Wednesday, January 2, 2008

MORE RELIGIOUS CHAOS AMONG THE SEX-OBSESSED

"Conservative Anglican leaders have revealed plans for a breakaway summit for the hundreds of bishops who are expected to defy the Archbishop of Canterbury by boycotting the Lambeth Conference.

"Up to a third of the Anglican church's 900 bishops could boycott the conference in protest at the perceived fudging by the archbishop, Rowan Williams, over the US Episcopal church's attitude to gay clergy."

[For the full article, see here.]

In a sermon I delivered, and that is an article entitled, "Why Every Church Must Be Open And Affirming", that appears in the current issue of Whosoever, an online magazine directed to LGBT people and allies, and that should be read by every Christian, Gay or not, I said the following:

"Make no mistake, every drop of blood shed by GLBT people either through suicide, bashing, or murder, are on the hands of all those religious leaders, their followers, and their allies who spew forth their ignorance, prejudice, and hate against GLBT people and their relationships! These wolves in sheep’s clothing take the Bible, God’s love letter to His children, and selectively and perversely use it as a club to condemn others, and deny GLBT people full inclusion in the Church and in society.

"The tradition-bound parts of the Church have so indoctrinated people, many of whom have never even set foot in a house of worship, that many people even disown their own children when they 'come out' and divulge their sexual orientation to those whom they thought unconditionally loved and cherished them. There are many children living on the streets because their own parents trusted ignorant clergy and their followers over their God-given duty and privilege to nurture and embrace their own children!

"The Church should concentrate on the real sins that deserve our attention and that cry out to God for redress, such as invading another country on false pretenses; the working poor who can't afford medical insurance; the Supreme Court ruling that people can't sue their insurance company in state court for denying needed medical services; many elderly people having to decide whether to buy food or medicine; the gigantic rip off perpetrated by drug companies, hospitals, and the medical establishment on sick and vulnerable people. Why not focus on and address issues such as these, instead of obsessing on who loves who and who sleeps with whom? Such obsession tells us much more about the pathetic and moribund state of much of the Church than it does about the reality of the lives of GLBT people.

"Indeed, those who seek to exclude others from full fellowship in church, and in secular society, commit the greatest sin of all: the sin of pride. Jesus '…spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.' (Luke 18:9-14)"

Make no mistake: It isn't the "conservatives" who are leaving, or threatening to leave, the Anglican communion, and it is the "liberals" who are supporting the equality of Gay people and affirming Gay clergy ordination and same-sex marriage! "Conservatives" adhere to the Gospel of grace, faith, love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness. They are the ones who take the Bible seriously, and don't reduce the Bible to a book of rules and regulations that Jesus fulfilled in Himself and in those who trust Him.

It's the "radicals" who seek to reduce one's understanding of the Bible to that of a school child's understanding, taking every word literally, save for those words which condemn them and their exclusion of others. As I mentioned in my article, Jesus condemned divorce and remarriage, save for the reason of fornication, yet most all of these self-styled "conservative" clergy wouldn't dare preach on that text, as they would likely lose at least half their congregations, and they don't want to bite the hands that feed them.

However, they feel no compunction to defy Jesus' commandment for us to love and not judge others, and they select what they perceive as a "safe" minority group to persecute for their own distorted reasons, not the least of which is their false gospel of legalism, perfectionism, and exclusion that is antithetical to the Gospel and that makes a mockery of Christianity itself!

Also, the very fact that one's sexuality is the reason for the chaos in the Anglican communion, and in most other denominations within the institutional Church, shows the deplorable state of that "Church" much, if not most, of which has shown itself to be not of Christ. Not a word is heard about poverty, wars, disease, corporate corruption, and the like. Yet, when it comes to matters of love and sex, the self-righteous, smug, and arrogant clergy and their blind followers start to froth at the mouth, spew hateful rhetoric, albeit frequently couched in sanctimonious terms, and help contribute to the depression, self-loathing, suicides, assaults, and murders of untold numbers of LGBT people.

These purveyors of hate preach and live out by their rhetoric and discriminatory actions, as well as by their silence and inaction in the face of the oppression of others, a false gospel, and the Apostle Paul put it quite plainly about his view of these wolves in sheep's clothing. About anyone who preaches a false gospel, Paul said, "...let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8-9)

To be "accursed" is to be damned by God! In other words, as I mentioned in my sermon and article, Paul said concerning those who preach anything other than the Gospel of grace, or God's unmerited favor to us: "God damn him!"

The single minded condemnation of loving adults' sexual orientation, and their right to be accorded the dignity and sacramental and civil rights befitting every child of God, shows those "radicals" who have transgressed the "conservative" principles of the Gospel to have left fellowship not only with the Church of Jesus Christ, but also have shown themselves to have left fellowship with every decent human being, Christian or not, who yearns for equality for all of God's children.
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2 comments:

DON CHARLES aka "STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.' (Luke 18:9-14)"

This passage says it in a nutshell, Jerry. Humility is the key to salvation. And humility is something today's "conservative" mainstream church leaders are severely lacking in!

Jerry Maneker said...

That's for sure, Don Charles. When someone exalts his/her views of the world and his/her values and prejudices over and above the message of the Prince of Peace, he/she has shown him/herself to be far worse than atheists.

Atheists don't invoke God to justify their prejudices, but these wolves in sheep's clothing feel they can trump Kingdom values by appealing to God to justify their prejudices in the eyes of others, and the dire consequences that flow from their hateful and exclusionary rhetoric and actions, such as suicides, bashing, and murders of LGBT people, to which they strongly contribute, particularly given the credibility they are given and which they have shown that they certainly do not deserve.

That's why people have to read the Bible for themselves, recognizing that the Bible is not a substitute for God; cultural norms evolve over time, and that biblical principles of grace, faith, and love must trump the cultural practices of ancient societies.

And when self-styled "conservative, Bible-believing Christians" selectively choose those passages that they think justify their preconceived prejudices, usually without regard to context, and conveniently ignore other passages that could well rock their worlds, or from which they would receive no benefit, they are showing themselves to be a great danger both to the image of Christianity as well as to the civility of secular society in which they seek to impose their distortions.