Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Rev. John Kirkley: One That Got Away

As I reflect on the spiral of violence engulfing Palestine, Israel, and Lebanon, I am reminded of the many issues that the 2006 General Convention of the Episcopal Church failed to address. One that got away was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There were three resolutions on aspects of this issue that never made it to the floor of the House of Deputies: A011, A012, and A013. While these proposals were nothing terribly new or earth shattering, they would at least have afforded us an opportunity to speak a word of judgment and hope to the wider world.We were too busy ensuring that the two or three diocesan elections in which gay or lesbian nominees might stand a chance of being elected bishop were prevented from doing so. In essence, the half dozen or so gay or lesbian priests who are qualified, called, and willing to serve as bishop in our church were considered more of a threat to the world than the current debacle in the Middle East.Lions and tigers and gay bishops, oh my!Meanwhile, as the peace process in the Middle East is beset by an inferno of escalating retaliatory violence, the Episcopal Church dithers about whether or not it will be a "full" or "associate" member of a reconstituted and newly covenanted Anglican Communion - nine or ten years from now, if ever. And so Jesus continues to weep over Jerusalem - and the Gaza - and Southern Lebanon - and over a Church more concerned with its "purity" than with its mission: healing the world by reconciling all people to God and each other through Christ. Hat tip to happening-here, for keeping us focused on the needs of a suffering world, even as the Church continues to fold in on itself.


Renee in Ohio said...

Here in Ohio we have Ken Blackwell putting out an absolutely disgusting ad trying to get African American voters to vote against their best interests by holding up the same "values" issues. On the plus side, I guess that's what finally motivated us to do this bumper sticker.

Jeffrey Shy said...

Susan, I cannot agree more. Clearly, human rights of glbt persons are of significant importance, but it is frustrating that we cannot get by something in the Church that is so simple. It is no great wonder then that we have so little to say/do about these great global conflicts. We get so caught up in a argument about what we do with our genitals that we lose what seems to me to be the center of the Christian message---the power and promise of self-transforming and unconditional love. As we argue about so many things, I wonder if we could not make more progress if we (horrors!) take St. Paul's litmus test of "Love does no wrong to a neighbor" criterion and really act as if that is the guiding principle of all that we do.

Does a loving/nurturing homosexual relationship "do wrong to a neighbor?" I have a hard time thinking so. Then what more is there to argue about? We are so blinded by our dedication to using political and military power that we forget that the root of conflict, be it in the Middle East or elsewhere, is a failure to really love our "enemies." The obvious immediate correlate being that if we really love our enemies, then they can no longer be our enemies.

It is a shame that we cannot get by what should be a very simple conflict that we cannot say/do anything meaningful in terms of global issues. We are struggling so much to get the "log out" of our own eye, that we can do nothing to help the clarity of vision of others who are consumed by hate and violence.

Sorry, I didn't mean to "preach a sermon" in your living room. Perhaps I should have just "said AMEN?"

Jeffrey Shy
Mesa, Arziona

Phil said...

I respectfully disagree. Who we ordain and how we conduct our relations with other members of the Anglican Communion is our business and of interest to ECUSA members. What our opinion is on Israel-Palestine (let me guess: Israel is the bad guy, right?) is, I assure you, of interest to no more than a handful of people worldwide. I don't believe ECUSA has any remaining moral influence, and no statement by us will make any difference in that conflict.

inked said...

depends on your viewpoint, I suppose