Thursday, June 29, 2006

Speaking of Covenants ...

Inclusive Church weighs in on the Archbishop of Canterbury's "The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today." (If you're not familiar with our Inclusive Church friends "across the pond" you should be!)

Inclusive Church is grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury for his reaffirmation of the breadth and diversity of the Anglican tradition.

His recognition of this fundamental principle and mark of Anglicanism - the catholic, reformed and liberal strands of the Communion - offer a sound basis for our journey forward together.

But we have profound concerns about the process of agreeing any Covenant. The quick response of some of the more conservative parts of the Communion indicates that they see a Covenant more as an instrument of division than an instrument of unity.

The terms and wording of any document will need to “renew our positive appreciation of the possibilities of our heritage” in the Archbishop’s words. A Covenant must therefore give value to the strands in our tradition, not excluding reason from our theological method but finding a new way of expressing the Anglican approach to the faith in today’s world.

If we are to approach the process of agreeing a Covenant with honesty and integrity we must as Provinces and local churches be willing to be open about our own present situations. Many provinces have practices which other parts of the Communion may not support. For example, the blessing of same-gender relationships happens regularly in this Province even if not officially acknowledged. There are ongoing issues around the world over the tacit acceptance of lay presidency and polygamy.

The possibility of a two-tier Communion should not therefore be seized upon as a way to exclude those who support the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church. The Church of England is in various ways very similar to the Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada and many of us would hope to strengthen our links in the future. It is likely that any wording designed to exclude TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada would also exclude the Church of England.

We are also uncertain whether a Covenant would affect the unilateral activities the Windsor report hoped to end – for example the election by the Province of Nigeria of Revd Martyn Minns as bishop for a missionary initiative in North America.

We have serious concerns about the way a Covenant might be applied locally in the future. Proposals before the Church of England’s General Synod for the ordination of women as bishops are specifically designed to avoid parallel jurisdictions. How can we reconcile that with the proposal to have “constituent” and “associate” members of the Communion? Is there not potential for division even at Deanery level?

Ultimately we believe that we are already brought together by the covenant of Baptism. An Anglican Covenant, to reaffirm the bonds of unity for our Communion, will have to reflect the essential inclusiveness of the Baptismal Covenant.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know it's only a typo, but it's a significan one when you say ***If you're not familiar with our Inclusive Church fiends "across the pond" you should be!***

I don't think that these friends are fiends...

revsusan said...

ooops!

Rodsberg said...

"An Anglican Covenant, to reaffirm the bonds of unity for our Communion, will have to reflect the essential inclusiveness of the Baptismal Covenant."

Exactly right. This is our baptismal theology at work.

Anonymous said...

IMO, one of the most effective ways to maintain one's integrity in the current turmoil is to call one's adversary to the same standards s/he requires of us, and not to shrink from the same behaviors they regard as righteous. Wave doctrinal matters in our face? Wave them back, ask for a review whether polygamy should be permitted in the AC. Appoint missionaries in our dioceses? Install a few of our own, answerable to our own Primate. If it's righteous for ++Akinola, it's righteous for ++Schori.

Anonymous said...

I have been greatly puzzled by the continued reference to the Baptismal covenant and how it relates to this issue. Could you please enlighten me?

It seems from this and other pieces where I have met it that the assumption is that once one is baptised, that nothing can ever mean that you leave a right relationship with God. And that doesn't make sense to me. Not only do we have Jesus's parables like the Sower and the Seed where the ones on stony ground wither and die after a short period of growth not to mention salt losing its saltiness etc, but we have specific examples in the epistles of member (presumably baptised ones) being put out of the fellowship for their behaviour eg Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim 1:19, 20); Phygellus and Hermogenes (2 Tim 1:15); Demas (2 Tim 4:10).

So it seems to me that all these references to the baptismal covenant must imply a different understanding of baptism from what I know. And I would be interested to understand it better

tony said...

If our baptismal theology is not in accord with the New Testament, it is not Christian. Our baptismal theology, if it is not a reflection of biblical theology, it is not Christian. If our inclusiveness ignores the boundaries of faithful living given by God in Scripture, it is not Christian. These are some of the reasons why the Windsor Report has suggested a way for ecusa to reenter full communion with the rest of the AC. Obviously, ecusa is more interested in a baptismal theology that is not Christian than any identification with a Christian communion.

John Gibson said...

