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Old 06-21-2006, 05:28 PM   #1
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Episcopal Church votes to curb gay bishops

[Q]By Jim Leckrone

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - The U.S. Episcopal Church, trying to appease an angry and alienated worldwide Anglican community, reversed itself on Wednesday and agreed to try to avoid the consecration of more openly gay bishops.

The action came 24 hours after one of two legislative bodies at the 2.3 million member U.S. church's convention had rejected a similar idea [/Q]

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsAr...EPISCOPALS.xml

I am disappointed to say the least.

I thought there was some hope after the newly elected female Bishop spoke yesterday.

By the way, the Anglican Community is not entirely happy about that either. Maybe they will reconsider this for the Coummunion as well.
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Old 06-21-2006, 05:45 PM   #2
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It saddens me to hear this.
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Old 06-21-2006, 05:58 PM   #3
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Old 06-21-2006, 06:46 PM   #4
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honestly, you guys expect a little too much from organized religion.
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Old 06-21-2006, 06:47 PM   #5
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This is unfortunate.
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Old 06-21-2006, 07:41 PM   #6
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Although, it does say that the resolution is "non-binding."

It's interesting--if that's the right word--how the international nature of the Anglican church complicates these decisions...the tensions of trying to hold together a faith community uniting enormous numbers of people living in very different societies and cultures scattered around the world. (Is this your church then, Dread? I can't remember.) How does one decide when the cost of making concessions in the name of preserving unity and community becomes unacceptable in view of the equally strong imperative to support and live out the principles of the faith as one understands them? How much splintering and factionalism (whether formalized or de facto) can be allowed before what remains is in danger of no longer compromising a genuine community (with all the tensions and compromises and respect for the value of a living tradition that implies) before what remains is too doctrinally incoherent and arbitrary to support a meaningfully structured religious life? At what point is it time to back up, break away, and start over on the huge task of constructing a whole new systematic approach to living according to a particular path?

It won't have anything like the impact of an Episcopal church decision, but the international rabbinic assembly of Conservative Judaism (our denomination) will be voting in December on whether to sanction gay unions and ordain openly gay rabbis. There are many--including the outgoing chancellor of the Conservative seminary (unofficially, the "head" of the Conservative denomination)--who gloomily predict that this will lead to a schism which will undo Conservatism altogether. It's not a majority view at this point in time--most think that both measures will pass, and that a few congregations will indeed leave (just as some did when we decided to ordain women rabbis), but that overall, the reforms will successfully take hold. But there are no two ways about the fact that it raises major challenges for how the denomination has traditionally understood and pursued its approach to interpreting Jewish law. (Open to critical Biblical and Talmudic scholarship, unlike the Orthodox...opposed to dismissing all the discipline and tradition embodied in Jewish law as irrelevant to a full spiritual life, unlike Reform Judaism.)

It's an unsettling thing--to have committed so much of your life, and self-understanding of where you're headed, to a way of thinking and believing whose foundations have become so bitterly contested. It's all very well to say, "Well, I know what I believe"...but then to take that back to the table and have to negotiate it, articulate it, submit it to the most formidable intellectual and psychological challenges, struggling to find and preserve that same spark that's always kept you going in the words and acts of deeply admired, highly regarded friends and teachers who have now also become opponents...and if you cannot find it...what then? How far can you really come, how much can you really grow on your own?
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honestly, you guys expect a little too much from organized religion.
It's the perennial problem of organized ANYTHING. But how much can you expect from a church, a school system, a government, a political movement that's not organized? People do things in the collective for a reason, and it's not just because they fear freedom.
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Old 06-21-2006, 08:43 PM   #7
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I just do not understand....

It is OK to have Gay/Lesbian Priests...but they cannot rise above that level WHY?
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Old 06-21-2006, 09:50 PM   #8
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As far as that logic goes, I agree with you fully. (And the same goes for any faith community that welcomes openly gay couples, yet won't sanction their unions...what's the point in welcoming them at all then?) But really, it all comes back to this holding-the-community-together issue, doesn't it?
Quote:
...trying to appease an angry and alienated worldwide Anglican community...

