BATTLE RAGES BETWEEN NATIONAL CHURCH AND PALMETTO STATE DIOCESE
The national Episcopal church has advised South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence that he has “abandoned” the church as a result of his refusal to accept its teachings on gay marriage and the ordination of gay and female clergy.
In retaliation, Lawrence has pulled South Carolina’s Lower Episcopalian Diocese out of the national church.
The unfolding drama is the latest example of a schism that’s emerging between socially liberal and conservative sects of America’s major protestant churches as organized religion rushes to embrace shifting definitions of family values.
According to the website SCEpiscopalians.com, Lawrence’s “repudiation of the authority of the Church’s Constitution” prompted the Episcopal Church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops to declare that he had failed to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church” by an “open renunciation of the Discipline of the Church.”
The national church reached its decision last month – and notified Lawrence earlier this week.
That’s when all hell broke loose.
“This action by The Episcopal Church triggered two pre-existing corporate resolutions of the Diocese, which simultaneously disaffiliated the Diocese from The Episcopal Church and called a Special Convention,” a statement from Lawrence’s Diocese reads.
That gathering will be held on November 17 at St. Phillip’s Church in Charleston, S.C.
South Carolina’s Episcopal Church is divided into an Upper Diocese and Lower Diocese. Lawrence’s Lower Diocese covers Charleston, Beaufort and other areas of the South Carolina Lowcountry and coastal areas – containing approximately 30,000 parishioners.
Parishes in the Upper Diocese – including the leaders of prominent congregations in Columbia and Greenville, S.C. – will be watching this drama closely. We’re told that right now most of the Upstate congregations sympathize with Lawrence – although there are some influential pockets of support for the national church.
Clearly, though, the national church’s positions – right or wrong – are exposing it to some serious “flight risk” among conservative churches.
“I don’t think we’d join the (Lower) Diocese, but if they get away it might provide a road map for others,” one Upstate Episcopal told FITS.
The Episcopal Church began ordaining gay ministers in 2003 – and earlier this year approved an official liturgy to bless same sex couples. Those are among the key points of contention between Lawrence and the national church.
The Episcopal “Church” ceased to follow Jesus long ago.
Kaehu, if you’re talking about snake chunkin’ or the no dancing & drainkin’ rules, that would be correct.
Who cares? It’s all a racket anyway. Power, money, control.
ur mom cares lol
Sadly Jo, you are right about that. One of the most despicable things about organized religion is how it prays on the elderly and those with weak minds. Ever notice how the weaker someone’s mind becomes with the ravages of age, the more they get into the “God, Church, and Jeebus”, movement?
I have no problem with someone having beliefs and doing their own thing, but organized religion dictates that you have to be constantly harassing people and getting them to believe as you do and say what you do, or they will go to Hell. My mother’s church (Lutheran) has her believing that she might go to Hell too, for not getting me to attend her church.
Satan is misunderstood by many.
Satan should be allowed to join the church.
Let’s be more inclusive.
I worship Crom.
Crom is a grim and gloomy god, ever watching from atop his mountain in dark clouds and obscuring mists, ready to pass a disapproving judgment on any and all, but he is said to approve of courage and tenacity, even if the human is too frail to succeed.
He is not so much worshipped as invoked, as a swearword or when trying to gather one’s courage. Not that he ever does anything, good or bad, to mortals.
It is said that his sole gift to men is to bestow them at birth with the courage to go on, survive, and vanquish adversity.
Just two questions?
1) Who now controls the whiskey-palian liquor stocks?
2) Will the real estate be for sale?
Just why is this important to anyone who is not a member of the Episcopal Church? The Lutheran Church did something similar several years ago. Why do Christians find it so hard to be as tolerant as Christ?
Those damned Germans, The Lutherans, rejected us Episcopailians about 12 years ago. We were NOT going to be called Lutherans and they were NOT going to be called Episcopalians. Whatever. BTW, some of those low country Episcopalians are crazy as hell. While the rich crazies are generally just called “eccentric,” they are actually bat-shit crazy, bless their Jesus loving hearts.
This is important because the Episcopal church has been the denomination of choice of the political, social and business elites since the inception of our country.
Face it, all organizations are founded on basic concepts, beliefs or rules. Churches are not Christianity but organizations based on interpretations of Christianity or some other doctrine.
