Monday, January 10, 2005

It’s not all about sex, but . . .

The meeting Saturday morning at Trinity Episcopal Dallas featuring Bill Atwood was interesting.

I might mention highlights from Canon Atwood’s comments tomorrow. But first, the conversation at my table was interesting indeed. A gay gentleman joined us and let us know about his orientation and relationship at the beginning of our table discussion. I appreciated his honesty and good questions. And he handled our disagreements well.

One of his comments was that the current controversy is too much about sex. Something inspired me to respond that it’s not all about sex, but that conservatives are largely to blame for that perception. For when a stink should have been raised was when John Spong was not defrocked. I said that was a total breakdown in church discipline. And that conservatives didn’t put their foot down then, but have instead waited until now certainly invites the perception that it’s all about sex.

(Of course, if I were more historic, I would have used Bishop Pike as my example. But anyway . . . )

And that’s something we all at the table agreed with. (No, the gay guy didn’t like Spong either.)

And I do think the non-discipline of Pike or Spong should have been when conservatives put their foot down. (I’ve discussed the importance of church discipline in a number of my ongoing Churchly Quality Control posts.) And conservatives are now paying the price for that in a number of ways, including the perception that we are just getting worked up about sex.

And that’s unfortunate, because it’s not all about sex. It’s about the Gospel and the authority of Scripture. It’s about the very basics of Christian faith. Read, for example, this article from Canada. Note Bishop Michael Ingham’s writings and the divisions in the Anglican Church of Canada over the heart of the Gospel. This fight is about faithfulness to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

But again, conservatives have taken decades too long to join the fight with the needed resolute commitment. And misperception is only one of the costs of that.

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