Monday, June 18, 2007

Manners mayketh the Anglican

So all eyes are turning to Canada, and this is what they see. Meet the present and future Anglican Church of Canada, folks. Michael Fleming is the priest of St. Richard's Anglican, and co-chair of the task force that reported to the Diocese of Ottawa on same-sex unions.

His essay is essentially a plea for stately decorum while marching to oblivion. I'll leave others to judge just how well he interprets Paul's letter to the Ephesians. Was he telling the members to be patient and polite with people who were trying to re-write the Gospel? Or was he concerned that they were getting hot and bothered with each other over questions like, "Hey, the property line is on THAT side of the tree, so move your goats off my land before I kick your ass!" I can imagine him telling them to remember their Christian unity when it was endangered by smaller things; I can't easily see him assuring them that it didn't matter how many crazy ideas about God and Jesus they wanted to adopt, as long as they kept their numbers up and the volume down.
Paul's words speak to all, regardless of religious orientation, who find themselves in conflict or division with another person.
"Religious orientation" - that's a new one. I guess that means multiple religions inside one denomination, because people from other faiths don't much care what Paul said. And he sure wasn't addressing non-Christians.
For Paul, there is no place for scapegoating or laying blame on the other; no place for vengeance or recrimination; no place for marginalization; no place for pejorative labelling and name-calling. He calls us to sit down and look deeply into each other's eyes and see our mirror image; to listen to the other person without letting our own story prevent us from deeply hearing one another's heart; to respect the integrity that lies at the core of that person's being and know that our own integrity is being honoured as the words (and sometimes tears) flow; to accept the place where our sister or brother lives; to celebrate that diversity which has always been the hallmark of living in community.
And the only reason he didn't say "And don't be rude when people bring their lucky golden calf to the church picnic" is because he ran out of paper.
I remember the sometimes acrimonious debate over the ordination of women in the early 1970s and the often hurtful way in which the "winners" treated the "losers," and pray that we have learned hard lessons.
Yeah, because in 1971, we had 1,109,000 on the parish rolls, and in 2001 we were down to 641,845. So this time we're going to have to abjure the pleasure of abusing and kicking out the "losers", or else we'll derail the sucker train once and for all.
I think of the story of Jesus and the rich young man who, when told what he must do in order to follow Jesus, decides that what Jesus is asking is just too difficult, so he begins to walk away. The story in the gospels ends with this great separation, but I imagine Jesus walking beside the young man to where the road "diverged in a yellow wood" and saying to him as they bid farewell, "Adieu: may God walk with both of us and may we meet again ..."
I've heard some loser sermons in my time, but never anything as far out as this. Why bother writing down anything that Jesus said, if the complete opposite can apply just as well? So the young ruler DIDN'T give up his wealth to follow Jesus, but it didn't matter after all. Even Jesus himself told him not to worry, he'd be just fine.
Will we, regardless of where we stand on this specific issue, be able with all love and respect and honour to wish one another "Shalom"?
Just like Bo Peep in 'Toy Story', I think Father Fleming has found his moving buddy.
I recently wrote to one who is diametrically opposed to me on this question, saying, "My deepest prayer is that when this issue is decided, you and I will still be able to sit under the oak tree at St. Richard's and share our sandwiches as children of a loving God."
Yeah, sure, whatever. Inside the church, receiving communion at the altar rail, or outside the church, eating a sandwich under an oak tree. What's the difference?

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're told to "sit down and look deeply into each other's eyes," etc., but what purpose will it serve if the only place Fr. Fleming is allowing us to go is the one he provides for us? What if we see no integrity? What if "the place where our sister or brother lives" is a dank, Godless place? Do we still have to accept that?

Nonsense on stilts. Do people really write this rubbish with a straight face?

Jeffersonian

1:24 pm  
Blogger Nicholodeon said...

As I understand it, the only Anglican dogma is this:

'We believe what ever has been believed at any time, and in any place, and by any body, if we choose so to do.'

