anthills–Episcopalians & the Anglican Communion

March 28, 2006


Filed under: ECUSA, the anthills — anthill @ 7:55 pm

The organization called “Claiming the Blessing” (CTB) has published its “Platform” for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church (ECUSA) in June.

I testify that the hateful early comments on that blog do not represent anything I have ever heard from the most conservative Christians I know.

The platform has a section of affirmations as a foundation for the list of aims that follow. The lead affirmation is highly important for what it says and for what it doesn’t say: “We commit our lives to … the celebration of the goodness of all creatures and creation as given to us by God.”

Take this as a general theological claim and it is fine. The things, animals, and people that God is directly responsible for are good as created. We can exclude lethal parasites and such as not part of God’s direct work.

The affirmation can even form a foundation for reaching those who have wrecked the goodness of the original creation. We celebrate the goodness that is under it all; we call it forth in the name of the Creator.

A glaring omission in the affirmations is any mention of the wrecking, twisting, killing effects of sin (name it what you will). And in the listing of aims in the platform, rebellion against the Creator could have shown up as a condemnation of all promiscuity and misuse of sex (hetero and homosexual). Isn’t it relevant that the realm of sex is where some of the most heinous crimes take place?

But I wonder if there is a more subtle problem with the first affirmation. It is a part of gay dogma that being gay in many (most?) cases is not a choice. It is unhelpful for productive relationships to deny such a claim, personally made. Let us accept that a complex bundle of factors bring a person to a point of affirming, “I did not choose this.”

It is frequently asserted that a lack of choice means this is God’s intention and work. But, the experience of not having chosen a state of being does not support a logical leap to saying that God made one that way. Without drawing an equivalence of any kind other than logical, an alcoholic’s claim of genetic predisposition does not require the conclusion that God created that person an alcoholic.

I don’t know the name of this logical fallacy, but it in lay language, this is leaping to a conclusion (from a false major premise—God made me just the way I am).

There are many genetic or inter-uterine hormonal conditions that do not call out for a claim that God positively created that condition. They may rather clearly be attributed to the disorder and disease that afflicts our world.

And that brings us back to the missing word in the platform of Claiming the Blessing – fallenness. If the Bible can be compared to a jigsaw puzzle, then the themes of sin, rebellion against God, the twisting of the goodness of creation, fallenness make up many of the pieces. For these pieces to be missing from the “proclamation” of this organization calls into question its foundations.

Fallenness is a metaphor for a concrete reality. There is moral disorder in the world. It seems silly to have to assert it. This concept belongs in this platform; it fits.

Because fallenness is missing, there is no mention of redemption by Jesus’ death and resurrection, which can restore goodness to sex and to all of life. The assertion that our view on sexuality is usually bound in a coherent package with all our deepest beliefs seems to ring true here.


1 Comment »

  1. One of the problems with liberal theology is that there is little to no doctrine of sin. I have been told that a lesbian priest in our area teaches that the fall (Genesis 3) was a good thing because humanity made their own decisions. Apparently it wouldn’t even occur to this person that decisions could fall outside the will of God (i.e. sin).

    Comment by tony — March 29, 2006 @ 7:08 pm

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