The Rev. Lauren Stanley's expulsion from the Sudan

Lisa Fox has written a powerful and sad commentary on the expulsion of the Rev. Lauren Stanley from the Sudan. This is a must read. Listening? is a central example of the problems facing common mission in the fractured Anglican world.

While it is always understood that the receiving bishop or Primate has the absolute right to refuse the further service of a missionary, it is a right seldom exercised. When it is there is almost always "more to the story."

This is a mess. The Rev. Lauren Stanley has been denied the opportunity to further serve, the people of the Sudan have lost an important resource, the Primate, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul has lost creditability and it is hard to know just who gains. Read Lisa's essay HERE.


  1. The main reason why I oppose the Episcopal Church unilaterally walking out of the Anglican Communion is that it will hurt people in dioceses like Lui in the Sudan far more than it will hurt their bishops. Kudos to the Diocese of Missouri for maintaining the relationship with their companion diocese in the Sudan despite the Archbishop.

    In the unlikely event that the Episcopal Church should find itself expelled from the Communion it helped to found, then a first priority would be the rebuilding of international relationships, especially in Central Africa.

  2. I disagree: Lauren Stanley is still free to serve (which, apparently in her world, means preaching the gospel of libertinism) - she'll just to have to do it in places so bought into the culture that they want that message. Like here, for example, were we positively wallow in it. This is, in fact, great news for the Sudanese. And, to close out the trifecta, the Archbishop has not diminished his credibility, he's enhanced it.

  3. I am so deeply distressed by this action. I knew Lauren years ago when she was a layperson at St. George's, Arlington, VA, just starting to discern her vocation. She's a wonderful person! I continue to read her blogs and her articles and smile at how wise and kind she remains. Her expulsion is a great loss to the Sudan and to the Diocese of Renk. I send my tears to them, and my love and prayers to Lauren.

  4. Phil, have you ever heard her preach? Do you even know her? She does not preach a gospel of libertinism; she preaches an orthodox Gospel of Christ born, crucified, and resurrected. Where in the world did you get any other idea?? I believe there's a commandment about "bearing false witness."

  5. Wow, Phil. That is a bit harsh, doncha think?

    Personally, I am all for leaving the communion. If the only help they need is based on the tiny tent Christology of Bul, then let Bul find others to fill that void.

    There is PLENTY of need not only in the US but around the world besides in Sudan, that much is clear. One can outstretch their hand but there is no rationalizing being bit time after time and doing it again and again.

    This is a terribly sad situation all around imho. But it was clear after Lambeth that Bul was as vicious as Akinola or Orombi.

  6. I find it so striking that the religiously righteous can get worked up into a frothing rage over sex, and yet ethnic genocide in Sudan, or torturing prisoners of war to create a false justification for a fraudulent war (the USA), or corporate executives taking our pension money and going on a looting and pillaging spree through the economy leaving all the rest of us holding the bag, barely registers on their radar.

    People are dying in droves in Africa, we have the biggest home foreclosure and eviction rates in this country since the Great Depression, 500,000 to 600,000 more people are out of work each week, and Phil is still examining bed sheets.

    I suppose war crimes are pardonable (remember the Amalekites? Cromwell certainly did at Drogheda), but wasted semen is the sin against the Holy Ghost.

    The willfully blind-leading-the-blind religiously right is in no position to be preaching to anyone about anything.

  7. 'Libertinism?' It is not even a word. So it needs to be given a definition if we are going to discuss whether a deeply devout priest is guilty of it.

    What does it mean? I submit it is anything that does not affirm male privilege in the minds of those who cannot face equity without an awareness of their own inadequacy.

  8. Whoa! The ultra-conservatives are in an uproar over this story. It seems Lauren Stanley wrote an article (in 2006) condemning The Falls/Truro/their plants leaving TEC and the Diocese of Virginia. Her departure from the Roman Catholic church is seen as a betrayal, rather than an act of conscience (hmmm...) It also seems she has been seen talking to Susan Russell at convention! The next leap seems to be that she is advocating LBGT rights while (literally) dodging bullets in the Sudan.

  9. I know very little of Lauren Stanley+ outside of the the commentary from both sides of the asile. Her desire to serve in the 3rd world is admirable. I would assume though, that when you serve as a guest of the Episcopate, you shouldn't speak contrary to the Lingua Franca of the his or her church.

    For the $64 question, would a Nigerian, Ugandan, et al serviing under the auspices of the PB receive any less administrative action for proclaiming their position in the LBQT discussion?

    Please don't take this as another jab from the right; I offer this as a bona fide question.

    Donna Nobis Pacem,


  10. I must strongly object to the false witness which tags LS ministry as 'preaching the gospel of libertinism'. This so glosses over the distinctions of conscience across the differing Anglican views, no matter where around the planet, that I wonder at it's use. As posted it is just a mean-spirited sound bite, which implies of course the thoughtless sound bite theme we constantly hear from devoted realignment believers: Conform, or Anything Goes?

