2/19/2007

The Standard and its costs.

OK....so a variety of folk already get it. Ruth Gledhill gets it (this time). The fat is in the fire. Ruth says, "The meat is paragraph 17 and the Recommendations in the schedule at the end." Here is Paragraph 17 of the Communique:

"17. At the heart of our tensions is the belief that The Episcopal Church [5] has departed from the standard of teaching on human sexuality accepted by the Communion in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 by consenting to the episcopal election of a candidate living in a committed same-sex relationship, and by permitting Rites of Blessing for same-sex unions. The episcopal ministry of a person living in a same-sex relationship is not acceptable to the majority of the Communion."

The Recommendations, which are not recommendations at all, but as Ruth says, "so severe in demanding proper repentance and a turning back from The Episcopal Church that even arch-conservative Peter Akinola of Nigeria was prepared to sign up."

So, I got to thinking, what STANDARD do I think holds?

Here it is:

The thing is, this Standard is bad news for all sorts and conditions of folk.

Jesus is Lord,

and the King (or Queen) is not,
the President is not,
the State is not,
the Church is not,
the Anglican Communion for sure is not,
your mama, Jesus' mama, my moma is not,
your significant squeeze is not,
mine is not,
my heterosexual relationship in the bonds of committed etc, sanctified by the Church is not,
your same sex relationship in the bonds of committed etc not sanctified by the Church is not,
anyone's idolatrous connections to anyone else's body, mind, or estate is not,
your dog, cat or goldfish is not,
and sure as shooting the bishops are not.

Jesus is Lord as a standard makes everybody nervous, and it sure should make the Primates nervous.

The Communique has many good things in it, and I can only imagine how hard the Primates had to work to cobble something together. But I am sorry to say, I am unmoved by the constant reference to Lambeth 1.10 as "
standard of teaching on human sexuality." As far as I can tell it says nothing about human sexuality, save to dictate the proper limits of the rubbing together of body parts. I remain unmoved by that as ethics.

In a world in which the modus operandi is death and destruction we have every reason to wish that people would form covenants between and among themselves for their common welfare and good, honoring and loving one another in ways that are respectful and supportive, and when possible with sensual delight.


I am unmoved by the constant rumble that there is this STANDARD. It sits like a millstone around the necks of all of us.

I would see Jesus in my brothers and sisters, including the Monarchs, Presidents, Rulers, Bishops and Archbishops, rectors, and also in the poor, the soldiers in harms way, in Muslim and Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs, Jews and Catholics and even Anglicans. But I would see Jesus as Lord, not them.

Well, there it is.

These are interesting times indeed, and it is about time to enter 40 days of preparation for Easter. Sounds great by comparison to reading these seven pages of fine print again.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

We were all so much more comfortable a few decades back when homosexuality presented fewer dilemmas for Christians. That's the problem you get when you actually start to understand another person's feelings... especially when you started out thinking that other person was truly different from yourself. Now so many of us realize that homosexuals' desires for love and affection are not significantly different, and we're stuck with the problem of treating them like we'd like to be treated. (Sounds familiar... where've I heard that before?) Get to know a gay person well enough and you find - by gum! They're human too! And now you can't go on hating them. I hope the Anglican Church figures out that hatred is as hatred does, and the hurt feelings on the part of the hated are more important than the perceived purity of the motives of the person who stands faithfully by the hatred.

Bill Carroll said...

No matter what anyone else tells us to do, we will follow the Gospel and our Baptismal Covenant. My hope is that the Presiding Bishop's next missive will state this unequivocally. There are hints of it in her initial comments. Jesus and the Kingdom of God set the standard, not ultimatums and bigotry.

Raspberry Rabbit said...

Gee Mark - here I was saying that I should start drawing cartoons since at least one person who can't draw was doing a great job nonetheless and now I see a second person who can't draw is doing a dandy job as well.

RR

Saint Pat said...

Amen. Jesus is Lord. That certainly puts it into context, which we need at the moment.

May our church continue to live into its calling and mission.

Chris said...

Mark

Thank you for this reflection and the perspective it provides. We have much to pray about.

Pfalz prophet said...

Married friends of mine just now coming out of the closet observe how the gay community they are entering behaves much like a close-knit family, far, far more supportive and comforting than they ever experienced in their straight lives. It shouldn't be a mystery that a tribe, oppressed by the mainstream, behaves in such a Christian way, secure in their knowledge that although people hate and fear them, God loves them beyond all measure.

May ++KJS speak words of truth to our oppressors who carry out acts of division and hatred in God's name. May Christ's love overcome their lust for power and fear of the Holy Spirit moving among them.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about Lambeth 1.10.
It is quite possibly the most highly politicized resolution ever passed at a Lambeth Conference. It was not passed because the majority believed it to be right, but because some of those who favored a more moderate course were intimidated by the vociferously anti-gay bishops (and Archbishop Carey) into voting in its favor, to prevent something even worse. A great many of the moderate-to-liberal bishops were not even present for the vote or abstained.
Lambeth Resolutions were never meant to be legislative in nature--and if, suddenly, they now are, what about the many other Resolutions that, unlike 1.10, had the overwhelming approval of all the Bishops across the theological spectrum and are now virtually ignored so that we may have 1.10 served to us on every occasion as the "standard" of teaching in the Communion?
Lambeth 1.10 is not the standard of anything except the fraud, deceit, and political manipulation from which it was born. Its fruits since the moment it was passed have been division, backbiting, anger, lies, hatred, and every other evil thing. It, and *no other thing*, has split this Communion in two. It is a creature of Hell, the product of the Father of Lies. It should be repudiated, repented of, burned and buried in the depths of the sea. Only then will this Communion know peace.

