Sunday, May 20, 2007

Partial Orthodoxy

So I’ve been blog surfing a lot of religious blogs to keep up to speed on the turmoil going on in the Episcopal Church (TEC). Obviously I like some of the more liberal blogs, such as Father Jakes, but I also read some of the more conservative ones, such as Titus One Nine. As much as I like reading the blogs, it’s the comments that intrigue and fascinate me. It’s interesting to hear other people’s comments and their perspectives. But considering the fact that we are all Christians, the animosity and vitriol being put forth in some of these comment driven conversations is quite sad and upsetting.

Lately I’ve see a term that keep popping up on some of the more conservative blogs, and that’s “reappraisers.” That’s the term used to describe some of the more liberal Episcopalians and definitely those who support the full inclusion of GLBT members in the church. And trust me, it almost leaps off the screen as a curse word the way it is used by some bloggers.

But here’s the deal, for all that the conservatives decry the “reappraisers”, they really aren’t totally orthodox either. They’ve done some form of reappraising themselves one way of the other. If you’re truly an orthodox Episcopalian (or any religion) and believe that every word in the bible is the word of God, then you don’t believe in evolution. You don’t lie. You don’t touch pig skin. You don’t wear two different types of cloth. You don’t commit adultery. Women are considered property. Owning slaves is okay. Etc. There’s a lot of rules and proscriptions in the Bible on how you should live your life, so I won’t list them all, but you get my drift.

So unless you are truly living according to the literal interpretation of the Bible in ALL ways, you’re a reappraiser. You may do work on Sunday. You may covet they neighbors Lexus. You may have gotten a divorce at some point in your life. So I would argue that all of those conservative Episcopalians who throw the term “reappraiser” are a little bit hypocritical.

Hypocrisy is one thing, and we all have done it from time to time, but bigotry and prejudice are another. For the conservatives who claim that homosexuality is a sin and that it precludes the full inclusion of GLBT members from the church, I want to know why? Why is this particular rule in the Leviticus Codes so important over the rest of them? Are people who eat shellfish not fit to be clergy because the Leviticus Codes also say that’s a sin? Why are you elevating this one rule to prevent a group of people from serving God? Explain that to me. Please.

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At 8:04 PM, Blogger d.K. said...

I think I left a comment some months back about my best friend. Like me, he was born and raised a Catholic, but unlike me, the Church succeeded in making him doubt himself. And on a deep level. I guess I was always a "reappraiser" so the Church did not succeed in making me think less of myself because of who I am. The "love the sinner, hate the sin" never rang true with me simply because the word "hate" didn't fit with Church teaching the way I saw it.
Anyway, and if I've commented all this before, I apologize, but a few years ago, he started taking classes with his local Episcopal church, and formally converted some time after that. And, it made all the difference in the world to him and to his happiness and sense of self. He started regularly attending church services again, which he had longed to do for many years. He didn't feel like it was a compromise at all - he just discovered that the "home" he fit into was the Episcopal home.
He moved a couple of years ago from San Diego to Minneapolis, and apparently, his new church is just as welcoming to him as the one he discovered in SoCal.
He and my other best friend, who lives in Wisconsin, are flying in for Memorial Day weekend. I'm eager to hear whether this controversy has had any effect on him. Faith is a very personal thing, so while discussing very personal things has never been difficult at all over the phone, religion and personal faith is private at a whole different level.
All I can say is that what a shame it is that being gay, which is how many of us are born, and worshipping in a faith many of us grew up in, can be mutually exclusive things. I guess as a result, really, we all lose. The Church loses for not having some of us and we lose for not having the Church.
I made my choice of which one trumped the other. My best bud made another choice that seemed to work well for everyone.
I have the feeling that he and his Church still fit well together, and I really hope so, but reading about your conflicts over time makes me concerned. I'm glad I'll get to see him this weekend, to satisfy for myself for certain where he's at with all this. I'm hoping for the best.

By the way, back to your original point (I tend to get sidetracked ;-)) you're absolutely right - there are no mainstream Christians who can claim that in some way, they aren't "reappraisers" if they are honest with themselves. Even the Catholic church itself announced a major shift, allowing that it was not certain that babies who die before they are baptized necessarily go to Pergatory. They may, or may not, and the individual is left to decide this. That's a major shift, after 2000 years; you might even call it a reappraisal?

At 9:17 AM, Blogger C lbs said...

my favorite reappraisement is allowing usurers (like bankers) into the church.

I thought Jesus was the one who through the moneylenders out of the temple.


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