Anglican Samizdat

November 5, 2009

The Anglican Church of Canada has priests in active homosexual relationships

Filed under: Anglican Church of Canada — David @ 5:30 pm
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I know that isn’t exactly a startling revelation – which, in itself speaks volumes on the state of the ACoC.

A letter in the November Anglican Journal illustrates that – at least in the near future – there is little likelihood of slowing the gay agenda juggernaut. Here is the letter (emphasis mine):

It’s hard to know exactly why Harold Munn’s article made us so angry (Let’s talk about sex, Sept, 2009). We share his position on the issue of same-sex blessings. We also share his desire to remain in communion with those who don’t and find his story of unlikely friendship endearing.

Perhaps it is because his “two straight guys talking about same-sex blessings” falls into the same category as “two white guys talking about reconciliation with First Nations people” and “two men talking about the ordination of women.” Perhaps it’s because after a few meetings, Canon Munn and his colleague found there was little left to say. We don’t have that luxury and neither do clergy in same-sex relationships in the diocese of British Columbia (Canon Munn’s home). We long for the day we don’t have to constantly defend our position on the issue of same-sex blessings.

Rev. Andrew Halladay
Rev Davis Taylor.

There are a number of things one can surmise from this letter:

  • The Reverend gentleman who wrote the letter are in a same-sex “relationship”;
  • There are other priests, possibly many other priests, in same-sex relationships;
  • The assumption going in to any debate on this issue is that priests in this kind of relationship are entitled to live out – or indulge – their sexual proclivities;
  • Priests who have a same-sex paramour, rather than hide the fact, wish to “come out” and, in doing so need to justify their behaviour in order to keep doing what they are doing while remaining priests in the ACoC;
  • Priests who are not homosexual almost certainly know other priests who are and, as a fellow priest, feel an obligation to defend them.

I attended a meeting held by the Diocese of Niagara a few years back when the issue of same-sex blessings had come to a head. One of the speakers was a young homosexual priest whose argument boiled down to, “I’m gay; I want to be in a stable sexual relationship with another man. If that doesn’t happen, I am doomed to a life of frustration. I am entitled to sexual fulfilment”. In the room, there was a lot of sympathy for him.

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20 Comments

  1. Don’t so quickly forget Dean Peter Elliot of New West – formerly Prolocutor of ACoC…he is in an openly gay relationship. The only openly gay partnered priest we don’t yet have in Canada is one who has been elevated to the lofty rank of bishop…and I do mean rank.

    Besides, what I think Halladay and Taylor are really upset about is that such a nice guy like Munn could have failed to convince another really nice guy that homosexual sex is okay. If Munn can’t do it, then maybe no one can. I think that is what is really upsetting to them. They know they can’t win everyone over…and the gay blessings thing…well that is really all about societal acceptance, and thus God’s acceptance. If Halladay and Taylor can’t get that, then maybe, just maybe, their salvation isn’t as secure as they thought it was.

    Halladay came out last year, while working as a priest in the D of B.C., publicly in a letter to the editor in the A. Journal. He also thinks that God needs to be taught who he is…see his creative theology in his review of Joseph’s Bones in Diocesan Post: “This is not a God that knows everything, but is rather a God that needs to be taught, not about earth or about heaven or about power or about people, but about himself.” http://www.bc.anglican.ca/content/DPOctober2008WEB.pdf

    Halladay is busy reshaping God in his own image: “God and I both start formless. We both start as chaos. And when it comes right down to it, the only thing we can really
    say when asked to describe ourselves is … I am who I am”

