October 2003 Archives

I went for a nice

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I went for a nice walk though Central Park this evening. I came across this very odd guy doing his "prayformance" at the Angel Tunnel/ Bethesda Terrace Arcade. Very talented, very musical, and very strange was he. Anyway, the experience reinforced in me the marvel of New York City. You just never know when you might come across the most bizzar and wonderful thing - in this case "Thoth."

Check out his website.

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I have stopped reading the list from the House of Deputies/House of Bishops listserv, and now the new "forum" ist for the kibitzers. There is just too many posts and the arguments are getting more and more polarized. There have been cries from some who take a more moderate stance (don't really have a problem with homosexuality, but do not believe now is the time for an openly gay and partnered Bishop in the Anglican Communion) that the liberals are simply throwing them into the AAC pile. The moderates charge the liberals with doing the same thing the conservatives tend to do - falsely lump people into the "enemy" or "evil" category simply because they do not completely agree with their position, and other stuff. Anyway, I think the moderates are right - the liberals categorizes anyone who opposes Gene's consecration as being part of the AAC, and it is not so.

Lord willing, I heading up to New Hampshire on Sunday. I should have a ticket, but one never knows. The consecration is taking place in an ice-arena! We were told to dress warmly. What is that all about?

I don't know. This just needs to run its course and be over with. Of course, this is only the beginning, but at least the deed will have been done and everyone can either relax or leave. Get it over with.

Tonight, the Halloween Parade in the Village. Maybe. I am feeling a bit melancholy tonight, so I may just stay in. Too much work to do, besides.

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The following was read this morning by Professor DeChamplain in Preaching class with reference to speaking/preaching/communicating. I think it is very appropriate for our current controversies. There is nothing truly new under the sun.


"One of the most enduring illusions is that our current difficulties are abnormal, ought to pass soon, and will be succeeded by an uninterrupted era of tranquility. We expect life to be like the shuttle between Heathrow and Edinburgh, a smooth ride on the whole, interrupted by occasional bouts of turbulence, through which we are advised to fasten our seat belts. In fact, the human reality is the reverse of that. Turbulence is the norm, interrupted by occasional periods of tranquility.

"One reason why people endlessly predict the disintegration of the Anglican Church is because of the prevalence of this tranquillist heresy. The doctrine is that we have departed or fallen from a normative tranquility and that our present troubles are abnormally stimulated by human wickedness and error, whereas it is the other way round. Turbulence and disagreement are the norm, the signs of life, and we should accept them as such. 'The troubles of our proud and angry dust are from eternity and shall not fail,' said Houseman. But job said it too: 'Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.' (Job 5:7).

"Let us spend some time meditating on this claim. Let us look at some of the troubles of our proud and angry dust."
(by: Richard Holloway)

I've decided to use my

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I've decided to use my main weblog (this one) as a repository for everything, and the distribute the items to their own specific blog, if appropriate. Just an FYI.

Thus, concerning the Anglican Communion - the following was read this morning by Professor DeChamplain in Preaching class with reference to speaking/preaching/communicating. I think it is very appropriate for our current controversies. There is nothing truly new under the sun.


"One of the most enduring illusions is that our current difficulties are abnormal, ought to pass soon, and will be succeeded by an uninterrupted era of tranquility. We expect life to be like the shuttle between Heathrow and Edinburgh, a smooth ride on the whole, interrupted by occasional bouts of turbulence, through which we are advised to fasten our seat belts. In fact, the human reality is the reverse of that. Turbulence is the norm, interrupted by occasional periods of tranquility.

"One reason why people endlessly predict the disintegration of the Anglican Church is because of the prevalence of this tranquillist heresy. The doctrine is that we have departed or fallen from a normative tranquility and that our present troubles are abnormally stimulated by human wickedness and error, whereas it is the other way round. Turbulence and disagreement are the norm, the signs of life, and we should accept them as such. 'The troubles of our proud and angry dust are from eternity and shall not fail,' said Houseman. But job said it too: 'Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.' (Job 5:7).