"If our baptismal theology is not in accord with the New Testament, it is not Christian. Our baptismal theology, if it is not a reflection of biblical theology, it is not Christian. If our inclusiveness ignores the boundaries of faithful living given by God in Scripture, it is not Christian."

It's great that our baptismal theology and our inclusiveness are in accord with the New Testament, reflect Biblical theology, and respect the boundaries of faithful living given by God in Scripture then, isn't it!

Anonymous said...

Give points for creativity, at least, for the idea that the Anglican Communion should be united by the eccentric interpretation of baptism that ECUSA invented in the late 1970s.

Anonymous said...

The Exodus of Brokeback Moses

(In which an Episcopal bishop is visited by a committee
of newly-awakened laity not long after the General Convention of 2006)

“I thought the people in the pews
Would understand my brilliant views!
You Scripture types are filled with hate.”

“Sorry, bishop, it’s too late.”

“But I’m blazing new terrain!
Bursting the bonds of gay oppression!”

“In reality the only gain
Is in disease and in depression.
Like Ahab searching for the whale
Or Percival searching for the Holy Grail
Each gay is doing all he can
To find that mythical faithful man.”

“But I really think I have the answer!”

“By raising rates of anal cancer?”

“But it’s like a rescue from King Cyrus!”

“You gave them papilloma virus.
Only one percent of gays
Is over sixty-five
How can you call it liberation,
When folks just aren’t alive?”

“But I graced them with my erudition!”

“Sorry, tonight’s your last rendition.”

“But really now, I carried their load!”

“Sorry, bishop, hit the road.”

“But I’m a prophet and you’re uptight,
This is not what one supposes!”

“It’s obvious we’ve got it right
And you’re not exactly Moses.”

Anonymous said...

Susan, I have to say, I am very heartened to read of your anxiety regarding the Covenant which will be formulated soon. I wish you would outline for all, your EXACT concerns with it.


And, Anon, awesome poem! How true, how true.

Lorian said...

Why is it that conservatives who hate gays (and especially those who write snide, dehumanizing, "poetic" fag jokes) continually ignore the existence of lesbians?

Such persons are fond of asserting that gays suffer from a variety of diseases, may have a decreased life expectancy, or might have an unfaithful partner. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that there are many, many examples of gay men in covenantal relationships, who are no more likely to suffer STDs or die prematurely than straight men of their age and fitness level; and leaving aside, also, the millions and millions of straight people who suffer from a wide variety of STDs (including papilloma virus, and its resulting cervical or anal cancers), who are unfaithful to their spouses and partners, who are promiscuous, and who suffer decreased life expectancies as a result of these behaviors; I must ask, what of the many, many lesbians in long-term, committed relationships?

You joke about gay men, all the while pretending that lesbians do not exist. Are you aware that lesbians (even those who are sexually active and not in committed relationships) have among the lowest risks for almost every type of sexually transmitted disease? If "disease" and "decreased life expectancy" are God's "punishments" for homosexual behavior, why did God see fit to exclude lesbians from these "punishments?"

Look around you for a moment. Everywhere you go you will find happy, healthy, aging lesbian couples (and singles). We admittedly have trouble getting through adolescence without feeling suicidal because of the hatred and prejudice we encounter from the homophobic society around us, but once we figure out what's important in life (sharing our lives with the person we love), and learn to tune out the criticism, hatred and snide "witticisms" of people like the anonymous poster of 3:25 PM, we do extremely well on the whole.

Incidentally, while our straight women counterparts frequently suffer from the unfaithful behavior of their husbands (because such behavior arguably seems biologically pervasive in the male of the species), many, many of us live in committed, monogamous relationships that last a lifetime.

RMF said...

Thanks for the breath of fresh air from realityland, lorian.

Peace!

Peter Barbey said...

Lorian,

Finally, I read a post here that makes honest sense, but not in the way you intended. As the saying goes, "the exception proves the rule" your post in fact coincides with the orthodox point.

Lesbian and gay male behavior is out of sync with Natural Order. Live with the science.. Its realityland.

Same sex partnered guys get more than average diseases. Same sex women partners get less. The reasons are obvious. But the reasons are not my point.

My point is scientifically, and theologically, if mankind were truely, harmoniously same sexual, it would not be unbalanced. Nature would have adapted or, as I believe God would have allowed the harmoious adaptation to evolve to allow bothe sexes to pick a same sex partner with the same results in contracted diseases and such.

Instead we see same sexual men suffer. In many cases horribly.

Notice their suffering, and seriously, and I mean it seriously, have more empathy, rather than noticing, pridefully, how much better of you are living in the "same sex paradigm" as woman.

