There is a thread on Titusonenine to which I’ve posted a couple comments. One particular poster, who can argue well, posted something along the lines that “we,” meaning those who oppose the inclusion of gay people in relationships in the Church, did not start this mess, and it is the fault of the “innovators” or “reappraisers” or whatever-term-one-wants-to-use, who will not listen to the wisdom of those who will not accept the reassessment of Scripture and Tradition concerning this issue.
Phil Snyder wrote:
“One of my biggest problem with this whole ‘We spending too much time on sexuality when thereâ€™s poverty and AIDS and hunger to fightâ€ argument is that the reasserters did not bring this up. We are not the ones who insisted we fight this. We are not the ones who refused to listen to the Anglican Communion. I wish this had never been brought up and that we were able to spend our energy on fighting hunger and poverty and AIDS in America and around the world. I weep when I think of all the money and time that we have spent fighting each other so that a very small group of people will not have their feelings hurt by having their behavior labled â€œsin.â€
If you want to work together to fight hunger and eliminate poverty and work with Africans to solve the problems in Africa, then stop pushing these new innovations in Christian belief and practice and repent of pushing them to start with and learn to listen to the wisdom of people who live in these countries on how to solve their problems.”
My responses follows:
I remember reading various sermons and essays by Christians during the slavery, womenâ€™s suffrage, and civil rights battles in this country. I remember the language used and the accusations made against those who advocated and fought for the end of slavery, womenâ€™s suffrage, or equal rights and those who opposed such â€œinnovations.â€ The attitudes of so many during the slavery battles, and then again during the civil rights era were the same as you have stated above. If we just ignore injustice and let things remain as they are, not rocking the boat of centuries of Tradition and â€œcorrectâ€ Biblical interpretation, then there will be no need for battles or problems or division, etc. Godâ€™s truth will reign in glory everlasting.
The Episcopal Church was pretty much silent about the slavery issue during the Civil War. Some may say that was wise, most now claim that it was not. I really canâ€™t say, only that there does come a point where decisions need to be made and â€œinnovationsâ€ like the end of slavery (a biblically justified condition for up to near 1,800 years, despite a very small but growing minority that championed for an end of slavery of various kinds) need to be advanced.
The Church is doing battle right now over what it considers an injustice concerning the inclusion of gay people – those who are chaste and those in mutual, life-long, and monogamous relationships – in the life of the Church. If we understand our history and donâ€™t try to overlay our own current-day perceptions upon those people back then, the comparison between attitudes and actions now (gay issue) and back then (slavery, womenâ€™s rights, civil rights, etc), will show that the battles were as venomous and/or virtuous then as they are today over this issue.
Time will tell who is right. Time will also tell whose interpretation of Scripture will prevail and as Godâ€™s will is always done, whose opinion is truly â€œon Godâ€™s sideâ€ and whose is not. (Frankly, I doubt any of us are right at this point!) But, to say with incrimination that â€œour sideâ€ did not start this battle and that â€œweâ€ are right in â€œourâ€ demand to remain as the Church have always been, is like saying that those who self-justifyingly supported the continuation of slavery or the denial of womenâ€™s suffrage or racial discrimination virtuously didnâ€™t ask for the fight and social tumult during those battles, but rather sought peace or truth or the continuation of the â€œTraditionâ€ over the â€œinnovation.â€