Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bp Spong, bête noir, speaks out

From the WaPo (Hat tip Grandmere Mimi)
The battle over homosexuality in the Episcopal Church is over......

I rejoice in this for many reasons. First, it is right. Homosexuality is not a choice anymore than heterosexuality is. It is part of our human individual identity just like skin color, ethnic background, gender and right or left-handedness. The discrimination of the past has been the result of prejudice based on ignorance. Second, it brings honesty to this church. We have blessed gay and lesbian unions for decades, but only secretly. We have had countless gay clergy and gay bishops, but pretended that this was not so. It was one of our worst kept secrets. .....Dishonesty has eaten at the soul of this church's integrity, as indeed it still does in those churches where dishonesty still reigns supreme.....

The Archbishop's argument that this step is improper because the whole communion is not ready to move as a whole is a tragic misreading of history. The whole church was not ready to end slavery, apartheid or segregation, but significant part of it were not willing to continue these practices until their prejudices were finally overcome. In a similar manner parts of the church today will not postpone justice for homosexual persons until all of the homophobic and prejudiced-based ignorance is finally gone. That is not the way prejudice and ignorance ever die.

I am proud of the Episcopal Church ....I want my church united in truth. I do not want to be part of a church united in homophobia or one that pretends it can preserve unity by excluding any group of human beings.
Of course the problem with this for some is that Spong said it! So the other side won't hear it.


Erp said...

I believe even some liberal Episcopalians find Bishop Spong a bit much to handle.

James said...

A cousin of mine said about Spong, "I wouldn't believe a thing he said even if he said the house is on fire and I had flames shooting off my Aqua Netted hair."

David |Dah • veed| said...

It is sad that some folks feel that way about him, because John Shelby Spong is the reason that many of us are still a part of the church.

I know the man personally. I studied at his feet at Vancouver School of Theology in the 80s during summer program. He is a sincere Christian man, with a great wife at his side.

MarkBrunson said...

Bp. Spong was once a spearhead amongst the anti-LGBT forces of TEC. I think, like St. Paul, with his "conversion" came the same sense of passion and sense of driving guilt. He feels compelled to crusade, and, like most crusaders, is always abrasive to the opposition and frequently assumes others must have the same clear vision of right and wrong he does.

I understand him, but he's not always his own best PR.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

This statement is perfectly reasonable. Why seem to oppose?

Wormwood's Doxy said...

David, I'm an Episcopalian because of +Spong, and I greatly appreciate his stand for justice and against biblical literalism.

But his left-wing fundamentalism on issues of belief (i.e., no intelligent person can believe in a literal resurrection) leaves me cold. I don't need a liberal telling me what I CAN'T believe anymore than I need a conservative telling me what I MUST believe.


David |Dah • veed| said...

no intelligent person can believe in a literal resurrection

Doxy, I see plenty of folks paraphrase him thusly, but I have not seen him couch anything this brashly. He got cornered a few times at Lambeth 1998 where he did not appear to be able to think well on his feet, but I have seen him debate the likes of John Stott and he was a perfect gentleman when his opponent was not.

Could you please point me to where you have found him to be so?

BTW, I think that we must have very similar theologies, but I find I am so often on the other side of the fence with you. I wonder why that is so?

Wormwood's Doxy said...

I'm reading Jesus for the Nonreligious right now--and you are correct, he doesn't come right out and say that. But he certainly spends a lot of time implying it... ;-)

I didn't realize we WERE on opposite sides of the fence, so I'm not sure what you mean?


David |Dah • veed| said...

Perhaps I misread you, but I often feel, as in this case, that you are posting to counter what I have posted.

I know that I am snarky often in my posts by design, but here I was posting a lament that folks see him in such a negative light, because he is really a nice person. But he is aging, and I have not seen him for a good eight years, perhaps he has become cantankerous.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

David--if you feel comfortable doing so, could you e-mail me? I have something I'd like to share with you privately. (Nothing scary, I promise! :-)