Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sin in the Episcopal Church

Frankly, I'm tired of these pious prelates who claim to be Christian but act like the devil.

Newsweek interviewed one of these christianist wingnuts, Bishop Martyn Minns, a leader of the new Anglican Church in North America, which is aligned with the ultra-conservative Church of Nigeria. Minns is now a bishop in the Church of Nigeria.

Exciting, isn't it?

If you give a rat's ass about this stuff, you know that a number of "traditionalist" (read anti-homosexual) Episcopal congregations in the U.S. have pulled out of the Protestant Episcopal Church because they are mightily pissed about Gene Robinson, an openly gay man who was ordained a bishop back in 2003.

For Minns, as for so many of these other faux christianist leaders, it's all about homosexuality. He claims he preaches "across lines of race, class and geography," but when asked about sexuality, gave this smart-ass comment: "God's love can change us all."

Homosexuality, says Minns, is "clearly sinful. It leads to brokenness." Homosexuals must change before they are welcome in the church or can be leaders in the church.

That's hilarious in a stupid sort of way. It's Minns and the others pulling away from the Episcopal church who are aiding and abetting the brokenness.

And the real "sin" is not homosexuality, but the prideful biblicism that leads them to believe they know the mind of God on homosexuality (as well as other issues).

Perhaps part of the problem is the use of the word, "sin." Literally, to sin means to miss the mark. But biblical literalists ignore that less tendentious meaning. For them "sin" constitutes a grave offense against God which will lead their loving, kind and merciful God to send "sinners" to hell where they will suffer eternal torture.

Maybe not as terrible a torture as listening to Bush give a speech, but close.

When one begins to think he/she knows what "sin" is, it is then an easy step into God's shoes and declare "truth" even when you have no clue what the hell you're talking about.

You can even come to believe you know which pieces of the Bible are crucial and which can be ignored.

Sin, then, becomes whatever you say it is.

Ergo, for Bishop Minns, and hundreds of his cohorts, homosexuality is "sin," a grave offense against God which God will punish with eternal torture.

The end result is momentous and horrific hypocrisy which causes immense pain and suffering and destroys lives: like tearing churches and families apart over the "sin" of homosexuality.

But homosexuality is not the "sin" that is hurting the Episcopal church and so many other churches. In fact, that's not a "sin" at all. It's a genetic accident of birth. It is, if you think in these terms--that God created all that exists - thus a gift from God.

The "sin" in the Episcopal church is the willingness to consign homosexuals to hell and to rend the fabric of Christian union over this issue.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus, in the so-called "Farewell Discourses," is recorded as telling his disciples, "I give you a new commandment: love one another; as I have loved you, so you are to love one another. If there is love among you, then all will know that you are my disciples." (John 13:34-35 - The New English Bible).

That's pretty clear for those who claim to follow Jesus. He doesn't say his disciples will have the power to determine who is and who isn't a sinner, or that they should break the fellowship over such issues. It's very simple: love one another.

And "all will know" Christians follow Jesus, "If there is love among you."

The real sin of the hypocrites rending the Episcopal church and other churches around the world over the issue of homosexuality, is the sin of pride.

Which is, as we know, the most deadly of the Seven Deadly Sins.

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