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Re: Message from Bishop Samuel Ssekkadde, Bishop of Namirembe, Uganda



Rt. Rev. Samuel Balagadde Ssekkadde
BISHOP OF NAMIREMBE

Gentle Bishop Ssekkadde,

> Dear Mr. Crew,

Please call me by my Christian name, "Louie"; or if you insist on a
title, please use 'Dr.' or 'Professor.' It's a small point.  Of course
we both are 'Mr.'; but I won't use that title for you.

Again, thank you for your concern for my soul.

I assure you that my trust is completely in the Lord and not in my own
understanding.  In all my ways, I try to acknowledge him.  It is Jesus
whom I proclaim, his love, his righteousness, not my own.

With all respect, you do not know me or my Christian life well enough
to judge it from afar.  Our diocesan Standing Committee would not have
twice elected me its president had they reached your conclusion.  My
bishop would not have bestowed on me the Bishop's Cross, the highest
honor in our diocese, had he reached your conclusion; he and his wife
have frequently been in our home, and we in theirs.  I would not have
won the support of the General Convention to be elected to Executive
Council with the second most votes in a field of 9 or more candidates
in 2000 had that body, which sees me at much closer range than you do,
reached your conclusion.  Two seminaries of the Episcopal Church would
not have awarded me honorary degrees had they reached your
conclusion...

Has it even occurred to you to ask why those who know me best for
years and years have reached conclusions different from your own, when
you know me very little at all?

They may be wrong, but so may you be wrong.   God alone knows for
sure.  I rejoice in God's property, which is always to show mercy.

You look only at the plumbing, which I have never discussed with you,
not at my wholeness in ministry that goes far beyond your very narrow
focus on sexual activity.  I am 66 years old.  Frankly, anyone
radically concerned about my sexual activity needs to see a doctor.

When I was among you, your Archbishop excoriated me before most of the
bishops of the Sudan and Uganda at his home -- a huge violation of
hospitality which I had done nothing to provoke -- and not one Ugandan
bishop spoke a word to me.  Were you there that evening?  I was his
guest and a guest of your province as an official visitor for the
Episcopal Church.  Surely respect for my office should have governed
his behavior, regardless of what he thought of me personally.

(See my account of that visit at the time, at
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/natter_old2/msg00058.html)

By contrast, Jesus spent time with sinners.  They invited him back
often. Sinners that I know don't invite people to their homes who
insult them or allow others to insult them.

I know Jesus well.  He hangs out with sinners and loves us.  He
reserves his scorn for the self-righteous, wise in their own conceits.

I appreciate your efforts to persuade me, but can you not understand
how my past experience diminishes the authority of your judgments.
Had love preceded them, had you taken the risk to treat me with
kindness (not with approval, but with kindness) when your colleague
attacked me, I would indeed know you to be acting toward me as Jesus
acts.

You and I both will be judged not by how we treat those who agree with
us but by how we treat those we consider the least among us.  I did
not make up that criterion; nor do I find it easy.   But that is the
criterion of Judgment Day.

May God find us both faithful.

I hope that we can again try to connect.  Perhaps your travels will
bring you to the US or mine again to Uganda.  I would like that.  We
need to begin this conversation again, eye to eye, without
pre-judgments.

Pray for me; I have added you to my daily prayer list.

I am sharing a copy of this exchange with our brother Benjamin
Musoke-Lubega <bmusoke-lubega@episcopalchurch.org>, Officer for Africa
for the Episcopal Church in hopes that he can help in our on-going
conversation.

Louie

Louie Crew, Ph.D., D.D., D.D.
Member of Executive Council
377 S. Harrison St., 12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1222. 973-395-1068
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/rel.html  Anglican Pages



On Aug 26 2:52pm Namirembe Diocese wrote:

> 26/8/2003
>
> Dear Mr. Crew,
>
> Christian greetings in the blessed name of Jesus Christ our Lord and
> Saviour.  Thank you for the recent communication dated 19/8/2003.
>
> I am constrained to throw my understanding as a born again Christian, and a
> Bishop in the Church of God, on what you seem to misunderstand.  As you
> said, that you may be wrong to believe that monoganous gay relationships
> are not a sin.  Indeed you are wrong.
>
> God's grace is sufficient to cover your mistakes.  It is an underestimation
> and a misunderstanding of God's grace.  It is cheap grace which we bestow
> on ourselves.  Cheap grace is asking for forgivenss without requiring
> repetence, without displine, without personal confession.  It is grace
> without the cross, without an incarnete living Jesus Christ.
>
> As a Christian, the grace of God is costly.  It requires a man or woman in
> sin, conscious or unconcious, to pluck out the eye that causes him or her
> to stumble.  It is a call of Jesus Christ to leave our ugly occupation and
> follow Him.  This grace is costly, because it gives people true life.  It
> is costly because it condemns sin.  What had cost God, cannot be cheap for us.
>
> I am concerned about your life as a Christian.  We do not deserve a free
> pass into eternal bliss, unless we repent.  The Bible gives full weight to
> the gravity of your sickness because it knows the remedy.   The Story of
> Ezekiel 37:1-3, represents the situation, the Church is going through today.
>
> As Chairman of gay movement in your country, I call upon you to
> reconnect dry bones.  We cannot allow people who call themselves
> Christians to discard the central theme of the Church for which
> Christ died to save and redeem.  My interest in you is meant to
> reconnect you to the central message of the Bible - salvation.  We
> are terrified to read your assertion that gay relationship is not a
> sin.  This is intended betrayal of the Faith we cherish and believe
> in.
>
> The affair you have engaged in, is jeopadizing your life with Christ.
> Human life cannot be assumed therefore we call upon the Holy Spirit to
> breathe in you life.
>
> I call upon you as a Christian brother to abandon the sinful affair you are
> in.  PUT YOUR TRUST in GOD, overriding resolve, your life will experience a
> new transformation.
>
> Yours in His Service,
>
>
> Rt. Rev. Samuel Balagadde Ssekkadde
> BISHOP OF NAMIREMBE
>
>
>
>
>




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