I think it's called the 'Dogma of Comprehensability'.

1:33 pm  
Anonymous ellie m said...

"He calls us to sit down and look deeply into each other's eyes and see our mirror image... to respect the integrity that lies at the core of that person's being and know that our own integrity is being honoured as the words (and sometimes tears) flow..."

Oh, help. Has this guy been taking lessons from the Lady Novelist of Newark(TM)?

"Will we, regardless of where we stand on this specific issue, be able with all love and respect and honour to wish one another "Shalom"?"

Shalom? He's been listening to Madam Schori, that's for sure.

4:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have such compassion for a chipmunk, working feverishly to untangle it from it's death trap, yet you have such hatred for individuals that you don't even know.

I suppose if the chipmunk were gay, you'd watch it writhe to death, correct?

Simon, Alvin and Theodore

6:39 pm  
Blogger little gidding said...

Anonymous: Disagreement = Hatred?

7:17 pm  
Anonymous ellie m said...

Didn't you get the memo, Little Gidding? To revisionists, dissenting opinion = hatred. Or as they like to call it these days, "spiritual violence." Only your full agreement and submission to their world view is acceptable.

As for the chipmunk, at least he/she is not trying to destroy God's Church.

8:38 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I don't hate any of these people. I despise their sloppy, sentimental thinking, and I'm outraged to see the degradation of what was once at least an honourable, rational faith. Oh, and their writing stinks, too, but as Orwell pointed out, that automatically goes with confused thinking.

8:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous: Disagreement = Hatred?"--Little Gidding

"Didn't you get the memo, Little Gidding? To revisionists, dissenting opinion = hatred. Or as they like to call it these days, "spiritual violence." Only your full agreement and submission to their world view is acceptable."

Who is 'they'? Ellie, it sounds as if you are talking about yourself here. I am not a part of 'they.' You sound like you've read too many conspiracy books.

All I want to do is live my life, worship the Lord, just like you. How is that trying to get you to submit to my 'world view?' Sounds like you have that reversed.

"As for the chipmunk, at least he/she is not trying to destroy God's Church."

So, just wanting to go to church and worship along side other 'sinners' such as YOURSELF is a declaration of war against God's church?

Such drama in your own writing, Ellie. Have you won a 'Braxton's Lear' award yet?

Pejoratives abound, Little Gidding, from this blog and its fan club of 3 or 4. This is not a "disagreement." This is called fear and loathing.

10:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does one distinguish a gay chipmunk from a straight one? Big Judy Garland collection? Tastefully-arranged twigs in the burrow?

11:19 pm  
Blogger C. Andiron said...

"All I want to do is live my life, worship the Lord, just like you. How is that trying to get you to submit to my 'world view?'"

Anon, you're getting a bit hysterical here. Do you really want to think this through? First off, if you are not trying to file a lawsuit to steal a parish from an orthodox congregation, I'd guess ellie is not talking about you, so you need to relax.
Second, I sense insecurity and rebelliousness on your part. If you are unrepentantly sinning, you are not "worshipping the Lord" the same as a believer.
You don't have to identify with your sinful desires. You can and ought to reject them. And your anger is nothing more than a case of "shoot the messanger" because reasserters won't let you forget that you have the freedom and the moral duty to reject them. They will accept repentant sinners, but you don't like that idea since it leaves you even less excuse for continuing in sin.
Can you at least admit there is a difference between a repentant sinner and an unrepentant sinner who tries to convince himself there is no such thing as sin?

11:51 pm  
Blogger C. Andiron said...

I guess what I'm trying to say is (as Joan Rivers would say), "Grow up!"

12:09 am  
Anonymous ellie m said...

Revisionism IS destroying the church. The numbers are in, and they're not pretty.

10:34 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C Andrion,

It's interesting how you ascribe being 'hysterical' from a post.

I'd say your tome on what constitutes sin and what doesn't is somewhat 'hysterical' in and of itself.