    Comment by Sam — November 6, 2009 @ 12:40 am

  2. Anglican Church of Canada has priests in same-sex relationships

    Church of England has priests in same-sex relationships

    Pope is Catholic

    Queen Anne is dead

    Bears shit in woods …

    … Catholic Church attracts thousands of Anglicans

    Comment by Andrew — November 9, 2009 @ 10:34 am

  3. Okay, really. The world is different now. I think that what people do in their personal lives is their own business. Honestly, we should have no problem with a minister who is in a same sex relationship unless they are forcing their beliefs about it on us, which they aren’t. I have two ministers in two separate churches who are in same sex relationships who are really great people. More and more people are interested in the same sex these days and I think it’s great. I may still technically be a kid but I do know what goes on in this world and I know that we should not judge other people’s happiness just because we are scared. Not accepting people in same sex relationships is just as bad as being racist! Really, you people need to suck it up big time!! If you have a church near you with a minister working in it who has a same sex relationship, I ask you to please attend their service once while being open minded, and if you still have a problem with it then DON’T GO TO THAT CHURCH!!! Same sex couples are just the same as heterosexual couples. It’s not like being attracted to the same sex is a choice, it is how you are born. So GET OVER IT!!! One of these days people in same sex relationships are going to dominate the world and all you straight people can stuff it! SO LET SAME SEX COUPLES RUN THE CHURCHES TOO!!!

    Comment by Samm — December 7, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

  4. Thanks for your interest.

    The issue for David and I is not that we are struggling with creating a stable long-term relationship that is recognized. In fact, we already have a stable long-term relationship that is recognized and respected by our families and friends, as well as the government. Through prayer, we have discerned that God is calling us to a life of ministry together. I have been accused of creating God in my own image before, but remained convinced that I have been created in God’s image. Our salvation is as secure as the next person’s, which is to say it is in the hands of Jesus.

    The issue we struggle with is the church. The church is the only location from which people attack us. The church is the only group of people that talks about us as if we were an exhibit in the museum of sin rather than real people. We are not convinced that attacking people is the ministry of Jesus. It may be that one day your attacks will force us out of the church. But even then we will remain faithful in our commitment to God and in our commitment to one another.

    We will continue to pray for your souls.

    Comment by Andrew Halladay — December 7, 2009 @ 1:15 pm

  5. Samm #3,
    One of these days people in same sex relationships are going to dominate the world

    For an evolutionary dead-end, that seems a little unlikely.

    Comment by David — December 7, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

  6. Andrew #4,

    My intention is not to attack you; I am convinced that Jer 17:9 is an accurate summary of the human condition so I would not try and make out that anyone else’s behaviour is generally worse than mine. We are saved through Christ’s grace, not by works.

    What I am attacking is the attempt that homosexual leaders within the Anglican church are making to justify behaviour that the bible says is sinful.

    Comment by David — December 7, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  7. Did I start something bad?

    Comment by samm — December 7, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

  8. When did I try to justify my behaviour? That was certainly never my intention, and I’m sorry if something I’ve written came across that way. Justifying is one of those things (like saving and judging) that can only be done by God through Jesus.

    And as for homosexual leaders in the church….. priests go through a rigorous screening. We have to be approved by a congregation, by committees of lay people and clergy, by a seminary, and ultimately by a bishop. And then before we can be ordained we need a different congregation to agree to employ us. Bishops in the Anglican church have to go one step further (obviously) and be elected by lay delegates and the clergy of a diocese before they can be ordained. Even Peter Elliott was not parachuted into his mostly administrative position. He was elected through the canons of the church. I say all this because when I started on my journey towards ordained ministry (already out of the closet and tentatively beginning my relationship with David) I was under the impression that the church wanted me. I certainly wasn’t naive enough to think that everyone in the whole church around the world wanted me, but I was under the impression that most of the people in the church, particularly in the Anglican Church of Canada, thought it would be a good idea for me to take on ordained leadership, even with all my cards (i.e. my personal life) laid out on the table.

    And now I discover, after five long years of preparation, that there are factions in the church more opposed to my existence as a priest than I ever could have imagined. I have been called an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. I have been referred to as a ‘goon’ for the cause of liberal theology. I have been threatened professionally, personally, and physically. And I don’t understand why. I never lied. I never tried to deceive anyone. I said ‘this is who I am’ and the church still asked me to be a priest. It was as amazing for me to be called to ordained ministry as it is horrifying now how angry some people seem to be about it.

