Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bless His Heart!

Jeff Martinhauk has taken time to offer a response to Leander Harding's reflections on General Convention 2006, "Do I understand what you are saying?"

I commend it to you ... read it here.

And thanks, Jeff!


Beyond Reconciliation said...

Kudos for this!! Good job in trying to explain what they really don't want explained and refuse to hear. They NEED voices like yours, patient and tolerant, and willing to engage in dialogue. And better you than me!:) You are my hero, Jeff!

Renee in Ohio said...

Yes, thank you Jeff. And thank you Susan, and everyone else who manages to do something that is not in my skill set or aligned well with my temperament, and thoughtfully answers those sorts of questions.

I'm still listening, a bit at a time, to the interview Katharine Jefferts Schori did with Diane Rehm. Toward the end, a caller mentioned that Katharine had talked about authorizing a rite for blessing same sex unions--that one hadn't yet been authorized, but that she thought one should be. He asked, essentially, if you're standing in as proxy for God in a sacrament, how do you know God would approve of this the way He approves of a marriage between a man and a woman?

I liked that she compared it to any "traditional" marriage a priest might officiate, saying that the priest has to use his or her best judgement in knowing whether that couple is capable of a sacramental marriage, and that the priest prays that they are.

More reflections on that

Hiram said...

I have read Dr Harding's article and a good bit of Jeff Martinhauk's reply. The two articles show me a vast gap. As a "reasserter," Dr Harding's article really rang true as the message I keep hearing from the reappraisers.

But Jeff (whom I really respect as a clear writer and a patient soul) does not think that Dr Hardings summary is what the reappraiser position is. All I can say is that Dr Harding's article sums up what reasserters hear, and if you want us to hear you more clearly, you had better say something different.

I can tell from a number of "conversations" in the comments section that we are operating under thoroughly different sets of assumptions. Someone once said that America and Britain are "two nations separated by a common language." It seems to be true of the two camps in ECUSA (and the mainlines as a whole).

Anonymous said...

I finally feel validated in my great voyage into the self, its all about ME!!!!

Catherine + said...

Jeff is my hero too!

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Hiram -

I agree with much of what is being said in the blogosphere, including your post, that it is an apples and oranges conversation.

I have done my best to describe the difference and try to describe the taste of the orange to those who say that they can only taste apples.

I've just added a few comments to reiterate this; but I do think that the problem at hand is a serious one.

There is a "leap of faith" that is required in the inclusionary theology calling us to a level of trust that runs deep into the soul.

My experience of the reasserter position is that trust does not run deep, but instead that the theology and spirituality relies on a different kind of experience with God- primarily the experience that others have had through the revelation of Scripture. I'm not making a value judgement about that- just an observation.

It is difficult to bridge this divide. How do we reach any conclusion when one position inherently believes in a living God, an active God which wants us to focus on relationship with him and trust him, when the other position focuses not on the relational aspect but the non-relational, rule-based, judgemental aspect?

They are, in fact, two different languages.

I believe there can be a translation between them. But it requires patience. It requires tolerance. It requires a willingness to stay at the table. It requires that the conversation be de-politicized. It cannot happen with closed minds on either side. It insists that we all have a genuine interest in the whole of God's creation- including those on the opposite side of the fence from us.

That is not happening.

Martha G. said...

Dear Jeff,

I'm not clear about the etiquette of the blog universe, but Leander has written an Open letter asking for response, you have written a thoughtful response in a very public sphere,but have not responded to Leander himself openly. On behalf of my dear colleague and the conversation (if such a thing is possible given the highly divergent world views?)I have indicated your post at both Leander's site and Kendall Harmons. May I say, he is a most humble and prayerful man. I am trusting you did not mean to imply otherwise in your post.

Lorian said...

I grew up (as probably most of us did) hearing again and again the story of Little Red Riding Hood. By the time most of us reach adolescence, we have an ingrained image in our minds of wolves as ravening, malevolent, hateful creatures, bent solely upon the endless pursuit of hunting down, savaging and consuming innocent human beings.

