The Ventura County Reporter: The Episcopal Church and the gay dilemma

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. Paul’s in Ventura is a picture of the diversity of opinion on homosexuality in the Episcopal Church, where congregants do feel comfortable speaking out on all sides of the issue, said St. Paul’s Rev. Jerome Kahler.

“That, I think, is the strength of the Church that there is a diversity of opinion in the Church on significant issues without breaking communion,” Kahler said.

“I think the worst thing that Christians can do is to separate rather than to deal with the fact that there is and has always been a difference of opinion, even on critical issues.”

Kahler said about three families have left the church and gone to St. George’s since Robinson’s ordination.

He feels they were being too abrupt in judging the ordination decision.

“To simply say that sexual behavior between homosexuals is a sin is wrong,” Kahler said. “It’s premature to say that because one doesn’t know the nature of the relationship.

“The larger issue that the church needs to deal with as regards to same-sex unions and the appropriateness of sexual relationships is what is loving behavior and what is abusive behavior or exploitive behavior.”

Read the whole piece.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

16 Comments
Posted November 29, 2007 at 1:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

“That, I think, is the strength of the Church that there is a diversity of opinion in the Church on significant issues without breaking communion,” Kahler said. 

Surprise. This particular “diversity” is being quite instrumental in breaking communion in the Church. Welcome to planet earth, Fr. Kahler.

November 29, 2:35 pm | [comment link]
2. Dave B wrote:

“Just think about it: The thing that is actually breaking the church apart is who we sleep in bed with.”  Just say it long and loud enought, click your heels together three times and maybe it will be true!!!  It is about scriptural authority not about who is sleeping with who PERIOD.

November 29, 2:52 pm | [comment link]
3. TonyinCNY wrote:

Is Kahler really as clueless as he sounds?  It’s not about the nature of the relationship; it’s about the sinfulness of the sexual act.  The diversity of opinion he speaks of is from a small minority still within the Anglican Communion, but is really a small liberal Protestant sect (pecusa) that is set on distancing itself from catholic Christianity.

November 29, 3:21 pm | [comment link]
4. Don R wrote:

“To simply say that sexual behavior between homosexuals is a sin is wrong,” Kahler said. “It’s premature to say that because one doesn’t know the nature of the relationship.

That actually made me laugh.  I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that sexual behavior between homosexuals indicates a relationship that is homosexual in nature.

November 29, 3:55 pm | [comment link]
5. Pb wrote:

Is he saying that he does not know the nature of a sexual realtionship between homosexuals? Or is it just premature to say so. I had always hoped that adultery was good when the relationship was good. Perhaps he is on to something.

November 29, 3:58 pm | [comment link]
6. Philip Snyder wrote:

He (Kahler) feels they were being too abrupt in judging the ordination decision.

The one’s being “too abrupt in judging the ordination decision” are the ones who ordained +Robinson to begin with.  They short-circuted the judgment of the Communion and refused to listen to anyone but themselves.

The larger issue that the church needs to deal with as regards to same-sex unions and the appropriateness of sexual relationships is what is loving behavior and what is abusive behavior or exploitive behavior.

This is false even by the Archbishop’s standards.  The larger issue that the church needs to deal which is what behaviors are sinful and which behaviors are blessed and, most importantly, how do we determine what is sinful and what is blessed?  Without some objective standard of sin (such as Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Church) there is no such thing as sinful behavior because we all end up like Israel at the end of Judges.  Everyone doing what is right in their own eyes.  Thus, adultery is not a sin if I don’t find it sinful.  Murder may not be a sin if I truly do not believe it is.  Worshipping God under the name of “Buddah” or “Allah” or “Phil” is not sinful if I find a real (to me) experience of the divine by using a different name.

Before we get the correct answers, we need to ask the right questions.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

November 29, 4:07 pm | [comment link]
7. Susan Russell wrote:

Interesting to see such an in-depth feature in a local paper. Knowing Ventura County as well as I do (lived there 20+ years) I’m actually surprised by the level of support for inclusion. Methinks this is a more accurate picture of where the true middle ground of the Episcopal Church is than we get to see most of the time. Thanks for sharing, Kendall!

