6/17/2009

Amos 3:, walking, talking, and all that.

For the last ten years or so pious and righteous Anglicans, led by various writers from the Global South, have asked, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" This is the King James Version translation of the Hebrew of Amos 3:3.

The series of rhetorical questions in Amos 3:3-6 can all be answered with a "No!" So the bible believing, uniting, seriously Anglican crowd has grabbed on to this passage as a righteous basis for not walking together with some people, namely people they call revis
ionists. Or more concretely, on this basis The Church of Uganda will not "walk with" The Episcopal Church, or certain people determine not to walk with, say, you or me. No matter that almost every translation of this verse since the KJV has been remarkably variant from it, the KJV is what is touted and they stick to it.

The NRSV and the New American Standard Bible read, "Do two (men) walk together unless they have made an appointment?"
The KJV is not too far off if one simply added a few words, " Can two walk together, except they be agreed in doing so? The addition of those two words makes the question not about the two being in agreement, but about their willingness to walk together. The difference: "We can't walk together because we don't agree." "We can walk together because we agree to do so." The first ends up being about purity. The second is about engaging.

In the first there is no listening across division, in the second there is every possibility. For those who believe the King James Version is the be all and end all of translations, the Word of God plainly written, there is marginally a case for refusing to hang out with the impure. And some New Testament comments will support that, including this gem from 2 Corinthians 6:14, "Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness?"

On the other hand, Jesus was criticized because he was seen in the company of sinners and responded, "“Those who are well h
ave no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (Matt 9:12 -13) So there are some grounds from Our Lord to precisely hang out with unbelievers, people we don't agree with, etc.

Those who refuse to walk with those with whom they disagree, who parse it out and determine that they are believers and we miserable liberal, Western, post-modern, culture worshipers, are unbelievers, are of course not phased by the mere possibilities that they have misread Amos, and perhaps they have not. But don't you bet on it.


More importantly, of course, if that's their story and they are sticking to it, then the Listening Process is not part of the solution to the fractures in the Anglican Communion.

It may be fine for all of us who are willing to disagree, but walk together, but not for the fabulous and the pure.
Nope. Amos 3.3 says, "Can two walk together, except they are agreed?" and they know the answer is "No." They are not listening. For the Bible tells them so.


How much longer must we put up with this stuff?

51 comments:

  1. Mark, I don't know how much longer we must put up with this stuff, but I'm getting weary, very weary of it.

    I guess that the Gospels, which depict Jesus hanging out with all manner of undesirables on many occasions, don't count as much as the passage from Amos and the passage from 2 Corinthians.

    For what it's worth, there has never been a listening process in my diocese. Will there ever be? I have no idea.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Mark--I think they also forget that Jesus came to tell them how to interpret scripture==you know those bits about laying heavy burdens on men's backs--and they seems to forget that scripture has to be interpreted in the light of Christ's mission and message. And, I did so love your comment: "On the other hand, Jesus was criticized because he was seen in the company of sinners and responded, "“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (Matt 9:12 -13) So there are some grounds from Our Lord to precisely hang out with unbelievers, people we don't agree with, etc."

    Thank you for that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Does this mean if a Klansman went into your church you would give him communion?
    Essentially, rhetorical questions are just that-rhetorical, attempts to end the discussion by one party before it begins.
    Everyone has too draw the line somewhere. Without any clear authority (and authority has been misused by all parties so much that all sides question it for very good reasons)we have to say what are lines are and why we've drawn them and why we disagree with other people's lines.
    Conservatives waving Bibles and those on the left claiming progress/compassion/experience as their authorities will find (and should find)that they still have to convince people.

    ReplyDelete
  4. obviously, you don't get it. What Jesus says is unimportant relative to what the OT prophets say. Thanks, Mark for this blog. It points out the blatancy of those selective literalists. I cannot fathom how Christians place the OT saying above the words of Jesus...

    ReplyDelete
  5. If you decide you can't associate with people because you don't agree with them, then you might as well stay home in bed.

