[A]n impressive cadre of Episcopalian laity and clergy who are very serious (and usually very educated) about theology and the Anglican tradition. This group tends to agree on matters of theology, liturgy and church order, AND, in regard to the affirmation of women's ordination and the inclusion of all the baptized into sacramental life and leadership.I've known several people who support blessing same sex unions and ordaining men or women involved in same sex unions, but who are believed the Nicene Creed in its "plain sense" rather than redefining the words to fit their worldview. They insist on the Trinity being "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Ghost)" rather than "Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer" (a modalistic version of the Trinity as it names three functions, not three persons). They insist on the Incarnation and that Jesus is fully human and fully divine. They insist that Jesus' death on the cross somehow puts us right with God (atonement). They insist on a physical resurrection (as if there were any other kind).
Now, I support the ordination of women in the Church and I believe in "full inclusion" of all people (gay, straight, tall, short, thin, fat, blue, red, green, etc.) in the sacramental life of the Church. The problem is that I don't agree with blessing what the Church calls "sin." That is the heart of the matter.
The whole issue before the Church right now is not "what do we do with sexually active homosexual men and women?" Rather, it is two fold. The first is "what is the limit of authority to define sin?" and "How do we know what is sinful?"
The "How do we know what is sinful?" question has been answered by the Church. Up until recently, there was no question that homosexual sex was sinful. That is still the official position of the Church Catholic and the Anglican Communion as a whole. There are people who are trying to change the teaching of the Church such that life long mutually monogamous homosexual relationships (gay marriage if you will) are no longer considered sinful.
But, until the Church changes its teaching, the teaching stands. Think of the matter of changing the speed limit on a street. There is a street by my house that is four lanes and divided, but the speed limit is 30 mph. It is a rather nice revenue producer for the city as people regularly travel at 40-45 mph on it. Now I think the speed limit should be 35 or 40. I can lobby the city council to change it, but I cannot travel 40-45 while I am lobbying for the law to be changed without paying the fine when I am caught.
Now I do not want to exclude my creedally orthodox brothers and sisters in Christ. So I have a proposal for those who find themselves creedally orthodox, but who support blessing same sex unions and ordaining men or women involved in same sex unions:
- Accept that the current teaching of the Church is that gay sex is sinful. Being gay or even being gay and involved in a long term relationship should not be a bar to membership in the church.
- There will be no public blessings of same sex unions. If you must bless same sex unions, please do them under the guise of "house blessings" or some such private affair
- Only support for ordination those who can articulate and teach the creedally orthodox faith. Put a moritorium on ordaining homosexual men or women involved in any sexual activity outside of man/woman marriage until the Anglican Communion determines that either gay marriage is blessed by God or it is morally neutral.
- Continue to lobby the Church to change her teaching on same sex unions if you disagree with it, but do not publically act outside of that received teaching until the Church changes her consensus.
As for me, I will continue to the Church to maintain her teaching on the subject until I can be convinced, with arguments from Scripture or Tradition that blessing same sex unions better reflects the Will of God and calling them sinful.
How does that sound to you all?