March 2004 Archives

dreaming

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Sometimes this all seems like a dream. Is this real?

I Corinthians 6:9

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There are two Greeks words that appear in the New Testament letters of Paul to the Corinthians and to Timothy. The words are malakoi and arsenokoitai. English translations of the Bible have taken these two words and interpreted them into English in many different ways. Since the 1950's, there is a tendency to use the "homosexual" as an interpretation of one or both of the words. I decided to do a survey of English translations of I Cor. 6:9...

New International Version: (1973, 1978, 1984)
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders "

New International Readers Version: (1996, 1998)
"Don't you know that evil people will not receive God's kingdom? Don't be fooled. Those who commit sexual sins will not receive the kingdom. Neither will those who worship statues of gods or commit adultery. Neither will men who are prostitutes or who commit homosexual acts."

New International Version - UK: (1973, 1978, 1984)
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders"

New American Standard Version: (1960-1995)
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor (1) effeminate, nor homosexuals," (1. i.e. effeminate by perversion)

The Message: (1993- 2002)
"Don't you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don't care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex," [This is an interesting take!]

Amplified Version:
"Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality,"

New Living Translation: (1954- 1965, 1987)
"Don't you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, "

King James Version:
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,"

According to Stephen Bennett ministries, the following is a list of the top leaders campaigning against gay-marriage.

'Gay Marriage: America's Leaders Respond' features:

impaired communion

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St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio, which has removed the "Episcopal Church" from their signs, is heading the AAC chapter in the Diocese of Ohio. This webpage shows which Anglican provinces have declared either "broken" or "impaired" communion the US Church.

Frankly, there are far fewer than I had anticipated. The AAC and all the dissenting people make it seem as if ALL the Anglican Communion, except maybe Canada and Southern Africa, has repudiated the U.S. Church. From these statistics, it just is not so!

House of Bishops

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Here is the statement from the House of Bishops concerning "alternative Episcopal Oversight" I am sure many of the conservatives are not happy. Time will tell whether the AAC and member parishes/clergy will simply leave at this time.


[ENS] In response to the different points of view that exist in the dioceses and congregations of the Episcopal Church concerning issues of human sexuality, the House of Bishops, meeting March 19-25 in Camp Allen, Texas, have issued a document entitled "Caring for all the Churches." The full text follows:


Caring For All The Churches

A Response of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church
to an expressed need of the Church

The church is the Body of Christ. Our life in this Body is a continuing action of God's grace among us, by whose power alone we are "joined together" in Christ and grow "into a holy temple in the Lord." (Eph. 2:21). Through the church's common life in Christ, God intends to signify to the world the beginning of a new and reconciled creation.

We know the unity with God that Christ has won for humanity, he won through the victory of his passion. We are mindful of the suffering of Jesus who, on the Cross and through his resurrection, reaches into every corner of alienated human life, reconciling and restoring to the household of God all who come to him in faith. By GodÂ’s grace the church is continually called, in repentance and hope, to be a trustworthy sign to the world of this costly reconciling power of God. We understand that, in obedience to Christ and putting our whole trust in him, we may share in his unity with the Father through the Holy Spirit. Communion in the Trinity is the salvation of the world. The church, thus, exists for the sake of the world. Therefore, for the sake of the world, we have been called "to serve before God day and night in the ministry of reconciliation, (BCP, p.521) which is to be carried out "with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Eph. 4:2-3)

I wonder...

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I was talking to Father Cullen, the Rector of my field-placement parish. We were talking about the conservatives and liberals, etc. He noticed that the perspective of some liberals is to write stacks of pages of exegesis in an attempt to find whatever looping can be found to justify doing this or that thing, or not doing something. This may be the case for some, even many, but all I can say for myself is that I desire to know the truth, not to justify a behavior.

Sometimes I wonder whether all these attempts to justify homosexual behavior, at least according to the rational of some, is simply an attempt to find a loophole to justify the behavior of some rather than to see the greater good in God's way. Or, as Augustine might say in Free Choice and the Will: we must order our lives according to how things are. We cannot demand that the world change to meet our own desires. If we try, then we are worshiping the creature rather than the creator, which cannot bring peace and happiness because we are acting against how things really are. (Of course, the same charge can be levied against the prohibitionists as they try to persuade people that God is in the business of healing homosexuals and changing them into what God originally intended - heterosexuals.) Augustine also stresses that morality isn't a code of conduct, but the method/process we go through internally as we make decisions, which speaks against much of the Legalistic Righteousness that is passing for Evangelical/Fundamentalist ideas of morality.