Lois Keen said...

(Previously submitted to or posted on TA and Jake's, in order to cover all audiences). There is no unity without justice. I have a vision of giving away the priesthood. But when I shared that with those in my ordination process, some of them were uncomfortable, and I learned to say "share" instead of "give away." However, "share" is dishonest - it means I get to retain my unwarranted position of privilege as a white, straight priest, and decide with whom to share, how much and what bits to share. But I did what I had to at the time.
White, euro-centric males, and straight males of any culture or origin, have a position of incredible and unwarranted privilege in this world over females and over anyone who is not "straight". As I have been called to give away priesthood, so you are being called, Martyn Minns, Robert Duncan, John Schofield, Jack Iker, the Windsor Bishops, Rowan Williams, et co., to give away your privilege - and it is not enough that you give it away to Peter Akinola. No, you and he must give it away to women and to lgbt persons. To the rest of the Church worldwide, I challenge you to give up any privilege you have and wear a button, or a patch, every day that reads, "My manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church." In this way, there will be no way for those who retain their privilege to tell who is straight or gay, slave or free. I challenge you now to bear in or on your bodies your solidarity with those whose prayers have been discounted,ignored and disregarded in this Anglican Communion, until the day we all, privilege and unprivileged alike, are free.
Lois Keen

christopher+ said...

One further take on Lambeth 1.10:

If this Resolution was never formally adopted by the individual Provinces of the Communion - as any future Anglican covenant would need to be - then it simply cannot be held up as a global "standard" of Anglican teaching. It is merely, as Mark and others have pointed out, a polling result on the "mind" of whichever bishops happened to vote on it at the time.

Indeed, let's do talk about Lambeth 1.10! It's time for the Episcopal Church (and others) to request formal clarification from the Instruments of Communion on whether this resolution was ever approved, passed, accepted or otherwise adopted by the Provinces themselves. Only if it was, can it be said to be some sort of "standard of teaching" - and even then only in those Provinces that adopted it as such. Again: exactly the same terms that would apply to any future covenant!

Prior Aelred said...

Just a thought, I'm wondering what would happen if the TEC HoB proclaimed moratoria (as per WR) for a certain specified time frame (only) to allow for the listening process that Lambeth requested & which has only been done by TEC (& possibly the Anglican Church of Canada) AND to allow time for the foreign bishops who have recruited parishes from TEC to apologize and withdraw.

But I am very interested to see what ++Katharine will do with this.

Phil said...

And, anonymous, Lambeth 1.10 represents the unbroken, 2000-year teaching of the Church, which is still the teaching of communions representing probably 95% of worldwide Christianity. If you consider that to be a product of the Father of Lies, then you're professing the wrong faith.

Anonymous said...

Phil said..."If you consider that to be a product of the Father of Lies, then you're professing the wrong faith."

2,000 years is a blink of God's eye. If all you care about is how long a thing has been believed, join the Zoroastrians! If you consider the fruits of Lambeth 1.10--the division, acrimony, fear, anxiety, distraction from primary mission, and all the rest--to be Godly, then I have to wonder what God you are following, and I cannot join you in that ditch into which you have fallen.

Phil said...

anonymous, the fruits are not of Lambeth 1.10, they are of those who would ignore it. And yes, you have created quite a bit of acrimony and division. I wonder if you are going to back off to heal those divisions? But, of course not - your acrimony is holy, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Mark you say:

"As far as I can tell it [Lambeth 1.10] says nothing about human sexuality, save to dictate the proper limits of the rubbing together of body parts. I remain unmoved by that as ethics."

Really? It's not ethics? The rubbing together of body parts was considered ethics in my undergraduate degree. It was considered ethics in seminary. If the body parts being rubbed together were attached to agents that were not granting their consent, then I bet you'd call it ethics then. You may remain unmoved by the arguments, but the arguments are ethical ones.

Anonymous said...

Thank you--I've been looking for a theme for my Lenten prayer and I think I've just found it. You're right: saying that Jesus is Lord is frightening--but oddly exhilarating too!

Craig Goodrich said...

Anonymous: Lambeth I.10

"is not the standard of anything except the fraud, deceit, and political manipulation from which it was born. Its fruits since the moment it was passed have been division, backbiting, anger, lies, hatred, and every other evil thing. It, and *no other thing*, has split this Communion in two. It is a creature of Hell, the product of the Father of Lies. It should be repudiated, repented of, burned and buried in the depths of the sea. Only then will this Communion know peace."

OK, let's ask ourselves why Lambeth I.10 was even necessary, when it is simply a reiteration of the unanimous teaching of the Church catholic for two thousand years and of Judaic morality for over a thousand years before that.

And as to fraud, deceit, and political manipulation, one is tempted to ask whether these are the normal tools of those reiterating universal Christian teaching, or the normal tools of those responsible for the APA's removal of homosexuality from the DSM?

As to the Communion (and ECUSA) "knowing peace" -- did GC in 1979, ECUSA's House of Bishops repeatedly in the '80s and '90s (the last time in March just before GC03), and the Primates and the ABC continually warn against reconfirming Christian teaching, or did they warn against ordination of practicing homosexuals? Lambeth I.10 was adopted for the entire Communion; are Uganda and South East Asia at each others' throats? Is the Southern Cone falling apart?

Is everybody really out of step except Integrity?