Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Yesterday, a post on Brad Drell's blog directed me to a post on Elizabeth Kaeton's blog that talked about the aftermath of Columbus among those who support blessing SSU and ordaining men and women in sexually active homosexual relationships. She discussed the "evil" that occured in Columbus and how many people were in tears over resolution B033 - the resolution that urged standing committees and Bishops with jurisdiction not to consent to the election as bishop of anyone whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider Anglican Communion. One resolution went against them and they were in tears. I have always been curious as to why people support overturning 2000 years of Church Teaching on the issue of sexuality so I wanted to know her reasoning. I really want a conversation on this and want to know why, beyond "I think it should be this way." Here is my first comment on her post

I have asked several of my reappraising brothers and sisters to justify changing the moral teaching on this and to use biblical and traditional support. So far, none have done this. Can you show me a biblical example of God blessing homosexual sex? Can you show in tradition where it was called blessed?
It is not the orientation that is a bar to ordination, it is calling "sin" "not sin." It is saying that God blesses homosexual sex when Scripture is unequivocally against homosexual sex and calls it "sin" every time it is addressed.
Please help me understand your moral thinking on this. From where I sit, it seems to be "There are several people who naturally are attracted to members of the same sex, so God must have created them that way and homosexual sex (in the right contexts) is good and blessed.
Phil Snyder

Mother Kaeton (and the title is meant respectfully, not sarcastically. She is a priest and that office deserves resepct) seemed to take offense at my post and claimed that I was ignorant of the issues or the arguments. At first, she replies pointing me to several documents I have already read. She claims she is too tired of defending her position. She points me to Integrity and to Claiming the Blessing. She then claimed ignorance of the terms "reappraiser" and "reasserter." She wrote to me in a comment: "I only know that I am called a "reappraiser" when I refuse to accept what someone else defines as "orthodoxy," or their image of God and their image of Jesus.I think there is a word for that, Phil. It's called idolotry."

I took that to mean she thinks I am guilty or close to idolatry. I actually believe that I should accept the Church's definition of "orthodoxy" and not my own. That is part of what being a catholic Christian is about - submitting our own beliefs and our own wills to the Will of God and to the teachings of the Church.

I again asked her for her reasoning. I am really curious about this. She mentioned that she is "a Christian who considers herself conservative on ecclesiology and progressive on issues of social justice." I remarked:

How you can claim to be "conservative on ecclesiology" while ignoring the
unified and historical condemnation of homosexual acts by the universal Church
is beyond me. I have read the documents you mentions (well, most of them) and
their arguments underwhelm me. They sound like so much of the rationalization
that I do for my own sins. I am not ignorant of the arguments. I wanted your
reasoning on the issue - how you came to your decision in the face of
scriptural, traditional evidence to the contrary as well as the unifed voice of
the Anglican "Instruments of Unity" asking us not to proceed with consecrating

Yes, the Church has spent much time discussing this topic and
everytime (until either 2000 or 2003, depending on how you read certain
resolutions), a decision was reached, that decision stated that homosexual sex
was not blessed and that the Church should not bless same sex unions nor ordain
those living in a same sex sexual relationship. A person with "conservative
ecclesiology" would look at that and agree that the Church teaching is what it
is and then strive to follow it. A person of conscience would, if he or she
could not teach what the Church teaches, resign any position of leadership that
requires teaching what the Church teaches.

You did not do that.

She then went into a tirade

And now, here, for you, 'his majesty," I'm to give my own "reasoning on the
issue - how you came to your decision in the face of scriptural, traditional
evidence to the contrary as well as the unifed voice of the Anglican
"Instruments of Unity" asking us not to proceed with consecrating +Robinson."Umm
. . . do you think I have nothing else to do with my time but to respond
personally to you?Especially when you and I know that NOTHING I say will
persuade you?Please, don't even try to convince me that you are intentional
about a serious conversation. You, like David Anderson, stay in the Episcopal
Church because “you like a good fight.”Sorry, I love Jesus way more than that.
I’ve got too much He wants me to do to get into a word fight or a useless
exercise in scriptural gymnastics for that foolishness.If and when you are
serious about a conversation, I have already told you what to do: Call my
office. Get my number. We'll talk – I’ll even try to arrange a face to face
meeting – like the Christians we say we are.Otherwise, go lurk about T19 or
Drell’s Descants where you can be with people who think and act and pray as you
do and all will be well with your world.

I responded to her comment to the effect that she had showed me the back of her cyber hand and I would not comment on her site any more.

In the midst of all this, Greg Griffith spotted the her post and my comments and wrote a post about it on Standing Firm.

Well, Mother Kaeton went ballistic when she found out that Standing Firm had commented on this:

Okay, boys and girls, here's the deal. Someone tipped me off to a little service
which helps me track the number of visitors I get to this site.What I didn't
realize is that it also helps me track where the visitors are from as well as
the origin of their post. Turns out that "Your Brother in Christ Phil" is only a
brother in Christ by baptism, by certainly not by spirit - which is pretty mean,
low down and nasty. He is a Deacon in Plano, Tx who has a website called STAND
FIRM. Turns out, he has been baiting me, which I knew all along and why I would
not answer him directly, so that he can reprint my comments and let others, like
Marty here, have an absolute "bottom feeders" banquet.Bottom feeders, of course,
are those fish in the tank that survive - indeed, thrive - on all the "garbage"
(ahem) cast off by all the other fish in the tank.It's amazing. Honestly.Put on
your asbestos pumps and venture forth into the LaLa Land of the Neo-Orthodox and
'see how these Christians love one another.' Not!