Once you begin to veer away or change the “official” precepts of the church in question then everything is fair game. It doesn’t have anything to do with Christians not being tolerant – it is not unlike you joining an exclusive “gay” club and then the board deciding to open the door to heterosexuals. It is no longer a gay club but just a club, ALBEIT, no longer anything special about it at all. Have you ever heard of a straight bar? All you hear about are “gay bars” and bars. Who is not being tolerant? Oh and titty bars.
It is about people having the right to choose with whom they associate and worship and how their children may be influenced.
Personally I don’t care what choices other people make. These people have the right to leave the church (churches evolve) and the diocese has the right to pull away – ONCE THE RULES START TO CHANGE.
Odd that Upstate congregations are said to sympathize with Lawrence, when so many of the elected Diocese of Upper South Carolina deputies to General Convention voted for the pro-gay/lesbian resolution. Certainly there are some who sympathize with Lawrence, but a majority? The evidence is against that. Lawrence has been begging for this to happen. He got his wish.
The Episcopalians in Columbia are socially liberal and pro-gay.
I agree about your observation of the evidence as well…the vast majority of the people I go to church with Every Sunday agree with Bishop Waldo and the national church…
St. Philips, one of the “conservative” churches that condemns homosexuality, abortion (for any reason), stem cell research, and premarital sex, is full of some of the worst hypocrites, mostly wealthy people tooling around in expensive autos. The sort who wouldn’t stop to help an old woman with a flat tire. Most born into wealth and do not consider the poor or the sick to be part of their ministry. Judy plain mean. Randall Stoney comes to mind.
— REMINDS ME A LITTLE OF A WELL KNOWN MORMON WHO’S MAKING ALOT OF NEWS THESE DAYS.
The P&C writes today:
“Officials of the local diocese have long faulted The Episcopal Church for what they consider the liberal leanings of an institution too quick to compromise Scripture in favor of social trends. Discord between conservative Episcopalians, here and elsewhere, and the rest of the church body has flared and subsided over the decades. But the ordination and consecration of the church’s first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003, reignited dissent among a theologically conservative minority of Episcopalians.”
The New Testament authors wrote 2,000 years ago that Jesus:
— Welcomed all people of all faiths (Matthew less so on this point), including the dreaded “gentiles” (Greeks), Romans (Centurion Cornelius; Acts of the Apostles, statement to Paul) and Samaritans.
— Accepted and drank water from the same cup of an “unclean” woman who lived with a man who is not your husband, and had lived with six other such men. And this woman was a Samaritan.
— Preached to thousands of peasants offering them love and grace — undeserved forgiveness (the Sermon on the Mount), no questions asked.
— Was scorned by his own family, who considered him “insane,” but bore them no ill will. (His brother James became the leader of the Jesus movement — the church — after his death.)
— Traveled with, respected, and was tended to, in death, women.
— Told his disciple who would betray him -– Judas Iscariot — to leave and do what was ordained: to bring the Romans to arrest him.
— Forgave a thief who was crucified alongside him, who looked forward to joining him in heaven.
— Forgave those disciples who did not understand his actions, particularly Peter, who denied knowing him three times.
— Forgave those disciples who did not believe him, particularly Thomas.
— Loved especially children.
I am an Episcopalian and cannot keep track of this dispute, but believe that Christians are under orders, as C.S. Lewis would put it, to accept and welcome society’s “outcasts.” In days of old, they included lepers, the lame, and the feeble-minded. Today they include gay people.
I believe Jesus, if he appeared today in the flesh, would be considered “a liberal person.”
— Jock Stender, Charleston
Well said Jock Stender, well said. I believe there are vast numbers of people in this State, and within the Church, that stand with you!
Great Jock. Do you think Jesus would mind if you met me down at the I-95 rest stop and scratched an itch for me?
You are entitled to your fucking beliefs but what I see here are interpretations one after the other.
That’s the problem with many gays – like other minorities – you want special treatment for being different and others to bow at your feet and wave a white flag and concede somehow that their beliefs are wrong.
Don’t you have a million fag march to attend somewhere?
Preach that love oh,ok.
Don’t you have a million hollyier-than-thou-roller march to attend?
What if Jesus meant all those things he said?
For the life of me I cannot understand how the Charleston diocese can be so conservative while the Columbia diocese is so liberal. A tale of two churches and two states.
“The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything. Once God (or Satan) is accepted as the first cause of everything which happens in the mortal world, nothing is left to chance…logic can be happily tossed out the window.”
