Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Philip and the Eunch

Here is a something my Rector, Fr Mike Russell, All Soul's Episcopal
Church, Pt. Loma, San Diego preached the Sunday before last:

"I was shocked, shocked! to read Acts this morning and realize that
Philip took unilateral action to include an outcast eunuch (Acts
8.26-40). Who in the world authorized him to circumvent Deuteronomy
23 which excludes men with genital disfigurement? Did he check with
the rest of the apostles? Was there a council? Were there thirty
years of discussion? Was there a vote by orders?

"Apparently not. There was water nearby and so, violating the
scriptures and without an authorized liturgy for the purification of
the permanently outcast, Philip just baptized the eunuch. In the
same passage in Deuteronomy, the children of illicit marriages are
excluded to the tenth generation. No purification or restoration is
possible for that. Who changed that and was it done unilaterally too?

"A shocking Sunday morning. Like Jesus told old Nicodemus, the Holy
Spirit just blows around, willy-nilly. Hasn't HS heard about councils
and reception and making sure everyone is on board with these kinds
of massive changes?

"Who is in charge of informing the Holy Spirit on proper Anglican
process, anyway?"

Monday, May 08, 2006

Loving each other and our duty to the poor

I have long since gotten to the point where I neither know nor care if
homosexuality is sinful or not because I believe that it is God's
prerogative and not mine to identify a sinner. In any event we are
all sinners and I don't believe in a hierarchy of sin. Sin is sin is
sin, in God's eyes, I believe.

I believe it is my responsibility to love people as i find them. To
the very best of my ability to see the face of Jesus in every person
and strive to love them unconditionally. I can do none of this
without God's help. What I think this world seriously lacks are more
people affirming the good in each other. So many of us seem to spend
our time looking for what is wrong, rather than what is right. Ok, so
maybe I have gotten in trouble a few times looking at only what is
right with some people, but it's only been a few times.

I realize that my denomination may be in schism after this next
General Convention here in the USA. And the dividing issue will be
homosexuality. It breaks my heart to think we might split, but there
we have it and I am enjoying the Episcopal Church for what it is now,
rather than what might happen in a month or 2.

What I'd really like to know is this: if we assigned a dollar value to
every bit of time, energy and effort invested in arguing about
homosexuality in the church, the cost of airplane tickets hither and
yon, the cost of paper used to write one way or the other, the amount
of Internet time and space, person hours etc etc etc, how huge a sum
would that be? I suspect it would be an indecently obscene amount of
money and would have been enough to end poverty on a global scale.

I do not recall Jesus every telling us to root out or shun the
homosexuals in our midst. But He sure had a lot to say about our duty
to the poor. The whole Bible is filled with our duty to the poor and
i regard the world-wide debate over homosexuality to be a diversion
from our plain duty to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the
sick, provide for the disenfranchised among us, visit the prisoners so
that they do not despair, make disciples of all nations and to
celebrate the Jubilee year of the Lord. And i can only think how the
Enemy must rejoice in this diversion.

Hitting send while donning head to toe asbestos protective clothing.