Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nothing to do with "all" at all!

This just in via Episcopal Cafe:
The Anglican Communion needs to give the Lambeth Conference and the Primates’ Meeting a Conciliar authority in matters of faith and order, including the area of interpretation of the Scriptures. The principle of: ‘What affects all, should be decided by all’ is crucial to avoid further crisis.-- Archbishop Mouneer Anis
That would be the principle of "decided by all" that excludes priests, deacons and laity from the decision making process. A "decided by all" that under-represents women and excludes LGBT voices. In other words, a "decided by all" that has nothing to do with "all" at all!

The mind boggles.

35 comments:

Allen said...

I have heard Bishop Gene say on more than one occasion that he beleives we are witnessing the end of patriarchy. Brother Mouneer is demonstrating that patriarchy dies hard.

Martin T. said...

Not all women toe the line and not even all LGBT toe the line. Last time I checked, it wasn't just men that left for ACNA and other groups. The majority of LGBT scoff at the idea of religion because they know the truth. The know what scripture says about their lifestyle and they don't try to rationalize it. At least those LGBT have some integrity to either change or be a part of a secular club or something. As for what the bishop said, this wouldn't be necessary if people didn't try to revise everything. But what other option is left? They don't want to see the Anglican Communion destroyed. If it comes to having centralized control to save certain people from themselves, so be it.

RevMama said...

The good Archbishop needs to swim the Tiber. That's how they do things over there.

The mind boggles indeed!

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

+Anis demonstrates why we need "The Anglican Resistance Movement:"

We are Anglicans united in our commitment to the historic comprehensiveness of Anglicanism and in our resistance to "a process of excluding those Provinces of the Communion most committed to the visible inclusion of all Anglicans in the life of the Church.

This process and the proposed Anglican Covenant are not building unity, they are turning disagreement into institutionalised disunity - even inventing mechanisms of exclusion to facilitate the process."

uffda51 said...

Martin, you need to go to the blackboard and write 1000 times "Homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice."

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

My favorite quote on that subject was:

"Being opposed to homosexuality is like being opposed to gravity."

(I think I might have gotten it from you! :)

Paul (A.) said...

Obviously the good bishop has just made a simple typographical error: He meant to write "What affects all, should be decided by me".

A common error by some bishops.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Mark ... let's stick to commenting on the post, not the other posters. Thanks!

MarkBrunson said...

But you allow Martin's comments.

Do you think those aren't personal attacks against your readership?

I have been trying to get you to see that the things you're allowing him to say hurt us as much as the things I say worry you that I'm hurting him.

He's not making generalized comments - he's coming here to beat us up personally, because he knows who your readership is. Now that's fine - you can tell me you'll allow that, and I'm welcome to leave if I don't like it, but you need to understand what you're doing to the rest of us by doing so . . . you're putting his feelings of moral superiority above our psychological well-being.

JCF said...

The majority of LGBT scoff at the idea of religion because they know the truth.

This is increasingly true (in the developed world).

You agree with them then, that "the truth" is, there is no God? (Y'all make interesting bedfellows! O_o)

As for queer little me, however, I'm going to continue to follow/worship/eat the Nazarean Carpenter (Prince of Peace, and Lord of Love)

Martin T. said...

Sorry uffda, although it may be true that you can't help who you're attracted to, you sure can help what you do in response to that attraction.

tuxandtales said...

It is heartening to see that Archbishop Anis is so without guile. Someone else might have exactly the same agenda but hide it!

We hear this argument in secular politics when there is a party system and members of the government are "whipped" to vote with their party instead of with their consciences. In some cases we are grateful for it - such as when the party has adopted a moral stance on human rights which is not necessarily shared by all members.

I do think it is important that the church grapple with issues and reach consensus, but consensus that relies on exclusion and a refusal to have dialogue...well, that is a government that is likely to fail.

So if Lambeth fails, what is the message that needs to be heard?

Will the archbishops understand that it is not the rank and file, the people in the parishes who are seeing and responding to human need as Christ modeled, who are out of synch with the vision?

Our Anglican church lost quite a few people over one of these conferences. Some members of the congregation had been quite vocal about a church which would bless pets - people could bring their housepets to a service for blessing - but would not bless their loving committed human relationships if the genders didn't fit the majority model. The church basically said it was a matter for Lambeth - and then the conference pulled back from doing anything for fear it would disrupt the union.

How valuable is the union if the integrity of the union is more about the politics of keeping together than about seeking the will of God?

