First, ask God, then listen to your conscience Dear editor,
I propose a revolutionary idea for the leaders of the Anglican church. Currently, the church is faced with the issue of homosexual priests. This issue could split the church either with or without a vote by the church leaders and/or the church members.
Rather than debate which way to go, I propose that the church leaders ask God instead. This is likely something that some have not tried before. If God does not give them a direct answer I suspect that he will do it by way of their conscience. All they need do is listen to their conscience.
Live and let live
There are two questions before us in the matter of sexuality, and it would be wise to keep them separate. The first question is the morality of same-sex unions; the second question is whether this issue is so grave that those who hold one position cannot remain in communion with those who hold the opposite position.
The majority of Canadian society today accepts same-sex unions and marriages. Therefore, to the extent that the church is taken up with internal bloodletting over this issue, to that extent we are making ourselves irrelevant to our fellow Canadians.
What about the second question: is it possible for those who consider homosexual acts an abomination to remain in communion with those who believe that persons in committed same-sex unions have a place in the church? The history of Anglicanism is one of irreconcilable differences which we have somehow learned to live with. I deeply resented the way in which the new service book was imposed on a reluctant laity, but I did not consider this a sufficient reason to leave the church.
I do not believe that Anglicans should be required to accept the slogan ?Gay is just as good as straight? as part of the Christian gospel. However, I would suggest another slogan which has been at the heart of Anglican practice over the centuries: Live and Let Live!
Canon Gene Robinson has been consecrated bishop, the first bishop in an open gay relationship. While the Third World and many evangelicals are calling it grounds for schism Bishop Robinson and progressive liberals fail to see the fallout of their views and actions.
First, Third World Christians will bear the brunt of this decision. People of other religions will see our fellow brethren as decadent and immoral, therefore persecution will increase.
Additionally, Anglicans will cause a rift between themselves and other denominations.
Finally, Anglicans will send a clear message that actively engaging in a homosexual lifestyle is proper. We will negate the good news of Jesus and reject the New Testament admonition to sexual purity. We will become a denomination of hypocrites.
Mississauga , Ont.
Who should repent?
I am an octogenarian grandmother, a Naval veteran of the Second World War, and I have lived in a variety of settings and read extensively. Also, I was an Anglican cloister for more than 60 years, and have listened to many sermons. In recent years my reading and listening have been assailed by a concentration of interest in homosexuality, much of it condemnatory. So many people, from Anglican archbishops to local citizens, are telling homosexuals: ?God tells you to repent and sin no more, and we will not accept you until you do.?
The word ?repent? means to ?grieve for and turn away from? an action or thought. Could it be that God may actually be speaking to these angry judges, saying it is they who must repent and turn, not away from, but towards these ?different’ Christians? Not to reject them, but to accept and nurture them?
K. R. Bowley
Several recent letters favouring gay marriages mention ?serious science? and the opinions of Jesus (more accurately the lack thereof) from the gospels. Jesus didn’t need to speak explicitly about homosexuality in first century Israel . He upheld the Levitical laws related to sexuality. Speaking against fornication and adultery Jesus implicitly condemns all sexual interactions outside heterosexual marriage, which was the only ?blessed’ state authorized and promoted in the Old Testament scriptures.
Our scientific and scriptural experts also suggest that in loving homosexuals (as we should) that we should not judge their sexual preferences. They quote Jesus: ?let the one without sin throw the first stone,? forgetting that he also told the adulterous person to ?go and sin no more.? If the Anglican church survives the current controversy intact, and accepts sexual immorality among leaders and members, it will do so void of God’s approval, making itself irrelevant in any spiritual sense.
I am writing to say how saddened and disappointed I am to read your editorial (October) about the closed meeting which the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) has just had. I have always been supportive of the struggle for healing by indigenous people for their abuse in residential schools; we have contributed to the fund to pay for this healing through the Anglican church. I am disturbed about the rift between ACIP and the national Anglican church over the terms in the government agreement. I see a need for the entire church to try to understand how to heal this rift. I can therefore see no purpose served in not using every opportunity to educate the whole church about this issue.
Not all Anglicans will bother to learn more about this problem but for those of us who wish to better understand, secrecy will not serve that end. None of the church is served by private secretive arrangements or discussions. May future discussions take place in the open.
Blind Bay , B.C.
The more insight we have into the settlement agreement between General Synod and the federal government and the flawed alternate dispute resolution (ADR) process, the more our hearts are with the Anglican Council of Indigenous People (ACIP).
