Wednesday, February 21, 2007

TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON

An Open Letter from Bishop Steven Charleston
(written to the community of the Episcopal Divinity School)

You'll want to read it all here ... but to get you started:

To everything there is a season. This is our season to make a witness to justice. I hope all of you will stand with me in doing this with integrity, honesty and dedication. Millions of our GLBT brothers and sisters around the world, both those who can speak openly of their lives and those who must hide for fear of their lives, deserve our visible and unequivocal support.

Enough is enough. It is time to make our intentions clear, come what may. I pray that you will help EDS carry that message to every corner of the Church, in humility and with an open mind, but carry it with a resolve that will not bend under pressure or falter under threats. This church is either truly open to all, or it is closed to the Spirit. We either stand for what we know is just and embrace our GLBT members, or we stand aside as justice is denied. There is no easy way out of this choice. There is only a gospel way forward. This school intends to walk forward and we are prepared for the fact that many may not want to walk with us. If the Anglican Communion must separate over this fundamental issue of human rights, then so be it. To everything there is a season. Perhaps this is the season for the growth of the gospel in truth and in love in ways that we could never have imagined.

11 comments:

joe omar gonzales said...

You, my sisters and brothers, have my support, I no longer will live in the closet, I have nothing to lose at this point in my life. I love God and I know God loves all of us. Peace

Bill Carroll said...

Good for Steven. It's nice to have another bishop who gets it. His analysis of Empire's attempt to divide oppressed lgbt's from oppressed in the Third World remains powerful. At this point, the Anglican Communion is quite possibly history and it probably should be. Bigotry is no foundation for a missionary organization. We need to build strong alliances and bilateral relationships of full communion to combat the real agenda of the money behind the schism. We can continue to work with those who disagree with us, so long as they don't impose a litmus test.

Jim Strader said...

I admire +Steven with the highest degree of respect. I know, as an EDS graduate ('03) that he cares for people and he is a public advocate for justice, mercy and compassion. He has been, despite obstacles, a "witness" of what is good and holy.

Robert said...

"You know that many of us applaud the attention that was given to the Millennium Development Goals"

Count me as one who is not clapping. It is bizarre to the extreme how KJS has made the MDGs as her centerpiece. Why would a leader of any Christian organization adopt the goals of an atheistic organization like the UN? As Christians we are certainly called to serve the poor. But there is a stark difference between a Christian missionary and a Peace Corps volunteer. How about adopting the RCMDGs (revised Christian MDGs) which begin with the great commission then has the 8 MDGs and end with the great commission?

What if we took all of Bill Gates money and gave it to the poor, eliminating their poverty? "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

KJS's heart is in the MDGs thereby reducing the TEC to just another NGO. My heart is into "preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ." Serving the poor is good, serving the poor and bringing them the good news of Christ Jesus is infinitely better.

hal weiner said...

I think it is time to rethink the word " communion ". It is not we who are not " in communion " with the Anglican Communion. They are welcome at our table. They are not excluded, nor is a sexual litmus test required to take the host, as they would impose upon us. Never mind the legalities of whether or not the PB has the authority to cede " oversight " in whole or in part to a " vicar " who will preside over exclusionary parishes and dioceses and make them feel good. They can always join the National Rennaissance Party where they will find like minded people who mourn the death of Hitler rather than the death of Jesus. I am tired of placating the Anti-Christ and don't feel called upon by any " via media " pleading to do so. As the founding General Counsel of the Gay Activists Alliance in the 1970s I have had 40 years of dealing with the Peter Akinolas of this world and let me tell you that playing Lord Chamberlain to their Hitler will get you the same results as Great Britain got in World War II. The Blitz. You are seeing their first missiles overhead now. I am a proud Episcopalian( fairly newly minted). Did I make a mistake? Should I have gone with the United Church of Christ, or another denomination who puts its money where its mouth should be, on the side of inclusion?

Pfalz prophet said...

++KJS has interpreted the communique from Dar es Salaam as an invitation to TEC to experience a season of fasting from blessing same-sex unions and ordaining gays and lesbians.