? Stephen King, The Stand
Fits ah yes another 1/2 truth story. U are so dumb
We have no problem with Homosexuals, because we will all be judged by god one day including me and them. Our problem is the church wants to force us to bless same sex marriages, which many of us disagree with. They did not try to prove it bibically, like we asked. They just voted it in bc it was the cool thing to do. I go to Christ Church in Greenville, one of the top 10 largest in the country and our rector is doing everything he can to keep us in the church. There are rumblings but I don’t see us leaving now. I am all for the Diocese of South Carolina (there is no lower and upper, just the diocese of south carolina and the Diocese of upper south carolina, don’t offend the people of Charleston)leaving, but We will not follow right now.
As others have noted — no one is forcing anyone to do anything, a liturgy has been established for those who wish to use it. Further, the theology underlying blessing of same sex couples has been thoroughly laid out by the Episcopal church.
The demand to “prove it Biblically” is unanswerable because the Bible was written by people who lived in their own time and place and were shaped by it. We aren’t going to find a reference to Paul visiting his friend Sam and Sam’s partner Fred. Leviticus and the other few Biblical speakers who are used to argue against homosexuality just assumed that homosexuality was unacceptable because that was their culture — just as they assumed that slavery was okay, and instructed slaves to obey their masters. Jesus stepped out of that cultural conformity and transcended the bigotry and blindness of particular cultures. Accordingly, he said not one word against homosexuality. If opposition to homosexuality is something so crucial to the Christian faith, one would think Jesus would have mentioned it, at least once. A statement so counter-cultural would surely have been reported. And yet — there is no evidence that he said anything of the kind.
Bemused, what you believe is between you and the Lord. Thus, I’ll truly not judge you. However, when you note that Jesus didn’t mention homosexuality, then please, explain the affirmative, prescriptive view of heterosexual marriage from Him…
Mark 10:6-9 (NASB) “But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. 7 “FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, 8 AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Seriously, with such a statement, how could you possibly believe that Jesus was silent on the issue of homosexuality? I mean, if someone tells you that they believe in the sanctity of life, do they also have to tell you that they oppose murder for you to recognize that they oppose murder? Let’s face it, you like homosexuality, we get it. But regardless, leave Jesus of it.
CAH, God also has made some of those males and females gay. Have you really never met anyone for whom being gay clearly wasn’t a “choice.” What are they to do if they are also believers? Is salvation not available to them? I believe Paul said of heterosexual marriage that it was acceptable as a means of avoiding sin, though by implication not the ultimate ideal. Can we not allow the gays the same safe harbor of living as fallen persons that otherwise seek to live in obedience and humbly await His salvation?
Per Jesus’ words (Mark 10:6-9), it is clear that male and female are indeed the ultimate ideal. Sorry, I’ll take Jesus’ words over Paul’s anyday. And yep, I can buy that God allows for the creation of some as gay. However, and I am positive that this will offend you, I am also aware that because of original sin, God also allows for the creation of cancer, diabetes, MS, murder, racism, etc. And, why I must tolerate all of these as a member of a fallen humanity, I’ll certainly not celebrate them. At the same time, I’ll never suggest that those with true faith – regardless of how they’re created- cannot achieve salvation. It just isn’t my call…
I agree that husband and wife is the “ideal” (short of complete devotion apart from familial ties as both Jesus and Paul allude to). But still what to do about those that can’t honestly live that in that way given their biology? It’s not an easy call, and one that I think reasonable believers can disagree on. Personally, if they want to be in a committed relationship I’m happy to honor that and obey the 10 commandments and 2 great commandments right along with them. And no, it doesn’t offend me at all to say that God allows for evil. I don’t know how else it would exist.
Whoa….a donimination founded so the married king could screw a teenager…..?they lost scruples….on minute one.
That being said….I’m cool with King Hnery getting his freak on.
Policy council will be ALL over this
I used to be an Episcopalian for decades but dropped out because I think religion is a fraud filled with moneymakers and hypocrites. I believe in evolution, physics, chemistry, and math. I prefer science to faith. Religion has tormented people for centuries and is the enemy of mankind. Look what Islam is doing to the world today. Look what Catholics did to people in the 14th and 15th centuries. Their tenets are unprovable, hocus pocus.
Instead of religion, we would be all better off believing in ethics, the idea that you do unto others as you would dhave them do unto you. I believe in ethics not faith.
You don’t need some silly highfalutin stain-glass-windowed church which is the 500 year old offshot of the nastiest religion on earth, Roman Catholicism,headed by the cocksucking Pope, telling you what to do if you have a brain, talent, ethics, and morality. You can be your own religion, your own beacon in this benighted world.
