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RE: [HoB/D] Judgmentalism

Don, thank you for your poignant response to my question.   I agree with you
that all sides in any divided community ought to bring to full and open
discussion with one another not only their judgments but their

Our comfort level with both metajudgments and judgments is often directly
related to whose ox they gore.

The chapter and wardens of the temple in Jerusalem could not have been
pleased when the itinerate rabbi, out of Nazareth no less!, swung a whip at
the ECW tacky tray bizarre or a bake sale of the Mothers Union.  The
exchequers in the temple were generating revenue to offset the costs of
operating the temple. They were pleased with their stewardship.  The
reaction was immediate:  "The chief priests and the teachers of the law
heard about this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared
him because the whole crowd was amazed at his teachings"(Mark 11:18).

Rarely are those who carefully obey God's laws day and night comfortable
with grace extended to prodigal younger brothers, tax collectors,
prostitutes, thieves, lesbians, gays, and such.

Yet as yesterday's Gospel demonstrated, those spurned are sometimes
resourceful in breaking in, even to the point of cutting holes in religious
architecture.  Jesus receives them, heals them, and forgives them even when
they don't ask for forgiveness or know that they need it.   The religious
establishment then and now - yea, the whole Anglican Communion -- is not

(Surely the Bible must have left out what was really said.  Surely Jesus
must have told the thief on the next cross, "Want me to remember YOU in
paradise?  You must first repeat after me, 'I believe in God the father
almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only son our

We risk moral paralysis if out of fear of being judgmental we cannot make
judgments at all.  Moral paralysis sometimes leaves the bloodiest stage, as
Hamlet demonstrated.

I believe the best test is to pray and mean it, "God, in forgiving me my
misjudgments, use the same standards that I use in responding to the
misjudgments of others"  (from Quean Lutibelle's version of the Lord's

In any divided community, we all need one another.  We will not likely ever
find a place where we all agree; but without any preliminaries we can move
instantly into the holy space in which we all forgive one another.

Describing one of the characters in THE DUBLINERS, James Joyce said, "She
made moral judgments the way some wield a meat cleaver."  The world
everywhere is filled with refuges from such grace-less religion.  I often
feel that my major gay ministry is not a ministry to lesbians and gays at
all, but to the millions of others who think that God would not love them
but might begin to question that view when they see God's people loving and
forgiving me even when I don't ask for forgiveness and seem not to know that
I need it.

The General Convention is right to insist that it acted in good faith in our
decisions in 2003.  It would be terribly wrong if it concluded, 'therefore
you must all shut up, leave us alone, or we will cut off all engagement with

Anglicans anywhere who disagree with us are right to insist that General
Convention made a mistake in our decisions in 2003.  It would be terribly
wrong if they concluded, therefore The Episcopal Church must be shut up, or
we will cut off all engagement with them.

Far bigger than the "issues" which divide us is the commandment that we love
one another.  It's easy to love those in basic agreement with us, but the
real test is to love those who revile us or persecute or say all manner of
evil against us falsely because of our faith's sake.

Even when that happens, we are bidden to rejoice and be exceedingly glad.

What a wondrous religion!  May God give us the will and the grace to
practice it.


Louie Crew
Chair of the Newark Deputation.  Member of Executive Council.

-----Original Message-----
From: Don Reed [mailto:dreed@wittenberg.edu]
Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2006 2:13 PM
To: bishopsdeputies@hobd.org
Subject: [HoB/D] Judgmentalism

Dear Louie,

At the conclusion of your description of your exchange with The Rev. Dr.
Isaac Ihiasota, you pose the following question:

"Yet can we effectively argue against judgmentalism if we insist on
using it?"

This seems to me an important question.  Please help me understand if the
following two responses seem incorrect to you:

* First, from our side, the term "judgmentalism" might apply, but that is
because folks on our side believe that something permissible is being
condemned.  When something impermissible is being condemned, we don't use
that term.  It is not "judgmentalism" to condemn greed and excessive
consumption in the face of abject poverty.  It is crying our for justice.
(At least I don't think we use "judgmentalism" that way.)

* Second, the term "judgmentalism" is itself judgmental -- which is not to
say that it is inappropriately so.  However, we pass judgment when we use
that term.  The difference is that we pass a meta-judgment when we use that
term.  We pass judgment about the way others pass judgment.  We stand for
allowing diversity of moral perspectives, and we pass judgment on those who
do not.

A final question:  Is it useful for us to ask those who stand with the
traditional teaching of the Church to recognize and discuss this very
difference: the difference between judgment of conduct which is immoral from
a privileged point of view and meta-judgment of judgment-behavior which
itself seems to claim privilege...or has the list been through that too many
times before?


L4, Southern Ohio

> ------------------------------
> Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2006 14:55:38 -0500
> To: "Bishops Deputies Discussion" <BishopsDeputies@hobd.org>
> From: "Louie Crew" <lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu>
> Cc: "\"Bishops of the Anglican Communion\"" <lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu>
> Subject: Re: "How much are we impeded in the Communion by different
cultural assumptions?  How might we move past them?"
> http://www.andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/natter/msg00075.html....

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