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Monday, January 08, 2007

Sometimes, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do . . .

Kendall Harmon, the peripatetic theologian for the neo-puritan, so-called orthodox, conservative evangelical movement in The Episcopal Church, posted a note on the House of Bishops and Deputies' LISTSERV (HOB/D)regarding the theology of the so-called “Windsor Bishops” (Those who support or are "in compliance with" the Windsor Report) who met for the second time at Ft. Allen, Texas.

And, I responded to Kendall.

I mean, sometimes, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Let me help you understand the context: Ann Fontaine, the amazing deputy from Wyoming, former member of Executive Council, and present member of the Board of ERD (Episcopal Relief and Development), published a list of those bishops who were currently attending the meeting in Texas. She wrote:

Here are the bishops who attended the Camp Allen 2 meeting -- so-called Windsor bishops - but only as it applies to banning gays and lesbians not the other parts about not crossing boundaries, having "listening sessions" or other parts of the conversation to date.

1. Love
2. Beckwith
3. Parsley
4. Adams (Western Kansas)
5. Howe
6. Salmon
7. Stanton
8. Ackerman
9. Jenkins
10. Wimberly
11. Lillibridge
12. Gray
13. Smith (ND)
14. MacPherson
15. Iker
16. Steenson
17. Little
18. Jacobus
19. Duncan (Pitt.)
20. Herlong
21. Bishop-elect Lawrence (DioSC)

4 new bishops that did not attend the #1 and 5 from #1 who did not attend #2 so even though Bp Wimberley claims according to The Living Church that the group is growing - the numbers do not support this.

Thanks to Stand Firm in Faith for the names.


Then, Richard Mosty, the Deputy from West Texas and Standing Committee member wrote:

It is unfair, untrue, and irresponsible to blanket label all these Bishops as you done. Uninformed extremism on any side is not helpful for reconciliation.

To which Kendall Harmon responded:

Absolutely Richard Mosty and the presenting issue is not "banning gays and lesbians" as Ann has claimed,

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams clarified this very well when he wrote: "This is not and should never be a question about the contribution of gay and lesbian people as such to the Church of God and its ministry, about the dignity and value of gay and lesbian people. Instead it is a question, agonisingly difficult for many, as to what kinds of behavior a Church that seeks to be loyal to the Bible can bless, and what kinds of behavior it must warn against."

Notice carefully the question in dispute is not about people but behavior: Is nonmarital sexual activity appropriate for Christian leaders or not? At least the Archbishop of Canterbury understands this even if Ann keeps misidentifying it.

Also for the record it isn't so much extremism as inaccuracy.


And, so I said:

I am remembering a segment of the television program FIRING LINE, wherein the host, William F. Buckley, the conservative Roman Catholic author and journalist, when interviewing his guest Andrew Sullivan, the conservative Roman Catholic gay man with whom he had worked as editor at the conservative magazine NATIONAL REVIEW, obviously impressed by his guest's most obvious intelligence, threw up his hands in frustration and, with no small amount of obvious disgust, said "But, Andrew it’s not who you ARE, it's what you DO!"

That argument may work if, say, you are a Senator and you have taken bribe money. Your identity as an elected official is not the issue. What you have done is. We are all responsible and held accountable for our actions.

But, theologically, this has always been a deeply flawed argument, predicated on several facets of a mind/body dualism which has always tried to make identity and behavior separate and distinct from each other.

It's a form of ascetics that has not served the Roman Church well over the recent years, and is often cited as the root cause of the current scandals in priestly boundary violation.

Living a "compartmentalized life" - with my identity here and my behavior over there - is to live with one foot in and one foot out of the closet. As Andrew Sullivan writes, "The closet corrupts. What the closet does to people - the hypocrisies it fosters, the pathologies it breeds - is brutal."

Interesting, that the argument is made by those who claim that who they are AND what they do, as heterosexuals, is not only NOT separate and distinct, the cohesion of the two, in fact, makes them morally superior. On the other hand, if a homosexual person acts on her/his identity, s/he is immoral - or, at least, morally flawed (if not disgusting).

We know who we are, in part, by those who love us and those with whom we are in relationship.

It's Martin Buber's "I/Thou" relationship.

