June 2003 Archives

Let me rephrase that: Relationships are strange things. I never know where things stand, in either direction, until after the event and after the decision.

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Love is a strange thing. You never really know where you stand until after the time. At least for me.

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I'm off to New Jersey. Going to spend time by the pool with Ashton - in this heat that will be wonderful. We got a warning via e-mail this morning. On the Close (the gardens of General), we have to watch out for "sudden branch falling." The seminary's tree doctor said that in very hot weather that comes right after a lot of rain, branches of trees can simply fall. I have no idea concerning how or why, only that it is a possibility. Interesting, huh?

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Years ago, back in the 1980's, when I was still living in Bowling Green, I contacted an ex-gay ministry called Outpost. I got a lot of information from them and corresponded with Ed Hurst, the director at the time. I never officially belonged to an ex-gay ministry, but I did buy into the whole ideology/theology. I especially liked Elizabeth Moberly.

I came across this link on the Ex-Gay Watch weblog. It is the story of Jeffrey Ford, another former director of Outpost.

http://jgford.homestead.com/Jeffwpics.html

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As most people know by now, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas cannot prohibit what goes on in private between two adults of the same sex, as with adults of the opposite sex. Stephen Bennett, of Stephen Bennett Ministries, released his statement. The last paragraph is simply amazing (using Stephen's word), that he would make such an extreme statement. Will gay people die of AIDS? Yes. Will straight people die of AIDS? Yes. If the Texas law remained in effect would there be an end to gay people dying of AIDS? No. Would it mean that straight people would no longer die of AIDS? No. Here is Stephan's press release:

"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2003

For More Information Contact:
SBM Media Relations (203) 926-6960
www.SBMinistries.org/media.html


U.S. SUPREME COURT SANCTIONS SODOMY

HUNTINGTON, CT - The Supreme Court has just struck down a Texas law that
banned same-sex sodomy. The Court, in a 6 to 3 opinion, found that the law
violated the right to privacy in the case of Lawrence v. Texas.

"As a former homosexual, I am deeply saddened by today's ruling. I've lost
many "gay" friends who are dead today because they contracted AIDS from
sodomy. To think the United States Supreme Court has actually sanctioned
sexual perversion - just amazes me," said Stephen Bennett.

Bennett is the 39 year old Executive Director of Stephen Bennett Ministries
in Huntington, CT - a pro-family organization advocating for the traditional
family, the protection of children and proclaiming the truth about
homosexuality.

Bennett continues, "It just amazes me how homosexuals want the government to
legally stay "out of their beds" in their homes -- but DEMAND the government
be there when they are in their hospital beds dying from AIDS."

Stephen Bennett is a vocal opponent of the promotion and acceptance of
homosexuality in America. He actively lived the homosexual lifestyle for 11
years until he was 28 years old. Today, Bennett is happily married to his
wife of 10 years and the father of their two little children.

Bennett's message: No one is born "gay," in most cases it has everything to
do with childhood and just like a drug addict or alcoholic, homosexuals CAN
completely change.

"People have got to open their eyes to the truth that homosexuality is NOT
normal, nor natural. Sodomy is an unhealthy, dangerous and deadly practice.
The Supreme Court has done a great injustice by now encouraging young "gay"
men to play Russian roulette with their lives." Bennett continues, "My heart
truly goes out to the many families in Texas of the young "gay" men they
will put in the ground because of today's tragic decision."

Rather than spend so much time, money, and ministry effort attempting to outlaw homosexuality, which will not mean people will no longer be homosexual, why not strive for the implementation of social structures that encouraged monogamy, etc., within the gay community as are in place within the majority, straight community. It does not mean he has to change his opinion regarding homosexuality or outreach to encourage homosexuals to change into heterosexuals. It would simply mean he recognizes that there will be people who do not agree with his view of morality, so for those who will not agree (which to Stephen means they are rejecting God) there are forces that encourage them to live sanely and in a healthy manner. This is what happens with straight people.

