angry anglicans

September 17, 2007

so, recently there has been quite a stirring in the Chicagoland episcopal church due to an upcoming visit from ++Peter Akinola to a joint service of several conservative Anglican churches out in Wheaton, IL. lots of blogs are calling for protests, and many of the people posting are pretty hate filled.

And so I throw my two cents into the pot.  It seems like there is a considerable amount of misunderstanding between the Episcopal Church and those of us who are in churches departed from the Episcopal church. We say that we believe the Bible to be true and our highest authority, and so what Paul calls sin we call sin. We will be the first to acknowledge our own many sins, and can not begin to judge any person – that is God’s role. We do say, however, that if something is called sin in the Bible, we will not affirm that behaviour. We do not hate sinners, but we can’t affirm that their sin is acceptable

What is heard, or at least what it seems like is being heard, is that since we will not affirm sin, we hate sinners and refuse to accept them as people. I quote a comment from josh on akinolarepent.wordpress.com

“We don’t care what your thoughts are, or your justifications; those positions aim to assert heterosexual superiority in every aspect of public life. And just like the old doctrine of white superiority, that’s profoundly bigoted and sinful.”

The problem is that the argument is constantly leaving its roots and hitting side issues. Conservative Anglicans do not aim to fashion ourselves higher or better or superior to anyone. We simply can’t accept homosexuality as something that is pleasing to God, not because we formed that opinion by ourselves, but because that is what we believe that Bible says – and the Bible is the chief authority in our thinking.

And frankly, you will find that in a lot of these churches, GLBT people will be much more accepted that not. I have been in two different AMiA churches, and both of them had open arms to anyone in their church. There was no hate directed at GLBT people. Instead there was enough love to not carte blanche accept their sin, but instead to help them through it. In fact, I wish that attitude was presented more thoroughly to my own sins, that they would be brought to light so I could change them.

I know I have offended enough people already, so I end with this: the gospel is not about acceptance and affirmation, but about repentance and transformation. (I know wordplay is cheesy, but I can’t help myself…)

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6 Responses to “angry anglicans”

  1. bls Says:

    Sorry, but there’s nothing in the Bible about lesbianism. Maimonides agrees, and so do St. Augustine and Clement of Alexandria – and if there’s nothing about lesbianism, it’s very, very hard to argue that there’s anything in there about “homosexuality.” Read this article for more.

    We don’t object to your having your own interpretation; we do object to your assuming your own interpretation is the correct one – particularly since it seems quite obviously wrong. And we very, very much object to people like Peter Akinola attempting to get anti-gay laws passed in his country at the same time as he’s objecting to TEC’s “violations of Lambeth 1.10.” That’s rank hypocrisy.

  2. bls Says:

    (And it just might be true that on this issue the Church itself is being called to “repentence and transformation” for its history of physical and spiritual violence against gay people, who are simply trying to live normal lives of love and care for their partners and families like all other human beings.

    “Repentence and transformation” is something asked of all Christians, after all – yet people seem to forever point the finger at gay people only and never at themselves. I would think that all human beings would be called to the same sorts of repentence – from greed and lust and selfishness and anger, etc. I can’t imagine why anybody would be called to “repent” from a loving and self-giving partnership.

    As Paul says clearly in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” )

  3. foolmusings Says:

    First off, I think that few people are self-righteous enough to think that they are without fault.

    Secondly, I have to disagree with the obviousness of your position. We take plenty of passages in scripture that use masculine pronouns and understand that they apply to mankind as a whole. I think that Romans 1, even if lesbianism is not explicitly mentioned, certainly points to men having ‘unnatural’ relations with other men, and it does not seem like too far of a logical jump to assume that women having relations with women is also unnatural.

    Also, as I have posted as comments in other blogs, the quality of affection inside of a partnership does not make it OK. For example, we can all agree that incest is wrong. Were a brother and sister to tell us that they were in a loving and self-giving partnership, we would still condemn their actions.

    I understand that there are still great differences between incest and homosexuality, but I do not think that we can just justify any action we do by merely saying that it is loving or self-giving.

    And I agree, that repentance is needed for people who persecute anyone – that includes the way a lot of churches have treated unwed mothers, drug users, and Democrats (or Republicans, depending on the church you are in). The church has no place withholding love from anyone, but a love that says “you are fine how you are” is not love at all. Real love want people to be more and more like Christ, and encourages them to change.

  4. bls Says:

    But the anti-gay contingent never seems to change; it only demands that other people change. So forgive me if I take your advice with a bit of a grain of salt.

    Also, if you’re willing to admit that “We take plenty of passages in scripture that use masculine pronouns and understand that they apply to mankind as a whole,” why do you then find it impossible to acknowledge that Romans 1 is talking, specifically, about lust, not about love? I mean, you seem fine with extrapolating from the text to read something into it that isn’t there – yet you can’t seem to read something that is there. That’s the illogic we always see around this issue. I’d also encourage you to read Romans 2, while you’re at it, since it contains the conclusion of the thought begun in the first chapter.

    Anyway, the argument you’re making doesn’t make sense; gay people aren’t hurting anybody. We’re not committing incest, so that’s irrelevant.

  5. bls Says:

    Anyway, where is the demand that Akinola et al. repent? I continue to find it astounding that millions of gay people are asked to repent of their self-giving, faithful partnerships – yet a Bishop puts the prestige and good repute of the Church behind an effort to put innocent people in jail, and not a word is spoken against him.

    What kind of religion is that?

  6. foolmusings Says:

    The incest reference was only to illustrate that love within a relationship does not give that relationship merit. I do not want to compare homosexuality to incest.

    I am afraid that the point of Romans 1:26-27 is neither about lust nor love, but about unnatural and natural relationships – which are a consequence of suppressing the truth of God. It speaks nothing of the quality within said relationships, but merely the relationships themselves. And I submit that Romans two is the logical conclusion of Romans 1 (that God is the only one who has the right to judge) but that does not negate that Paul is listing (in Romans 1) sinful activities. Paul uses other words like:

    “evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless”

    Do we say it is ok to be a God-hater because Paul’s real point is in the next chapter?

    Lastly, do you know what the cultural situation is in Nigeria? That currently if under a Muslim court a practising homosexual could be given the death penalty? So, If Akinola is pushing for a 5 years sentance, is that not looking out for those people? And again, your use of the word innocent is based on your theological ideas about homosexuality, which are neither shared by Akinola or the population of Nigeria as a whole.

    I do not mean to attack you, Unfortunately being as gracious as I ought would take far too many words, and you wouldn’t even want to read my response. So I apologize for any harshness that comes through my response.


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