Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. The Ferryland – New Foundland Iceberg Easter 2017. A Word Press Production.

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Hold me forever …

Courtesy: PixelEight

Gotta love the photo…

It rained today. Cats, dogs and little fishes…

The rain began last night, and carried into today with ferocity. Like I have said before that if you don’t like the weather here, wait 30 minutes… So we had rain, then some sun, then more rain, and more sun, and then the skies opened up and the little fishes fell from the sky.

On the way to the meeting, it was sunny. I got my errands taken care of on the way over. I had my music playing, can I just say that I love my hero phone. And tonight there was our business meeting for next months jobs. It was all good.

While I was setting up, the sky outside got incredibly dark. And I looked out the kitchen window and it was ominous. I stepped out the door to see and at the stroke of 6 the skies opened up and the little fishes started to fall.

Which did not bode well for the meeting. We only had 12 people for the first meeting. Junior pulled a topic from the Daily Reflections and it did not go over well, suffice to say that for most of the hour, we sat there in silence. Sometimes you get a topic that mystifies the masses, and today’s topic did that. Something along the lines of the mystery of God, or your higher power if that is what you believe.

I picked up on the “mystery thread” of the passage. The longer I stay sober, one day at a time, those mysteries happen here and there. There have been so many over the last nine years. I’ve been re-reading some of my earlier entries that have been hit here over the last two weeks, it is just amazing how things have changed over the last nine years.

Everybody scattered after the meeting to miss the next wave of rain that came eventually. We only had a handful of people at the second meeting, which I chaired. The speaker was really great, he was an old timer with more that 25 years of sobriety. He shared a really strong message … “If you don’t go to meetings, and work your steps and get involved in service, survival in the program is slim to none.”

Only a minor percentage of people who come in the door stay, and a fair amount will go back out, and after than even smaller numbers make it back. We have seen, over the last six months tens and twenties of people have gone back out, with considerable time under their belts. How many of those people have not accepted that they are alcoholics?

Oh, last night I spent a good chunk of time playing with the blog. I am listed on Blog Catalog and last night I spent about an hour updating the stats and profile and syncing the blog up with all my communities like Facebook, LinkedIn, Stumble, Technorati, and Bloggers Unite.

Everything is set up to cross post across the different social mediums. I got an email to upgrade my account to get recognized and the price for that upgrade is $995.99… A thousand dollars, I was like WTF ??? You got to be kidding me right. Like I have that much money in the bank to toss over to a linker system. Ugh !!!

So, that was the day, in a nutshell. We gotta eat dinner soon.
More to come, stay tuned.


Report: Anglican Head To Meet 'In Secret' With Gays

gene_robinson.jpg

THIS is NEWS!!! 

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(London) The leader of the world’s Anglicans reportedly with conduct a “secret” communion service in London for gay clergy and their partners.

The Times newspaper in an article to be published on Tuesday says that Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams will hold the service at St Peter’s, Eaton Square. The parish is home to many of the country’s liberal and wealthy Anglican elite.

The paper said the service will take place on November 29 and include an address by the Archbishop that is titled “Present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the Church.”

Those attending will be there by invitation only, the Times notes, adding that they have been warned not to disclose any of the events or discussions which take place.

A list of those attending has been vetted by the Archbishop’s staff and and will be shredded.

Disclosure of the service will likely acerbate the already deep wounds between Anglican liberals and conservatives as the church appears to be inching closer to schism.

This week Williams will attend the Episcopal House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans. 

The meeting comes  just ten days before a deadline imposed by conservative Anglican factions around the world for the Episcopal Church to guarantee it will not appoint any more openly gay bishops.

Tensions between liberals and conservatives in the worldwide Anglican Church have been increasing since the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.

Anglicanism’s national churches, called provinces. are loosely bound to one another in the Anglican Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury its titular head.  Appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British government, the Archbishop is little more than a figurehead.

Rowan William’s tenure has been marked by growing differences between right and left in the Church – seen mainly as a struggle between those provinces in the Developing World and those in Industrialized Nations.

Conservatives, led by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, oppose gays and females in the clergy, and believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. Nigeria has the highest number of Anglican’s outside of the UK and about half of the Church’s members are in the Third World.

When he meets in New Orleans this month with American bishops Williams will attempt to work out a statement that will be acceptable to both liberals and conservatives – something most church observers say is impossible.

Earlier this month the challenge in avoiding a schism became more difficult. 

Uganda’s Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi consecrated Virginia-based conservative John Guernsey as a bishop of a breakaway Episcopal group of 33 congregations in the United States that will recognize the Church of Uganda’s authority.

In Kenya two American priests were consecrated as bishops in the US as African conservative churches continued to poach dioceses in the United States. 

 A string of conservative parishes in America have broken from the Episcopal Church and aligned themselves to the African Anglican provinces.

Last month the Episcopal diocese of Chicago included an openly lesbian priest among five nominees for bishop. 

Next year bishops from around the world are scheduled to meet in London for their once-a-decade meeting called the Lambeth Conference.

In July the steering committee for the Global South Primates, made up of churches mainly in the developing world and the most conservative in the worldwide Anglican Communion, said its bishops will boycott the meeting.  

©365Gay.com 2007


Report: Anglican Head To Meet ‘In Secret’ With Gays

gene_robinson.jpg

THIS is NEWS!!! 

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

(London) The leader of the world’s Anglicans reportedly with conduct a “secret” communion service in London for gay clergy and their partners.

The Times newspaper in an article to be published on Tuesday says that Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams will hold the service at St Peter’s, Eaton Square. The parish is home to many of the country’s liberal and wealthy Anglican elite.

The paper said the service will take place on November 29 and include an address by the Archbishop that is titled “Present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the Church.”

Those attending will be there by invitation only, the Times notes, adding that they have been warned not to disclose any of the events or discussions which take place.

A list of those attending has been vetted by the Archbishop’s staff and and will be shredded.

Disclosure of the service will likely acerbate the already deep wounds between Anglican liberals and conservatives as the church appears to be inching closer to schism.

This week Williams will attend the Episcopal House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans. 

The meeting comes  just ten days before a deadline imposed by conservative Anglican factions around the world for the Episcopal Church to guarantee it will not appoint any more openly gay bishops.

Tensions between liberals and conservatives in the worldwide Anglican Church have been increasing since the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.

Anglicanism’s national churches, called provinces. are loosely bound to one another in the Anglican Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury its titular head.  Appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British government, the Archbishop is little more than a figurehead.

Rowan William’s tenure has been marked by growing differences between right and left in the Church – seen mainly as a struggle between those provinces in the Developing World and those in Industrialized Nations.

Conservatives, led by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, oppose gays and females in the clergy, and believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. Nigeria has the highest number of Anglican’s outside of the UK and about half of the Church’s members are in the Third World.

When he meets in New Orleans this month with American bishops Williams will attempt to work out a statement that will be acceptable to both liberals and conservatives – something most church observers say is impossible.

Earlier this month the challenge in avoiding a schism became more difficult. 

Uganda’s Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi consecrated Virginia-based conservative John Guernsey as a bishop of a breakaway Episcopal group of 33 congregations in the United States that will recognize the Church of Uganda’s authority.

In Kenya two American priests were consecrated as bishops in the US as African conservative churches continued to poach dioceses in the United States. 

 A string of conservative parishes in America have broken from the Episcopal Church and aligned themselves to the African Anglican provinces.

Last month the Episcopal diocese of Chicago included an openly lesbian priest among five nominees for bishop. 

Next year bishops from around the world are scheduled to meet in London for their once-a-decade meeting called the Lambeth Conference.

In July the steering committee for the Global South Primates, made up of churches mainly in the developing world and the most conservative in the worldwide Anglican Communion, said its bishops will boycott the meeting.  

©365Gay.com 2007


Bishop Orama's Courageous Biblical Christianity

Originally read on:“The Anglican Scotist”

Probably by now you have heard that Bishop Orama of Oyo in Nigeria claimed

Homosexuality and lesbianism are inhuman. Those who practice them are insane, satanic and are not fit to live because they are rebels to God’s purpose for man…

Though one hopes Orama was completely misquoted, still, one might reasonably suspect that this opinion is authentic to Nigerian Anglicanism and the Global South faction; it might well be that strong, international criticism will serve not to change the opinion, but merely silence it, driving it underground where it can continue to operate unseen and unheard.

