Bonnie Anderson promises support, tells Fort Worth Episcopalians to ‘saddle up’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson assured Episcopalians in the Diocese of Fort Worth September 8 that they will be supported by the leadership of the wider church "so that you may answer God's call to mission."

"Above all else, I want you to know that faithful Episcopalians have made promises to God, asking for God's help to keep these promises each time we renew our baptismal covenant," she said. "Faithful Episcopalians will be supported by their church leadership so that you may answer God's call to mission with the full support of the Episcopal Church. The obstacles in front of you are no match for the power behind you. You are beloved."

Still, Anderson advised Episcopalians to "saddle your own horse" if they wanted to see changes in their diocese. She advised them to pay attention to the issue of governance, reminding them that parishes and dioceses remain a part of the Episcopal Church even if some members decide to leave.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts

Posted September 10, 2007 at 5:18 pm

To comment on this article: Go to Article View

The URL for this article is

1. Eren wrote:

Interesting - and telling - all the references to “Faithful Episcopalians” instead of “Faithful Christians.” On some level they do seem to know the difference.

September 10, 5:29 pm | [comment link]
2. Rolling Eyes wrote:

#1, I think they’d HAVE to know the difference in order to be so deceitful.

Just sayin’...

September 10, 5:31 pm | [comment link]
3. Philip Snyder wrote:

The first, and most important, vow we make in the Baptismal Covenant is to “continue in the Apostles teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers.”

All other promises flow from this one promise and this promise is, itself, predicated on the Apostle’s creed.  Can anyone show me anywhere in the Apostles’ teaching where homosexual sex is called anything other than sinful?

Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 10, 5:43 pm | [comment link]
4. AnglicanFirst wrote:

As the President of the House of Deputies, Bonnie Anderson is not just an individuaL.  Any public appearance and statements from her are an ‘explicit’ signal of the ‘sense’ and the ‘intent’ of the leadership of ECUSA.

So, if Ms. Anderson, when she spoke in Fort Worth, was confident of the support of ECUSA’s ruling clique, then, this does not bode well for a conciliatory attitude from ECUSA’s leadership at the upcoming New Orleans meeting.

Only a revolt of the bishops against ECUSA’s ‘ruling clique’ or some sort of ECUSA ‘fudge’ will prevent that ‘ruling clique’ from openly defying the primates voice as spoken at Dar es Salaam.

So, off we will go into the challenge of creating a truly Anglican Church for the United States.

Standby for a declaration of establishment of that church sometime after September 30.

September 10, 6:27 pm | [comment link]
5. Doubting Thomas wrote:

The proponents of gay rights have been skillfully working their agenda from the grassroots up throughout TEC for 30+ years. Their tunnell vision for achieving the goal of validation of their sexual orientation and conduct has been successful probably beyond even their expectations. Bonnie Anderson is just another product of that success. We should expect nothing less then the rhetoric credited to her in this lengthy article. Were she not such, she would not be the president of the HOD. She best be careful however about her call for a debate on orthodoxy. She might just get what she’s asking for and I don’t think she’s equipped to deal with it.

September 10, 6:30 pm | [comment link]
6. bob carlton wrote:

Phil,  can you show me anywhere in the Apostles’ teaching where divorce is called anything other than sinful ?  Can you help me see where gossip is called anything other than sinful ?  Where creating wealth thru loans is called anything other than sinful ?

September 10, 6:40 pm | [comment link]
7. Irenaeus wrote:

“Bonnie Anderson promises support, tells Fort Worth Episcopalians to ‘saddle up’”

And we’d heard it was Bp. Iker who was planning to saddle up.

September 10, 6:45 pm | [comment link]
8. Occasional Reader wrote:

. . . can you show me anywhere in the Apostles’ teaching where divorce is called anything other than sinful ?  Can you help me see where gossip is called anything other than sinful ?  Where creating wealth thru loans is called anything other than sinful ?

An excellent point (save for the reference to usury, which is not forbidden by Apostles but only in the OT; and that divorce is “sinful” in all cases goes beyond the claims of the NT as such).  At any rate, if the suggestion here is that God’s people are called to holiness not only with respect to sexuality but in all our social and economic dealings, I couldn’t agree more.

September 10, 7:23 pm | [comment link]
9. Philip Snyder wrote:

All of those are sinful.  The Church does not have leave to bless divorce, gossip, excessive interest, gluttony, pride, gossip, anger, sloth, envy, or any sin.

The reappraisers are saying that homosexual sex is not sinful.  I merely want scriptural or traditional support (you know, support from the Apostles’ teaching) for such a statement.

Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 10, 7:25 pm | [comment link]
10. Brien wrote:

As I recall, there is no reference to Episcopalians, or the Episcopal Church in the Baptismal Covenant.

September 10, 7:52 pm | [comment link]
11. RalphM wrote:

TECs Mantra - All bishops should chant this in lieu of morning prayer:
People go but buildings stay
People go but buildings stay
People go but buildings stay
People go but buildings stay

September 10, 7:56 pm | [comment link]
12. CarolynP wrote:

As I mentioned over on SFIF, look at the side panel of this article.  Louie Crew is looking for applicants to serve key leadership roles on “Court for Trial of a Bishop”.
Staffing up, I guess.

