Friday, January 12, 2007

Another Reporter Gets It


[Palm Beach] The cat is out of the bag. It is about sex, after all.

The breakaway parishes in the Episcopal Church make all the right noises about their struggle for theological orthodoxy, biblical purity and traditional Anglican values.

Cut through all the verbiage, and their issue is sex, specifically homosexuality in the church's leadership, with a side order of bias against women.

The clergy in Truro Church and Falls Church in northern Virginia led their flocks out of the American Episcopal Church last month. In an extraordinary expression of self-righteousness, they aligned themselves with the Anglican Church of Nigeria and created a jurisdictional nightmare.

They joined a renegade mission of the Nigerian church called the Convocation of Anglicans in North America that now boasts 21 parishes, according to The New York Times.

The group is under the insensitive direction of Nigerian bishop Peter Akinola, who reads Scripture literally and claims it says what he wants it to say. He equates gay leadership in the church with "a satanic attack."

Akinola supports a bill in Nigeria that would make any public expression of homosexual activity a crime punishable by five years in prison.

He wants to bring his prejudices to this country. To that end, he has consecrated an American priest, MartynMinns, rector of the Truro Church, to be a bishop in the Convocation. Minns will work under the authority of his Nigerian master in the vineyard of the American Episcopal Church.

That is the height of ecclesiastical arrogance borne of mind-numbing hubris. Bishops of different jurisdictions do not muck about in another bishop's territory, but this sanctimonious crowd observes no such niceties. They alone, they claim, know the truth and read Scripture accurately.

The great danger in all this — apart from the disgraceful treatment of homosexuals — is the growing power of bigots to use the Bible to condemn those who are different. Christians have long done that against Jews, blacks and women.

They use their religion "as a fig leaf to cover their naked prejudice," said the Rev. Peter Gomes, preacher to Harvard University who is a black, Republican, Baptist, gay minister.

His simple presence would make Bishop Akinola and his American minions apoplectic. His words condemn them.

Steve Gushee
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 12, 2007


Jake said...

A good summation of the situation. I'm going to have to lift this one!

Bill said...

"Cut through all the verbiage, and their issue is sex, specifically homosexuality in the church's leadership, with a side order of bias against women."

I would rather suggest that the 'orthodox' (not renegade -which of course carries with the negative connotation intended) are very aware that they should have been speaking out about the issues that have led to this crisis 40-50 years ago when the Episcopal Church of America began to move in a significantly revisionist direction. They didn't (but they have, belatedly) begin to react rather than remain, except for a small number of voices, ignorant or complacent.

The 'verbiage' meantioned by the reporter comes down to a growing rejection of the Episcopal Church's departure from traditional Christianity. The Church's new leader +Schori has clearly and on several occasions articulated this departure from core Christian doctrine. Examples of these include +Schori's admission that she doesn't believe that Jesus is no more than one way to God; that he is on a par with other pathways such as Buddhism. Another example is her clearly stated uncertainty that there is an afterlife and a belief that Jesus himself was not focussed on it during his ministry on earth. A third example would be that God's great command to us is to feed the hungry, heal the sick, help those in need when Jesus made it very clear that the Great Commandment was to spread the great news of salvation and atonement for our sins through Jesus Christ through His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection. Feeding the hungry, etc is of huge importance and for each Christian should be evidenced in his/her life.

A percentage of the 'disaffected' are against WO and the vast majority are against the view that homosexual activity is not sinful but sex is not the central issue at all and I am sorry that this reporter sees the dissipation of core Christian beliefs as mere 'verbiage'. Sexual issues are only the issues that have finally woken the orthodox, traditional, reasserter believers up to the problems in the Episcopal Church.

Finally, the orthodox may be in the minority in the Episcopal Church but they are representative of a very solid and overwhelming majority of the members of the Anglican Communion.

rags said...

Steve Gushee is a retired Episcopal priest. He is a former dean of the Cathedral in Hartford Ct.
He served as a reporter for the Palm Beach Post for 4 years and has been a weekly columnist on ethics and religion there for 10 years. He is also the moderator of a program called "Viewpoint" on Miami Public Television.