Sunday, October 14, 2007

The week that was

Early Sunday morning (overcast and cool here in Montreal) I'd cast this morning's thoughts in the context of Susan+ Russel's musings on this morning's Gospel: Luke 17: 11-19 - the story of the tenth lepper.

Before anything else, I couldn't help but notice for the first time the symmetrical resonance between the fact it was the tenth leper who returned to thank the true source of his healing, and Kinsey's theory that we LGBT folk supposedly only represent 10 percent of humanity. I wonder if that's why he chose that figure- for its Biblical resonance.

Quite the week: who would have ever thought, the Dallas Reporter
would feature a photo story on dear +Gene, his parents Victor & Imogene, and Mark of course.

Having already enjoyed Elizabeth+ Kaeton's thoughts on International Coming-Out Day I couldn't help but wonder if +Gene's wonderful and delightfully human parents couldn't be nominated for something for their exemplary faith in and love of their radiant son. An award not so much for what I'm sure they'd insist was only the Christian thing to do, but to bring the comfort of their words and example to the thousands of other parents fearing they might be forced to chose between their faith community and their love of their LGBT sons or daughters.

How about Great Folks we all love, in the International Fellowship of Christ's Radiant Grace- of course they'd be in good company with Judy and Richard Shephard.

In that same spirit, I can't help but thinking on the larger day of grace when our Church gets over itself and steps far enough outside the straight-jacket of fear that it can own and ask forgiveness for its objectification and the suffering of so many Christian versions of the 'other'... Just imagine it: A specific Sunday every year when the Anglican Church (yeah the one known for full inclusion of all baptized and its radical hospitality) actually focuses the liturgy on the gifts of their Afro-Canadian, or the Japanese- Canadian, or the First Nations.... or dare I say it LGBT baptized, and giving thanks, celebrates a liturgy of healing and restoration.
Talk about energizing liturgy!

You didn't expect me to stop there, did you?

One day that same Radiant Church will step outside its hallowed walls on a regular basis to ask forgiveness and dialogue with our Jewish brethren. Standing outside the tyranny of inherited fear, it will become vocal in calling for an end to the objectification of our Muslim brothers and sisters and support the work of courageous Muslims like Irshad Manjee... Who knows we might even become known for our unconditional support for the people of Burma, our insistence for an end to the terror in Darfour and for being at the forefront of healing God's Creation.

Don't you dare accuse me of dreaming.

Our very unique structure and polity; our heritage of honoring Scripture, Tradition & the on-going work of God's Grace place us in such a very unique transformative time and space.

And then of course- and most thankfully- it isn't just us but the church of Jesus Christ, the radiant, resurrected son of the True and Living God alive & active in this process of transformation.

So no matter how uncouth the acrimony, how inept the bumbles, blunders and mis-steps; we are a church in motion- a church in process- though God's unfailing grace.

So that's why I still care, to answer the question of one shanga brother, and I refuse to settle for anything less- in the not-so-long-run of course.

'We are a people of hope'- to quote one radiant brother in faith- 'it's only a question of time'. (same source)

A point +Gene mentions- about being piqued at continual being referenced as the 'gay bishop': I can sure identify with that.

As long as I am identified primarily by but one detail of my divinely created
self-hood I am being objectified, rather than recognized as a living, vital human being and full member of the Church. And when this happens within the Church my relationship with the Divine is not only being devalued, but my faith practice, experience and the grace given are being devalued or dismissed- something no practicing Christian should countenance.

Need I state the obvious: There are no second-class Christians.

Yes, I am gay- among so many other things- but that is not only something Divinely included in my humanity, it is something I have, through God's grace, owned- again through God's grace. So it is something for me to choose to bring to the table- not something for others to reduce to a simplistic caricature of my life.

And then of course, there's the sad fact that the Church of all places, still has to resort to such handicapped terms to describe some of its most faithful members.

Sexuality is not an isolated feature of one's being.

Labeling an individual according to the repertoire of shared intimate acts in their life is not only insulting, it's a simplistic, artificial construct at the more desperate outer fringes of dualistic thinking. Or is this supposed to some sort of necessary standard; are we supposed to start referring to non-gay brothers and sisters according to the frequency and nature of their sexual intimacy also?

Personally, I have made a conscious decision to avoid the use of the word 'sexuality' because of it's implicit patriarchal objectification.

The real issue here- and the context for the Church's vocation is God's unfailing grace working in and through our lives- the concept is being- selfhood, to probably coin a phrase.

Sadly, the Church's insistence on 'sexuality' and the patriarchy's insistence on making the 'sexuality' of some of its baptized a make-or-break issue is a reflection of nothing less than just how alienated and frightened these same members are of their own vocations in Christ Jesus.

But to get back to this past week: Ottawa Synod, on Saturday voted 177 to 97 to ask their Bishop for permission for priests acting in good conscience to bless civil marriages and covenants of same-gender couples.

You might have heard my wild cheering when the news came in.

Of course the final decision of where this goes from there, rests with +John Chapman, and I'd ask your fraternal prayers for this brother who must be only to aware of the significance of this gigantic step is calming God's Greatest Blessing for God's Greatest Glory.

Of course, the patriarchy wasn't able to keep their mouths prayerfully shut, 'waiting on the Lord', in this instance either... and I quote from the Ottawa Citizen

Rev. Sinclair said that if the church passed the motion, "We are saying we are smarter than Jesus. We are saying Jesus was wrong and we are right."

Later he said he was "disappointed, but not surprised."

He predicted some Anglicans will leave over it, and he just hopes the farewells will be fond and not bitter or triumphant.

Pathetic isn't it how the patriarchy, in their desperation have to resort to mis-representing both Holy Scripture and our Lord's ministry on earth; when we all know Christ himself never spoke to same-sex love in Scripture? He was too busy embodying and witnessing to God unconditional love for Creation!


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