Friday, July 10, 2009

Move Beyond, Deputies Tell World Mission Committee

In an unusual procedure, the House of Deputies today took time as a committee of the whole to give guidance to the Committee on World Missions about how to proceed with regard to B033. The notorious B033 was passed in haste at the end of GenCon 2006 to appease those in the Anglican Communion who threatened not to be in conversation let alone communion with us if we persisted in ordaining openly gay people as bishops.

Most deputies shared stories of the effect of that resolution on their friends and parishes. LGBT people experienced it as the door swinging shut once again and clergy had difficulty explaining how the Episcopal Church could really Welcome You if LGBT people are only welcome so far. One deputy quoted from Acts 10 - the reading we’ll hear at tonight’s Integrity Eucharist - where Peter says that we should not call anyone profane or unclean. That, he claimed, was the actual effect of B033.

Several deputies argued for more time, more time to continue the conversations with those who cannot agree with LGBT inclusion. They noted that the Church has not officially said that monogamous same sex relationships are a ‘wholesome example’ of Christian living, that we should not change too fast or out of step with the wider Church. For some B033 had provided a cease-fire in the midst of great conflict, and they asked for a longer period for healing.

One deputy acknowledged the fear that the full inclusion of LGBT people in the leadership of the Episcopal Church would shatter the Anglican Communion, but that our ‘bonds of affection’ have begun to choke us. How long he asked must we watch the fruit wither on the vine? ‘Help me understand,’ he begged, how long must we wait because of provinces of the Communion which actively support the persecution of LGBT people? A deputy from Hawaii reminded us that Jesus caused a schism in the Jewish community, and called the Church to live with the difficult teachings of Jesus. Will we continue, he asked, to sacrifice for the promise of a false unity with those who want nothing to do with us?

It is immoral, said another, for us to pick out one group and sacrifice them…
Caroline Hall for IntegrityUSA


SCG said...

Acts 10 is very appropriate!
Thanks for all you are doing on the ground in Anaheim, and for keeping the rest of us informed!

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Bob of Atlanta said...

I SO appreciate the Integrity team. I worked at the last General Convention and it was a great experience. All you folks are on my mind and in my prayers as GC proceeds!
Bob Van Keuren

Mark Brown said...

Analogizing To The Cornelius-Gentile Revelation

I am puzzled by repeated efforts to analogize the ordination of actively gay men to the admission of God-fearing Gentiles into the Church. The latter resulted from (i) disciplined discernment of the Holy Spirit (ii) that was accepted in an orderly fashion. To the best of my understanding, the former has not.

The apostle Peter’s leadership on opening the Church to Gentiles was not a response to 35 years of political activism and propaganda by Gentiles. It did not arise from guilt over being slow to support civil rights for Samaritans. It did not spring from reinterpretation of the Old Testament.

Manifest Revelation From The Holy Spirit

Peter’s decision was based on visible, spiritually-authoritative encounters with the Holy Spirit:

(1) Peter had a vision

(2) that was corroborated by a devout, God-fearing Gentile’s vision

(3) that was corroborated by the Gentiles visibly experiencing the Pentecostal gifts.
Have there been analogous encounters with the Holy Spirit with respect to the issue of ordaining actively gay men?

... Has a saintly person had a vision that actively gay men should be ordained?
... Has that vision been corroborated by another devout person’s vision?

... Have those visions been corroborated by a number of gay clergy visibly experiencing the Pentecostal gifts?

... Has the spiritual authority of all those occurrences been evaluated?

... Has anyone had any contrary visions?

... What is the spiritual authority of those occurrences?

... Have they been corroborated by other spiritually-authoritative events?

Must not all these questions be answered before we can credibly analogize to the Gentile revelation that was so plainly communicated by the Holy Spirit?

Disciplined Discernment Of The Holy Spirit

Holy Scripture sets standards for evaluating whether it is the Holy Spirit, or something else, tugging and pulling at us. Before announcing a new discovery of Christ’s truth that threatens to disembowel TEC, should not today’s apostolic successors apply, at a minimum, the rigorous level of disciplined discernment and spiritual certainty relied on by Peter and his fellow Jewish believers in opening the Church to devout Gentiles?

Mark Brown
San Angelo, Texas
July 11, 2007

Muthah+ said...

Sigh! Keep up the good work, Integrity Team. Prayer unites us.

comment moderation word is upboboo which doesn't have any I's in it either.