Caroline Hall responds to Kendall Harmon on General Convention 2012

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Kendall] Harmon’s comment on holiness is surprising given the recent admission of Alan Chambers, president of Exodus international, that they cannot “cure” homosexuality after all. If I understand Harmon correctly he is saying that Jesus Christ transforms us to a holiness which is defined by the norms of the last two thousand years of Christianity. The problem with that statement is that the Holy Spirit hasn’t done that for me. And I know an awful lot of other people who haven’t been transformed into the shape defined by two thousand years of history; twenty centuries that have been wrought with conflict, war and oppression (I’m thinking Crusades, Inquisition, Thirty Years war, slavery). I have stopped trying to be heterosexual, I have stopped trying to be changed into that restrictive shape of holiness. Instead I look for the fruits of the Spirit in my life and ministry. And I see them.

So does the Episcopal Church. “To Set Our Hope on Christ”, an important theological statement written for the Nottingham meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in 2005, says, “we note that members of our Church have begun to discern genuine holiness in the lives of persons of same-sex affection”. How much more so now we have experienced the gifts of ministry in the life and person of two bishops, as well as in the lives of the LGBT people we know and love.

We cannot and will not go back into the cookie-cutter holiness that demands that we conform to the social norms of a bygone era. Wasn’t that why Jesus constantly challenged the Pharisees? Wasn’t that why Paul was so opposed to circumcision and a return to the Jewish law?


Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Theology

12 Comments
Posted July 18, 2012 at 8:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Sarah wrote:

RE: “The problem with that statement is that the Holy Spirit hasn’t done that for me.  . . . I have stopped trying to be heterosexual, I have stopped trying to be changed into that restrictive shape of holiness.”

Yeh . . . the Holy Spirit hasn’t yet snapped His fingers and made me perfect either. A stunning failure on His part!

Therefore I’ve asked General Convention to just go ahead and announce that the various things Holy Scripture says that I should pursue or not pursue and that I’m failing at will be changed, by edict of General Convention canon law changes and resolutions.

And further, anybody who says differently and doesn’t agree with The General Convention of Christianity must be labelled a bigot for not believing that I’m a-ok as I am.

[roll eyes]

July 18, 9:32 am | [comment link]
2. jpt175 wrote:

.....“I have stopped trying to be a heterosexual”

” I have stopped trying to be sober; I have stopped trying not to cheat on my wife; I have stopped trying to not covet thy neighbor; and on and on and on

July 18, 10:01 am | [comment link]
3. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Oh my…she quotes “To Set Our Hope on Christ.” Does she really want to rehash that vacuous work of TEC theologists? That came out when I was in seminary, and even my systematic theology professor who was as liberal as the day is long was like, “If this is the best we can do, we’re in trouble.”

July 18, 10:03 am | [comment link]
4. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Problem the first : ““To Set Our Hope on Christ”, an important theological statement written for the Nottingham meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in 2005” .
Error A) that the same is “theological” - not per the reaction of anyone else but TEc;
Error B) that it is “important” - not per the reaction of any member of the former Anglican Communion other than TEc.
Problem the second : that the Anglican Consultative Council has done anything other than ignore “To Set Our Hope on Christ” since 2005 (rather like TEc and the Windsor Moratoria).

But TEc-ites will be TEc-ites and this is the best they think they have in the face of the Faith and Tradition.  They reap what they have sown.

July 18, 12:04 pm | [comment link]
5. Ralph wrote:

Blinded by sin, and thus unrepentant. It happens all the time.

An insignificant statement.

Holiness is indeed restrictive. Very, very restrictive.

I love the statement, “Harmon knows my position even better than I know his…” That’s the way it is with the liberals. They don’t care what conservatives think. Did any of the substance conservative position in the HOB theological statement make its way into the cesspool of pseudo-theology contained in the SSB resolution?

July 18, 1:12 pm | [comment link]
6. ASNF wrote:

When you tolerate everything, you stand for nothing

July 18, 1:37 pm | [comment link]
7. aacswfl1 wrote:

The last paragraph says it all…Jesus demanded a holiness that represented the social norms of a bygone era…The re-imagination of Jesus and the Christian faith render Jesus’ pronouncement that “the kingdom of God is at hand…repent and believe in the gospel” to be irrelevant in the re-imagined faith. 
How can these pepole possibly perceive holiness in others when each person who acts and thinks as this one does is blinded by a self-declared sense of personal holiness, and there is no such thing as an objective standard?  Oh I forgot… everybody exudes holiness because I’m Ok and You’re Ok too.  It is all good.!

July 18, 2:59 pm | [comment link]
8. Katherine wrote:

I can accept her statement that she cannot become heterosexual.  Many find they cannot heal to that extent.  What God is asking her to do is to refrain from physical sexual relations, then.  He asks the same of all unmarried Christians, whatever their inner desires might be.

I see she can’t even spell Dr. Harmon’s first name.

July 18, 4:53 pm | [comment link]
9. Ralph wrote:

I can accept her statement that she cannot become heterosexual. Many find they cannot heal to that extent. What God is asking her to do is to refrain from physical sexual relations, then.

#8, that would put God into an awfully small box. However, your phrase “become heterosexual” is unclear to me.

For example, [Edited] were once in opposite-sex marriages, and had children. Presumably, each was in love with the spouse, and presumably each was sexually attracted to the spouse. Obviously, they were engaging in heterosexual practice. Then, they decided to engage in homosexual practice.

It can clearly go the other way. Many who do renounce homosexual practice and go on to opposite-sex marriage, still feel same-sex attraction. It seems to be a thorn in the flesh that God doesn’t always choose to remove.

[Edited by Elf]

July 18, 5:11 pm | [comment link]
10. The_Elves wrote:

This is a hot button topic but may we ask commenters please to be careful how they express themselves and to avoid personal comments but rather to engage with the issues with the aim of shedding light rather than heat - thanks - Elf

July 18, 5:36 pm | [comment link]
11. Katherine wrote:

#9, since “heterosexual” and “homosexual” are feelings, she’s saying that she cannot develop a sexual desire for males.  I agree with you that in many cases it seems to have been a fluid situation.  That’s part of the problem; it’s not a purely biological matter.

July 18, 5:54 pm | [comment link]
12. Charles52 wrote:

I’m not familiar with the whole of Canon Harmon’s theology, but does he equate holiness with an absence of temptations and perfectly ordered appetites?  There are people who do, but that has always seemed a fringe position and Canon Harmon doesn’t seem the fringe type (forgive me if I presume).

If I’m right, then Ms. Hall is not responding to Canon Harmon at all, but conflating sexual temptations (she would not regard them as temptations, I suppose) and sexual behavior to gain an occasion for promoting her ideology. Gay rights advocates like to do that.

July 18, 7:53 pm | [comment link]
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