Tuesday, June 09, 2009

No Big Deal?

Over at Kendall Harmon's blog, Titus One Nine, he has an article about the Presiding Bishop's visit to Oregon. You can read the article Canon Harmon reference here.

There is a question and answer section with the reporter. One of the questions is this:
Q: Oregon seems far removed from the big Episcopal controversy over
gay ordinations --
A: That's a good thing. The controversy isn't that big; it's just noisy in some places.

This is something that I am tired of hearing. This seems to say "What we are talking about not not really a "big deal." It is rather inconsequential to the living of the faith."

Either the people making this statement are blind to what is happening in the Church world wide or they are delusional to think that what is happening to TEC and to the Anglican Communion because of the innovations that they are forcing on us are not "that big."

If the blessing of same sex unions or ordination of those involved in same sex unions is not essential to the Christian Faith, then why are you forcing this innovation on the Church. The rest of the Church has said that the current moral teaching (sex is only blessed inside of marriage and marriage is only one man and one woman) is essential to the faith. The reappraisers/revisionist/progressives must either believe that their innovation is essential or they must believe that the Church itself is not a big deal.

I know there are few reappraisers/progressives that read this blog. Can you say why this issue is worth splitting the Church over? If so, can you share where this is found in Holy Scripture (according to our Presiding Bishop, Holy Scripture is our primary source of authority)?

Please be honest with us. Either admit that you believe this issues is on par with the Creeds or you don't believe that the Church is the body of Christ and can be split over non-essentials.

Phil Snyder

nb - edited to correct a typographical error - Chruch to Church.


The Underground Pewster said...

Re: "The reappraisers/ revisionist/ progressives..." (r/r/ps) "...must either believe that their innovation is essential or they must believe that the Church itself is not a big deal."

I think the PB as an r/r/p has answered that the Church is not a big deal as she tends to be a Universalist. To a universalist salvation can be found in the mosque, the synagogue, the temple, or in being a good person.

Robert said...

Wow, that (the PB's) text was kinda disturbing. I don't think she cares about what the cost is as long as she is furthering her objectives. She's trying to present liberalism in the church as a fait accompli and present orthodox Christians as a disease she is in the process of curing.

How did it come to this? Something went terribly wrong for that woman to be the PB. Someone made a terrible mistake.

A. S. Haley said...

Deacon Phil, you expect too much of ECUSA's liberals: they are constitutionally incapable of grasping, applying, valuing, or resorting to logic. What they say in one place at one time has absolutely no application to any other place at any other time, since the message is uniquely geared to those listening at that particular moment.

Thus when the PB states that the current troubles are "no big deal", she is speaking to pewsters who contribute to their local parish, which contributes to their diocese, which sends 21% of its revenues on to 815.

But when she asks GC 2009 to approve a budget which includes $6.5 million for legal expenses, then of course it needs to be approved not because the litigation is "no big deal", but because the Church needs to make an example of those dioceses who dare to try to leave---even if the Church is beggared as a result.

I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for a supporter of the PB to answer your question.

Andy said...

Thanks again Phil/
I was a bit glib in my original response to BB's coverage because at first look, the PB's response seemed to come off of 815's teleprompter.

It seems that myopia is the the sibling of arrogance. The progressives, it seems, in their desire to bring the church out of the long night of superstition and homophobia and into the light don't see the blowback of their actions because their myopia has shielded them. At best and like Bhagdad Bob, all they can say is "pay no attention to those droves of faithful leaving town.

I believe that the PB's visions of camelot reborn are giving birth to a dystopia and sadly, this otherwise brilliant and gifted woman hasn't connected these dots.

God's Peace,

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Deacon Phil,

I would suggest that there are some of us who are in favor of the Church's blessing of same-sex unions who don't see this innovation as essential and have had some trouble understanding why this moral issue - and not others - is thought to be communion-breaking. As a pacifist I have learned to live in communion with Episcopalians who do not share my convictions about war or about the death penalty. I had hoped that those who disagree with me about the blessing of same-sex unions would be able to remain in communion with me. I am sad that that is not the case for many.

plsdeacon said...

Fr. Weir,

I believe that this issue raises hackles for several reasons. First, it is specifically condemned in very strong terms in Holy Scripture. You know the passages, so I won't recount them for you. What those who oppose SSBs are seeing is that those who support SSBs are overthrowing the very basis of our faith - Holy Scripture.

Second, there is the cultural issue that many in the 2/3 world see homosexuality (especially Western homosexuality) as an expression of self-focused (me, Me , ME!) decadance that is expressed in modern Western culture.