    My parents didn't agree on anything. They canceled out each other's vote every election day. They hated each other's tastes in music and just about everything else. And yet, they stayed married for 47 years until my father died.

    So what did my parents (who were not geniuses) know that a lot of bishops don't?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mark - If you serious about trying to exegete the meaning of this passage in Amos, why don't you go back to the Hebrew text, or refer to a commentary on the Hebrew text (Keil & Delitzsch for example) as I would do? In referring to various English translations how do you know which one get closest to the meaning of Amos the author?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nom de Plume17/6/09 10:33 PM

    Love the illustrative photo!

    All this reminds me of the comment of someone who was against liturgical renewal:

    "If Jesus could see what you've done to his prayer book, he'd be spinning in his grave!"

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is clear as I wrote some time ago that using Amos 3 to justify schism is deliberately bad scholarship. It does not matter. Mr. Duncan cannot get to be an archbishop without a schism. Mstrs Atwood, Mimms, et al were never gonna get to be bishops without one.

    As friend Bruce keeps saying at the end of the day it is all about power.

    FWIW
    jimB

    ReplyDelete
  9. Brian F....the Hebrew is singularly unhelpful, since it is not the words in that verse that gives the sense concerning which way to go, indeed it is not even the larger passage. The problem is the sayings are like folk sayings, what they actually mean is determined by culture many years gone.

    The Tanaka translates it thus,
    "Can two walk together without having met?" Not much more helpful, but even there we find no parallel to the notion that the two meeting are in agreement, as per the KJV reading.

    So, I did look at the Hebrew text. My Hebrew is terrible, my lexicon and computer study aids work, and my handy dandy Jewish Study Bible translation all conspire to tell me that the KJV translation, as understood by 21st Century readers, can sometimes produce a misuse of the text.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Rhetorical questions are just that rhetorical, attempts to end the discussion by one party before it begins." And?

    I am saying that what people thought was the sense of the question in Amos 3:3 is perhaps not that but something else.

    People may have to draw the line somewhere, but that is vastly different from drawing the curtain on loving-kindness, on engagement, on crossing the boundaries of class, caste, gender, sin, etc in order to be or find the Christ in every place.

    I'd give the Klansman communion, and ask him to stay for coffee, and if I had the guts, ask him how he could both receive communion and espouse hate. At least I hope I could do that. Will Campbell did, maybe I could.

    Still working on being a saint...long way to go.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would say it depends on what you're trying to do in "listening." Certainly, it would be a great evil for us to become like them, but, it seems to me, that we are just as guilty of trying to make them into us, and I'm not sure that that isn't a great evil, as well.

    God created us in diversity. To use a rather weak analogy, you could say that the worldview of an adult doesn't work for the mental and emotional equipment of a child, and vice versa. Though in the same family, the child cannot legitimately be expected to see and comprehend things as an adult, but must be allowed to grow into that reality. So it is with Reasserters. We do violence to them by trying to force them to live with us, by which we mean live in our worldview. That is why I can say that I am compassionately in favor of excommunicating them. The weakness of my analogy is that they are not children, and have to be kept from doing further damage - they have to be put in a position of depending on themselves and learning the stability of their worldview from consequences.

    I think you may be wrong. I think the listening has taken place and we have to realize that neither side has convinced the other. We are two different peoples. What is the great terror of schism, really? It is merely separation in a formal sense. We're already separated - irreconcilable differences. It won't stop them or us from being Christian. It won't give us any less influence over them, and them a great deal less influence over us. There is no "One Church" - nor should there be! To have that would be simply another way of sewing up God. I keep hearing that they add so much to us - but they don't. The hand cannot say to the foot "I don't need you!" yet, if your foot causes you to stumble . . . and we're stumbling pretty badly.

