40pm BST

No, I'm not surprised to see +Rochester publishing an essay in the Reverend Moon owned Washington Times.

Posted by counterlight at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 12:42pm BST

The readership of this right wing newspapers is a readership likely to share his views and the vehemence of the comments made in support of the article confirm this view. +Rochester is departing his see, presumably, fore something he sees as better...I posit GAFCON or FCA leadership or both. He has few opportunities left to vent, with an audience, before departing. This is one. He is credible for those who share his views but, with exception of Sydney, there aren't that many more above the equator and ACNA's ability to maintain cohesion in spite of its many centripetal cracks seems, at best, iffy. Those who don't read the Washington Times because they know what it is, will not be affected. But even the converted, I suspect, are likely to leave this on the floor for the maid to pick up, and she (and it will be a she)isn't likely to read it either...... Now if he could get his little commentary into the Post, that would be another matter entirely. I am not amazed that it is printed in the US, I am just amazed that he might be pleased where it is printed.

Posted by EPfizH at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 1:08pm BST

"My greatest concern is that TEC seems unwilling to accept that being a Christian sometimes means you have to stand over against the secular culture."

Indeed. For most of Western history, the secular culture treated homosexuality as, in Wilde's phrase, "the love that dare not speak its name." How then is accepting it as being as God-given as heterosexuality NOT "standing over against" the secular culture?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 2:42pm BST

"Our job is not to be conformed to the world, but to stand loose to it and its sinful ways. It may be ok to eat flesh offered to idols, but not if it offends your brother or sister, or causes them to stumble."

Allan K,

I agree absolutely with your last statement, and it is a great concern for me in the actions of TEC. It seems to be the idea now that it is my brother's responsibility not to stumble over the block I have put in his way. So why is it that I am not opposing them, and am in fact opposing the conservatives? I simply cannot see the fruit of the Gospel in the behaviour of ACNA/FCA/GAFCON, etc. They convince themselves they are oppressed, they convince themselves their opponents have no faith, they convince themselves that lies about gay people are actually true, and then spread those lies, they pretend to have listened to us when they patently have not. This last consititues a disobedience to several past Lambeth conferences, yet they hypocritically accues TEC of "disobedience"! They see nothing wrong with the jailing of innocent people, nor with claiming that those people are not made by God. They take advantage of "reassessments" of the Scriptures, like divorce and remarriage or ordination of women, when it benefits them to do so, but condemn TEC as "reassessors". Worse, they refuse to even consider the possibility that TEC's position comes after more than three decades of dialogue with gay people and prayerful study of the issue with consideration of the Sriptural issues. They dismiss all this, unjustly, as "selling out to the world." This is particularly galling when you consider that, while it is indeed our job not to be conformed to the World, the Church has widely conformed to the world for the past 1700 years, and that many of the ways that She has done so have been accepted as right, even Godly, by these same conservatives. It may well be wrong to conform to the world, but how can one group accuse another group of a sin of which it is equally guilty, if not moreso? What's more, these people go through unbelievable contortions to make thse accomodations to the world acceptable, even deny they are accomodations at all. These contortaions often make what conservatives condemn as "fudge" by liberals to be up front and honest by comparison. As a gay man who has big issues with the whole inclusivity business, who has as much dismay at some liberal things as conservatives do, I have had a hard time with this. I have reverted to the only thing I can: when Jesus was asked how to identify the true prophets from the false ones He said "By their fruits shall ye know them". Well, where's the fruit of the gospel in falsehood, misrepresentation, scheming, oppression of God's children, even denial that they ARE God's children, duplicity, and overt malice? I might have problems with much airy liberal theology, but it pales to insignificance in comparison with the hatred, self deception, and outright lies of the Right. And, as a Canadian, I believe that to tear ourselves apart over something society decided on 5 years or more ago is NOT "prophetioc" and use of that world is just as judgemental, self congratulatory and smug as use of "orthodox" by the Right, and just as incorrect.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 3:33pm BST

Sorry, but this bishop's ignorance is pathetic and embarrassing -- his words are undercutting the credibility of both Christianity and Islam. "Pluralist"'s spoof is too oblique and too kind to a man who seems to be acting out his own identity disturbance in public -- at the expense of church, gospel and his gay victims whom he alleges to love.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 3:49pm BST

To be a Christian supportive of the fully acceptable humanity of LGBT persons before God, just as they are, is truly to take a stand against the culture. I like to think that my consistent belief and practice of full acceptance and appreciation of the gifts of LGBT persons for the church and the world has played a part in bringing the culture along, so that with a handful of states in the U.S.A., for instance, making full marriage legal for gay and lesbian persons, we now have the appearance of supporting the culture, when actually it is still the other way 'round. I am proud to say I am a member of, and a priest in The Episcopal Church, present in the U.S.A. and various other countries outside of the U.S.A.