Big fucking deal.
They don’t amount to a pile of waste in a West Columbia cesspool.
To quote ceilidh10, “I used to be an Episcopalian for decades but dropped out because I think religion is a fraud filled with moneymakers and hypocrites.”
You just described organized religion regardless of denomination. Period.
FM: Sad that you let the corrupt steal your soul…
You need to be in the Church of Christ w/ your heart…the devil laughs when he sees you deceived by the wicked to the point you choose sin and the World…
Thanks for the laugh, BigT — you provide significant entertainment based on your posts on here. That being said, there is only one bigger douche bag than you that walks the face of the earth and that’s Dabo Swinney…
Believe in ethics not faith? Haha. The only ethic without a God is that might is right. Life is an accident without God and you might as well kill yourself if you cant get ahead. Or go chase the next hipster fad…or something…iPod.
Why is there something rather than nothing anyway? What kind of creator we have, now that is an interesting question!
Seriously, no religion? Yeah, whatever… think the civil rights movement, the wars against fascism and communism, and the current wars against those that devalue life would be anywhere without religion? Let me clue you in on something, there can be no true ethics without some form of religion. Why? Well, because, without religion, the only people that would be valued in our society would be those lucky enough to have been born strong, talented, smart, beautiful, etc. Sure, it kind of sounds like the pecking order of high school (and yeah, I’m sure we’d all like to be these things)… however, does it sound very ethical?
Sorry, but that’s bullshit. Thousands of years of war. Why? Religion!
Isodope, yeah blame those who poorly follow their religions’ creeds, etc. Think the teachings of Christ were well represented by the Catholic church during the middle ages? Yeah, me neither. But, back to my main point, good luck with your master race ideology… just better hope you’re lucky enough to be in the clique. Peace.
Hey, Nutjob! Just because I don’t believe in God doesn’t turn me into Hitler. Enjoy your blissful mindset.
“… Well, because, without religion, the only people that would be valued in our society would be those lucky enough to have been born strong, talented, smart, beautiful, etc. ”
Where in the hell did you come up with this shit? Why can’t people without religion be ethical? My wife and I give to The Red Cross every fucking time there’s a disaster: Katrina, Japan’s nuclear crisis, and charities like many other atheists. How is that being a master race idealogy?
If the Catholic church can have pedophiles for clergy why can’t the Epicopalians have gays?
The Catholic Church has paid well over ONE BILLION dollars in pedo settlements worldwide and the process is ongoing.
There IS ZERO excuse for not instantly turning pedos in to the police and excommunicating them.
I went to a cousin’s birthday party in Bennettsville several years ago and the local Episcopal priest/preacher or whatever they call him was there. He was drinking as much beer as any of the rest of us. Whether what he was doing was wrong, I don’t know and I’m not here to judge. But I was and have always been taught that a preacher should be the one in the community to set the example of good living, etc. Hard to understand their (The Episcopalians) thinking.
We believe that Christ both died and came back to life so that the rest of us can live life and live it abundantly, both now and in the next one…we don’t live with a “gotcha” God or have much to do with people whose sole purpose is to wait for their fellow neighbor to screw up and report them to the church authorities…
He was probably trying to teach you how to have a good time.
Well then…you really would have had a hissy fit if you had gone to a birthday party in Jesus’ time and He had been there enjoying a drink of wine.
? Shoots and scores
Seems to me, being Christian and Christlike are two different things…why do you people believe in such foolishness?
The General Convention did NOT force the blessing of same sex unions. The General Convention provided the liturgy to adminster a rite for the blessing of same sex unions if a priest elected to do so. No one in the Church is telling priests in South Carolina or anywhere that they HAVE to use the rite. Of interesting note though is that the Church has liturgy to bless animals. Certainly if we can bless all of God’s creatures, to include our animals, we can bless the same sex unions between two consenting and loving adults.
It really is simple. Start a church yourself, hire a priest that shares your beliefs, and have yourself a merry old time. Get married to your partner, get blessed, its all good.
As in other churches, the ones who share your beliefs or wish to sell you some insurance, will join you.
Given ample time, acknowledging the fact that you are a few centuries behind some of the larger players, kinda like trying to take on Microsoft, but who cares, it is your faith in Jesus that is at stake, your church will grow to be prosperous and a well-accepted institution in the community.
Who knows, you may even poach a few of the Episcopalians and get off to be bigger start than expected.