"Second, I sense insecurity and rebelliousness on your part. If you are unrepentantly sinning, you are not "worshipping the Lord" the same as a believer."

You sure have magical powers to be able to deduce that I am 'insecure' and 'rebellious', from a post,but then again, it looks like you believe that you are God. Now, that is a sin, also, isn't it?

If I only judged a person by what they post, then I'd have to say that you probably look like Medusa and that your eye twitches as you start your diatribe about my sins. But I hardly believe that is true, because I could only know those things after meeting and getting to know you.

Again, it sounds as if you, and others, are the one's trying to make some of us 'submit' to your 'world view.'

"You don't have to identify with your sinful desires. You can and ought to reject them. And your anger is nothing more than a case of "shoot the messanger""

Wow. I am not angry at all. It's just so ironic that you cannot accept that each one of us sins on a daily basis--including you--and it's awfully haughty and considered a sin to go around obsessing about other people who may or may not be sinning.

Don't you think that God is the ultimate judge? Did God speak to you and tell you that you--and some of your pals--should do his judging work for Him?

I guess you missed my point. Ellie and folks like yourself, lump all individuals who are either gay, and/or liberal as "they." It's called a stereotype, I believe.

I am an individual like you.

"because reasserters won't let you forget that you have the freedom and the moral duty to reject them."

Well, every time you and your pals make an ugly comment about someone you do not know, ascribe personality traits and motives about someone you do not know, declare that another person that you do not know is 'evil' and will burn in hell. Every time you waste bandwith on pontificating on how much better and how much more 'Godly' you are, you have the freedom and the moral duty to reject those sinful thoughts.

You choose not to, so I guess we are sinners together.

You are not put on the earth to decide who sins and who doesn't and ascribe levels to those sins, as which one is the 'big one,' etc.

Again, you are not God.

If you feel they way I live my life is committing sin, that's your business. But don't delude yourself into believing that your own behavior is not sinful on a daily basis.

In essence why don't your mind your own business and worry about your own soul and sinful nature, and I'll worry about mine?

If you want a church without sinners--there are no degrees on sin--good luck in finding one, or creating that religion.

Respectfully, I'd say the same thing to you.

Grow Up.

11:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How does one distinguish a gay chipmunk from a straight one? Big Judy Garland collection? Tastefully-arranged twigs in the burrow?"

HA HA HA. No, no no. It's where he hides his NUTS!!!

Alvin, Simon and Theodore

11:10 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Can you at least admit there is a difference between a repentant sinner and an unrepentant sinner who tries to convince himself there is no such thing as sin?"

For me, personally, I do not think there is no such thing as sin.

The problem seems to be that we do not agree on seeing the issue of homosexuality as a sin.

Certainly there is sin. It's the picking and choosing of what sins constitute eternal damnation that seems to be the issue for many of you.

If homosexuality is a sin, then I do not place a degree on it. It's a sin, just like gluttony is a sin, or drinking to excess, sex addiction, murder, robbery, slander, etc. Sin is sin.

If you are so upset about unrepentant sinners, then I suppose you should ask the alcoholics, whether in AA or not, to leave the church.

Wasn't it Simon Peter or Paul who said that he does the things he does not want to do and doesn't do the things that he should? I am paraphrasing.

I definitely respect your right to believe that homosexuality is wrong and I am unrepentant of that 'sin.' However, in my soul, I do not believe my relationship is sinful, therefore I don't see it as a sin. I am in a monogamous relationship and have been for the past three years. We are as boring as any other couple.

I interpret Paul's words in Romans to refer to that period of time, when men had orgies with boys, etc. And once Bible verses are thrown around from the Old Testament, concerning men with men, women with women, then I would have to use the same logic and tell you that if you go out to eat at Red Lobster and eat shellfish, you are sinning.

Would I expect or demand that you repent of eating shellfish, in order to worship with you at the same church?

Would that repentance be valid if you said "I'm sorry for eating at Red Lobster," and then you turned around and went back the next week?

