Letters from the week of 20 - 26 February 2017
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Coming to terms with itself
Why does the Church of England coming to terms with non-binary sexuality and relationships need to take the same form as Roman Catholicism coming to terms with Galileo's announcement that the earth is not the center of the known universe? How can we be relevant as an institution of faith when we are alienating the very people we are called to serve? We are quick to dismiss many practices described in the Old and New Testaments as cultural or based on a ancient worldview but when it comes to human sexuality we freeze up and appeal to God's "Eternal" plan for male/female binary units as the only means of marriage. The findings of biological science informs us that life is much more complicated and diverse than scripture leads us to believe.
I have a good friend who is epileptic - I am in noways tempted to cast out the demon as described in the Gospels but understand it to be a brain lesion from an car accident. Likewise gay and lesbian or other gendered individuals I understand not as social deviants but human beings en-souled by God and en-gifted with desires and a capacity for relationship - in all of its colors. They are colleagues, friends, and parishioners and most welcome to be themselves. As a Canadian I am familiar with our late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's appeal for law to get out of people's bedrooms and his move to decriminalize homosexuality. Time to get with the program and own that the world is much more diverse than the writers of Scripture could imagine and let marriage enfold monogamous relationships in all their blessed diversity.
The Rev Donald Shields
Grace Church Markham
Markham, Ontario, CANADA
21 February 2017
I think the Anglican Communion in general and the Episcopal Church (USA) in particular have focused to the point of distraction on the issue of sexual identity. Our Master had very little to say about about sex, and rightly so, and instead gave all his energy and his life to showing that love is the most powerful force in the universe. Everyone has a place in that universe, if only we just accept Jesus' invitation to find our own mansion within it. Let's find something more productive to focus on, like saving souls. Judge not not lest you be judged, as a prodigiously gifted young rabbi once said.
All Saints Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
22 February 2017
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