Moderator pulls the birth-right card.

The Moderator of all Common Cause Partnership land, soon to be the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, has pulled the birth-right card, a card played skillfully only by a very few who can practice one-upmanship with British abandon.

He said in an interview with the Church Times,

“I’m a cradle Anglican. My grandfather was a boy chorister. . . My theological views haven’t changed. The problem is that folks who have become the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the United States have pulled the rug out from under me. The person who is our Presiding Bishop, she didn’t begin as an Anglican. I did. She represents something very different. I don’t think I’m a breakaway."

Ah, I'm a cradle Anglican. The Presiding Bishop is not. And?

The Moderator later says,

“You really have two religions. You have one that believes as Anglicans always have believed, that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and you have another led by our Presiding Bishop of TEC [the Episcopal Church], who says ‘That would be to put God into a small box.’ One is classic Christianity. One is actually not Christianity, at least not in the way that classic Protestantism, classic orthodoxy, or classic Catholicism would recognise it. "

Well, there you are.

The Moderator believes wrongly that his being a birth-right Anglican / Episcopalian gives him some edge. Tell that to the majority of Episcopalians who come from other denominations.

He believes that his being a birth-right Anglican / Episcopalian adds anything at all to what he might say next.

If that were true what would he do with the fact that I am a birth-right Episcopalian / Anglican? Or that roughly sixty percent of those meeting in the Chicago Consultation on full inclusion are birth-right Episcopalian / Anglican? It adds nothing.

About his second statement, which has to stand apart from his comments about the Presiding Bishop being a late comer to Anglicanism, there are of course others things to say.

Among them being that being saved by God in Jesus Christ is not the same as believing that "Jesus is the only way to salvation." The first is what God is up to and will work out however it needs to be done - it is part of the Mission of God. It is an action that is outside every box and every church, being as it is the action of the loving Creator, active in the world, for the world. The second is a doctrine based on a particular understanding of several New Testament passages, most particularly, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except by me." Jesus being both the source of all and the gate, and the door, and the way in and out, etc, and drawing all people to himself, one might think the Way might be open even to those who found following him or believing him impossible. The problem with the passage is not that Jesus is the Way, but that some are very sure they know just how Jesus is the way.

I would not dare put words in either the Moderator's mouth or the Presiding Bishop's, but perhaps having played the birth-right card badly the Moderator might think again about his statement that "The other is actually not Christianity."

The argument by ACNA needs to be that the leadership of TEC is not Christian, that they have lost their way, that real Anglicans are about keeping the faith whole and entire. Real Anglicans can't bridge the gap with Rome or the Orthodox, lost the Methodists, killed Quakers and Presbyterians when they weren't absorbed by them, and generally have kept the faith about as well as others have, but not better.

So ACNA and FOCA have become friends. Great. But they need to find better reason for friendship than mutual dislike for TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. Common enemies do not guarantee long friendships.


  1. If I gave a rats patootie what the Über donatist of Pittsburgh had to say, I might be offended at this.
    I actually had to think about and reflect on my faith when I joined TEC. He just seems to believe in a purity of the Blood must be present to truly be an Anglican.

    Talk about "Englishmen and honorary Englishmen" as a definition of Anglicanism.

  2. Oh, dear, parallels to Harry Potter suddenly came to mind. I guess I'm a Mudblood. I can't claim Anglican birthright purity. On the other hand, I come from a far more fundamentalist branch of Christianity than my former diocesan neighbor Bob - I was raised in a Baptist household.

    I think Bob wasn't really thinking when he said this. I suspect he will set us straight soon, and remove from me the taint of the Mudblood.

    The magic word is cessnese

  3. Count me among the cradle Anglicans. (67 years and counting -- baptized at the age of two months.) That doesn't make me holier or wiser than the folks who were baptized/confirmed last Saturday night, but it may make me holier or wiser than Bob Duncan.