September 10, 8:31 pm | [comment link]
13. Dave B wrote:

#9 Philip Snyder very good point, TEC is not planning (I don’t think) a liturgy to celebrate divorce, gossip, etc is it ?  I know +VGR had a liturgy and communion when he and his wife divorced so maybe there is one in the offing.

September 10, 8:35 pm | [comment link]
14. bob carlton wrote:

Great point, Phil - the clergy & bishops already include people who have divorced.  We know these people, they are our friends.  They are sorry - we understand.

Let’s attack the outcasts, those without power.  Women & gay people, immigrants - now THEY are sinners.

p.s. Sarah, please place one of your clever emiticons on this - then it will be asserting or orthodox or what ever is good.  Maybe even as funny as Ft. Worth Jack

In the Bible reading from my devotional today, this portion of Matthew seems so timely:

“At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent? I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.”

September 10, 8:55 pm | [comment link]
15. Philip Snyder wrote:

Bob,  If you think that the homosexual activists are “without power” either in the United States of America or in the Episcopal Church, then I have to wonder where you live.

I am not happy that we ordain people who have been divorced.  There are special cases (such as spousal adultery or abandonment) where the person can make a special pleading.  But there is Jesus saying “except in the case of infidelity,” so that Apostles’ teaching supports divorce in a limited case.  Can you show me where Jesus says “except in the case of ...” about homosexual sex?

As for your isogetical reading of the story of Jesus picking and eating grains and healing on the Sabbath, let me ask you if there is similar relaxing of the sexual morals in Holy Scripture or does Jesus strengthen them?  Or do you claim Dominical authority for yourself or for those who wish to change the moral teaching of the Church?

Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 10, 9:23 pm | [comment link]
16. Makersmarc wrote:

C’mon.  I said yesterday - I may be an activist, but I’m not homosexual!  (Still can’t get those darned smileys to work!)

September 10, 9:45 pm | [comment link]
17. Rolling Eyes wrote:

Bob: “Ft. Worth Jack”

That’s Bishop Iker.

And, Bob, why can’t you answer Phil’s simple question?  Is it because your complete lack of an answer all the answer we need to realize that you know there is no real scriptural or traditional justification for your position on the issue, and that you just don’t care?

Just sayin’...

September 10, 10:17 pm | [comment link]
18. bob carlton wrote:

Phil, I live in Texas, where being gay is enough to get you run out of most towns.  Unless you live in the Bay area, New York or Boston, you can really only look at the powerlessness that being gay means for fellow human beings.

In terms of divorce, the passage actually says “..except immorality”.    Jesus specifically preached on divorce, yet so much of all “sides” of the church battles just chooses to ignore.  Phil, you say you are not happy - that seems quite different from your view on homosexuality.

What did Jesus have to say about the issue of homosexuality? He said nothing specifically.  To say anything else is truly reading meaning into the text.  Paul & early church leaders did talk about same-sex relations, but Jesus did not.

September 10, 10:33 pm | [comment link]
19. DavidBennett wrote:

“Let’s attack the outcasts, those without power.  Women & gay people, immigrants - now THEY are sinners.”

Unfortunately some reappraisers haven’t quite gotten the message, but in the Episcopal church gays and women ARE in power, firmly so, and are using their position of power to act against those with whom they disagree. Unfortunately, many liberals have played the “we’re oppressed” line so long, they forget that once you attain power (and choose to wield it against others) you can’t be the oppressed anymore, and have become the dreaded oppressor.

David Bennett

Per Christum Blog

September 10, 10:35 pm | [comment link]
20. bob carlton wrote:

David, when was the last time you were attacked or sexually violated ? 13 in 100,000 gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals report being the victim of hate crime.  16% of all hate crimes are perpetrated on gay & lesbian human beings.

And you must be kidding about ECUSA’s power being held by gays & women.  In most churches, women are not called to ministry, despite the fact they make up an overwhelming portion of most congregations.  Gay & lesbian people who want to serve their Savior routinely are driven out of churches & dioceses.

Priveledged people like me & most of the readers of this blog - white males - do not even know the meaning of the word oppression .

September 10, 10:45 pm | [comment link]
21. Philip Snyder wrote:

Bob, the actual word Jesus uses in Matt 5:32 is “porneia” and it includes all forms of sexual immorality (yes, that also means homosexual sex).  So, there is an apostolic witness to limited grounds for divorce.  I’m glad you acknowledge that homosexual sex is mentioned by Holy Scripture and that the Apostles’ teaching mentions homosexual sex.  So, where does it allow homosexual sex for any cause?

As for homosexuals being powerless in Texas, you may be right if you are talking about small towns.  Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and other major cities have leaders in business and their cities who are homosexuals.  If you haven’t noticed, almost all protrayals of homosexauls in art and culture today are positive where as most portrayals of conservative Christians are almost universally negative.  You cannot deny that those who support blessing same sex unions or ordaining practicing homosexuals are in the ascendency in the national church and in most of the dioceses of TECUSA.
So, I hope you can enlighten me concerning where in the Apostles’ teaching homosexaul sex is allowed to be blessed or it is spoken of in any terms other than negatively.  If we depart from the Apostles’ teaching, then we are breaking our baptismal covenant.

Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 10, 10:59 pm | [comment link]
22. rudydog wrote:

I live in small town Texas and we beat em up ever chance we get. Give me a break. Enthusiasm for a cause is one thing,  passion for a lie is another.

September 10, 11:26 pm | [comment link]
23. Katherine wrote:

In view of the upcoming Sept. 30 deadline and the likelihood that the HOB will refuse the Primates’ requests, the significant line in this report is Anderson’s statement that neither parishes NOR DIOCESES can leave TEC.  They’re gearing up for some colossal legal battles.

Re:  #20 and “hate crimes.”  I’d have to know who took the survey and how the questions were worded, and what the definition of a “hate crime” was.  There are, no question, sometimes assaults committed on homosexually active people because of disapproval their activity.  These assaults are deplorable.  But I have in mind the terrorist front group CAIR’s claim that “hate crimes” against Muslims have increased dramatically, when what they actually meant was that Muslims reported their feelings were hurt by odd looks on the street, as they perceived them.  A serious survey of crimes committed against LGBTs would include police reports of personal and property crimes and a comparison to the average for the population in general.  And even that might be skewed, because those gay men who venture into dangerous situations in search of anonymous sex do place themselves at risk, the same risk that “heteros” face in bar pick-ups.

September 10, 11:34 pm | [comment link]
24. Courageous Grace wrote:

....I live in Texas and have many gay friends…they have not been “run out of town”.

Smokey says, “Remember, only YOU can prevent forum fires!”
Courageous Grace

September 10, 11:56 pm | [comment link]
25. Dallasite wrote:

Back to Bishop Iker.  While I’m no fan of Katie Sherrod, I am also not a fan of Bishop Iker.  I live in Dallas, and work in Fort Worth.  One reason (not the only one, but not a small one) that I never made the move to Cowtown was that I did not agree with Bishop Iker and I did not want to attend an Episcopal Church in that diocese.  I think he’s wrong on women’s ordination, I think his ego outstrips his common sense, and I think that he’s setting up his diocese for major problems and hearbreak, and possibly setting himself up as a test case.  Whatever. His making a stink over Bonnie Anderson’s visit to Fort Worth to preach to the choir is doing no one any good. 

I think his making a stink over this is going to backfire on him.  I think if he’d let Ms. Anderson make her presentation, few people other than those who were there would have known about it. Now a lot of people do.

September 11, 12:06 am | [comment link]
26. Larry Morse wrote:

#20. Let’s assume your statistics are sound. That being the case, then it is clear tht the “hate crimes” against homosexuals are only a tiny proportion of hate crimes committed and so we may see by your statistics that homosexuals are actually fairly safe.

Of course, I doubt that the phrase “hate crime” means much of anything for it has become a cant word for the left wing social agenda. I have seen Craig’s arrest for soliciting homosexual sex categorized as a hate crime, that he was lured into guilty behavior by those who sole purpose was to threaten homosexuals. Indeed, I must say that I have yet to see a definition of “hate crime” that is not agenda driven, that makes a clear case for an entirely separate category of felony. LM

September 11, 12:13 am | [comment link]
27. John Wilkins wrote:

As usual, Phil reduces homosexuality - and marriage - to genitalia.  The relationships homosexuals in fact have with each other is a bit different.  Marriage is designed to protect people (men from themselves, and women, from other men), and children. 

Heterosexuals may often engage in the same acts that homosexuals do.  As if sex is the primary thing that makes up a relationship.  The conservatives have clearly succumbed to our hypersexualized culture if they assume so.

September 11, 12:22 am | [comment link]
28. Wilfred wrote:

John Wilkins, anybody who uses the word genitalia as often as you do in your posts on this blog, who is not a member of the medical profession, should not be allowed within a mile of a school.

September 11, 12:31 am | [comment link]
29. Ad Orientem wrote:

The issue (as I have stated ad infinitum) is NOT sexuality.  It’s Christian orthodoxy.  The acceptance of homosexuality is merely a symptom (one of many) of the rampant heresy and outright apostasy that exists in TEC.  In which respect it is indeed time for bishops and clergy and the laity in TEC to “saddle up.”  For those who believe (wrongly IMO, but thats a discussion for another day) that TEC is a part of the church catholic permit me to draw your attention to two canons of the ancient church to which in theory you would as catholics subscribe…

Canon XLV of the Holy Apostles

“Let any Bishop, or Presbyter, or deacon that merely joins in prayer with heretics be suspended, but if he had permitted them to perform any service as Clergymen, let him be deposed.”


