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 »