Carol Platt Liebau: A Worthwhile Warning

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Worthwhile Warning

Former Senator John Danforth, himself an Episcopal priest, has warned the Episcopal General Convention that it risks irrelevancy by focusing on issues like same-sex marriage and the question of gay bishops.

Senator Danforth is quite right. But it's worth pointing out that it's not traditionalists who have precipitated this crisis; it's those who, knowing of the opposition of the worldwide Anglican communion, nonetheless chose to push sexual orientation to the forefront through deciding -- no doubt obeying the dictates of their conscience -- to name active homosexual Gene Robinson to be a bishop.

Discussing the issue, many of the non-traditionalists have cast the issue as whether gays are "welcome" in the Episcopal Church. Of course they are! Gays carry the full weight of God's glory; certainly, they are sinners, as are we all. There are many issues that divide the Episcopal Church, but the inherent value of gays as people and their right (and their welcome) to worship as Episcopalians, aren't among them.

That being said, traditionalists like me are prone to feel as "unwelcome" in the Episcopal Church as we're told that gays have in the past. It's hard not to wonder why those who feel they had to "push the envelope" likewise want so badly to marginalize all those who disagree.

12 Comments:

Blogger Duke-Stir said...

Well put, Carol.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

By that, I do not mean to give the Episcopal Church a pass on the issue, but they ARE light years ahead of nearly all other denominations.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

"That being said, traditionalists like me are prone to feel as "unwelcome" in the Episcopal Church as we're told that gays have in the past. It's hard not to wonder why those who feel they had to "push the envelope" likewise want so badly to marginalize all those who disagree."

This addendum to the original post changes its complexion somewhat. I am not an Episcopalian, so I will have to take your word for the new climate of "unwelcomeness" for tradidionalists. I'm sure some of your readers would eagerly coin the term "homo-nazis" to characterize the non-traditionalists.

The only thing I can offer by way of an explanation is that envelope-pushers in all realms tend to marginalize their dissenters. We see it in the realm of politics quite frequently, most recently by those firebrands who insist on American hegemony in foreign policy. Those who disagree are "surrender monkeys," not unlike those traditionalists in the church who, if I understand you correctly, are regarded as 'hatemongers,' though I hope the term has not been used in the context of that debate.

(There is a distinction to be made between a debate within a CHURCH over whether or not gay BISHOPS should be ordained and the national debate over whether gay Americans are due the same rights as their fellow citizens.)

9:41 PM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

I am a new traditionalist, as I have repented my previous hedonism, and I'm doing my best to follow Jesus.

Just as my non-denominational (evangelical) church would welcome anyone, when they come with a heavy burden of sin, be it, homosexuality, drug addiction, adultery, murder, whatever, I hope they come with a repentant heart. If not, they are probably worse off than if they just become agnostic or athiest. I believe the Bible will back me up on that.

8:19 AM  
Blogger suek said...

I'm not Episcopalian either - RC here, and we have our own problems - but I must admit that I have a real problem understanding how any Christian church can "welcome" practicing homosexuals. I'm not really aware of whether or not the individual who was made a bishop is living in a homosexual relationship or not - that would be relevant to me - but given the position of the old testament on homosexuality, acceptance of it as a life style is just flat condictory to traditional teachings.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Sue:

I'm no theological expert, but I believe that the Church would welcome practicing homosexuals the same way it welcomes sinners generally (which means, all of us). Obviously, one has to come with a heart and a spirit that is earnestly seeking God and His teachings . . .

11:27 AM  
Blogger amber said...

From an evangelical standpoint; I went to a great evangelical Church. I got pregnant out of wedlock and did not plan on marying the man. I stood up in front of the church, told them, the elders came up to me, one of them put his hand on my shoulder and told me how much he respected my ability to come in front of the church like that, he said he has many sins that he would not feel comfortable laying out to the congregation, and that I should not be ashamed of the pregnancy becuase the baby was and is a gift from God. Then they all prayed for me and promised they would all be there to help me whenever I needed it. That said (I love that church and agree with them), if a practicing homosexual or sexually active and non married heterosexual, or a married person committing adultury were to enter that church they would be counselled with compassion about what the Bible says and they would be offered assistance to change, but if they chose not to change or make any effort, they would not be aloud to attend the church anymore. They do that because it is Biblical (if someone wants th refrance I can post it).

I grew up Episcopal, but I left the church because the Bible sas that God does not change and yet the Episcopal church constantly changes so that people feel comfortable with it. I disagree with this. I think if you want a relation with God you have to meet His terms, not change them so you feel comfortable. The Episcopal church even began it's history by saying divorce was ok. I do think that there are Christians in the Episcopal church, that is where I came to know God, but I do not agree with the doctrine of "whatever makes people feel comfortable". I am sorry if I offended anyone. I did not mean to. I do not believe that it is right to force Christian principals on non-Christians, either. I chose to follow Christ and what the Bible set out, so I will not practice homosexuality, adultury, or other things like lying, but I will stumble and that is where God's grace comes in if I repent.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Amber:

Just had to tell you how much I respect and admire your decision to carry your baby to term -- and your church's reaction to your statement.

12:38 PM  
Blogger suek said...

>>I believe that the Church would welcome practicing homosexuals the same way it welcomes sinners generally (which means, all of us). Obviously, one has to come with a heart and a spirit that is earnestly seeking God and His teachings . . .>>

I think maybe the difference here is "welcoming" as opposed to "accepting", perhaps.
What I mean is pretty much along the "love the sinner, hate the sin" lines. When I say "accept", I mean that some seem to accept the sin as ok as well as the sinner. Acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle as an approved, normal lifestyle doesn't seem to me to be compatible with Christian concepts.

>>Just had to tell you how much I respect and admire your decision to carry your baby to term -- and your church's reaction to your statement.>>

I always liked "Dear Abby"s comment about illegitimacy..."There are no illegitimate children - there are only illegitimate parents."

1:32 PM  
Blogger amber said...

I am very glad now too, I never would have known it then, but my life is wonderful. She is 8, and the most gentle soul,(she did not get that from me). About a year after I had her I married a wonderful man who adopted her as soon as the courts process would allow (about a year later). When people go through trials they never know the good that will come as a result of the trial, all they see is the pain, but it is worth it.

9:34 PM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

Amber:

If real religions don't change -- since God doesn't -- should Catholics still be torturing Jews and other non-believers to death, as they did in the Inquisition?

7:49 PM  
Blogger amber said...

You are assuming that God told them to begin the inquesition. You are assuming that that is part of the Bible. It is not, therefore your argument is assinine. The Bible clearly states homosexuality is wrong. In Leviticus 18:22 it says, "do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable" sounds pretty clear to me.

12:33 PM  

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