Canon XV of the 1st & 2nd Synod

“The rules laid down with reference to Presbyters and Bishops and Metropolitans are still more applicable to Patriarchs. So that in case any Presbyter or Bishop or Metropolitan dares to secede or apostatize from the communion of his own Patriarch, and fails to mention the latter’s name in accordance with custom duly fixed and ordained, in the divine Mystagogy, but, before a conciliar verdict has been pronounced and has passed judgement against him, creates a schism, the holy Synod has decreed that this person shall be held an alien to every priestly function if only he be convicted of having committed this transgression of the law. Accordingly, these rules have been sealed and ordained as respecting persons who under the pretext of charges against their own presidents stand aloof, and create a schism, and disrupt the union of the Church. But as for those persons, on the other hand, who, on account of some heresy condemned by holy Synods, or Fathers, withdrawing themselves from communion with their president, who, that is to say, is preaching the heresy publicly, and teaching it bareheaded in church, such persons not only are not subject to any canonical penalty on account of their having walled themselves off from any and all communion with the one called a Bishop before any conciliar or synodical verdict has been rendered, but, on the contrary, they shall be deemed worthy to enjoy the honor which befits them among Orthodox Christians. For they have defied, not Bishops, but pseudo-bishops and pseudo-teachers; and they have not sundered the union of the Church with any schism, but, on the contrary, have been sedulous to rescue the Church from schisms and divisions.”

I would be interested in responses from those who still claim the title “catholic.”

September 11, 12:33 am | [comment link]
30. Rolling Eyes wrote:

#27:  Uh…what?

Just sayin’...

September 11, 1:56 am | [comment link]
31. azusa wrote:

# 30 - don’t ask. Any ‘answer’ from Gawain only adds to the confusion, like trying to straighten out a bowl of spaghetti.

September 11, 5:25 am | [comment link]
32. Dave B wrote:

#27 “Marriage is designed to protect people (men from themselves, and women, from other men), and children.”  No, I think, marriage is a sacrament designed to join a man and women together for God saw that it was not good that man was alone.  Another point of marriage is procreation and allows an environment in which to raise children.  Obviously homosexuals can not procreate. I looked all through the prayer book and could not find one referance to protection. I really don’t think most marriages revolve around protection!
# 18 Bob, you failed to mention Atlanta where a straight girl has a greater chance of being hit by lightening than getting a date.

September 11, 5:25 am | [comment link]
33. chips wrote:

Although all violence is bad, Thirteen out of 100,000 is an incredibly small number. Prior to paying attention to the Episcopal wars I would have thougth that the amount of influence held by homosexual activists in the Episcopal Church could only be the product of right wing paranoia - I now believe that they are the tail that is wagging the dog.

September 11, 5:29 am | [comment link]
34. Bob from Boone wrote:

There are five references to same-sex activity in the Bible. Gen. 19 (Sodom and Gomorrah is not one of them—it is a story about the violation of hospitality). The references in Jude and 2 Peter to lustful activity refers to the sexual congress, actual or attempted, of humans and divine beings (commentary on Gen. 6:1-4). The two references in Leviticus are to activities in Canaanite ritual. The three in Paul are to sexual exploitation. All of these describe activity worthy of rejection, and I would not defend any of them. (All, BTW, refer to activities by men; the reference in Rom. 1 to women is probably not to a lsame-sex act, as St. Augustine recognized, but an act other than intercourse with a man).

What the Bible says nothing about is “homosexuality,” meaning an orientation. Nor does it have anything to say about a committed, loving relationship between two people of the same gender that involves every aspect of a life together, far more than genitalia. Unfortunately, the opposition to gay/lesbian unions almost always gets expressed in terms of sexual activity. It is an example of reductionism, pure and simple, and ignores every other element of a life-long relationship. To reduce someone to the sum of an activity they engage in ignores and in effect discounts the fullness of their humanity. This is the aspect of the issue that is not understood by the Africans or unfortunately by a lot of Global North Christians. I say this as a happily married heterosexual who knows gay couples.

September 11, 7:44 am | [comment link]
35. Reason and Revelation wrote:

Bob from Boone, if the sexual act is wrong, then adding to that in a life-long commitment to such is also wrong.  This idea that “homosexuality” as an orientation wasn’t thought about back then is an unjustified supposition that people (and the God who inspired the Bible) were hopelessly primitive.  Look, guys in the Roman baths and in ancient armies on campaigns were having gay sex for centuries.  There is no basis for the proposition that long-term homosexual relationships didn’t spring out of those environments.  Biblical principles rightly hold that such relationships simply compound the unhealthy lifestyle.

You also vaguely refer to “orientation.”  Do you mean genetic hard-wiring only one way?  Because the evidence for that is so flimsy as not to be worth much.  Most folks have the innate capacity to express both.  That’s pretty standard stuff in the psychological literature.