    The debate about what the Bible says or doesn’t say about what is and isn’t sinful isn’t one I am willing to engage in. The Bible says what it says, and I have to deal with that in my personal life and in my relationship with God. It is not easy but I do my best.

    I do look to the vision of Revelation 21 with reverence and fear: And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.’

    I am thirsty for the water of life. I am eager to call God my Father. I try to be brave and faithful (engaging in this conversation with you feels like I am putting my head in the mouth of a lion). I try to live a healthy and clean lifestyle within the bounds of the body God gave me (it is a sinful body but it is the only one I have). I have never killed, or cheated on my spouse, or performed magic, and just in case I did so unknowingly I beg forgiveness every week in church (inadequately, but faithfully). I worship only one God, the Father Almighty, and I always try to speak the truth in love (but what is truth asks Pilate… I am the way, the truth and the life, says Jesus). I’m not perfect, certainly, but I try to follow the example of Jesus.

    And David and I will make the same demand of you that we make of God nearly every day. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

    Comment by Andrew Halladay — December 7, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

  9. Andrew,
    Thank you for replying.

    When did I try to justify my behaviour? That was certainly never my intention

    You didn’t; the point I was trying to make was that I have no right to attack you because I am a sinner too, whose only recourse is the grace of Christ.

    And as for homosexual leaders in the church….. priests go through a rigorous screening

    True enough, but that doesn’t really help much in determining whether homosexual activity is wrong or not; if it is wrong, all it means is that those in charge of the screening are not doing their job.

    I was under the impression that the church wanted me

    You have framed this as personal acceptance vs rejection. The church undoubtedly should “want” everyone in the sense that everyone is welcome and accepted; that doesn’t mean that the church should accept everyone into a leadership role, though, or that it cannot encourage a change of behaviour from parishioners.

    I have been called an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. I have been referred to as a ‘goon’ for the cause of liberal theology. I have been threatened professionally, personally, and physically.

    Whatever one’s view of practising homosexual priests, I think to do that is quite wrong.

    The debate about what the Bible says or doesn’t say about what is and isn’t sinful isn’t one I am willing to engage in. The Bible says what it says, and I have to deal with that in my personal life and in my relationship with God. It is not easy but I do my best.

    I am a little puzzled by this; are you acknowledging that that bible does forbid homosexual activity, and that you are struggling against it?

    engaging in this conversation with you feels like I am putting my head in the mouth of a lion

    I don’t bite; and I have a big mouth – at least, that’s what people keep telling me.

    And David and I will make the same demand of you that we make of God nearly every day. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

    It’s not up to me to forgive your sins – you haven’t sinned against me after all. And I don’t think one can “demand” that God forgive sins.

    Comment by David — December 7, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

  10. He has not sinned against anyone. He is a good man and the best minister I know, seeing as hes the minister of my church.

    Comment by Samm — December 7, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

  11. Are you up for more?

    >> When did I try to justify my behaviour? That was certainly never my intention.
    > You didn’t; the point I was trying to make was that I have no right to attack you because I am a sinner too, whose only recourse is the grace of Christ.

    So you’re not attacking me, and you’re not attacking anything I did. Why, then, are you writing about me?

    >> And as for homosexual leaders in the church….. priests go through a rigorous screening
    > True enough, but that doesn’t really help much in determining whether homosexual activity is wrong or not; if it is wrong, all it means is that those in charge of the screening are not doing their job.

    Which is, I assume, to keep those who engage in homosexual behaviour out of leadership positions. And now that I am in a leadership position, what should happen? Should I be fired? Demoted? Prevented from going any further? Respected as a sinner who has been ordained a priest in the church of God?

    >> I was under the impression that the church wanted me
    > You have framed this as personal acceptance vs rejection. The church undoubtedly should “want” everyone in the sense that everyone is welcome and accepted; that doesn’t mean that the church should accept everyone into a leadership role, though, or that it cannot encourage a change of behaviour from parishioners.