Then, of course, I began to learn more about wolves -- the REAL wolves. Ancestors of my goofy pet dog, Floppy, wolves are pack animals, who live in highly structured social groups which function according to a clearly defined hierarchy. They rarely interact with humans by choice. Their God-given function in the order of Creation is to thin the herds, to remove the sick, the weak, the injured, the genetically inferior, so that herds of browsing and grazing animals with thrive, be healthy and strong, and will not over-consume their feeding areas.

Wolves are beautiful, intelligent, strong, hardy creatures whose existence is necessary to a balanced and healthy ecosystem.

Our childhood experience of wolves, however, inhibits our ability to understand these concepts. It takes work, study, and the willingness to open our minds and think past our ingrained prejudice to begin to see wolves as they truly are, as God made them. If our minds are closed, if our prejudices stand rigid, we will simply see wolves as evil, predatory pests, and will strive to eliminate them from our environment.

It's difficult to open our minds and look past our childhood indoctrination. But the effort is well worth the cost, and is an important part of growing up.

When people seem to be speaking two different languages about a particular subject and cannot come to a meeting of the minds, I think often the problem is that one side or the other is stuck in a childhood pattern of indoctrination and cannot open their minds enough to look at things from a more realistic and adult point of view.

GL+ said...

Sometimes I think we forget that this whole "mess" we find ourselves in began with the issue of what it means to be "in communion" with a much larger - i.e. catholic (universal) - Christian body.

The Windsor Report did NOT say we should NEVER ordain same-sex partnered persons. It did say that we got the cart before the horse, so to speak. It said that we might have waited until there was a more "common consensus" among those (to include us) with whom we share a common heritage & beliefs.

"A more common consensus" would not necessarily have included everyone, but would have given us the needed prophetic voice in the universal church, the church catholic.

Because of this, the conversation has now degenerated into one in which our gay/lesbian brothers & sisters are feeling a need to defend their personhood, their very worth as beings before God. This ought never be as all of us are imago Dei.

Because of this "cart before the horse," independence-declaring action we have also caused each other to develop a "bunker mentality." Just look at the number of posts online that use warlike terms to define the issues & actions. (On ALL sides of the issues.)

I rather imagine that God may not be too happy with any of us at this moment.

val said...

Look, the party is over yet the band plays on. Get over it, all that is left is senseless bickering.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

Martha G. -

I did post a response on Dr. Harding's blog; my comment is pending moderation.

Dr. Harding commented on my blog this morning; I have responded and also asked him to approve my comment on his blog.


RudigerVT said...

Harding and his ilk may, indeed, be prayerful. But these late-to-the-game, let-me-see-if-I've-got-this-right summations are, for me, not about their praying but rather about their reading. Can they? Do they? Have they?

Jeff has given generously of his time, and the results are exactly the expected: those who agreed with Harding's position to begin with find Jeff's response sorely lacking, and are now picking it apart.

We who agree with Jeff find it a convincing, coherent restatement of things that have long been out there, but with the added bonus of a fearless personal witness.

It really boils down to this: I see where you're coming from. I disagree.

People on both sides of this rancorous debate could probably say such a thing, and probably should. But, finally, it is about this. There are those who seek to proscribe my response to God's call because I am gay (and just STOP IT with the whole 'being gay vs. acting on it' nonsense).

I (and God?) are supposed to wait around for some critical mass of you to get over it? This is laughable. When we're talking about the ECUSA, then it's the preference of the noisy aggrieved minority, to whom the majority must bow. So then, since that didn't work, the dissenting splinter drafts the likes of Anikola, exploiting them as representative of the millions who belong to the churches they lead.

Now, supposedly, it's the work of progressive and inclusive Episcopalians to either wait for their consent, or to get on the task of persuading them (them being an unclear group, other than they're the Others).