    Neither draws truly or helpfully on our real world Anglican heritage, which strikes out faithfully and creatively in several other directions as Anglicans follow Jesus. God, bigger than conservative realignment?

    As to withdrawing from the increasingly maniulated global communion, I am mixed. To remain while big tent Anglicanism gets collapsed around us by the sound bite theologies of conservative realignment seems less than useful; better to refrain and work on establishing just those global networks of mission, friendship, and cooperation which still bring us all together on this small hurting planet. Jesus, bigger than conservative realignment, IRD-style?

    Best is to participate while refraining from feeding the beast in whose belly we dwell - in the polarized world but not of the polarized fake culture warriors? That is indeed the most difficult work and witness of all these days. Sophia, wise, beyond all polarizations and sound bites?

    One can read the banning of LS more positively, perhaps? What effective witness was she making, that only her absence could soothe the ruffled feathers? How will that absence not also speak loud volumes, to all the believers on the ground in Sudan whose lives she has already touched so deeply? How will this not yet again show that power and meanness is central to the collapse of that wondrously big tent Anglicanism?

    Inadvertently, these meanie moments actually move things along in a learning direction, as straight allies get the jackboot treatment that gay folks regularly get in too many places still? The more people targeted in this manner, along with the extremes of negative rhetoric, the more the targeting will itself speak volumes?

    Prayers, drdanfee

  11. "GLBT people deserve respect" = libertinism. Wow.

  12. Andy wrote:
    For the $64 question, would a Nigerian, Ugandan, et al serviing under the auspices of the PB receive any less administrative action for proclaiming their position in the LBQT discussion?

    I can't answer your global query. I can tell you we have a young man from Nigeria in our parish. He is outspoken. When gay issues arise, we listen to him respectly and gently engage him in dialogue. He and I get on well. And I bet he doesn't realize I'm one of those lesbians he would consign to outer darkness.

    For the past two years, our diocese supported a seminarian here from Lui. I honestly don't now what he thought about gay men and lesbians, for we never discussed it directly. In exactly the same way, Lauren Stanley didn't discuss "the sexuality issues" when she was in Renk. In both cases, I believe the visitor and the hosts showed respect.

  13. Phil, we've exchanged thoughts before, and while this has generally been on areas where we have disagreed--one day we should compare notes on what we agree on--this time I have to say you're not merely being unjust; you're not even trying to be just. You're assuming that someone who disagrees with you on one issue sees her Christian vocation--one less comfortable, I'd add then most would attempt--as preaching sexual license. Really? Did you take any steps to verify this, or are you just reducing Lauren Stanley--a servant of Christ who is suffering the pain of rejection right now--to a stereotype?

    Mock 'em when they're hurting isn't in any ofthe Gospels as I recall.

  14. Was the problem not that the Archbishop felt LS misrepresented Sudan when she told the Anglicans in Virginia that they were cool with TECUSA innovations? Is it not possible to see why he might have lost some trust in her?

  15. One thing I fail to understand is how Mark+ or Ms Stanley can travel to the third world and not see the abundant life in churches there and come back here and see the pews filled with the spiritually dead.

    "she is expelled for saying that LGBT people are human beings in Virginia, USA." This is utter nonsense and shows little understanding of situation of trying to preach the Gospel under the threat of Islam.

    Ms Stanley was told to pack her bags for espousing a view (that homosexuality can be blessed by the Church) that she should know full well is antithetical to the feelings of her former hosts and that could very much jeopardize the Church of Sudan's mission. The Sudanese won't care??? How clueless or worse, how willfully self deceptive.

  16. robroy...when did I ever say that in the "third world" there was not abundant life in the churches there?

    As for the pews filled with the spiritually dead here, where do you get that? Most critics are complaining that the pews are not filled at all, much less with the spiritually dead. As for those who are in the pews, by what special insight do you declare them spiritually dead.

  17. Poor delusional Robroy. As is usually the case with conservatives of a certain bent, he has created a virtual perfect African church in his mind that never really existed, where all the automatons in the pews think only what the arch-conservative, orthodox bishops and archbishops think and who agree totally with what American conservatives think about everything.

    Never mind the fact that many, many Africans are dodging bullets, starving, thirsting, sick, and afraid. All they care about is showing those crazy Episcopalians in America what's what regarding homos! Forget all about war, AIDS, famine, drought, and all that other non-orthodox stuff!

    And, of course, the Christian witness has to be altered to fit whatever the Islamic opposition can handle because that's the only way to "win". And you can't say anything at all about anything without taking a dig at TEC, the PB, liberals, and all those "others" who are ruining the world for the poor, put-upons in the conservative movement.

