A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


In a meeting of the Anglican primates, the head of the Episcopal Church, Frank Griswold faced a great deal of ostracization because of his support of gay and lesbians, including the bishop of NH. Other church heads refused to be photographed with Griswold, refused to share communion with him, and debated what punitive actions might be appropriate.

"Homosexual marriages are part of a new ideology of evil that is insidiously threatening society" Pope John Paul says in a new book. I'm not sure how loving committment gets such a designation. Those liberal democracies which have moved in the direction of equality for gay and lesbians get labeled anti-gospel and nihilistic by the pope as well.

The theologian, John Sanders is being removed his position at Huntington College, because of his writings which suggest that the future is open for God, not determined. And Beth Stroud is appealing the United Methodist church trial which stripped her ordination because she's an open lesbian. And here's a list of some theologians the Vatican has gone after during Pope John Paul's reign.

All these quick items raise questions for me, in terms of what it means to identify as Christian, when any attempt at creatively working with the tradition is taken to be a heresy to be stamped out, where the inclusion of gay and lesbians can split denominations and produce profound enimty, where difference is to be treated as a threat instead of an instrument which God might use to call us to account.

The church should at least be a place where some level of friendship might be achieved, even if agape is an impossible ideal, but now these differences make people in the pews enemies to one another (and makes the church inexplicable to anyone outside of it). The result is the very reversal of the Gospel, which is reconciliation with one another and with God.

10 Comments:

At 10:05 AM , Blogger coffee goddess said...

Can't tell you how absolutely delightfult it is to come across your website. With persons such as you, I think there is truly hope for Christianity yet and for persons like myself whom had felt the urge to wash our hands of it all.

I should point out that I was raised Anglican - my father is a Canon (sp?) but also a philosophy professor. I guess you could say I had a pretty liberal upbringing in religion.

I had a really scary experience in childhood being dragged to what I now guess was a pentacostal service by a family whom felt it was appropriate to turn a sleep-over into opportunity to 'save' some young minds. I've never had a lot of trust in church leadership of any kind since.The last time I was in a church was on 9-11 when I went to the Anglican church in the community I had just moved to. I was shocked by a poster on the wall outlining the 12 aspects of being a good Anglican, which included:

. evangelizing the word at any and every opportunity;

. encourage those (couples) in crisis to maintain their sacred union (God apparently approves of abuse but turns his back on those wanting to protect themselves, I guess); and

. affirm that God desires relationships that include only one man and one woman..

Oh my gosh! This was certainly not the church I grew up in and most certainly not the values my father taught me!

I have since found out that this very parish and diosese threatened my father when he refused to protest a visit by Bishop Spong to the University my dad's college was part of.

 
At 10:52 AM , Blogger Alan said...

You write, "The church should at least be a place where some level of friendship might be achieved, even if agape is an impossible ideal, but now these differences make people in the pews enemies to one another (and makes the church inexplicable to anyone outside of it)."

So has it ever been! As a Presbyterian, I need only look at the 31 flavors of Presbyterianism to see the wacky things people have decided to fight about. Historically speaking, at least this fight is about something that matters...so many have been about minutia.

 
At 5:50 PM , Blogger gratefulbear said...

Isn't "collegiality" supposed to be a characteristic of Anglican clergy? Why are all these homophobic Anglicans acting like Southern Baptists???

 
At 2:42 PM , Blogger Jaamie said...

gratefulbear,
Celling either side in this debate homophobic shows how little you know about what the issue is. Such labeling is offensice and ignorant.

 
At 2:47 AM , Blogger david said...

this is not my first visit to your site nor will it be the last either . . . you say things that i need to hear . . . thanks! peace :::

 
At 3:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is all rather easy to accept if you reject the teaching of the church for the past couple thousand years. Ditto for the Bible.

I also grew up in a religiously liberal home but came to see that such a positions simply makes God our subordinate. Okay, perhaps that works...if we are God. I have no such pretensions. I know I'm not God, and He seems to be rather sticky about preaching and teaching a certain righteousness that I cannot attain on my own.

My proposition is simple: tell me, do you believe that the Scriptures, on which all of us seems to get our knowledge about Jesus, support your position or mine. If you don't trust the scriptures, then quit calling yourself a Christian.

 
At 3:32 PM , Blogger Mossy said...

My apologies, I did not mean to list myself as anonymous.

 
At 4:43 PM , Blogger isaiah said...

Thought I would share an editorial I expressed last year with my local newspaper on Hilton head Island.

"Thousands of churches worldwide welcome the confirmation of Canon V. Gene Robinson. They recognize this courageous affirmation by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church for what it truly is -- a thunderous exclamation of inclusion and practice in whole of the true teachings of Jesus Christ.

The truth is that the church is quickly becoming irrelevant to many people today, witnessed by the multitudes leaving traditional religious institutions in search of spirituality.

Yesterday's sacred rituals and sermons are worn and of another time. They no longer serve us as a nation, nor as human beings. The tired, desperate rhetoric coming from the pulpits each Sunday regarding man's separation from God and our fallen nature, our need for salvation, and the contemptible message of "love the sinner -- hate the sin" has oppressed enough. No message of oppression will stand the light of truth.

In truth, the words of Jesus say nothing about one's sexuality and everything about how we are to treat our fellow mankind. They say nothing about doctrines, rituals and rules, and everything about the nature of love.

Each of us, gay and straight desperately search for inclusion in something greater than ourselves, something that welcomes and offers acceptance and recognition for our worth as humans and children of God. Isn't this to be found in a house of God, and if not, where?"

 
At 10:40 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

Robin, Isaiah, and everyone else:
Thanks...your comments have definetly boosted my sense of what the church can be in the future.

Anon:
I don't believe that God is to be subordinated to me, or anyone else...the difference is I also think God is above sripture as well

 
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