It's rigged, pointless, and beside the point. I'll die long before that happens, and that seems to be the real point: keep the progressives busy. Wear us out. Kill us off. So why in the hell should I even begin? Why do I have this sick feeling that, having done it (somehow: miracles DO happen), then my adversaries will have identified some intergalactic Anglican element, and I must first gain THEIR consent as well.

I’ve got better things to do.

val said...

It is over---

---Go in peace

Renee in Ohio said...

At work yesterday I was talking about the whole Episcopal/Anglican kerfuffle, and a couple of my coworkers found it amusing that the Anglican church, which is known for having split from the Catholic church in the first place over "issues of human sexuality" is supposedly heading for schism over such issues now. I need to read more about the cultural issues behind all of this so that I understand it better. But I agree with Katharine Jefferts Schori that we need to get back to the business of mission too...

+KJS recently did an interview with Diane Rehm on NPR, and I've transcribed some of it. In the most recent segment I've posted, Diane Rehm asked Katharine Jefferts Schori if she feels able to speak out on political issues, or if she is restrained in some way.

Katharine Jefferts Schori: I've made major statements about the Federal Budget the last time around, and on immigration issues. The church has a voice to contribute to the conversation, and I think it's essential that we do so. Obviously, if we're a nonprofit organization, we can't promote one particular candidate or one particular political initiative. But we have a responsibility as Christians to express our moral understanding of the implications of actions of Congress, and our government, and I think we need to do more of that work probably than less.
I think the work around Millennium Development Goals has been a politically motivated initiative in the large sense of what that word "politics" means. I understand it as the art of living together in community. We are called to transform the world around us as Christians, into something that looks more like the reign of God. And the last time I checked, I don't think the hungry are all being fed, I don't think the ill people are all being provided with healthcare. We have work to do.
More here.

Luiz Coelho said...

I have found Jeff's comments very deep and intelligent.

As an "outsider", but with much interest in this talk, I just feel that some extremists are trying to forcibly detach the most valuable pearl of the Episcopal Church (and Anglicanism in general): the freedom of thought.

These "uniform ideas" are so anti-Anglican...

vera said...

The Unitarian Universalist Church welcomes you.

Social Work, Free Thinking Spirituality, Inclusive Consenting Folk.

Come to the table or sit on the floor.
Leave your dead white male biblical prejudices at the door.

Anonymous said...

"I have found Jeff's comments very deep and intelligent."

I missed that. He generally ducks the questions, doesn't he? In his response to Leander Harding, for instance, he does not really address the fact that psycho-sexual formation happens as a result of some interplay betweeen nature and nurture (or whatver phrase one wants to use to talk about real forces and factors in the world!) but just dismisses Harding. He has, apparently, no theological background or any signs of discipline in his thought. So I just don't know why anyone would find him compelling.

said the spider to the fly said...


Dr.Harding did a brilliant job in his post.
You took the bait hook line and sinker and led your self by the nose down the garden path out the gate and into the Unitarian Universalist Church as Vera points out in her post.

John Gibson said...

"the fact that psycho-sexual formation happens as a result of some interplay betweeen nature and nurture "

Not a fact.

Anonymous said...

So, Josh, let's break this down. Are you saying that there is no such thing as psycho-sexual formation? Or, that there is no psychosexual formation due to . . .real causes? Are you saying there is no such thing as psychosexual identity(ties)? Or that, if there are,they are not caused by anything? Please explain.

And the Band Played On said...


nick cummings phd, past president of the APA, and spizler MD ( who lead the change in the DSM 2 re homosex in 1974) have published multiple studies and books that prove homosex is a nature /nurture issues and in fact often a lifesyle choice that can be changed.

They also prove that the political hysteria around this issue by homosexual zealots in the APA has seriously harmed the scientific credibility of that body and behavioral science in general.
Read the peer reviewed science as I am sure Dr. Harding has.

