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Aug 02, 2006



Thank you. Excellent.

I would say just one thing.
The gay issue and the poverty issue (along with many other issues) are united by their mutual bodiliness. If we have a proper understanding of the body as the primary component of God's creation we should care about both issues for the same reason. There is tendency to try and get rid of the gay issue by saying it is less important than the poverty issue - but the importance of each depends upon where you are. I don't think that people should try and embarrass gay Christians, even unintentionally, into giving up their fight for justice, by reminding them that "there are children starving in Africa."

John Henry

I agree with most of what you have said. There is something very irrational about homophobia. A friend of mine, a social worker, goes off the deep end whenever we talk about gays and lesbians in TEC. In his eyes, gays are incapable of maintaining committed relationships. In his view, they have dozens of sex partners every week and the restroom of every gay bar is nothing but a brothel, as are the restrooms of TEC churches which are inclusive.

Is this kind of attitude due to fear that one's own sexuality is more fluid? In the macho culture of American football on college campuses it is not too uncommon for team members to rape 'effeminate' males who happen to cross the paths of the members of the macho winning team. We hear less of such incidents, even though they occur. We hear more about team members raping women after a football victory.


Interesting. Tell us more about these dissolving Anglican men. Do they bubble as they go, or do they simply melt away? ;)

More seriously, I am also confused by literalism's absolutes, when there are so many Biblical statutes that are ignored. As you say, the liturgical ones tend to give way in favor of the ones having to do with sex (and ultimately, property inheritance, I suppose). Meanwhile, I always enjoy reading lists of useful commandments with which to confound literalists who insist on quoting chapter and verse about "our many and manifest sins."

The not very open secret is that there have always been gay clergy, and not just in the Episcopal church.

I'm not a "cradle" Episcopalian, so I was struck by the fact that gay clergy and lay leaders in my first Episcopal parish were so matter-of-fact about themselves and their place in the church. In my previous, mainline Protestant denomination, being "out" was just not done. If you were "out," you just weren't "in" church. So I found the Episcopalian way welcoming and refreshing,

In my current diocese, it's almost a cliche' - at diocesan meetings I've attended, the most enthusiastic, committed, and dynamic clergypeople and lay members(both sexes) are gay. If we woke up tomorrow and there were no gay clergy at all, and no gay laity at all, would there be any Episcopal church at all?

By the way: happy anniversary, +Gene.

John Henry

Wrote Ginny: "The not very open secret is that there have always been gay clergy, and not just in the Episcopal church."

Right you are! Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of Church History at Oxford University, cites evidence that Archbishop William Laud, whose saint's day we celebrate on January 10, was openly gay, describing in relationship with his male lover in his diary. Cf. D. MacCulloch, The Reformation: A History (2004). Tell 'purists' about Wm. Laud and they'll deny that he ever had a same-sex relationship.

If the 'purists' had their way they would close every seminary -except TESM - as well as Oxford and/or Cambridge!


This is very helpful stuff - thanks!

I wonder if the churches haven't been lax in providing a new or revised understanding of sexuality within a specifically theological context, leaving the laity with a false dichotomy between "traditional" sexual ethics and a kind of anything goes sexual libertinism (at least within the bounds of prudence and propriety). It seems to me that some conservatives are (rightly) worried about a slippery slope here.

I like how Eugene Rogers, for instance, talks about sex as being for sanctification and about lifelong partnerships as a kind of school of virtue that helps us to participate in the life of the Trinity. But it seems to me that very little of this kind of thinking has "trickled down" to us lay people.



Over at Fr. Nick's we've been having an interesting discussion about this. I think I'm more conservative than some conservatives, just bent.

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