Friday, January 12, 2007

Spiritual blindness

To read a great essay about the state of the church, the Communion and madness of some of the thinking going on, read this:

Admiral of Morality: "No authority to diminish the personhood of a single one of God's children for any reason whatsoever"

Thanks to the Admiral for posting it. It's by Bruce Garner, a member of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, and here's a brief clip from the essay:

... the Covenant Design Group, the Dallas and Ft. Worth "plans", the Texas meeting and so much of the other "stuff" going on are simply further sometimes covert but often not manifestations and examples of sexism, racism, heterosexism and homophobia.

Now we can place theological position names on these actions and attitudes and we can dress them up with different code words and new dresses and suits, but they remain very real manifestations of "modern racism."

Characteristics are attributed to groups of people using a very broad brush.

Those characteristics are intended to somehow diminish those who are in the groups as children of God. It becomes ok to label them in an effort to figure out how they don't really "fit in" with everyone else. It becomes ok to very subtly treat them differently because of characteristics that are inherent in them. (Let's not go into the nature/nurture issue or the orientation/behavior distinctions...they are in themselves simply further manifestations of ways to diminish the worth of individuals by those who either can't accept or understand them, fear them, hate them or whatever happens to bounce through one's head at the moment. ) And of course, in some cases, the different treatment is far from subtle. Witness [the dioceses of] Ft. Worth, Quincy, Dallas, SC[South Carolia]. CFL [Central Florida] just to name a few. And yes I can hear the howls of protest, but don't waste time or postings with those. Actions have clearly spoken louder than words used in denial of the reality that exists for a variety of "target group" folks in those places...

As much as I have tried, I just can not find any evidence where any of us has been given the authority to judge another of us in our relationship to God or our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet some do that on a daily basis in the name and cover of theological purity or some other such nonsense. Let's be clear: Jesus did not give us that authority over each other. Despite our best efforts to justify exceptions or qualifications to the "second and great commandment," there are none. Love your neighbor as yourself is simple, direct and clear. We don't get to choose. We don't get to qualify. We don't get to except anyone from that commandment.

It struck me, reading this post, what a blindness, perhaps deliberate blindness, there is, among the ones who presume to judge who isn't a "real" Christian or fit to take Communion.

Some of the African leaders want the Archbishop of Canterbury to disinvite Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori from the Tanzania meeting in February"

Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi said he found it "difficult to share a meeting with somebody who is ... fighting what we believe Scripture is saying.

"There is dialogue, this can take place, but I think we have listened to one another enough," he told Reuters.

A spokesman for Nigeria's Archbishop Peter Akinola, Africa's staunchest opponent of gay rights, said many primates -- heads of member churches -- were loathe to meet with Jefferts Schori.

"How that can be done remains mere speculation, " said Canon Akintunde Popoola. In an unprecedented move, several primates refused to take communion alongside Frank Griswold, Jefferts Schori's predecessor, at their last meeting in February 2005.

And who are they to usurp the privilege and authority of Jesus Christ?

Meanwhile, Bishop Howe of Central Florida is saying it's not really alternative oversight he asked for, since the PB doesn't really have any authority in diocese, anyway.

Howe is the one who invited Schori to the diocese right after convention, then "disinvited" her to visit.

In the January Diocesan newsletter, he stated, "In our joint Communique to the Archbishop, dated July 20,2006, the Bishops of the (then) seven Dioceses attempted to make clear that what we were asking for was not so much 'oversight' as a continuing relationship with him and the rest of the Communion of 'full constituent membership' (while the rest of the Episcopal Church seems to be moving toward some kind of 'associate' membership -- again, using the words of the Archbishop himself.)"

Again, it's the real ("first tier") Christians versus the "not-real" Christians, he has judged.

It's the blindness of modern racism and the deliberate blindness of self-interest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, all those who disagree with your bishop are second-tier Christians?