Friday, July 25, 2008

A reason for not trusting TEC

In the life of The Episcopal Church (TEC) there is one man more than any other man, possibly more than any other woman, who has contributed to the present policy and polity of TEC in which all are included except those Episcopalians who disagree with the present policy and polity. That man is Louie Crew. Recently a blog-worth-consulting-if-you-want-the-reappraiser-perspective, Preludium, blogged by Mark Harris, announced that Louie Crew (also known as Quaen Lutibelle) has a new blog, called Queer Eye on the Lectionary. Now Louie is both a learned man, and an excellent writer. The reflections offered on this blog so far are witty, insightful, and also interestingly autobiographical. Harmless enough, perhaps.

But there are other Crew writings on the internet. Explicit 'gay religious poetry' could be a description. No links here; but its not hard to find. These writings are ambiguous in respect of the ideology which drives subterraneously through the phenomenon which is the Louie Crew lobby in TEC. Is the ideology simply to be inclusive of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people? Or is it to 'queerize' the theology and christology of the church?

It is the inability of TEC to assure the remainder of the Communion as to what its 'deep' agenda is, and where its 'longterm' destination is, which is ramping up conservative opposition. TEC has an easy strategic response to that opposition: calling it 'homophobia', seeking to place opponents on an emotional back foot. I think it is 'ideology-phobia' which drives conservative opposition, who understand that when ideology drives theology, idolatry is not far behind. (To be sure, TEC is not the only member church subject to this critique: our own ACANZP in these islands runs perilously close when it talks about 'the Treaty of Waitangi' being of equal importance to the Gospel, or cements our 'Three Tikanga' arrangements as a permanent rather than provisional structuring of our common life). Our Communion's unity depends on a common mind. Finding that common mind is impeded when our theological conversation involves doubts as to whether the real agenda is being revealed or not.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is what we paleo sorts have been saying for years, Peter, observing the steady advance of an ideology which at point after point differs from historic Christianity. It isn't just about homosexuality, though that is the most prominent presenting issue, and I have to say that reconfiguring human sexual relations (a vital aspect of the imago dei) cannot but lead to reconfiguring some pretty fundamental elements in theology, including the Fatherhood of God, and the Father-Son relationship in the Trinity. When this happens (buttressed by the claim that innovators are 'prophetic'), we are in the territory of a different religion. Exactly which isn't clear, but a few observers suggest it's a neo-Valentinian Gnosticism.
As for the three Tikanga and the Treaty, whatever value they undoubtedly have in the national life, it would be a serious mistake to fetishize them. They are pragmatic human arrangements meant to serve good purposes. If they become counterproductive, they should be changed.
All of which shows the need for a thoroughgoing catholic theology not tied to a particular time and place. I read an NZ Presbyterian statement of faith not long ago and saw the same myopic liberal parochialism.

LouieCrew said...

Peter,

Good morning.

You vastly overrate my influence.

Thanks for the compliment that you find my new blog, Queer Eye for the Lectionary, witty an intelligent. Do let me know any hidden agenda you find in it, as I do not have one.

I am not trying to hide my poetry: I have not found any of my poetry that connects to my reflections thus far, but might in the future. I would not reference it just because it exists, any more than I would reference my writing about computers. But if you want to sample some, four collections are online, at http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/poetry.html#collections

As you have already noted, much of will not appeal to you. Some of it no longer appeals to me, especially items I wrote long ago while out of the church.

May your faith give you joy and important commitments beyond yourself.

Louie/Quean Lutibelle

Peter Carrell said...

Hello Louie

Sometimes we underestimate our influence, not only out of modesty, but because we have little feedback - I know I am surprised at the things which get quoted back to me, that I scarcely remember saying!

I am very glad to know you have no hidden agendas, and grateful for a direct refutation.

I think I shall still wonder about where TEC is heading - even if you are not as influential as I surmised, there are others!

LIndy said...

Thank you for pointing mr to Dr. Crew's new blog! I am looking forward to every word.

As a queer and a TECer I thought I'd just take this opportunity to share with you my own long term destination, that way you won't have to wonder about it anymore. Long term, I am intending to be in Heaven with Jesus and my brother and sister saints already gone ahead. In the meantime, I have two main objectives: To love God and to love my neighbor. Just about everything else that is important to me can be placed in one of those categories.

I try to live according to the Baptismal Covenant.

Sometimes I stray away from that path but when I do I repent and return.

That's pretty much where I am going today, and long term too.

I hope this has cleared up the homosexual agenda for you.

Yours sincerely,

Lindy

Peter Carrell said...

Hello Lindy

You have given your agenda transparently and grace-fully - thank you.

But you have not cleared up some theological questions about where TEC is heading. Your reference to 'the Baptismal Covenant' is a reminder, for instance, that some theologians are critical of both the value placed on this notion, and the consequences it has had for how (e.g.) mission and ministry is viewed.

Then there is the intriguing question of the contrast between the value placed on 'the Baptismal Covenant' and the open hospitality of the Lord's Table so that unbaptised are welcome in many churches to receive Holy Communion. (It may be, in the end, a correct understanding of the gospels to open the Lord's Table to the unbaptised, though it is not yet a common understanding; but if so, it seems, at least to my limited mind, to undermine the importance of baptism).

So, for me at least, questions remain!

LIndy said...

Well, we can't predict the future so it remains to be seen where anyone is headed on open communion. It's a concern of mine too.

I believe that baptism is a rite of iniation, not a requirement for participation. Sometimes we get those mixed up I think.

So, just personally, I wouldn't turn anyone away from the table. But my hope is that through their participation in the life of a parish any who come would want to be iniatiated and properly received into the fellowship.

To be sure, baptism should come first. That's why we properly place the font right in the narthex or at least prominently. But, in reality the unbaptized do come forward.

Kindenss and hospitality are more important than maintaining strict order. When someone comes forward they should get wine and bread. Let the Holy Spirit worry about it after that.

Just me. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out.