November 29, 4:12 pm | [comment link]
8. Harvey wrote:

It is very tue that God loves the sinner but hates sin.  Paraphrasing a story related in Scripture; As the last person present at what was supposed to be a public stoning for a an adulteress let the stone drop and left (I still wonder where the adulterer was??) we hear Jesus speak to the woman (..“where are thine accusers? Dost no man accuse thee?”..after hearing her answer he spoke again and said to her “go thy way and sin no more”..)  Our Lord forgave her but made it plain that she must go forward and away from her sin.  Today we hear over and over that sin is relative which is another lie foisted on us by Satan.  The Bible is an anvil that has worn out many a hammer and it will coninue to do so.

November 29, 4:31 pm | [comment link]
9. Rick in Louisiana wrote:

“To simply say that sexual behavior between homosexuals is a sin is wrong,” Kahler said. “It’s premature to say that because one doesn’t know the nature of the relationship.

“The larger issue that the church needs to deal with as regards to same-sex unions and the appropriateness of sexual relationships is what is loving behavior and what is abusive behavior or exploitive behavior.”

Is that indeed what is being said by the three families who left? Or is this misunderstanding at best misrepresentation at worst?

And the reporter tells us this parish is a model of diversity of opinion. I do not see much diversity of - or room for diversity of - opinion in what the rector says (right or wrong). Might we dare wonder if there is some issue that is sufficiently significant that a different of “opinion” would indeed be communion breaking?

Judging from the dominant leadership of TEC - there is. If you do not support this “new thing God is doing” then to heck with communion. It is not the beliefs of said rector that I find disappointing so much as how lame and much-brained the rhetoric is. Puts all the onus on others and refuses to take responsibility for the damage caused by those currently leading TEC. “They just can’t handle a different of opinion”. Oh puh-leez.

November 29, 5:02 pm | [comment link]
10. Jim the Puritan wrote:

“If you interpret it literally, you’ve got to obey all kinds of funny laws and say things like homosexuality is absolutely proscribed.

“But Jesus didn’t interpret it that way,” Guthrie said. “He looked at the mainline thing in the Bible. And the mainline thing is inclusiveness. He included those who were excluded.”

Jesus actually taught the exact opposite of this, see e.g. Matthew 7:13-15, 7:21, 22:14, and that only those who do the will of the Father will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but I suppose that’s too fine a point for today’s Episcopal Church.

November 29, 5:52 pm | [comment link]
11. Larry Morse wrote:

One important element is is this: That Kendall should have closed the preceding piece - for what reason? - and left this open to comment - for what reason? I submit , ladies and gentlemen, this makes no sense. The piece here is as inflammatory as anything posted, surely as inflammatory as the piece above. What can the difference be? Larry

November 29, 6:04 pm | [comment link]
12. Larry Morse wrote:

#4: You have got to love a guy who steps so boldly in the dark, risks everything on a single roll of the dice. LM

November 29, 6:06 pm | [comment link]
13. chips wrote:

Wasn’t Jesus’ inclusiveness extended to all who would repent and do the will of God.  I think Jesus difference with the establishment that one’s present or past circumstances were not a barrier to redemption.

November 29, 7:17 pm | [comment link]
14. Cennydd wrote:

I wonder just how thoroughly Father Kahler has read the Bible, and does he thoroughly understand what he read?

November 29, 8:22 pm | [comment link]
15. Juandeveras wrote:

We live in this city & attended Fr. Kahler’s services a few times. He seems like a nice guy who is politically correct, sociable and seems to run a busy family-oriented church with a grammar school. He probably works very hard. We did not stay long enough to get into the spiritual politics of the place.

December 1, 6:56 am | [comment link]
16. rob k wrote:

No. 15 - I know the area fairly well.  Where did you end up?  Thx.

December 1, 6:39 pm | [comment link]
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