    There is no problem with ignoring the multitude of biblical admonishments to hospitality, thankfulness, forgiveness, turning the other cheek, loving others as one loves oneself, etc. That's all so damnably liberal and wimpy. Hard core old testament vengeance and righteous anger all the way!

    A sad and dangerous delusion, to say the least and yet more evidence that the God I love and serve is unknown to Robroy and his fellow travelers here, in Africa, and throughout the "Global South".

  18. Robroy, when were you last in Africa? Where did you go? How long were you there? After you answer those questions, I will talk with you about my experience in Sudan.

  19. I understand your frustration, Priscilla. Robroy is a regular commenter at StandFirm, and he is often one of the most vicious, hatemongering people at that site. It is "interesting" (at best) to see him try to comment here on Mark's blog. He comes here as a wolf in sheep's clothing.

    I await Robroy's responses to my questions. If he has actually been in Africa -- and not merely living at StandFirm -- I will be happy to engage his points.

  20. robroy...when did I ever say that in the "third world" there was not abundant life in the churches there?

    As for the pews filled with the spiritually dead here, where do you get that? Most critics are complaining that the pews are not filled at all, much less with the spiritually dead. As for those who are in the pews, by what special insight do you declare them spiritually dead.
    I would also ask by what special insight he would, as I infer, suggest that the "third world" churches are full of Life? Their violent words and actions, both toward their own and outsiders, would not seem to bear that out.

  21. OK, everyone jumped on robroy.....but, seriously, do you think the Archbishop has no good reason for losing trust in LS?

    Pls remember that her statement in Virginia paints him as being wrong (at best) re what his church thinks or being a liar (at worst) given his public statements which contradict LS.

    Has the Archbishop really been unreasonable?

  22. I have never traveled in Africa, but I have friends who have, and who have attended church there. They point out that church going is a very different experience there than in the USA. I don't think they would agree that one is necessarily inferior to the other, or that one has "pews filled with the spiritually dead."

    They would also say that people in Africa are no more inclined to march in lock-step behind their bishops there than people are here. They point out that there is every bit as much diversity of opinion and belief there as here, including about homosexuality (which seems to bother the bishops more than the rank and file who are preoccupied with more pressing matters).

    Robroy never misses an opportunity for boorish arrogant posturing, and I wonder where is his moral outrage over Western (and now Asian) trade policies that keep Africa in poverty? Where is the righteous indignation over the corrupting influence of Western oil companies in Nigeria?
    Like all the sex-obsessed religious right-wing, his tunnel vision focuses only on sexuality while he remains blind to the crime all around him.

  23. Mark+, I have been an Episcopalian for near a half century. That is my only qualification. You have been one for a little more than that. As I come back from my travels after seeing the great faith of the people, I am ashamed at those here that show up to church - if there isn't a football game, etc. One has to ask if we aren't doing it wrong.

    Priscilla, it precisely because they are "dodging bullets", that their faith puts ours to shame. The fact that they carry out their witness in the shadow of Islam means that they cannot have any weakening of the message. As St. Paul said:

    It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?Lisa, I usually go on one medical mission a year (or two if my wife let's me!). This year, I was in Haiti, last year, the Philippines, the year before in Kenya and China, etc. I was suppose to go to Zambia this summer, but it fell through. Hopefully, I can go to China in the Fall.

    Again, I find it very hard to believe that Ms Stanley didn't understand the position of the Sudanese nor that she didn't know that the words and actions of the diocese here wouldn't affect the mission of the Church of Sudan.

  24. Lisa, RobRoy manages to hold his tongue here on Mark's blog. It is almost as if he were two different people, there is such a stark contrast here with the hate that he spews about us at T19 and STiF, but not as much at T19 because the elves there will not abide it as well. But he knows Mark will not tolerate his usual blog fare here and would throw him out, so he self-moderates his comments.

    But it is the same speaking points as Phil, Allen and Observer, over and over again.

    RobRoy, I have no real evidence, but I believe that +Bul asked for the Revd Stanley's recall because he was put in an untenable position by your compatriots forcing him to do so. From all I have read on the various blogs regarding this issue, she has not changed her position, and before he became the primate of the Sudan, he was the diocesan with whom she worked and had no issues with her teaching ministry in the theology college in his diocese.

    The reports from those at the Virginia synod besides BabyBlue, is that someone felt that a pro gay, pro same sex union resolution could effect the relationship VA had in the Sudan and the Revd, Stanley said she did not believe that it would, that the folks in the pews had other things to worry about.

    I personally doubt that +Bul follows the minutiae of US diocesan synods. I believe that conservatives saw an opportunity to cause trouble and made an issue of bringing this to +Bul's attention such that his hand was forced.

    So now an effective missionary is no longer there, and the people who loved and respected her are the ones who truly loose.

