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A Response from Integrity USA to the Bishops' Statement

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  • CORNET
    CALLED OUT CORNET Note: For background, see previous stories 1. Bishops receive theology committee s report, Gift of Sexuality
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 27, 2003
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      CALLED OUT
      CORNET Note: For background, see previous stories
      1. Bishops receive theology committee's report, 'Gift of Sexuality'
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UMCalledOut/message/1808
      2. The Gift of Sexuality: A Theological Perspective
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UMCalledOut/message/1807

      -------
      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
      Trinity
      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
      to
      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
      that
      the terms "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people" are
      accepted
      by the world-wide LGBT community to describe the rich diversity of
      our
      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
      the
      Church.'

      We are not surprised then, that the action of the House of Bishops
      was
      to merely receive it and commend it for further study and
      conversation, asking the committee to further grapple with some of
      the
      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
      the
      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
      together
      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."
      Jesus
      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
      accusations
      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.
      Dowd,
      John Clinton Bradley, David B. Tarbet, Bruce K. Mason, Elizabeth
      Kaeton

      Feast of James DeKovan
      March 22, 2003
      Trinity Cathedral
      Portland, Oregon


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