"...to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate (for bishop) whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church..."
It is the case, I think, that the US and Canadian Episcopal churces were alone in their stance on gay and lesbian priests to begin with (as opposed to, say, women bishops--which is also internationally controversial, but at least some other branches have them...New Zealand I believe, plus others permit it in principle, and the Anglican Church is now seriously considering it) and that now, by appointing gays as bishops, they are compounding the "problem" unacceptably by elevating gay clergy to a level of influence where they can no longer be ignored, for harmony's sake, as an American aberration. Isn't that that's more or less what's happening? My own impression was that gay clergy, period, are not accepted at all by most of the worldwide Anglican community, and that while the American Episcopal Church does not (on the whole) agree with this, they are pretty desperate to avoid a permanent major schism. So it's not primarily a question of allow-them-as-priests,-just-not-as-bishops, so far as I can tell.

Then, too, there's the point nb made in a related thread a few days back--that often these controversies are as much proxies for far more complex, deep-seated disagreements over doctrinal interpretation, procedural matters, beholdenness to tradition, etc. in general, than they are about whatever they appear to be about on the surface.
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Old 06-21-2006, 10:38 PM   #9
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Old 06-22-2006, 12:59 AM   #10
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Apparently the Episcopalian Church could use a Bible Lesson or two.

Please read Genesis 19:4-11, Leviticus 18:22/20:13, Deuteronomy 23:17-18, Romans 1:26-27, I Corinthians 6:9, & I Timothy 1:10 and let me know if homosexuals should be priests in a Christian Church. I'm not saying that can't be priests - I'm just saying that can't be priests in a Christian Church. If one doesn't agree with what Christianity actually teaches (which is a basic human freedom), then there are thousands of other options.

If one doesn't base their theology on the Bible - then I guess anything goes. But if they are claiming the Bible as their source of inspiration, then they cannot deny that God clearly states that homosexuality is a sin. the same text that the Episcopalian Church uses to support that Jesus is the Son of God is the same textx which teaches us to obey what God tells us to do. If someone can reply with Biblical evidence to the contrary I'd welcome the enlightenment.

Is the Politically Correct? No. Is stating that homosexual activity is a sin a popular view? No way. Would Jesus treat homosexuals differently? No. He loved everyone and implored everyone to follow Him regardless of their "hang ups" or "orientations." Does the Bible state that homosexuality is a sin? Absolutely. There is no debate. So it seems you have a choice to make. You can base your theology on the Bible or on man's opinion.

Just a word of caution - basing a theology or philosophy on man's opinion is prone to change with the times.
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Old 06-22-2006, 01:09 AM   #11
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So you can't be a priest if you sin (homosexuality).
So how are there any priests at all?

Or does the church 'rank' certain sins over others?
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Old 06-22-2006, 01:45 AM   #12
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You are correct in the fact that we are all sinners. But Christians are required to try and turn from their old ways (i.e. repent - I hate that word). The problem with most homosexual priests is not that they are sinning, for we all sin, but that they are not acknowledging that they are sinning. Most homosexual priests are not claiming "I was once a sinner and now God has changed my heart." They are claiming that homosexuality is not a sin. And not only is it not a sin, but "I as a active and ongoing participant in homosexual activity should be allowed to LEAD God's flock."

All Pastors make mistakes. But if they do not make an attempt to CHANGE their habits-they should not be leading God's flock. The Bible clearly states this in 1 Timothy Chapter 3.

Look, I'm not a Bible thumping Christian. I do not even belong to a church at the moment. But I am a student of the Bible as a hobbie and it clearly states the qualities expected in a church leader-being an unrepentant sinner of any kind is not on the list.

This is not my opinion. And I won't elaborate whether or not I agree. But is stated in the Bible very slearl. And if you don't like what the Bible teaches - I can understand that completely. But if you CLAIM the Bible as your authority, then you must understand what it says.