  25. Just what is it that was actually said? Is there a link to Lauren's actual comments at convention? It doesn’t really matter. So many folks have reached conclusions, it seems to me, without facts. (http://babybluecafe.blogspot.com/2009/05/archbishop-of-sudan-removes-episcopal.html)

    Is there no other possible reason for expelling Lauren, such as pressure from the government? After all, Sudan expelled most aid groups around the time ABp Bul expelled Lauren. (Assuming the timing of this action as around March 2009)

    The fact that he may have used the occasion for grandstanding is disappointing. Is there any possibility of replacing Lauren?

    I personally don't think there was any other motive at work other than Anglican internal politics. He waits for her to come back just to demand expulsion?! (or is that how long it took for the comments to be relayed to him/) If so, what a waste of time and treasure which is even more dear in these times.

    At any rate, Mark is correct. This is, indeed, a mess.

  26. Thanks for your response, RobRoy, at 20/5/09 8:58 AM. So you have zero experience in Sudan. You get your talking points from StandFirm. I get it now.

    If you want to pretend that your other experiences give you insight into the Sudanese situation, then let me point this out to you: These many and varied countries are quite different. If you haven't actually spent time in Sudan, then you are merely blowing smoke up your shorts.

  27. Let me distill here what I have said elsewhere.

    For reasons unknown to me (but perhaps known to FOCA and GAFCON), Archbishop Daniel has chosen to eject a missionary with whom he worked very closely and for a very long time in the Diocese of Renk.

    Abp Daniel worked alongside Lauren Stanley for very, very many years. He never had a problem with her ministry. Now ... of a sudden ... he does. Coincidence?

    People at blogs like StandFirm and BabyBlue are now trying to orchestrate a smear campaign against Lauren Stanley. If they want to do that against a Christian sister, then they need to explain why Daniel embraced her as family for so very, very many years while she worked alongside him in the diocese of Renk.

  28. There is nothing inherently holy about professing faith while "dodging bullets" - indeed Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists have been doing that for quite some time, now. I rarely see that reasoning used except by those not dodging bullets; I expect it is a cheap ploy to appeal to emotion.

    The question is what the faith is in and how they use that faith. The Sudanese appear to have used it poorly, to say the least.

  29. I share Dah-veed's suspicion that the bishop was pressured into this decision, either by the Sudanese government, or by global Anglican politics.

    I wonder how many other African bishops are in a similar situation, and are not exactly in a position to speak freely or candidly.

  30. Dah-veed writes, "So now an effective missionary is no longer there, and the people who loved and respected her are the ones who truly loose."

    Therein lies an assumption - that she was an effective missionary. She is quoted as spouting Universalist gibberish similar to KJS's, "Christianity is right for me but perhaps not for others." (exact quote is at BabyBlues, I believe), and that she doesn't feel strong enough about her faith to consider it worthy to try to convert Muslims. How effective a missionary can she be if she has such internal doubt about the mission?

    No doubt it was a nefarious plot (probably funded by the IRD) that informed ABp Bul that they had in their midst someone who was a staunch "revisionist." But it might have been a liberal informant. I remember that it was Louie Crew himself who pointed out to ABp Orombi that certain projects were being funded by the ERD. ABp Orombi thanked Louie Crew and promptly terminated those projects.

    Ms Fox, when I was in Kenya, half the kids I operated on were Sudanese refugees. Does that give me street cred? You have "Sudanese friends." Neither of us slept in the Holiday Inn Express last night.

    But my point about my travels is not to address this issue in Sudan but the more important one. Each and every time I return from these countries, my heart is convicted about what a terrible job the liberal churches are doing in the U.S. I really find it unfathomable that Mark+ or Ms Stanley don't draw the same conclusion.

  31. Counterlight..... I am sure the Archbishop would not insult you by saying that you are not able to think and speak for yourself and someone must be pulling your strings.......

  32. Since you wish to alude to it RobRoy, let us just publish the quote and each can decide on her heresy. She was not teaching in this writing, she was wondering out loud how best to approach a sensitive subject, in a sensitive world location, often broached by her students. It is obvious that she understands this theologically all too well.

    The questions I have about what to teach, and how to teach it, all come to a head whenever one of the students asks a question about salvation.

    Who is saved, one will want to know.

    Just Christians?

    What about Muslims?

    This is not an idle theological question here. Sudan is a divided country, with a predominantly Arab Muslim North and a predominantly black, Christian and traditionalist South. The last civil war, which ended only 15 months ago, was racial and religious. The North tried to impose Islam on the South, along with the Arabic language. So this question is not asked lightly. Here, it is quite serious. Here, the answer could have dire consequences. So I tread carefully.

    And I tell them: I don’t know.

    I know - I’m a priest of the Church. I declared in my ordination vows that I believe that the Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary for salvation. I am teaching Christian Theology, for God’s sake! And still, I tell the students: I don’t know.

    I only know what I believe.

    And I believe that Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. I believe that for ME, I need Jesus.

    But I also tell them this: No one truly knows how God handles salvation. Salvation is God’s business, not mine.

