Sunday, December 13, 2009

Q & A

Only a minute before I get swept up in "stirring it up" for the Third Sunday of Advent here at All Saints Church, but before I do I wanted to "elevate" this Q & A from the comment page on Friday's post.

Because I think it's important. And because I think it goes to the deeper roots of the hope and promise of this Advent season journey to Christmas Joy!



A couple of people have commented about the deletion of your comment on T19. But does it really make your heart sad? I'm serious. Really?

I sincerely wish both the progressive and conservative voices were more gracious toward each other. We are Christians afer all and the heat seeking missles I have seen fired over the past six years have been awful.

Given the resolutions passed at GC '09 and the recent episcopal elections, however, it seems the progressive agenda has overcome 2000 years of biblical supremacy and Church tradition. I'm genuinely surprised that it bothers you if an elf deletes a comment or two. Don't you know? You won.


Marcia ...

"Does it really make my heart sad?"



It does.

And it also makes my heart sad that you don't "get it." It really does.

I've had comments deleted before on other sites and deleted them here -- when they're off topic, polemic or commenting on comments rather than the original post. But this was different.

My post on T19 was yet-another good faith question from a cradle Episcopalian wondering where the via media we used to hold has gone ... and wondering if there mighten't be some grains of hope for new beginnings in what Andrew Carey posted.

I heard in his words a rather poignant longing -- one that I can't help wondering if doesn't have as much to do with the ghosts of British Empire past as it does with the present unraveling of the Anglican Communion as an institution.

As for who "won" -- this isn't a rugby match. For all that David Anderson famously said the reason he stayed in the Episcopal Church was "he likes a good fight" whether you believe it or not -- accept it or not -- understand it or not -- those who work for the full inclusion of all the baptized in the Body of Christ do so not because they like the fight but because they love the Gospel. And they want to share it with as many people as possible.

So yes, it makes my heart sad. Over the years Kendall Harmon and I have been on opposite sides of many issues and opposite microphones on many talk shows. And I prayed for him and his family when his mother died. And he prayed for me and mine when my son was in Iraq.

And it makes my heart sad that we're at the point where there is no longer a willingness to hear from or consider perspectives that differ.

People ask me ALL the time: Do you really want to be in the same church with "those people?" (the ones who stay because they like a good fight and use litigation to draw that fight out and who would exclude LGBT and/or women from all orders of ministry)

My answer -- honestly -- is not always. I'm only human, after all, and I weary of my life and relationship and vocation being "an issue."

But the more important answer is it is not MY church. Jesus is the one who makes the guest list and my job is to welcome in His name those who come seeking love, compassion, justice and mercy.

We've been at this a long time.

A refresher course is in the 2007 blog I wrote entitled "Story Time:"

We're more broken now that we were then. And yet there is abundant hope that just as that grain scattered on the hillside was made one in the broken bread -- so we as the Body of Christ might become one in spite of the broken institutional church.

And of all seasons, Advent is -- I believe -- the one to claim such hopes.

Advent Blessings, Susan


Cafe Observer said...

I think in general allowing commenters to reply to other commenters is good. It sorta feels a bit like a family/group discussion.

Of course, we don't want readers to lob personal attacks back & forth, but, well that just shows yet another reason why the Gospel is still needed now, as in the beginning.

"But the more important answer is it is not MY church. Jesus is the one who makes the guest list and my job is to welcome in His name those who come seeking love, compassion, justice and mercy."
You're Very True!

We all should try to make our faith the most important factor that brings us together, that makes us this or that, rather than our gender, politicial views, ethnicity, et al, the temporal things of this material world that pull us apart.

SCG said...

Very well-said, and I have been thinking much along the same lines in re: the place that we're in of fracture etc. It seems to me that, even as these times may seem more and more rife with dissent, and as some feel that somebody else has somehow "won", my sense of this particular Advent time is one where ALL of us are being asked to get prepared. If anybody is "winning", it's God.
This Sunday, we're asking God to "stir up your power". And I believe that is happening. I guess the question is, how ready are we all to be in this stew pot together?

Vintner said...

Hi, Susan.

Don't feel bad about T19 deleting your comments. I've noticed, especially of late, that the only comments that they and Stand Firm allow are those who disagree with them. Their hypocrisy has been noted by others, especially if you look at the blog "Banned at (or by) Stand Firm."

Only just recently, I had the badge of honor of being banned at Stand Firm because I didn't rush to the despondent side of Sarah Hey who was pining about the recent election in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. Because she asked what we could expect from this point, and because I opined that one thing we could expect to see was one of their conservative candidates making a ninth run, perhaps in KY, she banned me because a) she had no other snide rejoinder left in her arsenal; b) she finally admitted defeat; and/or c)her little stone bridges are falling down. However, there are many others rushing to her side so maybe she'll take comfort in their presence and maybe an Advil or two.

Vintner said...