Can someone here with more understanding explain fasting for me, in the traditional sense. What do we forego, and why? How do we benefit, grow spiritually, from fasting? Is anyone injured by our fasting, are others' lives affected when we fast? And is not a season of fasting of a limited duration? I would be almost enthusiastic about embracing ++KJS' analogy if her concept were limited to, say, forty days and forty nights.

My own limited understanding of fasting places it in the category of deep introspection, of making a personal sacrifice of something pleasurable so that when it is restored, I can place it in the correct order: IOW, to remove idolatry from my life. Martinis. Ribeye steaks. March Madness.

How is the act of denying God's blessing to two people, or ordaining someone, idolatrous?

Paige said...

Why would a leader of any Christian organization adopt the goals of an atheistic organization like the UN?

The bigger question is "Why did it take a secular organization to come up with this list of items to be addressed."

Robert---if you can't understand why the MDGs are PROFOUNDLY Christian--and how addressing them IS a powerful witness to the love of Christ---I weep at your understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God can use whatever vehicle He chooses to get our attention. If you choose to close your eyes to the MDGs just because the came from the UN (more accurately, from the 190+ nations that make up the UN), then you are limiting the power of God to work His will.

I would suggest that He will not be pleased by this.

Padre Wayne said...

Indeed, Paige, indeed and amen. Robert, your comment is so off-the-wall as to be laughable -- if it weren't so deadly (literally) serious. The difference between TEC supporting MDGs and the UN doing the same (which it is only talking about) is that we do it in the name of Christ, the One who told us to. Jesus didn't say how or through what medium or vehicle, he just said "Do it." (Way before Nike, the dark side of capitalism.)

RonF said...

What if we took all of Bill Gates money and gave it to the poor, eliminating their poverty? "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

If you took all of Bill Gates' money it would do nothing for his soul. The challenge for you would be to convince him to give his money away himself. Jesus never took a dime from anyone; he sought to convince them to give their money away. Something that Bill is starting to do, BTW.

Anonymous said...

As we embark on our respective Lenten journeys, I think it is important that we continue to look inward as we engage those who we have deep disagreements with in the Anglican Communion. As an All Saints, Pasadena member, I must remind myself that the exclusionist, racists, sexists and bigots are also welcome at our table. We must search deep and partner with the Spirit to overcome arrogance and elitism lest we risk loosing the moral ground and gospel message we ascribe to. I wonder if we invited the African Primates, bishops and priest from around the world, who disagree with us, to join us Sunday morning at All Saints, how they would be greeted. Would we boo and hiss at their introduction? Do we boo and hiss in our hearts? I must confess that this may be where my heart would leap and I am ashamed. Who ever you are and wherever you fall on this debate, we must recognize our Sin. I was taught that Sin is anything that keeps you from being closer to God. At what point do our passion, point of view and rhetoric become Sin? When do our voices become shrill? At what point to be do we become exclusionist in our elitism?

At all costs I hope those who embrace inclusiveness will temper their language when engaging in this dialogue. Maybe it is simply time to agree to disagree and move on with our collective wounded hearts. At the end of the day, it is my opinion that we redirect the energy wrapped up in institutional church politics and reach out to those who need our help the most, the starving, the poor and the needy.

For all of you out there who are on the opposite side of this issue, please know you are sincerely welcome to join us in communion whenever. Together we can look to Jesus for comfort for our wounded hearts

May God Bless us All.

Marcus

Robert said...

To paige, etc.

Perhaps you don't read the news. May I remind you of the oil for food scandal, Libya being chairman of the united nations human rights council (the same country currently holding 5 Bulgarian nurses under the death penalty for trumped up charges of infected kids with HIV). How about the UN soldiers in Haiti raping children with the thought they would be less likely to get HIV (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6195830.stm)

I travel the world going on medical missions, doing surgeries on kids with facial deformities. I have been with secular groups as well as Christian groups. The difference is stark. With the secular groups, the emphasis is on "me", doing good works to feel good about oneself. With the Christian groups, the emphasis is on Him.

What I condemn is KJS, by emphasizing the MDGs, takes the great commission out of the TEC mission.