September 11, 8:00 am | [comment link]
36. Philip Snyder wrote:

BfB - I’m glad to know your skills in isogesis are so well honed.
The Hebrew word “yada” had a common connotation of “to know sexually.”  If the Sodom story is a story of hosptiality gone wrong, then why did the crowds want to “yada” the angels (thinking them simple male visitors) and not “yada” Lot’s daughters.  You can read “hospitality” into the Sodom story, but you can also read sexual immorality gone amuck.  Now, I don’t think that homosexual sex is like that protrayed in the Sodom story, but I’ve worked with too many prisoners to know that in some environments, homosexual sex is exactly like that protrayed in the Sodom story.
Are you saying that the levitical passages concerning incest, sex with a woman during her period or all the other sexaul taboos that are mentioned around the term “lying with a man as with a woman” are also against cannanite worship rituals?  That does seem odd.  Me, if a group of passages seem to reference the same thing (sexual morality) then they are related and probably are designed to regulate (or show) the same thing - how to live a moral life sexually.  We don’t know what Paul intended.  Neither you nor I are biblical scholars enough to search into the mind of Paul.  How about Raymond Brown?  He states in his “Introduction to the New Testament” that Paul’s words for homosexual sex are not just about idolatry or protitution, but about common homosexual sex as was known in the Greek world at the time (and, yes, long term faithful homosexual couples were known in Greek times as well - see Aristotle for this).

Still, we do not have any positive images of homosexual sex in Holy Scripture or in the Apostolic Tradition.  Can you show me where homosexual sex is blessed within the “Apostles’ teaching?”  If not, then I submit that those who do such things and advocate such things are breaking their baptismal covenant.  In leaving the Apostles’ teaching they will also leave the Apostles’ fellowship.  Schism is the result of heresy.

Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 11, 8:01 am | [comment link]
37. William#2 wrote:

Well, this comment thread has been hijacked by the “what Scripture really says about homosexual behavior debate,” but getting back to the article itself….the theme is how gay folk and progressives are marginalized and intimidated in Bishop Iker’s diocese.  When was the last time Episcopal Life did an article about how orthodox are marginalized and intimidated in progressive dioceses?
John Wilkins and fellow travelers, you should really think about how your brand of liberalism looks more like Marxism than true liberalism.

September 11, 8:57 am | [comment link]
38. Wilfred wrote:

#36 Phil,

Well, that would explain the Episcopal Church’s modern Prime Directive:  At all times & in all places to promote gay sex, yada, yada, yada…

Without making headlines, many thousands of young men, & young women too, as they leave home & begin adult life, are quietly deciding this is not the Church for me.

September 11, 9:10 am | [comment link]
39. Billy wrote:

Bob, #18, just because our church no longer seems to have a problem with divorce doesn’t mean its postion is correct or isn’t heretical.  And Jesus does condemn fornication in Matthew and Mark, which would include homosexual and heterosexual activities, unless you want to change the definition of fornication, which is an easy (and dishonest IMO) thing to do.  Like many of your compatriots, you are trying to prove that homosexual activity should be approved and not cast as a sin by claiming other things that our secularly driven church is now not calling a sin.  Well, I don’t think it works.  Even though divorce is now common in our laity and our clergy, most bishops still require a confession and forgiveness for the “sin” of divorce.  But you are saying that homosexual activity is not sinful, regardless, as I understand you (and VGR and hosts of other purple and black shirts).  Does our church also say that unmarried but committed heterosexual couples can live together sexually and every other way and that is ok?  You and I both know our bishops do not allow that.  So what’s the difference between unmarried homo and hetero committed relationships?  I suggest to you that the only difference is that there is a secular agenda afoot that is driving this homosexual juggernaut in our church, and it is included as part of the political correctness doctrine that has become so prevalent.  And since so many clergy are politically liberal, they have jumped on the band wagon and with our leadership leading the charge, even those who don’t want to be a part of PC - dom are now afraid to desert.  And to raise the whine that homosexuals can’t get married is just that ... a whine.  If that were a valid argument, then why won’t our church change the sacrament of marriage to include homosexuals, as Louie Crew tried to do last GC?  I again suggest that our church leadership is being sneaky and dishonest in not changing the definition of marriage before consecrating VGR and ordaining any number of homosexual priests.  Our church leadership knows that if they change the marriage definition, the church laity will leave in droves and take their money with them.  So our church leadership is doing things by end run, though after they run enough of us reasserters out, they will come back and change the definition of the marriage sacrament to what Louie wants.  By then, no one will care anymore, you will probably be retired, collecting your pension, and our church will be so far down as to no longer be called anything but a sect.  But you and your compatriots will have won the day ... but I doubt what you will have will be worth much.  For undoubtedly you and your compatriots will continue to keep your heads in the sand and think you have something, instead of pulling your heads up and seeing how much you have lost (like now, you are not seeing how much you are losing and are going to lose after 9/30) and how little you still have after the theological and legal battles that are going to kill this church.  I pray daily for our church that we all may be one. 
PS:  Give me one example of a homosexual person being run out of an Episcopal Church in the last 20 years.  I’ll bet you don’t answer this challenge.

September 11, 9:52 am | [comment link]
40. bob carlton wrote:


I can give you hundreds of examples of people - gay men & lesbians - who have been hounded out of Episcopal churches and dioceses because of their orientation.  If you like to contact them to listen to their stories, please do contact me:  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


The Episcopal denomination - and the institutional church as a whole - has given young people ample reason not to return.  It is a pandemic across all expressions of Christianity in the West.  What do we do ?  We ignore this and decide to fight battles amongst ourselves.