It's also the South African notion of what Desmond Tutu calls "Unbuntu" - or, roughly translated, the 'interconnectedness of all people.'

The only really surprising, if not disappointing, thing about +++Rowan's quote is that he sometimes sounds more Roman Catholic than the Pope.

At least Ann identifies this correctly even if the good Archbishop doesn't understand it.

And, Kendall, my brother, you cannot say, on the one hand, that LGBT people are sinners because they act on their sexual orientation outside of marriage, and, at the same time, deny marriage to LGBT people because we are sinners because we are physically intimate and express our love outside of a civil right and a liturgical rite which is denied to us.

That's called "blaming the victim." It's also called "crazy-making" - for everyone involved.

I'll let Andrew Sullivan have the last word: "What I do know is that the closet corrupts. The lies it requires and the compartmentalization it demands can lead people to places they never truly wanted to go, and for which they have to take ultimate responsibility."

7 comments:

Ann said...

Thanks for the kudos but I am only a lowly diocesan coordinator for ER-D -- not famous or rich enough for the Board. Ann Fontaine

revsusan said...

AWOL from retreat with the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus let me just say, Elizabeth Kaeton, that I am more deeply grateful than I can find words to express that this particular girl is willing to step up and do what a girl's gotta do when a girl's gotta do it.

And let the people say "Amen."

Magdalene6127 said...

Amen. Amen. Amen,

ww3 said...

Perhaps I have found a place to get answers as they occur. I am unable to comprehend certain aspects of the GLTG issue. The idea relationships out of wedlock is sinful, yet GLTG persons canot marry makes sense. But what I cannot comprehend is the idea of knowing you are GLTG without commiting sin first. In other words, Jesus said even if we have impure thoughts about a non-spouse, we have sinned, then isn't any thoughts of physical relations outside of your spouse a sin? Even when I was a teenager and young adult and I was unmarried, the lustful thoughts I had of my dates was a sin, right? Then if I had not sinned, hoe would I know my sexual orientaion until the relationship was consecrated? I am not trying to start an argument, I am truly trying to learn here. In other words, we all sin in and out of marriage, right? I am married to a woman that was divoced at the age of 20, we married at 25. I am a sinner for doing so, but to divorce her would be another sin. We married before I came to Jesus and sinned in ignorance, but that is no excuse. So we all sin. Does the fact that what I did acceptable in society today take away the sin? Does a reinterpataion of the Bible based on our own views change my action in God's eyes? Am I happy that I sinned in my heart and with my body? Since it is important that we be emotionally and physically compatable, shouldn't I encourage my teenager to explore physical relationships so that he knows who he is? Please help me to understand these questions and others I will have. Thanks and God's Peace to All!

Wandering Flip said...

I'm not sure that what you call "mind/body dualism" is Kendall's argument. The notion of identity and behavior being incongruous is not a new observation (at the least). Is it not a common experience that we do what we do not want to do? Isn't this the experience the Apostle Paul talks about in Romans?

And your "jump" FROM defining sexual behavior outside of marriage TO excluding marriage for gays and lesbians is a total disconnect. It's like changing topics, only we haven't defined what the new topic is.

St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

Wandering Flip beat me to it, as Paul to the Romans (7:14-) was called to mind whilst reading the author's commentary.

Our own desires and appetites should be completely secondary to obedience to the Father, His Will having been expressed in Sacred Scripture and validated by His Son, Jesus. Professing to following Christ requires complete obedience, not rationalizations of defiance.

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. "

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

aemulare ergo et paenitentiam age.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

First of all WW3, Wandering Flip and St. JimBob - are any of you Episcopalian?

I mean, the kind that has gone through some kind of course of introduction to the Episcopal Church: our history, traditions, Anglican Spirituality and/or Anglican polity?

If you haven't, that may explain your biblical perspective as well as your, um, reasoning.

And, just so you know - a simple "yes" or "no" will do.

If you're not Episcopalian, there's no need to continue this discussion.

And, if you are, well, there's still no need to continue this discussion.

This is a Blog. It's MY blog. I get to decide who prints responses here.

If you want to debate someone on these points, go find another blog.

If you are searching for information, go to a library.

If you want someone to agree with you, go to a conservative, or orthodox blog.

Thanks.