However, that little issue about spousal rights, medical coverage, entitlement to pension death benefits, etc. Well, there just may be some really big players that are working in unison with the other larger denominations to keep that plane from leaving the ground. But that is not what this is about now is it? We just want God to recognize our holy union.
“Religion … is the opium of the people”
That’s what Karl Marx said and that’s what he based Communism on. Ruling the world without God’s help does not work. We need religion-our moral guidelines to live.
“That’s what Karl Marx said and that’s what he based Communism on.”
Actually, that’s not what Karl Marx, here’s the specific sentence:
“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”
Further, to say he “based Communism” on this tenet is a massive overstatement.
While I won’t contend that he didn’t intend to replace the worship of a god with the worship of the State, the main planks of his form of communism is defined well by wiki:
“A society organised through a vanguard party on Marxist-Leninist principles seeks to purge anything considered bourgeois, or idealist from it; in addition, it seeks to implement universal atheism through the abolition of religion. It supports the creation of a single-party state; it rejects political pluralism external to communism, claiming that the proletariat need a single, able and unifying political party through which to represent themselves and exercise political leadership. Through the policy of democratic centralism, the communist party is the supreme political institution of the Marxist-Leninist state and is the prime legal force of societal organisation.”
My favorite part of the above defintion is the use of “democratic centralism”, which is similar to what we have now here in our country…but I digress.
My whole point being, you shouldn’t force your religious will on people out of some sense of superior “morality”(which is obviously different and suspect from church to church) as it’s nothing more than theocracy(and not Constitutional if you care about that).
I also hope you weren’t suggesting that atheism leads to communism…but I’ll assume you weren’t for the moment. Communism is horrible but let us keep in mind that there are plenty, both the religious and not, that wouldn’t like to see it implemented to different degrees.
…except that all religion does for you is take your money and leave you a blithering idiot. Opium at least gives you a really good feeling, or so I am told.
Typical SC religious politics…
SC TRIES to act like Texas — we do what we want; we’re independent and; we don’t care what you think. The difference — Texas carries some weight and SC does not. Doh!
@BigT — your posts are always ridiculous but this statement speaks volumes, “Allow gays and your church is a Cult…”. Get a hold of yourself man!!!
Either way: if you are a Christian, this will define your faith…
Allow gays and your church is a Cult…They have no option but to break away…
If you just allow anything (anything goes) why have a Bible or believe in God…You must take a stand, or your church is meaningless…
Well, I was going to ask how this was “SC Politics”, but the number of comments explains why it’s here.
You have certainly hit a soft spot.
Like on that ass Brad Warthen’s blog, the surest way to increase hits is a culture war issue.
True story circa 2003 in adult Sunday School somewhere in SC: The topic that morning was homosexuality, the Church and the 2003 General Convenetion. I was sitting alone that day but to my right, two seats down, was a known gay man in our community. He is much loved and discrete but a, GASP, homosexual. For the next hour I listened to an anti-gay tirade disguised by religion. (That tirade still going on today, atleast monthly in this Diocese.) He probably was not nearly as uncomfortable as I was. At that moment, something became crystal clear to me, I wanted to walk to the front of the room and ask for all the aldulterers to please stand up. Because that particular brand of sinners was far more well represented than the token gay man sitting two seats over. Jesus would have jack smacked those men of God that day. The church had a far greater problem with adultery than they did with homesexuality but were choosing the latter to lecture on. I never went back to that particular episcopal church. I’ve been called “indiscriminately inclusive” – I’m good with that, actually proud.
So now you want the church to advocate for adultry to may Gay OK in the church…That ain’t happening either…(that’s your logic)…
Liberals may be the Most-Simple Minded people on Earth…
If you don’t like the teaching of the Bible…Don’t try to FORCE your Evil on the people who do..
It’s a FREE country…you can open ‘Gay Church’ all day long…
It’s you DEMAND that Christians accept non-Chrsitan doctrine that is THE poblem..
I have FREEDOM of thought..and when you try to take that from me…I’ll fight to keep it like My Father, Grandfather and family members before them went to War for…
You belong in some Communist Country where the Government Demands who-what and how you worship..
But you better get out my FACE trying to FORCE your Religion on me…It ain’t gone happen…
“Liberals may be the Most-Simple Minded people on Earth…”
…but believing in the church is mind expanding?
…we wonder just how much “flight” has landed at Sea Coast Church..??
As Gays impose their doctrine on the Christian church…How many mouths go un-fed and how many shipments of clothes are delayed while the Homosexual community ties the hands of the church….???
