Tonight promises to be a veritable tornado. I'm scurrying as I write this.
What I did have time to write today, was this post on HOB/D - that's House of Bishops/Deputies listserv - an internet communication tool of bishops and deputies elected to General Convention.
A wee bit of context: We've been having a discussion - believe it or not - on the scintillating topic of "Hate the sin, love the sinner."
No, I'm not kidding.
One of the more air headed of the conservative members of the list started us off. He annoyed me by referring to HOB/D as a "chat room."
No, I'm not kidding.
Another of the 'good ole boys' chimed in with quotes from CS Lewis on the matter.
We were then treated to guesses about possible scriptural source until we learned that the source of this quote came from the root of all thoughts about (sexual) evil, St. Augustine.
His letter 211 (c. 424) contains the phrase "Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum," which translates roughly as "With love for mankind and hatred of sins."There followed other posts by otherwise intelligent people citing how it was, actually, possible to "hate the sin" but "love the sinner".
The phrase has become more famous expressed as "Love the sinner but hate the sin" or "Hate the sin and not the sinner" (the latter form appearing in Mohandas Gandhi's 1929
About 35 or 40 posts into this "chat", my last, poor tired nerve got pulled.
Here's what I wrote.
Oh, for Pete's sake!All these many hours later, I still feel good about what I wrote.
It's summer, people. Can we give it a rest?
First of all HOB/D is not a "chat room". Oh, I suppose, in the strict definition of the ever-evolving language of the Internet, this is a place to have "light conversation". But, this topic - as are many of the topics on this listserv - is not "chat" - light, polite, fairly meaningless social banter.
There are people's lives involved here. Human lives. Human lives with hearts and minds and souls.
Yes, yes. "Hate the sin, love the sinner," is solid Augustinian theology.
Yes, yes. It has many applications which ring true for many of us on this listserv.
I would bet my favorite fiercely guarded recipe for freshly brewed Summer Ice Tea (given to me years ago by a Southern woman and everyone knows that every Southern woman has her own brewed Ice Tea recipe), that those who might embrace this particular modern version of his ancient aphorism would leave his theology of sexuality in the dusty annals where it belongs.
Those of us who are LGBT know from our own lives that "Hate the sin, love the sinner" has been used as a club to beat us down and keep us "other". Less than fully human. More sinful than the rest. Even if that's not "really" what you mean.
It's the difference between "intent" and "impact."
Now that you know that, why do some of you persist on using it in the strict application?
Women have said, "When you call me, 'baby' or 'tootsie' or 'girlie' and you don't know me (especially if you are in a position of authority over me), it hurts because it makes me feel less that a adult human being. Please stop." And, we have.
People of color have said, "When you call me the n-word, it hurts because it is a word that has a painful history and makes me feel less than an adult human being. Please stop." And, we have.
Why is it that when LGBT people say, "When you call me 'faggot' or 'dyke' or use the words 'Hate the sin, love the sinner', it hurts because it has a long history of hurtful discrimination and makes me feel less than an adult human being. Please stop.", some people feel they can continue to say these things with impunity?
Why can't some on this list hear that? And, stop?
Maybe you don't have anything better to do? Perhaps staying inside, "chatting" on the internet while the AC is on is a good way for you to avoid the summer heat? So, you crank up the heat on the "chat", target a group of people, and make it uncomfortable and unbearable for them.
Are we not Christians on this listserv?
So, if you are feeling the urge to engage in idle chat, why not call a friend? Brew up some of your own special blend of Ice Tea, and sit on the deck or porch or stoop or lawn chair in the back yard where you can catch a breeze and "chat" to your hearts content?
Or, what if you went to where other people have no AC and "chat" with them about their lives - bring something cold with you to drink and share it with them as you "chat"?
Here's a great summer time activity, especially suited for the apparent maturity level of some on this list: Set up a lemonade stand and sit under the shade on your front lawn and invite some of your friends to "chat" with you while you await your next sale.
Could we just stop this? Now? Please?
Now you know. Now you have a choice.
No matter what you choose to do, even if someone deems it 'sinful', we'll still love you.
How does that sound?
The airhead conservative and his cohort who originally started the "chat" have stopped chatting. Well, they've at least stopped posting.
Sometimes, I despair for the state of the church.
Other times, I think there's no greater time to be a Christian, or an Episcopalian.
If 'the glory of God is (hu)mankind, fully alive", then God is surely glorified by these times "fully alive" times.
Off I go then. Talk amongst yourselves.
I'd love to know your thoughts.