I. Curious Conservative Reactions
While some Western conservatives might disavow Orama’s comments, one might be forgiven for wondering why they would bother. Here’s Father Kendall Harmon of T19:

These words are to be utterly repudiated by all of us–I hope and trust.

Well, why is that? He wrote (beackets added):

[1]We are all in the global village now, like it or not, and the world is indeed flat. So what we say needs to take seriously the resonances that it may bring out in contexts other than our own. There could hardly be a worse statement in a Western context than to say of ANYONE that he or she is “not fit to live.” [2] It immediately brings to mind the Nazi language of Lebensunwertes Leben (“life unworthy of life”) and in flood images and activities too horrendous and horrific for any of us to take in even at this historical distance from the events themselves.

According to [1], the problem is that others will hear–we live in a global village after all, and comments like this will gain a wide enough audience to most likely hurt the Separatist cause. Why? Part [2] gives Father Harmon’s answer: it will remind hearers of Nazi language. And of course he is right about that. Bishop Orama is not a Nazi or fascist so far as I know, but he has no trouble employing their Eliminationist rhetoric. Some bishop.

But I am utterly stunned by Father Harmon’s reasons for repudiating Bishop Orama’s rhetoric. There is nothing specifically Christian–no laudable Biblical principle–invoked in Father Harmon’s words. And there is nothing significantly moral either. The trouble with Bishop Orama’s words is strictly instrumental: it will hurt the cause by bringing to mind Nazi depravity. I suppose such an instrumental reason could have a moral resonance for Father Harmon: the end–Separation–justifies the means perhaps. He did not say that Bishop Orama was in error, or that Bishop Orama’s words were unscriptural or anti-Christian. The problem? Bishop Orama could hurt the cause.

Here is Greg Griffith of Stand Firm (I do not know if he is ordained like Father Harmon: no disrespect intended):

[1] About the horrible nature of the remark, the injury to the Christian witness it does, and yes, even the “rhetorical violence” it commits… I agree completely.

[2]Describing homosexuals as “unfit to live,” or implying that that sentiment is in any way part of the Gospel message, is where I get off the bus. “Life not worthy of living” is the phrase Nazis used to describe Jews, dissenting Christian clergy, the physically handicapped, the mentally retarded, and anyone else who might spoil their vision of a pure Aryan world.

[3]If being homosexual makes one unfit to live, then being the kind of sinner Bishop Orama is makes him similarly unfit to live; and of course, that is not the Gospel of Jesus, not the Good News we have been entrusted by Christ to carry to the world.

I think it is pretty clear that Griffith does alot better than Father Harmon in stating his reasons for repudiating Bishop Orama’s remarks. The remark has a “horrible nature” perhaps due to its “injury” to Christian mission and its “rhetorical violence.” On the latter count, Griffith invokes comparisons with the Nazis in [2]. He goes further than Father Harmon, saying explicitly that the Nazi message of Elimination is not part of the Gospel message: thanks for that. Finally, in [3] there is some kind of half-baked argument that Bishop Orama deserves to die if homosexuals deserve to die–and that this is not the Gospel message.

While Griffith’s response has unmistakable specific moral content, and even refers to the Goispel message, still it leaves one wondering. What exactly in the Gospel message contradicts Bishop Orama’s message? It is odd–even comic–to see biblical conservatives in the tradition of Barth and Childs run to secular notions of moral good when push comes to shove. Guys, one does not need to hear the Good news of Christ to condemn Nazis, their Eliminationist rhetoric, and rhetorical violence: one can do that on purely secular moral grounds.

II. Throwing Down the Gauntlet
When push comes to shove, and Bishop Orama’s remarks constitute a shove, does the Gospel vision of these–or any–Separatist, Anglican, biblical conservatives have the resources to issue a specifically Christian moral repudiation? Can they do better on this count than, to choose another extreme, Borg and Crossan?

Show me. I do not think you can do it, because any sound, specifically Christian moral argument that implies the events of GC2003 are permissible for Christians counts as an utter failure of the Separatist biblical vision. In other words, to make the argument condemning the bishop’s remarks, you will end up conceding too much, and if you do not conceed too much, you will not be able to condemn the remarks.

Where is the crux of the problem? The problem is that Bishop Orama has the Bible–as construed by responsible Separatist interpretation–on his side. Leviticus is clear:

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

All Scripture is of a piece, and Christ did not come to obliterate any part of the Law–not a single iota! Bishop Orama respects the Bible enough not to claim to be a biblical Christian and just pretend. His Bible says homosexuals must die–what does Father Harmon’s Bible say? Or Griffith’s? After all, Scripture is clear in Leviticus. The difference might be simply that Bishop Orama has the courage to be consistent and lift up his vision of Scripture for all the world to see, whereas other self-styled conservatives insist on hiding this unsavory part–ashamed–under a bushel.

Careful: an appeal to Authority, like the authority of a great old interpreter, is a fallacy. You ‘d have to extract the authority’s argument and let the argument stand on its own merits, and you had better hope it stands.

****************************
From:
Father Jake Stops the World

There’s been quite a bit of discussion over the last 24 hours regarding Bishop Orama of Nigeria’s disturbing remarks. There have been condemnations of the declaration that gays are “unfit to live” from all corners of the Episcopal Church. For that we can be thankful.

Yet, even in light of these condemnations, this incident has given me cause to wonder if the sentiments expressed by Bp. Orama are really an isolated incident, or are they more broadly accepted, but just not so bluntly stated?

Mark Harris points us to an interesting article in the Boston Globe, which includes this paragraph describing a reporter’s experience at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in Nairobi, Kenya:

…Criticizing the Episcopal Church’s embrace of gays and lesbians, the Rev. Samuel Muchiri told the 1,000 worshipers “we in Kenya feel this is not what God wants.” An usher advised a visiting reporter to “remember that Sodom and Gomorrah was demolished because there were homosexuals.” Another warned that the reporter could be assaulted if he asked worshipers about the issue, and said that America’s permissiveness toward homosexuality had led Osama bin Laden to attack…

Where are they getting these strange ideas? To some degree, they are probably being taught this by their leaders. For instance, in the same article, the Archbishop of Kenya made the following statement:

“God cannot be mocked,” said Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya. “Here, in the context of Kenya, if we take somebody who is polygamous and we make him a lay reader or a priest, we would be doing the wrong thing. . . . If I know somebody is a homosexual, and I make him a lay reader, or I make him a priest, or I make him a bishop, I am sanctioning what he is doing as right. I am saying ‘no’ to this, and the church is saying ‘no’ to this.”

Peter Akinola, the Archbishop of Nigeria, is also notorious for his hateful words regarding gay and lesbian Christians. With leaders like Nzimbi and Akinola at the helm, it is not surprising that bishops and clergy might feel free to perpetuate ideas such as gays and lesbians being unfit to live, and that they could be assaulted because they caused 9/11.

I think that the leaders giving either explicit or implicit permission for such rhetorical violence is a big part of the problem. But I think there is something more to it than that. In the Boston Globe article, the Primate of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables, know as one of the more careful voices among the extremists, points us towards that “something more”:

…”Sadly, the sexuality issue isn’t the issue – it’s about Scripture,” said Archbishop Gregory J. Venables, the primate of South America. “What’s happened in the States is that they’ve moved away from the view that God has revealed himself in Scripture, and they’re rewriting that with post-modernity relativism”…

The erroneous accusation that “the States” have “moved away from the view that God has revealed himself in Scripture” might sound like nonsense to us. Most Episcopalians that I know, including myself, affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be regarded as divine revelation, which completes natural revelation. Our difference of opinion is over the matter of how we interpret this revelation.

And, it is on this point that the Global South extremists find allies among some North Americans.