"Let us spend some time meditating on this claim. Let us look at some of the troubles of our proud and angry dust."
(by: Richard Holloway)

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An interesting article on the BBC online website - What does the Bible actually say about being gay?

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I was elected student representative to the Board of Trustees a month or so ago. I attended one meeting thus far, but it was atypical because the Board, minus the student reps, went on a retreat after the "official" meeting. Anyway, just so that I don't offer only my personal opinions on things, we had a meeting of the Middler class in our apartment last night. It was a good meeting - not a "bitch session," but we did let off a little steam, and then went on to substantive things.

Higher ed. Administration and student services really is my element, which of course makes sense since I've been doing that sort of thing for so long, but I am also in my element with regards to religion, politics, and technology. Anyway, doing this caused me to realize that I am coming at this thing from both an administrative perspective and also, for the first time in ten years, from a student perspective. It was just an odd feeling. If I end up back in higher education, I have been reminded what it is like being a student, especially a non-typical student.

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I came across a great

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I came across a great newspaper article in an Australian newspaper. Here is the link to the article. Go ahead and read it.

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Here is a link to

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Here is a link to a great article in an Australian newspaper concerning Anglicans, conservatives, and gays. Just read it!

This has been a very

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This has been a very difficult two weeks. Classes have us all at our wits end. The Anglican Communion drama is still going on and we are all still fit-to-be-tied. All-in-all, things have been better.

There is a large contingent from the seminary going up to Gene Robinson's consecration. I decided not to go early on, for a variety of reasons. I think I have changed my mind. There are a bunch going up just on Sunday for the consecration and then returning, same day. I'm trying to get a ticket and hopefully I will be able to attend. The type of language coming out of the American Anglican Council convinced me I should go. They are so strident and absolutist, and wrong.

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"Some things hurt us; we hope they will not happen again; we call them bad. Some things please us; we hope they will happen again; we call them good." (Thomas & Wondra, Introduction to Theology, p.153) From a quote by Temple, concerning redefining sin in our modern era surrounding the notion of self-centeredness.

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The Primates meeting is over. Here is the link to the Archbishop of Canterbury's final statement at the closing news conference.

Another article from the Telegraph (British) concerning several conservative Primates meeting together before the conference, contrary to normal protocol.

Here is the Link.

A very good article in

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A very good article in the Guardian newspaper in Britain on the eve of the Primates meeting in London.

Here is the link.

Well, "Law & Order" will be filming here sometime this week. It never ends.

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I was wrong. They have

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I was wrong. They have not been filming "Law & Order" these past couple of days. They are filming a new movie entitle, supposedly, "The House of D," staring Robin Williams. There are a whole heck of a lot of people roaming around. Most of the shooting seems to be taking place in Hoffman, my building, in the gym and Refectory. It seems to be set in the 1970's - funny seeing all these people dressed up in what is now absurd (although quite retro-chic) 1970's clothing.

So, look for the movie, and if you see it you will see General Theological Seminary!

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Ashton is here now. We

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Ashton is here now. We are going to see a movie in a bit, walk Daq later this evening, and we will not forget FOOD!

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Here is an interesting report from the BBC. Two archbishops are interview - one from the Southern Cone and one from South Africa (Cape Town).

Here is the link.

Law and Order is here

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Law and Order is here in force this morning. I'm not sure how long or for which series, but I have never seen so many people with such an array of equipment and supplies for any of their previous shoots. It looks like they will be here for quite a while. It is fun and interesting to watch. I'm amazed at how much effort, how much equipment, and how many people it takes to produce a one hour series.

