Thursday, February 22, 2007

Freedom and Justice for All???

Dear friends,
The other shoe did indeed drop this week with the Primates of the Anglican Communion asking the American Church to refrain from blessing any more same sex unions and from ordaining any more priests or consecrating any more bishops who happen to be honest about the fact that they may live in a commited monogamous same sex relationship.
There are many of us who believe that this statement smacks of the same kind of institutional bigotry that we have repudiated in the past but usually long after the crime has been committed. The primates for instance released a communique in Zanzibar at a former slave trading market acknowleding the church's role in slavery and repenting now of the same.
So now, in the long tradition of Galileo, Lincoln, Darwin and others, we again refuse to embrace the knowledge we gain from science, or follow the teachings of Jesus who made it especially urgent that we reach out to the margins of the social order to bring into the fellowship of God's love those most like the lepers and outcasts of his day.
The Reverend Ed Bacon of All Saints, Pasadena has articulated the point superbly in the following words;
The Reverend Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints Church Pasadena, will
challenge the theology of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, who, in a
communiqué delivered Sunday, ordered the U.S. Episcopal Church to
refrain from creating rites to bless same-sex unions.

"We have been blessing the unions of our gay and lesbian parishioners
for 15 years and we have no intention of denying them blessings in the
future," said Bacon. He will express his objections in his sermons this
Sunday, February 25. In making such a statement, Bacon puts himself at
odds with his Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who endorsed
"a season of fasting from authorizing rites for blessing same-sex

Bacon said, "As rector, I will reject all Episcopal invitations to
"fast" from doing the justice work of embodying God's inclusive love. The
fast to which Lent calls us is to foreswear acts of interpersonal and
institutional bigotry and discrimination with which this communiqué is
dripping." Bacon will invite all present on Sunday to stand and hold
hands in solidarity with one another, saying to the Church-at-large that
All Saints will continue blessing same-gender unions in the future. Bacon
will also encourage each worshiper to pray supportively for Bishop
Jefferts Schori in her ministry of pastoral care, compassion, and justice
for all.

"There is already too much exceptionalism and exclusion in the history
of Christianity without extending our institutional practice of making
outcasts of our LGBT sisters and brothers. I believe that one day
Anglican primates will gather somewhere for a corporate confession of this
prejudicial act of February 19, 2007, just as the Anglican primates
gathered last Sunday and confessed that slavery was an evil practice in
which the Anglican church played a sinful role. In order for All Saints to
exercise its role of leadership in the larger Church, to move us toward
that day of repentance, we need the energy of every one of our members
and friends at All Saints to help us transfigure the Church from within
so that it can become what God has always envisioned."

All Saints Church is located at 132 N. Euclid Avenue, Pasadena, Ca.
For further information or to schedule interviews,
please contact Director of Communications Keith Holeman at
I find these words compelling at a time when many in my own church and family will find the statement of our Anglican Primates nothing less than a rebuff and a cold shoulder to those we love so much. NO! NO MORE! All people will have our blessing!
We are a house of prayer for ALL PEOPLE!!!
May God have mercy on us.
And may God Bless us EVERYONE!
Fr. Paul

1 comment:

Chuck said...

Amen, brother! Please allow me a little levity. I have some serious thoughts about the "schismatics" in the Anglican Communion, and especially CANA and its ilk. I have to confess that I certainly have thought of them as "judgmental bastards." Please allow me to explain. I agree with Columbia professor and Episcopal priest Randall Balmer who says that if you're going to judge sins and choose to disassociate with others on the basis of the Levitical Code, you have to go with the Code, i.e.,you should be prepared to advocate capital punishment for adultery and to enforce the prohibitions against wearing clothing with mixed fabric content and against the interbreeding of cattle – all of which appear in the same Levitical tables. Or take Jesus' teaching on divorce - they seem to be silent on that. After all, it is a little hard to live up to, if you read it literally. The schismatics are, in Balmer's words, "too selective in judgment and love" in their literalism. You know the "schismatics," the ones who refused to take communion with our presiding bishop. St. Paul tells that we should eat the Lord's body and drink his blood worthily - it's not a matter of being worthy, but discerning Christ worthily, as the accepted Greek text tells us. I think if I am going to err, I want to err on the side of too much love, not too much judgment. Now back to the "judgmental bastards." The way I see it, the "schismatics" have basterdized Jesus' teaching and ethic of love in favor of judgment, hence, "judgmental bastards." I have to confess my words are not simply dispassionate logic. I believe I get a vicarious feeling of glee when referring to the judgmental bastards as judgmental bastards, and have fallen into their trap. For that sin I am truly sorry, and humbly repent. But, hey, at least the anger is gone. Ah, the yoke is easy and the burden is light. God may take me to the woodshed, and if he does, well, I deserve it. After all, who am I to tell others I have a monopoly on interpreting God's word and will for us? On the other hand, maybe, just maybe, God will get a chuckle out of this. Maybe he'll even pump his fist and say "right on!" Come to think of it, if I have to go to the woodshed, I would rather do that than spend time with the "judgmental bastards" - that sounds a little like hell to me. But, I say to judgmental bastards everywhere, join me at the table - there's room for everyone! Thanks be to God.