Grant LeMarquand Speaks at TEC House of Bishops

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two years ago The Episcopal Church House of Bishops asked a panel of eight theologians, four "conservative" and four "liberal," to produce a study document addressing the issue of same-sex marriage. The Rev. Dr. Grant LeMarquand, Trinity's Academic Dean, was one of the theologians on that committee. Their work is now done.

Along with Dr. Willis Jenkins of Yale, Grant went to the Spring 2010 meeting of the House of Bishops to present the work of the panel. Both Willis and Grant gave ten minute presentations summarizing the two positions, for and against same-sex marriage. The bishops then discussed among themselves in table groups following which there was an hour for the bishops to ask questions. Perhaps the most interesting thing which happened during that question period was a short speech by Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, who expressed dissatisfaction with both papers and stated that it was time to move beyond speaking simply of "GLBT" (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered) orientations: "there are so many other letters in the alphabet," he said; "there are so many other sexualities to be explored." He did not elaborate as to what those other sexualities and other letters of the alphabet might be.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

14 Comments
Posted March 27, 2010 at 11:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

“There are so many other sexualities to be explored”. 

Do all of those get a Christian blessing, too, even if they remain undefined or undiscovered?

March 27, 1:57 pm | [comment link]
2. seitz wrote:

Nicely done, Grant. Handled with aplomb and not, as you note, a setting one would wish to speak in at this time. Why the liberal side does not see how prosecutorial they have become bewilders many of us. I thought the best part was your pointing out how, by invoking ‘the Spirit’ this really must be a ‘no prisoners’ position for the liberal cause. In the Rousseau v Locke liberal contest, the Locke view will triumph when it has power. The Spirit will sound like Luther’s Law.

March 27, 1:58 pm | [comment link]
3. Kendall Harmon wrote:

#1, when Bishop Spong came to England in the early 1990’s when I was pursuing my doctorate at oxford, he was rejected by many as a conservative by the audience.

See for example this post and the attendant quotes:

http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/24938

Gene Robinson is being honest here and showing clearly the thought of a number of people in this area.

March 27, 2:14 pm | [comment link]
4. Isaac wrote:

It’d be interesting to see the context and directions of the questions and discussions posed by the bishops.  Not sure that’s something we’ll ever see, but it’d be interesting nonetheless.

March 27, 2:19 pm | [comment link]
5. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

The fatal flaw in the ‘reasoning’ of every reasserter in this regard is this:

If one’s ‘orientation’ towards homosexual unions is biologically determined, why does every university Queer Studies program in the world consider all gender a “socially determined choice”?

I call utter BS on the entire movement. It cannot possibly be both “biologically determined” and a “socially determined choice.”

In either case they have a huge problem with God, for they deny the transformative power of Christ through the Holy Spirit, which is a particularly potent form of blasphemy ... the one “unforgivable” sin.

God says, though Paul in 1Cor 5:9, “Do not even eat with such people.”

March 27, 3:54 pm | [comment link]
6. Richard Yale wrote:

#5, I think you mixed up the “reasserter” and “reappraiser” taxonomy.

March 27, 4:27 pm | [comment link]
7. Carolina Anglican wrote:

Great job Grant!

March 27, 6:13 pm | [comment link]
8. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

Right. Brain burp.

March 27, 8:05 pm | [comment link]
9. montanan wrote:

Along w/#1, I’m intrigued by this:

Perhaps the most interesting
thing which happened during that question period was a short speech by Gene Robinson, Bishop
of New Hampshire, who expressed dissatisfaction with both papers and stated that it was time to
move beyond speaking simply of “GLBT” (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered) orientations:
“there are so many other letters in the alphabet,” he said; “there are so many other sexualities
to be explored.” He did not elaborate as to what those other sexualities and other letters of the
alphabet might be.

Wow.  I admire his openness, though I’m sure I can’t really imagine what he’s referring to.

March 27, 9:12 pm | [comment link]
10. Richard Hoover wrote:

3 and 9:  Do not understand why you seem to be giving Robinson points for his “honesty” and “openess.”  Don’t believe these traits recommend him at all.

March 27, 10:25 pm | [comment link]
11. Pb wrote:

The other sexualities are still felonies. I can not imagine what else he is talking about.

March 28, 8:42 am | [comment link]
12. Albeit wrote:

“Man-Boy Blessings” anyone?

March 28, 8:43 am | [comment link]
13. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

“Gene Robinson is being honest here and showing clearly the thought of a number of people in this area”.

#3 Dr. Harmon, I did not say that he was being “dishonest” in any way.  And any individual, churched or not, has the right to define his/her or any sexuality any way he/she likes.  What matters is how Christianity, or Anglicanism(if that’s what we are) defines it—as far as I know it’s defined by and in Lambeth 1.10, and churches in Communion should not be deviating from that.  The Instruments are free to redefine things at the next Lambeth or any other subsequent meetings. 

As it stands, it’s celibacy, or it’s one man-one woman taking monogamous life vows. 

All of us are free to have a “what is my reality” or “what is my experience” discussion but that does not mean that the Church is obligated to jump on board.  Personally, I am very blessed to have upheld the standard…though amongst friends I have clowned around, at times, but saying that “monogamy can surely be overrated”.  Most long-term marrieds might feel that way…as a scientist I will also say that even humans are probably not particularly built for monogamy…we are still first animals, driven by instinct to procreate our species, and a good and diverse way of doing that(in theory, if you could only factor out things like AIDS), along with favorably mixing up the gene pool and thwarting natural selection, is by having multiple partners and multiple children by multiple partners, but that’s not the Christian way of doing things. 

Just because many or even all of us fall short of a standard, it does not mean that we should have NO standard, nor should the standard be dumbed down or relaxed simply to suit us. 

It’s not easy, but I think New Testament ethics had a lot of it right…one has only to look at a fictional yet realistic miniseries like “Rome” to note that Judeo-Christian marital values, in many ways, aided the stabilization of society all those years ago, and continues to. 

So, if VGR or anyone else wants to explore alternate sexualities, then fine, but I don’t think they should be doing it in a Christian context.  The Instruments may one day have other ideas, and if so I will need to reevaluate my place in this denomination.  I have long made it clear that I do not agree with same-sex “marriage” or blessings.  I would feel the same re:  whatever alternatives VGR or anyone else comes up with—sex with animals, necrophilia, pederasty, multiple partners, whatever; just to name a few. 

If in some way I have missed your point, please correct me. 

Thank you/God bless,

BF

March 28, 5:06 pm | [comment link]
14. phil swain wrote:

I think Gene Robinson’s dissatisfaction with the both papers gets to the heart of the issue.  The reappraisers have couched the issue as extending marriage to those presently excluded from enjoying the fruits of the institution.  The fact of the matter is that marriage, as it has always been understood, cannot contain the introduction of a moral anthropology which places the expression of sexual desire as its final end.  Gene Robinson understands this and does not want to be subject to the restraints placed upon sexual desire by the normative concept of marriage.  The reappraisal paper tries to put a square peg in a round hole and Gene knows that won’t work.  He should be commended for his honesty.

March 29, 11:19 am | [comment link]
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