It seems that for non-Christians homosexuals (or for Christian homosexuals for that matter) who will not accept certain conservative Christian concepts of morality deserve what they get - alienation, loneliness, AIDS and death. In their minds, to not live according to their precepts means that homosexuals accept unto themselves, death - it is a natural result.


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I do love the mornings of what will be hot and humid days. It isn't so bad, the heat, not quite yet, anyway. These mornings with their languid pace, where time seems to almost stand still, are enjoyable when caught up in thought and with the knowledge of not having to be anywhere or do anything of significance. Walking the streets after coffee, after reading, after seeing the people of morning move into what comes next. A slow pace, almost melancholy, even in the City.

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During Chris' ordination, which is more than appropriate, and for Trinity Sunday - twice in one weekend - I heard the hymn, St. Patrick's Breastplate. It is simply an incredible hymn, supposedly written by St. Patrick (372-466 AD), who took the gospel to Ireland. It is a bit long, but so full of meaning. Here it is:

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever,
by power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on cross for my salvation
his bursting from the spiced tome;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.


I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet "Well done" in judgment hour;
The service of the seraphim;
Confessor's faith, apostles' word,
the patriarchs' prayers, the prophets' scrolls;
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun's life giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth,
the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch,
his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need;
The wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide,
his shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Chrsit to comfort and restore me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

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I plowed through the last bit of my final paper today. It was like pulling teeth - horrible! It ended up being 13 pages, so it is long enough. I enjoyed doing the research, but to bring it all together to be something inspired or written with passion, well that it wasn't. The pericope was Romans 12:1-8. I do have a different perspective on that portion of scripture at this point.

Sunday, I begin my field experience at Church of the Ascension, 5th Ave. Tomorrow evening, I will go to Corpus Christi services at St. Paul's, Carroll Street in Brooklyn. I simply have a sense that I will be there this fall. Ascension will be very good preparation for me, and working with Barrie to learn the in's and out's of the liturgy will be a privilege.

To be a priest, I just don't know. After watching Chris's ordination last Saturday and seeing or perceiving the change in him, whether ontological or perceptional, I feel the gravity of it all. Transitional deacons in Ohio are not ordained with dalmatics. I suspect for priestly ordinations the perspective priest can arrange things however he or she wants them, but the ordination of deacons is purely a bishop thing. I truly am drawn to high-church liturgies. I don't know how that will go over in Ohio. St. Paul's is still Rite 1, Anglo-Catholic. St. Thomas is still 1928 BCP. I'm being groomed in a small and somewhat rarified segment of the Church, but I think a segment that if in the right mind is rich and ancient and mysterious, full of meaning. Using all the senses through the thread of the unbroken Eucharist is the best way, I think, to reflect the glory and majesty of God, the otherness of God. In communal, public worship, I think that form is wonderful, as long as the intimate and relational is present in some relevant, meaningful, and faithful fashion.

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"The only reason reformers can pit the text of Scripture against Tradition is that the Tradition has preserved it." by Jaroslav Pelikan in the forward to Krister Stendahl's book Final Account: Paul's Letter to the Romans

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This, from a paper I got off the Web entitled Eschaton or Escape? Paul's Two Ages vs. Plato's Two Worlds by Michael S. Horton, quoting Nietzsche and his six stages of "the history of an error," describing "How the 'Real World' Finally Became a Fable."

"First, the real world was 'attainable for the wise man, the pious man, the virtuous man.' But then it was said that the real world was 'unattainable for now, but promised to the wise man, the pious man, virtuous man (to the sinner who repents).' In its third stage, the fable said that the real world is 'unattainable, unprovable, unpromisable, but the mere thought of it [is] a consolation, an obligation, an imperative.' Here is the Kantian stage, in which modern liberal theology developed." This is a shame, I do think. Those who reside in the cognitive domain alone miss the essence of relationship between God and His creation (us) that resides most often in the experiential, the affective domain. They miss... Horton goes on, "Eventually, the 'real world' becomes totally irrelevant. Not even an obligation, the ethical residue finally evaporates and nothing is left. 'The real world -- we have done away with it: what world was left? The apparent one, perhaps?... But no! With the real world we have also done away with the apparent one!' Elsewhere, he wrote, 'I hate that overleaping of this world which occurs when one condemns this world wholesale. Art and religion grow out of this. Oh, I understand this flight up and away into the repose of the One.'"