  4. And to think I was born a mere Methodist. I suppose 27 years of being an Episcopal convert just doesn't add up in comparison to being to the manor born.

    My parish is filled with former Irish Catholics and former fundamentalists (Southern Baptist, United Brethren, Jehovah's Witness, Assemblies of God, you name it). We have at least one former Communist (gasp). What an unwashed rabble! the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free; the wretched refuse from everyone else's teaming shore.

  5. My mother was Episcopalian, does that count?

    How do I break it to BP that her cradle Catholicism is a disadvantage to some piskies?


  6. I'm a cradle Episcopalian AND was born, raised and still live in Pittsburgh.

    That makes me more qualified than the former bishop, who was NJ born, to be Bishop of Pittsburgh!

  7. Ah, Robert Duncan, the Circumcision Party's spokesman! I think Paul mentioned him.

  8. What a load of horse-hockey exDuncan is spewing!

    While WSJM has 20 years on me, I am a cradle Episcopalian (my parents met in an Episcopal church). In my 47 years "in The Faith", I've been a member of parishes on the Left Coast, the Right Coast, and the last 10 years in the Midwest (I've spent a little time in Episcopal churches in the South, too).

    While I would say there's been a flowering in TEC---showing healthy growth-in-faith---there's been NO change, in the sense of a "rug-pulling", much less a departure from "classic Christianity".

    ExDuncan is bringing up a Red Herring (who's "cradle", and who isn't), in order to distract the less informed from the CHANGE *he* has made: to the heresy of schism.

    If you don't want "two religions" Bob, then give up your newly-invented one! >:-/

  9. Since so much of this revolves around interpretation of scripture, I wonder if the claims by the sons of Abraham to birthright in John 8 resonate here? Or perhaps the story of Jacob and Esau?

    (Do I get to claim special privilege to truth now as third-generation Episcopal clergy? I don't think so.)

    This is all very sad.

  10. Mr. Duncan might well have begun as an Anglican, but he certainly hasn't ended as one.

  11. I Am An Episcopalian18/4/09 11:59 AM

    Just EXACTLY what WSJM said!! It continues to amaze me how much time and energy some people spend in trying to find fault with those who differ with "their orthodoxy."

    I would heartily recommend Karen Armstrong's The Bible: A Biography, to those who think that everything written in holy scriptures is just the way God/Jesus/Paul, etc. dictated it. This recommendation is for those who believe Marcus Borg's Reading the Bible Again for the First Time is just tooooo radical... Where did all these closed-minded people come from, anyway???

    I Am An Episcopalian

  12. As I recall, many of the African Anglicans with whom Duncan is so proud to associate aren't Cradle Anglicans either. I wonder if they've noticed their second-class status yet?

    Oh, I know: they won't because they agree with him - at least, so far....

  13. And here I thought that the only birthright in the faith once delivered was to be born a miserable sinner like Adam.

    I was baptized at two weeks of age by my cousin, an Episcopal priest in the (old) Diocese of México. But I am pretty sure that he baptized me a Christian.

  14. John 2007 writes:

    Oh, puh-lease people. Your bile and vile is embarassing. Duncan was not saying his biography justified his actions, the ones you find deplorable. He was simply speaking biographically. Is that not allowed? I could point to far more egregious examples--if you say no biography allowed--on the left where people claim their "experience" of, say, inclusion, be the defining characteristic of Anglicanism. But, really, you all sound like those polarized and frenzied talk shows that are uncharitable and lacking also in common sense. He was simply talking about his history and his love for Anglicanism.

    Some specific points though: (1) the charge of Donatism is frequently applied to those who want to realign within Anglicanims, but incorrectly so. If you review the Donatist controversy it was about sacramental efficacy and about clergy who had forsaken the faith in the midst of persecution and then repented of that abdandonment. In the current state, the conservative reply to the charge of donatism is, then, that it is a bad analogy because, first of all, we are talking about an unrepentant set of church leaders. I know they don't think they need to repent, but the point here is simply that the Donatist controversy was dealing with a significantly dissimilar set of facts. It was about a group that had denied, repented, and had begun confessing the faith again.