    I can understand how you might think I am framing this as personal acceptance or rejection. In fact, it is not my intention to do this. I am accepted both as an Anglican and as a priest, not by everybody, but by enough people that I can be employed by the church and have my voice heard. What concerns me is that the church told me I could be a priest, and then once it made me a priest it started to tell me that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. My concern is not my own acceptance, my concern is with the hypocrisy of the church. If it was such a bad idea for me to be a priest, then why did it make me one? When Harold Munn has a series of lunches to discuss the blessing of same sex unions, I wonder why he didn’t invite a gay person. Is it because his more conservative collegue would have been unwilling to break bread with a gay person? I simply don’t know. I understand that you want me to change my behaviour. Will you and your collegues change yours? Will you refrain from blogging in a speculative and presumptuous manner about the details of the personal lives of gay clergy?

    >> I have been called an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. I have been referred to as a ‘goon’ for the cause of liberal theology. I have been threatened professionally, personally, and physically.
    > Whatever one’s view of practising homosexual priests, I think to do that is quite wrong.

    We agree here. FYI, all of the people who said these things to me have since left the Anglican Church of Canada and joined the Network. I see from comment #1 that I am still viewed as a villain in the eyes of some. I pray that one day these people will engage with me on an equal footing rather than resorting to put downs.

    >> The debate about what the Bible says or doesn’t say about what is and isn’t sinful isn’t one I am willing to engage in. The Bible says what it says, and I have to deal with that in my personal life and in my relationship with God. It is not easy but I do my best.
    > I am a little puzzled by this; are you acknowledging that that bible does forbid homosexual activity, and that you are struggling against it?

    I don’t struggle against the Bible. I struggle to live as though the Word of God is inspiring me. I work to integrate the teachings of the Bible into my daily life. I don’t engage in debates about what the Bible says because it usually ends up just being a Bible quoting contest. The Bible talks about many things being sinful. I’m not convinced that homosexuality is either the most important or the most urgent.

    >I don’t bite; and I have a big mouth – at least, that’s what people keep telling me.

    I also have a big mouth. I pray that my heart will be as big as my mouth one day.

    > It’s not up to me to forgive your sins – you haven’t sinned against me after all. And I don’t think one can “demand” that God forgive sins.

    If it is true that it is not up to you to forgive my sins, then why can’t we exist within the same church structures? Is it because God won’t forgive my sins? I don’t understand why we need to have separate bedrooms, so to speak.
    And maybe demand was the wrong word. Perhaps you would prefer that I beg for forgiveness?

    I hope that this sort of respectful dialogue can continue. It is not my intention to fight. I have a sincere hope of coming to greater understanding.

    Comment by Andrew Halladay — December 7, 2009 @ 8:15 pm

  12. Andrew,

    So you’re not attacking me, and you’re not attacking anything I did. Why, then, are you writing about me?

    I wrote about you because you wrote about yourself in the Journal. I am not trying to attack you or what you have done but I am arguing against what you appear to be standing for: declaring an activity to be right that the bible says is wrong.

    Which is, I assume, to keep those who engage in homosexual behaviour out of leadership positions. And now that I am in a leadership position, what should happen? Should I be fired? Demoted? Prevented from going any further? Respected as a sinner who has been ordained a priest in the church of God?

    Yes, I do think that those who engage in homosexual behaviour should not be in church leadership; on what should be done now that you are in leadership – I’m not sure there is a simple answer to that, but see below for more.

    My concern is not my own acceptance, my concern is with the hypocrisy of the church. If it was such a bad idea for me to be a priest, then why did it make me one?

    I quite agree. The church can’t have it both ways and by trying to do so, it is being hypocritical. The strategy appears to be to ease everyone slowly into accepting practicing homosexuals in leadership positions and into accepting same-sex blessings. Niagara’s Bishop Ralph Spence, for example, said quite plainly that conservative holdouts would eventually come around to his way of thinking. This was very naïve, of course.

    I understand that you want me to change my behaviour.