Interesting, ah?

Here is the latest from Focus on the Family. I can agree with the idea that throwing a party does not have to be subsidized by taxpayers. I just wonder whether taxpayers foot-the-bill for other groups? If so, this is unjust in that it targets a single group of employees at the Justice Dept. to be treated differently than other groups. What does scripture say in Micah, "...what does the Lord require of you, of man, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Anyway, I get a kick out of the glee expressed by prohibitionists who act unjustly, where have little mercy, and although they think they walk humbly, are quite full of self-righteous pride. Here is the article:

Justice Department Cancels 'Gay Pride' Event
By David Brody, Washington, D.C., correspondent

SUMMARY: There will be no "Gay Pride" celebration this
year at the Justice Department in Washington. Homosexual
activists are miffed.

The U.S. Department of Justice has decided that homosexual
employees this year may not hold their annual "Gay Pride"
event, thus nixing the 6-year-old observance.

"Gay Pride" at Justice goes back to the Clinton years,
when the liberal president proclaimed the first official
"Gay Pride" month. That set the tone, but didn't set the
event "in stone." This year, President Bush did not
formally recognize "Gay Pride" month, so Justice
Department officials said the party's off.

David Smith, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC), the leading homosexual activist group in the
country, said you can be sure HRC will cause an uproar.

"There's no recourse except to speak out about it," Smith
said. "It's surprising to us that the agency responsible
for protecting the civil rights of all Americans is
actually singling out one specific group for unequal
treatment."

But conservatives say that is not the issue.

"The fundamental issue here is not saying that people
can't have a party or have an event, but they can't do it
on the taxpayer's dime," said Jesse Binnall, with Public
Advocate, a group that lobbies hard on pro-family issues.

While there may have been times in the past when the Bush
administration has given in to the gay lobby, Binnall said
hopefully that will begin to change.

"We are absolutely thrilled that it looks like this is a
sign of better things to come -- that they're finally
going to start taking a stand against the radical
homosexual lobby and those that want to attack the
American family, instead of standing up for it," Binnall
said.

Repeated calls to the Justice Department were not
returned.

Homosexual groups say this is the first time that a
federal agency has blocked one of their "Gay Pride"
events.

Last year, conservatives were the ones complaining. During
"Gay Pride" month in 2002, the second-ranking official at
the Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Larry
Thompson, spoke at the "Gay Pride" event before about 150
people. Conservative groups complained loudly about the
involvement.

TAKE ACTION/FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please take a moment to
thank Attorney General John Ashcroft for refusing to allow
taxpayer dollars to be used to celebrate "Gay Pride" month
at the U.S. Justice Department. Refusing to host a "Gay
Pride" takes courage, and Attorney General Ashcroft needs
to be encouraged that he did the right thing.

Attorney General John Ashcroft
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Send an e-mail via our Legislative Action Center:

http://capwiz.com/fof/dbq/officials/agencies/?id=4180&dir=fof&command=depresult&submit.x=17&submit.y=8

We suggest the following resource about homosexuality:
"Straight Answers: Exposing the Myths and Facts About
Homosexuality," by Mike Haley:

http://www.family.org/resources/itempg.cfm?itemid=1248&refcd=CE03FCZL&tvar=no

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Test. Switching to a new host...

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I came across this from St. Stephen's Musings, a weblog from a guy named Karl who maintains a great weblog on Eastern Christianity (Orthodoxy). Being that Anglicanism is of the liturgical tradition, although a hybrid of Western Roman and Protestant expressions, the following can also be said - at least for me at this point.