Did I mention that neither Marty nor Phil took me up on my offer to have an authentic conversation? You know, like REAL Christians?Needless to say, we won't be hearing from brother Phil or brother Marty again - not in this space, anyway.

I am not part of the people who run Standing Firm. I only comment on there. I don't consider myself to be a "bottom feeder" and I was not baiting her. I was looking for a serious conversation - one in the open where all could see our responses. I have had several of these in the past and have always been edified by them. I have changed my opinions on things because of conversations I've had. I will take up the challenge to email her and see if I can start the conversation again. However, I doubt it will be possible. I am now, according to her "mean, low down and nasty." I challenge here to show any post or comment of mine that is "mean, low down and nasty."

Mother Kaeton, if you read this, know that I did not intend to offend, but to learn. I don't want to hurt, but to heal (myself included). It is important to me that I have the right (e.g. God's) take on this. I am not saying that my take is God's, but that I want to know and understand and hold God's take on this and all issues.

Phil Snyder


James W. said...

Phil: For what it's worth, my best friend from high school went on to become a Presbyterian minister (PCUSA). Along the way, he has become a "reappraiser" on the sexuality question. He always tells me that "his interpretation" of the Bible is that only monogamy is required. But he never actual goes beyond this assertion.

Whenever I press him to actually explain his position, he goes silent, and implies that I hurt his feelings by questioning his faith. We debate many other issues, but on this one, I simply can not get him to lay out his arguments. I have since stopped trying.

I have come to the conclusion, as I think you have, that their emperor has no clothes. There is no rational justification for what they claim, and they know that. Their position is based on feelings, not rational arguments. The reasserters have all the intellectual firepower we need to destroy the reappraising arguments. However, the problem is that arguments are no longer the focus of debate in the public square. These people don't want to debate - their goal now is to play the victim so that they never need to make the argument.

And that's why Kaeton will prattle endlessly about how hurt and oppressed they are, but will NEVER engage in a serious and open debate on the merits.

Melody said...

Phil, You're throwing cow paddies into the wind here. I know you after many years with you at AST. She is not talkable. On her website, her profile shows her as one who worked closely with Bishop Spong. She is a lesbian in a relationship with children. She is an advocate for the GLBT group. You are the most gentle person, I know. All you can do is pray for her and forgive her. But I would not try to communicate.

Allen Lewis said...

I am not criticizing, but I am curious. Did you call her as she suggested?

I wonder what would happend if you did? Might be wortha a try if you really want to know her reasoning - but I can practically gurantee that you will never get a clear answer on that.

I suspect the reasonshe does not want to do it in "cyberspace" is that doing so would expose the vacuity of her reasoning. I mm really not trying to impute motives to her (to do such is a violent action), but her lack of response does invite speculation as to why. I do not insist on my guess as the "only right reason."

Don't you just love it when people, who make a claim of desiring "dialogue" and "conversation" suddenly cut it off?


plsdeacon said...


I sent her an email earlier today. I don't really expect a reply, but we shall see.

Phil Snyder

plsdeacon said...


It's good to hear from you again. Are you still attending classes at CCFM? Thank you for your kind words. Even if the other person does not respond or responds negatively, I still desired to reach out to them and to learn something from them. Sometimes I learn that they don't want to share ideas or to debate.

Phil Snyder

Christopher said...

Geez.. she just comes across all bitter and twisted. I don't know what good can come of attempting to continue the conversation with someone with that attitude, Phil. Maybe it's best if you just leave her be and pray for her.

plsdeacon said...

I received an email from Elizabeth Kaeton this morning. Her email was gracious and she apologized for calling me (but not everyone) a "bottom feeder"

It seems to me that she is gracious one on one, but has little time for dealing with conservatives in groups.

I intend to continue an email correspondence with her.

Phil Snyder

Peter said...

Well, I've followed the discourse with some interest. Although I can't quite see you as the innocent victim in this Phil - you did seem to bait her a few times - I found her responses quite illuminating.

Based, and only based, on what I have seen, she strikes me as one very immature lady. Her responses seem to me to range between childish and something you might expect from an adolescent. It seems a little like watching someone who has never fully grown up, but possessing an adult ability to dissemble, twist and manipulate. There also seems to be a strong streak of narcissist self-absorbtion and grandstanding.

Is this intended to insult? No - it's what seems to me to be the truth evidenced from her words. I wonder if it's possible to have a genuine adult conversation with her? Well, perhaps you know by now.

Anyway, perhaps the real question should be - how is it that we as a church have allowed these kind of unstable people leadership in the church? Where is the discernment in this? It is not kind to her or to anybody she leads. It is certainly not honouring to God. Surely a Christ-centred mentoring relationship would be better?



PS I know just how annoying it can be to be banned, or have posts deleted, especially if you have spent some time on them.

I got this recently at Jakes place, where the response to an exgay argument was not rational discourse, but to be removed from the discussion. I.e. - what they really wanted was a monologue. As a result I gained an insight into the meaning of 'listening' - it is a verb with a one-way direction.

ErikC said...

Phil, I am really impressed how you handled yourself in the whole thing. You kept your cool. All you did was to ask for Biblical evidence of her side. I know that it was God working in you. God bless you, Phil.