I do believe fornication is a sin, and if you have sex with multiple partners or live a life that is hedonistic, it's unhealthy and it is a sin to your own body. But that behavior is not exclusive to homosexuals. But yet, I do not see you trying to force the Anglican Church to expel all alcoholics from the churches.

I believe in letting God do the work to change someone's heart. If indeed I am wrong about homosexuality, I trust God will point it out to me. That hasn't happened yet.

Ayn

12:15 pm  
Blogger C. Andiron said...

Anon:
"You sure have magical powers to be able to deduce that I am 'insecure' and 'rebellious', from a post"
You see though, how both sides do this? ("You are a heartless bigot". "Oh yeah? Well you hate God and his laws!"). We must objectively consider if we are sinning. We ought not ascribe base motives to others to deflect the charge.

Please consider- let's say I and all the other reasserters are as hypocritical and self righteous as you portray, you'll still be held accountable for your sins. Let's say thief A lectures thief B about the command 'Thou shalt not steal'. B may call him on being a hypocrite, but B will still face justice if he doesn't change course, and he is still morally in the wrong. That ought to be your main concern - are you right with God?

I'd just say, please consider that people using biblical definitions of sin are not necessarily setting themselves up as God and judge, or creating heirarchies of sin. This is simply a matter of observation. If you see someone commiting murder, it's not being judgmental or arrogant by saying "murderer!", that's just an observation.

Also, I think you're off base about the criticism of TEC on reasserter blogs. The only critiques I've seen here or on the others is about people in teaching positions, or high authority in TEC or AC whose teaching is demonstrably false, so there is objective basis for the criticism.

8:17 pm  
Blogger C. Andiron said...

Ayn, you left out divorce and remarriage for any cause but fornication. I do believe congregations who do not discipline or exhort to repentence members known to be unrepentent drunkards, fornicators, pornographers, etc., are not walking with the faith, and would be hypocritical exemplars of Mt 23 if they were to criticize homosexuals.
They would be failing their duty to admonish in love.

I honestly don't think we're picking & choosing about the dietary laws, since they are explicitly abrogated in the NT
(Mk 7:19, Ro 14:2, Col 2:16). It's not the same as a hypocritical minister ignoring Mt 19:9 right there on the page staring up at him. I don't think we're playing any dishonest mental games here. If it could be proved scripture contradicted itself, I'd drop it in a heartbeat.

"Wasn't it Simon Peter or Paul who said that he does the things he does not want to do and doesn't do the things that he should?"
It sounds like Romans 7:15-25. But I think someone who periodically sins & repents can still be saved, since at least they acknowledge sin. I'm not denying all people periodically sin & I'm not denying people who would feel smugly morally superior to someone dealing with SSA come across as Mt 18:22-35 material, but there must be the realization of our sins and repentence (as Paul seems to demonstrate in Rom 7).

I'm not sure about gluttony as actual sin, the verses are iffy (Prov 23:2, 1 Co 6:19).

1 last thing, please consider if you are going to interpret Romans 1 to refer only to pedophilia, there are only a few fringe radical scholars (like Mollenkott) who would endorse that. C.S. Lewis wrote a clever essay somewhere about how modern literary critics sometimes engage in unwarranted speculation & showed how certain biblical critics (like Bultmann) did the same thing.

Well, I don't mean to get all Jonathan Edwards on you. Cheers.

9:21 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Also, I think you're off base about the criticism of TEC on reasserter blogs. The only critiques I've seen here or on the others is about people in teaching positions, or high authority in TEC or AC whose teaching is demonstrably false, so there is objective basis for the criticism."

Where have I mentioned the TEC or reasserter blogs?

"I'd just say, please consider that people using biblical definitions of sin are not necessarily setting themselves up as God and judge, or creating heirarchies of sin. This is simply a matter of observation. If you see someone commiting murder, it's not being judgmental or arrogant by saying "murderer!", that's just an observation."