    We still have to share the same world, and it's mere navel-gazing to presume separate churches means a lack of mutual formation.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Mark, this Brad is a new troll. A Fred P-type troll. Could be Fred P with a new alias. Anyway, this Brad troll is patrolling the progressive blogs and leaving snarky and stupid remarks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for that Mark - I must admit, the KJV is one of the last versions I'd consult these days, unless a parishioner used it themselves and wanted to discuss a particular passage from that version. I tend to prefer the ESV, NIV, and NRSV after the original Hebrew or Greek texts.

    And Fr Craig - we don't place the words of the O/T above the words of Christ, but with the words of Christ, even the ones printed in black in a red letter edition, since weren't the prophets inspired by the Spirit of Christ? And why do some Christians place more emphasis on some of the words of Jesus but not on others spoken by the same man?

    Or why do some "Christians" try to drive a wedge between the words of Jesus and what Paul or Peter or John wrote, or why do some even prefer the words of the gospel of Thomas or of Mary etc, to the inspired words of the canon of Scripture well accepted by the church for the last 2,000 years.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mark: Though I'm in general agreement with your sentiments, I'm wondering what we hope, expect, and are open to learn from the "conservatives" as we walk together. If we believe gay marriage and ordination to be a fundamental issue of fairness and human rights and will not deviate from that belief, than I'm wondering how long we can be in genuine conversation with conservatives about the issue and what we are open to learning.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Nom de Plume18/6/09 8:21 AM

    Tom Sramek, Jr. asks:
    If we believe gay marriage and ordination to be a fundamental issue of fairness and human rights and will not deviate from that belief, than I'm wondering how long we can be in genuine conversation with conservatives about the issue and what we are open to learning.

    I think the point here is to find a way to live together respectfully notwithstanding our irreconcilable differences on certain points. Some conservatives seem content to continue to pursue that. Others have declared schism as the only way to live out their understanding of the Gospel. I regret the schismatics, but I respect their decisions, though I draw the line at them seeking to inflict maximum damage on the way out the door, whether through libellous comments, slurs, or absconding with property.

    But I do have a lot of time for pursuing a way to continue to keep the tent as big as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  16. David, I find nothing in what Brad wrote that would justify your comment (other than taking it in the sense that most internet denizens mean: "troll" = "somebody who doesn't agree with me"). He makes a fair point, just like most of the rest.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Mark,
    I promised I would not do this but my New Jerusalem Amos 3:3 says, "Do two men take the road together if they have not planned to do so?
    The foot note says 'e. Or 'without having met'; Greek 'without knowing each other'.

    Seems to lean toward your interpretation.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh, puh-leeze.

    When listening became the listening process it was clear that communication from the liberals was in one direction: "You conservatives sit down, shut up, and we will tell like it is." And it was drawn out to endless meaningless banter. The listening process and now indaba is a big sham.

    To be honest, I don't know what you mean by the question, "How much longer must we put up with this stuff?" The reasserters are moving on, shaking the dust off their sandals. Put up with this stuff? The ACNA is a reality and there is nothing that can be done to alter that reality.

    ReplyDelete
  19. It seems that almost every age has a "presenting issue" over which people refuse to be in communion -- it's just the "presenting issue" keeps changing with the times (OCICBW)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Fathers Brian and Mark,
    For what it's worth.... I'm neither Keil nor Delitzsch... but my Hebrew ain't bad... and in my judgment, the KJV translation--at least as it would be understood by a 21st century reader--is quite misleading. The Hebrew verb in question is a Nifal construction of the root ya'ad (yod-ayin-dalet). This root never means "agree" in the sense of intellectual assent to beliefs and ideas. It means, "meet, appoint, come together." In this context the meaning IS quite clear: Can two walk together if they have not AGEED TO MEET... which, of course, makes perfect sense.

    In any case, even were the KJV translation correct, I find myself wondering how those who invoke it decide what the issues are on which there must be agreement before they can "walk" with someone. Apparently, for example, they don't require agreement on the nature of the Eucharist... such that folks who worship Christ in the Bread and Wine and those who regard such behavior as idolatry (see the rubrics at the end of the 1662 communion order) can still 'walk together'. So, idolatry is no big deal, but blessing same-sex relationships is a communion-breaker. Go figure!