Susan - if you would, please, change my original post to say that the only posts they allow are those that agree, not disagree, with them. Thank you! Long day.

susankay said...

But you did agree with Andrew Carey. People who are scared do reflexive-scared things. And so they deleted your comment that you AGREED with much of a post. And I too am saddened by and hurt for people who are afraid.

Soon we will be told: "Fear not" and the one thing I am sure it is right to pray for is freedom from fear. So when there is fear, I ache.

Vintner said...

When people like Matt Kennedy describe the newest bishop-elect of Upper South Carolina as "an agent of Hell", that is certainly the voice of fear speaking. The "man" who could not lead people out of a paper bag allows his fear, his insecurity, and his utter judgmentalness, so often masked in fear, to do his speaking for him. Face it. People of his fundamentalist "ilk" are scared...they are terrified to death...that God actually LOVES all people...that they will go to great lengths to protect their own bigoted, short-sighted beliefs. Incredible. I can hardly wait to see their contorted faces to find out that God loves ALL and not just them. I wonder how long their re-education will be.

Will said...

One thing I am trying (note: trying - not necessarily succeeding) when I get in a blinding rage with the political nonsense of it all is to take a few moments to try to envision sitting down with the object of my irritation and saying the Nicene Creed with them. Then pray the creed.

It helps me get back to where can we start together.

Marcia King said...

Hi Susan: Thank you for your very gracious response. I actually do understand and have never appreciated it when I post something to a progressive site and it doesn’t make the cut. I suppose I would like it less if the comment was actually deleted.

To the heart of the matter of winning or losing: perhaps that was a cavalier way of putting the heartache that I feel regarding this whole matter. You and the others who frequent this site won’t like what I have to say about this. Actually it is rare for me to even attempt to try to persuade or even voice my opinion on homosexuality in a blog. Generally I debate biblical points. However, I will make this exception since our discussion is now out of the comment section and “elevated” to a Q&A.

The issue is indeed a battle: it is a battle for souls.
I’m not talking about the 7 or 8 bible verses which condemn homosexual behavior (and yes, I have read explanations of these verses from our worthy opponents. Again, I’m not specifically referencing these verses.) Instead, my point is that the whole Counsel of God speaks to the relationship of men and women from beginning to end.

God intended men and women to be complementary to one another: emotionally and physically. We are built that way and the idea is extended throughout scripture. Although Jesus did not specifically condemn homosexual behavior, he endorses marriage between men and women in Cana, in his degrees about divorce (divorce was between men and women not same-sex)

Of course, God loves all people. Of course, Jesus welcomed all people, especially the marginalized. Of course, we should have justice and freedom from oppression. And of course things like that despicable bill proposed in Uganda are horrible. We all should be opposed to this type of legistated hate. Of course.

However, this does not mean we invite people into sexual sin, any type of sexual sin. The leadership of TEC has done just that.

Now, I know this comment will elicit either a fiery response or a yawn (oh THAT again) but TEC has capitulated almost completely to the LGBT agenda. Homosexual behavior is no greater sin that any other. We all sin in different ways and need forgiveness. But the LGBT leaders have told their constituents that it is not sin and no repentance is necessary. And that is why the conservatives jump up and down and wring their hands.

And so there are winners here and the losers are the people who believe what is being proclaimed as truth. They will never fully know the God of joyous transformational love who leads them to wholeness and redemption.

In the end, TEC will become increasing irrelevant.

So, why do I stay? As a missionary within my own denomination. To preach the Gospel of forgiveness, of wholeness, of restoration, of redemption, of transformation and yes, of the love of God for all people. As I write these words, I recognize I will convince no one on this site of this truth. But it is my hope that we will stay in conversation.

Advent Blessings and a holy waiting for our Lord and Savior to you as well. Please let me know the name of your son in Iraq and I will add his name to my list of soldiers for whom I pray safety and a hedge of protection.

Peace, Marcia

IT said...

The elfs' deletion of Susan's comment is because it is necessary to define the opposition as "the other", don't you think? Because if you agree with them on anything, if you have some common humanity, then maybe you aren't really a demonic agent of sin. And if you aren't THAT, then, well, all sorts of assumptions might go out the window. The conservative view, from my perspective, is based on far and exclusion; them, out there, versus us, in here. (True of politics in the greater world, as well). If you challenge their justification for that exclusion, the structure they have built might crack. Who knows what might come in when assurance is no longer assured.

So, while I disagree in every possible way with Marcia, I am glad you posted her comment. She thoughtfully explains why she will never consider GLBT people equals, regardless of the evidence of science or society. The inconsistency with how conservatives church-folk treat divorce, and with how some of them treat women, are familiar to all of us. The use of similar arguments against racial minorities, or inter-racial marriage, is familiar to us. Even left-handed people were once challenged on religious grounds. We needn't go into any of that yet again.