I no longer attend an Anglican church. I support an inner city United church that works hard to bring some measure of comfort and hope to those in need, regardless of their beliefs. A church that welcomes everyone who is thirsty in spirit. A church that is fortunate to be in a country where people of the same sex can partake in the sacrament of marriage - and I am so thankful it happened in my lifetime.

It is a great testament to their faith that so many people continue to work inside the Anglican communion to achieve equality. They are to be commended. But with statements like that of the Archbishop, you have to wonder if it might not be best to quietly shut the sacristy door and tiptoe away to let the Anglican church die the slow death of irrelevance.

IT said...

Martin T, thank you for making your feelings crystal clear. May I summarize? "LGBT people should get the hell out of church and go to hell."

Got it. Noted.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Mark ... I hear what you're saying.

And ...

There is a difference between the ignornant, homophobic vitriol applied against a whole category of people we get from Martin and his friends and the ad honinem attack against an individual human being created in the image of God who our baptismal convenant calls us to "respect the dignity of" even when they are unrepentantly ignorant.

Martin T is "Exhibit A" of those in our churches and our culture who are so convinced they have sole possession of the Absolute Truth that nothing -- it seems -- will shake them from their certitude.

Why I allow his comments ... WHEN I allow his comments (some of them get deleted) ... is that I think we who advocate for inclusion need to [a] be aware of the arguments being used against us [b] have a chance to practice responding to those arguments in order to improve them and [c] model how it's possible to provide respectful dialogue across differences EVEN when someone does not grant you, your relationship or your vocation the respect, authenticity or blessedness it deserves.

It isn't always easy -- Lord knows it's easier to lash out. But as MLK said and I believe: "Let no man pull you low enough to hate him."

Hope that answers your question. God Bless!

Martin T. said...

No IT, I can't make that call. I don't have the authority, just like the Church doesn't have the authority to bless anything that wasn't ordained by God to be blessed. I'm not the one trying to make up commandments. "He will come again to judge the living and the dead"...not Martin.

Martin T. said...

JCF, you grossly misunderstood me and that is an understatement. They know the truth of scripture, so they stay away or create their own communities like the MCC. The truth of scripture, JCF. They didn't try to rewrite history. Those people have integrity. They didn't hijack His Church to make themselves feel relevant. Honestly, the LGBTs have a better chance of secular equality if they keep the Christian faith (the revised one) out of the conversation. You guys won't win that war.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

We're good on that part, Martin.

We're just not willing to reduce the Living Word to the "literal words" of God.

I you want to be part of a "sola scriptura" church then go join one. Lord knows there are plenty of them. The Episcopal Church just isn't one of 'em. Hasn't ever been. God willing, never will be.

Martin T. said...

See that's the issue. When it comes down to it, it isn't about His Church at all. It's about making people accept the way you run your life as valid. No matter what happens in the next two, three, four or five General Conventions, no one will have to accept the way you live your life and call it holy. I don't think anyone would dare to call for such a resolution even if it will dare (and I already know it's coming, just not as fast as you would like) to call to change marriage as it was set in creation. It should be no surprise what I and millions of other Christians believe about this. Is it really going to serve anyone well to close your eyes and ears and say "lalala I can't hear you"? I'm not hurt by anything that anyone says here or outside. If you truly believe you are right, you shouldn't be hurt because someone disagrees with you or doesn't think your lifestyle is "authentic". Yes Susan, we are all created in His image, but it doesn't give us a free pass to do what we "feel" instead of what is commanded of us, and that is to love, honor, and obey Him and His law. I already know this is only going to get worse, yet I still remain, hoping that some bishops, priests, deacons and laity realize that we have made some grave errors as a Church. I too have a question for you Susan, why is only one part of the Baptismal Covenant mentioned by you, almost as if it is a weapon against those millions who feel as I do? What exactly does "respect the dignity" mean to you? Oh, and please stop calling me homophobic,Susan. I'm not afraid of you or any other homosexual.

Martin T. said...

And what you are telling me Susan isn't any better than me telling homosexuals to join the MCC. I think I'll stay put at my home like I'm sure you'll remain at your parish.

tuxandtales said...

Somewhere in my house I have a button that was given to me years ago. It said (and I am paraphrasing, so forgive me if it is not exactly correct) that "the Bible contains 27 admonitions related to homosexuality and 316 related to heterosexuality. It isn't that God loves heterosexuals less; only that they need more watching."
People who talk about what homosexuals DO as the problem never apply the same logic to heterosexuals. All of the vices possible for homosexuals are still possible for heterosexuals (and practiced by them) - but do we then refuse to allow heterosexuals in the church? If we were to apply the judgment logic of the revisionists (usually referred to as fundamentalists) then the answer would have to be yes.