    ReplyDelete
  21. The passage is about God calling Israel to account for its sins. It isn't about showing up for tea with someone to whom you never told the time for meeting. The lead into the passage is essential to understading its meaning:
    "Listen to this, Israel. God is calling you to account—and I mean all of you, everyone connected with the family that he delivered out of Egypt. Listen! 2"Out of all the families on earth, I picked you. Therefore, because of your special calling, I'm holding you responsible for all your sins.
    3 Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren't going to the same place?"
    To me, it suggests God isn't going to walk together with us (you or me) if we are not willing to head in the direction He is leading. St. Paul clearly tells us that we need to be in the world and share the Good News with non-believers, but if a brother refuses to turn from his wicked ways after being called to account, he is to be separated from the brethren.
    George

    ReplyDelete
  22. Could it be that people HAVE listened over and again? Forget the Southern Cone folks, the Global South, etc. We in North America have gotten an ear full and are quite capable of forming decisions without (gasp) "them" telling us what to think or why. Most of my decisions (and of those that I know) don't consult Duncan, Orombi, et al. They are based on what I hear directly from the people who demand to be followed in this Province. Along the way I've heard leading TEC gay activists call deceitful tactics good (e-mails anybody?)and label those who don't bow or agree with them "cretins" "bishop beach ball", and on. Yes....we've heard and heard and heard and just refuse to be browbeat into taking a position held by a small but currently well positioned niche of Christianity.

    What people ARE doing more of these days is LOOKING. Looking at the lawsuits. The churches drying up, particularly those under the leadership of revisionist priests and bishops. Two Cathedrals for sale or nearly broke, and Trinity under Bishop Otis not able to sustain a viable congregation of more than 75 (in gay-friendly country!)- oddly enough all of these under the leadership of gay or gay activist clergy. We're Looking at the Cathedral College at Nat. Cat. closing for the first time under its revisionist bishop and cathedral dean. The fleeing of people from TEC. Looking at the push for religious syncretism with KTF, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum. Whatever happened to the promises (see, I listened) of the bishop of New Hampshire who said, in effect, that people leaving TEC was not be a problem because the GLBT will fall into their places and carry on?

    Where is THIS happening?

    And we're supposed to fall down and accept this kind of agenda or leadership? If the gay activists cannot make their own personal acceptance agenda fly and succeed in their own circles of responsibility, then pray tell, why should the rest of the Church be sacrificed?

    Yep. People listened and have heard enough. They're looking and have seen enough.

    Now, instead of attacking me back as a Philistine, how about answering all of this.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You are more tolerant than I would be-I would tell him to go home and change out of his robes.
    There was a study on US life, how it's becoming more self-segregated than ever: residence, job, ideology, churches/religions, academically. One of the most powerful effects of this was that the extremes within each group tend to become more extreme-there's nobody within the group to contradict him/her and everyone outside the group is, by definition, not worth the trouble to be listened to.
    The Unitarians, Quakers and Episcopalians have a high percentage of people in their groups not born/raised within their groups. Do you think this process of self-selection may be having untoward, even unhealthy, effects?
    All groups have to be able to draw lines around themselves to keep what they want in and what they don't want out. Even small life like yeast cells do that. The central problem remains: how do you do this AFTER your surrounding culture has ceased to be interested in you and no longer provides the "penumbra of plausibility" that you used to have for generations?

    ReplyDelete
  24. What an interesting example of why one shouldn't depend on rhetorical questions to end discussion, or cherry-pick a single verse out of context. Read on to the next line: lions actually do roar when they have no prey (Amos 3:4). Roaring communicates all kinds of messages to members of the home pride.

    Citing Amos - generally - can surely haunt those trying to justify religious purity. He certainly warned Israel about the consequences of social injustice and religious arrogance. (JimB, I don't know if that is part of your argument.)

    We say that scripture contains all things necessary for salvation, not that all things have been revealed - or even immediately understood once brought to light by the Spirit!

