Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has for the first time [on December 12th], publicly expressed his opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill recently proposed in Uganda. His statement follows weeks of pressure, numerous calls for him to speak out and a petition signed by thousands urging him to condemn the Bill.

His office had previously said that he would not be commenting on the issue in public, but today (12 December), Williams said that the Bill was of “shocking severity” and that he could not see how any Anglican could support it....

The tension around the issue rose dramatically this week, after Williams criticised the election of a lesbian bishop in the USA while remaining silent on Uganda. The LGBT Anglican Coalition described his stance as a “double standard of justice”....

Williams' comments are likely to add to the pressure on other Christian leaders, including the Pope, to oppose the legislation.

[For the full article, see here.]

Although Williams immediately criticized the election of a lesbian Bishop in the Episcopal Church, it took him some weeks to criticize the draconian bill that would punish and even execute Gay people in Uganda. Indeed, Williams is considered a "liberal," as is most of the Methodist Church that only criticized that bill the day before (December 11th). The Pope has yet to condemn it!

When I became a Christian in 1982, I felt it necessary to attend church every time it was open. I attended church services Sunday mornings and evenings, as well as Wednesday evening Bible studies. In each church, and there were five of them, there were problems significant enough for us to leave and seek another church.

Just one example: In one church we attended, the pastor's wife and youth leader called my then 16 year old daughter "a tool of Satan" because she listened to rock music.

As an ordained minister of the Gospel, it might seem odd for me to tell you that I have antipathy toward most churches and denominations in the institutional Church, and that neither my wife nor I attend any church. Indeed, we have not attended church for about four years, and we don't miss it.

Why should we miss it? Most of them are enmeshed with the most reactionary forces within society; bear false witness and (despite their rhetoric to the contrary) hold LGBT people in disdain; remain silent in the face of the oppression of others, unless pushed and embarrassed enough to speak out, as we saw with Rick Warren and now with Rowan Williams; rarely, if ever, do they speak out against war, poverty, and corporate sins and greed.

Several years ago, I wrote an article entitled, A Church For The 21st Century, where I called for a New Reformation, and part of it reads as follows:

The need for a New Reformation can’t be made clearer! We as Christians are to hearken back to the biblical truth that God is a God of grace that we appropriate through our abiding trust, or faith, in Him, and that faith will yield the outworking by the Holy Spirit Who indwells all those who trust Him to show love, mercy, and compassion to others. There is no room for exclusion, patriarchy, authoritarianism, man-made tradition, and the false gospel of legalism and perfectionism here!

No! The New Reformation has been, and will continue to be, enacted by those who heed God’s call to be His agents of mercy and grace, unencumbered by fealty to hierarchical and authoritarian structures and those who seek to exalt themselves by adhering to the status quo that frequently handsomely rewards them positionally, psychologically, materially, socially, politically, and cognitively by artificially reinforcing their one dimensional view of our multidimensional world.

Sooner or later, all of God’s children, those called out by God from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), will stop seeking the living among the dead. When any of us make that spiritually necessary leap of faith, we have partaken in the New Reformation designed by God!

I honestly believe that most Christians are better off not going to church if that church in any way rejects anyone; equates Christianity with Americanism, jingoism, militarism, and capitalism; remains silent in the face of the oppression of others both at home and abroad.

Such churches and the denominations to which they belong are toxic to the spiritual life, and are toxic to civil society, as we have seen regarding the role denominations and churches have played in preventing and even rescinding the civil rights of Gay people.

Run from such toxic institutions and either remain home and nurture your spiritual life as you see fit or, perhaps, go to an open and affirming church, a church that nurtures your spirit and enables you to get closer to God, or else involve yourself in a worship community and/or Bible study that nurtures your spiritual life.

I have disdain for most of the institutional Church, save for such denominations as the Metropolitan Community Churches, most Episcopal churches, many churches affiliated with the United Church of Christ, and many churches affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, because Christians are to seek to live up to the admonition voiced by Joshua:

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve ; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell : but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)
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genevieve said...

Jerry, this why a lot of young people (and old) are turned off by the institutional church. Many people want to bring the gospel to the lost and the poor.

It's sad but the most narrow-minded bigoted people are many of these flag waving churchgoers.

Jerry Maneker said...

You've got that right, genevieve! Best wishes, Jerry.