Anonymous said...

Hey folks

I know you want to bicker but actually my question about the baptismal covenant stuff was real. I want to know what it means -- I want to understand. Please someone can you explain it to me.

Mike in Texas said...

In case anyone wonder about why the right wing extremists are so obsessed about sexual activity, I think the following quote from one of their own, the notorious Paul Cameron, offers a great deal of insight.

Cameron told Rolling Stone magazine in a March 1999 interview that "Marital sex tends toward the boring," he said. "Generally, it doesn't deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does." If all one seeks is an orgasm, he said, "the evidence is that men do a better job on men, and women on women. Homosexuality," he said, "seems too powerful to resist."

Apparently they're afraid gays are having a better time than they are.

The Pilgrim said...

Anonymous said . . .
"IMO, one of the most effective ways to maintain one's integrity in the current turmoil is to call one's adversary to the same standards s/he requires of us, and not to shrink from the same behaviors they regard as righteous. Wave doctrinal matters in our face? Wave them back, ask for a review whether polygamy should be permitted in the AC. Appoint missionaries in our dioceses? Install a few of our own, answerable to our own Primate."

I do not see the African Church embracing polygamy, nor do I see the African church saying that polygamists are not engaging in sinful behaviour. I do not hear the African Primates saying that it is fine and Godly for polygamists in "covenantal, committed relationships" to remain in those relationships, and I definitely do NOT see the African church writing "A Polygamous Blessing" for people in polygamous relationships. How many polygamous, or "polygamous friendly" Bishops has the African Church consecrated in the last few years, and how many pro-polygamous measures has the African church passed in their conventions in the last decade? If the African church were actively engaged in promoting polygamy as a Godly way of life, you might have an argument but as it stands, you don't.

Anonymous said...

"many of us live in committed, monogamous relationships that last a lifetime" -- Lorian

Avg. length of lesbian lifetime (according to one study, anyway): 47 years.

John Gibson said...

"Why is it that conservatives who hate gays (and especially those who write snide, dehumanizing, "poetic" fag jokes) continually ignore the existence of lesbians?"

That's easy. Most of the ones who are speaking out are straight, white, men and they find lesbians a turn-on.

Lorian said...

Peter Barbey, that's just silly. You are taking the consequences of promiscuity (regardless of sexual orientation) and ascribing them to sexual orientation, itself. The fact is, regardless of gender, the "recipient" of sexual intercourse suffers far more risks than the "donor." It's just basic, biological reality.

Therefore, women who engage in promiscuous heterosexual behavior suffer far greater risks of STDs than their male heterosexual counterparts, all other factors being equal. Are you prepared to say that this is nature's "judgment" against heterosexuality? Or against women? Silly.

You say, "My point is scientifically, and theologically, if mankind were truely, harmoniously same sexual, it would not be unbalanced. Nature would have adapted or, as I believe God would have allowed the harmoious adaptation to evolve to allow bothe sexes to pick a same sex partner with the same results in contracted diseases and such." So, by your reasoning, scientifically and theologically, if mankind were truly, harmoniously heterosexual, it would not be unbalanced. Nature would have adapted, or, as you believe, God would have allowed the harmonious adaptation to evolve to allow both sexes to pick an opposite-gendered partner with the same results in contracted diseases and such. Right?

[tongue-in-cheek-mode]Surely this constitutes God's (and nature's) "judgment" against heterosexuality, and the female end of it, in particular. Wouldn't you agree?[/tongue-in-cheek-mode]

Lorian said...

Anonymous 9:02AM:
"Avg. length of lesbian lifetime (according to one study, anyway): 47 years."


Anonymous, please name and quote your study and give links or references. You can't possibly expect to be taken seriously when you throw out random (and patently ridiculous) numbers with absolutely no backup.

Lorian said...

Pilgrim, I don't know if you are aware, but polygamy has been a major issue in the relationships within the Anglican Communion with African churches in particular. Several of the African churches have been reluctant to accept a complete ban of polygamy within the church, as it is an accepted practice in many African cultures, and some of the wealthiest men in some parts of Africa are polygamists.

If one were particularly cynical, one might almost think that the recent focus on the ECUSA and the topic of homosexuality could be a welcome relief to some of the African churches and their bishops, in shifting the primary focus away from the sexual practices of Africans to those in other parts of the world.

Personally, I don't think we have any business dictating cultural sexual norms to the churches in Africa, particularly considering that polygamy was acceptable through most of Biblical history, as well.