    Second, the conservatives need not say they are concerned with sacramental efficacy as the Donatist controversy was. They are, truly, concerned with the teaching of the church and the role of a bishop to be a godly example. Sacramental efficacy in light of the Donatist controversy can assure us sacraments work apart from the moral worthiness of the dispensers. Fine. But the church is far more a place of sacramental dispensing. And BTW the modern habits of looking at something in all it complexity, fullness, and relationality, is something the conservatives have on their side here: the ancients were deciding a very narrow question, and not understanding the church in as full a way. (Plus, you also have to get over the hurdle that the ancients would have been scandalized by the material decisions EUCSA has taken.) So lobbing the charge of donatism is, on this ground, too, not convincing and clearly misguided. Those who lob that charge should think more about what place in the life of the church there is for 'godly life' and 'examples in holiness.'

    2. The event that tore the sacramental unity of the church at its deepest level--as the Primates put it before VGR's consecration--was VGR's consecration. That was the schismatic event. The conservatives want to realign within Anglicanism. Why not let them, in a spirit of charity, to do that? There's lots of lip service to 'living in tension' from ECUSA, and on this blog, so why not live in the tension of a realignment.

    3. Although Duncan thinks that ECUSA is in error in its teaching, and has pointed to what he thinks is suspect teaching in particular people, he has never, to my knowledge, stopped to the level of invective, hectoring, sarcasm, and mean spirited character assination that I see regularly on this blog. I laid down the challenge before, and I will repeat it, show me where Duncan, while firm in his convictions, has maded any ad hominem attack, or said anything sarcastic or in a spirit of hate or anger.

  15. John2007,

    I'm afraid you have dropped in on a little inside Piskie humor. If nothing else, you'll find that those from the Anglo-Catholic side of our traditions think that Robert Duncan is about as "typical" an Episcopalian as someone from our local Baptist churches. Since you seem to have an interest in Christian history, this goes back to the Elizabethan settlement, so doubtless the insider jokes do as well. In the end you come to a crazy realization that your role might just be helping your Baptist and Catholic friends understand each other. In other words, they think Episcopalians are indecisive (and heretics) - but useful at wedding and funeral services.

    I'm moved to challenge you on Donatism, since this heresy of the fourth century now has a much broader meaning: whether the church is comprised of saints or sinners - and if human beings are qualified to take on God's role of naming who has erred from His ways. And surely if we want to question the purity of the historic episcopate, there are plenty of bishops to study, creating much larger "schisms" than Bishop Gene Robinson. After all, history tells us the "saints" that received the early special deliveries weren't Trinitarians, and the Western/Roman model of Christianity was...well, another long story, of course, and better told by someone from the Eastern tradition.

    And being one of those snotty cradle Episcopalians, I suggest you pull your orange out of the bushel of apples. Compare the grace of my words about Robert Duncan to those of any regular commenter at SF, VO or T19 about PB Katharine or Bishop Gene. Or review Mark's blog posts here with Matt Kennedy's over at SF. Yes, all of us can generate strong opinions and very direct criticism. Anglicans are a sarcastic bunch at times, both liberal and conservative. Yes, two wrongs making a "right" is a logical fallacy, and I do not defend anyone's actions on that basis. But dig a little further and you will find that there are no innocents on either side of this controversy.

    And now, if you will all excuse me, I feel a rather large piece of wood in one of my eyes. Thank goodness I don't wear contact lenses.

  16. John 2007

    You totally miss the point, the correlation that the Orthodites are the new Donatists is not the cause of the schism, but the end result, a separate church that holds itself as the true church, offering the true gospel, of the faith once delivered.