September 11, 10:07 am | [comment link]
41. Brian of Maryland wrote:


Sigh ... you again making sweeping generalizations.  The only place young people seemingly are not returning is to mainline denominational churches.  They are moving toward RC, Orthodox and non-denominational congregations.  Hmmm ...

Maryland Brian

September 11, 10:57 am | [comment link]
42. usma87 wrote:

As examples of youth moving to Christ, see Greg Laurie’s Harvest movement as one example.  Not mainline, but definitely attracting the youth in droves.  They had a samll event near me in Nor CA.  They planned on 15,000 people each night.  They hit 17,000 on Saturday and shut down a major freeway 5 miles away due to traffic trying to still get in.  I’m not really concerned with how people come to know Christ.  Our goal is to help people find out what its like.

September 11, 11:38 am | [comment link]
43. Brad Page wrote:

Of all that Bonnie Anderson said, this is what stuck with me:

“We want to be a communion and community of differing opinions.”

She, and all the rest who seem to consider all matters of faith as matters of opinion, would do well to consider the words of John Henry Newman in his novel Loss and Gain:

“Charles had now come, in the course of a year, to one or two conclusions, not very novel, but very important:  first, that there are a great many opinions in the world on the most momentous subjects; secondly, that all are not equally true; thirdly, that it is a duty to hold true opinions; and, fourthly, that it is uncommonly difficult to get hold of them.”

September 11, 11:41 am | [comment link]
44. Philip Snyder wrote:

Bob (#40),
Yes, our incessant argument on authority and sexuality has had a negative impact on the Episcopal Church. Are you willing to go back to the status quo ante and cease the arguments and changes that we have made (that brought about the arguments) until the whole church comes to a better mind?  It is not the reasserters that kept bringing these issues up, it was the reappraisers that kept bringing them up and now want to “move on.”  If we are going to move on, then we need to move on from the beginning, not from a place where we are still in bitter disagreement.  If you decry the acrimony that exists, then why did you (plural) bring it about?

Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 11, 11:44 am | [comment link]
45. William#2 wrote:

Brad Page, the “community of differing opinions” line struck me also, but for its dishonesty.

Its not a community of differing opinions when one opinion rules over others. If you are orthodox in tEC you must accept gay ordinations, blessings, and a refusal to proclaim Christ as the only means by which we are saved. These beliefs and practices are not merely “opinions” to be discussed with others, but the practice and doctrine of TEC.

Its hard to reconcile, even ecumenically, when those who say they want to be brothers and sisters look you in the face and lie to you.

September 11, 12:00 pm | [comment link]
46. William P. Sulik wrote:

Since I read this, an old Neil Young song has been going through my head: 

Oh, oh, Carmelina,
The daughter of the wealthy banker.
Since she came to town
all my friends are gone,
And I’m stuck out here with melody.
Saddle up the palomino,
the sun is going down.
The way I feel,
this must be real.

If you can’t cut it, don’t pick up the knife.
There’s no reward
in your conscience stored
When you’re sleepin’ with another man’s wife.
Saddle up the palomino,
the sun is going down.
The way I feel,
this must be real.

I wanna lick the platter,
the gravy doesn’t matter.
It’s a cold bowl of chili
when love lets you down,
But it’s the neighbor’s wife I’m after.
Saddle up the palomino,
the sun is going down.
The way I feel,
this must be real.

“Let the reader, where we are equally confident, stride on with me; where we are equally puzzled, pause to investigate with me; where he finds himself in error, come to my side; where he finds me erring, call me to his side. So that we may keep to the path, in love, as we fare on toward Him, ‘whose face is ever to be sought.’”

—Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity 1.5

September 11, 12:50 pm | [comment link]
47. Charming Billy wrote:

Bob from Boone, 

Granted, the Bible says nothing about is “homosexuality,” meaning an orientation.” I think most reasserters would agree that “orientation” is not in itself a sin or the occasion of sin.

However, the Bible does indeed have something to say about “a committed, loving relationship between two people of the same gender that involves every aspect of a life together”. In short, although it is evident that many spiritual gifts may be present in such a relationship, it is not line with God’s purpose. Matthew 19: 4-12 gives dominical authority to the idea that marriage is a life-long, monogamous heterosexual union. Man and woman, as man and wife, are joined together by God for the committed relationship “that involves every aspect of a life together.” For those who are not called or “oriented” toward this relationship, celibacy is enjoined. No other alternatives are discussed or permitted, much less condoned, anywhere in scripture.

Not only does this passage set out a pattern for Christian marriage, as well as teach that adultery and divorce fall gravely short of God’s purpose for marriage; it also strongly implies that any relationship other than heterosexual marriage falls short of God’s purpose.

However, it’s important to understand this passage in context. In this passage, as well as in Matthew 5:27-28,  Jesus enjoins a standard of marital faithfulness that convicts even faithful married heterosexuals. So these teachings are intended not only to show us the pattern of life God intends for married couples, but also to teach us that is only attainable through God, not our efforts. Every marriage, as every other human endeavor, is tainted by sinfulness. Only through God’s forgiveness can we have a truly Christian marriage.

