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July 5, 2012


Passage of SS Rites Appears Assured and Unlikely to Cause Controversy

Once again the Episcopal church seeks to dance a little two step.

If approved, as expected, at the church’s General Convention starting Thursday in Indianapolis, the liturgy would be the first such rite endorsed by a major denomination in the United States.
Advocates of the blessing - already written, down to the “We have gathered here today” and “I do” and the exchange of rings - stress that it is not a sacrament and would not confer “marriage” on the couple. (Emphasis mine)

So, if a married woman elects to have sex with a man who is not her husband, this is not technically adultery.

Episcopal Church law defines marriage as the union of man and woman, and there are no plans to change that this year.

THIS YEAR.  Well, only in the non-technical sense as noted above.

Its passage would be a major advance for gay people within the 2 million-member denomination, says Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

And he should know.  Having personal knowledge of the sexual abuse of a minor BY HIS BROTHER and failing to report it probably gave Mr. Bennison a leg up on insight into these things although someone should clue him in on that 2 million number.

On Monday, a committee of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) debated proposals to change its definition of marriage from “the union of a man and a woman” to “the union of two people,” and permit clergy to perform same-gender marriage in states where it is legal.

We are supposed to be members of the Church (capital C) universal.  How can something be okay in areas where it has been secularly advanced and not in others?  Either it is a blessed thing or not.  Why doesn’t this set off bells among the leadership?  Have any of them awakened to the thought that - we might be following the culture and not The Lord?  It would be good if they listened to that still, small voice and turn back.  You can ask the Pharoah’s army what happens when you fail to turn back.

In 2009, the General Convention, which meets triennially, also authorized her commission to develop a theological and cultural basis for blessing same-sex unions.
While acknowledging that Christianity and Judaism have long regarded homosexual relations as sinful, the commission report contends that some of those condemnations are rooted in ambiguous biblical passages.

Theological and cultural basis - I am pretty sure Paul already developed that basis thoroughly.  Guess they didn’t like it.

Paul’s condemnation of “unnatural” sex acts in the Book of Romans, they say, might have been a condemnation of temple prostitution. And Leviticus’ command that homosexual acts be punished by stoning, while “difficult,” can be discounted as a byproduct of the “strict gender hierarchy of the ancient Mediterranean world.”

Might, difficult, can be discounted - makes one wonder if they have been fully admitted to the Fiction Writers Association.

However, Bishop Sean Rowe of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, based in Erie, said passage appeared assured “and unlikely to prove destructive.”

Guess this depends on your definition of destructive.

“That doesn’t mean we can make up anything we want to,” he said, “but the authority to accept what scripture means lies in the community of believers.”

Sure would be nice if it were the actual Christians who got to make those decisions.


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17 comments

passage appeared assured “and unlikely to prove destructive.”

Yeah, since TEC has been surprisingly robust in weathering the storms of the past decade - increasing in membership, adding new dioceses, getting so many new pledges that General Convention is going to have a big donnybrook over how to spend all the new money coming in.

[1] Posted by jamesw on 7-5-2012 at 02:50 PM · [top]

Jesus quoted Genesis in saying (Matt 19:3-6) ‘3 The proud religious law-keepers came to Jesus. They tried to trap Him by saying, “Does the Law say a man can divorce his wife for any reason?” 4 He said to them, “Have you not read that He Who made them in the first place made them man and woman? 5 It says, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will live with his wife. The two will become one.’ 6 So they are no longer two but one. Let no man divide what God has put together.” ‘

The leadership of TEC are so grasping at straws.  They should be ashamed of their lies.

But their SIN is more important to them than what the Bible says…it’s that simple.  And so terribly sad.

[2] Posted by B. Hunter on 7-5-2012 at 03:23 PM · [top]

Well, whatever.  I have a hard believing at this point that this would be the “one more thing” that would change anyone’s mind unless they’ve been asleep for the last 15-20 years.

Yeah, they may lose a few more clingers who justify things based on their rector because he’s a good guy and keeps them shielded from the upper level nonsense, but it’ll mostly be the constant drip of 3-5% per year walking away or dying off.

[3] Posted by Bill2 on 7-5-2012 at 03:25 PM · [top]

“stress that it is not a sacrament “

The majority of Episcopalians I know personally don’t think marriage is a sacrament in the first place- they would say there are only 2- baptism and communion.  As an Anglo Catholic, I would hold that it is, but I thought we 7 Sacrament types were rare in Anglican circles (and virtually extinct in TEC).  I suppose there are a few hold over affirming catholics who still keep the trappings after emptying out all the theology, but I wouldn’t see there being enough sacramentalists left to worry about whether gay marriage is a sacrament, since the majority don’t think any marriage is a sacrament.

[4] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-5-2012 at 03:41 PM · [top]

“and unlikely to prove destructive.”

With the apt proviso that it’s unlikely to be any more destructive than what TEo has already done.  The exodus will accelerate once the gay non-marriages start and pictures of the happy couples surface on parish billboards and Facebook pages.

[5] Posted by Jeffersonian on 7-5-2012 at 03:52 PM · [top]

“authorized her commission to develop a theological and cultural basis for blessing same-sex unions.
While acknowledging that Christianity and Judaism have long regarded homosexual relations as sinful, the commission report contends that some of those condemnations are rooted in ambiguous biblical passages.”

Inductive vs. deductive reasoning.  TEC decides what the conclusion is, then works backwards from there to find snippets of bible passages and quotations from Julian of Norwich and whoever else that they think support their conclusion.

St. Paul used deductive reasoning- drew from the whole of Scripture and the words of our Lord, and came to conclusions that were consistent with both.

