Starting close to home, Christopher Rowland has written a column in today’s Guardian The best of enemies which starts:
The issue of the Anglican Church and homosexuality has brought home to me how central it has become to the identity of Christianity for Christians to vilify their enemies, especially those who profess the same faith but hold to different expressions of “the truth of the gospel”.
In many ways, church history is a tale of intolerance and lack of charity. The difficult thing is that such attitudes are not some aberration, but are deeply rooted in the primary sources of orthodox Christianity and, at times, in the Bible itself.
In his new book, The Right True End of Love: Sexuality and the Contemporary Church, the Dean of Killaloe, Very Rev Stephen R. White looks at the issue of sexuality, especially homosexuality, and maintains that the time has now come for the church to change its attitude from one of toleration to one of celebration. He says ‘the Church’s efforts to address issues of sexuality are ‘eminently ignorable’, ‘unimaginative’ and ‘un-theologically based’.
The book is particularly timely given recent controversies over homosexual clergy in the Anglican Communion. The Anglican primates, who met recently at Newry, discussed and broadly welcomed the Windsor Report on the matter.
Dean White looks at the church’s inherently negative attitudes towards sexuality, exemplified in the wording of the marriage vows in the Church of Ireland, where marriage first and foremost exists ‘for the due ordering of families and households’ and secondly for the hallowing of the union betwixt man and woman, and for the avoidance of sin’. He looks at the contentious issue of homosexuality and how the most charitable response from within the church is toleration. This, he says, is not acceptable. Toleration of difference is not a celebration of difference, and such an attitude is inclined to become ‘a favour graciously conferred by the “normal” majority on a somehow “inadequate” minority’.
As the American House of Bishops is currently meeting, several American newspapers have columns about them:
Chicago Tribune Episcopal bishops seeking to avoid schism on gay issues
Houston Chronicle A house of cards
Dallas Fort Worth Star-Telegram For Episcopalians, this might be the big one