In light of this we must, as forgiven sinners, look at faithful homosexual unions and see how they, in common with heterosexual marriages, at once fall short of God’s purpose, yet at the same time partially achieve it. Surely the disinterested love displayed in many homosexual unions is pleasing to God.  However, all things being equal, it is clear from Scripture that, when it comes to fulfilling God’s purpose, homosexual unions suffer from a graver defect than homosexual marriages.

Like many reasserters, I find that while emotionally and pragmatically I’m inclined to treat homosexual unions in much the same way as I do heterosexual marriages or unions, I cannot as a Christian grant them the same status as heterosexual marriage. I find no element of cognitive dissonance involved in this distinction. In the same way I can respect and find truth in non-Christian religious beliefs without granting them the same status as my beliefs. What I find personally difficult to get my mind around is how so many reappraising Christians can blithely dismiss the scriptural evidence that Christian marriage is a heterosexual union.

September 11, 12:56 pm | [comment link]
48. TonyinCNY wrote:

Just curious: where does Jesus speak about the baptismal covenant?  I don’t recall, but maybe our liberals here can help me out.  He did talking about evangelizing and baptizing new converts, but I can’t recall Him ever mentioning a baptismal covenant.  Given liberal logic on Jesus and homosexuality, maybe you all should cease talking about a baptismal covenant.

Banned by the Head Totalitarian at Stand Firm in Faith

September 11, 3:13 pm | [comment link]
49. Brad Page wrote:

TonyinCNY (#48):  That’s a very good point (and your last sentence made me chuckle).

September 11, 3:27 pm | [comment link]
50. Sarah1 wrote:

Also, Jesus never said a thing about stagecoach robbing.


September 11, 4:14 pm | [comment link]
51. bob carlton wrote:

#41 & 42
while there are certainly individual cases of congregations or types of communities seeing young people engaged, you would be hard pressed to find any national survey or poll (from Gallup to Pew to Barna) that does not report declines among people 17-35 across evangelical, non-denom, Cath & mainline congregations.  the only exception in the u.s. is pentecostals, fuled primarily by people of color

phil, as a white male with power, living in texas, it would be a bit disingenious to talk about “going back” to a point in time - where do you draw a line ? the ‘50s with discrimination by color ?  the ‘60s with women still best kept in the home & quiet ?  the ‘80s, with those that are disabled shunted aside

the argument of “who started this” goes all the way back to Paul & Peter arguing about table fellowship just years after Jesus ascended.  what seems so different nowadays if how outisde parties - from the IRD to the Human Rights Council to Fox to the NYT - use divisions among Christians as red meet, then we follow suit & ape the culture, arguing who is a Jesus follower and who isn’t

September 11, 4:34 pm | [comment link]
52. Philip Snyder wrote:

Bob,  As opposed to making this about power and race and sex or sexual orientation, why don’t we try to make it about faithfulness to the Apostles’ teaching - faithfulness to Holy Scripture and to our Lord’s call to be reborn - be born from above.  Instead of starting with injustice, let’s start with our call to righteousness - OK?

Do I participate in an unjust system?  yes.  I am human.  Do I benefit from the accidents of my birth?  yes.  I do.  But let’s not mistake Social Justice for the goal of Righteousness - right relationship with God.  That relationship is most reliably maintained when we continue to participate in our baptismal covenant - the first promise of which is to continue in the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship.

Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 11, 5:57 pm | [comment link]
53. bob carlton wrote:

Phil, I so enjoy exchanging with you - when next I am in Dallas, I’d love to grab a meal.

I can not start with justice or righteousness - Jesus beckons us past the false dichotomy, to transformation and surrender.

Your understanding of the baptismal covenant is far different from I learned growing up in the Diocese of Dallas.  The baptized do not negotiate or set any terms of the covenant of grace; they simply come to the Father through the Son and by the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament and do so only and solely on the terms that God has made and in the way that he has provided. They make promises and vows to serve the Lord but they are in the covenant because they are “in Christ Jesus.”

Again, given your application of your understanding, can you help me understand how divorce is less a worry than sexual orientation ?

September 11, 6:15 pm | [comment link]
54. John Wilkins wrote:

HI Phil,
the problem is that I do think that we are faithful to the apostle’s teaching.  It is the cosmological shift that I think we differ on.  The problem is whether complementarity is essential to the faith.  A resurrection theology renders “complementarity” a useful human concept, but inessential to a sexual ethic. 

I would still expect gay couples to live lives of fidelity to each other in a way that the partners don’t hurt each other.

I do think that we see scripture a bit differently.  I wonder what happened when people didn’t know how to read.  I am also aware that even most fundamentalists don’t read much scripture.  Further, in a visual culture, the written word, period, doesn’t carry much weight. 

Further, why the instead of justice, make it about righteousness either / or?  I don’t understand how the sort of relationships we demand from gay people are that much different than the ones we demand of straight people in very practical ways, unless we divorce the living spirit from the limited teaching of the apostles.  After all, they also assumed that the sun revolved around the earth. As it says in scripture.

