15 September 2009


An interesting news item here where our British friends seem to have decided that isolating female clerics is a bad plan. They had to discover this?

For those who are not inclined to follow the link, briefly thus. Blackburn Cathedral caused a stir when having appointed a lady canon, the cathedral chapter set up a system so that whenever a female cleric consecrated Eucharist a male priest also did a consecration or at least elements consecrated by a male were available. The chapter has figured out -- this took months -- that this is offensive. So the policy is now gone.

Which leads me to some thoughts:

Blackburn Cathedral was briefly the model for Dr. Williams "two tiered communion." Be it girl cooties or honest cooties, the problem is the same and the 'solution' is the same: isolate the unclean, the unworthy -- the other. Is Nigeria unable to see past the hatred of honest gays then set up a seperate 'track' for those churches which refuse to ban them. The model wont work for the communion either.

The real sin of the West is honesty. There have been lots of gay clergy over the decades. It is Gene Robinson's sin that he wont lie about who he is to himself, to God, to the church: he is who he is. For that honesty, he is treated as a outcast by Dr. Williams who is supposed to be a representative of the one who welcomed and even dined with outcasts.

Ultimately the problem is the sin of Sodom. No not gay sex; failure to obey the rules of hospitality. Jesus welcomed all, John did not examine those he baptized, Paul spoke to all and Dr. Williams has two tracks. Blackburn Cathedral Chapter tried that and came it appears to understand that it is simply wrong to treat the people of God on two tracks. I think we should perhaps start calling the excluders what they are: sodomites. (David Virtue take note.)

Incidentally, even though I think of it as blatant Donatism, those who cannot stand the thought of girl cooties can still get male consecrated communion there. No one stops them from selecting a service based on the gender of the celebrant. The cathedral remains hospitable, but now to all, (even girls!) Of course we do not know that they can avoid gay cooties, because some men there may be short on honesty cooties. Ah it gets so complicated when one sets out to be holier than Jesus instead of following him.


** For our European friends -- cooties is a slang term used for decades on this side of the pond to describe contamination from contact with those who are other. "Girl cooties" were what testosterone over-dosed boys of about 9 sought to avoid because they were afraid of women.


RonF said...

The real sin of the West is honesty. There have been lots of gay clergy over the decades. It is Gene Robinson's sin that he wont lie about who he is to himself, to God, to the church: he is who he is.

I believe that framing this as the central point of this debate is wrong. Certainly there have been a lot of gay clergy over the decades. There have also been a lot of adulterous clergy over the centuries, not a few thieves, etc., etc. It has long been held that sins of the clergy does not taint the message of the Gospel that they preach. The fact that gay clergy (or adulterous clergy, etc.) have been consecrated and have ministered, even effectively, is not the focus here.

What differentiates part of the West from the rest of the Church is that it now asserts that homosexual sexual activity is not sinful. That part asserts that such is acceptable and in fact worthy of celebration. THAT is a novelty that the rest of the Church cannnot accept and finds erroneous. Bp. Robinson is honest in telling everyone what he does. The Church overall, however, holds that he is dishonest when he asserts that what he does is not sinful.

All priests are human. All priests, like those they minister to, are sinful. The question at hand is whether this particular thing is sinful or not. For a priest to be a sinner is not wrong as long as they acknowledge their sin and repent of it. But when a priest asserts that a particular thing they do is NOT a sin and that they do not repents of it when the rest of the Church says that it is and that they should, then you have conflict.

JimB said...

The cathedral chapter, which likely conceals its gay members (most do) could not hide femininity. So they offered 'untainted' as they called it, elements for the uber-holy. That is not about sin it is about nature and bigotry.

As to activity, two words: Jeffery John.

I am afraid we are fated to disagree on this one.


Christal said...


Lez-be-friends, people

JimB said...


Actually for many gay couples adoption does come eventually. Adoptive couples generally are good parents.


RonF said...

The issue of whether or not to ordain women as priests and bishops is a different issue from whether or not to ordain sexually active homosexuals. One concerns an issue of innate nature, whereas the other concerns an issue of prohibited behavior.

I'm drawing a blank on Jeffrey John, I'm afraid.

JimB said...


Either everyone is baptized and the discernment process is open or it is not.

Incidentally, most lesbian/gay folks I know think the 'conduct v nature' argument is a hoot. When did you decide not to be gay? How did you know when did you make the choice? I know I never did. Girls were simply more interesting.

For the conduct argument to hold up, you had to find men attractive and decide not to follow up on that. Did you?


RonF said...

I do not see how the fact that someone is baptized means that the discernment process is automatically open to them. Let's say that someone who is both baptized and openly and notoriously an adulterer wishes to enter the discernment process. Does that mean that they are eligible to do so? I shouldn't think so. I should think that said person would be told to repent of and cease their sinful pursuits first.

I realize that the proponents of permitting the consecration of openly and unrepentantly sexually active homosexuals put forward the concept that all the sacraments should be open to all the baptized, but that doesn't seem at all sensible to me, nor does it seem in conformance with either the canons or to historic usage. Note that even the current prayer book calls for the Eucharist to be withheld from a notorious sinner, even though they are baptized.

For the conduct argument to hold up, you had to find men attractive and decide not to follow up on that.

Another common arguement that I've never seen the sense in. The fact that heterosexuality is not a conscious choice doesn't mean that homosexuality therefore is not. They are two different things. It also doesn't mean that something that was not a conscious choice isn't something that is wrong and that should be avoided. Many people are brought up to be racist - my own pastor was brought up in Tennesee and the influence of his upbringing has been the subject of many a sermon. That does not justify racism.

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