This causes some problems in the current discussions regarding rhetorical violence, and gives us reason to seek further explanations regarding some of the condemnations of Bp. Orama’s remarks. Anglican Scotist offers us a good explanation of why this supposed stance rooted in “biblical authority” is problematic:

…When push comes to shove, and Bishop Orama’s remarks constitute a shove, does the Gospel vision of these–or any–Separatist, Anglican, biblical conservatives have the resources to issue a specifically Christian moral repudiation? Can they do better on this count than, to choose another extreme, Borg and Crossan?

Show me. I do not think you can do it, because any sound, specifically Christian moral argument that implies the events of GC2003 are permissible for Christians counts as an utter failure of the Separatist biblical vision. In other words, to make the argument condemning the bishop’s remarks, you will end up conceding too much, and if you do not conceed too much, you will not be able to condemn the remarks.

Where is the crux of the problem? The problem is that Bishop Orama has the Bible–as construed by responsible Separatist interpretation–on his side. Leviticus is clear:

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

All Scripture is of a piece, and Christ did not come to obliterate any part of the Law–not a single iota! Bishop Orama respects the Bible enough not to claim to be a biblical Christian and just pretend. His Bible says homosexuals must die–what does Father Harmon’s Bible say? Or Griffith’s? After all, Scripture is clear in Leviticus. The difference might be simply that Bishop Orama has the courage to be consistent and lift up his vision of Scripture for all the world to see, whereas other self-styled conservatives insist on hiding this unsavory part–ashamed–under a bushel.

Careful: an appeal to Authority, like the authority of a great old interpreter, is a fallacy. You’d have to extract the authority’s argument and let the argument stand on its own merits, and you had better hope it stands.

The reality, which most thoughtful people accept without a second thought, is that scripture contains all things necessary for salvation, but also includes lots of other stuff as well. The argument has never been “The bible said it, I believe it, that ends it.” Otherwise, we’d be executing disobedient children, to give but one bizarre example of the biblical mandate. The debate has been over how to define what exactly is “necessary for salvation,” and what is “other stuff.”

Apparently, there are some bishops, such as Orama, who have not been informed of this particular nuance in the discussion regarding scripture. That is a rather frightening realization, it seems to me.

Regarding our continued discussion of this topic, I want to draw your attention to a recent reflection from Elizabeth Kaeton entitled What the Anglican Communion Can Learn from Dog Fights. Elizabeth affirms what the Anglican Scotist has pointed out:

…People like Fred Phelps don’t make up the hateful words on the signs they hold up during the funerals of people with AIDS or soldiers who have died in Iraq. That self-proclaimed but unlicensed minister of God takes them right out of “The Good Book.”

It is Levitical logic, of course, almost pristine in its purity and simplicity. Indeed, some of us in the LGBT community have said to our orthodox and conservative sisters and brothers that if they really believe every literal thing in Scripture, then they are compelled to pick up a rock and stone every last LGBT person to death…

But then Elizabeth continues with some thoughts that I think it is important for us all to hear:

…The worst thing we mongrel dogs can do is to allow ourselves to be baited into a blood-sport by those who glorify and are entertained by violence.

We must resist that temptation with every thing that is in us. This is not about us. It is not about homosexuality or even scriptural interpretation.

This is about power and violence and we who claim the high calling of Christ Jesus must be about peace and justice, mercy and compassion, and walking humbly with God.

This is neither our fight nor our sport. Let’s not dignify it with our blood. Let us not insult the blood that was shed for our salvation.

Let us, instead, like our Samaritan sisters and brothers in Christ, use our wit and our intelligence.

The Samaritan woman, that mongrel dog, said to Jesus, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” (Mt. 15:27)

And Jesus said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” (Mt 15:28)

May it be so for us in our day and time.

And may God have mercy on us all.

I understand that some will need to express their outrage and indignation. But let’s not allow ourselves to be baited into pointless arguments that just may tempt us to toss out our own forms of rhetorical violence.

This is not some kind of rhetorical game. We must stand against violence and oppression. But let us make our stand with intelligence, wit and dignity.

J.

 


Bishop Orama’s Courageous Biblical Christianity

Originally read on:“The Anglican Scotist”

Probably by now you have heard that Bishop Orama of Oyo in Nigeria claimed

Homosexuality and lesbianism are inhuman. Those who practice them are insane, satanic and are not fit to live because they are rebels to God’s purpose for man…

Though one hopes Orama was completely misquoted, still, one might reasonably suspect that this opinion is authentic to Nigerian Anglicanism and the Global South faction; it might well be that strong, international criticism will serve not to change the opinion, but merely silence it, driving it underground where it can continue to operate unseen and unheard.

I. Curious Conservative Reactions
While some Western conservatives might disavow Orama’s comments, one might be forgiven for wondering why they would bother. Here’s Father Kendall Harmon of T19:

These words are to be utterly repudiated by all of us–I hope and trust.

Well, why is that? He wrote (beackets added):

[1]We are all in the global village now, like it or not, and the world is indeed flat. So what we say needs to take seriously the resonances that it may bring out in contexts other than our own. There could hardly be a worse statement in a Western context than to say of ANYONE that he or she is “not fit to live.” [2] It immediately brings to mind the Nazi language of Lebensunwertes Leben (“life unworthy of life”) and in flood images and activities too horrendous and horrific for any of us to take in even at this historical distance from the events themselves.

According to [1], the problem is that others will hear–we live in a global village after all, and comments like this will gain a wide enough audience to most likely hurt the Separatist cause. Why? Part [2] gives Father Harmon’s answer: it will remind hearers of Nazi language. And of course he is right about that. Bishop Orama is not a Nazi or fascist so far as I know, but he has no trouble employing their Eliminationist rhetoric. Some bishop.

But I am utterly stunned by Father Harmon’s reasons for repudiating Bishop Orama’s rhetoric. There is nothing specifically Christian–no laudable Biblical principle–invoked in Father Harmon’s words. And there is nothing significantly moral either. The trouble with Bishop Orama’s words is strictly instrumental: it will hurt the cause by bringing to mind Nazi depravity. I suppose such an instrumental reason could have a moral resonance for Father Harmon: the end–Separation–justifies the means perhaps. He did not say that Bishop Orama was in error, or that Bishop Orama’s words were unscriptural or anti-Christian. The problem? Bishop Orama could hurt the cause.

Here is Greg Griffith of Stand Firm (I do not know if he is ordained like Father Harmon: no disrespect intended):

[1] About the horrible nature of the remark, the injury to the Christian witness it does, and yes, even the “rhetorical violence” it commits… I agree completely.

[2]Describing homosexuals as “unfit to live,” or implying that that sentiment is in any way part of the Gospel message, is where I get off the bus. “Life not worthy of living” is the phrase Nazis used to describe Jews, dissenting Christian clergy, the physically handicapped, the mentally retarded, and anyone else who might spoil their vision of a pure Aryan world.

[3]If being homosexual makes one unfit to live, then being the kind of sinner Bishop Orama is makes him similarly unfit to live; and of course, that is not the Gospel of Jesus, not the Good News we have been entrusted by Christ to carry to the world.

I think it is pretty clear that Griffith does alot better than Father Harmon in stating his reasons for repudiating Bishop Orama’s remarks. The remark has a “horrible nature” perhaps due to its “injury” to Christian mission and its “rhetorical violence.” On the latter count, Griffith invokes comparisons with the Nazis in [2]. He goes further than Father Harmon, saying explicitly that the Nazi message of Elimination is not part of the Gospel message: thanks for that. Finally, in [3] there is some kind of half-baked argument that Bishop Orama deserves to die if homosexuals deserve to die–and that this is not the Gospel message.

While Griffith’s response has unmistakable specific moral content, and even refers to the Goispel message, still it leaves one wondering. What exactly in the Gospel message contradicts Bishop Orama’s message? It is odd–even comic–to see biblical conservatives in the tradition of Barth and Childs run to secular notions of moral good when push comes to shove. Guys, one does not need to hear the Good news of Christ to condemn Nazis, their Eliminationist rhetoric, and rhetorical violence: one can do that on purely secular moral grounds.

II. Throwing Down the Gauntlet
When push comes to shove, and Bishop Orama’s remarks constitute a shove, does the Gospel vision of these–or any–Separatist, Anglican, biblical conservatives have the resources to issue a specifically Christian moral repudiation? Can they do better on this count than, to choose another extreme, Borg and Crossan?