Lorian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The Mattachine Society, the earliest of the "gay rights" organizations, gathered together a representative group of homosexuals for Evelyn Hooker to study in her highly influential 1950s study. The oldest of the 30 subjects was 50, the next oldest was 44, and the median age was 33.

In the early 1960s, Berger attempted to draw a sampling of elderly homosexuals, but had to begin his scale at 40 years and only 34 of 112 were over the age of 59.

From 1969 through 1970, the Kinsey Institute surveyed homosexuals in San Francisco. Although they recruited respondents in eight different catagories, only 23% of male homosexuals and only 18% of lesbians were over the age of 45, despite the fact that the investigators tried for 25% from this age group. Their initial decision to draw only a quarter of their sampling from homosexuals over 45 indicates they already knew the problem existed, and they ended up omitting figures on age distribution from their report.

In 1977, the largest survey of homosexuals reported 0.2% of lesbians and 0.8% of homosexual males were age 65 or older.

The Spada Report: The Newest Survey of Gay Male Sexuality, in 1978, reported the median age was 30, with only 2.5% over age 65. J. Spada was openly homosexual and polled 1,022 male homosexuals by mail.

An openly lesbian M. Mendola, in 1979, polled 405 homosexuals by mail. The median age of those polled was 34, and only 10% were 50 or over. Source: The Mendola Report: A New Look at Gay Couples.

Lorian said...

Anonymous, thanks for the clarification. You still have not offered backup for your assertion that the average lesbian life expectancy is 47.

The fact is, none of the studies you reference in any way demonstrates that lesbians or gay men suffer a decreased life expectancy simply as the result of homosexual behavior. All that the studies demonstrate is that it has been in the past exceptionally difficult to find older persons who were openly homosexual and willing to respond to surveys and studies about their orientation. Even the studies which allowed respondents to answer anonymously by mail are dependent upon actually being able to locate the targeted study participants.

Studies which examine the homosexual population often draw their samples from places where gay people congregate, such as gay and lesbian centers, bars, gay political organizations, etc.

Historically, most gays have remained "closeted." Only in the past 30-40 years have gays become safe and comfortable enough to be confidently open about their homosexual orientation. Therefore, the younger a gay person is, generally, the more likely that he or she will open about his/her orientation, and therefore be willing and able to be found by researchers and to answer surveys about homosexuality honestly.

Additionally, most social and political organizations for gays and lesbians appeal primarily to younger people. The aims of the social organizations are generally things like assisting with coming-out issues, helping singles meet other singles, etc.

These are generally not the concerns of older gays and lesbians, many of whom are settled in committed relationships, and involved in their own lives, the rearing of their children, their careers, saving for retirement (the same types of concerns and issues as straight people of their age group, in other words). Many simply don't have time or engergy for political involvement, social clubs, going out to gay venues, and so forth.

Take me, for instance. I'm approaching 45 (two more months). I have twin daughters who will be turning 5 in 2.5 weeks. My partner and I run a business together. We have a house in the burbs, two cars, a mortgage, a variety of pets, and the usual sorts of activities and involvements that go along with all the above. We don't live in a "gay mecca" area -- far from it, in fact. We live in an average neighborhood where none of our neighbors are gay. We don't go to gay bars, nor do we have time to be involved in the gay political and religious organizations we were involved in back in our 20's and 30's before we had kids. I haven't set foot in a Gay and Lesbian Center in years, and haven't attended a gay parade or festival since my kids were born. I don't have time or money to go to Melissa Etheridge concerts, Women's Music Festivals or Kate Clinton performances. Basically, my only contact with the gay community is online, and that only when I swipe the time away from other activities (laundry, dishes, ironing...).

So, if anyone is conducting studies looking for aging (however gracefully...) lesbians, I'm not likely to hear about it. It's not like there is a national database that researchers can access to look for me and others like me. If I don't subscribe to a gay or lesbian publication (which I don't anymore, since I don't have time to read them), or drop in at a gay venue, I simply won't be aware that a study is being conducted.

So, I'm not surprised that researchers haven't found a great many study participants in their 40's, 50's, 60's and above. Our priorities are often elsewhere. But that doesn't mean that we are no longer gay or lesbian, nor does it mean that we are dead! It just means that researchers need to find better methods for accessing the community, or wait another 30 years or so before attempting to draw conclusions about gay and lesbian longevity. The study results are simply not valid as proof of diminished longevity (most were not even conducted for that purpose, but were co-opted by hostile groups and misrepresented for their own purposes).