Third, many see this as yet another form of arrogant American imperialism. They are not happy that America dominates the military, cultural, and economic worlds right now (for whatever reason). They believe that we are just throwing our weight (and money) around to get the rest of the world to follow us yet again.

Finally, there is the question of who determines what is essential to the faith. I submit that is the the Whole Church (or as much of the Church as can be assembled) that determines the essentials. In our case, that would be the Anglican Communion. The entire communion (through Lambeth, the ABC, the ACC and the Primates' Meetings) have said that blessing same sex unions is a communion breaking issue. As ordained leaders in the communion, we have a choice. Do we continue doing our own thing or do we submit to the wisdom of the Church (the Body of Christ) and teach and practice what the Church teaches and practices.

Phil Snyder

For more of my take on the issue, please read my Proposal for a Generous Orthodoxy.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

Deacon Phil,
I disagree with your interpretation of Scripture on this issue because I have serious doubts that the practices condemned in Torah or by St. Paul are the kinds of committed same-sex relationships that so many of my sisters and brothers in Christ have been blessed to have. I have heard and read all the arguments that support condemning these relationships and I remain unconvinced.


The Underground Pewster said...

Fr. Weir wrote,
"As a pacifist I have learned to live in communion with Episcopalians who do not share my convictions about war or about the death penalty. I had hoped that those who disagree with me about the blessing of same-sex unions would be able to remain in communion with me."

I don't recall any effort to formalize blessing of war or the death penalty.

plsdeacon said...


So, it is you who disagree with how the Church has always interpreted these scriptures. Isn't that the problem for today's America? We believe everything, everything, is a personal opinion and one opinion is no more or less true than another opinion.

It is you (plural) who are trying to change the teaching of the Church. Those opposed to SSBs are not trying to change the teaching of the Church on this issue. So If you are trying to change the teaching of the church, shouldn't your argument show how what you want to do comes closer to the mind and will of God? So how do we know the mind and will of God? What we know of God's mind is recorded in God's self-revelation and the rule by which we gage that revelation is recorded in the canon (rule) of Scripture. So, show us where, in Holy Scripture, God speaks of same sex unions as being blessed or as part of His design for creation and all this animosity can stop.

The vast majority of the Church catholic and the vast majority of the Anglican Communion consider homosexual sex to be sinful in all circumstances. They also consider it wrong (and dangerous to those being "blessed) to bless sin. They consider it a first order issue because it considers the source of authority in the Church. Where does our authority lie? Is there any external authority?

Phil Snyder

WilliamK said...

Deacon Phil,
I have read this post several times trying to figure out how to respond as a "reappraiser/progressive" (or whatever the going label is). But I'm unable to shake the feeling that your questions here really are in the same category as the old classic: "When did you stop beating your wife?"

My answer, as best I can manage, knowing I'm walking into a "gotcha" trap: Full sacramental equality for all the baptized IS a big deal; if God is blessing same-sex relationships and calling gay men and lesbians to ordained ministry (and I believe God IS), then we should not ... and cannot ... stand in God's way. BUT ... I understand that there are brothers and sisters who disagree with me on this. I am willing to be in communion with them despite our disagreement. I won't separate from them over this issue. I will go to the communion rail with the Christians who believe homosexual relations are sin. Unfortunately, these brothers and sisters seem determined to be out of fellowship with me. So, I would say to them, "This issue is not worth YOU splitting the church over, and IF the church splits, it will be your choice, not mine."

plsdeacon said...


The Church is referred to both as the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ. One of the metaphores images used in Holy Scripture to show the relationship between God and His people is that of marriage.

The rest of the Communion (or the largest part of the Communion) believes that homosexual sex is being unfaithful to our Lord. It is sin. For us to say it is no big deal is to belittle their faith.

Let me try an anaology with a husband and wife. The husband has been seeing another woman socially - he has more waking time with her than with his wife. The wife believes he is having what is called an "emotional affair" where he has not yet actually committed adultery, but is just short of it. The husband doesn't understand the wife's anger - after all, he never said he didn't love her but he is capable of more love and differnt kinds of love. The wife continues to ask him to stop the outside relationship before it goes too far. The husband finally consumates his relationship with the other woman. The wife confronts him and says "Stop it or I am leaving." He replies "I'm still willing to remain married to you, but if you want to leave, you will have to be the one to file for divorce." Not wanting to live in this situation, the wife sues for divorce. My question to you is who destroyed the marriage? While the wife actually was the one who initiated divorce, I submit that the husband emotionally left his wife when he started the emotional affair with the other woman.

So it is with TEC. The vast majority of the commuion believes we are not being faithful to God when we "bless" what is considered to be sin. Simply saying we have a different understand of sin is like the husband telling his wife that he has a different understanding of marital faithfulness.

Phil Snyder