Show me. I do not think you can do it, because any sound, specifically Christian moral argument that implies the events of GC2003 are permissible for Christians counts as an utter failure of the Separatist biblical vision. In other words, to make the argument condemning the bishop’s remarks, you will end up conceding too much, and if you do not conceed too much, you will not be able to condemn the remarks.

Where is the crux of the problem? The problem is that Bishop Orama has the Bible–as construed by responsible Separatist interpretation–on his side. Leviticus is clear:

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

All Scripture is of a piece, and Christ did not come to obliterate any part of the Law–not a single iota! Bishop Orama respects the Bible enough not to claim to be a biblical Christian and just pretend. His Bible says homosexuals must die–what does Father Harmon’s Bible say? Or Griffith’s? After all, Scripture is clear in Leviticus. The difference might be simply that Bishop Orama has the courage to be consistent and lift up his vision of Scripture for all the world to see, whereas other self-styled conservatives insist on hiding this unsavory part–ashamed–under a bushel.

Careful: an appeal to Authority, like the authority of a great old interpreter, is a fallacy. You ‘d have to extract the authority’s argument and let the argument stand on its own merits, and you had better hope it stands.

****************************
From:
Father Jake Stops the World

There’s been quite a bit of discussion over the last 24 hours regarding Bishop Orama of Nigeria’s disturbing remarks. There have been condemnations of the declaration that gays are “unfit to live” from all corners of the Episcopal Church. For that we can be thankful.

Yet, even in light of these condemnations, this incident has given me cause to wonder if the sentiments expressed by Bp. Orama are really an isolated incident, or are they more broadly accepted, but just not so bluntly stated?

Mark Harris points us to an interesting article in the Boston Globe, which includes this paragraph describing a reporter’s experience at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in Nairobi, Kenya:

…Criticizing the Episcopal Church’s embrace of gays and lesbians, the Rev. Samuel Muchiri told the 1,000 worshipers “we in Kenya feel this is not what God wants.” An usher advised a visiting reporter to “remember that Sodom and Gomorrah was demolished because there were homosexuals.” Another warned that the reporter could be assaulted if he asked worshipers about the issue, and said that America’s permissiveness toward homosexuality had led Osama bin Laden to attack…

Where are they getting these strange ideas? To some degree, they are probably being taught this by their leaders. For instance, in the same article, the Archbishop of Kenya made the following statement:

“God cannot be mocked,” said Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya. “Here, in the context of Kenya, if we take somebody who is polygamous and we make him a lay reader or a priest, we would be doing the wrong thing. . . . If I know somebody is a homosexual, and I make him a lay reader, or I make him a priest, or I make him a bishop, I am sanctioning what he is doing as right. I am saying ‘no’ to this, and the church is saying ‘no’ to this.”

Peter Akinola, the Archbishop of Nigeria, is also notorious for his hateful words regarding gay and lesbian Christians. With leaders like Nzimbi and Akinola at the helm, it is not surprising that bishops and clergy might feel free to perpetuate ideas such as gays and lesbians being unfit to live, and that they could be assaulted because they caused 9/11.

I think that the leaders giving either explicit or implicit permission for such rhetorical violence is a big part of the problem. But I think there is something more to it than that. In the Boston Globe article, the Primate of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables, know as one of the more careful voices among the extremists, points us towards that “something more”:

…”Sadly, the sexuality issue isn’t the issue – it’s about Scripture,” said Archbishop Gregory J. Venables, the primate of South America. “What’s happened in the States is that they’ve moved away from the view that God has revealed himself in Scripture, and they’re rewriting that with post-modernity relativism”…

The erroneous accusation that “the States” have “moved away from the view that God has revealed himself in Scripture” might sound like nonsense to us. Most Episcopalians that I know, including myself, affirm that the Holy Scriptures are to be regarded as divine revelation, which completes natural revelation. Our difference of opinion is over the matter of how we interpret this revelation.

And, it is on this point that the Global South extremists find allies among some North Americans.

This causes some problems in the current discussions regarding rhetorical violence, and gives us reason to seek further explanations regarding some of the condemnations of Bp. Orama’s remarks. Anglican Scotist offers us a good explanation of why this supposed stance rooted in “biblical authority” is problematic:

…When push comes to shove, and Bishop Orama’s remarks constitute a shove, does the Gospel vision of these–or any–Separatist, Anglican, biblical conservatives have the resources to issue a specifically Christian moral repudiation? Can they do better on this count than, to choose another extreme, Borg and Crossan?

Show me. I do not think you can do it, because any sound, specifically Christian moral argument that implies the events of GC2003 are permissible for Christians counts as an utter failure of the Separatist biblical vision. In other words, to make the argument condemning the bishop’s remarks, you will end up conceding too much, and if you do not conceed too much, you will not be able to condemn the remarks.

Where is the crux of the problem? The problem is that Bishop Orama has the Bible–as construed by responsible Separatist interpretation–on his side. Leviticus is clear:

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

All Scripture is of a piece, and Christ did not come to obliterate any part of the Law–not a single iota! Bishop Orama respects the Bible enough not to claim to be a biblical Christian and just pretend. His Bible says homosexuals must die–what does Father Harmon’s Bible say? Or Griffith’s? After all, Scripture is clear in Leviticus. The difference might be simply that Bishop Orama has the courage to be consistent and lift up his vision of Scripture for all the world to see, whereas other self-styled conservatives insist on hiding this unsavory part–ashamed–under a bushel.

Careful: an appeal to Authority, like the authority of a great old interpreter, is a fallacy. You’d have to extract the authority’s argument and let the argument stand on its own merits, and you had better hope it stands.

The reality, which most thoughtful people accept without a second thought, is that scripture contains all things necessary for salvation, but also includes lots of other stuff as well. The argument has never been “The bible said it, I believe it, that ends it.” Otherwise, we’d be executing disobedient children, to give but one bizarre example of the biblical mandate. The debate has been over how to define what exactly is “necessary for salvation,” and what is “other stuff.”

Apparently, there are some bishops, such as Orama, who have not been informed of this particular nuance in the discussion regarding scripture. That is a rather frightening realization, it seems to me.

Regarding our continued discussion of this topic, I want to draw your attention to a recent reflection from Elizabeth Kaeton entitled What the Anglican Communion Can Learn from Dog Fights. Elizabeth affirms what the Anglican Scotist has pointed out:

…People like Fred Phelps don’t make up the hateful words on the signs they hold up during the funerals of people with AIDS or soldiers who have died in Iraq. That self-proclaimed but unlicensed minister of God takes them right out of “The Good Book.”

It is Levitical logic, of course, almost pristine in its purity and simplicity. Indeed, some of us in the LGBT community have said to our orthodox and conservative sisters and brothers that if they really believe every literal thing in Scripture, then they are compelled to pick up a rock and stone every last LGBT person to death…

But then Elizabeth continues with some thoughts that I think it is important for us all to hear:

…The worst thing we mongrel dogs can do is to allow ourselves to be baited into a blood-sport by those who glorify and are entertained by violence.

We must resist that temptation with every thing that is in us. This is not about us. It is not about homosexuality or even scriptural interpretation.

This is about power and violence and we who claim the high calling of Christ Jesus must be about peace and justice, mercy and compassion, and walking humbly with God.

This is neither our fight nor our sport. Let’s not dignify it with our blood. Let us not insult the blood that was shed for our salvation.

Let us, instead, like our Samaritan sisters and brothers in Christ, use our wit and our intelligence.

The Samaritan woman, that mongrel dog, said to Jesus, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” (Mt. 15:27)

And Jesus said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” (Mt 15:28)

May it be so for us in our day and time.

And may God have mercy on us all.

I understand that some will need to express their outrage and indignation. But let’s not allow ourselves to be baited into pointless arguments that just may tempt us to toss out our own forms of rhetorical violence.

This is not some kind of rhetorical game. We must stand against violence and oppression. But let us make our stand with intelligence, wit and dignity.

J.

 


Lesbian Priest Among Nominees For Bishop Of Chicago

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by The Associated Press

(Chicago, Illinois) The Episcopal diocese of Chicago included an openly lesbian priest among five nominees for bishop Tuesday, as fellow Anglicans demand that the church bar gay bishops.