It's similar to the "studies" in the 19th and early 20th century which concluded that gays and lesbians were mentally ill, which studies were based upon sample populations drawn exclusively from among gays and lesbians who had sought or been remanded to psychiatric treatment. If one studies a population of straight schizophrenics, and finds that all of the straight people participating in the study are, in fact, schizophrenic, one cannot extrapolate based upon the study results that all straight people are schizophrenic.

In short, your presentation of these studies as "proof" that gays and lesbians suffer limited longevity is completely and utterly unscientific nonsense.

Anonymous said...

As early as 1858, G. Tardieu reported on the age distribution of males imprisoned in France for sodomy. Of the 216 whose ages were given,with the age range from under 15 to 69, there was a median age of under 25. Futhermore, if you eliminated all under 18, the median age rises to almost 40.

In 1914, M. Hirschfeld reported on German males convicted of involvement in sodomy. The age distribution ranged from under 15 to over 50, with the median of 24 years. Since "over 50" was the last category, we cannot determine just how many, if any, attained the age of 65. But only 9 % were over 50.

In the late 1930s and 1940s, Kinsey and his investigators spent more than 12 years seeking out and interviewing homosexuals. Because Kinsey and his colleagues were regarded as sexual liberators, homosexuals were eager to volunteer for his study. There is no reason to believe that his sample was not representative of all age groups available. Yet fewer than 1% of his homosexuals, male as well as female, were over the age of 65.

From the mid 1970s' to the early 1980s, interest in Gay Bowel Syndrome, sexually transmitted diseases, and hepatitis B generated a number of samples of the homosexual population.

- From 1977 through 1979, 102 homosexuals case histories were collected in Seattle and the oldest was 58.

- In 1979, 101 homosexuals who belonged to a group restricted to those over 40 was reported, and only 21 were over age 65.

- Also in 1979, 5,324 homosexual visitors to Denver's STD clinic had a median age of 27, a mean age of 28.5 and the oldest was 67.

- In 1982, only one of 103 homosexuals examined in San Francisco was over the age of 65.

In 1994, an obituary study revealed that the median age of death for homosexual males was 42 and for lesbians was 49. Source: Cameron, Playfair, Wellum, " The Longevity of Homosexuals: Before and After the AIDS Epidemic, " Omega Journal of Death and Dying," 1994.

(All the PhDs had a field day lambasting the author of that as regarding methodological rigor, but you have to be dedicated to denial not to see that it was the most obvious common sense.)

Anonymous said...

Well, I won't wait around for another answer, but I'll tell you about my personal study, which you have helped me with. Its purpose is to answer two questions:

1. If you offer statistics or evidence of any kind on gay health or life expectancy on a site like this, what percentage of the times will you get a reply that refutes it strenuously? Ans.: 100%

2. What percentage of the time will you get statistics or any other kind of evidence showing the contrary of what is being shown?
Ans.: 0%

The answer is always the 3 D's -- delusion, deception, and denial.

Lorian said...

Anonymous:

You still have failed to prove your point. The fact that studies have not located older gay people to include in their sample population in no way proves the non-existence of older gay people.

First, consider that the majority of "studies" you have referenced were conducted during a period of time when homosexuality was still a criminal offense in many states. The only people likely to volunteer for such studies under such conditions are mainly younger people , not settled, older folks with careers and families on the line.

Times are changing. There will be more and more valid studies conducted over the next few decades.

If you want to see data that is more valid, look for census data. Even there, admission is voluntary, and many people, particularly older people, will remain closeted. Reporting one's sexual orientation to the government can be a bit intimidating. But more and more gays and lesbians are realizing the importance of standing up and being counted.

Keep in mind that the US Census only began counting gay couples in 1990, and in that census, their methodology was severely flawed. The 2000 census gave better data, and I'm sure 2010 will provide even better insights.

The census only counts gays as members of unmarried partnership households, so even here, data is lacking, but the 2000 census showed that the average age of male homosexuals in partnerships was 43.5 for men and 42.8 for women. The median age group for heterosexual married persons was between 35-44 years, and the median age of the population at large was 35.3 years.

Now, notice that 43.2 is the median age for persons in homosexual couple households (43.2 is the average between lesbians and gay men). Are you seriously claiming that we are all going to keel over and die within the next 5 years?

