A Response from Integrity USA to the Bishops' Statement
- CALLED OUT
CORNET Note: For background, see previous stories
1. Bishops receive theology committee's report, 'Gift of Sexuality'
2. The Gift of Sexuality: A Theological Perspective
For immediate release:
Contact: the Rev'd Michael Hopkins, President
Integrity USA, President@...
A Response from Integrity USA to the Statement of the House of
Bishops' Theology Committee
The Board of Integrity, meeting at our Spring Board meeting at
Cathedral, Portland, OR, received and reviewed the theological
statement from the House of Bishops' theology committee entitled "The
Gift of Sexuality: A Theological Perspective." In the background of
the turmoil of war, and in the midst of our most fervent prayers for
world peace, we wish to make the following response about the
continuing conflict in our own church.
First, we are struck by the scant amount of theology contained in a
report which defines itself as theological. It is abundantly clear
us that this is a political statement, designed, we suspect, to build
on the fragile foundation of collegiality which has been carefully
constructed in the House of Bishops over the past few years. In the
midst of war, the preservation of the status quo and the maintenance
of the illusion of security by legislative inaction seem to have been
an irresistible impulse.
We are deeply distressed by the condescending, dismissive, clinical
tone of the piece. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people are
not even given the human dignity of naming the reality of their
existence; rather, we have been "consciously chosen" to be spoken of
as "homosexual persons." This, despite the fact that the progressive
bishops and theologians on the committee know well and understand
the terms "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people" are
by the world-wide LGBT community to describe the rich diversity of
own reality. Shame on them!
We are astounded that the document seems to be blissfully ignorant of
the conversation which has been taking place in the church for the
past 30 years. Further, it seems completely uninformed by the
progression of the actions taken by General Convention regarding the
status of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons - most
notably Resolution D039 passed in Denver less than three years ago -
not to mention the 1976 resolution which acknowledged LGBT people
as 'children of God, who have full and equal claim with all other
persons upon the love, acceptance and pastoral concern and care of
We are not surprised then, that the action of the House of Bishops
to merely receive it and commend it for further study and
conversation, asking the committee to further grapple with some of
issues it raises. That it did not result in a "Mind of the House
Resolution" is, perhaps, its sharpest criticism and, in our view, the
most significant failure of this document.
We commend to the House of Bishops, to the members of this committee
and especially to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as
well as our families and friends, to take this opportunity to
participate in the same bold, prophetic action to which our Presiding
Bishop has called the rest of the church. We call our church to the
hard work of "waging reconciliation" in our world, in our church, and
in our lives of faith.
From May 7 through May 10, members of the Steering Committee of the
progressive coalition known as "Claiming the Blessing" (in which
Integrity is a partner) will be gathering together with members of
American Anglican Council and other concerned conservatives at St.
James, Wilshire, in the Diocese of Los Angeles. We ask for your
prayers as we prepare for this meeting.
We are very clear that we are not meeting to negotiate a settlement.
We have done our foundational theological work, using the Anglican
methodology of Scripture, Tradition and Reason. You can find it at
http://www.claimingtheblessing.org, http://www.integrityusa.org, and
http://www.everyvoice.org and we encourage you to use it. We have
developed our political strategy and have written a resolution which
will ask General Convention to authorize the development of
liturgical rites of blessing to be part of the Book of Occasional
Services by 2006.
We fully anticipate that our conservative sisters and brothers will
have done their own theological, political and legislative
preparation. We expect that they will come to this meeting fully
prepared to express their firmly held beliefs. In the end, however,
this is not about theology or politics. Neither is it about
legislative action. It is about relationships. It is about
behavior. It is about being known as followers of Jesus by the love
and respect we show each other. It is not about seeking a common
mind, so much as it is discerning the mind of Christ. It is about
discerning how we can live together under the same roof, come
around the same altar, share the same common prayer, and together,
find, honor and celebrate the Christ in us all.
That is not easy work. It is hard, prophetic work in a "not for
prophet" church. The easy way is to stand still "for a season."
would not be pleased. He had his eyes set on Jerusalem. We do, too,
even though we know that the path leads to betrayal, false
and the cross. It also leads to resurrection and the gift of the
Spirit given to the church.
In this season of Lent, and all the seasons of our faith, it is the
only work we know to do. We ask that you join us.
Your Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Michael W. Hopkins, Cynthia A. Gilliatt, Susan Russell, Frank B.
John Clinton Bradley, David B. Tarbet, Bruce K. Mason, Elizabeth
Feast of James DeKovan
March 22, 2003
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