    You also totally miss the point of the thread. We are all having fun here and blowing off a little steam. Unlike Titus 1:9, SFIT or Virtueless, where every damn thread is like this and more!

    I do not have the gumption to search whether Bob Duncan has personally said mean things. Just look at the company he keeps. Many of them do almost every time they open their mouths! But I do know he has never publicly disagreed with their position or distanced himself from them in any way.

  17. John 2007-

    He is a Donatist. He even went so far as to argue that +VGR was "improper mater" to be a bishop. So yes, sacramental efficacy is at question. To be exact, the Donatists went so far as to proclaim themselves the only arbiters of true Christianity and anyone who disagreed with them, at any level or in any way, were apostate. I recall some of the Virginians refusing to allow Bishop Lee to lay his "slimy" hands on their children in confirmation because he voted yes on +VGR.

  18. John 2007

    Duncan and those following him, to be completely fair (and I remain in ECUSA FWIW) are seeking realignment within the communion. No need for the language of schism, though I doubt you will drop it.

  19. Deacon Charlie Perrin18/4/09 5:51 PM

    I'm a cradle Anglican and I think Mr. Duncan is full of s**t. (And I am not being disrespectful of him by using the title "mister." The "Minister" of the "Low Church" parish I grew up in was _always_ either Mr. Fitzgerald or Dr. Fitzgerald. He was _never_ Fr. Fitzgerald.)

    I have found that people who come to the Episcopal Church (or even to the Faith for that matter) later in life have a greater appreciation of what it is that we have in our Anglican ethos. They are less likely to take things for granted than those of us who have known nothing else.

    Some of my favorite Episcopal presbyters are former Romans (our co-adjutor elect is one of those). And what they (and every other "latecomer") have over those born and raised as Episcopalians is that they "get it." They appreciate the freedom of thought in TEC and the general treatment of all as adults who can make informed decisions, rather than children who must be _controlled_.

  20. John 2007

    Sorry Friar John, but to say that someone is not adequate to be a bishop simply does not make one a Donatist. Additionally, not partaking in communion does not make one a Donatist. One can do it for all sorts of reasons and anyhow, crucially, the reason the Donatist label doesn't work is because the Donatist were objecting to clergy who--one more time, and please think about this--had rejoined the shared faith. Nota bene: there was no disagreement about the faith. As it stands now, however, there is a disagreement about the faith and whether it is being upheld, lived, out and embraced. So the application of Donatism is simply not applicable. Fair enough if you want to day Duncan et al don't have the whole truth. But say that.

    And there is also probably some rich irony in the left wing of ECUSA which loves to speak of new truth, and turns a blind eye to all sorts of denials of the faith (from Spong to Forrester today) and general goofiness, trotting out the charge of same ancient heresy to criticize Duncan.

    To this charge (leaving the word Donatist out of it):"To be exact, . . . . went so far as to proclaim themselves the only arbiters of true Christianity and anyone who disagreed with them, at any level or in any way, were apostate." Can you show me where Duncan says this? He certainly doesn't claim that Presbyterians, Baptists, RCatholics, Anglicans, and others are "apostate." In Pittsburgh he forged many ecumenical coalitions. He worked tirelessly and humbly with many with whom he disagreed. You see, he is talking about TEC's radical decisions which Lambeth '98 and Windsor, among other gatherings, has admitted. So why bristle? Why the outrage? Why Harris' continual snarky comments and caricatured portrayals? Seems to me the cause of this blog would be better served if it thought about the acceptable limits of diversity, and the category (golden calf?) of diversity itself. I'd love to know, for instance, if people on the left ever ask what is the difference between a theology of inclusion and an ideology of inclusion? That's off point here, but thinking about it might save you from besmirching someone you don't know very well (it appears, though I know Mr Harris knows Duncan) and from the intemperate comments and the condition that occasion them.

  21. "improper mater"? The mind boggles.