What a Selfish bunch of people the Gay community is…
Okay, I’m on board now. Big T is a sock puppet, most likely Folks and friends.
The overuse of the ellipse, the change in tone, the mind boggling stupidity all point to it.
Say this five times real fast. “How much cock can a bishop sock if a bishop could sock cock?” If you can do this without making a mistake, you’re in.
On a related note, whatever happened to Dean Dong’s lawsuit against Trinity? Did it die along with Briebart’s law practice?
Trinity Cathedral – Where Columbia Goes to Worship Itself.
None of these yahoos can PROVE their Sky Fairie exists. Therefore, their Superstitions are naught more than tribal social clubs.
Sectarian squabbles are hilarious though.
“Therefore, their Superstitions are naught more than tribal social clubs.”
“Trinity Cathedral – Where Columbia Goes to Worship Itself.”
Two funniest comments of the day, in the same thread none the less.
Agreed! Also liked: “What a Selfish bunch of people the Gay community is…”
The same people who attend the Episcopal Church in Charleston also send their kids to Porter. In neither place do they have to be around the great unwashed. Of course if they have to cover up for a child molester to protect the school, so be it. After all, they sent him to a public school. Big deal.
These people don’t get a damn about sin. We all sin or so I was told in Episcopalian Sunday school.
They just don’t like homos.
mph: You represent the liberal FILTH that infiltrates this country…
When someone rejects your HATRED and attacks on people you hate…You just make crap up to make you feel better about the Dirt all over you…
If you wallow in Shame…Own it…but don’t try to label others as low as you…
Liberals have Lies, Myths and Fables…or they have Nothing….
And w/ the Obama Campaign, it is WONDERFUL to see how that’s working out for you…
A one, and a two, and a three…”Boy, the way Glenn Miller played…”
IS: Are you too STUPID (and cliche) to come up w/ your own characterizations of me???
Why do you have to let others think for you…???
Big T, you’re a sock puppet. Nobody is this ridiculous.
And you apparently have trouble reading polls.
Those of us who follow the teachings of the Flying Sphagetti Monster laugh at the silliness of your christian cults. May you accept the blessings of the FSM and be touched by its noodly appendage.
Was Jesus Gay? Probably
Preaching on Good Friday on the last words of Jesus as he was being executed makes great spiritual demands on the preacher. The Jesuits began this tradition. Many Anglican churches adopted it. Faced with this privilege in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, my second home, I was painfully aware of the context, a church deeply divided worldwide over issues of gender and sexuality. Suffering was my theme. I felt I could not escape the suffering of gay and lesbian people at the hands of the church, over many centuries.
Was that divisive issue a subject for Good Friday? For the first time in my ministry I felt it had to be. Those last words of Jesus would not let me escape. “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman behold your son!’ Then he said to the disciple. ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”
That disciple was John whom Jesus, the gospels affirm, loved in a special way. All the other disciples had fled in fear. Three women but only one man had the courage to go with Jesus to his execution. That man clearly had a unique place in the affection of Jesus. In all classic depictions of the Last Supper, a favourite subject of Christian art, John is next to Jesus, very often his head resting on Jesus’s breast. Dying, Jesus asks John to look after his mother and asks his mother to accept John as her son. John takes Mary home. John becomes unmistakably part of Jesus’s family.
Jesus was a Hebrew rabbi. Unusually, he was unmarried. The idea that he had a romantic relationship with Mary Magdalene is the stuff of fiction, based on no biblical evidence. The evidence, on the other hand, that he may have been what we today call gay is very strong. But even gay rights campaigners in the church have been reluctant to suggest it. A significant exception was Hugh Montefiore, bishop of Birmingham and a convert from a prominent Jewish family. He dared to suggest that possibility and was met with disdain, as though he were simply out to shock.
After much reflection and with certainly no wish to shock, I felt I was left with no option but to suggest, for the first time in half a century of my Anglican priesthood, that Jesus may well have been homosexual. Had he been devoid of sexuality, he would not have been truly human. To believe that would be heretical.
Heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual: Jesus could have been any of these. There can be no certainty which. The homosexual option simply seems the most likely. The intimate relationship with the beloved disciple points in that direction. It would be so interpreted in any person today. Although there is no rabbinic tradition of celibacy, Jesus could well have chosen to refrain from sexual activity, whether he was gay or not. Many Christians will wish to assume it, but I see no theological need to. The physical expression of faithful love is godly. To suggest otherwise is to buy into a kind of puritanism that has long tainted the churches.
