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New Initiatives for Dialogue in ECUSA & in the Communion
To: Integrity Lightspeed <Integrity-L@american.edu>,
Diocese of Newark <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
"List, Anglican Mailing" <email@example.com>,
Quest Coffee Hour <firstname.lastname@example.org>
An open letter to lesbigay Christians:
I well understand why some lesbigays view new calls for dialogue with
anguish. 'How much longer must we bleed in public?' some ask. This
is especially true when some of the calls for dialogue seem insincere,
using dialogue as a tactic to delay specific action. The anguish is
exacerbated when some straights want to us to bare all but would never
subject their own affectional choices to the public scrutiny they
bring to ours. Listening always risks such spiritual voyeurism.
There is always the risk of objectifying lesbigay persons and defining
us merely by our sexuality, violating our whole personhood.
Nevertheless, there is no time certain at which we disciples are no
longer to take up our crosses and follow Jesus.
In God's catacombs, down the Apian Way from every Coliseum, there are
many rooms, reserved for those who need break-out space from such
witness; but witness we must, to the inestimable love which Christ is
making known to us in these times, and through us, to absolutely
Many who have not listened in the past are now ready to listen. For
example, look at the map of the USA showing where bishops live who
have signed the pastoral statement towards lesbigays following the
Lambeth Conference, at
http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/lambeth.html#pastoralmap A new
swath of support moves across the center of Province 4 (The Old South)
and into the heartland where we have not often encountered such
kindness before. And beyond ECUSA, some of the more hostile Anglican
primates have taken up our Presiding Bishop's invitation to 'come and
see.' Several at this very moment are traveling to dioceses in ECUSA
listening to lesbigays and raising their concerns with us. More
bishops from around the Communion will gather in November at Holy
Cross Monastery in West Park, NY, to explore how to open the dialogue
Pray many times each day for all who participate in these holy
opportunities. No other Communion in Christendom is talking this
intently, yet all are confronting the same issues.
The quality of straight folks' listening should not determine our
willingness to share. Some seeds fall on stony ground. Some fall on
good ground but are devoured by weeds. Others take root. We are to
scatter seeds; it is the Holy Spirit's job thereafter, and God's is
Be careful not to demonize those who find us loathsome. So have some
of us thought the same of ourselves before encountering God's much
Be careful not to think reductively about regions of the world that
are most adamant in their resistance. So was the Episcopal Church as
recently as 1979.
Be careful not to misrepresent us as better than we are. The good
news is not that "Gay is good!" We believe it is neutral, neither
good nor evil, just as straight is neither good nor evil. Others just
as faithfully believe gay is bad. The Good News that we share is that
"God is good, and God's mercy endures forever." "As far as the East is
from the West, so far has God put our transgressions from us."
Pray the we too will listen well. The rest of the Communion has much
to give us learned in their own dramatic spiritual journeys with
Christ. We are not divided into the Good Folks and the Bad Folks. We
are all sinners saved by God's marvelous grace, and it is God's own
prayer that 'you all might be one, even as the Father and I are one.'
Millions of persons (most of them straight, since for some strange
reason they seem always to outnumber us) feel unloved and unwanted and
do not expect the church would really welcome them. Many of these are
watching the way the Church responds to lesbigays to determine whether
the church really does have the ability to love as Jesus does, to
determine whether they dare believe for themselves the claim that "The
Episcopal Church Welcomes You!" These folks share the full variety of
views about lesbigays, but for all at this moment in time, we serve as
the canary in the coal mine. The welcome of us clarifies whether the
toxic fumes have dissipated enough to make it safe for all the others
for whom God died and was resurrected. Those watching will know that
we are Christians not by how much we love them, but by how much we
love one another.
We already know the Good News. It is God, not the church, who has
invited us to the sacred feast. We already are loved by God
immeasurably. We already are joint heirs with Jesus Christ, our
Let the same mind be in [us] that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death--
even death on a cross.
Joy to the whole world!
L Crew, Box 30, Nwk, NJ 07101. 973-485-4503.
There are 92 days until the end of the 1900s.
bcc: Online Bishops of the Anglican Communion & Deputies to General