Let’s leave the big questions in God’s hands

Published June 1, 2004

Dear editor,

It embarrasses me to read about the dissent and division in the church. We who profess to believe in a God of infinite mercy stand about and point our fingers in condemnation. We who profess to follow in Christ’s footsteps would deny God’s blessing to those whose lifestyle offends us. Where is our trust?

Not so many years ago sermons raged against the ordination of women; the vote for women; mixed marriages. In God’s good time, these matters were resolved, not always to everyone’s satisfaction perhaps, but resolved. The church survived.

God has never asked us to make the really tough decisions, to choose who is worthy of His blessing, or how that blessing should be bestowed. God demands that we love Him, and only Him, with all our heart, and soul, and being and that we should love our neighbour as ourselves. That’s all.

Let’s leave the big questions in God’s hands. Let’s open our hearts and minds and our churches. Let’s put our money and our muscle into the things we can do.

Vera Jensen

Comox, B.C.

Cannot belong

Dear editor,

I don’t believe that the Bible has to be taken literally to be the word of God, but I do believe that the Bible must be received as truth, a truth that is greater than if it had been written just as a series of facts.

I believe that the Bible tells us two things about practising homosexuals. Firstly, we are told to love them and welcome them unconditionally. Secondly, we are told that what they are doing in their sexual lives is sin and we are to name it as such. I believe that there are many in the church today who are confusing love with approval.

I believe that if the church chooses to bless same-sex unions, it has decided to turn its back on the very basis of our faith. I believe that it would be saying that Scripture is no longer meaningful, that the prayer book is a collection of beautiful prose, and that the articles of faith have no basis in truth.

That is why I cannot belong to a church that blesses same-sex unions.

Greg Robinson

North Saanich, B.C.

Subtle variations

Dear editor,

People, sadly, once believed that the various colours of the human skin had some deep significance and that any racial mixing was unnatural and immoral. Of course, the biological reality is that all humans, whatever their colour are biologically exactly the same.

But there is another notion, equally vicious and equally based upon entirely incorrect and medically impossible beliefs: the mistaken concept that people choose to be lesbian or homosexual. Studies have shown, through the examination of twins, that these variant and minority persons are born, not made. Homosexuality is, to put it simply, not catching. Certainly there are subtle variations in these matters – we are all, anyway, animals.

Heterosexuals, gays and lesbians are all so many variant humans, and since God made every one of them, lovingly and with great hopes for their joy, God has openly invited them into eternal life along with the rest of us. Amen!

Nancy-Lou Patterson

Waterloo, Ont.

Send clergy home

Dear editor,

Throw away the Bibles! Burn them all in the square! Let us send all our clergy home, because we no longer will need them if this motion goes through. How can we even have confidence in what they teach? How can they truly be our shepherds?

I have been following the issue of same-sex marriages and blessings for some time, and I find it rather disconcerting that this issue is even being considered at our General Synod. It should not even be on the agenda.

If gay marriages have won the battle of being accepted legally, that is one thing, but to turn around and even consider “blessing” this union in our churches is totally wrong. Welcome them into our churches, love them as brothers and sisters, minister to them as we do with any others, but do not bless their unions/marriages!

Should this motion allowing each diocesan synod and respective bishop their own way on this issue, rest assured, we will experience a schism within our church like no other.

Rod Langis

Riverview, N.B.

It’s about time

Dear editor,

I heard there was to be a presentation at General Synod in recognition of those who served in the church-run residential schools.

I was delighted to learn that finally those dedicated people who served so faithfully in the schools, and who have been largely ignored in the mountains of abuse and complaints, are finally being recognized for the stellar service they provided.

While I never worked among them, I know many who did and know of their love and caring as they did so. Coming from the diocese of Algoma where we were proud of the Shingwauk School, built at the request of Chief Shingwauk on land granted for that purpose by him, it is hurtful to read of the charges now levied.

I hope some of these harsh critics will take a moment to consider the purpose and the good that has resulted rather than dwell on all the negative actions of a minority.

Marion Rutter

Prescott, Ont.

Back off

Dear editor,

Alternate bishops should be temporary, says the report (Task force proposes alternate bishops, April). Reads like a classical oxymoron. He, or she, could be an alternate but never temporary. Once a bishop always a bishop, and their tenacity to hold office in spite of certain limits is sufficient testimony. Surely the disenchanted clergy and parishes in British Columbia do not require immediate episcopal oversight as if withering on the branch. They should back off and take time to consider the serious consequences of their actions: vis- -vis the unity of the Anglican Communion.

How many temporary bishops do we anticipate if local options continue to expand? If that be the case a different strategy will be necessary. So during these days of turmoil it is well to recall the words of P.S. Forsythe: “If within us there is nothing above us, we soon succumb to what is around us.”

Tom Leadbeater


Real dialogue

Dear editor,

I am glad to see that both liberals and conservatives at General Synod agree that now and not later is the time to determine people’s opinions on same-sex blessings.

I would like to see real dialogue, church by church, diocese by diocese. I am talking about evaluating the issue of the value of the person versus the value of his/her actions in God’s sight, and in our own sight.

Discussion will probably become more rancorous than what has already gone on. Christianity has gone through the odd cycle of rancor and survived – we’re not a social club. Healing occurs after something has happened; no official decision has been made, but we read again and again that we must allow for healing. I hope it is healing and not palliative care. To be relevant – to know what people believe in, yes, and to minister but with real, open discussion – this is the challenge for the church.

Neil MacIntosh

Baie Comeau, Que.

Holy Spirit was blind

Dear editor,

It seems somehow appropriate that immediately after I had read the very sad article about the self-described “Anglican Communion in Canada” (Church property at heart of new battle, May), the lectionary featured the story of Peter’s vision of clean and unclean animals which led to the baptism of Cornelius. This story has been one of the touchstones of my faith because it speaks so compellingly to the “blindness” of the Holy Spirit to those whom it touches. A more discriminating Holy Spirit would probably not have touched me but it was, thank God, blind and I was touched.

Although Luke does not tell us about it, I am certain that there was a “Christian Communion in Jerusalem” who could not stomach Peter’s revelation of God’s wide-reaching love. I am sure that they believed that they were right in doing what they did but they simply showed to those about them that they had missed the point.

As to the matter of property, anyone who wishes to understand the bitter battle which has begun should look to the history of the Unitarians and Trinitarians within the Congregational church in early 19th-century Massachusetts. When we fight over the things which are God’s, it is God who loses. Let us learn our history and not be so stupid as to repeat the sins of those who went before.

Burton Leathers

Kanata, Ont.

Marriage solution

Dear editor,

Re: Get out of marriages (April letters). Michael Li has offered a solution for preventing the break up of the church over same-sex blessings. It is time for churches to take a firm stand on this moral issue.

Civil marriage can legalize any union, ensuring the constitutional “rights” of individuals. After such a ceremony, the couple can then go to their faith community and seek renewal of their marriage vows within the context of that community’s stance on religious or moral practices.

General Synod needs to reform its canon on marriage as it pertains to the legal aspect, but retain its right to bestow a blessing on those whom the church can accept as ones meeting its religious or moral standards.

A licence now has to be acquired by the couple from a government agent before a marriage ceremony can be performed by any member of the clergy. Therefore, the marriage is registered by that agent after the ceremony in the church. Why not then receive the vows of the couple in a civil ceremony?

A.R. Brett

Springdale, Nfld.


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