Friday, February 23, 2007

Bishop Roskam Comments On Tanzania

To Whom it May Concern:

Our bishop Mark Sisk has stated the following:

Over the years I have been prepared to make certain accommodations to meet the concerns of those whose view of the Gospel promise differs somewhat from my own. I am fully aware that those accommodations have not been uncontroversial. Now, I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not in the least prepared to make any concession that strikes at the heart of my conviction that gay and lesbian people are God’s beloved children. They are we. Our witness to the Gospel would be unthinkably deformed if by some tragic misjudgment we willingly submitted ourselves to vivisection. We are one body in Christ. Each and all of us rely upon the love of God, as revealed in Jesus, to attain to the life that is ours in Him. We have all been called by God to offer ourselves for the transfiguration of our lives in order that we “may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory.” This vision of a God who embraces all in the arms of Divine self-offering love is the vision that is at the heart of the Gospel as I know it.

I could not have expressed it any better and stand in full solidarity with Bp. Sisk on this matter.

(The Rt. Rev.) Catherine S. Roskam
Bishop Suffragan of New York


Padre Wayne said...

+Roskam has a long, unsullied history of support for godly inclusion. I'm delighted to see her statement.

Anonymous said...

"This vision of a God who embraces all in the arms of Divine self-offering love is the vision that is at the heart of the Gospel as I know it."

I agree with the statement, but it only is half the truth. Jesus is known as both the "lamb of God" and the "lion of Judah" in the Bible. To focus on only one facet of what scripture reveals him to be is to know only half the truth.

The truth is that we will someday all face the judgment seat of God. If I believe the Bible is the Word of God, and as John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God", then do I accept the Bible as it is written as the Word of God? Or do I reject it, or twist it to my what makes me comfortable?

I believe the Gospel message is one of salvation to all who accept it, but not as I create as I go along. Sorry, but otherwise, the Bible is just a bunch of nice stories with good morals like Aesop's Fables.

And when it is interpreted, I take the way it is written, not change the words to suit my own desires.

Do you?

God bless,

Jon said...


We all must be accountable for our actions before the judgment seat.

When that day comes, I, who am a straight, married, male and a lifelong Episcopalian, do not want to stand before the Creator and lover of All having left any of my brothers or sisters hungry, cold, naked, or excluded from the knowledge of God's love and acceptance, as Jesus commanded. That's why I spent 10 years as a jail Bible study volunteer, and it's why I want to belong to a church in which Jesus' offer of salvation for all is not withheld from anyone.

Fiona said...

In India the term child-of-God as an euphemism for outcaste. At this point gay people in New York are being treated more as flowers in the attic locked away by an abusive Mother Church sacrificing them to the rapair of her common-law marriage and wondering when the bishops will send up a plate of poisoned doughnuts.

The good bishops keep trying to deal pastorally with what is political.

Anonymous said...

Jon, like you, I also lead a jail Bible study and am involved in Kairos, a prison ministry. Why? Because Jesus tells us to spread the Gospel message to all, and my heart goes out to people who haven't heard that message of love.

There is a difference though of loving the person and loving the sin. I love those people I meet in the jail, prison and the homeless people I minister to also. But I don't love their sin.

Why should this be any different? Why must I love the sin to love the person? I would rather love the person, but not love the sin.

I've seen men who have been born again in Christ and changed completely. Most of those are in prison because of murder. But I've never seen that happen to one person who came to the cross saying they were not a sinner.

In fact, I met a guy in the jail once who asked me what it meant when he was declared clinically dead for 1.5 hours...yet saw only darkness. What did it mean?

In the course of meeting with him over a month, he went through several stages, including angry denial. At one point, he even said he had nothing to ask Jesus for forgiveness for. Nothing. And yet the facts were pretty obvious. First, all of us are sinners and in need of God's grace. Second, I was free to walk out of there that night...and I thought I had things to ask forgiveness for. And he couldn't walk out of there.

In the end, he did come to Christ.