Not Perfect but More Whole

"A liturgical Church has an advantage over one where worship is relatively spontaneous, in that people powered by religious emotion simply run out of steam. Where there is a Liturgy, you show up each week and merge into that stream, and allow the prayers to shape you. But where the test of successful worship is how much you felt moved, there's always performance anxiety; even the audience has to perform."

"I had been a Christian about ten years when I noticed to my dismay that my spiritual feelings were changing; the experience was growing quieter, less exciting. I feared that I was losing my faith...Then I came to sense that my faith had undergone a shift in location. It had moved deep inside and was glowing there like a little oil lamp; if I was swept away with emotionally noisy worship, it might tip and sputter. Silence and attentiveness were now key." Frederica Mathewes-Green, "At the Corner of East and Now" (pg 170-171)

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I came across this from St. Stephen's Musings, a weblog from a guy named Karl who maintains a great weblog on Eastern Christianity (Orthodoxy). Being that Anglicanism is of the liturgical tradition, although a hybrid of Western Roman and Protestant expressions, the following can also be said - at least for me at this point.

Not Perfect but More Whole

"A liturgical Church has an advantage over one where worship is relatively spontaneous, in that people powered by religious emotion simply run out of steam. Where there is a Liturgy, you show up each week and merge into that stream, and allow the prayers to shape you. But where the test of successful worship is how much you felt moved, there's always performance anxiety; even the audience has to perform."

"I had been a Christian about ten years when I noticed to my dismay that my spiritual feelings were changing; the experience was growing quieter, less exciting. I feared that I was losing my faith...Then I came to sense that my faith had undergone a shift in location. It had moved deep inside and was glowing there like a little oil lamp; if I was swept away with emotionally noisy worship, it might tip and sputter. Silence and attentiveness were now key." Frederica Mathewes-Green, "At the Corner of East and Now" (pg 170-171)

I really do need to learn to write! It is one thing to scribble stuff down for myself, but another thing entirely when others read what I write.

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It is personally revealing when I go back and look at past posts. While I certainly don't consider myself focused on gay issues much at all, other than for general reference, I have been making a whole heck of a lot of posts regarding the gay vs. ex-gay issue, and concerning the Christian Right's anti-gay prohibitionist agenda. So, what is going on inside of me that causes so much attention and effort being put into this. I've been thinking and reading about this stuff for years, but not much else, aside from the personal herculean effort in reconciling my Christian faith and my orientation. I have a stake in this, of course, but I think it revolves more around being Christian than being gay. I am always and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ; being gay is just a characteristic (being, not behavior!). Is there something to this that will be reflected in my future?

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If you want to see the face of the Christian Religious Right regarding homosexuality in American life, the politicized anti-gay prohibitionist movement, then read this from Robert Knight and Concern Women for America.

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I came across this ad from P-FOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-gays) this morning.





It seems a fair and simple request that other people respect their decision to "chose to go from gay to straight."

A couple comments:

First, I don't know of anyone personally or anyone speaking publicly who is trying to deny anyone's right to attempt a change or to participate in an ex-gay organization. Are some actually attempting to force people not to attempt a change or to participate in an ex-gay organization? P-FOX doesn't want simply toleration for those wishing to change, they want respect. Ironic, isn't it?

For the Religious Right and the politicized ex-gay movement, however, the request is not about simply accommodating and respecting ex-gays and their claims, but really to demanding that ex-gay ideology be the only option - no exceptions! They advocate for laws and social policies that do not respect gay people's equal rights under the law. Heck, if they had their way, there would be no toleration for homosexuality anywhere in society. If they want respect and toleration, they must give respect and toleration, but they will not because to do so will violate their particular understanding of theology, and their theological dogma trumps anything! As a minority, the politicized ex-gay movement demands respect, but they will not accord the same to other minorities.

The second concern I have, which is not new by any means, is the claim by Chris that he simply "chose" to change from "gay to straight." We all know that simply does not happen. Even honest ex-gay ministries publicly state that does not happen. Chris, if he is emotionally and mentally healthy, can certainly choose to change from being sexually active to not being sexually active, which of course is the claim of change from homosexuality to heterosexuality made by ex-gay ideology.

