Found on: Walking with Integrity
As the majority of bishops attending the Lambeth Conference settled into daily Bible Study, Indaba groups and conversations across differences it was made clear that at least a percentage of the purple shirts on the Canterbury campus are focused on conflict rather than collegiality.
Having issued statements on the ongoing genocide in Sudan and the ongoing discussions on human sexuality in the Anglican Communion, it was not genocide but sexuality that was the focus of the Sudanese primate’s briefing to the media.
In the press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the Primate of the Sudan (the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul) called for the resignation of the Bishop of New Hampshire, declaring in the statement released ahead of the press conference that he had come to the Lambeth Conference “to take the necessary steps to safeguard the precious unity of the Church.”
When asked about ministering to the gays and lesbians in his province, the archbishop declared that he did not think there were any homosexuals in the Sudan as “none had come forward.” And when queried about his position on the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate said he “believed in women priests and bishops because they were human” – leaving listeners to wonder if the inference was that homosexuals were not.
The fact that there are those within the communion who think the Bishop of New Hampshire should resign is not news. Indeed, there have been calls for his resignation since the day he was elected.
What is news is that the Archbishop of the Sudan helped make the case on Tuesday that the schism facing the Anglican Communion is the direct result of hard-line reactionaries who will stop of nothing short of compliance with their narrow, exclusionist agenda as their criterion for being in communion.
What is news is that a bishop in the Church of God would deny the existence of gay and lesbian members of his province despite the call for listening to the experience of homosexual people throughout the communion.
On Wednesday evening, Integrity USA will present a preview screening of the documentary “Voices of Witness: Africa” as one of the Lambeth Conference Fringe Events. Everyone is welcome – most particularly Archbishop Deng Bul.
We would love to share with him the witness of gay and lesbian Africans who are not only fully human but fully loved by the God who created them in love.
Sit down Christian. You cannot wave your unread Bible and scare me because I know the larger story that runs through it from beginning to end. I’m trying to resist the temptation to snatch it from your hands and beat you with it. I am your worst nightmare, a Texas Preacher who knows the good book better than you do. Show me your scriptures. Show me how you justify condemning homosexual people.
Show me what you got, Christian. The Sodom story? That story is about people who wanted to commit a brutal rape. Let’s all say it together, “God doesn’t like rape.” You could have listened to your heart and learned that, Christian. Move on. What else you got?
A passage from Leviticus? Are you kidding me? Are you prepared to adhere to the whole Levitical code of behavior? No? Then why would you expect others to? Move on. What else?
Two passages — two verses from Romans and one from 1 Corinthians. There you stand, your justification for a worldwide campaign of hatred written on two limp pieces of paper. Have you looked closely at these passages? Do you understand their context and original language? I could show you why you don’t have much, but there is something more important you need to see.
Come with me to the church cellar. Come now and don’t delay. I am shaking with anger and fighting the urge to grab you by the collar and drag you down these steps.
You didn’t know the church had a cellar? Oh yes, every church does. Down, down, we go into the darkness. Don’t slip on the flagstone and never mind the heat.
There, do you see the iron furnace door, gaping open? Do you see the roaring flames? Do you see the huge man with glistening muscles, covered with soot? Do you see him feeding the fire with his massive scooped shovel?
He feeds these flames with the Bible, with every book, chapter and verse that American Christians must ignore to support our bloated lifestyles, our selfishness, our materialism, our love of power, our neglect of the poor, our support of injustice, our nationalism, and our pride.
See how frantically he works? Time is short, and he has much to burn. The prophets, the Shema, whole sections of Matthew, most of Luke, the entire book of James. Your blessed ten commandments? Why would you want to post them on courtroom walls when you’ve burned them in your own cellar?
Do you see? DO YOU SEE? Do you see how we rip, tear, and burn scriptures to justify our lives?
The heat from the cursed furnace rises up and warms the complacent worshipers in the pews above. The soot from the fire blackens our stained glass so that we may not see out and no one wants to see in.
Do you smell the reek of this injustice? It is a stink in the nostrils of the very living God. We are dressed in beautiful clothes and we wear pretty smiles, but we stink of blasphemous hypocrisy.
Every church in America – mine not excepted – has a cellar like this. We must shovel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, because every chapter and verse we ignore must be burned to warm our comfy pews.
Our souls are stained from the biblical holocaust, but somehow these two scraps of scripture mean all the world to you. You swallow whole camels, and now you’re gagging on a gnat? When did you ever give a shit about what the bible has to say?
Sit down, Christian. Sit down and be you silent.
How long has it been since you forgot that we were called to walk the earth as pilgrims? Do you not remember when he told us to give our coats to those in need and sell our possessions to help the poor? Did you forget how the first church had all things in common so that none would lack?
Did you forget the day he told us that whatever we did for the oppressed we did for him, and whatever we withheld from them was kept from him as well?
Sit down, Christian. You have not earned the right to speak to this generation. The right to speak is earned with love.
Take back your Bible. Take it back and start reading it. Fall in love again with Jesus. Sell what you must and walk the earth. Let your love be astonishing and people may one day listen to your words.
Even now you might be saved. Our God is merciful and forgiveness awaits.
RLP.com pgs. 107-109
Fundamentalism makes for interesting television, doesn’t it? Hearing Jerry Falwell say that abortionists, pagans, and feminists (among others) caused the 9-11 disaster was nauseofascinating. Watching a man hold a sign that says, “God hates fags” is like watching film clips of the holocaust. Can such things be?
Oh, they be.
If you want to know about the Taliban, ask an Afghan woman. If you want to know about Christian fundamentalism, ask a Christian. Fundamentalists are more than interesting television for us. They are people with real power who harm our churches, destory good ministers, and sully our name.
We’ve been in the cages with these cats, and they go for the jugular. They are always on the prowl, circling the campfires of the followers of Christ, howling the name of Jesus and splattering our heritage across their banners of hatred.
Watching fundamentalism do its work is like watching the crucifixion over and over and over again.
Never confuse fundamentalism with a particular set of beliefs. Fundamentalism is a methodology. It is a way of relating to people. There are fundamentalist Christians, fundamentalist Muslims, and don’t forget the politically correct zealots. You will meet fundamentalists in every walk of life.
Fundamentalism’s method is confrontation and its fuel is anger. There can be NO DIALOGUE and NO mutual respect. There will only be winners and loosers. They are right. You are wrong. End of discussion.
Fundamentalist Christians also carry a terrible, secret burden. Your soul is their responsibility. If you go to hell, they will answer to God for their lack of witness. Imagine carrying THAT load around all day. Naive Christians are shackled to this burden by pastors whose need to enlarge their personal church kingdom has an “Enron” feel to it.
With such hellish stakes, extreme measures are called for. The end justifies the means. This is why so many Christian fundamentalists want to use the government to push their agenda.
Ultimately fundamentalists will consume their own young and gnaw at their own flesh. The way of anger always leads to consumption. But the way of anger was never supposed to be our way.
Did you know that we were first called Christians in Antioch of Syrian? Before that, the followers of Jesus simply called themselves, “People of The Way.” They believed they were called to follow the way of Christ.
You cannot follow the way of Christ and walk in the ways of anger.
You just cannot.
The way of Christ is for those with nothing to prove and nothing left to loose. It is not anger and conquest that sustains you on “The Way.” What sustains you is the simple placing of one foot in front of the other, all The Way to the end.
Real Live Preacher.com, ppgs. 94-95