As you wrote, some day each of us will face the judgment seat. I do not wish to face the wrath of God by knowingly being a false teacher. I tell the guys in the jail that they should always check what I say against the Bible. If I contradict what the Bible says, I am a false teacher. If not, accept what I say...but not because I said it. Accept it because the Bible also says it.

God bless to you and all the others here.


Anonymous said...

What I find most interesting about biblical literalist is, they don't understand how many times the bible was translated, changed, books, added and dropped, changed and re added. Some of the language, symbolisms were easily recognizable to people for whom each of the books is written by and for have to be exegetically explained today and so many do so with out understanding the culture or circumstances in which a particular book/text was written.

The four gospels and revelations were written for particular audiences.

Lastly, Let God be God and worry about who God is pleased with not people who simply think they have the word of God.

I'm sorry Chris, God's job is too big for me and therefore I gladly abstain from offering redirection to people I dissagree with warning Heaven or Hell (as a consequence).

I always am amazed out how some Christians are more worried about my personal salvation than just loving me as I am, the same broken, grace needing soul they are. Love me and let God judge me!


Anonymous said...

Bob wrote: "The four gospels and revelations were written for particular audiences."

And so the alternative is to make it up as you go?

Or do you listen to that still quiet voice? If so, whose voice is it? God's or Satan's? How do you tell then whose it is? Most of us compare what that still quiet voice says against what the Bible says. But you've taken the Bible out of play by saying it was written for another time and another group of people.

Sorry, my God is timeless and as Jesus says in Revelation, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end."

Or perhaps were you saying that you, and I are part of that "particular audience"?


Paul said...

Dear Mr. Anonymous Kairos person:

I, too, was involved in Kairos. What a powerful ministry! While giving out the cookies, one of the participants fell in love with me! I was deeply closeted at the time, but, as he wrote me, "I know your nature." No one on that team was able to reach this young man - but I was, because he felt the Gospel through me, and he could relate to me. Thank God, I was there, for, as he wrote me, "I was able to see that someone loved him for just being me."

Thank God for him, as well...because I started to change my own thinking on the Good News of Jesus! Don't you know the Great Commandment? "Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God is Love God with our whole heart, soul,mind..., and the second is like unto it, to love our neighbor as ourselves...on these laws, hang all the laws." I grew up hearing those words every week in my conservative Texas Episcopal Church. These words have become the basics of my ethics... they are the basis of ALL Christian ethics. If you do something that causes you to not love God more fully because you have hurt another, or yourself, IT IS WRONG. Same-sexed gender relationships do neither of these. In fact, coming to terms with who I am has made me love God MORE... So, how can this be wrong?

Finally, I pose this question to you... perhaps Jesus was crucified because he was not orthodox enough for his time, and said rather blasphemous things! Where does that leave the orthodox of today?

Please continue in the ministry of Kairos, but please try to measure things by the Great Commandment, discerning whether ones actions cause people to love God more fully.

Anonymous said...

Paul, I find it interesting how this thread has gone. I have never mentioned a thing about "Same-sexed gender relationships".

I wrote only about how Jesus is both the lamb of God and the lion of Judah. To focus on only one facet of what Jesus professes to be in the Bible is only half the story. We will all be judged in the end by Jesus.

I wrote about how the truth is something we either make up for ourselves (sort of like going down a buffet line and picking what we like and leaving what we don't like), or we judge what is truth (and right or wrong) by an outside objective source. In my case, I chose the Bible.

So when the Bible talks about loving, does it also talk about loving sin? Jesus told the woman at the well to go and sin no more. He didn't tell her she was loved, and by the way, go and keep on sinning.

Jesus reached out to the unfavored of society, the outcasts, and He reached out in love. But just as He told the rich man to give his money away because the man was in love with his money, Jesus tells us to give our sin away too. That is what the word "repent" means. Not to say you're sorry for your sin. But to change and sin no more, just like the woman at the well.

God bless, brother!