They also advocate that anyone wanting to change should not self-identify as being homosexual - as one thinks, so shall he be. In my twenties, if I received a call from a polling organization asking me whether I was gay or not, I would have said, "No!" I would have said “no” not because I no longer had homosexual feelings or had developed heterosexual feelings, but because I believed that God originally created me heterosexual and as I claimed heterosexuality as my self-identity, then heterosexual I would be. It was the idea of "things hoped for but yet not come." There was no inner-conflict in admitting to my continued homosexual feelings and self-identifying as a heterosexual. I had faith in what I truly thought I was - straight - and the gay feelings were just residual effects of the original deception that I was homosexual. Of course, I could not sustain this way of thinking for very long, and neither can most ex-gay people. I wonder how long it will be before Chris has to admit, to God if no one else, that he cannot change the innate feelings going on within him. If he is constitutionally gay, he will have to admit that he cannot change his orientation, although he can certainly choose to be in a relationship or not or whether to engage in sex. He can choose to act like a heterosexual, but again we know that simply acting like one does not make us one.

I respect the intense struggle people go through trying to reconcile their orientation and their relationship with God. I would have much more respect for ex-gay organizations if their public face were as honest as their private face! Of course, that is the call of Christ to us all as we remove our masks and receive His freedom. They won't do it, however. There is too much pain and failure. The face of Chris with his implied promise is compelling, but there is so much more involved.

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Here is a great article by Rederick Turner from Tech Central Station: The Liberal Trademark. I came across the article from a recent Andrew Sullivan post.

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Not that I support the Christian Religious Right in much of their political agenda, but there is also a Christian Religious Left that must be acknowledged. I do not support much of the Religious Left's political agenda, either. Both the R.L. and the R.R. infuse their political goals with their theological or theocratic beliefs. While I support both sides in their attempts to express their beliefs and concerns in the political arena, I also know that politics coopts religion and not the other way around. Power tends to corrupt... Here is a news item from the Episcopal News Service:

Church officials meeting in Geneva reject legitimacy of G-8 summit

(ENI) Church officials and protestors who met during the summit of the Group of Eight nations in Evian, France, which ended on June 3, rejected the legitimacy of the grouping of the most industrialized nations, also known as the G-8.

"We see the G-8 as an illegitimate group because they were not elected by anybody to rule the world," said Rogate Mshana, economy and justice program executive for the World Council of Churches (WCC), at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, about 25 miles from the summit.

"On whose behalf are they speaking?" Mshana said at a meeting on Monday hosted by the general secretaries of four world church bodies headquartered in the Ecumenical Centre--the WCC, the Lutheran World Federation, the Conference of European Churches and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

Here is the Religious Left. They claim the meeting is illegitimate because the leaders were not elected to rule the world. Well, except for possibly Russia, all the leaders of the eight nations were duly and legitimately elected! Why does the WCC support the United Nations, since none of the representatives at the UN (the ambassadors) were elected? They were appointed by leaders of individual nations, whether the leaders were freely elected or whether the leaders are despotic dictators, yet the WCC is a big supporter of the UN. It can be argued that the very reason that these eight national leaders meeting together to coordinate world policy IS legitimate is because they were elected in a democratic political system! It is not an illegitimacy of structure, it is a perception of illegitimacy because of political and economic positions the Religious Left disagrees with. Remember, the Religious Left has just as much of an agenda and theological leanings as do those of the Religious Right (that the R.L. has a more tolerant disposition towards diverse beliefs is a theological leaning, although hypocritical because they do not tolerate conservatives at all!). If the G-8 concluded with policies supported by the Religious Left, they would be all over them with praise and support!

