Good and Evil

What is good to a liberal is evil to a conservative, and vice versa.

But what is truly good? And what is truly evil? How about a little exercise in compare/contrast?

::Humility, Grace and Freedom by Canon Dr Joe Cassidy::

So here’s what puzzles me: Given all this openness, why can’t we allow or even authorise the Episcopal Church to experiment with including gay lay-people, gay deacons, gay priests and, yes, gay bishops? Why can’t we allow the Episcopal Church to experiment with same-sex/quasi-nuptual blessings? Why can’t we ask the Episcopal Church to undertake, on behalf of the rest of the Church, a ministry of discernment within and alongside the various gay and lesbian communities? Why can’t we enable the Episcopal Church to push their idea of baptismal inclusiveness to the hilt to see whether it enhances holiness? Why can’t we do that? What is the real risk of doing so and what is the real risk of not doing so?In one sense, the answer is obvious: we can’t because many Anglicans in many provinces think the question is closed; others think the timing isn’t right; others think more theological reflection needs to occur before testing things in the field; others, hopefully only a few, write off the whole thing derisively as a pandering to modernity.

I take seriously what the Episcopal Church is trying to do. Unlike some, I do not believe that the Episcopal Church are a bunch of uncritical liberals, glibly and mindlessly embracing contemporary values as if they were obvious Christian values. My own theological and ethical instincts are decidedly conservative on most issues, but I do see the Episcopal Church taking a costly road, which admittedly is capable of jolting the foundations, and which would inevitably cause friction. I cannot but see a serious attempt to act with integrity. And that goes for all sides.

In one sense, I’m not surprised that this is occurring in the US, but I wouldn’t put it down to Episcopalian American liberalism. Rather, in a culture still barely coming to grips with a long and horribly-recent history of slavery, racial segregation, and racism, it should be impossible for the Church not to wonder whether we’re doing it again – only this time to another group identified as different in a different sort of way. That’s not American hubris, but real humility, an awareness of the possibility of grave sin.Because, if there’s any chance whatsoever that we’re doing it yet again, then not to take it seriously, not to take the possibility that we, the Church, might be caught in a long, deep cycle of social sin – well, that’s dangerous to the soul, a real sin of omission, one that can be profoundly destructive to a great many people.

In any event, taking it seriously means testing it, testing the direction the Episcopal Church is moving in to see whether it is ‘of the Lord.’

The entire essay is well written and well reasoned, and and it offers a new perspective that casts a lot more light than heat – a refreshing change from most opinions offered in the current unpleasantness. I’ve highlighted the part that seems to be resonating with a lot of people over at Father Jake’s. This is a considered opinion from a more conservative viewpoint that exercises a lot more intellectual rigor than usually seen from that end of the spectrum.

Compare and contrast with an editorial from a Nigerian news site, that from its tone is strongly pro-government, and is thus pro-Akinola, who carries the anti-gay flag for them.:

Akinola’s Anti-Gay Campaign

It is true that the American society largely runs on a liberal path. Its social ethos is strongly anchored on near laissez-faire attitude. That explains why the American society is very elastic in terms of tolerance of sometimes strange, if not outlandish habits.

However, if the social norms could accommodate such dispositions, the sacred order of religion is supposed to be tempered by some restraint and moderation. But the curious ordination of Jean Robinson, a gay Bishop, a couple of years ago, manifestly proves that not even the sanctity of divine laws espoused by the major religions can tame the wild libertine philosophy of the American society.

Archbishop Peter Akinola, the primate of the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) has been in the fore of the fight against this weird intrusion into the Christian faith. Just like most parts of the world were shocked with that ordination, Akinola has earned accolades from around the world for his doggedness in condemning the practice; at one point threatening to lead other African countries out of the Anglican fold if the practice of gay ordination continues. Time magazine named him among 100 most influential persons in the world.

It is bad enough that the Episcopal Church in America could condone sodomy in accommodating gay adherents in its fold. Yet, it is worse that even a gay man could be ordained a priest. Even then, that such a gay priest could indeed become a Bishop, a spiritual head of the church is revolting. It is as strange as it is antithetic to biblical stance.

No doubt, the idea of gay-priests and same-sex marriage as practised in American Anglican (Episcopal) Churches and some parts of Europe is a double-barreled affront on the doctrine of chastity and continence as enunciated in the Holy Bible.

Not so rigorous, is it? Not terribly well written, not factually accurate, full of half-truths twisted into non-truths.

Also, not terribly Christian, either. I can’t bring myself to quote the whole thing on my front page, but my gut tells me that this story might disappear from the news site if it causes enough of an uproar, as happened before when Bishop Orama’s words were twisted by another Nigerian reporter.

The Nigerian news services certainly seem to want to beat that big gay drum, because the government wants scapegoats to draw attention away from its many and manifest sins.

The rest of the Nigerian editorial is in the extended entry.
UPDATE: Fooey. The “MORE” tag isn’t working, the whole disreputable thing is here.

Thanks to Akinola’s spirited opposition, the American Church authorities in the Anglican Communion have recently realised the import of this practice such that they have re-modified their position. The Episcopal Church now says it will no longer admit gay-men/women into the priesthood order. That means that the Episcopal authorities are less bothered if members of the laity are gay men or women. In other words, being gay is good enough for the laity but not the clergy. Pray, does God have different measures for evaluating the faithfulness or holiness of clergymen and another for the laity? Put differently, if gayness is not edifying among the priests, why is it is permissive among the laity?

We agree with Akinola that this minimal shift in position amounts to scratching the matter on the surface. His resolve explains why he has earned the confidence and support of all African members of the Anglican Church; in the stiff opposition to the apostasy being introduced into the church.
It is against the backdrop of this cosmetic adjustment in stance of the Western Anglicans that we commend the unflinching commitment of Akinola, in upholding and campaigning for the preservation of the Bible-founded doctrines of the church.

Indeed, this wave of strange doctrine had stealthily crept into the church in 1993, during the Lambeth Conference in the United Kingdom, where the western leaders of the church, tolerated the idea of gay priests in its fold. Then, another Nigerian priest, Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma had also mounted a vehement opposition to the idea. Since then, the gay issue continues to dominate discourse within the global Anglican community.

We therefore see the resistance of Akinola and other clergymen as a way of not only promoting compliance with the Biblical values and teachings by adherents of the Anglican faith; but also protecting the socio-moral values of the African society. Indeed, as Africans, the prisms of our social ethos are anchored on family values. It is the nurture of such family values that ensure the continuation of mankind.

Neither the ordination of gay priests nor the promotion of same-sex marriage will ensure the continuation of the human race. If the gay culture, for instance, were to become a global order, what will become of procreation factor in the replenishment of human race. How will humanity renew itself with such anti-procreation stance?

We whole-heartedly endorse the crusade of Archbishop Akinola. We enjoin the American and the European Anglican communities to re-assess their libertine license, especially as it concerns ecclesiastical matters. It is unacceptable for any church worth its name to stick to the wrong-headed doctrine of same-sex marriage.

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