    BrianF, I'm not quite sure why you think "some 'Christians' try to drive a wedge between the words of Jesus and what Paul or Peter or John wrote..." Asking questions when you see a potential contradiction is how we humans learn new things. No reason to bring up the oft-quoted examples of this here, but to say we have interpreted scripture the same way for 2,000 is pretty inaccurate.

    (The verification word is "cycle." How appropriate.)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think Robroy has overlooked some of the history of the listening process called for in 1998 Lambeth I.10. In that resolution the Bishops stated quite clearly: "We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons...." In the recent history of many churches in the Communion you would find little or no evidence that this commitment has been kept.

    For my part, I listen to conservatives a great deal and I remain unconvinced by the arguments against sacramental equality for gay and lesbian Espicopalians.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Brad....ah...you didn't say the Klansman was in his robes. Yep, I'd tell him to remove them and come back too.

    But we might be wrong to do so. A really good usher might be able to convince him to remove the robe before coming in (like leaving your guns at the entryway).

    I was a rector in a parish that was pre-revolutionary war in origin and there were Revolutionary War dead buried in the churchyard. We had a reenactment group come and do a salute for those who had died, and they began by coming to church in full uniform. I asked them to stack their arms outside before entering, as this was a place of peace. It gave rise to an interesting conversation after the service.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Grandmére Mimi I don’t know which diocese you are in, but we in Western Louisiana had a traveling ‘road show’ grandly called a listening process.

    Each meeting began with a rather biased history of “how we got here” given by a conservative leader in this diocese who would be well known to many of the readers here for his rants on his personal blog. This was followed by other speakers touching on the woes of the Episcopal Church and then by speakers from the floor.

    Although there was some discussion of sex, there was no dialogue with openly gay persons. These meetings were thinly veiled gripe sessions.

    As to Robroy’s comment “it was clear that communication from the liberals was in one direction: "You conservatives sit down, shut up, and we will tell like it is."

    I can assure you that groups of people from several conservative congregations sat together at these meetings and were extremely vocal and disrespectful to anyone with whom they disagreed. At one point a younger priest (well educated, straight and married) was told to ‘shut up and sit down.’

    ReplyDelete
  28. From the "tone" of their comments here, I think it is safe to conclude that "Robroy" and Allen have listened to just about everything EXCEPT "to the experience of homosexual persons...." Had they, I doubt they could speak with such contempt and animosity and use such scapegoating rhetoric.

    ReplyDelete
  29. How can you expect to achieve a resolution when the two sides have no middle ground.

    Either homosexuality is a great moral evil, or it is morally neutral, like being left handed....or heterosexual. There isn't a compromise possible.

    You can talk at each other all day long, but at this point, there's about 0% chance that people will change their minds. I have been following this issue and these blogs for >5 years. There is no movement to speak of.

    There is an attempt to cover what the argument is about, but we all know it's not about Christology or the Nicene creed. It's about one thing: whether homos have to be included. And the answer to that can only be one of two things: yes or no.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Orgelman, I am not in your diocese, but a traveling road show as you describe would have been worse than nothing. I believe that I know of the leader/blogger whom you describe.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sorry William K.

    I have heard very sufficiently from the leading gay activists in TEC who claim to speak for their gay constituents.

    I have decided that, for my part, gay folks (even partnered folks) should be welcomed in our churches, should lead in the laity, and yet there is still enough contradictory Scriptural and catholic opinion that will not allow this lifestyle to be commended in the form of marriage or given ordination representation.

    If that causes pain, then it is only the pain of one's ego rather than the denial of practical rights. The laity is the primary ministry in Christ's Church, and one's legal rights are not curtailed by not being married by the Church.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Phil, that was not the first comment Brad has left here on Father Mark's blog. And I have seen the comments that he is leaving on other blogs. I know that Father Mark is busy, so I was just letting him be privy to what was occurring.

    I am helping administer a blog that has its share of trolls. They are difficult to keep up with at times.