Okay, the next question: "On whose behalf are they speaking?" A legitimate question, I do believe. The implication is that they only speak for corrupt international corporate interests that wish to rape world society and destroy the earth. They may simply be speaking for the interests of the people of the individual eight nations. The fact is, if the people of the individual nations do not support what their leaders are doing at G-8 meetings, they can vote their leaders out of office. If the WCC can persuade the voting interests of the individual nations to install leaders who will champion their social and political policies, more power to them. They have not succeeded in doing so at this point.

I do not blame or hold in condescension those who champion and advocate for their political, theological, or economic positions. I support the WCC's right to protest and to attempt to cause change even if I do not believe in some of their beliefs or positions. I do resent, however, that those who hold liberal positions feel justified in deriding those with conservative positions - it is hypocritical for those who espouse liberal beliefs of inclusion and toleration to do so. They act just like the Religious Right, except that the R.R. never claims to be accommodating to everyone.

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5/30/03
There is a Canadian Anglican diocese that encompasses and surrounds Vancouver, British Columbia, that during its diocesan convention last year passed a resolution to write a rite for the blessings of same-sex unions. It has caused quite a stir among the Communion world-wide. After a year, the bishop released the rite and it has just been used for the first time. We shall see were this goes! Here is an article I received via e-mail -


First same-sex blessing in New Westminster met with mixed reaction

by Jane Davidson

(ACC-News ) The blessing May 28 of a same-sex union in the Anglican Church of Canada's diocese of New Westminster has
been met with both joy and dismay.

Less than a week after the rite of blessing of same-sex unions was issued by the bishop of the diocese of New Westminster to six parishes which had requested it, the Rev. Margaret Marquardt blessed the 21-year same-sex relationship of Anglicans Michael Kalmuk, 49, and Kelly Montfort, 62, at St. Margaret's, Cedar Cottage Church in east Vancouver.

Bishop Michael Ingham had authorized the controversial and contested rite on Friday, May 23, just days before an international primates meeting declared itself unable as a body to support same-sex blessings, and one week in advance of his own diocesan synod, May 30-31.

The blessing came one year after the New Westminster diocesan synod voted to allow same-sex blessings in parishes requesting them. It was the third time that synod had voted on the issue;
the bishop had previously withheld his consent to the decisions in 1998 and 2001, but agreed to go ahead last year when
presented with a clear majority vote of 63 per cent in favor. That decision led to eight parishes walking out of the synod meeting, declaring themselves in impaired communion with the diocese.

Williams expresses 'sadness and disquiet'

In a media release the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, expressed his "sadness and disquiet at the move" by the diocese. Williams had said previously that there was no theological consensus in support of same-sex unions.

"In taking this action and ignoring the considerable reservations of the church, repeatedly expressed and most
recently by the primates, the diocese has gone significantly further than the teaching of the church or pastoral concern can justify and I very much regret the inevitable tension and division that will result from this development," the archbishop said.

Williams was referring to the statement from the international primates' meeting, held just days earlier in Brazil and attended by the Canadian primate, Archbishop Michael Peers.

Chris Ambidge, spokesperson for Integrity, a lobby group for gay and lesbian Anglicans, said his group has been working for 28 years "for more full membership of gays and lesbians in the body of their church.

"This is a very significant step along that path and I praise God that this has happened," he said. "In retrospect, I'm glad that Bishop Ingham has been as careful as he has been. But there comes a time when you need to move."

International infighting

Tension, infighting and recrimination over the same-sex issue spread beyond the boundaries of the diocese to the international forum and saw Ingham publicly chastised last fall by the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey. In his last presidential address at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Hong Kong in September, 2002, Carey singled out Ingham for his diocese's decision to allow the blessing of same-sex unions "without regard for the rest of us and against the clear statement of Lambeth '98."

The Canadian primate gave a different interpretation of the
international primates' recent statement in a media release
issued within hours of Williams' reaction.

"I share their (the primates') assessment that the absence of consensus makes it impossible to speak with one mind in support of the actions of the synod and bishop of the diocese of New Westminster," said Peers.