The burden on survivors is immense, for, in the proposed process, they were asked to sign away their rights to counter-sue or continue litigation in reference to culture and language. They are the ones who have to prove their physical and sexual abuse and have it categorized.
Aboriginal people who were part of the agreement process were unable to share until it was completed, leaving them with only six days prior to the signing to respond. How audacious and hypocritical to accuse ACIP of being anything but transparent (October editorial), since the whole agreement between the Anglican church and the government was worked on in camera.
We encourage and hold ACIP and the Anglican church in prayer as the church begins to redress the flaws and assumptions that have led to a sense of injustice and betrayal, given all that was agreed to in the New Agape and the covenant.
Rev. Gaye F. Whippey
Lenni-Lenape Algonkian Iroquoian Council (Huron LAIC)
A shepherd’s crook
While I am not a supporter of the Anglican Communion in New Westminster in any formal sense, I certainly sympathize with their frustration and anxiety. I find it interesting that Michael Ingham, a bishop who goes out of his way to preach tolerance and plurality, imposes on his dioceses a monochromatic mantle, albeit thinly veiled with a pastiche of care for those who are uncomfortable with his dictum. On closer examination however, the conclusion one makes is that all the people of the dioceses of New Westminster are deprived of hearing the deeper concerns of the priests and the people who cannot in good conscience subscribe to the bishop’s vision.
He has seemingly forgotten the role of the bishop. It isn’t without reason that a bishop carries a shepherd’s crook. There is a logic to why a bishop follows in the procession rather than leads. A bishop is the shepherd of the church; the bishop is the servant of Christ’s bride, not its CEO. What is so difficult to understand about our shepherd is that he, seemingly, has no qualms about hiving off some of his sheep as if to say, ?I have no need of you.? The image of ?the Good Shepherd? going after those who are hurting does not immediately come to mind, here. It is hard to imagine a shepherd leading his broken flock into a den of wolves.
I applaud the metropolitans of Canada for their message on the issue of same-sex blessings (October). The statement ?As metropolitans, we are not of one mind on issues concerning same-sex relationships? rings true for me. Nowhere throughout this message did I interpret that the metropolitans were advocating that Anglicans who ?do not agree with the upcoming decision of the federal government, will ? be prepared to write [their] local MP and let him or her know your opinion. If you have not already done so, I urge you to do so without hesitation.? These were the words of Archbishop John Clarke, metropolitan of the province of Rupert ‘s Land, in the September edition of the diocesan newspaper the Anglican Messenger . The archbishops are imploring Canadian Anglicans ?to make it a time of seeking truth together, rather than only defending versions of truth in mutual hostility.? Great sentiment but I don’t see Archbishop Clarke adhering to what is being asked of others in this message. Shame.
The big picture
Wouldn’t we have had a beautiful Canadian Church Calendar for 2004 if the large pictures had been of the churches and the tiny ones of the flowers?
I am very upset by the tone and content of the October statement by the primates.
Although the statement concedes that ?a legitimate diversity of interpretation of Scripture? exists, the conclusion seems to be that only one interpretation is to be allowed.
It appears that the consecration of a gay bishop ?threatens the unity? of the Anglican Communion. Personally, I would like to see the communion forget immediately the need for that sort of ?unity,? and allow itself to evolve enough to make room, in any province that agrees to it, for homosexual people (along with all other human beings) to be active at any and every level of the church hierarchy.
I find it very distressing to observe this apparent institutional rigidity and degradation and exclusion (at least from the higher reaches of the church) of homosexual people ordered by the primates of (my) Anglican Communion.
Question of blessing
Having been brought up in the United church where pretty well everything goes, I am confused. Why is it that when I took my poodle to church it was blessed, but if I were to take a partner of the same sex our relationship of love and mutual respect would not be blessed?
A moving story
After more than half a lifetime of successfully resisting writing to the Anglican Journal , I do so now to extend thanks for the new possibility of donating to the Journal Appeal online. I commend you and your predecessors for very good work ? reminding me how exhilarating and yes, often embarrassing it can be, to be Anglican.
I had to smile though, when reading the October page 1 photo caption, ?Mover Paul Griffith attaches the pipes to the organ at St. Andrew’s, Kelowna .? Might this not be a hot tip for cash-strapped parishes looking for work done on the organ? Just hire a moving company when pipes need to be attached. This it would surely do at a fraction of the cost of an established organ builder! Or could it be that Mr. Griffith was, after the threat of forest fires, indeed just moving the organ?
Halle an der Saale, Germany