Monday, May 30, 2011

Uncorking Anger

God is a woman.

At least, God's wisdom as described in Scripture is a woman.  My own personal feeling about God is that God is beyond our very two-dimensional views of gender.  In that way, I believe God is not only transgender but transcends gender.

The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction,

and concern for instruction is love of her,
and love of her is the keeping of her laws,
and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality,
and immortality brings one near to God;
so the desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom.
--Wisdom 6: 17-20

I read this as part of Morning Prayer last week.  I then read the news out of England, the equivalent of wikileaks for the Anglican Communion.  The late Very Rev. Colin Slee's notes on the shenanigans behind the deep-sixing (AGAIN!) of Rev. Jeffrey John to become Bishop of Southwark left a pit in my stomach.  It's apparent that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York intended to thwart the desires of the people in Southwark and that the Archbishop of Canterbury is a screamer.  

"The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction..."

Allow me.  Screaming at people is not a way to treat a fellow member of the body of Christ, or in this case the crown nominating committee.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, who has shown his rear more than once to those of us on this side of the pond, apparently has a bit of temper when it comes to gay men.   He pointedly disinvited the Bishop of New Hampshire, V. Gene Robinson, at the last Lambeth Conference.  His idea of a "listening process" to LGBT people is 30 minutes in a room with a select group of LGBT deputies to the General Convention.  Meanwhile, he has not condemned the Church of Uganda or any of the other African Churches for standing by or actively aiding in the death and discrimination against the LGBT community on that continent.   According to what The Guardian published last Wednesday, Rev. Slee suggests that the otherwise highly-private deliberations of the committee were intentionally being leaked by the Archbishop of Canterbury.  And while setting up his supposed "friend" Jeffery John for another disappointment (and trashing another priest for being married to a divorced woman), he sought a legal opinion as to how far the Church of England could extend its discriminatory practices.

Slee's evidence to the leak enquiry claimed that it was the archbishop of Canterbury himself who was responsible for the leak by asking church lawyers outside the committee for legal advice on whether John could be stopped. Lambeth Palace denies that it was the source of the leak and says there are errors in Slee's account. The archbishop of York's office refused to comment, saying the whole process was entirely confidential.

The House of Bishops sought legal advice to discover whether it would be illegal to deny John a job. A briefing in December from the Church House legal department appears to state that though it would be illegal to discriminate against him because he is a celibate gay person, it was perfectly in order to discriminate against him because there are Christians who cannot accept gay people.

See?  "... there are Christians who cannot accept gay people."   Chief among them: the upper echelon of the Church of England.  

It has long been a source of anger for me that the only acceptable gay person in the clergy is the one who takes the extraordinary step of being celibate.   Celibacy is a special calling in and of itself and to demand it of gay people is cruel.  Jeffrey John is celibate even though he's in a relationship with another man. But Jeffrey John's celibacy wasn't the real issue: the issue was Jeffrey John's sexual orientation.  Period.  ++Rowan forced him to step down from a nomination to be a suffragan bishop of Reading because he is gay and he wasn't going to allow him the Southwark post, either.  Because he is gay.  

And why must we have an Anglican Covenant?  Because we have gay people in the Communion who are making themselves known and are known to God.  Is this presence of gay Christians a new phenomenon?  Hell, no!  Did I not talk about St. Aelred?  There are doubtless many closet cases in the church, forced to live that way because otherwise they may be the subject of a screaming bearded bully.  A bully who is likely looking at the changing landscape and is circling the wagons so he can retain his--haha--power as the titular head of the Anglican Communion.  In this way, he is no different than the evangelical fundementalist bullies in this country who put their anti-gay agenda in state constitutions out of fear that one day, people will view LGBT people as full members of the human race deserving of equal rights under the law. 

Wisdom rescued from troubles those who served her.--Wisdom 10:9

I can only hope that the future of the Episcopal Church will not be too greatly influenced by the actions and desires of Lambeth Palace.  I used to be a lover of the Anglican Communion.  But if the Communion wants to treat gays in such a disrespectful and disgusting way, then again I ask, "Why do we want to be in Communion with a bully?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thoughtful thinking as always, Susan and I don't know how we can keep living along side of this guy.