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I contributed a post to

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I contributed a post to the House of Bishops/House of Delegates listserv this morning. Here it is:


To liberals, to conservatives, heck, to anyone like myself who is somewhere in between, the words of St. Paul to the Ephesians:

"I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all." (Eph. 4:1-6; from the readings For the Unity of the Church)

This should be so basic and should be commonly acknowledged, but despite what any of us might think or want, God is the one who determines the make up of the one body, the Church. The determination of who is in and who is out sits squarely with God, and no one else. Our church structures, our organizations, our councils, and our conventions are meaningless in the grand scheme of things - none will bend God's arm to include or exclude any one or any group. Thank God I am not God!

I came to Anglicanism because I believe in the ethos of the Anglican Way. I will remain Anglican in that sense even if there is not place for me in the structures of this denomination, whether as a gay man or as one who has strong evangelical/conservative sympathies. Regardless of whether the Anglican Communion dissolves into history, God determines whether any of us are individually members of the one Body of Christ. In humility and integrity, all I can do is love God with all my being and pray that God enables me to love my neighbor as myself. As much as my heart aches for this Church and the loss I sense coming, I know that I know that I know that nothing can separate any of us who bind unto ourselves the strong name of the Trinity from the love and grace of Christ. This isn't naivety, but hope and faith in the one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

Bob Griffith
Kibitzer, Student, General Theological Seminary

I have always had a

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I have always had a nagging sense that once my discernment process concluded, once I was declared a Postulant, then through my seminary education, through Candidacy, only to come to the end and be told I will not be ordained. Everyone over the last four years have told me I have nothing to worry about. My diocese is electing a new bishop in a month. Again, I was assured that the selection committee would not put forward for election someone who did not support ordination of gay people.

Okay. I still have the nagging feeling. Recently, there came a news report from the BBC. Here it is:


http://makeashorterlink.com/?T5CF16F26

Looks like BBC conducted a survey of all the Primates prior to the Lambeth meeting...

******************************

Church leaders to urge gay priests ban

16:59 - 12 October 2003

Anglican Church leaders will be sharply divided at a special meeting to discuss homosexuality this week, according to a survey.

All 38 primates from around the world are due to attend a meeting at Lambeth Palace, London, on Wednesday and Thursday to consider the controversial issue of gay priests.

There were calls recently for the US branch of the church to be excluded from the international communion after Gene Robinson was appointed as the first openly gay bishop.

In this country, Canon Jeffrey John was nominated for the post of Bishop of Reading in June, but later withdrew after controversy over his sexuality.

A BBC survey found that three-quarters of the primates would not allow homosexuals to become priests in their province.

Asian and African church leaders also plan to use the meeting, hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, to push for a ban on homosexual priests throughout the Anglican communion, the poll revealed.

The BBC's World This Weekend programme contacted every primate in the communion, and received 17 responses. Only four said they would accept homosexuality among priests in their church province.

A spokesman for the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, told the programme it was a matter of dealing with the "errant few".

"It is a departure from the teachings handed down from the fathers of faith and the Word of God in the holy scriptures," he added.

The Anglican communion has 80 million members worldwide.

I am still perplexed why there has been no counter argument from scripture against those who claim inclusionists have departed from the authority of scripture. I came to belief that homosexual relationships are not forbidden by God BECAUSE of scripture, not by denying scripture. So, why are liberals not making arguments to engage prohibitionists from scripture? I hope the accusations are not true - that liberals really have denied the authority of scripture.

The funny thing, if that is true, is that this evangelically minded person, because of scripture, is an inclusionist. I still wonder whether I will ever be ordained.

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Here is an announcent from the Episcopal Women's Caucus and Integrity:


Statement of the Episcopal Women's Caucus, Integrity and concerned observers of the AAC's Convention

During these three days in Dallas, the American Anglican Council has made it clear that it is bent on destroying the Episcopal Church unless is can remake it in its own image. This comes as little surprise. The foundations and individuals who fund the AAC, and who subsidized this conference, have no interest in the health or integrity of churches. Their track record makes clear that their aim is to discredit or destroy those who oppose them in America's political and cultural debates.