  22. John 2007's Orwellian history notwithstanding, the acts of cross-border interference and deliberate schism predate the election of Gene Robinson. Specifically, the Rwandan incursions.

    I suggest, John, that if you want to start waxing self-righteous about facts, you might try a little fact checking.

    As to "venom," I don't recall anyone on any liberal blog I've seen referring to any of the women on the "orthodox" side as a whore. No, I've only seen that one tossed at the current Presiding Bishop of TEC.

  23. John 2007, even Ephraim Radner, upon resigning from the Anglican Communion Network in July, 2007, accused Duncan of schism and Donatism:

    "It is the entire Anglican Communion, therefore, that Bp. Duncan is declaring to be “lost”. The judgment is far too sweeping.

    Bp. Duncan has, in the end, decided to start a new church. He may call it “Anglican” if he wishes, though I do not recognize the name in these kinds of actions that break communion rather than build it up – for such building is what I have long perceived to be the “thing” God was “doing” with the earthen vessel of our tradition. In founding his new church, furthermore, he is, I fear, not working for the healing of our broken Body, but repeating the mistakes of Christians in the past, whose zeal has not only brought suffering to themselves, but has wounded the Church of Christ."

    The Rev. Dr. Radner had worked hand in hand with Duncan for quite some time and is a well-known conservative scholar, in addition to his work with the Covenant Design Group.

    Duncan has done what he has done and Mark is right to point out the "I'm a better/more authentic Anglican than you" tack (and its implication for ACNA) that Duncan has now taken in his attacks on TEC and PB Jefforts-Schori.

    Here is the link to Radner's letter as presented on Titus 1:9, which seems to serve as authentic proof for most conservatives. You can also read the letter on the ACN website.


    I'm not sure why you continue to argue that Duncan is innocent of these charges in the face of incontrovertible proof.

    Duncan, in his own pastoral letters, is now taking the bizarre position that even though he took himself and his diocese out of TEC (quite loudly and publicly) that he is the rightful Episcopal Church bishop and has rights to all the property and funds.

    Yes, that will help his cause in court if he can convince the judge to accept his most dubious claim, and yes, I'm sure he believes everything he says and does is for the greater good.

    But he is still a Donatist, arguing against TEC and declaring it apostate while raising up rival churches and dioceses, just like the Donatists did. The analogy is apt and clear and irrefutable, in my opinion.

  24. I am not a cradle Episcopalian, but my children are!

  25. Nom de Plume18/4/09 10:09 PM

    Well, I suppose I may as well play my card here. One of my mother's ancestors was a bastard son of Henry VIII. Which makes me what, exactly? Just a guy who knows that Mr Duncan is blowing organic fertilizer. But I knew that before the "cradle Anglican" claptrap.

  26. Well, I'm not a cradle Episcopalian, but I am a cradle homosexual.

  27. Nom de Plume19/4/09 10:01 AM

    Actually it occurs to me that this claim of superiority as a cradle Anglican implies that evangelism will be that much harder for Mr Duncan and his ilk. I mean, why would someone want to join their organization if they know that they can never be more than second-class citizens in it?

    So much for the much-vaunted focus on mission.

  28. I'm so disappointed I can't use the birthright argument any more! I am a cradle Episcopalian, and have been only too happy over the years here in Fort Worth to trumpet the fact that I'd been Episcopalian far longer than Jack Iker.


  29. Priscilla,

    I read the article by Radner, whom I know and with whom I often align myself. While he disagrees with Duncan he nowhere--not in any place--accuses Duncan of Donatism. He disagrees with Duncan's view of the church as lost, as you yourself cite.

    Deacon Charlie,
    You write "I'm a cradle Anglican and I think Mr. Duncan is full of s**t. (And I am not being disrespectful of him by using the title "mister." )

    Just the kind of vile and bile that got my attention in the first place.