Rev. Tracey Lind, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, who has a female partner, will be on the Nov. 10 ballot.

If she wins, she would be the second bishop living with a same-sex partner in the Episcopal Church. New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who has a male partner, was consecrated in 2003, pushing the world Anglican communion to the brink of schism.

The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the U.S.

Next month, U.S. Episcopal bishops will meet to decide whether they should agree to Anglican demands that they unequivocally pledge by Sept. 30 not to consecrate another openly gay bishop. If the bishops say no, the church could lose its full membership in the 77 million-member communion.

The other candidates for Chicago bishop are Rev. Jane Gould, rector of St. Stephen’s Memorial Episcopal Church in Lynn, Mass.; Rev. Jeffrey Lee, rector of St. Thomas Church in Medina, Wash.; Rev. Margaret Rose, director of national Episcopal women’s ministries; and Rev. Timothy Safford, rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia.

Chicago Bishop William Persell plans to resign after his successor is consecrated.

©365Gay.com 2007


Photo Essay #8 – Christ Church Cathedral (AIDS)

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I was invited to a special unveiling of an exhibition at The Christ Church Cathedral today of art and information about The Primates World Relief and Development Fund. Directed at prevention and education about AIDS. A subject close to my heart, in fact, part of it as well. Below are photographs of the art on display for the next two weeks at the Cathedral.

Our Bishop, Barry B. Clarke, was on hand to open the exhibition and the chair of the Theology Department at Concordia University was there as well. They are looking for a few volunteers to show up and participate in the exhibition, if you have a spare hour or two, they could use your support.

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It’s time to open our hands, hearts and minds to HIV and AIDS and respond with action, love and knowledge.

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It’s time to stop the stigma and discrimination and act on God’s call to love one another, restore right relationships and ensure the dignity of every human being.

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It’s time to break the silence and inaction and face a world with AIDS more holistically, more authentically and more compassionately.

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It’s time to embrace all brothers and sisters as children of God without prejudice, judgment or fear.

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It’s time!!!

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This is the Altar piece from St, Michael’s Mission – artwork done by many artists. They represent different liturgical and seasonal scenes. The central panel is called “the life bearers,” to the left, “The Tree of Life,” and to the right, “beyond, what I see.”

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The creator of this altar piece followed one of the artists home and this segment of photos is called “On the way home.” From St. Michael’s Mission.

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The Primates World Relief and Development Fund
Hyperlink here

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What We Do

Development, Relief and Justice

PWRDF works in partnership with organizations in Canada and throughout the world to support people-centred development that improves the quality of daily life for vulnerable populations, promotes self-reliance, and addresses root causes of poverty and injustice. PWRDF is active in approximately 30 countries, and also accompanies Uprooted People – including victims of disasters, refugees, internally displaced people, and migrant workers. PWRDF partners are drawn from Anglican churches, ecumenical organizations and community-based groups. Partners address the root causes of problems and accompany communities as they move beyond survival into sustainable development.

 


Anglican Gathering …

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Almighty God,
to you all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your holy spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

O gracious God,

You bring us together from many different places,
You endow us with varied gifts and responsibilities,
You challenge us to respond to your call,
Guide our halting, impatient steps,
sustain us and help us sustain each other,
that, through our labours
we may help bring into the world
your sweet justice,
through Jesus our Redeemer. Amen.

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Gay bishop: Church can pull through

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The first openly gay Episcopal bishop, whose 2003 consecration has moved the Anglican fellowship to the brink of schism, says he remains hopeful Anglicans can stay together.

“I think we need each other,” said New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, in an interview with The Times of London, published July 27. “We need to learn and grow with the presence of each other. I think it would be a terrible loss to all of us.”

The Episcopal Church is the U.S. province of the world Anglican Communion. Theological conservatives are demanding that the American church pledge by Sept. 30 not to consecrate any more gay bishops or face losing full membership in the communion.

In an attempt to ease tensions, Robinson and Bishop Martyn Minns, who leads a network of breakaway conservative Episcopal parishes, have not been invited to a once-a-decade gathering of the world’s Anglican bishops. The meeting, called the Lambeth Conference, is set for next year.

Still, Robinson said, “I have great hopes that I will be officially included in some way or another.”

“It’s not over,” Robinson said. “I have great hopes that a way can be found for me to be present and for the most conservative provinces of the Communion to be present.”

Some conservative Anglican leaders in Africa and elsewhere are considering boycotting the assembly.

Separately, in the United States, the conservative Diocese of Pittsburgh has created a Web site asking parishioners to weigh in on whether they should leave the Episcopal Church over its liberal drift. Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan, a leading theological conservative who opposed Robinson’s elevation, said he’ll step down if the diocese ultimately decides to stay.


Ministry

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“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

I never thought that doing something good for another would turn around and bite me in the ass. Christian ministry and emergent churches are the new faces of Christian worship and ministry. What I am is immaterial to Who I am. In the past few months as my degree was conferred to me by a University, I was thrust into a position of ministry leadership, not by my own choice, but by popular acclimation of the group who thought that I was the most logical person to lead them, in the wake of a colleague dying.

I have been working in my field here in Montreal for over five years. I work with the addicts, the alcoholics, the sick and the dying. I have probably spent more years in the ACTIVE practice of Christian Charity longer than most of you would even care to consider. When my friends were all dying of AIDS who do you think ministered to their souls, took care of their physical bodies, fed and bathed them and in the end buried them when parents of Christian faith walked out on them and left them in the streets to die alone!

My work was something that my peers and my supporters highly encouraged. I looked all over the world for the model that I would adopt to begin my work here. That church was RE:HOPE in Glasgow.

Let me stop for a moment and say this loud and clear. Just because I am a gay man, does not infer that any people I choose to support, or pray for, or attempt to raise funds for, speaks of the sexual orientation of anyone. There are straight writers on this blog and there are gay writers. They all have good messages and are people that I respect and admire. We all learn from each other.

So I know that RE:HOPE is trying to raise 12,000 GBP for their trip to the Holy Land this fall and I went OUT of my way to try and help them, because it was an easy choice and it was the right choice. I used the term “Partnered” and that has come back to me also.

You may not agree with some of my theology, and the obvious sane fact that I am a gay man of faith – speaks of just how much work I have done in 40 years of life to find my way through Christianity and Catholicism. I take what is good and I leave what is bad.’

Christianity isn’t perfect, and it is truly flawed. But Christ is perfect in his simplicity and direct in his message. People are flawed too in their beliefs and theology. People are imperfect yet God is perfect…

People have commented and Scott has commented about my choice of words and today he writes me to admonish me and to tell me about being careful of what I write, I got that.

What troubled me more – and to the point that – because I am a gay man in Ministry, some have gone as far as to question the sexual orientation of Scott Burns. I have to say that I am disgusted by this little piece of information. Don’t people have better things to do with their time than to wonder about the sexual orientation of people? Have we not grown past this little issue? Are we all adults here?

I’ve never met Scott, but I believe in his ministry. Enough to put my own reputation and this blog on the line in the sense of credibility and respect. So what, I am Gay and Scott is not? Does my support of his ministry automatically make him gay or make him suspect? Have we backtracked that much in the year 2007, that doing good Christian work comes with parameters and judgments by some? Of course it does, I should know that.

All of you out there are Christianity Majors and have decades of Christian study and worship under your belts, right? All of you have spent years in University studying Church history, Christian History and Christian Origins. right??? And all of you have spent time in a Catholic Seminary in the pursuit of priesthood as well, I suppose?

I do not make choices rashly or out of one side of my brain. You may not agree with my stance of Church, and you can question my “take” on Christian Theology. I have spent over 20 years of my life studying religion, in seminary and in University so I do know much more about church and Christianity, than the run of the mill lay person or arm chair Christian.

Living with AIDS – over 14 years now gives me certain understanding of what charity and forgiveness and true unconditional Christian love is. I know what doing the right thing is, if you lived with the threat of death every day of your life, knowing just what is going to kill you and how, you either do one of two things, you find FAITH fast or you give up and die.

