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Re: [HoB/D] Archbishop Kolini says "primates are like God the father"
> Thank you for sharing part of your personal faith journey with the list.
> As part of our preparation for GC our Deputation spent two months
> listening to similar stories from Integrity members and from those who
> had left homosexual lifestyles. The thing that they held in common was
> that they were sure that they were hearing the voice of Jesus, and that
> voice led some to not question their lifestyle, and some to alter it.
> If I have heard you and many others correctly I think you are saying
> that you hear the voice of god to be affirming your understanding of
> your sexuality, because He is compassionate, loving and His call is
> universal, and that the Church must likewise be compassionate and
> loving. On these points, I do not think there is any major
> Where the difference in understanding begins for me lies in what you
> charecterized as the transformative power of the Gospel. On this point
> I also am in total agreement. In our meeting with Integrity I heard only
> one person admit that if Jesus did not want him to remain homosexual, he
> would change. The others would not go that far. To me all of us must
> come to Jesus and be willing to go that far or we have not come far
> enough. I am not who I was when I first turned to Jesus and said "I
> need You"! Jesus' claim on me is total. Even though I do not like it,
> I have no valid claim to any understanding about myself that I may have.
> With regard to sexual expression I cannot find any basis of
> agreement without an admission of the authority of Jesus to require we
> change from our own perceptions. To say that it is impossible to change
> is not sufficient, and paints an incomplete picture of Jesus.
> Where in your opinion do we go from these understandings toward
Thank you for your willingness to hear the stories of all lesbigay
people. It can't be easy, and I respect you for doing so. I assure you
that I would much rather be talking to you about courses I teach, such
as the Bible as Literature, or about the ministries of the Diocese of
Newark, or about our work on the Standing Commission on Anglican and
International Peace with Justice Concerns, about opportunities for
ministry enabled by cyberspace, or a host of other interests vital to
me. But it seems God has put the issue of homosexuality on our plate.
Not one of us is asking for it to be at the center of the stage, but we
must with candor and kindness try to talk about it across our many
As I understand my experience, I did leave a sinful life to follow
Jesus. I left a life of furtive sexuality with multiple strangers where
I did not experience wholeness. I can well understand why many lesbigay
persons want to leave lesbigay life if they feel, as I did, that
promiscuity is the only lesbigay alternative. When I met Ernest, I did
not know a single gay couple. I learned later that most who were living
as couples minimized their risks by not telling any but a narrow circle
of friends. The penalties for being known are still huge, and were
monumental in 1973 when we met.
Nor did I experience wholeness in the first 28 years of my life, during
which I eschewed all sexuality and cowered in fear of the body God had
You ask whether I would leave Ernest were I to believe that God does not
approve of our marriage. At the beginning of our relationship,
probably not. At the beginning, I had abandoned God because I felt God
had abandoned me. Now, yes, knowing the enormous love of God I would
leave anything or anyone that separated me from that love. But I do
not in all honesty expect to find that to be God's will; my primary
experience of God's love came to me initially in our relationship.
I suspect that if asked, St. Peter would say, "Yes, if you can show me
that the vision I had on the rooftop in Joppa was a delusion, surely, I
would abandon it and continue to keep kosher, but...."
Given the obvious risk I run of being wrong out of self-interest
regarding the sexuality issue, I look to other measures to test my faith
claims, for I don't want to be deluded anymore than you do. Before my
union with Ernest, I spent major portions of my energy focused on
myself; since that time, I have rarely been at the center of my
universe. My life was in emotional chaos, disordered, broken. Since
our marriage, it has almost never been. Before our marriage, it was
easy for me to believe that my homosexuality was a sickness. Since our
marriage, I would be hard for me to imagine how I could function in a
healthier way. Like others around me, I see lots of mental illness and
neurosis. I rejoice to have been delivered from that.
Those who knew me at closest range testified to the change. My father,
a dedicated Baptist deacon, shared with me a few months into our
marriage, "Son, you will have to forgive me. I'm about to say some
things that will hurt you and I don't mean to do that. I am a child of
my generation, born in 1905 in Coosa County Alabama, and I cannot
understand how a son of mine could love a black person as an equal. For
many weeks I have observed you trying to see if something in your
comments or behavior shows that you think that because you're a
homosexual you're not worthy and have chosen someone inferior. That
would be terribly unhealthy. I have not found any evidence of that.
Then I wondered whether you might have chosen him as someone you felt
your superior, and that too would be unhealthy, but I have found no
evidence of that.
"Son, you won't understand this, because you will not ever be a father,
but I have loved you from the moment you were born. I remember seeing
you the first time as you slept, your foot out from under the covers the
way mine is when I sleep. I remember the joy of hearing your mother's
laugh in your laugh. .. But all your life there has been something about
you that has been incomplete. I can't say what it is, but you aren't
that way anymore since you met Ernest. I don't understand it. Your
mother and I appreciate that you have honored our request not to bring
him here, but you have to tell Ernest for me when you get back home that
I have to love him because he has given my son back to me whole."
Six years later when I picked up the phone, Dad said, "I'd like to speak
to my son." We were both amused that both sets of parents mistook us by
the way we answered the phone.
"Dad, this is your son," I said gently.
"No, Louie, I want to speak to my other son."
"This one is for you," I said, handing Ernest the phone for his first
conversation with Dad. Dad invited him to come with me to visit and
apologized for their evil in rejecting him for so long. They were not
secretive people, and invited their closest friends to come meet Ernest
as well. It was simple. Honest hospitality always is.
Two weeks ago Ernest and I stood in public holding hands, as almost
never we do, beside their graves in Alabama. Both died in 1983. We
are both their sons still, united by the blood of Eucharist in our
Dad was just a man, a good man, but just a man. My Heavenly Father says
to every human being, "You are the child I wanted, and I love you very
much. I made you to be whole."