Posted by Lois Keen at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 3:53pm BST

This whole facile trope that inclusion caves in to the culture - a knee jerk lack of backbone when it comes to our believer ethics, theology, witness, practice; while telling queer folks they must repent by ceasing to be themselves - a categorically firm yet closed iteration - is good hearty traditional Christ Against Culture backbone?

Goodness sakes, pure and utter nonsense.

It is spin, simply. Rightwing spin.

If you think accepting queer folks and supporting them is such an easy fad, just try doing it in your local parish. Better yet, pick nearly any particular church program - a youth one? And go for a straight-gay alliance outreach, or something else that loudly and clearly proclaims that you are correcting your formerly ignorant practices and beliefs about queer folks.

Yups, no doubts about it then, you will be flooded with superficial people from every direction, all balleyhooing how consistent with the culture you suddenly are?

This is so easy, so accepted, so fashionable - that Bishop Robinson in New Hampshire had to wear a bullet proof vest beneath his vestments at his installation.

Gee, can we get real folks?

Neither church nor culture wanted to correct the nasty and mistaken received views of queer folks; but generational changes and fairness centers of value turned out to hold much more sway in helping the culture to change (particularly in western democracies?), and church life changes have been less influenced by generational change or by fairness. False witness against queer folks as neighbors is still pretty much the core of the conservative preaching about modern gay life. Hardly an open/shut deal, then?

PS. Tip? Don't quote slavery as an example of believers standing against the culture, unless you are willing to dig down deeply, and see how the lessons of that stand and that change possibly apply to correcting your negative presuppositions about queer folks.

Otherwise, you are pointing to real history, but refusing its real lessons.

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 5:14pm BST

It never ceases to amaze me when people argue, with a perfectly straight face, that being down on gay people is countercultural.

In what strange world do these people live?

Posted by JPM at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 5:46pm BST

"To be a Christian supportive of the fully acceptable humanity of LGBT persons before God, just as they are, is truly to take a stand against the culture."

Lois and JPM, you really need to see these people's paranoid worldview. For them, the surrounding culture has has vehemently rejected Christianity and is now actively oppressing Christians. This will only get worse as time goes by, and eventually we will get to a point where it is illegal to be Christian. If the militant "secular humanists" don't do it, the militant Muslims will. The Evil Hell Bound Liberals in the Church are a misguided Fifth Column for these forces of destruction.

This is generated from the fact that Western society has pretty much rejected the false moralism of the 1950s, and feels no need to make Christianity, or any other religion, its moral arbiter. This represents a significant loss of power over society, and they are feeling helpless and angry at being irrelevant. Since modern society is to an extent more honest about its sexual mores makes it even funnier, since in defending an older society, they are essentially defending dishonesty as somehow Godly. Is this why they seem unable to recognize the hypocrisy of a divorced remarried bishop or a female priest opposing the exact same kind of reassessment of Scripture towards gay people?

Couple this with the fact that there exists within the more Fundamentalist groups of Evangelicals a strong attraction to the Church of Acts and the Roman Empire, with the romance of martyrdom in that circumstance, and you can see why they have such a need to see themselves as a beleageured little remnant of the Godly fighting the forces of evil within and without. Since the surrounding culture is, to them, hopelessly hedonistic, jailing gay people in Nigeria is, to them, somehow countercultural, as is maintenance of Western society's traditional cruelty to gay people. It IS funny how they never feel the need to be "counter" to the culture of the conservative power brokers, though, nor to a Nigerian culture that is violently antigay. It appears that the culture of Ozzie and Harriet or a traditional culture that is violently antigay are somehow God given, and not to be countered.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 27 July 2009 at 7:07pm BST

Causing your brother to stumble?

How many gay "brothers" have the "traditionalists" caused to stumble, to turn from God, humanity and life? Yet, no concern there, apparently.

That's real stumbling, as opposed to "traditionalists" who, with nothing actually forced on them, given broad leeway and understanding, do a little skip and say "Teacher! They tripped me!"

That's the reality of the situation.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 5:40am BST

Doctor Ali states:

"In all this, those who remain orthodox in faith and morals will need to remember that any disruption of fellowship is for the sake of discipline and the eventual restoration of those who have chosen to go their own way to the common faith and life of the church. It is for this that we must work and pray."

Please note that orthodox means anti-homosexual agenda, as the "orthodox" cannot agree as to the actual meaning of the Gospel, the sacraments and the 39 articles.

Furthermore as for orthodox in morals he of course conveniently papers over the divorce issue on which Protestantism has been split since the sixteenth century.

Some people are more orthodox than others!

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 7:26am BST

Actually, it didn't provoke me into a spoof version. I just wrote something in general. I'm just going to read the Nazir-Ali's latest now. Now I am intrigued.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 4:14pm BST

OK, I've just read his piece. Either he read my spoof first for the relevant bits or I just did my research well enough and this is always his style!

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 28 July 2009 at 4:19pm BST

Exactly who is this 'Nazir-Ali'?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 31 July 2009 at 10:02am BST
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