I took the high road. Seeking ministers, priests and bishops who were accommodating and understanding. I am part of the Anglican faith now because I was told, unequivocally that the Montreal Diocese agrees with the blessing of Same Sex unions. I, in fact, am Married, and have been for now three years. We had a United Church wedding before God and our families.

So if you have a question about my Christian faith – You Ask Me! If you have a problem with me You Tell Me.

I cannot believe that trying to help another ministry would come back with questions, inferences and disagreements. I love it when people come to read, and many do each day. I reach out to millions with this blog, we have even saved a few lives here and there with the work that we do here.

All my kids and my peers and supporters who are part of this ministry are straight. One of them is in Seminary this fall. NONE of them question my ability to serve based on my sexual orientation. My exploration of faith has brought me to this point. And I will even go so far as to say that I probably have a better Christian practice than most of you out there, because you have to deal with doctrine, theology and teaching.

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I study Theology and though I may not agree with it, and for the most part I do not agree with any church that limits its membership to those who believe and are straight from those who believe and are gay. I have struggled with this issue for the whole of my life. And I have made peace with it.

I CAN reconcile being Gay and Being Christian, IF You CANNOT then that is your issue, not mine.

I do what I am called to do. I serve where I am called to serve. And I love unconditionally because I am commanded TO! I read scripture too and those six references to same sex, homosexuality and sleeping with a man as to a woman are all scriptures that I have spent a great deal of time, during my studies, trying to understand. I don’t think that you have spent as much time studying scripture as I have in 25 years.

Nobody has the right to judge what kind of Christian I am – or question the ministry that I work with. The reason that we have emergent churches and church plants and Christian ministries popping up all over the world is in response to the way Christianity has played out over the centuries. Nobody is pleased or agrees with the model we have, so we set out and create our own. I have done that after reaching the conclusion after prayer, study and academic work to know that Church Christianity will not work for me – it never has.

I have been a Catholic all of my life, I spent a year in a Catholic Seminary as well and I left because I would not serve Man and also because I was not a pedophile and I was not going to spend another year keep secrets for my fellows and the Catholic administration.

The members of the Anglican faith, here in Montreal, have been planting seeds in my heart for a year. They allowed me to come and go as I please. And they loved me unconditionally. And now I have made a conscious choice to become part of the Anglican communion because the Bishop himself has given the LGBT community a green light in his church. I have already written about this.

Can a Gay Man be spiritually centered – Yes of course he can. Can a gay man lead a church, Many do, quietly. I can tell you how many gay priests we have in Montreal and how many are open about it and they still have parishes and communities. I can tell you that I know a handful of Christian Ministers who will speak on my behalf and tell you that I am as true to Christian faith as I can be.

I hook up with a church I see does good work and I try to style a ministry by its example, maybe partner wasn’t the right term but still, I pray for that community and I work for the betterment of that community and I work tirelessly trying to help them.

I write letters to my supporters on my time to help You, and I get a letter of “this weighs on my heart too much” ok, that’s your issue not mine. I was just trying to help you out of a situation that you placed yourself in, then you wrote about it and asked for help, how many of us listened to you and went out of their way to help you???

And I am admonished for doing something charitable and good. I am told that Some do not agree with my theology! That’s your issue not mine. Some do not agree that a Gay man can be a good example to the people he leads, because of the inherent problem with being gay!

I will tell you here and now that sexual practice in my marriage is between ME – MY GOD and My Husband, and nobody else. Go read my writings on the Sacred and the Profane. Maybe you will learn something about how much I respect the two states of grace. You cannot have the Sacred without the Profane, because they inform each other.

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They are married in a coexistence of grace.

 

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I would like to know from you, my readers just what objections you have to what I am, Who I am and what I choose to do for a living? I put those buttons on my blog because the ministries that are there need support either financially or Spiritually. I won’t make that mistake again…

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I choose to support the needs of many and they should be grateful that a stranger would put himself out there to help another human being because he believes in the ministry of Christ. So until further notice I will remove all connection and fund raising for any ministry accept my own.

If you cannot understand what it really means to be a Christian and you can’t accept that maybe a Gay man with religious leanings, a full degree in Christian Religion Study and a further pursuance of a Pastoral Ministry Degree in Theology can lead and be a good example and a wise leader, then I invite you to be on your way.

Don’t waste another moment reading here and please, do us all a favor, do not return to this place, because we have no use for you either.

Yesterday I turned forty years old, and I had my own issues with faith, life and death, but to receive a letter of concern, admonishment and as I read it a separation in Theology and Christian faith practice insulted me. And to know that people who have come by here have questioned the dignity of another minister AND question his Sexual Orientation just because his visage and ministry appeared on the side bar of this blog made me sick to my stomach. I thought we were all adults here and that we were grown up enough to lay down our judgments and issues for the shared communion of Christianity. I guess I was mistaken.

Like I said, if you’ve got a problem with me, that is Your Problem not mine. If you don’t have the balls to approach me and state your case, that is also your problem not mine. If you question the way I practice my Christianity, that is also your problem, not mine.

If you do not know enough to understand that I have struggled with Christianity for the whole of my life and that I probably know MORE about the intricacies and minutiae of Christianity than you do – that’s not my problem.

God speaks to me – and he knows I am Gay, He also knows I am HIV positive, so do all my kids, my friends, my peers, and even my husband. They all love me just the same. God Loves me Unconditionally. There is no separation between God and Myself.

I don’t have time to sit here and write sermons like this and justify why I can practice Christian faith because of …. to you. I don’t need to. You can sit your happy ass down and write me and tell me of your concerns with my theology and practice and if I feel moved I will write you back, or even take the time to embarrass myself in front of you by writing a rant like this one again!

I know a lot more about Christian Theological issues than you might think. I have battled with the best and the brightest when it comes to theological and ministerial discussion. And we agree to disagree. The Catholic Church allows me access to the sacraments because it is a RITE of my Catholic upbringing, I was baptized into the church and in all my years only ONE priest saw fit to condemn me openly and with that condemnation he lost his parish and his people, they all left his church! In the Anglican faith I am in full communion with the Bishop’s church and it is high about time. God WEEPS at the intolerance and judgment of Christians all over the world. And we pray for them just the same.

I have studied Papal History and I continue “on my time” to further that theological education outside the classroom. I know all about the Churches laws and decrees, I have studied at great length – the life of John Paul II one of the most important Popes in Modern History second only to John XXIII. I don’t agree with all of his writing, especially about women, birth control, homosexuality and assorted other dimensions of his writing, but you must admit that in the hallowed darkness of his chapel the Pope begged God for forgiveness for some of what he did in public, forced to speak so many words at the consternation of the Holy See and those Bishops and Cardinals who were close to the See of Peter. So I know all of your arguments.

Christianity MUST evolve or else crumble in the ruins of its own intolerance and judgmentalism and condemnations. The Church must change to accommodate the many people who have grown up in a faith and as adults we are divided from the faith because of the stance of those conservative men in certain positions. The curret Pope Benedict will never earn my allegiance or respect, because he is a dog of a man. HE is responsible for much of what John Paul II wrote as he was the man in the position of keeper of the doctrine of the faith, now he is Pope, God help us all…

Faith for me as a gay HIV Positive man is cut and dry. You do good for others, and you love others and you maintain a humble presence in the world and you do no harm. I think that this simple theological model works. Don’t quote me mumbo jumbo theological ideas because all the theology in the world will not change the man I am today and what I choose to do with my life.

Theology is too wrapped up in rules and dogma. I am wrapped up in simple Christian faith for simple Christian people. Faith is simple. Talking the talk is one thing, Walking the Walk is surely another. I can do both – I can talk the talk and I do walk the walk. You ask any of my people about what I do day in and day out, and just how much of my time I spend helping others because I am called to do that and I am sure you would be pleasantly surprised. Men of faith should be this “giving” of their time and talent for the little pittance I make in return. I work my ass off to the bone day and night, I write, I work with others because work was done for me when I needed it to. Ministry is not just about preaching the Gospel to people, but getting down in the gutter with them. How many Christians get out there and really get their hands dirty? Not Many.

