March 30, 2007
Olivia Nabulwala says her family in Uganda was so angry and ashamed to learn she was a lesbian that her relatives hurled insults at her, pummeled her and, finally, stripped her and held her down while a stranger raped her…
“During this meeting, my Dad said so many unpleasant and hurtful words to me,” she says. “He was so angry that he reached out to grab my neck to strangle me. He stated he was going to kill me because I was an embarrassment to him, our family, as well as the entire clan.”
Blind loyalty to community, as I discussed in The Coming Out of the Church.
It is no coincidence that this same culture provides the context for some of the most vehement disagreement with the Episcopal Church.
March 29, 2007
It is quiet day here at the seminary, and I’ve been thinking about a few things. Susan Russell+ wrote a similarly titled piece a few days ago, but I’m going in a different direction.
The meditation that was offered to start us off this morning was John Donne’s Meditation XVII. You know, “No man is an island,” and “never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
I love that piece, and I always have. Donne describes community and the overwhelming ties that we have to another in a language that resonates for me.
What bothered me today, though, was the way in which ties to community have been manipulated in the Communion. This view, expressed by many conservative Anglicans, somehow manipulates community to be something which requires blind obedience; something which must completely shape us. Instead, I believe there is a tension between allowing ourselves to be shaped by community and shaping the community by our own experience, faith, and participation.
I think of it much like a family responding to the coming out of a gay son. There are cultures which place a much higher emphasis on blind loyalty to the family community than we are accustomed to in the United States. In such cases the family responds to the gay son as being “selfish” for “burdening the family” with his “problem.” Read the rest of this entry »
March 28, 2007
Susan Russell+ preached a home run homily at All Saints last Sunday night for Evensong, highlighting the role of mission in the current struggles of the church.
Watch it on video here.
March 25, 2007
The Rev. Greg Rickel of St. James Austin preached today by opening with a story from a recent cruise vacation he and his family took.
It didn’t take long for him to move to the recent events in the church:
I loved a paragraph out of a British commentary on the meeting and the subsequent communiqué’ I so hate that I cannot now quote who said this, but it quite good.
‘It would be refreshing if the Churches would step back from this stance, and make it clearer that the evil in adultery is not the sexual act but the betrayal of trust, the cruelty, the endangering of children’s happiness. The deep wickedness of rape and pedophilia is not about desire but about misuse of power, invasion, oppression and injury. The sinfulness of promiscuity and prostitution is not about sex but about using another human being for transient pleasure without caring for the physical and emotional damage you do. The Church’s ministry to gays could preach only honesty, gentleness, and commitment, rather than agonizing about genital practices. Christianity could just grow up, and stop treating sex as if it were innately toxic or radioactive and yet irresistibly interesting.’
Now, just think about it, if Jesus walked in here today and said, hey I really appreciate what you all have been up to, but I would like you to do a new thing. I just wonder what might happen. And we should not forget as we approach Holy Week that this is just what he did, and we shall soon see what it got him.
Click here for the entire sermon.
March 23, 2007
My thoughts on the weeks events?
The bottom line is that I believe the House of Bishops did what it had to do, and I am happy about that. They have been backed into a corner by forces that have, over a period of time, twisted the Anglican Communion into something that looks much more Roman than it does Anglican.
From the House of Bishops’ Communication: “It is a very serious departure from our English Reformation heritage. It abandons the generous orthodoxy of our Prayer Book tradition. It sacrifices the emancipation of the laity for the exclusive leadership of high-ranking Bishops. And, for the first time since our separation from the papacy in the 16th century, it replaces the local governance of the Church by its own people with the decisions of a distant and unaccountable group of prelates.”
I wrote about the power of the laity and the “common man” a few days ago here.
I remain tremendously sad, though, for our Church as a whole. Read the rest of this entry »
March 21, 2007
620 Park Avenue #311
Rochester, NY 14607-2943
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2007—Integrity is gratified by the strongly worded resolutions passed yesterday by the House of Bishops. “The bishops have offered the church a way forward that affirms both its commitment to the Anglican Communion and its commitment to the gay and lesbian baptized,” said Integrity President Susan Russell. “It is a sign of both health and hope for all Episcopalians that the bishops have refused to be blackmailed into abandoning the historic polity of the Episcopal Church by threats of institutional exclusion from the Anglican Communion. For gay and lesbian people, the bishops’ actions bring us closer to turning the church’s 1976 commitment to a ‘full and equal claim’ from a resolution to a reality.” Read the rest of this entry »
March 21, 2007
Make sure to stay tuned to Walking With Integrity for all the latest news on the House of Bishops and their response to the Primates!!
March 20, 2007
What is freedom?
I’ve been struck lately, after coming off of a very unstructured spring break, with the idea that as Christians we are not free– that we give up freedom when we become Christians.
I have felt that way so many times. I have said to myself and others “if only I could do whatever I wanted I would go live in the Carribean” or something like that. (My therapist says I really wouldn’t be happy with that for very long, but I’m not so sure.) But I have always said in the next sentence, responding to the inevitable “Why don’t you go and do it then?” that I don’t do it because that is not who I am called to be. To go and live that life would be, for me, in a sense inauthentic.
Is that a restriction on my freedom? By acknowledging my divine authenticity– that I am created in the image of God, do I then necessarily close down some of my options?
I hope not. Read the rest of this entry »
March 18, 2007
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “the Good Ole Days.”
You know, the romanticized days of our past that we always hear about.
When things were better. When people got along. When there weren’t any problems. When the world wasn’t falling apart.
When I think about the good ole days I think of the 1994 presidential election, and Bob Dole’s promise to “build a bridge to the past.”
Bill Clinton’s perfect response: offer a “bridge to the future.”
Of course the good ole days never really existed. It seems that for some, the good ole days were the 1950s. Those people always seem to be white, interestingly enough. It amazes me that some of them are women, but there you have it; they are. Maybe they are all Donna Reed, I don’t know.
For others, the good ole days are farther back– those are the ones I think about more. For the neo-orthodox, Christianity is a waning, dying breed of people. The enlightenment brought a new focus on individualism to the table. With that individualistic focus, the neo-traditionalists believe that people stopped caring about each other as much and started only caring about themselves. “It is my right to be selfish,” so the thinking goes, and because we are such horrible creatures, wholly dependent on God’s redemption from our evil ways we take it all. As a result, Christianity is now counter-cultural. Christendom has ended, the death of the Roman empire killed Christianity’s chance for mainstream acceptance in the world. Now the Church Catholic splits and splits and splits and we are just tiny fragments living on island homes in a horrid culture resistant to the purity of the Church’s saving grace.
How tempting it can be to fall for such an illusion. Temptation comes in many forms, and this illusion of Christianity is but one. This is a picture of despair, not of Christian hope. Read the rest of this entry »