September 11, 6:29 pm | [comment link]
55. Philip Snyder wrote:

I’d love to grab a meal when next you are in town.  I have a “throw away” email address that you can use, but I only check it once in a while.  plsdeacon -shift-2- yahoo-dot-com.  Send me an email and let me know.

You are right when you say that our task is to surrender and that we take God on His terms.  Those terms have been described in the Apostles’ teaching.  Why are you (the reappraisers), then, trying to change them.  If our task is surrender to God’s grace then why are you all trying not to surrender, but to have change what has always been taught concerning surrender of our selves.  I agree that divorce is just as worrysome as homosexual sex. I don’t see sexual orientation as worrisome in the least.  In the scheme of things, there is a problem with many “conservatives” in that they focus on the sex aspect of it and there are those who do so out of a sense of spritual pride - a much more deadly sin than fornication.  It is not the sexaul license that concerns me.  It is the blessing of that act and the raising up of people who are committed to that act to positions of ordained leadership.  It is calling “sin” “blessed” that concerns me.  “Sin” derives from the term to “miss the mark.”  One way of looking at our lives is that we are unable to hit the mark.  The target is too far away and our arms are too weak and our eyes can’t see clearly (the effects of sin).  The blessing of the Church and the Grace of God are ways that God assists us in hitting the target.  God will not assist us if we are aiming at the wrong target. 

I hope this helps you understand.  Now, can you help me?  Can you show in the Apostles’ teaching where homosexual sex is blessed or will you accept that it is not blessed in the Apostles’ teaching?

Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 11, 7:30 pm | [comment link]
56. bob carlton wrote:

First off, I am not certain I fit into the construct or re-appraiser, re-asserter or recoiling.

The Apostles’s teaching are a wonderful guide, but they come after a profound commitment to the Triune God.  I would assume that it was the understanding of this Triune God, coupled with a community’s grapplinmg with Scripture & the traditions of the faith, that have led to such innovations as the establishment of a fixed canon of Christian scripture, liturgical settings, ordination, the abolition of slavery, women as any thing other than the property of their father or spouse, presbyters who gossip or are divorced, not using the Didache with new members.

I suspect you get my sense here.  Again, I have a hard time understanding how this very moment, this very issue is THE line in the sand.  In my short 43 years in U.S. Episcopal wars, I lived thru prayer book battles, the Synod, an Inquisition into renewal movement, the charismatic splits, the megachurch spawns & now this.  While the issues have changed, the “players” are sadly the same.

It all reeks of re-arranging the pews in the chapel of the Titanic to me.

P.S. - my email is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) should you want to connect.

September 11, 7:45 pm | [comment link]
57. Philip Snyder wrote:

Here is my main point.  We are a church bound by the Revelation.  When I was ordained, I took a vow to be “loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.  (BCP 538 Emphasis mine).  I include in that past perfect tense the revelation of how we are to live our lives sexually.  There comes a question.  Is Sexual Morality part of the essence of the Faith or is it part of the expression of the Faith.  If it is of the essence, then we cannot change it.  If it is of the expression, then we can change it, but what are the limits of that change?  Can we now bless polyamorous relationships?  How about older people who do not desire the legal constraints of marriage to save their children the hassle of dividing a hopelessly comingled estate, but still want to live together and do everything a “married” couple does, except have the legal constraints?  Are we free to open homosexual relationships to monogamous for a period of time or even drop the monogamy part?  Why limit our sexaul expression at all?  Who has the authority to make the change?  Does General Convention have authority over doctrine?  What is the requirement to change the teaching?  A simple majority of both houses (by orders) in one convention?  A super majority over multiple conventions?  If GC can change it, can a diocese or a parish?  how about an individual?

I am not trying to use the “slippery slope” argument, but to seek the ramifications of what you propose. 

Phil Snyder

“I do not believe because I understand.  I believe in order that I might understand” - Anselm
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

September 11, 9:59 pm | [comment link]
58. bob carlton wrote:

First off, how Episcopal polity handles this is something I would enevr deign to understand - neither the ACN or Integrity seem to follow the process laid out.

That said, you get at a core point:
If it is of the expression, then we can change it, but what are the limits of that change?
This is particularly the case as people are no longer relegated to the closeted expression that has been their only choice to date.

I think context is so significant here.  In many current Global South cultures, women are often seen as property and polyamorous relations are the norm, rather the exception. The fact that this is not blessed by the church but “allowed” if not mentioned can not be a meaningful application of the expression of our faith in a risen Jesus.

I have no quick answers for you, Phil - no canned response.  I do not know how change takers place in the expression of faith indigenously - how it has flowed in issues like slavery, divorce and the role of women.

I do wish we could talk about that more, rather than scapegoating a minority of the population who have been objects of violence & outcasts.  That is not a slippery slope - that is for blaming a relative few for the collective misfortunes,  as a way of distracting attention from the real causes.

September 11, 10:15 pm | [comment link]

© 2014 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.

For original material from Titusonenine (such as articles and commentary by Dr. Harmon) permission to copy and distribute free of charge is granted, provided this notice, the logo, and the web site address are visible on all copies. For permission for use in for-profit publications, please email KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com

<< Back to main page

<< Return to Mobile view (headlines)