    Not really; what you do is your business. I don’t think a practising homosexual should be in church leadership, though; I also don’t think an unmarried person in an active heterosexual relationship should be in church leadership either. What is worse than both is an active campaign to convince people that there is absolutely nothing wrong with these lifestyles.

    Will you refrain from blogging in a speculative and presumptuous manner about the details of the personal lives of gay clergy?

    Well, you opened that door yourself when you wrote the Journal letter.

    If it is true that it is not up to you to forgive my sins, then why can’t we exist within the same church structures? Is it because God won’t forgive my sins?

    I’m quite certain he would forgive your sins – but if you don’t believe homosexual activity to be sinful, it becomes a little difficult to ask him, does it not?

    The question of why can’t we exist within the same church structures is a bit more complicated. I am in an ANiC church that was part of the Diocese of Niagara. The move towards SSBs and acceptance of practising homosexual clergy is a component of a larger strategy of becoming more “inclusive”, “diverse” and – from my perspective – watered down. The Niagara leadership are no longer prepared to unequivocally affirm such things as the uniqueness of Christ, his resurrection, his Virgin birth and his atoning death on the cross. I have been attending my church for around 30 years and for 15 or more of those years I was feeling that I already existed within a different church to the diocese, even though it was part of the same structure. In Feb. 2008 we voted to change the structure, but the real split had already occurred. The homosexual component was only one part of our problem with the diocese; although I can’t say for certain, if SSBs were the only point of disagreement I doubt that the split would have happened.

    Comment by David — December 7, 2009 @ 10:35 pm

  13. > I wrote about you because you wrote about yourself in the Journal. I am not trying to attack you or what you have done but I am arguing against what you appear to be standing for: declaring an activity to be right that the bible says is wrong.

    That’s fair. I opened myself up for comment by commenting on myself. I’m not sure that I’ve ever declared that homosexuality is right. I have declared that I will love homosexual people (practicing or not) to the best of my ability. I am curious as to why, if you have severed ties with the Anglican Church of Canada, things in the Anglican Journal are of interest to you.

    > I quite agree. The church can’t have it both ways and by trying to do so, it is being hypocritical. The strategy appears to be to ease everyone slowly into accepting practicing homosexuals in leadership positions and into accepting same-sex blessings. Niagara’s Bishop Ralph Spence, for example, said quite plainly that conservative holdouts would eventually come around to his way of thinking. This was very naïve, of course.

    Mmmm. That’s tough. I don’t know if I advocate the strategy of conversion. But I do wonder how this relates to evangelism in the church. Are Christians not to expect others to come around to their way of thinking? Or are Christians to constantly work towards the conversion of others to their way of thinking?

    >> I understand that you want me to change my behaviour.
    > Not really; what you do is your business. I don’t think a practising homosexual should be in church leadership, though; I also don’t think an unmarried person in an active heterosexual relationship should be in church leadership either. What is worse than both is an active campaign to convince people that there is absolutely nothing wrong with these lifestyles.

    Again, this is a tough one for me. I agree that what I do is my business. And I agree that the most perfect form of relationship is marriage. I’m curious, though, about the implication that only those who are free from sin, or from particular sin, are suitable for church leadership. Obviously, sexual sin, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is a deal breaker for you when it comes to church leadership. What about divorce and remarriage? Both Jesus and Paul are quite clear about divorce and adultery, but I know that some Network members say that divorce/remarriage is quite different from homosexuality. Why is that? Why are homosexuality and pre-marital sex deal breakers, but divorced and remarried people are able to continue as clergy in the Network?

    >> Will you refrain from blogging in a speculative and presumptuous manner about the details of the personal lives of gay clergy?
    > Well, you opened that door yourself when you wrote the Journal letter.

    Again, point taken. But are you really saying that I ‘asked for it’?

    > I’m quite certain he would forgive your sins – but if you don’t believe homosexual activity to be sinful, it becomes a little difficult to ask him, does it not?