If you are a homosexual who wants to keep on engaging in homosexual activity and be a priest, then by all means, start a religion. I live near San Francisco - I'm certain your new religion will be quite successful. But if you want to LEAD a Christian Church, then you should practice with all effort what the Bible preaches.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
You are correct in the fact that we are all sinners. But Christians are required to try and turn from their old ways (i.e. repent - I hate that word). The problem with most homosexual priests is not that they are sinning, for we all sin, but that they are not acknowledging that they are sinning. Most homosexual priests are not claiming "I was once a sinner and now God has changed my heart." They are claiming that homosexuality is not a sin. And not only is it not a sin, but "I as a active and ongoing participant in homosexual activity should be allowed to LEAD God's flock."

All Pastors make mistakes. But if they do not make an attempt to CHANGE their habits-they should not be leading God's flock. The Bible clearly states this in 1 Timothy Chapter 3.

Look, I'm not a Bible thumping Christian. I do not even belong to a church at the moment. But I am a student of the Bible as a hobbie and it clearly states the qualities expected in a church leader-being an unrepentant sinner of any kind is not on the list.

This is not my opinion. And I won't elaborate whether or not I agree. But is stated in the Bible very slearl. And if you don't like what the Bible teaches - I can understand that completely. But if you CLAIM the Bible as your authority, then you must understand what it says.

If you are a homosexual who wants to keep on engaging in homosexual activity and be a priest, then by all means, start a religion. I live near San Francisco - I'm certain your new religion will be quite successful. But if you want to LEAD a Christian Church, then you should practice with all effort what the Bible preaches.
That's a good answer.
I'm not saying I agree with the reasoning, but it's consistent enough for me to see the logic.

What about priests who eat at Red Lobster or pork in general?
Gotta love that Leviticus elephant always in the room.

Listen to what the man said:

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Is Jesus saying that we should obey Leviticus as well, as a whole?
Man, I sure do love me some shrimp and hot dogs.
I'm not trying to 'prove' anything, just asking questions.
As I re-read the bit from the Sermon on the Mount, he does say "until all is accomplished", maybe he's talking about the death and resurrection as well.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:47 AM   #14
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The English word used to translate "Law" has several different Hebrew meanings. It is generally regarded by both Orthodox and Liberal Bible scholars that Jesus is referring to the Ten Commandments in this instance. And even the Ten Commandments are summarized in Matthew 20:37-40. (essentially love God and love your neighbor)

There are places throughout the Book of Acts that demonstrate that Law (with a capital "L") is not a reference to customs necessary for Jewish survival in a harsh climate (i.e. most of Leviticus). The Law in the New Testament is best defined by one word = LOVE.

If you are TRULY motivated by love of God and of others, then you will be fulfilling the Law. That is what Jesus is teaching here. (and I think Bono mentions that love is the Higher Law somehwere in a song..oh whats that song???..oh yeah...ONE)
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Old 06-22-2006, 06:26 AM   #15
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This

[Q]Apparently the Episcopalian Church could use a Bible Lesson or two.[/Q]

Is pretty darn insulting.

There have been homosexuals in the Priesthood for thousands of years.

Does that make the church any less christian?

There have been thousands of priests who have had lust in their hearts, and acted on that lust for a man.

There have been thousands of priests who have committed other sins as well because they are human.

And their sins are no less or greater that any other.

There have been plenty of debates in here about what the bible says. What the original translations mean. There are plenty of things the bible says that no longer are applied in any Christian Church that I am familiar with. You are not the only student of the bible.
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON


If you are TRULY motivated by love of God and of others, then you will be fulfilling the Law. That is what Jesus is teaching here. (and I think Bono mentions that love is the Higher Law somehwere in a song..oh whats that song???..oh yeah...ONE)
I am not certain weather to laugh or cry at this......

If love is the higher law, then love calls me to move beyond the traditions set forth thousands of years ago.

If love is the higher law, I cross boundaries to reach out to my brothers and show love to them.

