Bishops’ tea-hee party, Day 1 Roundup

20 09 2007

ELO (Episcopal Life Online, not to be confused with Electric Light Orchestra) gave a brief synopsis of the press briefing which can be found here. Not surprisingly, there is nothing new to report. I did, however, want to express some of my observations about ++Katherine’s homily, the appropriate text of which is found below …. Quoting from Episcopal Life Online …

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“We have lived in this Church and in this Communion for a number of years with abundant disdain, violent words, and destructive action toward those who hold positions at variance with our own. None of us is wholly free of blame in this game, for we have all sought to judge those who oppose us.” she said during her homily.

Reflecting upon the ways language can be “violent,” the Presiding Bishop recalled former radio personality Don Imus’s derogatory references to the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team in April.

“What he said about them implied they are not my equal, they are not worthy of dignity and they [the team] responded with an invitation to conversation. When you and I can meet our rhetorical opponents with an invitation rather than judgment, remarkable things can happen … conversation becomes possible.”

She added that: “we must begin by recognizing ourselves as beloved and forgiven, and by extending that recognition to those around us. I can assure you that there are some in our midst who feel quite unwelcome, who have not known what it is to be beloved.”

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I believe she could equally be talking about gay people in the church, as well as the conservative bishops and their supporters when she says “there are some in our midst who feel quite unwelcome.” When any of us are attacked, harm is caused not only to us, but to the oppressor or to the attacker. As a gay man, I find myself attacked by those in the Church who believe that I and other gay people are disordered because of our desires, our attractions, and our ability to love. At the same time, I find myself attacked by those in the secular world who believe that I and other gay Christians are disordered because we still cling to this guy named Jesus as the Son of God. The bigger scandal is, of course, that we still desire to be in communion with his followers, even though they might wish us gone to the grave or back in the closet.

In his discourses on the Last Judgment in Matthew, Jesus tells us that at the End of Days, the only thing that will really matter as far as our actions are concerned are how we treat each other, especially those we consider beneath us, not worth our while, or unclean. Those godforsaken people can take the form of the poor, the homosexual, or the privileged conservative. Well, I have news for you. We are ALL unclean in our self-righteousness…we are ALL lost when we try and make it on our own. The point of me saying that is not to make anyone feel guilty (heaven forbid!) but to show that in Christ, we are not self-righteous, but wholly clean that comes from the Grace of God. We are not lost, but found by the Good Shepherd.

The question that we as a church face is the same question that we’ve always faced for 2,000+ years … How can we honor and respect the way Christ is working in our lives, even when we don’t realize we’re seeing Christ at all? How can we respect each other when we look with our own eyes, and all we see is our dirtiness, our piggish-ness, our arrogance? The answer, of course, lies in the Truth that Christ died for us all … and we did nothing to earn it. The gift of life and of communion through Christ, which in some way ultimately stems from his death and resurrection, belongs to all of us. Jesus said, “If i be lifted up, I will draw all people to myself.” That means you .. that means me … that means ++Katherine … that means the Archbishop of Nigeria… whether we like it or not.

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