All that, I felt deeply, had to be addressed on Good Friday. I saw it as an act of penitence for the suffering and persecution of homosexual people that still persists in many parts of the church. Few readers of this column are likely to be outraged any more than the liberal congregation to whom I was preaching, yet I am only too aware how hurtful these reflections will be to most theologically conservative or simply traditional Christians. The essential question for me is: what does love demand? For my critics it is more often: what does scripture say? In this case, both point in the same direction.
Whether Jesus was gay or straight in no way affects who he was and what he means for the world today. Spiritually it is immaterial. What matters in this context is that there are many gay and lesbian followers of Jesus – ordained and lay – who, despite the church, remarkably and humbly remain its faithful members. Would the Christian churches in their many guises more openly accept, embrace and love them, there would be many more disciples.
The four references to “the disciple whom Jesus loved” are all in the Gospel of John:
13:23 “… of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, …”
19:26 “… and the disciple whom he loved standing …”
21:7 “Then the one Jesus loved said …”
21:20 “… saw that the disciple Jesus loved said …”
Regarding Jn 13:23, the late Catholic biblical scholar, Rev. Raymond E. Brown said in his widely-respected Introduction to the New Testament (Doubleday, 1997):
“Also unique to John is the presence of ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved.’ Acting as an intermediary for Simon Peter, who is placed at a distance from Jesus, this Beloved Disciple leans back against Jesus’ chest to ask the identity of the one who will hand Jesus over. Mentioned only in the Book of Glory [Jn 13:1 – 20:31], characteristically the Beloved Disciple is close to Jesus and contrasted with Peter.” (pp. 351 – 2)
Brown, who used historical-critical method to analyze the Bible, was a specialist concerning the hypothetical “Johannine community” which he speculated contributed to the authorship of the Gospel of John.
Nowhere in any of his writings does Brown even allude to John, son of Zebedee, one of the Twelve, as having a sexual relationship with Christ.
Paul criticizes fornicators and homosexuals in his First Letter to the Corinthians (6:9-10) and his Letter to the Romans (1:24-32). To me, that is the extent of New Testament discussion on the subject of homosexuality.
Brown (1928 – 1998) was a contemporary of Oestreicher (1931 – ) whose article above (published recently in The Guardian) requires more than bravery to accept. Whereas Brown was a bible professor and scholar his entire life — with no pastoral duties — Oestreicher was no scholar at all:
1959: assistant guest pastor to the Protestant church in R?sselsheim
1959: deacon in St. Paul’s Cathedral London
1960: priest in St. Paul’s Cathedral London, curate in the parish of Holy Trinity, Dalston
1961 – 64: program producer in the religious department of the BBC
1964 – 69: Secretary of the East Europe Relations Department of the British Council of Churches
1968 – 81: parish priest of the Church of the Ascension, Blackheath
1981 – 85: Director of the Division of International Affairs of the British Council of Churches
1985 – 87: residentiary canon of Coventry Cathedral and director of the Cathedral’s Centre for International Reconciliation
1998: retired from the Cathedral, becoming its Canon Emeritus
1998 – present: Works as a journalist and expert on human rights, peace, faith and society. Wrote the op-editorial above, published in The Guardian (Online edition, April 20, 2012) claiming that Jesus was “probably gay.”
Given Oestreicher’s lack of expertise in biblical study, I rely on Brown and other scholars on this point — and dismiss the essay as quaint.
— Jock Stender, Charleston
A couple of points: Oestreicher asks, “The essential question for me is: what does love demand?” First, if we’re going to start throwing around terms like “essential questions,” we should at least begin with defining what we mean by a word as broad as “love.” As a Christian, I would start with looking at a crucifix. There is a reason Catholics keep the corpus on the cross: to remind us of love’s demands. Real love is a choice; it’s an act of the will. More specifically, love is to will the good of the other as other. It’s not a feel-good romantic feeling (although feelings are part of the “raw material” of love). Jesus himself said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Note that keeping the commandments doesn’t always feel good. Jesus also said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Seems to me that Oestreicher’s brand of love is a bit self-serving by reducing Jesus through a narrow, gay lens via Jesus’ intimate relationship with the beloved disciple. As if men cannot have intimate relationships with other men without bringing a physical/genital (i.e., homosexual) expression and dimension to it? It’s sad when our so-called religious leaders have become so secular in their outlook that they have adopted the prevailing cultural understanding of love, sex, celibacy, and marriage, and then project that understanding onto God.