There is no LOVE in the letter of the law....None....
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:01 AM   #17
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The definition of "the law" was generally the defining reason for the split amongst early Christians. Jewish Christians, led by Sts. Peter and James in the Church of Jerusalem, believed that "the law" referred to the entirety of Mosaic Law, down to every last dietary and mixed clothing fiber prohibition. The original Gospel of Matthew was written by them:

"Don't think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn't come to destroy, but to fulfill. For most certainly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the law, until all things are accomplished." -- Matthew 5:17-18

This stance was vehemently opposed by Gentile Christians, led by St. Paul and his Church of Antioch. He rejected all forms of Jewish law, and believed that when Jesus arrived, Mosaic Law (and the Old Testament, for that matter) was fulfilled through Jesus--and, subsequently, obsolete.

"Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, (namely) You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." -- Romans 13:8-10

Such a defined and sometimes violent split between the two churches led to the Council of Jerusalem, which decided on the following compromise in Acts 15:28-29:

"'It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from "unlawful marriage" (Greek: "porneia," a reference to Jewish prohibitions against blood mixing / incest in Leviticus; an obsolete word that is often poorly translated)."

However, this compromise was in name only. The two churches never reconciled, and neither church upheld this compromise. This passage is the general example of how St. Paul thought of the law:

"For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we can wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love." -- Galatians 5:1-6

And, likewise, in response to the Acts compromise, St. Paul still instructed his followers to do the contrary:

"There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now that, when they eat meat sacrificed to idols, their conscience, which is weak, is defiled. Now food will not bring us closer to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, nor are we better off if we do. But make sure that this liberty of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak." -- 1 Corinthians 8:7-9

In the end, neither church reconciled, and the Jewish Christian "Church of Jerusalem" was wiped out by followers of St. Paul by the second century A.D. As such, all Christians today are descendents of Gentile Christianity, and if it weren't for sloppy Protestant revisionism over the last 500 years, the theology of the Church of Jerusalem would be dead and buried. We are not bound to any law, but to love God and to love one another.

Now as for whether homosexuals are sinners, I have dealt with this issue repeatedly here. If translated properly, the Bible would show that it rather explicitly condemns prostitution; most words translated as "homosexuals" are really references to "male temple prostitutes," who, in both in Greco-Roman and Semitic paganism, organized mass temple orgies. It was believed that sex would bring one closer to the gods. As such, both Jews and Christians would have been forbidden to engage in such blatant idolatry. St. Paul also makes a mention of the Greco-Roman practice of "pederasty," where it was highly common for an older man to have sex with a teenage boy until he reached a certain age, whereupon he would get married to a woman. St. Paul likely saw this in a similar way in which we are disgusted by pedophilia today.

In other words, the Bible really addresses three rather specific topics that we would all still condemn today: idolatry, prostitution, and pedophilia. The way these concepts have been terribly translated over the years would be equivalent to taking the story of Gibeah (Judges 20), where a group of men gang rape and kill a female concubine (the heterosexual analog to Sodom and Gomorrah), and then extrapolate God's destruction of Gibeah as a pronouncement against all heterosexual sex. This is precisely the sloppy Biblical scholarship that we are dealing with today.

Now as for the Episcopal Church, I am ashamed that the did not have the courage to stand up for what they believed in. They are cowards.

Melon
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:05 AM   #18
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Melon, you seem to have a good knowledge of Christian history. I love that you quoted Paul here: ""For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we can wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love." -- Galatians 5:1-6.

I find interesting that you didn't quote Paul a few sentences later in Galatians 5:13: "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature"

And what does the very same Paul write are the acts of the sinful nature? Thank the Lord he answers this question in the very same chapter in Galatians 5:19- "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Christian freedom is about being free from the bondage of the sinful nature, bot about doing what you want.
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:53 AM   #19
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So where does homosexuality fall in your world? Which of the things have you quoted does homosexuality fall for you?
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Old 06-22-2006, 10:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON


If you are TRULY motivated by love of God and of others, then you will be fulfilling the Law. That is what Jesus is teaching here. (and I think Bono mentions that love is the Higher Law somehwere in a song..oh whats that song???..oh yeah...ONE)
Not to rain on your homophobic parade, but the "Law" of the Old Testament was God's convenant law. Jesus fulfilled/nullified these covenants. OT law is a thing of the very long past past. If you want to know how to behave and treat people as a Christian, just look at Jesus. If you are truly motived by love of God, then you will follow JESUS, not OT covenant law.
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