    Yes, this is a rather universalist approach to salvation - I know this very well.

    And that is the conundrum for me: Do I tell the students what I truly believe, or do I teach some sort of “party line,” without interpretation, without reference to other religions, without cautions about inclusivity and logic and graciousness?

    The question hangs heavy for me because I fear that if I opt for the former, I will be imposing my beliefs on the students. But ... if I say the latter - that salvation is only for Christians, and that all others are lost, which is a literal interpretation of the New Testament - I fear I will help ignite new tensions, new fires in this land where Christianity and Islam butt up against each other daily, where religious tensions remain high, and where war has been the way of life for so long.

    I am afraid that if I give the universalist answer - which is where I tend to stand, although not classically universalist - I am imposing Western liberal, progressive thought on conservative Africans.

    I am afraid that if I quote strictly from the Bible without any attempt at interpretation, I will, in a small way, contribute to more hatred, more despising of the “other,” more intolerance.

    I have no answer to my own questions. I still don’t know what is essential for me to teach and them to learn. And on the burning question of salvation, I have taken the middle road: This is what some people, including myself, believe:

    We can’t tell God what to do.

    We only know what God has told us.

    And I know that, as a Christian (never mind as a priest), I need Jesus, and I need to follow Jesus.

    As for my students?

    I tell them to pray, read, think and talk about it, then pray some more, then make up their own minds.

    I don’t think this is the essential information they were seeking.

    But it’s the best that I, their teacher, have to offer.

  33. Nope, Robroy it does not, unless you give us more information.

    I am surprised and impressed that you worked in Kenya. I didn’t know you were a surgeon (as you suggest here). I am grateful for your service.

    But that does not mean you know how things are in Sudan – and especially in southern Sudan today.

    I am in touch weekly with our friends in Sudan. And I have absolutely no idea how your comment about Holiday Inn relates to any of this.

    Robroy says: “But my point about my travels is not to address this issue in Sudan but the more important one. Each and every time I return from these countries, my heart is convicted about what a terrible job the liberal churches are doing in the U.S. I really find it unfathomable that Mark+ or Ms Stanley don't draw the same conclusion.”How ironic. When I was in Sudan … and each time our missioners return from Sudan … we hear that the Sudanese Episcopalians are profoundly grateful for our friendship and companionship.

    Yes, I was “convicted” when I went to Sudan. My faith was deepened. My commitment to mission was strengthened. But – thank God! – not in the ways that the fundamentalists like Robroy want.

  34. There are so many points of dispute in your posts, here, robroy, and that is the inherent weakness of the emotional "appeal to goodwill;" it's built on quicksand.

    The conviction of your heart is a personal, subjective statement, carrying no more - or less - weight than that of myself or others here. It is, put plainly, not applicable on a general level.

    While I do not doubt that you have seen great suffering, and it is to your credit that it stirs compassion, it is not an evidence that somehow those in the conditions you describe have "gotten it" while liberals in the U. S. have not. You wish this to be so, because their views agree with yours. The same lack of universal applicability.

    What would you convert the Muslims to? Christianity does not have an entirely clean record of respect for humanity, either. We must learn to become good human beings before we can possibly become good anything else. While it is true that this is what Christ taught, it is rarely true that this is what the Church has taught. Indeed, in the war-torn countries you look to for guidance - which is, itself, irrational - you overlook the fact that, just as it takes two to tango, it also takes two to fight.

    You seem to wish us to believe you have some special insight that we do not. Yet, I see no evidence of this in your posts. You are no more of the culture you look to than we are, and can, in the end, shed no more light. We are left with your subjective view based on a feeling of affinity with certain of the views held by the people you look to as example.

  35. Observer,

    Perhaps the Archbishop wasn't worrying about strings, but a gun to his head.

  36. Lisa, RobRoy is a dentist or an oral surgeon. He graciously repares cleft palates, etc.

  37. I wonder if it might be possible that we are reading too much Anglican politics into this expulsion. Ever since the Court in the Hague indicted the Sudanese president for crimes against humanity, Sudan has been expelling foreign aid workers in droves. The Sudanese government may have seen her as just another unwelcome Westerner in their country and pressured the Archbishop into sending her home.
    That might explain the apparent abruptness of the Archbishop's decision, despite so many years of a productive and friendly relationship.