One of the ideas being floated by our former bishop was trying same-sex marriages on a trial basis, where the couples would be monitored to see if they were living the Christian life. Imagine proposing we do that with mixed-sex marriages! When they suggested it to me, I thought it was a terrific idea - but only if ALL couples were monitored. Then we could see who God blesses through the sacrament. Of course, this was not adopted - because it would be too offensive to the heterosexuals. Ah, yes - a different yardstick.

No-one who has studied the history of the Bible - how it was put together, which voices were omitted and why - can credibly claim it reflects the whole teachings of Jesus. So much weight to Paul, who was not a disciple, and no voice of the women who we know were crucial to the church as leaders. This was part of the revolution we see in what was left to us even after those voices were silenced: Jesus treated women as people.

I have lost patience with the people who keep talking about things such as the Biblical definition of marriage. Usually they are thinking of it as one man and one woman - but that was certainly not the norm in the Bible. These people who treat the repressive attitudes of the past 200 years as if they are faithful to Scripture - let alone faithful to Jesus' actual teachings - these people are the revisionists. What we see in the pro-inclusion movement is a return to the founding principles of the church as Christ envisioned it.

Martin T. said...

I never said that the same standards shouldn't apply to everyone. There isn't a heterosexual bible or a homosexual bible is there?? One Lord,One Faith,One Baptism. The Laws by Him are made for all.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

NOW we're getting somewhere! That's exactly what the Episcopal Church has said: the same standards of holiness exist for relationships that rise to the level of being being blessed by the Church because they manifest the "fruits of the Spirit" of being blessed by God: "we expect such relationships will be characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God."

Same standards.
For all couples.
Values that transcend orientation. And let the people say "AMEN." (Which they already did in Denver in 2000 resolution D039; Minneapolis in 2003 in resolution
C051 and again in Anaheim in C056.)

Martin T. said...

But like most including myself, believes the GC is in error in regards to homosexual relationships. That isn't a matter of doctrine. I don't have to toe that line to be a member of this Church. Thank God.

tuxandtales said...

And by the way, when I was in Thessaloniki a few years ago (one of the cradles of the early church) I went to the White Tower museum, which had just opened. There was an entire floor devoted to religion etc. Meticulously researched. I chuckled, because the historic texts show that the church - yes, the Christian church - performed marriages and unions for same-sex couples. That's right - the Church had no problems with that in the years closer to Jesus' teachings. Then the practice was ordered discontinued by the Romans. So if the fundamentalists truly want to get back to the original Word and practices of the church, they should be supporting not only same-sex unions but the other rites and traditions of marriage which were part of the early church. If they are true believers in what they say they believe, they should be on the side of justice and faith: to support the struggle of same sex couples to have their rights to blessed unions restored. This is not about new rights or contravening the scripture - this is about restoring the rights that were taken away and returning the church to the vision of the Son of God.
In other words, I think I agree with Martin T on this point: the church should not be choosing who to bless on the basis of current whims. That means the church should not be choosing to bless only monogamous heterosexual unions - to do so is to deny the traditions of the early church, the people who were closest to the teachings of Christ. In other words, Martin T might might yet be able to have a Road to Damascus conversion experience where he realizes he has been persecuting the faithful unjustly and he becomes the staunch champion of the true and inclusive faith, working tirelessly to bring about God's realm! Hallelujah!

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Martin ... Exactly. You don't have to "toe that line." You also don't get to boot people out who agree with the General Convention decisions.

Just as nobody "forced" anybody to agree with the approval of the ordination of women in 1976 ... the LAST great schism that was going to split the church and end western civilization as we know it.

As Anglicans we have the DNA of comprehensiveness coursing in our veins ... just as our ancestors agreed-to-disagree about issues that other branches of the church were still burning each other at the stake over (transubstantiation, for example) we are going to come to different conclusions on human sexuality.

And still take commmunion together.

Except for those who exclude themselves because they don't like who else is on the guest list.

Which would be their problem.
Their loss.
Their cross to bear.

And now .. back to work.

Martin T. said...

Hey tux, what plural marriage exists in the New Testament? Of the 12 disciples that were married, did one of them have more than one wife? One more thing tux, NO one has a right to the sacraments, including matrimony. TEC could have very well denied me and my wife the sacrament if my priest wanted to. Why does everyone believe they are entitled to something? We aren't entitled to anything, not even today!