    Orwellian history? Surely you jest. Are you denying that there was a Primates meeting and denying also the communique that said VGR's consecration would tear the fabric at the deepest level? Surely those things happened. There is no spin there. You may think VGR's elevation to the episcopate is important or legit or prophetic . .. or whatever . .. but surely that has what has caused the current breach. Of course, it didn't happen in a vaccum and people were on the outs with their bishops in all sorts of ways. I am thinking of Paul Marshall being invited to do confirmations in Philadelphia when a congregation wouldn't let the standing Bishop (Bartlett, maybe) do confirmations. Relationships have been disintegrating for some time. None of these broke the worlwide communion. But ECUSA was warned before VGR's consecration and we proceeded, and things were, by that event, ruptured.

    As for self-righteous, how so? Reminding us of that warning doesn't imply anything about me, does it? Isn't it a salient fact, the Primates meeting(s), the warnings, and the resultant fallout?

    And to Malcolm and others who blast conservative bloggers, I say again, Duncan has not taken part in character assassination and has remained far above the fray. Nothing, nada, venomous from him, which was part of my original post. I have no problem with complaints about venomous bloggers, but at every turn, this blog has, against the counsel of the gospel, fanned the fames of hate against Duncan.

    JOHN 2007

  30. I am a cradle Christian. I guess that will have to do. Sue-z and I came to TEC precisely because of the things that are driving - Bob's anger. You know, the importance of the Baptismal covenant, a ministry that treats female vocation seriously and even a polity that does not elect homophobe bishops from Pittsburgh PB.

    I am reminded of Mrs. Crachet's toast to Scrooge. - Bob has been searching for years for a jurisdiction he could boss and be hateful in so I suppose he will be merry.


  31. Deacon Charlie Perrin19/4/09 5:35 PM

    My Brother John 2007:

    Some of my best friends are full of s**t. Many times I am full of s**t. It is part of our fallen human nature.

    Would it be more polite to say he is mistaken? or to say that he is willfully misleading? Perhaps, but it doesn't have the impact of the concise, if vulgar, statement that he is full of s**t.

    In many ways it was the job of the great prophets to tell the children of Israel that they were full of s**t. And even though they did not resort to such vulgarity they still got treated quite shabbily. And not because they were vulgar, but because the children of Israel didn't want to hear it.

    As for me I appreciate it when a friend (or anyone else for that matter) tells me I'm full of s**t. I find it to be a valuable lesson in humility.

  32. I was born into a Methodist family and baptized as a baby there. My confirmation didn't take place until my mid-20s in the Roman Catholic church. After working as a paid choral scholar for the Episcopal church for 7 years, I was received into the church by my bishop in his private chapel the day before I moved far away from my home state. I have now been an Episcopalian for 20 years and I intend on staying put this time, LOL.

    John 2007, I will grant that Radner did not directly call Duncan a Donatist ; chastising him for his stubborn lack of forgiveness and Christian charity, setting up a schism by preparing to start his own parallel church with parallel bishops, and a semi-veiled reference to what earlier Christians did in harming the body of Christ are all quite coincidental in their likeness to Donatism. Amazing coincidence, but, as you purport, coincidence nonetheless. . . .

  33. I could let everything else go, John 2007, but not this one:

    Plus, you also have to get over the hurdle that the ancients would have been scandalized by the material decisions EUCSA has taken.You do NOT get to just tie-up the Cloud of Witnesses in a sack, and throw them on your side of the scale!

    Do I know that "the ancients" support the democratic-majority of TEC? Of course not.

    But as I pray with them, studying both their teachings (Tradition) and example ("Lives of")---along w/ sacred Scripture, of course, using whatever Reason I've been given---nothing has led me to believe that they don't, either.

    I "live in tension" of not knowing their minds (which I can presume are at One with God's---i.e., I don't know the Mind of God, either)...

    ...and just so, I'm prepared to live in tension w/ Bob Duncan, also.

