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Continuing the conversation Lambeth promised

> Dear Louie, I have just received emails from you and have read your
> response to Bishop Olajide. The issue is not that Christ came for
> sinners - that of course is correct, but why He came.  He came to call
> sinners to repentance.  He would do that to me in every aspect of my
> conduct (thoughts, words, actions).  He would do that for you as
> well.  We cannot seek an exemption be it gossip, pride or homosexual
> sex. Do not interpret my letter as condemnation but as a loving appeal
> in the same way that all our public liturgies have a general
> confession (calling for repentance) prior to the declaration of
> forgiveness. Peter R. BrainBishop of Armidale

Gentle Bishop Brain,

Indeed Christ calls me to repentance too.  Those closest to me -- my
parish priest, my bishop, other spiritual counselors -- know well how
seriously I take that charge.  My sins are ever before me.

I do not discern my life commitment to Ernest Clay for the last 26 years
as one of those sins.  In that relationship I have sinned, yes, -- not
in loving him, but  in not loving him enough, namely as much as I love
myself.   I have not experienced sexuality as a besetting sin, but
rather as a divine gift, a blessing.

My sins have usually been  plainer, but horribly ugly and debilitating:
typically selfishness, pride, insensitivity......  Of these I steadily
repent and with God's grace experience redemption and amendment of
life.  Please pray for me.

I am aware that some take the few biblical passages that seem to refer
to homosexuality as condemning all same-sex unions.  Many other
Christians do not  read those six or seven texts as the Bible's last
word regarding lesbigay persons , any more than you are likely to take
it as your obligation to kill anyone who experiences a homosexual act,
as Leviticus requires.

We are all in the journey of trying to discern God's mandates to us
through Scripture.  While we may not reach the same conclusions, I
assure you that I take very seriously the obligation to discern God's
will through Scripture, and I have put my understandings before the
Christian community in hundreds of publications over almost three
decades as a way of holding myself accountable.   In no way to I hold
that 'anything goes.'

Jesus was also faced with conflicting interpretations, and he responded
by saying that all the law and the prophets hang on the first two
commandments-- that we love God with our heart, mind (the most forgotten
commandment of them all!), soul, and strength; and that we love our
neighbors as ourselves -- that  includes straights loving your lesbigay
neighbors as you love yourselves, and my loving straights as I love

It appears we're bound together in this major mystery.  May God use us
to bless each other and to bless the world.

Please understand that I hold myself accountable for my discernment and
that I know that I might be wrong.  If I am  disobedient, I am not
knowingly so, nor willfully so.  I see only as through a dark glass.  I
look forward to the day when I see God face to face and know God even as
God already fully knows me.

I do not imagine at that encounter saying, "Let me in because I am gay
and gay is good."  Nor, I suspect, will you say, "Let me in because I am
straight and straight is the way you taught everyone to be."  Judgment
Day  is much too daunting for proclaiming our justification in terms of
our own behavior.  I do not presume to go to that encounter trusting in
my own righteousness, but in God's manifold and great mercies.

May God be merciful to me, a sinner, born again by Christ's own
redeeming.  May God be merciful to you, my brother, and bring us both at
the last into that heavenly company of all faithful people.

Thank you for your concern for my soul.


Louie Crew, Ph.D., D.D., Secretary of The Standing Commission on
Anglican &
International Peace with Justice Concerns
377 S. Harrison St., 12D, East Orange, NJ 07018. 973-395-1068
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/rel.html  Anglican Pages

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