Martin T. said...

I'm just saying Susan, you don't think that you would have an easier time making arguments for your community in the secular world? Wouldn't it have been better to just have left the Church to itself?

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

No. No it wouldn't "have been better" to leave the Church to wallow in unexamined homophobia any more than our ancestors should have left it to wallow in unexamined sexism, racism, anti-Semitism ... add your ism.

What continues to astound me is that you presume to speak for "The Church" ... and yet reject the historic polity and process by which this church ... the Episcopal Church ... has understood the Holy Spirit to draw us into God's future.

This is the church of my birth, baptism, confirmation and ordination ... and of generations of my family before me. I'm not goin' anywhere.

Martin T. said...

Because "The Church" is more than hand chosen people voting in a convention. So yes, I reject it. And I'm staying put here too. It's still a great Church, despite what is happening to it.

tuxandtales said...

Actually, Martin, we don't know that any of them got married - so perhaps that means we should get rid of marriage entirely! But seriously, the only injunction referring to monogamy is in Timothy and refers to bishops and deacons only having one wife. Which infers that others were not under the same restriction. And you note that some branches of the Church have refused to acknowledge even that - Catholic bishops can't marry. Remember that Jesus said he did not come to replace the Hebrew laws - he did not comment on monogamy one way or another. The person who did that was Paul. Ah yes, Paul. The one who did not know Christ directly. And even then it was about who could fulfill what functions in the church - not about a blanket condemnation.

I'm not a priest. I am not even an Anglican/Episcopalian. I grew up in a fundamentalist household and then I went on to study the Bible at university. As a true fundamentalist, I view Paul's commentary and his "rules" - note that they were NOT God's or Jesus' - with quite a degree of suspicion. But then, those rules you are referring to were not for everyone - even in Paul's view. Only for those who wanted to hold office in the church hierarchy. He did not say other people couldn't continue to practice polygamy or same-sex unions.
It is an unfortunate thing that so many people in the church are not only ignorant of their faith but are so entrenched in their positions that they will look at an issue like this and swear that black is white. The Jewish tradition was not monogamy. The scriptures show us that God blessed people who were polygamous, who had sex with their servants, who cheated and lied. What mattered to God was their devotion to Him. And Jesus' harshest criticisms were for the people who claimed superior knowledge of the law/scripture but who behaved contrary to the spirit of God's word.
It's not an easy thing to discover the church has lied to you about what the Bible says, either directly or by simply staying quiet. I am not saying that we SHOULD be polygamous - although much of the world still allows polygamy (when I did the math last year, something like 300 MILLION people lived in countries where polygamy is legal, which is about 10 times the population of Canada). I am only saying that "Christians" who claim that the Bible defines marriage as one man and one woman are lying about their own scriptures. It's a point of fact.

JCF said...

don't think that you would have an easier time making arguments for your community in the secular world? Wouldn't it have been better to just have left the Church to itself?

[Addressing your question to Susan, @ myself]

I was raised in this church, and formed in Christ here. I pray in the Episcopal Church. I "read, mark, learn and inwardly digest" the Scriptures here. I eat God-in-Christ here. Why would I leave it? Who is this "itself" of TEC you refer to, Martin T.? Did realizing that God made me LGBT mean I had suddenly found myself outside of it? Would falling in love (w/ someone of my same sex) mean I was now outside of it? Would loving someone of the same sex in a Christ-like fashion (sacrificing myself for my beloved) mean I was outside it (might as well sleep in late on Sundays)?

I honestly cannot understand your way of thinking.

Martin T. said...

tux, perhaps you should study the scriptures a little. Was the apostle Peter not married? I'm not Jewish, I'm not bound to their teaching. Everyone loves to dismiss Paul but Jesus Himself appeared to him, doesn't that mean anything to anyone??? JCF, if you act on those desires then yes, you are out of step with the OHCH. It's no bigger a sin than any other. Repentance is available to you should one choose to do so.

IT said...

As I pointed out above, Martin's argument is that LGBT should get out of the church.

And he clearly thinks LGBT are going to hell as unrepentant sinners.

he PRESUMES to know the mind of our hostess, and of his God.

Are we done here?

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

I think we're done here. Time to move on, girls and boys.

Anybody got some acolytes to train or shut-ins to visit?

JCF said...

Just want to close noting that while *I* said "loving someone of the same sex in a Christ-like fashion (sacrificing myself for my beloved)", Martin T immediately transposed that to "desires". QED.