    I’m not sure that you can presume to know what I believe, or to know what I talk to God about in my personal encounters with Him. You have presumed that I am an unrepentant sinner. Why? Why do you automatically think the worst of me? Why is the fellow in comment #1 cynical about the salvation of my soul? I suppose I can understand why you would question my faithfulness and commitment to the gospel, but are you also cynical about God’s ability to work through me? God worked through Paul who was present at the stoning of Stephen. Could he not also have a plan for me? Why are your first thoughts of me thoughts of cynicism and doubt instead of thoughts of hope?

    >The question of why can’t we exist within the same church structures is a bit more complicated. I am in an ANiC church that was part of the Diocese of Niagara. The move towards SSBs and acceptance of practising homosexual clergy is a component of a larger strategy of becoming more “inclusive”, “diverse” and – from my perspective – watered down. The Niagara leadership are no longer prepared to unequivocally affirm such things as the uniqueness of Christ, his resurrection, his Virgin birth and his atoning death on the cross. I have been attending my church for around 30 years and for 15 or more of those years I was feeling that I already existed within a different church to the diocese, even though it was part of the same structure. In Feb. 2008 we voted to change the structure, but the real split had already occurred. The homosexual component was only one part of our problem with the diocese; although I can’t say for certain, if SSBs were the only point of disagreement I doubt that the split would have happened.

    So from this comment, I understand that the ‘gay’ issues are not the primary issues. The real issues are much deeper theological issues that have to do with the sometimes competing authorities of Scripture and the Episcopacy. What does one do when the bishop is working against Scripture? The answer of the Network is, obviously, to move away from the bishop, and I hope that this move has been life-giving for you.

    I share your concern about the ‘watered down’ nature of the liberal church. To extend the metaphor, I like my wine strong. Jesus is the Son of God who was crucified for our sins, and who was resurrected in order to conquer sin and death. I feel that a lot of modern liturgy and theology offer me more political correctness than than real heartfelt religion. As a student of political science and a musician, I work against this weakness every day that I am in the church. I would never argue against the uniqueness of Christ, his resurrection, his Virgin birth, or his atoning death on the cross. These are the central tenets of my faith, why I call myself a Christian.

    I regret that for fifteen of you thirty years in the Anglican Church of Canada you felt alienated. The ‘inclusive’ ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada does tend to alienate people. I won’t arrogantly claim that my sense of alienation from the ACC can compare to yours, though as a gay person who grew up in Prince George, British Columbia, I will say that I understand alienation.

    My final question is: if ‘gay’ issues are not the most important issues at stake in this conflict, why are gay people (like me and my partner) so often the focus of those who are critical of the direction of the Anglican Church of Canada. In other words, why am I the scapegoat for your anger and sense of alienation? Why is it that the first thing that comes up when I google my name and ‘anglican’ your blog? Why do you even care about me?

    Comment by Andrew Halladay — December 8, 2009 @ 3:28 am

  14. “> I’m quite certain he would forgive your sins – but if you don’t believe homosexual activity to be sinful, it becomes a little difficult to ask him, does it not?

    I’m not sure that you can presume to know what I believe, or to know what I talk to God about in my personal encounters with Him. You have presumed that I am an unrepentant sinner. Why?”

    Because you are in a same sex relationship and don’t think that it is sinfull?

    “I’m curious, though, about the implication that only those who are free from sin, or from particular sin, are suitable for church leadership.”

    Not at all. Leaders have to be doing their utmost to live a godly life – that precludes redefining what the bible says about sin.

    “Both Jesus and Paul are quite clear about divorce and adultery, but I know that some Network members say that divorce/remarriage is quite different from homosexuality. Why is that?”

    Because Paul does allow for divorce and remarriage in some limited circumstances,and every reference to homosexuality in the bible is negative.

    Comment by Kate — December 8, 2009 @ 9:02 am

  15. Andrew,

    I’m not sure that I’ve ever declared that homosexuality is right.

    The implication is certainly there from your Journal letter. Are you saying that, even though you are in a same-sex relationship, you do not think homosexual activity is right?