Are we practicing Natural Law, according to Aquinas? Are we striving to conform ourselves to and participate with God in Eternal Law? Are we attempting to implement Natural Law into Human Law as we order our society? Hum.....

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This is probably quite naive of me, but I honestly believe there should be a return to the word "homophile" to describe those who have an affectual or sexual desire for the same-sex.

This issue needs to be recast away from "sex" and to what we are truly discussing - the natural and God given desire and need to love and be loved, to know and be known. It is too easy for the anti-homosexual people to continue to cast the debate around sexual behavior only. As in heterosexual couples, sex will be an aspect, but not the end-all of their relationship.

I agree that many gay people are obsessed with sex and preoccupied with things pertaining to sex, but again I do not believe those people represent a majority. It just hasn't born out in my experience. The issues are the same despite what orientation exists within anyone.

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Church History

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Professor Dr. Bruce Mullin is a phenomenal lecturer. I love Church History, but whenever class is over I am simply brain dead. I want to get down everything he says.

If I am honest...

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For quite some time now, I have said I am seeking Truth. I am willing to go wherever that quest leads me.

I believe Truth begins with God (the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Ruth, and Naomi... Mary and the Apostles). Walter Bouman, retired Systematic Theology professor at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, says that God is whoever has the final word. This is true, after all if the aforementioned God is not the true God, than Judaism and Christianity are false, as well as Islam. Bouman believes Christ had the final word - the victory over sin and death. When all is said and done, the jury is still out, no matter how strenuously I want to claim or declare anything. By faith, I believe in the God of the Nicene and Apostles creeds. By faith...

I believe that the Holy Bible, Hebrew and Christian testaments together, is the revelation of God to humanity, God's creation. I believe scripture contains all that humanity needs for salvation and a peaceable life - the truths of scripture speak to the heart - the motivations, the healing available, etc. In scripture is the Truth for our lives lived here on this earth and the means of life everlasting. (The Bible is not a history book, although it contains history. The Bible is not a science book. The Bible is not an anthropologist tomb, although it is full of anthropological stuff, etc.)

If I am consistent with past claims, I have to consider the arguments of reasoned people who say homosexuality is contrary to God's will and way according to scripture. I have moved from 'con' to 'pro' according to what I thought was the stronger argument. Has the strength of one argument over the other changed? I wonder...

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Christian Ethics today:
- In the public sphere, too often it is a matter of doing "what is right" - acting on Christian principles, even the basic pagan virtues of Plato and Aristotle.

- For Luther and Calvin, however, drawing from Augustine, it is always a matter of acting out of faith! This is ultimately what makes ethics, Christian.

- In Christian ethics, we're not just trying to find a way to do good; it is not a philosophical system. Rather, we're trying to find a way to be faithful, and that is the way to goodness. God is good, and has related himself personally to us in Christ.

- In Augustine and Aquinas: We live into our faith, being faithful first and discovering our true selves in God.

TO MUCH ENERGY

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I have been spending too much time and exerting too much energy attempting to find a middle way for dealing with those on the accommodationist side and those on the prohibitionist side of the gay and Christian issue. Actually being in the middle of the issue (according to me, and certainly not according to stringent prohibitionists), I see validity on both sides of the issue, especially when using the Anglican three legged stool model. I have made a decision according to which side of the line I fall, but I am open to where ever truth leads me. I think, at least for now, it is virtually impossible for us to have civil conversation. The polarization is so complete that there are few willing to consider the their opponent's' perspective. This is truly a masterstroke of Satan. Let the killing begin, just like in medieval times!

I've got to refocus on classes, life in general, and let go of this. It is not up to me to attempt to bring all sides together in order for there to be a least a willingness to understand. Agree to disagree, but stop all this foolishness.