    WilliamK, they are actually very civil here in their comments. Visit STiF or T19 to get a feel for their unbridled passion for us.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Lynn,

    I see three points:

    One: the KJV 'unless they agree' needs to be read in the context of then contemporary English usage. If it is, a reasonable literary conclusion is that there is an implied "to meet."

    Two: the 'agreed to walk;' ''made an appointment' or 'to meet' fits the context of the section. Amos is listing a series of impossiblities to make a point not setting out theology.

    Three: Amos over-all is certainly not about theological purity! His concern with social justice is not a good basis from which to argue for inequity.


    The misuse of Amos 3 is consonant with the "have I got a verse for you! theology*" that seeks not to understand the Spirit's intent but to find a quotation that can be used to beat someone up. Anything is I guess, acceptable in pursuit of an archbishop's title.

    FWIW
    jimB

    ____________
    * A name for the practice for which I am indebted to Fr. David Weaver. He used it in a conversation we shared one afternoon and I had to order and drink a large glass of ice water before I could finally control my laughter. There is another restaurant to which I can never return. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  34. allen, your response is very similar to the idea that it doesn't matter which water fountain you use, because the water that comes out is the same.

    Either you are for equality, or you aren't. We know which side you are on.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Allen,
    You wrote:
    I have heard very sufficiently from the leading gay activists in TEC who claim to speak for their gay constituents.

    I don't "hear" this as indicating that you have actually listened to your gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Your evident animosity towards the "gay activists" to whom you refer suggests to me that you have not. Have you actually ever sat down with a self-affirming gay or lesbian Christian and really listened?

    As for your personal prescriptions for church policy.... I do appreciate your willingness to be inclusive as far as you feel able. But, I must confess that my initial reaction was to think how much this seemed like offering the dogs crumbs from the table.

    If that causes pain, then it is only the pain of one's ego....

    I wonder why you think you are in a position to say what character "pain" has or where it comes from? Do you think the pain a Black person felt at being made to sit at the back of the bus was "only the pain of one's ego"? If so, was that pain any less real, or any less legitimate?

    And what if denying someone ordination denies the call of God?

    P.S. to David [Dah-veed] ... I have visited the sites you name and am aware of how much more vitriolic the language is there, where there is no restraint on it. But, even if the language used here has been more "civil," it is simply a matter of degrees ... and I have little trouble detecting the animosity just beneath the surface.

    ReplyDelete
  36. William,

    My question now becomes,

    "If my listening doesn't suit you then why do you need my approval or listening anyway?"

    Apprently we are in the company of those who go ahead and make liturgical and canonical changes and much later make them official at General Convention. (How this can demand respect and adherence to the canons from the remainder of TEC I just haven't figured out).

    My advice is to just go ahead. Be revisionist. Forget the canons and change them later. Go forth and succeed with the agenda. You certainly don't need my approval, if you ever wanted it. This Church has unquestioningly become very favorable for the GLBT and one should then hope that the bishop of New Hampshire, Bishop Otis Charles, and many others will finally succeed and spark a massive entrance of that community into the increasing void of the TEC.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Why does everyone think listening means having to change your mind?

    Truly listening opens your eyes to the reality of the one you're talking to and it helps you to see their sincerity and their integrity.

    You can still disagree with them, but you will do it with much less hatred, fear and vitriol - and you might even discover that it is possible to walk side by side without being of one mind.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Why does everyone think listening means having to change your mind?

    Erika,
    I don't think "everyone" does; I certainly do not. That was the point of my challenge to Allen, who clearly has never "listened."

    Thanks for emphasizing this crucial point.

    ReplyDelete
  39. "You can still disagree with them, but you will do it with much less hatred, fear and vitriol - and you might even discover that it is possible to walk side by side without being of one mind."

    Lots of things wrong with these fine sounding words.

    Firstly, I am soooo tired of the "hatred" business. Disagree with the latest innovations and you are "hateful." Sorry, but no. Am I angry? You bet. We have young kids. The local church has shrunk so by the controversy that the children's program is dead. Susan Russell labeled the drastic decline of the denomination "the cost of discipleship." The denomination that I was born and raised in is dead for all intents and purposes for us thanks to the gay activists. And our family's experience is hardly unique. It is being repeated in town after town across the country. More than 50% of parishes now have 10 or fewer youth.

