Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Loosening Burdens

I wasn't going to do it. I wasn't going to write about sex again. I wasn't going to feed the beast of non-stop debate around the actions of General Convention. And I wasn't going to write anything until the resolution in question became official. (Actually, the resolution amended and passed by the House of Bishops yesterday is being voted on right now in the House of Deputies.)

But two bishops have gotten to me.

Bishop N.T. Wright of Durham (Church of England) wrote a long article in tomorrow's TimesOnline. (Time zones are cool!) He pronounces that the Episcopal Church has left the Anglican Communion. And among other things says,
Jesus’s own stern denunciation of sexual immorality would certainly have carried, to his hearers, a clear implied rejection of all sexual behaviour outside heterosexual monogamy.

This is a new one for me. I haven't heard anyone make this argument before. I'm stunned by the bishop's ability to read the divine mind, much less those of Jesus audience. He's probably right, actually, about most of Jesus' audience, because there weren't any same-sex, monogamous, faithful, loving, mutual relationships in his day, that we have record of. It is IMPOSSIBLE to know what Jesus would have said to the crowds if there had been such relationships in the society he knew. It's even impossible for Bp. Wright to know.

The other bishop that got to me today is Bishop Stacy Sauls of Lexington (KY) whom I mentioned before. In the House of Bishops debate this morning about allowing blessing of same-sex unions in states where it is lawful, he likened it to divorce and remarriage, and the way in which the majority of churches in the Anglican Communion (including Bishop Wright's Church of England) have permitted remarriage after divorce. And then he quoted Matthew 23:4 saying,
They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.

It seems to me that we have loosened the heavy burden that the church has placed upon gay and lesbian people for generations. I think Jesus would agree. Bishop Sauls thinks he would agree. We can't know for sure, any more than Bishop Wright can know for sure. We can trust that we are ultimately being guided by the Holy Spirit and that if we are wrong, God will correct us. What I have sensed and seen is God calling us into greater and greater degrees of inclusion and love, despite our hesitancy, fear, and uncertainty.

No comments: