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Re: the actions of the Diocese of Westminster



I share here my continuing exchange with a friend who is a bishop in the
Sudan.  Pray for us both.  Pray especially for an end of the fierce
hostilities in that place.  I am enormously grateful that he would take
the time from his own burdens to express loving concern for my soul.

L.

-----------

On Jul 10 12:32pm XXXXX XXXXX  wrote:

> Dear Louie,
>
> My best regard and greetings to you in Jesus who is the true source of
> real love.
>
> I was overjoyed to read your response to the last e-mail that I sent to
> you.  I was also glad to read about the guinine conversation between the
> homosexuals and those like us who will not embrace it.  Their open up in
> this conversation depicts how transparent the Church is because God is
> love.
>
> According to my own understanding of the Bible, God does not change and
> his nature will not change.  He wants us to follow the order of his
> creation as between a man and woman.  I thank you very much that Louie
> that you are really learned.  For you to alter the way God made things
> to be according to your own perception, do you think really that is true
> knowledge?  My believe is that if we stick to the order of God's
> creation it is better than when we design our own order and way.
>
> Since God did not give a man to Adam, at the time of creation, we must
> know that true order of creation is the relationship between man and
> woman.  Otherwise, God would have shown right from beginning that man is
> for man.
>
> God loves you, and for people in Africa who never had chance to study
> like you to challenge that situation and understanding of a learned man
> like you.  Know that it is God speaking to you through us if you are not
> keen enough to discover that and listen to Him.
>
> I will be off from next week until the end of August when I come from
> Sudan for the meeting of House of Bishops to be held in Kampala.
>
> My best wishes and God's blessings.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2002 07:49:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: Louie Crew <lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu>

It is always good to hear from you, my brother.  I am humbled by your
witness under such fierce conditions, and I am grateful for your concern
for my soul.  Thank you for taking the time to engage me in dialogue.
Thank you for the kindness that you so clearly manifest even across our
differences.  Clearly you have been with Jesus.

I agree with you that God does not change.  God is the same yesterday,
today, and forever.  And God is good, all the time!

Our perception of God has changed rather dramatically over time, however.
For thousands of years human beings thought it was God's will to endorse
polygamy.  There is not passage of Scripture that ever 'un-endorses' it.
Historians tell us that some Jews were polygamous even in Jesus' day --
but not many, as the economic conditions under the Roman occupation did
not make polygamy possible for most people.  Still, Jesus said not one
word condemning polygamy.  Yet today, most Christians believe that
polygamy is not God's intention for human beings, not even for those who
have the money or resources to afford it.

Leviticus is unequivocal about eunuchs:  No person with crushed genitals
shall be part of God's kingdom (See Leviticus 21:20).  Yet Jesus said that 
some have been born eunuchs for the Kingdom of God (see Matthew 19:12).  
In Acts 8, when Philip, the most Jewish of the disciples, rides in the 
chariot with the Ethiopian eunuch, he knows full well from Hebrew scripture 
(the only scripture written at the time) that a eunuch is beyond the Kingdom. 
Yet Philip knows full well from his experience of Jesus, that the eunuch's
faith can save him, and he baptizes the eunuch -- very startling when you
stop to think of what most other Jews would have thought about this
inclusion at the time.

Yes, God created Adam and Eve.  God also created Louie and Ernest.  And
every other human being.  And many of us hear and heed that it is not good
to live alone.

Even our views of heterosexual marriage have changed dramatically through
Christian history.  Marriage is but a minor institution in Christianity.
Jesus stresses that it is of no importance whatsoever in heaven.  He tells
us that is we love anyone else more than we love him, we are not worthy of
the Gospel.  While Jesus provided the strong wine for the marriage at
Cana, he never married.  Peter is the only apostle about whom scripture
even implies a spouse (because it mentions his mother-in-law). Christians
were married only by the state for the first 12 centuries of Christendom,
and when marriages first began in churches, initially only the rich had
them.  St. Paul counseled against marriage, and recommended it mainly as
lust control.

If I shared your view that homosexuality is a form of unbridled lust and a
form of selfish indulgence of the flesh, I would condemn it, much as St.
Paul condemns male temple prostitutes in Romans 1 (the Greek is
ARSENOKOITOI).  I have met hundreds and hundreds of gay males, and not one
of them has ever aspired to be a temple prostitute.  Some of them are
indeed caught up in sexual obsessions and selfish indulgence, as are many
heterosexuals; but I do not take my view of you as a heterosexual from
what I know about heterosexuals who are sexually obsessive and lustful.

I share these thoughts in this way to respond to the questions that you
have specifically raised.  These are not important reasons for my belief
in God and in God's love for Ernest and me, however.  What is important to
us is God's continual presence in our lives, in our relationship together
and in calling us beyond ourselves to love absolutely everybody.

When we met, 29 years ago this coming September 1st, I was living a life
much like the one that you probably identify with most homosexuals.  I was
extremely promiscuous, self-indulgent, and in flight from God, because I
believed that God did not love me.  Then, in what I can only describe as a
miracle, I met Ernest.  We courted for five months, and then we married,
using the Book of Common Prayer, with only three persons present: Ernest,
me, and the Holy Spirit.

God's continuing presence with us has been manifest especially when one of
us is not his best self:  without God, that would be the time when we
would love the offender the least, but that has not happened.  When one
has been his weakest self, the other has always loved the more, not to
empower the weakness, but to call each other into the fullness which God
intends for us.  I do not know how to account for this dynamic in any
other way, except by God's grace.

When the church blesses couples, it does not do so to say how good the
two people are, but to say how good it is they they live in a loving,
caring, forgiving, redemptive relationship.

One of the rich ironies for me about marriage is that instead of its
calling us more narrowly into just ourselves, God has used it to call us
into the community.  Nourished by each other, we have more to share with
others.

I rejoice that the Church in several places is now beginning to bless gay
relationships.  I think it is important, however, not to confuse the
church's action with marriage itself.  Ernest and I have been married
since February 2, 1974, regardless of whether or not the church chooses to
recognize the relationship or to bless it. We have not been sitting around
waiting for marriage to happen:  it already did, and the blessings of it
have been abundant.

In Christian theology, the church never marries anyone:  the couple marry
themselves.  The church only 'solemnizes' the marriage, and in some
jurisdictions, acts on behalf of the state to make it legal as well.

It is hard for you from far off to know us as well as those who live with
us day in and day out.  I can assure you that good people who know us well
and at close range would not trust us or respect us if our lives bore the
fruits of unrighteousness.  We are sinners to be sure, and very much in
need of God's grace.  We pray daily to confess our sins, and to ask for
God's forgiveness, which God abundantly provides.  But Ernest and I do not
understand our sin to be our love for each other.  My sins is not that I
love Ernest, but that often I do not love him enough, namely as much as I
love myself.  More often than not, my sin is plain old ordinary and ugly
selfishness, and only by God's grace am I able to move beyond it.

Pray for us.  I pray for you continually, that you may be especially aware
of God's nearness to you, and that God will use you to allow others to see
Jesus.

Joy to you!

Love, Lutibelle/Louie




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