I had a lot of

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I had a lot of entries through MoveableType, but my website hosting service had a number of failures. Two months worth of posts are not lost. I'm wondering whether I made the right decision when I chose this hosting service!

I have been using MoveableType weblogging system for the past two months. It seems my website host, where my MoveableType database was located, had a server failure and at the same time a failure of its backup system. That means I have lost two months of journal entries in my weblog. I truly regret this - a lot of stuff was written these past two months.

So, I back with Blogger.

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I wonder why I am

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I wonder why I am continually amazed at what the American, politicized, anti-gay Christian Religious Right propaganda machine churns out for public consumption, but I am. It is so disturbing to see what these people claim is God’s will and God’s way. They continually bear false-witness against their neighbor (gay people and others), they do not “love the sinner” despite their continued claims to the contrary. C.S. Lewis writes, “You start being 'kind' to people before you have considered their rights, and then force upon them supposed kindnesses which they in fact had a right to refuse, and finally kindnesses which no one but you will recognize as kindnesses and which the recipient will feel as abominable cruelties.”

In this article below from Focus on the Family, they claim that if the U.N. includes homosexuals as a class of people that can expect to be treated to the same human-rights as the rest of the human population, somehow we are inviting everything from “bestiality to pedophilia.” The implication is that “pro-homosexual” groups are calling for the right to practice everything from “bestiality to pedophilia.” This is not true and the Religious Right knows it. They are bearing false-witness and they know it. The end justifies the means and no matter how immoral they act, it is justified to accomplish their goals. They wrongly attribute their actions to God’s will and defame Christ in the process. They are on a 21st century witch hunt and nothing will deter them, until of course their cause is laid bare and they are made irrelevant (not because God is made irrelevant, which will be their claim, but because their hypocrisy and lunacy in the name of God becomes so apparent).

Focus on the Family is calling on their members to e-mail, call, write, and pressure member delegates from other countries to do FocusÂ’ bidding to deny homosexuals equal treatment under law worldwide. The decry the Supreme Court for referencing judicial precedent in Europe concerning the Texas sodomy case, yet they willingly advocate that Rightwing Christian Americans attempt to force their will upon the rest of the world. It is hypocrisy. It is mean-spiritedness. They means by which they are attempting to institute their perspective in law and culture is not the way of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


U.N. Considers Sexual Orientation as 'Human Right'
by Gary Schneeberger, editor

SUMMARY: Your help is needed to prevent pro-homosexual forces from paving the way for everything from bestiality
to pedophilia as "the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family."

Pro-homosexual groups from around the globe are pushing the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to declare
sexual orientation an international human right -- and your input may be key to thwarting their plans.

The Commission, made up of 53 member nations, will begin meeting Monday and continue for the next six weeks, at some point taking up a resolution proposed by Brazil that "sexual orientation" be added to "the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family."

Brazil pitched a similar resolution last year, but Egypt took the lead in opposing it, leading to a postponement until this year.

Thomas Jacobson, a Focus on the Family liaison to the United Nations, said the measure must again be delayed -- or defeated -- to preserve the sanctity of marriage and the family worldwide.

"If this resolution passes and becomes international policy, a special U.N. adviser will be appointed to monitor nations for compliance," Jacobson explained. "Nations will be pressured to make 'sexual orientation' a human right and add it to their non-discrimination statutes.

"We can see the implications by looking at nations that have already done so. The Swedes have already lost their freedom of speech and freedom of religion -- two pastors were arrested last year for, in their own churches, reading Scripture and saying homosexuality was wrong."

Equally troubling, Jacobson added, is that nowhere is the phrase "sexual orientation" defined in the resolution or any other U.N. document.

"Because of this," he said, "any type of so-called sexual orientation could be viewed as a 'human right': homosexuality, bisexuality, pedophilia, transgenderism, voyeurism, sadism, bestiality, etc."

To prevent that from happening, pro-family voices must be heard on the issue.

"While U.S. citizens are accustomed to influencing government officials through voting, letters, phone calls and e-mails, this is not true in the vast majority of nations," Jacobson said. "A few hundred e-mails or faxes to a country's mission in New York City could have a profound impact, and could greatly encourage the officials to take a strong stand for what they already know is right."

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