  38. Anglocat,

    Yes, actually, I did have a basis for saying Lauren Stanley preaches libertinism (which is a word, Jim – look it up). Here’s what she wrote for Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service:

    ”… sexuality is not essential to our faith.
    “To put it more bluntly, when I was going through those tumultuous 13 days in August, sexuality was neither part nor parcel of birth, marriage, ordination, dying or death. The topic did not come up pastorally with any person involved in any of those events.
    “Faith in God? Now that was a big deal. Accepting God’s love for us? That was big topic, too. Our love for God? That was even bigger. But sexuality? Not even on the radar screen. “So, if sexuality is not essential to God loving me or me loving God, if it’s not essential to how I worship, when I worship or where I worship, if it has no part of the sacraments or a sacramental way of living, then not only is it not a big deal, but it also is, to be blunt, irrelevant.”
    (emphases mine)

    Got that? Sexuality is “irrelevant” (for Jim, “extraneous, immaterial, inapplicable”). Immaterial: do what you want – it’s not important to God. More generally, it’s my opinion that the obsession with normalizing homosexuality (for starters) is de facto libertine, as it is, at its core, predicated on yielding to individual claims that their preference for gratification is to be not only honored and accepted unquestionably, but is to be considered a right.

    David, I’m curious as to why you make so much, in overblown language, of the (imagined – I read both, too) difference in what robroy writes here versus other blogs. Let me get this straight: on the one hand, you steam about robroy saying one thing there and one thing here, but you want the Archbishop to brush it off when Lauren Stanley adopts one pose before the deconstructionist councils of ECUSA and another in Sudan. You may want to work on your consistency.

    By the way, if repeating the talking points over and over is a problem, shouldn’t you also stop commenting?

  39. Oh come on, I get weary of pointing out to so-called Christians what's RELEVANT:

    Belief in God, in Christ and the Resurrection
    Love thy god and love thy neighbor
    All that stuff in the NIcene creed

    I think the Gospels and the church are pretty clear that that's what's RELEVANT

    Indeed in my years of Catholic upbringing and a regular church attendance these days (although I'm not of the faith any more), I can't really lay my finger on anything else that rises to that degree of RELEVANCE.

    If sexuality was so much more relevant than anything else, shouldn't Christ have said something about it?

    As for the accusation of libertinism, Phil continues to viciously insult us. The defniition of a libertine: "One who acts without moral restraint; a dissolute person." I fail to see how my existence as a gay person at all fits into this definition which is on the face of it nothing more or less than a foul smear.

    Here's another word for Phil to look up: pharisaical.

  40. Phil said:
    ". . . it’s my opinion that the obsession with normalizing homosexuality (for starters) is de facto libertine, as it is, at its core, predicated on yielding to individual claims that their preference for gratification is to be not only honored and accepted unquestionably, but is to be considered a right."

    That made me laugh so hard I nearly fell out of my chair! Your fear of us gays is such that we terrify you! You make us into non-humans and refer to us as if we are some other species.

    I don't give a fig whether you consider anything at all about my life as a "right" or not but I will fight you to the last breath from infringing on what I see as my "right" Brother Phil. We don't fear you nor are we terrified by your nasty tirades. I think that eats at your very soul and I pray for your deliverance every day.

    And Rev. Lauren, God bless you for your refreshing honesty and your refusal to make Christianity into a no-(fill in the blank)-allowed country club.

    Pity the poor fools who only value Christ when they can believe that He came to call only them and their kind and they only love Him if he promises to smite their perceived enemies in eternal hellfire -- else heaven ain't worth much. That about sums up the orthodite position in a nutshell, sad but true.

  41. IT writes, "If sexuality was so much more relevant than anything else, shouldn't Christ have said something about it?"

    A good example of how our woeful knowledge of scripture has got us into this mess.

    But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, SEXUAL IMMORALITY, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.' "KJS and VGR like to bring up the dietary restrictions but never quote Jesus' words that come right after He basically throws out the dietary restrictions.

    Now, there is NO credible Biblical scholar who would say that a 1st century rabbi would NOT have included homosexuality in the list of sexual immorality (Gk porneia).

    Lisa, neither you nor I should be speaking for the Sudanese Christians. That is offensive paternalism and colonialism. Rather, if ABp Deng Bul states that sexuality issues do affect the Sudanese Church, perhaps we should take him at his word.

  42. Phil,

    Thank you for your reply. I believe the quote you provide does not bear out your comment that"Lauren Stanley is still free to serve (which, apparently in her world, means preaching the gospel of libertinism," and is thus unjust. As her statement clearly indicates,she is discussing what the people to whom she missioned were asking her about, and drawing the conclusion that questions of sexuality were not "on ths radar screen" for those she was serving, while questions of life, death and God's love were paramount.

    I don't understand how you get from this statement to a claim that Lauren Stanley sees advocating sexual irresponsibility--sex without love, for one, as core to her service.

    I can respect your disagreements with Rev. Stanley, but I think you are caricaturing her views. And I think that, as Christians, we owe each other,at a minimum, fairness.

  43. Your reading of Jesus' throwing out the dietary laws is an interpretation - again, no more or less valid than any other.

    You argue as much from speculation and erroneous conclusion as you accuse others of doing. In fact, the argument that limitations of knowledge in 1st Century knowledge of biology, psychology, would have made them incapable of making a valid decision on the issue is far more reasonable - more fully thought out and, at the same time, resting more fully upon faith.