On this blog, the poster and most of those that comment, certainly DO set themselves up as God and judge, when lumping all homosexuals together and determining what God thinks and feels about it.

Okay, I'll take what you say and say this: I took a look at your profile. I rather enjoyed your choices of books, films, etc.

When I looked at the music section, I noticed that you like some of "Sabbath." Now, I assume that is the rock group, "Black Sabbath," with Ozzy Osbourne, correct?

If so, here is a lyric that I found rather interesting:

"Listen for the feet as they pound the land to a tune of thunder
Watch as the legions ride again to a fate of death or torture
At the headless cross, at the headless cross

From the first evil night, when a black flash of light
Cut the crucifix half to the ground
Theres been no escape from the power of satan
On a nation so brave and so proud"

From "Headless Cross" copyright Black Sabbath

So, using your logic, I feel the deep need to tell you that unless you repent for listening to Black Sabbath, you are going to face judgment.

I feel I need to make an observation, based solely on the fact that you have listened to "Black Sabbath," that you must worship Satan, and/or enjoy music that denigrates the Lord.

Because of that, I feel that you should not be allowed to worship with others, until you truly repent.

It's people like you who are ruining the church.

How's that? I'm simply using your logic. Just replace "Black Sabbath" with "homosexual" and you will see--I hope-how absurd that is.

"Please consider- let's say I and all the other reasserters are as hypocritical and self righteous as you portray"

I have never said all "reasserters" are hypocritical and self righteous. I am not the one lumping everyone into one group.

"You'll still be held accountable for your sins. Let's say thief A lectures thief B about the command 'Thou shalt not steal'. B may call him on being a hypocrite, but B will still face justice if he doesn't change course, and he is still morally in the wrong. That ought to be your main concern - are you right with God?"

And Thief A will also face justice. What's the point?

My point is that it's not your place to tell me what God is going to do or not do with me. It's called "judge not, lest ye be judged."

Well, I believe you are morally wrong for listening to Black Sabbath. I do hope you change course soon, because you are morally wrong.

Hi Pot! Meet Kettle!

Thanks for the discourse.

Ayn

9:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C Andiron,

Just read your last response. Thank you for that. It was thoughtful and you made excellent points.

I appreciate it, and I will re-read it and read the scriptures you listed as well.

Ayn

9:41 pm  
Anonymous WannabeAnglican said...

I'm with you, Dr. Mabuse. I've only been Anglican for three years or so. But this bit that I have to be polite to flaming heretics is getting old already.

I'd rather do things Paul's way and anathemize them.

4:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm with you, Dr. Mabuse. I've only been Anglican for three years or so. But this bit that I have to be polite to flaming heretics is getting old already.

I'd rather do things Paul's way and anathemize them."

...and peace be with you, also.

Ayn

11:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Why ruin a perfectly good church when you can start a congregation of the Metropolitan Community Church and have your airbrushed theology ready-made?

11:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't get it. Why ruin a perfectly good church when you can start a congregation of the Metropolitan Community Church and have your airbrushed theology ready-made?"

Because I am an individual, not in lock-step with any group, period. I don't care for the MCC, personally, but I know folks who do go and love it.

But I guess I'd say the same thing to you, concerning the TEC (I suppose that's what you are talking about?), etc. Why ruin a perfectly good church? Why don't you move to Africa?

Ayn

10:04 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But I guess I'd say the same thing to you, concerning the TEC (I suppose that's what you are talking about?), etc. Why ruin a perfectly good church? Why don't you move to Africa?

In a sense, we have. Our parish is now under the supervision of the Abp. of Rwanda and we couldn't be happier.

It's obvious, Ayn, that homosexuals weren't happy with TEC's practices prior to 2003, so what drew you to it as opposed to the MCC? It seems right up your alley: theology-free, universalist and gay-friendly.

Jeffersonian

11:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In a sense, we have. Our parish is now under the supervision of the Abp. of Rwanda and we couldn't be happier."