Many faithful Episcopalians oppose in good conscience the action taken on majority votes by the democratically elected members of our General Convention. But we would not find ourselves in this highly polarized situation were it not for the millions of dollars poured into the AAC and similar organizations by the likes of the Scaife, Bradley, Olin and Coors foundations, which have underwritten so much of the agenda of the radical right. That Howard Ahmanson, heir to a savings and loan fortune, a proponent of teaching creationism in our schools, and formerly an advocate of replacing the American legal system with "biblical law" is the AAC's most generous financial supporter should give even the most conservative Episcopalians reason for pause.

While the AAC's willingness to destroy the church if they could not take it over was predictable, the extent of its recklessness was not. In a speech on Tuesday Bishop Robert Duncan made clear that if Rowan Williams the archbishop of Canterbury does not bend to his will, Duncan and his allies will attempt a "realignment" of the Anglican Communion which would inflict tremendous pain on just about everyone except Robert Duncan and his allies. In this new alignment, the AAC claims, a handful of American dioceses and a number of Anglican provinces from Africa, Asia and South America, would break away from the existing church and constitute themselves as the new embodiment of Anglicanism in the world.

This plan would set off years of legal and ideological battling in the many provinces that would remain within the existing church. But more to the point, it would utterly devastate those provinces that chose to join forces with Duncan and the AAC.

Eight provinces almost certain to remain within the existing Communion
provide more than 80 percent of its budget. Much of that money advances the church's mission in the developing world. Individual western churches provide more support to churches in Africa and elsewhere than any of the dioceses currently aligned with the AAC. The American church has made it clear that its support of the gospel in the global south is not restricted to dioceses that agree with it on issues of homosexuality and women's ordination. But expecting it to remain in partnerships with bishops who are promoting schism in the United States may be expecting too much.

Conservative Episcopalians in this country, and conservative bishops abroad need to make a prayerful decision about whether they want to be aligned with the radical right. Whatever their convictions about Gene Robinson or the blessing of same sex unions, they need to examine whether this radical course of action, advanced on behalf of ideologically-driven secular foundations with no interest in the well being of the church, is wise, whether it is compassionate and whether it is Christian.

Anglicanism was born in the conflict of the Reformation. There always has been room for differing views and vigorous debate as we strive to discern the leading of the Spirit. We will not sacrifice our tradition to please a well-financed few.

I signed up for the

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I signed up for the House of Bishops/House of Delegates listserv that served the two before and during General Convention last August. The list is still active, and a couple of fellow seminarians are members. The debate and reports covering this past convention and the Plano/Dallas AAC conference this past week have been very active and at times degrading and rancorous.

This is a post to the list by a man in L.A. I'm including a portion of his post and withholding his name because I have not asked his permission to include this, which may not be a good thing, but there you go. Anyway, here is what he posted responding to another post which is part of the thread dealing with "natural-law" and natural-theology. The previous post commented on the fact that even if something is normal or natural, that does not mean God considers it good.

Here is part of his response deal with many posted arguments against homosexuality appearing on the list:


We've seen a variety of attempted arguments on this list in the past, and it's a good moment to rehearse them and exactly what's wrong with each of them. For each of these, we have heard anti-gay people say "yes, you're right, that's a bad argument, but what about XXX?" It's a game of constant bait-and-switch, in which the anti-gay crowd trot out argument after argument, each of which is refuted, only to be replaced by another, which had already been refuted the month before.

We have:

* Scriptural morality requires monogamous heterosexuality.
[Refutation: Scripture never requires monogamy for anyone but
clerics, and holds up as laudable many polygamists, and commands
polygamy in some cases.]

* Only in a relationship with someone of the opposite gender can a
person be fully human.
[Refutation: Jesus and other celibates are fully human.]

* Tradition has always taught that homosexuality is wrong.
[Refutation: If this is your only argument, then it is no argument
at all, because tradition can err.]

* God's will for creation is that people be in heterosexual marriages.
[Refutation: Jesus and other celibates are not in heterosexual
marriages.]