    What I'm NOT prepared to do, is stand by while he "extra-legally appropriates" the property of the Episcopal Church---preventing Episcopalians from worshipping and carrying out their ministries in and through those properties. It are those ACTIONS by Mr. Duncan, and not his "birthright" claims, which are the source of our "bile and vile" reactions here. To expect the robbery victim to not express some anger at the thief, is a bridge too far.

  34. I think Bob is looking through a shattered crystal ball, the one that dropped on his head as an infant.

  35. es, John. Orwellian is precisely the correct word. The tearing of the fabric of communion long predates the election of +VGR - and the suggestipon that this act is the root of our present troubles would be classified by a technical term from moral theology - it is a lie.

    (Confirmation word is orefuse - too rich really)

  36. Please do feel free to consult "the Ancients" on matters of pharmacology and surgery! Clearly, "the Ancients" had all the answers, final and wrapped up! Here's a thought - since Buddhism is more ancient than Christianity, and Judaism is more ancient than that, and Hinduism ancient, as well, they must actually have better answers than Christianity. It's so clear now.

    "The Ancients" were fallible and human like the rest of us, no closer or farther from God than any of the rest of us have the potential for being, and, to underline both those points, died just like we will.

    That line of malarkey is played out.

  37. M Brunson,
    It was the critics of Duncan who cited the ancients as authority, invoking (incorrectly in my mind) the Donatist controversy and appealing to the ancient church's resolution of it as applicable to Duncan's attempt to realign.

    I think,again, there is an ironic element in this since, materially, the ancient church was against homosexuality. And we see the same irony, among others, when the left wing of our church cites the Gentile controversy in Acts, using its the form of its resolution about table fellowship while overlooking one of the material stipulations of that resolution: sexual purity.

    And, to close out here, all I was asking for was a more Christian treatment of a bishop. Won't happen here, I guess.
    JOHN 2007

  38. I think,again, there is an ironic element in this since, materially, the ancient church was against homosexuality. And we see the same irony, among others, when the left wing of our church cites the Gentile controversy in Acts, using its the form of its resolution about table fellowship while overlooking one of the material stipulations of that resolution: sexual purity.There's no irony, there, at all. I don't know what people on your side lack to be able to comprehend the difference between Truth and truths. Table fellowship, love, mutual tolerance - these are Truth. Homosexuality being wrong is a truth. It's not even a difficult difference to comprehend: it's demonstrable. The fact is that when people love and tolerate and expend themselves for others leads to a better life for all, while the opposite leads to a worse life. On the other hand, we see that absolutely none of the "common wisdom" or ancient convictions about homosexuality hold true in the face of demonstrable evidence. One is based on reliable evidence, the other on superstition and marked ignorance.

    The patriarchs were human beings. What they would say is not important. What they would say now, having partaken of the direct Presence of God is the only important question on mere truths, and they are quiet on the subject.

    And, to close out here, all I was asking for was a more Christian treatment of a bishop. Won't happen here, I guess.Why do you people always expect courtesy you never display? Do you really expect that we're that much holier and less given to anger and resentment than you?

    Yet, no one has shown un-Christian treatment of Duncan. He made a provocative - or at least abysmally clumsy - statement to justify his actions and position. The "furor" on our side is filled with much less invective than it might be. Think of it as brotherly rebuke, if that helps, or holding a bishop to a higher standard of accountability for his words.

    Above all, stop expecting to be excused on all points for that to which you hold others accountable.

  39. the ancient church was against homosexualityJohn Boswell put that falsehood to rest quite a number of years ago. The ancient Church as a whole was mostly occupied with too many other things to worry about that. It did not become an issue until the 1400s, when the Churches became concerned about a lot of things; Jews, witches, sorcery, queers, etc. As a result, the Churches murdered a lot of folks back then.

  40. Boswell did no such thing.

    Take a close look at the reviews, esp those in the Scottish Journal of Theology at the time of the publication of Boswell's thoughtful, but historically discounted, work.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, 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.