    Walk side by side? Hardly. The militant pro-gay forces are pushing their activism on the denomination. The fastest declining parishes are conservative ones in liberal diocese. It is simply not possible to walk "side by side."

    ReplyDelete
  40. The denomination that I was born and raised in is dead for all intents and purposes for us thanks to the gay activists.

    I've used the word "scapegoating"... and I'll repeat it: This kind of rhetoric is scapegoating, blaming "the gay activists" (by which is meant any LGBT Episcopalian who refuses to be treated as a second-class Christian) for the fact that people have left the church. It blames the victimes of exclusion rather than the excluders.

    Robroy, here's a GENUINE invitation to you: Come to my parish, where you'll find vibrant programs for children led by teachers who love and cherish them. There are just two "hitches," I guess: some of those loving, nurturing teachers are gay or lesbian, and some of the kids have two mothers or two fathers.

    Robroy, you and your family would be WELCOMED in my parish. Sadly, I know that many members of mine would not be welcomes in yours.

    ReplyDelete
  41. They are walking to Jerusalem, aren't they?

    ReplyDelete
  42. William K,

    as I SAID and WROTE:

    I am listening to those in this Province who demand to be followed.

    I have just listened to Louie Crew's major upset because he doesn't get to have first-hand knowledge about the make-up of Bishop Parsley's Committee on sex. "The Lobby" shows its true and flagrant accusatory colors about not having a crack at critiquing the makeup or having the opportunity to pressure the members.

    Read Mr. Crew's latest rant about how Bishop Parsley's Committee is probably up to "no Christian good" and then tell me why one should keep listening.

    I've HEARD yet again from a relied upon gay leader in THIS Province. No African is he.

    It's all about control until one withers and agrees with the gay lobby in TEC.

    Maybe if you want somebody to listen more you should get better spokespersons than the current line-up of "very" questionable personalities. If you want people to believe in the normalcy of the gay life then stop leaving the leadership to the loud, flashy, splashy, in-your-face and obnoxious leaders and start trotting out gay people that act a bit more...um..normal.

    ReplyDelete
  43. In my most recent blog essay, I discuss what happens in the 'listening process' from the perspective of both liberal and conservative partisans. The response from my conservative friends suggests I got it right.

    In fact, there is a presumption of change, and it is from the liberal towards the conservative. After all if we think it important that they listen it is simply true that we think their experience will have an impact. Only a dysfunctional person would from a liberal perspective want to tell conservatives to be more conservative!


    FWIW
    jimB

    ReplyDelete
  44. Allen,
    You wrote (ranted?):
    Maybe if you want somebody to listen more you should get better spokespersons than the current line-up of "very" questionable personalities. If you want people to believe in the normalcy of the gay life then stop leaving the leadership to the loud, flashy, splashy, in-your-face and obnoxious leaders and start trotting out gay people that act a bit more...um..normal.

    Uh-huh... right... got it. More...um..."normal"... like +Orombi and +Akinola and Virtue.... Sure. Okay.

    ... anyway: loud, flashy, splashy, in-your-face and obnoxious .... I'm pretty sure terms like this were applied to Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists in the Civil Rights Movement. They just need to be translated: for "loud" read "assertive"; for "flashy" read "assertive"; for "splashy" read "assertive"; for "in-your-face" ... well, you get the picture!

    I get it. Your mind is already made up against your LGBT brothers and sisters and their full equality in the church, and any assertion on their part will just reinforce your existing prejudices. If LGBT Christians are quiet and well-behaved, you can ignore them; if they assert themselves, you can condemn them as "uppity". Either way you "win."

    But I am glad you gave me some chuckles. The idea of Bishop Robinson or Elizabeth Kaeton (to name just two) as "loud, flashy, splashy, in-your-face and obnoxious" is just TOO funny!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I wonder if Allen should just stop digging.