* Heterosexual marriage is a better symbol of such-and-such than
homosexual marriage.
[Refutation: Acts are not to be judged moral or not because of what
they might or might not symbolize; and, there are other good things
which homosexual marriage better symbolizes that heterosexual
marriage.]

* Gay sex is inherently dangerous.
[Refutation: All sex is inherently dangerous; sex between men is
less dangerous than pregnancy; sex between women is exceedingly low
risk. Moreover, nobody is criticizing straight men for impregnating
their wives and putting them at risk. And finally, this requires a
particular reductionistic view of what gay sex *is*--some forms of
which are of essentially no risk whatsoever.]

* Gay people are more likely to be pedophiles.
[Refutation: there simply isn't any evidence here at all, indeed,
there is the opposite--heterosexuals are more likely to be
pedophiles.]

* Gay people are mentally ill.
[Refutation: the experts disagree, and there has been no
presentation of evidence to the contrary, except if one takes
homosexuality *itself* as a mental illness, which begs the
question. Note as well that mental illness and sin are mutually
exclusive categories.]

* If we weaken morality here, next we'll be allowing bestiality and
rape.
[Refutation: nobody is arguing for "weakening" morality.]

* Having positive gay role models makes teenagers more likely to be
gay.
[Refutation: total lack of evidence. If role models and social
messages of acceptability affected people's sexuality in this
manner, there would be no gay people. Moreover, this begs the
question and assumes that being gay is bad, and thus to be avoided
for teenagers.]

Which leaves what I believe are the two most common reasons:

* Thinking about gay sex grosses me out.
[Which is irrelevant, of course, and offensive as well. People said
the same thing about interracial marriages. If it grosses you out
that much, it's your problem, not mine.]

And the most important:

* If I admitted that gay people were my equals, then I would have to confront that I had made a horribly serious mistake, and been engaged in ruining the lives of an awful lot of people, and blasphemously using the name of God to persecute innocent people.

I have a new definition of seminary. Seminary is a three year hazing experience for entrance into the priesthood! Pure and simple - hazing!!!

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It takes a while, but

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It takes a while, but as time roles on the real intent and beliefs of the politicized Religious Right and those claiming that status of "advocates for the American family" come to be revealed. As they become more confident, they are more forward and honest with their intent.

The following articles from the Focus on the Family's CitizenUpdate demonstrates that the definition of marriage is not simply a union between a man and a woman, which excludes gay couples, but even more a union between a man and a woman that must be condoned or sanctioned or approved (blessed) by a religious ceremony. The next public revelation will be that the approval is only valid when done by those who agree with their particular theological bent.

Here is the article:


Civil Weddings on the Rise
by Steve Jordahl, correspondent

SUMMARY: Family advocates worry about removing God from marriage ceremony.

An increasing number of couples are choosing civil marriages over religious ceremonies.

In fact, in 14 states, more than 40 percent of marriages are now being performed in a judge's chambers -- just like the ceremony Tammy Burnip just planned.

Instead of a church, a cake and a large reception, it was a civil judge in a small office who said, "I pronounce you husband and wife. Kiss the bride."

Burnip's wedding, at which the photographer was also the maid of honor, was governed by the one rule she had for the occasion: "To make it as simple as possible."

But, simplicity aside, family advocates are worried that taking God out of the wedding brings us one step closer to losing the traditional definition of marriage.

What do they consider to be the traditional definitin of marriage? Is marriage only a union blessed by a pastor and in the name of God? But then what definition of God according to whose theology?

Joshua Baker, a spokesman for the Marriage Law Project, said the numbers suggest a growing confusion about what marriage is really about.

Their honest idea of what marriage truly is will not fly in this country. Try to tell the 40% that their marriage is not real and not true because it was sealed before a judge rather than a minister or priest.

"Is marriage a religious ceremony, is it a civil package of benefits and rights that the government confers upon people, or is it really the cultural institution which has been the basis of our society?" Baker asked.

