Where’s +Waldo on Same Sex Blessings?
Bishop Waldo, Diocese of Upper South Carolina released a statement on General Convention acknowledging his deep desire to institute same sex blessings in the diocese.
My long-held and still-present desire to move forward on same-sex blessings has been given a new discipline upon listening to the questions of those who object to it and the questions of those who support it.
To his credit Bishop Waldo is asking questions. It is unfortunate that he has turned to an article by the bishop of the diocese of Texas for inspiration. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, former Secretary of State James Baker gives the foreword and evidently was a catalyst in getting Bishop Doyle to develop a compromise for the diocese under the unity reasoning. The article is quite lengthy and was written prior to GC77. In the opinion of this mere pewsitter, it falls far short of offering a theological reason for imposing Same Sex Blessings on his diocese. An important note—Bishop Doyle is doing this in a diocese that prohibits a practicing homosexual from being deployed as priest in charge.
16. Will gay and lesbian clergy in the Diocese of Texas be permitted to have their same—‐gender relationships blessed?
No, in the Diocese of Texas we have Canon 43, which keeps the diocese from allowing clergy in same—‐gender partnerships to be deployed as priests—‐in—‐charge in the diocese.
Bishop Waldo goes on to ask several questions that he wants the membership of his diocese to answer.
To those who object to same-sex blessings, my questions are these, among others:
- How, exactly, is Christian marriage threatened by the blessing of a relationship between two persons of the same sex?
If two persons of the same-sex hold a sacred understanding of their bodies, rooted in St. Paul’s own words about the body being a temple of the Holy Spirit, and they understand and live their lives centered on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord, and hold traditional values around life-long, monogamous relationships, what, exactly, is the danger to Christian faith and marriage? Is it not possible for the church to bless such relationships as it seeks a balance between law and grace that errs on the side of grace, and still upholds the core of our biblical and theological inheritance?
If the standard for Christian marriage is removed, how will anyone either in or out of the Church, deny other forms of marriage. This is a question that cannot be avoided. General Convention passed language that recognized ALL FORMS of sexual orientation. More simply put, let’s respond to Bishop Waldo’s question with a question. If two persons who happen to be father and daughter desiring to be married hold a sacred understanding of their bodies, rooted in St. Paul’s own words about the body being a temple of the Holy Spirit, and they understand and live their lives centered on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord, and hold traditional values around life-long, monogamous relationships, what, exactly, is the danger to Christian faith and marriage? Is it not possible for the church to bless such relationships as it seeks a balance between law and grace that errs on the side of grace, and still upholds the core of our biblical and theological inheritance?
Many have said that the sin of homosexuality is in the sexual act itself. How, exactly, is that so, when those same acts are common in heterosexual Christian marriages? A theology of complementarity—that is, the Bible’s description of male-female complementarity—by itself, does not answer this question.
While this question is a great way to change the conversation, it should not be part of the discussion. “Many say” should not be the criteria. It should be biblical authority. Where is the biblical authority to conduct such blessings? Where is the exegeis that gives you such warrant?
To those who support same-sex blessings, my questions are these, among others:
What, precisely, will the Church’s teaching on human sexuality be? How will it be articulated in a way that takes the received biblical and theological tradition into substantive, respectful and “embraced” account, even as it articulates new understandings?
To this I would add a reminder that “the Church’s teaching” embodies more than the very small membership of the Episcopal church. It embodies the entire Body of Christ.. All Christian believers. How then, can this small miniscule membership declare itself a prophetic voice and move away from the Church Catholic and still remain a member of the Christian community?
If I am a person who believes homosexuality is a sin, why doesn’t the Episcopal Church’s rationale address, precisely, how it might not be a sin? [i.e., the rationale included with General Convention resolution A049 , which addressed same-sex blessings]
Excellent question except I know of no one who believes that experiencing same sex attraction is a sin. It is the practice of homosexuality that is in question here. We need to carefully separate experiencing the attraction from acting on it.
If marriage between a man and a woman has served as a rich metaphor for the ultimate consummation of the relationship between Christ and his Church at the end of time, why doesn’t the Episcopal Church’s rationale take the time to articulate how same-sex blessings fit in this trajectory of salvation? Why doesn’t it articulate, exactly, how the traditional metaphor can retain its power and substance side-by-side with new understandings?
It is heartening that the question recognizes that, to date, ECUSA has failed to provide any solid theological ground upon which to move forward with SSB. Those who hold to Scriptural Authority do not do so out of hate despite what the left would tell you. They do so out of love - for how can there be love if God is not honored?
If Bishop Waldo is serious about providing sound theological ground upon which to stand, he will find many supporters in his midst. The question is will he be able to resist the siren call of the secular lobby who will urge him to compromise as so many within the Episcopal church have done? The time for taking a stand is now. It remains to be seen which side of this divide Bishop Waldo will choose.
A word to all who elect to remain on the side of Biblical Authority. Are you providing a safe haven for those who are experiencing unwanted same sex attraction or has the constant din of the activist kept your diocese or your parish from being a safe shelter for them?
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