    First he accuses GBT of a "lifestyle". I don't have a lifestyle. I have a life.

    Second he complains, presumably speaking of Louie Crew, that he isn't sufficiently "normal" to warrant respect. Oh, so now there's a measure of "normality"? Who chooses?

    And, I'm about as "normal" as they come in terms of passing, and the Allens of the world still treat me like scum.

    Like many of my GLBT brethren, I've about had it with Allen and his ilk and their desperate need to make a "THEM" and an "US".

    ReplyDelete
  46. The denomination that I was born and raised in is dead for all intents and purposes for us thanks to the gay activists.

    Amen and hallelujah! The denomination I was born into was devoted to assuring the rich and comfortable that their domination of society derived from nature and was blessed by a rather remote God.

    If women and gays hadn't blown their comfortable fraternity open simply by being human and attracted by the message of Jesus, they'd probably still be running that racket.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Robroy
    Your anger stems precisely from the fact that you see other people only in terms of how they impact on your life, your church, your thinking. They are one-dimensional characters, purely judged on whether they fit into your concepts of life or not.

    True listening is designed to make you see those you disagree with as individuals in their own right, with their own legitimate concerns, with their own lives. These three dimensional individuals may be completely different from you, but once you have recognised them as three dimensional and as valid and human as you are, you can no longer simply see them with reference to yourself.

    For a start, you would begin to see that they do not only impact on your life, but that you impact on theirs.

    If you truly listened and began to see people as genuine other individuals just like you, you would find that you no longer dislike them so strongly.
    You would still disagree with them, but with more compassion and understanding.
    You would still want to achieve what is best for you, but you would not sizzle with such dismissive anger.

    And who knows, you might even find that you could, after all, live side by side in disagreement.


    If you look at the history of social conflict, you'll discover that once all those major dividing lines had been removed, people were suddenly freed to see each other as individuals, and discovered they have much more in common than they thought.

    And so you now have women in both camps, black people in both camps - and once the current dividing line has been removed and a new issue arises some time in the future, the same process will start again - and that time you will also have lgbt people in both camps.

    What unites us is truly deeper than what divides us. But we need to look at all the real depth of a person and not only see them as one thing: woman or man, white or black, gay or straight.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Jim wrote:
    In fact, there is a presumption of change, and it is from the liberal towards the conservative. After all if we think it important that they listen it is simply true that we think their experience will have an impact. Only a dysfunctional person would from a liberal perspective want to tell conservatives to be more conservative!

    I agree. We really must be more honest about the fact that we would like to persuade "the other side" to change their views. If we believe we are right, why wouldn't we want to convince others?

    I wonder, has anyone who believed in full inclusion of LGBT people in the life of the church actually been convinced to move to a more "conservative" position? I can think of a good number of folks (from a variety of denominations/traditions) who held more "conservative" views who have moved in the "progressive" direction. For an example, I recommend Bishop Neil Alexander's (+Atlanta), This Far By Grace.

    At the same time, I really do also agree with Erika's affirmation that we can listen to those with whom we disagree so that we can gain a more sympathetic understanding of their committments. It cannot just be about trying to convince someone to change her position; it's also important to try to understand that view in a way that allows us to better relate to that person as a brother or sister in Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I join William in inviting anyone to visit our parish (Saint Matthias, East Aurora, NY - a half-hour's drive from Buffalo). Although none of our gay and lesbian members teach Sunday School - four of them teach Monday to Friday and one is a retired teacher - their presnce and that of their children is a blessing. There is a very lively section of the nave where all sorts of families sit and were I free to sit somewhere other than the presider's chair, I would choose to sit in the middle of that section.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Erika's comments about listening not being the same as agreeing remind me of the way in which some traditionalists in our diocese accused our bishop - sometimes angrily - of not litsening to them because of the way he voted at GC 2003. He had listened and voted as he discerned the Spirit.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Completely agreed Mark. I support you..

    ReplyDelete

OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.