Such confusion plays right into the hands of those who want to redefine the institution to allow any number of alternatives, according to Dr. Allan Carlson, director of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society.

"I think that does fuel . . . the advocates for making marriage a much more plastic -- and, by that, a much less meaningful -- institution," Carlson said.

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As the meeting of the American Anglican Council begins in Plano, TX, begins, here is a news report:


10/6/2003

No welcome for observers at Texas meeting of conservatives

by James Solheim

[Episcopal News Service] An attempt by Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold and Dean George Werner, president of the House of Deputies, to send four observers to the American Anglican Council meeting in Texas has been rebuffed. Griswold said that the four-Bishop Christopher Epting, deputy for ecumenical and interfaith relations; Bishop Stacy Sauls of Lexington; Dean Titus Presler of Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas; and the Rev. Brian Prior of Spokane, Washington-had been asked to "bring a greeting and to listen with care and the ear of the heart to the voices of those present. Their presence was to be a visible sign of the fact
that, in the midst of disagreement, we are nonetheless fellow members of Christ's risen body and that we are called to bear one another's burdens and to acknowledge that when one member suffers the whole body must bear that suffering."

In a letter to Griswold, the Rev. David Anderson, president of the AAC, said that there is no category for observers and that all must register as participants, signing the document, "A Place to Stand," that gives the AAC's theological perspective on the current state of the church. He said that those who are gathering for the meeting feel a sense of betrayal and abandonment by the leadership of the Episcopal Church and feel that those who voted to confirm Gene Robinson's election as the church's first openly gay bishop have shattered and shipwrecked the church.

"When teachings and practices contrary to Scripture and to this orthodox Anglican perspective are permitted within the Church-or even authorized by the General Convention-in obedience to God we will disassociate ourselves from those specific teachings and practices and will resist them in every way possible," warns the "A Place to Stand" statement.

It doesn't bode well.

Here is the lastest concerning the Primates meeting in London in a little over a week's time:

* Zahl alleges plan to stifle conservatives

Stephen Bennett Ministries recently launched a radio commentary show lasting one minute or so called StraightTalk. He comments on the political, cultural, and social aspects of the plague of homosexuality and his belief that God's intent is to change people. Today's commentary suggests a new television reality series for Bravo to counter the hit series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy entitled Christian Guys for the Queer Guy. Click on the link above to find the audio link - you should listen.

Bennett suggests that the new reality show would consist of five Christian guys that make over a homosexual guy into the manly heterosexual man God always intended him to be. The weekly series would chronicle the amazing transformation the queer guy goes through as God changes him into a heterosexual.

You know what, they should do the show!

However, just like the ex-gay and anti-gay Christian groups are now demanding fairness and even handedness from all aspects of society to present the ex-gay propaganda gospel, Bravo should be even handed in presenting all the struggles and failures of gay guys trying to be straight guys. If there was ever an opportunity to debunk ex-gay propaganda - the ideological, pseudo-scientific, and theological mess - this would be it. The show would be the best commentary on the negative impact and false claims of the ex-gay movement. Most assuredly there would be people who are helped with all manor of addictions, with loneliness, with emotional problems, and even with sexual and gender confusion issues, but one thing the show would prove, if the people involved are honest, is that homosexuals are not changed into heterosexuals.

Bring on the show! Not counting the fact that it would be a ratings flop (I think), the ex-gay movement would pull the show soon enough because of the continuing failures of the guys to live up to their own propaganda. Read this article appearing in March 11, 2002 issue of Christianity Today entitled, "No Easy Victory". If this person were the queer guy the Christian-5 made over, there might well be far fewer people seeking out ex-gay ministries.

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I've been debating with myself (no comments, please) about being more specific with the different weblogs I have, some of which are simply replacements for regular webpages for the sake of convenience. Anyway, I'm going to attempt, I think, to be more diligent in placing gay/ex-gay/ex-ex-gay/homosexual issues in my "Gay/Ex-gay Weblog". The other option is to simply put everything here, but then...

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