    I am afraid, robroy, your argument has no weight outside of your own enclave.

    And, once again, while Deng Bul may argue that homosexuality affects his province, it is not unreasonable to seek more solid proof, nor is it unreasonable to question the morality, ethics and priorities of those among whom it does create such difficulty.

  44. It would seem the "orthodox" are not grasping the deeper emotional aspects of romantic love between two people of the same sex.

    It would seem that they are unable to understand that, though the mechanics differ, the emotional, physical and spiritual elements are the same as their own romantic relationships, thus with no differing moral texture.

  45. Robroy beat me to it, IT – you see that Jesus did say something about sexuality (laying aside your red herring of “more relevant than anything” – all I’ve claimed is that it’s relevant, period, contra Lauren Stanley).

    By the way, here’s another definition of libertine (definition 1, in fact): “usually disparaging : a freethinker especially in religious matters.”

    Priscilla, I’m glad I gave you a good laugh. If you had to invent the presence of fear and terror in my comment, well, whatever amuses you. Nor does your last paragraph sum up my position, in a nutshell, or in anything else. I take it your taste in humor tends to caricature?

    Anglocat, yes, she does claim sexuality was not on the radar screen for them, but she then goes on to the unnecessary, extreme and incorrect notion that sexuality is immaterial to the Christian Faith. By the way: you and I will have to agree to disagree that “sex without love” is the definition of “sexual irresponsibility.” I think there’s more to it than that. Consider the woman at the well: Jesus gently rebukes her for having five husbands, but he gives no intimation that the issue is a lack of love. It is something else.

    Our ways – what we validate by what we think feels good – are not God’s ways.

  46. No Phil, I do not worship the god you worship. Enough pretending.

    I do not have the hubris you exhibit in every single posting that tells God what God can and can't do with LGBT people because of some words scribbled on a piece of parchment a couple of thousand year ago.

    Like Rev. Lauren, I am humbled by my smallness of understanding, seeing as I do "through a glass darkly" and I do not presume to contain God as if my understanding is complete as do you.

    I only know that my God is very present in my gay life and that my God blesses me richly with presence, grace, and strength to face another day in a world that would rather see me dead and I thank my God every day for being a gay witness to God's amazing love for me.

    I am so normal, Phil, that I would wager money that you couldn't pick me out of the Sunday morning service since there is no way to identify my sexual proclivities from just looking. You speak as if heterosexuals have no sexual sin yet Jesus spoke very differently, emphasizing that merely looking with lust condemns. Yet you choose to elevate LGBT sexual sin above and beyond to the point of exclusion, condemnation, and refusal of sacraments without a vow of celibacy. You have no right to impose such a sentence on any human being no matter the "tradition" and "scriptural" justifications.

    I look for the fruits of the Spirit to identify my fellow worshipers and I see very little in those who claim the orthodox mantle.

    Peace to you and blessings from my God, who is all-loving, all-forgiving, and whose creation is a powerful testament to God's own greatness.

  47. THere is no reason to assume that "sexual immorality" as a term in any way addresses faithful homosexual partnership, or indeed to assume that anyone in the BIble knew anything about faithful partnership such that they would have an opinion on it. Sexual immorality is far more likely to refer to promiscuity and casual sex,prostitution, abuse, sex without the context of a meaningful faithful and committed relationship. Hmm, I think those are immoral. You?

    After all, in Biblical times, they thought they could cure disease by casting out demons. I don't suppose any of you will be giving up antibiotics, though, in favor of prayer.

    My marriage is far more sexually ethical than most straight marriages I know. And how we make love is the least important part of it.

    The assumption implicit in all this that my very being as a gay person can be reduced to any physical act, without context, is outrageously offensive.

    I'll take them more seriously when they start denying divorc├ęs re-marriage, ordination, and consecration. But in the meantime, it's all smoke and mirrors and their own sexual insecurity. Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain, and their strange fascination with gay sexuality. For them, the sun still revolves around the earth.

  48. Priscilla,

    I have no desire to pick you out of the Sunday morning service, and I didn't say a thing about heterosexuals. Again, you're attributing words to me out of whole cloth. Absolutely, heterosexuals exhibit great sexual sin. What of it? Do two wrongs make a right? You can sign me up for IT's suggestion: crack down on the easy divorce culture. Let's just note, though, that that culture is a) one more great blessing brought to us by the cultural Left, b) embraced by the same Episcopal Church that mainstream Anglicans are fighting on today's sexual agenda and c) another instance of, "What does this have to do with your marriage? If you don't like divorce, don't get one." Hundreds of thousands of wrecked marriages and millions of suffering children later, how's that supposed common sense working out?

    I have no hubris on my own account. What I am confident of is that when something has been taught by the Catholic and Apostolic Church without interruption since the time of Christ, and in accord with His own words, then it's probably correct.