Inductive reasoning can be useful in answering some questions.  But if the task is to determine a course of action that is consistent with a large quantity of evidence and data (like, say, the Bible and tradition of the Church) it is best to start with the evidence and data, and draw the conclusion from that.

“some of those condemnations are rooted in ambiguous biblical passages.”

What part of “thou shalt not” don’t they understand?

[6] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-5-2012 at 03:56 PM · [top]

What part of “thou shalt not” don’t they understand?

All of it.

[7] Posted by slanehill on 7-5-2012 at 04:15 PM · [top]

What part of “thou shalt not” don’t they understand?

  I guess they see the ten commandments in the same light as Obama sees the Constitution as a charter of negative liberties.  Birds of a feather….

[8] Posted by Jackie on 7-5-2012 at 04:18 PM · [top]

I think I heard the term “legal positivism” a few years ago. My understanding is that this perspective says that if something is legal, then it must be moral.

Interesting that the church and society seem to move increasingly toward this idea.

This is to be expected as our society moves toward totalitarianism and away from limited government/freedom. In the “good old days”, we could say that a certain act was immoral, but might not should be made illegal since the damage done by enforcing law upon it would be more corrupting to society than the benefits to be gained.

Now days, it’s the opposite and increasingly arcane, morally neutral acts are being made illegal (certain speech, selling a slurpee that’s bigger than the mayor of New York City thinks is healthy, etc).

In contrast, morally reprehensible acts seem to be more and more legal. Abortion is a great example where an act formerly seen as wrong, became acceptable merely because it was made legal.

Too bad the church is clearly submitting to the law of man and not of God. Interesting that it pretty much follows the political platform of the Democrat Party, too!

[9] Posted by Capn Jack Sparrow on 7-5-2012 at 04:25 PM · [top]

If anyone still believes they can stay inside of TEO and not support “the agenda”, you’re nuts.

Just wait for the shunning to begin, when you don’t show up to these shams AND refuse to buy a gift for the pair from the official and blessed gift registry!!! 

Then, you’ll see ruthless.

[10] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 7-5-2012 at 04:46 PM · [top]

Where is this going to leave the faithful dioceses in TEC

I am thinking of Dio SC, but also Dio Texas, which seems to be successfully planting churches and spreading the gospel.

Regardless of what I may think, does anyone know if this (if passed) is likely to cause an issue to those dioceses or people in them?

[11] Posted by MichaelA on 7-5-2012 at 10:34 PM · [top]

The “progressives” do not mind conservatives - that is, the conservatives are people who are allowed to have their own opinions, as long as - and only as long as - they are willing to acknowledge that the opinions of the “progressives” are also within the fold of acceptable Christian thinking.

Those conservatives, however, who uphold that what they believe in is true and that its opposite is false are not acceptable and will be forced out, using whatever means is handy and convenient.

Those who do not believe in the law of non-contradiction can believe anything, including that taking more poison will not be fatal.

[12] Posted by AnglicanXn on 7-6-2012 at 01:53 AM · [top]

Hey Michael A (and all).

Sure, there are many (including myself) who find SSB’s abhorrent. However, the Episcopal Forum of SC is sure to praise such a resolution. Anyway,  here is a comment from one of the most rabid progressives I know in the Diocese of SC, Steve Skardon.  Here is his comment from his blog, SC Episcopalians
[He likes to think he speaks for many but this is his blog! NO one can even comment!!]

Even if the Convention approves the trial liturgy, it will have no effect on the Diocese of South Carolina.  After years of angry rhetoric and open hostility, very few gay people remain active in the Diocese of South Carolina.  A significant number of their families and children have left as well.

Don’t foresee much of a problem here.

[13] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-6-2012 at 07:28 AM · [top]

AnglicanXN,

Here the opposite is true. Instead of:

The “progressives” do not mind conservatives - that is, the conservatives are people who are allowed to have their own opinions, as long as - and only as long as - they are willing to acknowledge that the opinions of the “progressives” are also within the fold of acceptable Christian thinking.

Those conservatives, however, who uphold that what they believe in is true and that its opposite is false are not acceptable and will be forced out, using whatever means is handy and convenient.

Here, it could be:

The conservatives do not mind “progressives”- that is, the “progressives” are people who are allowed to have their opinions, as long as- and only as long as- they are willing to acknowledge the opinions of the conservatives are the accepted Christian thinking and also the thinking of the leadership of the diocese.

Those “progressives”, however, who uphold that what they believe is true and that its opposite is false are not acceptable.

We don’t want to force them out.  However, if the progressives were to leave of their own volition, then Godspeed. They really should find a better fit for their politico-theological views. Lord knows, TECUSA provides plenty of other “opportunities” in other places.

[14] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-6-2012 at 08:36 AM · [top]

#9 - it’s interesting - I have always believed that the law, morality and Holy Scripture should all line up.  If they don’t, then folks will use one against another - “it’s legal” certainly doesn’t make it right, but is one more argument you have to defend against.  Especially as a new generation comes into being that doesn’t remember when it wasn’t legal.

[15] Posted by B. Hunter on 7-6-2012 at 08:53 AM · [top]

B. Hunter- how old-fashioned of you!Law, morality and Holy Scripture should all line up. Wow. what a concept!  smile

[16] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-6-2012 at 12:39 PM · [top]

SC blu cat lady, that is one of the most encouraging things I have heard in a long time.  That sort of robust attitude is required of dioceses that want to keep the camel’s nose out of the tent.  More than one diocese in Australia have learned that lesson and put it into practice.

[17] Posted by MichaelA on 7-8-2012 at 02:50 AM · [top]

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