So I see a group that gets their hands dirty and I start talking them up and I pray for them and I try to raise funds for them. I do that for my group too. All is not words and bible, show me the money at the end of the day – I don’t make nearly enough to support my house yet, and I have another 18 months to go before I hit my Masters and Pastoral ordination, but I am in the field, I have been in the field for years.

I have been a Christian presence in my Gay Community since I was a young boy, And I was in the trenches when Christians were fleeing like in the exodus from infected sons, daughters and children. I stuck and stayed. I raised money, stood in picket lines and I was there through the worst time when Christians turned their back on men and women who were sick and dying. I WAS THERE! I cannot tell you the countless and thankless hours that I spent in service to my community because NOBODY else would dare touch us or help us. So speak to me about active Christian Ministry. Tell me you know from what people like me lived through in our own lives! Tell me you know the words that self righteous Christians used to condemn people and people lost their jobs, apartments, lovers, family and friends. Were you there?

I can tell you about Christian families that THREW their sons on the STREET, Churches who REFUSED to perform funerals, Christian men and women who worked in funeral homes that REFUSED to process AIDS infected dead boys and men.

This is a double sided issue. Men acted with one another. Men did what they did. Do we condemn them as well? They are all DEAD and I am still alive, so God in his wisdom still sees good in me to fill my lungs with air and gives me life each day. I know how I was infected. I was trying to help another sick soul who LIED to me and then killed himself and I found out After the fact!! So fuck me right? I got what was coming to me right? I was a sinner just like the others. So fuck us !!! right??

Good Christian men kept me alive when all I wanted to do was die already. They believed I had a place in God’s kingdom, even if we did not go to any certain church. I learned Christian Charity from the best. I learned what Jesus meant by Loving others as I loved myself the hard way. I had no choice because good upstanding self righteous Christians could not stomach the horror and filth – the sickness and death. Yet, they could walk into church on Sunday’s and quote scripture and condemn from their Holy Pulpits and pews, UGH it makes me SICK to think about the past…

I can tell you that some of us angry gay men who were Christians who went to school  to become morticians so that they could start funeral parlors to give our friends proper burials and I know renegade priests who WOULD perform funerals for us and the minions of people who worked behind the scenes behind the Christian iron curtain who DID walk the walk when we needed it.

I can also tell you about cemetery workers who refused to dig graves and those religious men who stood in the way of us burying those people in hallowed graves. Shall I continue? I can tell you about ministers, Christian ministers TODAY who still condemn us. And you want me to follow their theology?

I think Not!! 

And I know good Christian people who loved me when my parents disavowed me and wrote me off as infected goods. I was not immune to judgment and condemnation. I got it from my own family which speaks to the effect that my family has no role or place in my life today – and I am 40 years old and I am still here writing this story.

I was there with Jesus, changing diapers, cleaning up shit and puke and feeding people – And I sat with them until they died, while Christians all over the world sat on their tuffets condemning us and alienating and judging us and telling us that

“AIDS was God’s punishment for our sinful lifestyles.”

I SPIT on the people who did that and I will SPIT on whomever says that to me today.

And God WEPT!!!

Christians could learn from the ministerial work we did in the trenches when it really mattered. So nobody owns the right to judge or critique my Christian life, ministry, theology or practice. Because when I take my last breath – it will then be God and I in a discussion of life review and I know for sure that he will look at me and say:

“Well done, good and faithful servant!”

1 Corinthians Chapter 13:1-3

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

Deuteronomy Chapter 6:4-7

Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one, and you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. These words, which I command you this day, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.

End of Sermon…


My Birthday – What a Day it Was!!!

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I got up this morning and My desktop had been changed to say Happy Birthday and that’s how it started. I showered and went to the Cathedral for Shirley’s memorial mass, which I asked to have said today. Louise showed up for mass today which was a treat and the Reverend Canon Joyce said mass. I thought that it would be good to honor God and Shirley, so I started this birthday with Mass and Prayer. To thank God for life and air and family and friends. This is the Cathedral by day!! Beautiful isn’t it!!

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When it came time for the Eucharist, I went up to the dais and knelt and Rev. Joyce laid her hand on my head, she blessed me and prayed over me, as well she traced the sign of the cross on my forehead as she was praying. I almost fainted.

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After the mass I went to the Diocesan bookstore to find something to honor my spirit. And I found this icon of the “Annunciation.” It is one of the most beautiful Marian Icons I have ever seen. So this was my spiritual gift to myself. I bought a book as well called “Discernment – Acquiring the Heart of God.”

I got home and I got the best gift in the world. Jacob had called me and so I called him back and he wished me happy birthday and he then told me that they were giving me the digital camera that Angela had loaned me to do some photography with Jacob. Now, I was like “Seriously? Seriously?” and he said “Seriously!!” I was totally overjoyed. It is a finepix S5200 Fuji film 5.1 mega pixel digital camera! O M G !!!

I had to call back and make sure I heard them right!

I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am today!

So I set off for coffee with Ms. Nikki and we had fun as usual. We went to set up the room for the meeting and we had a Birthday Party in the space, it was FUN!! Louise brought me the most beautiful Apple and Caramel cake drizzled with caramel, honey and chocolate. YUM!!! I got a book from Louise called “Discover Your Destiny with the Monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma.

I got cards and gifts from friends. Ms. Nikki gave me a $100.00 gift certificate to Indigo Booksellers and other sundry items, like chocolate and grocery gift certificates. My friends are too generous. And I am totally grateful for the gifts. I did not expect such an amazing day that today turned out to be.

I came home after the meeting and now I am writing this. I have one more gift to open, so I am gonna go do that and get back to finish this. So Peter got me Dan Millman’s No Ordinary Moments and The Calendar Girls on DVD! Sweet!!

I have more to say – but not in the same post as this one. My head has been all over the place today and there are a hundred thoughts running through my head right now. So I will write more later on tonight.

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This is the Ceiling over the Main Altar of the Church


Walk Humbly with your God…

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

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Pictured here is the Very Reverend Gene Robinson preaching at the Out Mass at the Christ Church Cathedral last year. Seated behind him to the left in the presider’s chair, is The Very Rev. Bishop Barry B. Clarke, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Montreal and our preacher for tonight’s Out Mass which was held earlier this evening.

I was amazed, astounded, overjoyed and very pleased to hear this blessed man tell the entire congregation without skipping a beat, that his church is moving forwards, that ALL are welcome in his church, man or woman, child and elder. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans gendered. He also said the words we were waiting to hear from a leader of the church, that in his opinion, NOT to respect and bless same sex unions was troublesome.

He talked about the Anglican Church at large and he set his staff in the ground and said that he welcomes everyone into his church, for what would Jesus do? Following his example, he stated emphatically that he 100% supports the blessing of same sex unions even if the church at large is still wrestling with the issue.

The church is ever more blessed for the diversity that finds comfort and truth under its roof. It is diversity that makes Montreal a truly special city. For what did Jesus do? He sat with the poor, he ate with them, he healed the sick and he loved those on the periphery, those on the margins of community.

In some churches you find that some are marginalized and kept out and away. But in Bishop Barry Clarke’s church everybody is welcome and everyone is free to pray, to worship and to come to the Lord. He told us to persevere, to be persistent in our prayers. Eventually, that door will open. And prayerfully and with a right heart we shall approach it when it does.

He said that the persistent man is rewarded. From the Gospel passage from the book of Luke Chapter 11:1-13

Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

He said to them, “When you pray, say:
‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation

Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’

“Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

This is the teaching that he shared with us tonight. To keep praying, to keep coming to church because everyone is part of the church, everyone, not just some. We shall be persistent in our prayers and consistent in our Christianity. We will keep knocking until that door is opened to us. It was a wonderful mass, the choir was heavenly, the music, once again, lifted me out of my body.

I had my prayer beads in my hand during the communion hymn and I was thinking about Shirley and for a moment, I was praying for her soul, and I felt her – I knew it was her because of the energy and the feeling of maternal love. After mass I talked to our celebrant, the Reverend Joyce and she is going to say a mass for Shirley on Tuesday, July 31st – My Birthday at noon. I will start my birthday with mass for both of us and then go to coffee and celebrate at a meeting. How much better can life get???