    Actually, no, outside of a Christian moral framework, I don't see that several of those things are immoral. People hook up all the time, and, let's be honest, many of them don't seem much worse the wear for it. As for prostitution, it's a free country (at least, it was until January 20th): why shouldn't two free people be able to make that transaction? They do in Nevada even as I write.

    With no question up until, maybe, a decade ago, and still today - even in your own state - the majority seems to feel homosexuality is just as likely to be included in the "sexual immorality" list. So, you really are making no point other than demonstrating circular logic.

    What are you going to do when a group of five people show up in Sacramento and demand a joint marriage license? Say your "rights" are more equal than theirs? Deny their marriage because you say so, but they don't get to say so? Maybe even resort to a, "we've never done it that way" argument? I'll be watching with interest.

  49. No Phil, I am not making up anything about your comments -- I've been reading them for quite some time now and I've got your number, as do many here.

    You have never once come here to drop a bomb about trying to exclude straight people who sin sexually (how would you even know?) from the AC. You have never advocated for anything but the vilification of liberals, women, and LGBT people, a strange, unlovely, and cruel version of Christianity.

    You have now expressed your agreement with slavery, the subjugation and humiliation of women and Jews, and the denial of scientific though, all of which were taught by the church fathers for that last couple thousand years -- their ends have all been modern innovations that go against tradition and scripture, after all.

    You are just a loud conservative Republican bully. I leave you to God to deal with.

    Rev. Lauren, IT and her wife and I stand firm in our faith.

  50. Isn't it amazing that this thread has now garnered 50 comments on Father Mark's thread? He didn't offer any news. All he did was point to another thread, and all the harpies descended upon him.

    Kudos to you, Mark, for taking this on. Thank God you were willing to host this ugly "discussion." Your skin is much thicker than mine.

  51. What I am confident of is that when something has been taught by the Catholic and Apostolic Church without interruption since the time of Christ, and in accord with His own words, then it's probably correct.

    And that is where we will all part ways with you Phil. No matter how many times you send him into the field, that dog will not hunt.

    There is plenty of scholarly evidence that that is just more of the conservative fairy tale that things have always been this way, for ever and ever. It is so much more nuanced than you will ever admit.

  52. Priscilla,

    As far as I know, there are no straight people - other than those desiring an easy divorce culture, but, as I said, I agree with IT on that one, plus that war was lost long before I came on the scene - advocating for the Church to accept and glorify any of their myriad sexual sins. When such groups arise, I promise you I'll be here complaining just as loudly about them. Fair?

    Slavery has not been taught to be a moral good continuously (if ever) by the Church, nor has the subjugation and humiliation of women, nor has the denial of scientific thought. There's a great deal of scientific thought through the ages that's come from faithful Christians, as a matter of fact. So on those, you're simply wrong.

    Anyway - sorry you think I'm a loud conservative Republican bully. I find the volume to be plenty loud and aggressive from the other side.

  53. PHil writes,

    As for prostitution, it's a free country (at least, it was until January 20th)

    sorry you think I'm a loud conservative Republican bully.

  54. Phil,

    I don't believe that sex without love is the entirety of sexual irresponsibility, but I believe it to be the core of libertinism--the exaltation of the orgasm over commitment.

    That said, let me point out that Rev. Stanley's follow-up statement does raise problems, in that I can agree with you that sexual ethics are not irrelevant. (In fairness, I don't think that's what she meant; in context she's suggesting that it's so outside of the conversations she's having as to be de minimis, but still...)

    My broader point is that Rev. Stanley did not set out to prach liberinism, however defined, as a good in itself. She procalim sthe love of God manifested through Jesus Christ. So far we can all agree with her--and should. That's why I think your first statement is unjust, and not a fair criticism. Had you posted something along the lines of: "I respect her service, but think her statements on sexual ethics trivialize a core component of Christian teaching," we could have had a much less angry, much more constructive discussion.

    Same with your comment about the US being a free country until the current President's inauguration on January 20. Don't you see that you're picking a fight, and any kerygma that you're trying to impart gets lost in your deliberate provocations?

    I think we progressives and you conservatives often do this to each other, and when we do, we are failing in charity, and arrogating judgment to ourselves. I've been guilty of this myself. We can, and should, debate, but we need to work on engaging as Christians ought to. We can only learn from each other if we're not too angry to hear.

  55. For all the heat and froth from some, the fact is the archbishop is well within his rights to decide who ministers in his province.....and also well within his rights to expect people who do so not to go back to the US and tell people that his province is not too worried about issues when he has consistently made the opposite case .... i.e. he does not have to accept people saying things about his province which he does not believe to be true...and he may reasonably lose confidence in people who do contradict what he thinks is true of his own country..... that is all that has happened....but more has to be made of it in order to whip up some outrage and victimisation claims by those who seem to enjoy doing that.

  56. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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.