Saturday, July 12, 2008

The week that has been

I have had a great time in Auckland attending the SBL International Conference. As usual, met a host of people, had a myriad of conversations, and received a plethora of challenges on all sorts of fronts. One of these is the ongoing question which lies at the heart of the shape of the unfolding Lambeth Conference: what place and space is there for gay and lesbian Anglicans in the Anglican Communion and in the member churches of the Communion, including my church, ACANZP?

Some of my reflections on various conversations needs to be ripened a little. But I offer this one: we cannot expect all gay and lesbian Anglicans to feel secure about being who they are in mainstream parishes and thus there is a need for some specific places and spaces for gay and lesbian Anglicans to meet around the word and the sacrament. (The specific example I have been reminded of is the 'place' called the Auckland Community Church (which is non-denominational) which has met for many years, and continues to meet in the 'space' called St Matthew's-in-the-City (Anglican) Church).

And Luke's Use of Matthew - my paper - went down well (as far as can be determined when the presenter leaves just a minute for questions)!


Stephen G said...

Hi Peter,

Nice to talk briefly at the conference. Glad your paper went well.



Anonymous said...

"...we cannot expect all gay and lesbian Anglicans to feel secure about being who they are in mainstream parishes and thus there is a need for some specific places and spaces for gay and lesbian Anglicans to meet around the word and the sacrament."

Do you mean as a functional "church"? There are plenty of these all around the world (eg the MCC)and they teach a homosexualist doctrine of sexuality. Is this what you have in mind?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous
I am not sure that it is quite as important what I have in mind as what gay and lesbian Christians have in mind. I think they are in a better position to determine what works for them than I am.

The MCC approach clearly works for some even as it raises questions about the doctrine which is presented there (as you note).

From memory I think that within the Catholic Church there are groupings which offer a place for gay and lesbian Catholics to meet even as they each attend Mass in their respective local churches.

In mainstream Anglican parishes there could be possibilities for 'safe' places for gay and lesbian Anglicans.

I do not presume that a 'safe' place for gay and lesbian Christians is necessarily a place where 'homosexualist doctrine of sexuality' is taught; but recognise the likelihood of that happening.

It might be surprising to find where a gay and lesbian congregation journeys to as it opens up Scripture and hears what the Spirit is saying.

Anonymous said...

Peter, you know that there were people in Corinth who had come out of a homosexual lifestyle (1 Cor 6.9-11). The purpose of such a group or 'church' as you propose could only be:
1. to affirm homosexuality as a godly option for some; or
2. to help people transition out of homosexuality, possibly along the lines of AA groups.
If (1): Louie Crewe's 'Integrity' movement in Ecusa was and is just such a specialist group, and it's proved to be the biggest engine for homosexualist ideology (and revisionist theology) in Ecusa. They were a major force behind PB Browning and now Schori (not to mention Robinson).
The 'Quest' movement in US Catholic churches cannot support (at least openly) a homosexualist ideology because, quite simply, the Vatican wouldn't allow it and would dismiss any bishop promoting such a view - which they did, eventually, with Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Minneapolis, who had carried on a gay affair for many years. (The Vatican has now forbidden homosexually orientated men from training for the priesthood - they are very painfully aware, in the wake of the great ephebophilia scandal, of the need to clean up.)
If (2): this is what Exodus International, Mario Bergner and others are already doing.

Finally, we need some joined up thinking here. The idea that the Church could embrace a change in the biblical and traditional doctrine of creation (of which sexuality is an important subsection) without it impacting the doctrines of God and salvation could only come from Nephelokokkugia, and there's no reason to think it would work in Nephelomekoleukogia.
As night follows day, wherever a homosexualist doctrine of sexuality is embraced, the next thing to change is the very biblical language for talking about God. Peter, stand back and get the whole picture.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous
You will have to explain those nephelo-words!!!
Hmm - I take your point about Louie Crew's Integrity - a powerful lobby group - I was thinking more of a 'pastorally' oriented place than a 'politically' oriented place.
But perhaps that could be turned around a little: would a church which sought to displace, if not (r)eject pastorally supportive places for gay and lesbian Christians fire up a political response?
Your point re change in general doctrine consequential on homosexualist doctrine is well made. I am not trying to advocate a change in church doctrine here, but seeking the most plausible way for the widest range of gay and lesbian Christians to engage in the life of the church.
For every Christian who leaves a homosexual lifestyle behind (including through the pastoral support of Exodus and similar groups), how many simply leave the church, never to be seen again?

Anonymous said...

Peter, the first is Aristophanes' Cloud-cuckoo-land ('The Birds'), the second is my mock-Greek translation of Aotearoa. Perhaps they are the same place - a land accessible only to birds, not mortals (except the trusting Pisthetairos and the hopeful Euelpides), where impossible things happen!
That 'revisioning' sexuality leads to non-biblical ways of talking about and worshipping 'God' seems fairly well documented - consider not just the strange neologism 'Godself' popular in such circles but also the website of All Saints Parish Dunedin with its feminist 'version' of Psalm 23. Anyone with a scintilla of learning knows it's impossible to translate the Hebrew that way. But what does that matter when ideology trumps grammar and Scripture?