John Gibson said...

"nick cummings phd, past president of the APA, and spizler MD "

You are familiar with what the APA has to say about this, I assume.

"Read the peer reviewed science as I am sure Dr. Harding has. "

I don't think Harding would know peer-reviewed science if it hit him in the face.

But I have had lots of people tell me about "leaving the life with the help of Jesus" as we were putting on our clothes again.

band plays on said...


I am sure you feel your pain. do not try to inflict it on others

"The Unitarian Universalist Church welcomes you" you have a home there

go in peace into the dark night and do not listen to reason any more

The Pilgrim said...

". . . the Anglican church, which is known for having split from the Catholic church in the first place over "issues of human sexuality". . ."

That would be false.

Renee in Ohio said...

Listening to a new interview with Katharine Jefferts Schori. Found out about it here.

John Gibson said...

"I am sure you feel your pain."

See what you get for assuming things about people about whom you know nothing! Pull your head out of your a** and you'll see I'm just fine! I'm not the one who is telling others his sexuality is right and theirs is wrong.

Mike Watson said...

Anyone who regards the multiple statements of the American Psychological Association cited by Mr. Martinhauk as grounded in science rather than political correctness should consider _Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm_, edited by Rogers H. Wright and Nicolas A. Cummings.

Both editors are distinguished psychologists. Dr. Cummings is a former president of the American Psychological Association (APA) as well as its Divisions 12 (Clinical Psychology) and 29 (Psychotherapy). Dr. Wright is also a past president of APA Division 12.

Glenn Reynolds (the Instapundit) and his wife Dr. Helen Smith have an interview with Dr. Cummings in which Dr. Cummings discusses this book. The interview may be accessed directly or as a podcast at

See also the review by Dr. A. Dean Byrd at

yet the band played on said...


Great post,

I believe you have the final word focussing on the facts and the evidence. Well done!!!!

Jeff Martinhauk said...

As I think I have mentioned, there are clear outliers from the American Psychiatric Association's position and the American Psychological Association's position.

Backing both of those association's positions are the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.

As I have stated on my blog, I believe most reasonable readers will understand that there are outliers. The references cited here are some of those. Outliers do not, in fact, prove science. You can still find outliers that do not believe in evolution despite the clear-cut scientific facts to support the conclusion.

Instead, reasonable readers will deduce that the number of medical associations taking anti-homophobic stances on this issue speaks for itself. Outliers will remain, just as they do for evolution.

I am sure, would we look hard enough, that we could find a scientist that would still tell us that the earth is flat.


vicki said...

Jeff, I’d challenge you to a battle of wits, but you appear to be unarmed!

You are wrong theologically.
You are not a theologian.
You are wrong scientifically.
You are not a scientist.
Your only arguments are political -christophobia-bibliophobia
Political arguments a resolved in the ballot box.
You are a political activist.
I presume that is why Doctor Harding
disengaged. He is both a scientist and a theologian
Good luck
Go in Peace

Mike Watson said...

Mr. Martinhauk,

In my post to which you replied I mentioned a book, a podcast interview with one of its author-editors and a review of the book, as some things that could usefully be examined by anyone who believes that your statements (other than trivial ones about which there is no disagreement) attributed to the American Psychological Association represent science rather than politics. Other than referring to the credentials of the book's editors, I didn't expand on this because I think reasonable conclusions are not that difficult to form and I thought it adequate simply to put these sources out there for those who might care to examine them.

In response you simply characterize views presented in the sources I cite, without specifying what they are, as "outliers," to be contrasted with "the number of medical associations taking anti-homophobic stances on this issue," which "speaks for itself."

In your response to my parallel post on your own blog, you add that I should pray to God for an answer other than the one I want to hear and to open my eyes where I am blind.

I will only add that anyone who thinks you are presenting arguments that have anything to do with science or the methods of science isn't likely to find the sources I cite useful either.