Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Is this the best argument they have?

Over at the Episcopal Cafe, there is an article calling attention two "theological" sources regarding the blessing of same sex unions and the ordination of GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, and Transgendered) people. If you are interested, here is the Chicago Consultation's contribution to the discussion (PDF). It is entitled "We Will With God's Help" (WWWGH). I've just read through it and the argument comes down to this:

We baptize GLBT persons, so they are full members of the Church, so they should be eligible to be ordained.

Now, on its face, I have no argument with that statement. It is true. If that is all that the Chicago Consultation and TEC want to say, then I can only agree with them.

However, the undertone of this group is that we are talking about men and women who are sexually active in GLB (not so sure about the "T") relationships. Men sexually active with men or women sexually active with women. In this case, it is not their orientation that disqualifies them, but their unrepentant sin.

All sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful. Sin breaks the relationship between the person and God, the person and the Church, and the person and him/her self.

Part of our baptismal covenant is this question:

Will you perserver in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent
and return to the Lord?
The candidate answers: "I will with God's help."

In the document, there is no section that even questions whether homoerotic behavior is good or blessed. It simply assumes that it is.

Does this mean that homosexual persons are not loved by God? In no way do I hold that homosexual persons are not loved by God. They are indeed loved by God and full members of the Church by the virtue of their baptisms. But they are not wholesome examples of a Christian life if they are sexually active outside of marriage. The drug addict, the cleptomaniac, the serial adulterer, the sinner (any sinner) are all loved by God and are full members of the Church. But when they put their personal understanding of morality above what the Church teaches, then they are not wholesome examples of those called to lead the Church.

If we are going to move past the "he said/she said" dialogue that we have been having, then we need to be able to show, from Scripture and Tradition, where God blesses same sex unions or we need to go back to a status quo ante where we don't bless same sex unions and the only people we ordain are people who are either celibate or sexually active only inside of marriage (as traditionally defined).

Assuming what you want to prove is an old game, but it doesn't move the conversation along.

Phil Snyder


Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Thank you for prompting me to read the Chicago Consultation document. It was in a pile of "to be read" material and it was your post that got me to read it.
What your summary of its argument missed, and I think this is the most important point in the document, is its emphasis on rejecting either/or proposals and its urging of continued conversation within the Communion, not only about the possibility of full inclusion of LGBT persons in the life of the Communion, but also about our understanding of Baptism and of Baptismal living.
The tone of the entire document, which could not be conveyed in your summary, is one of patience, of a commitment to others in the Anglican Communion,especially those with whom we disagree about this matter. It is my belief that patience is what is required as we consider the possibility of adopting an Anglican Covenant. To borrow and adapt a phrase which is sometimes used about marriage, if we adopt in haste we may find ourselves repenting in leisure.
I am glad that you read the document and take your comments as a thoughtful contribution to the discussion that we need to have within the Communion.

plsdeacon said...


I have always advocated for patience. If those who support SSBs had practiced patience, we would not be in this condition.

The problem with calling for "continued dialogue" (not necessarily a bad thing) is that it can be likened to a husband purchasing an expensive sports car after promising the wife he would not do it several times. When the wife gets angry about the purchase, what do you think her reaction would be if the husband responds: "Well, let's talk about the idea of buying a sports car. I think my ownership of it should play into our mutual discernment."

Patiences, as you know, is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5). It is in little evidence surrounding this issue. If the Chicago Consultation wants to call for patience, then let it call for a real moritorium (e.g. ceasation) of blessing same sex unions and ordaining those involved in them until the Anglican Communion accepts that homosexual sex is either morally neutral or a genuine good. Otherwise, it rings as hollow as the above husband's call for his wife to be patient with him while he drives his new sports car.

Phil Snyder