After mass I was talking to Rev Canon Joyce, and she asked me how I liked the sermon and I was just smiling, and she looked at me and said “I think we are in the clear!” After that prophetic and positive statement from the church, by the Bishop, unequivocally stating his support of the LGBT community and that of his support in blessing same sex unions, that when the day comes when the church finally catches up to us, we will have same sex blessings in our church, in our diocese, in our community. That the Montreal Anglican diocese does not agree with the stance of some bishops after the

38th Anglican General Synod in Winnepeg Manitoba June 19-25 2007.

He did not waver from his message of inclusion and support. So we walk on together.
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This is the exterior of the Christ Church Cathedral…


Do You Technorati ???

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I have updated Technorati with my read list, which numbers 87 blogs. If you haven’t already logged your favorite reads into Technorati, you might do so in the coming days. It generates traffic and broadens your readership.


Vatican text angers Protestants

Fr. Jake says this found at: Father Jake Stops the World  The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Roman Catholic Church, formerly known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition, has decided it is time to start suppressing doctrinal heresy once again. The particular doctrine they feel the need to defend this time is the idea that they are the only Real Church. Even the Orthodox cannot be part of their club:

… However, since communion with the Catholic Church, the visible head of which is the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter, is not some external complement to a particular Church but rather one of its internal constitutive principles, these venerable Christian communities lack something in their condition as particular churches…

Close, but not quite enough.

The Protestants, however, can just forgetaboutit:

…According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called ‘Churches’ in the proper sense…

So, why do we need to be reminded of the exclusivity of Rome? According to the statement, it is all being done in the name of ecumenism:

…Apart from dealing with certain unacceptable ideas which have unfortunately spread around the Catholic world, it offers valuable indications for the future of ecumenical dialogue…

Well, the indications are certainly valuable if your intention is to kill any possibility of dialogue.

Nothing really new here, except that this new Pope continues to attempt to undo anything that was accomplished through Vatican II.

So, remember when you enter through those pearly gates and walk past the Roman Catholic mansion to drop your voice to a whisper. It is the polite thing to do. It would be poor form to destroy their illusion that they are the only ones there.

 

 And now the report from BBC News Online:

 

By David Willey
BBC News, Rome


Pope Benedict XVI (9 July 2007)

The Pope has just begun his annual three-week break in the Italian Alps

Pope Benedict has approved a new text asserting that Christian denominations outside Roman Catholicism are not true Churches in the full sense of the word.

The document, issued by a Vatican watchdog, has been criticised as offensive by some Protestants.

The text was written by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Pope Benedict before his election as Pope.

It states that Christ established only one Church here on earth.

Other Christian denominations, it argues, cannot be called Churches in the proper sense because they cannot trace their bishops back to Christ’s original apostles.

True to tradition

The new text is basically a re-statement of another document known as Domine Jesus, published in the year 2000 under the signature of the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope.

That document set off a storm of criticism from Protestant and Anglican leaders who felt that the Vatican was failing to take into account progress made towards re-establishing Christian unity in talks with Rome over a period of many years.

It remains unclear why Pope Benedict chose to publish this document just as he begins a three-week holiday in the Italian Alps.

Admittedly, the document does stress that Pope Benedict remains seriously committed to dialogue with the other Christian Churches, but first reactions from Protestant Church leaders appear negative.

This is the second document issued by the Pope in recent days which re-evaluates the work of the Second Vatican Council, the reforming council held in Rome during the 1960s.

The Pope’s point is that although this was a council of reform, the Church fathers meeting at that time remained true to Catholic traditions.

Pope Benedict is, in effect, attacking what he regards as later erroneous interpretations of what the council actually decided.


Bishops Defeat ACC's Same Sex Unions Resolution *Updated*

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News Report 24 June 2007

TAMARA KING 

WINNIPEG (CP) – Canadian Anglicans inched closer towards blessing same sex unions, but stopped short of giving priests the power to perform ceremonies.

The Anglican Church of Canada agreed that same sex blessings do not conflict with its core doctrine, a decision that paves the way for the practice.

But ultimately, delegates voting Sunday at the General Synod rejected the idea of letting individual dioceses decide whether their priests could perform blessing ceremonies for same sex couples who were married in civil ceremonies.

“So on the one hand, we said it is a matter of doctrine, but not credal, that is, not essential to one’s salvation, shall we say. But on the other hand, the church is not prepared… to proceed immediately with the blessing of same sex unions,” said Archbishop-elect Fred Hiltz, who will be installed as the church’s new primate Monday evening.

Supporters and opponents of same sex blessings call the decisions confusing.

“It is a very confusing message to be sending. It’s taking with one hand and giving with the other,” said Chris Aimbidge, President of Integrity Canada, a lobby group that supports same sex blessings.

Cheryl Chang, a spokeswoman for Anglican Essentials, a group lobbying against same sex blessings, said she believes confused and frustrated parishioners will start finding other churches immediately.

“People (will) leave to go to the Catholic church, the Baptist church, the Pentecostal church. That’s going to happen starting next Sunday, or next Monday even,” Chang said.

“These are decisions that are very confusing for the church, and ultimately, very divisive.”

Both resolutions were widely supported by both clergy and laity in Sunday’s votes, but needed the support of the bishops in order to pass.

The bishops narrowly accepted the resolution on doctrine by just two votes. However, when it came to allowing same sex blessing ceremonies, the bishops voted 21 to 19 against the idea.

Though the church hasn’t approved the practice, observers say the foundation has been laid for same sex blessings in Canada.

Some of the more conservative Anglican churches have already threatened the U.S. church with expulsion over its blessings of same-sex couples, so that’s why opponents are concerned about Sunday’s decisions.

“To do what they’ve done is to step apart from the worldwide Anglican communion,” said The Rev. Canon Charlie Masters, the head of Anglican Essentials.

“This is a very sad day for Anglicans.”

The fear of a split from the worldwide Anglican church was one of the many reasons the decision proved difficult for some voters. Just hours before the final vote, Meghan Lofgren, a youth delegate from the diocese of Saskatoon, admitted she hadn’t made up her mind.

“I don’t even know what I’m going to vote right now,” she said.

Others, like Rene Jamieson, were eager to make a decision. She urged fellow delegates to let each diocese decide on whether priests could perform same-sex blessings.

Jamieson said the lengthy discussions on the issue mean they’re not focusing on problems like poverty.

“I want you to vote in favour of this resolution so we can get on with the work of the church,” she told delegates.

The Anglicans’ vote follows a similar one by Canada’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, held Saturday in Winnipeg.

Canadian Evangelical Lutherans are in full communion with the Anglican Church of Canada, meaning ordained ministers can officiate in either church. Similarly, baptized members can transfer between the two churches.

With roughly 180,000 members, the Evangelical Lutherans form the largest Lutheran denomination in Canada.

The Anglicans’ decision Sunday came after two days of debate. Initially, the vote was scheduled for Saturday night, but instead of debating the issue, delegates spent hours wrangling over procedural issues.

The General Synod is held once every three years.

From the Synod – ACC

 

Winnipeg, June 24, 2007 — The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has narrowly defeated a resolution that would have allowed dioceses to decide for themselves whether or not to bless same-sex unions.

Lay delegates voted 78 to 59 in favor of the motion and clergy voted 63 to 53 in favor But the House of Bishops voted 21-19 against it. As a result the motion was defeated, since it required approval by each of the three orders to pass.

The motion read:

“That this General Synod affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesan synod,

  1. with the concurrence of the diocesan bishop, and
  2. in a manner which respects the conscience of the incumbent and the will of the parish,

to authorize the blessing of committed same-sex unions.”

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From: Fr. Jake Stops the World

The resolution, as amended (in italics) was as follows:

Resolution A187

Blessing of Same Sex Unions

Be It Resolved:

That this General Synod affirm the authority and jurisdiction of any diocesen synod,
a)with the concurrence of the diocesan bishop and
b)in a manner which respects the conscience of the incumbent and the will of the parish,

to authorize the blessing of committed same sex unions.

Here are the votes:

Laity – 78 aye / 59 nay
Clergy – 63 aye / 53 nay
Bishops – 19 aye / 21 nay

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