So, when are you moving to Rwanda? The country certainly could use such good Christians, since many of them don't have hands, arms and legs.

Don't you want to be near your chosen 'church?' Since America is so God-Less, and the Anglican Church in America is so awful, I would think that you would want to move to Rwanda.

I'm sure you must be excited to move there.

"It's obvious, Ayn, that homosexuals weren't happy with TEC's practices prior to 2003, so what drew you to it as opposed to the MCC? It seems right up your alley: theology-free, universalist and gay-friendly."

Hmm, I don't believe I've been asked, nor have I uttered here what I truly think or feel concerning some of these issues.

I do not attend a church that is not theology free, nor do I attend a Universalist church. Dr. Mabuse is Roman Catholic, yet she rails on and on concerning the Anglican church. Actually, I don't think it matters what 'church' I attend.

If you would like to know my thoughts, please feel free to ask. It may surprise you.

God Bless,
Ayn

2:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, when are you moving to Rwanda? The country certainly could use such good Christians, since many of them don't have hands, arms and legs.

Don't you want to be near your chosen 'church?' Since America is so God-Less, and the Anglican Church in America is so awful, I would think that you would want to move to Rwanda.


This makes no sense at all. I said nothing about America and, frankly, I am in an American Anglican church, having departed the debauched and depraved cult known as TEC over three years ago.

As for Rwanda, I'd say the odds are fair that I will go as a missionary at some point, following in the footsteps of one of our deacons that is there now, helping to care for AIDS sufferers. Until then, I'll continue to support our mission, as well as other projects there that bring jobs and wealth to those otherwise in privation.

I don't particularly care about your views.

8:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's obvious, Ayn, that homosexuals weren't happy with TEC's practices prior to 2003, so what drew you to it as opposed to the MCC? It seems right up your alley: theology-free, universalist and gay-friendly.

Jeffersonian"

Hmm, didn't you ask some questions of me in the above paragraph?

"I don't particularly care about your views."

I'm quite confused now. So, you ask me questions, and I answer, and then you tell me you don't particularly care about my views.

I hope that when you do go to Rwanda, that you don't withhold your help from those stricken with AIDS, until they get 'saved', and that common sense will prevail, when explaining to the masses that using condoms and practicing safe sex is vital to stop the AIDS crisis.

Are you bringing your PowerPoint presentations? That's always effective.

If you are not interested in my views, common sense says not to direct questions to me.

Ayn

9:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'BRAXTON'S LEAR AWARD'

"This makes no sense at all. I said nothing about America and, frankly, I am in an American Anglican church, having departed the debauched and depraved cult known as TEC over three years ago."

"debauched" "depraved CULT" Sheesh, this is better than a re-run of "Valley of the Dolls."

Maybe you are mistaking the TEC with some parishes in the Roman Catholic Church?

Ayn
(pointing out hilarious hypocrisy wherever she goes!)

9:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm quite confused now. So, you ask me questions, and I answer, and then you tell me you don't particularly care about my views.

I asked you specific questions, I didn't invite a core dump.

I hope that when you do go to Rwanda, that you don't withhold your help from those stricken with AIDS, until they get 'saved', and that common sense will prevail, when explaining to the masses that using condoms and practicing safe sex is vital to stop the AIDS crisis.

If and when I go to Rwanda, it will be for the express purpose of caring for those stricken with AIDS, so I doubt I will be witholding my care.

Maybe you are mistaking the TEC with some parishes in the Roman Catholic Church?

Hardly. Some parishes and diocese acted despicably in the recent scandals, but I have yet to hear one preach sodomy from the pulpit as just another lifestyle choice.

10:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hardly. Some parishes and diocese acted despicably in the recent scandals, but I have yet to hear one preach sodomy from the pulpit as just another lifestyle choice."

You are right. The Catholic church doesn't preach sodomy, some priests actually act it out on innocents.

It's interesting that the issue of homosexuals who wish to attend church trumps pedophile priests, as far as you are concerned.

Ayn

11:17 am  

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