We all know that GLBT people are the ultimate outsiders, the ultimate THEM, to the religious conservatives. And if they have to admit that we are part of the exuberance of biological diversity, and perfectly "normal", then there's another crack in the assurance and structure they build against a changing and fear-filled world.

So I would ask my fellow GLBT here not lose your temper, or strike out with the hurt and injury that you feel in response to Marcia's comment. Sadly, I do not think you will ever persuade Marcia to change her viewpoint. And that is the problem: we are each completely certain that the other is wrong.

Still, despite the endless gloom-and-doom forecasts by the other side, the inclusive TEC parish my wife is joining (and me by marriage, I suppose) is growing and vibrant. I believe Susan's parish of All Saints-Pass is huge and growing. Seems to me the reports of the death of TEC are greatly exaggerated.

Just Me said...

"Conservatives" aren't "your" opposition. Not that it has anything to do with this post, but it would be less grating if the "opposition" to "progressives" was referred to as "libertarians" and the "opposition" to the far-left was referred to as the far-right. It's more accurate.

uffda51 said...

The Bible was written by men who considered wives to be property. They had as much understanding of human sexuality as they did of the Hubble Constant. Why should we make their ignorance about science be a benchmark for morality in the 21st century?

My responses tend to be fiery, rather than yawns, because of one particular lesbian friend of ours, for more than 50 years, who has always been the face of this issue for my wife and I.

What is revealing to me here today is that there are 17 comments on two different threads on the ramifications of the deletion of a positive comment on T19, but zero comments on the thread entitled “We Are Not Safe,” about the situation on the ground in Uganda. It’s not the atheists and the secular humanists who are helping to lead the “marginalizing” in Uganda, it’s our fellow Christians. What Marcia King says here about “truth” and “sin” and TEC being “irrelevant” is being preached in Uganda, amplified by members of the C Street “Family,” and others.

MarkBrunson said...

If relations and sexuality are only about complimentarity, then humanity is nothing but breeding stock, and a religion that reduces us to such is not worthy, nor is the "god" it worships.

It's about battling for souls for us, as well.

MarkBrunson said...

I'm sorry, but this outrages me and I can't let it go that easily.

How, how can someone possibly believe that they are saving souls by refusing to listen to what the people those souls are part of are telling you!

Look, I've seen the hideous warping, twisting, crushing effect that this "traditional teaching" has on gays and lesbians - in fact, I'm still paying for ever having listened to it!

Marcia King, let me tell you, just so you can't say you haven't been warned, that you are not liberating, but warping souls, torturing minds and bringing destruction on lives. How dare you sit there and cry crocodile tears - all of you fundamentalists - because we're so cruel and nasty and have "driven you out!" When? Seriously, when? You couldn't stay because, when we extended to you the benefit of the doubt, the willingness to allow you to teach your shattering, destructive way, you couldn't be in the same ecclesial structure with us - you had to keep yourself pure.

Well, you got what you wanted.

You won, Marcia. The problem is, you don't like the responsibility that comes with what you won! I am sorry for you, I really do pity you, because you suffer from your own actions - you've cast your bread upon the waters, and it has come back to you tenfold. I'm sorry that your own beliefs led you to this place of intractability and sheer terror of anything that seems ritual impurity to you. I'm sorry that you feel you've "lost" churches and property that you - allegedly - gave to God, yet still feel are yours.

I'm sorry for all of that, because you are human beings, but don't blame us, don't blame "The World" and don't blame God . . . you did it, Marcia. You won. You locked the gate from the inside.

Once again, as far as homosexuality goes, let me try to make clear to you how harmful, how abhorrent, and how absolutely unholy it is:

If you are right - and I don't deny the possibility that you are - then I would have no part in your faith, or the afterlife that waits, because I've lived under the teachings on sexual morality and "bioethics" you espouse and they have so damaged me, so crushed me down, that Hell would be no worse - the god that would do that to people he claims to love is a sociopath, a monster, a despot. Such a god would make eternity a wasteland. Such a god would have no understanding of the creatures he created. If I believed, as I once did, that you were right about sexuality, and the billions of other issues that are related to that, for it is not in a vacuum, then I would turn from that god, from any faith, as a simple proof that all existence was a cruel waste.

Do you understand now? Can you see what your teaching does to others, regardless of how good it makes you feel?

Do you care that you are pushing some people farther from God, or are they just casualties in your "battle?" Are they unimportant, so long as you get what you want?

Stop making it so black and white - faith versus secular agenda - you have no idea where our souls are, and very little what your teaching causes.

Just Me said...

wow; that last comment was "liberating"

I find it confusing how anybody can find anything about all of this a "win-lose" situation.

The anger escalates, the divisions expand, violence increases and the wheels on the bus go round-n-round.

Everybody is a victim; everybody is a bully; everybody is right; everybody is wrong; fa la la la la, ho ho ho, peace on earth & good will towards men.

Merry Christmas and God bless us everyone.