Oestreicher points out that he sees no theological need for celibacy. Again, I wish he would define his terms. Authentic celibacy is the free choice to refrain from the goods of marriage in exchange for the eternal goods of heaven. Vowed celibates are here to remind us pilgrims that as wonderful as married love is, it is only a foretaste of what awaits us in heaven. It “leapfrogs” into the marriage feast of heaven, while still on earth. We were created from love, by love, for love. No matter how wonderful earthly love is, it ultimately cannot satisfy the eternal love we were created for. Only God in the end can meet the deepest longings of our hearts. As St. Augustine so aptly put it, “Oh Lord, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
He finishes by stating, “Whether Jesus was gay or straight in no way affects who he was and what he means for the world today. Spiritually it is immaterial.” While I get what he’s trying to say, he is also expressing an ancient heresy that separates the body from the soul. Any attempt to divorce our souls from the fundamental orientation of our bodies (yes, our genitals) is to embrace the heresy of dualism. Both the male and female body have a complimentarity to them; a nuptial (or marital), meaning. They don’t make sense either by themselves or together in a same-sex coupling. The parts fit for a reason. It’s the body, and it alone, that shows us who we are and defines our call to sexual love. So to me it absolutely matters whether Jesus was gay or straight.
9″, just absurd commentary, period. Seriously, there is no shred of evidence whatsoever to suggest that Jesus was gay. And yeah, many liberal Christians want to act as if Jesus had nothing to say about. homosexuality. But if not, then please explain the affirmative, prescriptive view of heterosexual marriage from Him…
Mark 10:6-9 (NASB) “But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. 7 “FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, 8 AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Seriously, with such a statement, how could anyone possibly believe that Jesus was silent on the issue of homosexuality?… much less in favor of it? I mean, if someone tells you that they believe in the sanctity of life, do they also have to tell you that they oppose murder for you to recognize that they oppose murder? Let’s face it, you like homosexuality, we get it. But regardless, leave Jesus of it. He was neither a homosexual, nor a proponent of it. In Mark 10:6-9, He implies that Homosexuality runs counter to God’s plan set forth in Genesis. Period. End of Story.
Maybe I’m missing something here, but, in the historical record, we have evidence of ceasar’s death, but none for Jesus?
You have to put in perspective that it was not uncommon for those in power and the state to *erase* the record of those opposing them. Of course Jesus was the greatest martyr there ever was, even if I dont personally believe in his divinity…so there was a lot of incentive to try to erase his existence.
I think the preponderance of evidence suggests so fairly uncontroversially. You have Josephus, Tacitus, and even the Jewish Talmud itself all making mention of him.
Now, if you want to be successfully controversial regardless of the facts, you could start off by asking *Was Jesus gay?*
LMAO! As you can see, it can be very effective in eliciting reaction regardless of its ridiculousness.(but no more ridiculous than claiming he was god incarnate)
I still have no proof Josephus and Tacitus actually mentioned Jesus, but yes, God incarnate is a bit much.
Yes, they both did….I do not know if it is floating around the internets, but I have read specific passages by both in their works.
I’m going to create man and woman with original sin. Then I’m going to impregnate a woman with myself so that I can be born. Once alive, I will kill myself as a sacrifice to myself to save you from the sin that I originally condemned you to!!!!!
9″, try this instead: God created man and woman with free will, not original sin. Each person chose (remember, both love and sin are acts of the will) to follow their own will rather than God’s will. As a consequence they lost the grace of original holiness, and became subject to the law of death; sin became universally present in the world. God the Father then asked a woman named Mary (giving her the choice)to cooperate with His plan of redemption. Mary’s “yes” allowed the Father to find a dwelling place where His Son and Spirit could dwell among us. The name “Jesus” signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of His Son, made man for the universal and definitive redemption from sins. It is the divine name that alone brings salvation, and from now on all can invoke his name, for Jesus united himself to all people through the Incarnation, so that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
If the members of the Episcopal Church in Columbia only knew about the secret lives of their priests and vestrymen it would blow their minds.
Satan needs love too.
BIG T….the Episcopal church was founded by King Henry to condone his adultry and deviant freaky behavior. So if you are talking about religion as a whole….I hear you bro…but if we are talking about this one Sect….they truly are the kings of do as we say not as we do/did.
Bishop Mark Lawrence is a Hero…
We should ALL support him, his courage and he and his congregation’s move to protect their right to their faith…
The National HQ is a disgrace and should be ashamed that it worships pop culture instead of God….
He looks like a homo.
Let’s smoke more crack.