What Pastoral Responses to GLBTs?

26 09 2007

(What follows is an official Statement made with the Corkscrew of Anglican Infallibility….. )

Yesterday evening, I commented on the House of Bishops statement after it was read a few times and thought about it over a nice mandarin vodka and tonic at my favourite lounge. I believe that it represents honest and hard work on the part of everyone, and in many ways it was the best that could be hoped for.

Does it change anything? No. +Gene Robinson is still the bishop of New Hampshire, and will most likely attend Lambeth in some capacity. Incursions (I would say invasions) by foreign prelates are still happening. Blessings of Same-sex unions will still occur. And the bishops have recommitted themselves to providing appropriate pastoral response to gay men and lesbians.

Is there still a lot of work to do? YES

Particularly in the realm of Pastoral Response. Defining what form that might take would be good start. I would dare say that by and large The Episcopal Church has failed to honestly start giving real consideration to what pastoral care to gays and lesbians actually means.

We talk a great deal about providing pastoral care to homosexuals in the Church, but what exactly do we do? What about our young people? What about conservatives? What about those who were considering ex-gay camps? What about those who are recovering from those experiences? What about homosexuals who desire to be celibate? What about those who are conflicted in their affections towards those of the same gender? As much as we might with those 5 or 6 verses in Leviticus and Romans are not there, they are there. What does the church have to say to someone who reads that? “Oh you can just ignore that” doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid.

As a Church we have not done any serious theological work and made it available for discussion. I know that “To Set Our Hope On Christ” was published as a response to the Anglican Counsultative Council back in 2003, but unless you follow this kind of thing, you wouldn’t know what work has been done. We are not simply talking about a justice issue here, though that is a very significant part. It is about justice, but it is also about genuine pastoral provision and theological study.

Believe it or not, it is liberal evangelicals who have pioneered some of these things. Ralph Blair, founder of Evangelicals Concerned, is a wonderful and brilliant man. Gaychristian.net is an online community which spans the globe that has a lot to offer to young people seeking to be gay and Christian, often times where they are not welcome.

Perhaps we can take some of lessons from these grass-root organizations and apply them to what we do now? Affirmation and welcome are wonderful things, and they go a long way, but they are only a start.

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3 responses

26 09 2007
Reverend boy

This is an infallible corkscrew statement

26 09 2007
Jarred

You make some excellent points. I hope people rise to address them.

And I’m not even touching the “Infallible Corkscrew.” (Mainly because I think it’d be inappropriate and might even get me in trouble with your SIR. *ducks*)

29 09 2007
Doorman-Priest

Too much to cut and paste, but if you find the entry “Revd Jim and the St. Atrophy gays…” on my blog I have attempted to deal with those 5 or 6 verses from Leviticus and Romans. I hope they help, but I suppose it depends on what stance you take on the authority of scripture. My stance has become very liberal because of this and the pain of friends, Christians and non Christian alike. This is an issue both of theology and praxis.

Pax Christi
D.P.

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