Seriously, anonymous, your reasoning, your studies, and your interpretation of data is terribly flawed. Consult with any respected statistician, and you will find that the concepts you are presenting are laughable.

By the way, the last study you quoted is absolutely useless. It is a non-scientific survey by Paul Cameron, a well-known antigay crusader and "researcher" who, in 1984, was dismissed from membership in the American Psychological Association for conducting fraudulent research, and was then, in 1985, found by a federal judge to have engaged in "fraud" and "misrepresentation" in his testimony in the Baker v. Wade case in Texas.

In his "study," in an "attempt" to determine the average lifespan of homosexuals, Cameron's methodology involved collecting obituaries from local newspapers, deciding which of the deceased were gay, and tallying their ages. Clearly this methodology is spurious. If a given locality posts obituaries of a number of 30-year-old women, does that mean that 30 is the average life expectancy of women? Of course not. In order to determine life expectancies, one must sample the living population. That Cameron would even attempt to pass off such an asinine collection of useless numbers as an academic study is ridiculous at best; malevolent might be a better term. The fact that you quote him as a source for your arguments merely discredits you.

http://www.gaydemographics.org/USA/USA_A_Z.htm

http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFPeople?_event=&geo_id=01000US&_geoContext=01000US&_street=&_county=&_cityTown=&_state=&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010&_submenuId=people_2&ds_name=null&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null®=null%3Anull&_keyword=&_industry=

http://www.ralliance.org/Cameron.html

Anonymous said...

It is with a heavy heart that I have to conclude that the the whole talk about "baptismal covenant" is just a way of trying to sound grand when you really mean nothing, since not one of you can actually explain it to an interested and willing to listen newcomer.

Lorian said...

Anonymous of 9:09pm/3:42am/8:08pm:

I don't think anyone is particularly trying to ignore you. Speaking for myself, I simply feel that Susan's comments are self-explanatory. OUr baptismal covenant commits us “to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and to respect the worth and dignity of every human being.” The sacrament of baptism is open to all who believe. How, then, can we tell an individual that he or she, while a recipient of baptism, is unworthy to participate as a full member in the Body of Christ?

A good example is the ordination of women. If women are not worthy (or cannot be made worthy by the redeeming love of God) to serve as priests, deacons, bishops or in other ministerial roles, how and why do we offer women "full" participation in baptism? Does not baptism make each of us members of the same Body? Why, then, would some members be "more worthy" to serve than other members?

Certainly, as Paul said, we all have different roles: some are the hands, the feet, the eyes, and so forth. But there should be nothing inherent in one's very personhood that relegates some members of the body to second-class status and denies them participation in some aspects of Body membership simply based upon who they are.

As I understand it, Anon, this is the meaning of the inclusiveness of the baptismal covenant.

The following quote from one of the Resolutions of GC 2006 says it well, I think:

"and be it further Resolved, That Baptismal equality is understood as the welcoming of all baptized persons into the Body of Christ, where all are included equally, and the grace and gifts bestowed by God in this this sacrament are recognized and fully utilized."

Anonymous said...

Lorian

Thank you so much for your reply. It was helpful but didn't quite answer my question.

The way the term Baptismal Covenant is used both in this post and others where I have seen it used, is to suggest that baptism is all that is needed to enable someone to do whatever role they wanted in the church (eg take communion, be a priest, bishop or presiding bishop). My point was that there are cases in the New Testament when baptised believers (presumably since baptism goes right the way back to the ethiopian (sp?)eunich) were subsequently put out of the church, and denied even fellowship with the believers (let alone being raised to bishop status etc)

So you see far from being always inclusive always, sometimes being baptised was linked to exclusion.

Can you reconcile this for me? It feels like an important point given the frequency with which the Baptismal covenant is cited.

Lorian said...

Anonymous,

I hear and understand your issue, and I'll answer to the best of my ability, despite the fact that I'm fairly certain your interest is much more invested that merely that of a curious and confused "newcomer."

Certainly, the church has denied sacraments and positions of service to those who, although baptized, commit grave sins and refuse to amend them.

That does not apply in this case, however. Being gay is not a sin. Living in a committed, covenantal relationship with a person of one's own gender, if one is homosexually oriented, is every bit as holy, as sacred and as representative of Christ's love for the Church as two heterosexual people marrying.

That being the case, to offer baptism to openly gay persons but then to deny them access to other sacraments, offices and blessings of the church because they are somehow not quite as good as other baptized members of the Body is patently a denial of the baptismal covenant, “to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and to respect the worth and dignity of every human being.”