"At the same time, reports that characterize the primates' letter as a direct and unanimous repudiation of those actions are wrong. The primates do not, at our meetings, either move resolutions or take votes. We seek the deepest possible expression of unity in whatever terms are available to us.

"In this case, our common mind accurately reflects the potential for division and the absence of theological consensus among us and within the churches that make up the Anglican Communion."

Campaign for an alternate bishop

Meanwhile, the group of parishes which walked out of synod last year in protest of the same-sex vote expressed its displeasure with the release of a blessing rite.

"This unilateral action," said the group in a statement, "isolates the diocese and seeks to pre-empt the issue scheduled to be addressed at General Synod 2004. Never before has a single diocese so abruptly and brazenly repudiated the church's 38 primates and their desire for Anglican unity."

The Rev. Trevor Walters of St. Matthews, Abbotsford, a spokesperson for the group which calls itself the Anglican Communion in New Westminster (ACiNW), said he felt "grief, great sadness and a great sense of having lost the church as we have known it" when he heard of the blessing.

He predicted that the blessings in New Westminster would make the ACiNW coalition grow rapidly.

The ACiNW had campaigned the church for months for an alternate bishop and recently received an offer from Bishop Terrence Buckle of the diocese of the Yukon to be their bishop until General Synod 2004. Ingham called the offer interference and asked that Buckle be disciplined.

Instead, Ingham asked Bishop William Hockin of the diocese of Fredericton to act as "episcopal visitor" to clergy and parishes which do not support same-sex blessings. An episcopal visitor may provide pastoral support but has no jurisdiction in the diocese.

Walters said, "We have had at least 10 churches tell us that as soon as a blessing went ahead they would join us in asking for Bishop Buckle to be bishop."

Ingham caught by surprise

Ingham said upon releasing the rite that it was not a marriage ceremony but, rather, "a blessing of permanent and faithful commitments between persons of the same sex in order that they may have the support and encouragement of the church in their lives together under God."

In an interview, Ingham said the St. Margaret's blessing caught him by surprise. "I found out about it when a reporter called me for a comment," he said. He noted that the parish had been one of the original movers of the motion in favor of same-sex blessings.

The timing of the rite had nothing to do with the primates' meeting but was done to complete his commitment to synod made a year earlier, Ingham said.

"I agreed a year ago to complete this process. It's been a long process of trying to be reconciled with those who find this difficult," he said. Earlier this year facilitated talks aimed at reconciliation between the ACiNW on one side and the bishop and diocesan representatives on the other, broke down.

Parishes authorized to use the rite are St. Margaret's, St. Mark's, St. Paul's and Christ Church Cathedral, all in Vancouver, St. Agnes, North Vancouver, and St. Laurence, Coquitlam.

Another cool and rainy day in New York City. Today, however, I'm loving the rain. Sometimes, slow, rainy days are wonderful.

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I found this very interesting. I was reading an article by Fritz Ritsch on the Washington Post website this morning concerning the Iraqi war and a tendency among many Americans to see this nation as some sort of special entity with a Manifest Destiny to accomplish God's work in the world. He was commenting on the president's use of hymnic language in his speeches as demonstrating the view that the United States and the world would be much better submitting God's rule through their particular perspective of what that rule would look like and through whom it would be exercised.

Understanding the Zion/Davidic Covenant of the ancient Hebrews, specifically in the southern kingdom of Judah, where the understanding of Messiah dealt with a specially anointed (by God) ruler that would exercise both political and religious power, brought together, in order to restore Israel to its divinely promised destiny as a nation-state and as a people. Ritsch's comment took this idea and applied it to many within the religious right.

Here is the quote from Ritsch:

But some on the religious right have built a theology around this hope. Many of them believe that America will be at its best if its government submits to their understanding of God's work on Earth. What they have longed for is a Davidic ruler -- a political leader like the Bible's David, who will unite their secular vision of the nation with their spiritual aspirations. All indications are that they believe they have found their David in Bush -- and that the president believes it, too.

Interesting, huh?

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