10/19/2004

The Windsor Change (or As The Anglican World Turns)

Anastasia asked where I stand on this whole Windsor report/Anglican schism deal. Ask a 2 cent question, here's the 5 cent answer.

The short answer is in the middle. This isn't a particularly comfortable place to be.

As I wrote before, my views have changed considerably over the past 15 years or so regarding the role of gays and lesbians in the church. On the other hand I also believe that the liberal arm of the Episcopal Church has acted heavy handedly over the past 30 years or so, and that they can't really be surprised that the rest of the world is pissed at them.

I see some curious parallels with the Iraq war (stay with me here.)

a) ECUSA liberals saw a need, even a mandate, to be fair to the gay community in the church.
b) George Bush saw a need to free the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein.

Both are noble goals.

a) ECUSA discovered that the rest of the Anglican Communion would not approve the ordination of gays (especially to the Episcopate) and would drag out the process as long as possible.
b) George Bush knew the UN would not approve unilateral military action and would drag out the process of intervention as long as possible.

Both were frustrated by the rest of the world "not getting it".

Both acted precipitately because they wanted what they wanted NOW rather than do the hard work of building consensus.

So interestingly, liberals would generally approve of the former and abhor the latter, while conservatives would do the reverse. I see it as a case of both parties seeing the end justifying the means, and both are wrong, and now both are having to deal with the consequences.

Sticking just with the ECUSA theme now, I do believe that if gay people are to be allowed full participation in the church then it should be just that - full participation. The critical piece is in determining whether being homosexual and acting on it, even in a monogamous way, is a sin. If it is, then unrepentant sinning cannot be condoned in leaders. But what if it isn't?...

And here is the crux of the matter - Biblical interpretation. To the literalists and traditionalists, there is no turning away from millennia of condemnation of homosexuality in any form. The increasing acceptance of it in Western society today is to them simply an indication of the moral decay of the world, rather than a new revelation about human sexuality.

However, to those open to the possibility of continuing revelation from God, and a more contextual, less literal view of scripture, the possibility of a monogamous, loving, same sex relationship not being sinful is real.

I find myself leaning to the latter camp. I'm not a literalist and I refuse to believe that God revealed truth to us 2,000 years ago and then stopped. The work of the Holy Spirit continues within us today, and God's purpose (I believe) is not to help us keep following the old rules like some kind of robot operating system.

In the Anglican church we believe that God gave us brains for a reason and to reason, which is manifested in Richard Hooker's model of the three legged stool of scripture, tradition and reason.

Face it - the people of New Testament times still thought the earth was flat, that it was at the center of the universe and everything revolved around it. We've burned people at the stake for saying it ain't so. We have learned and unlearned an incredible amount about the universe, the physical world, our bodies and our minds in 2,000 years. Ideas of how the world works have been overturned numerous times.

Is it so hard to believe that while there are some fundamental (in the true sense of the word) truths to the spiritual life revealed in the bible, there was and is still just as much to discover in the spiritual realm as the physical?

Comments:
thanks for replying.

I have to respect someone who can admit that, at the time the NT was written, it authors would not have condoned homosexuality in any form, even if that person proceeds to make an argument I don't buy. :)

Cheers,

Anastasia.
 
I'm pretty sure I know what Paul would have thought about homosexuality (two references), but he wasn't a fan of sex in any form.

As for other NT authors? None of them mention it, so who knows?

What did Jesus say?
What's in the gospels?

Maybe that's a whole other post.
 
if you think jesus, paul and the other NT authors are likely in total disagreement, I don't know what to tell you.

if you think paul was completely against sex, i don't know what to tell you.
 
Jesus was a NT author? Haven't read that version of the Bible.

As for Paul, 1 Cor 7 32ff is hardly a ringing endorsement of marriage.

And I didn't say they were all agreed, but apart from Paul's mentions in passing, the NT is really quite silent about homosexuality.

Unless there are many "hidden" stories you know of, but not even the most avidly fundie books I've read use more than the traditional 7 passages for their scriptural doctrine on homosexuality.
 
Don't be obnoxious.
 
Obnoxious?

I'm not the one making smartass remarks on someone else's blog.

If you'd care to elaborate on any of your snide comments, feel free. If you have something to say, say it, don't dance around with snide remarks. I've tried figuring out where you're coming from from your blog, but to be honest I really can't.

You say Moltmann's obscure and unreadable? Ditto for you, I'm afraid.
 
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