    I am curious as to why, if you have severed ties with the Anglican Church of Canada, things in the Anglican Journal are of interest to you.

    I enjoy poking fun at what I find therein.

    I’m curious, though, about the implication that only those who are free from sin, or from particular sin, are suitable for church leadership. Obviously, sexual sin, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is a deal breaker for you when it comes to church leadership.

    No, it’s not the sin; obviously there would be no leadership in the church at all if sinners were disbarred. The problem is more that a particular activity is being declared not sinful when it actually is. If a burglar wanted to become a bishop (well, some have) and stoutly maintained that burglary is an honourable profession, attracted a coterie of like minded burglars and set out on a campaign of allowing burglars into the priesthood in the name of inclusion and tolerance, that would be the same problem.

    But are you really saying that I ‘asked for it’?

    I really have nothing against you personally and I do have sympathy with the position you find yourself in; I doubt that I would do better if our situations were reversed.

    I’m not sure that you can presume to know what I believe, or to know what I talk to God about in my personal encounters with Him. You have presumed that I am an unrepentant sinner. Why? Why do you automatically think the worst of me?

    I try not to become too preoccupied with whether other people have repented of their sins or not since I have enough of my own to think about. What I thought was clear from your letter in the Journal was that you are defending the rightness of SSBs and the ordination of practising homosexual clergy; that is the issue that interests me and the one that I am opposed to.

    I regret that for fifteen of you thirty years in the Anglican Church of Canada you felt alienated.

    I don’t think I felt alienated in the sense that you mean it: I wasn’t alone, my parish family was and still is united in its view of the Gospel – my point was that we were already a different church in a different religion to the Diocese of Niagara many years ago; the final split just formalised it.

    My final question is: if ‘gay’ issues are not the most important issues at stake in this conflict, why are gay people (like me and my partner) so often the focus of those who are critical of the direction of the Anglican Church of Canada.

    I wish it were not the case; it is, I think, because this is the particular aspect of liberal theology that the ACoC has chosen to explicitly and publicly press ahead with and so it has become the most conspicuous.

    Why is it that the first thing that comes up when I google my name and ‘anglican’ your blog? Why do you even care about me?

    If it’s any consolation, Bishop Michael Bird has the same problem.

    Comment by David — December 8, 2009 @ 9:15 am

  16. Okay honestly, enough already!!!
    David, you are behaving really badly. I am a child and even I know how to respect people. I respect others beliefs, cultures and ways of life. So you need to grow up and just drop it. How would you like it if someone was attacking you?? I am sorry but you do not mess with my family and Andrew and his partner are my family. I really think that you should just drop this whole subject. Please. Andrew has enough on his plate already and he does not need someone like you to chew him out all the time. So I am asking you nicely to please just drop this whole thing and GROW UP!!!

    Comment by Samm — December 8, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

  17. It isn’t an attack to disagree with someone, Samm.

    Comment by Kate — December 8, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

  18. Well the way this whole thing has gone it’s pretty darn close to attacking to me. And after this comment I wold like to be left out of this.

    Comment by Samm — December 8, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

  19. I enjoy that there is an undertone of respect between the 2 men here, and especially the calmness I sensed in Andrew’s responses, as the one on the hot seat (if it was me, I’d a’been a little hot). Absence of name-calling and personal attacks is near-good. Thank you for a good discussion boys.

    Comment by matthewdavidblog — December 13, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

  20. Andrew and David, thank you for your thoughtful conversation. I have been labeled a cynic in the above conversation. I don’t mind the misinterpretation b/c I see that it comes from hurt. I am truly sorry that Andrew finds his life at the heart of a divisive debate. This debate over Same-sex blessings and ordinations of partnered homosexual priests is a debate which affects relationships and as such has the potential to cause much more pain than other more remote debates.

    I asked the question about salvation because I know that wondering if one is committing a sin on a daily basis is something that can cause tremendous anxiety…anxiety about one’s ultimate relationship with God. I do not deny that God has a plan for every person’s life, or that God called Andrew to ministry. We are all sinners and God’s “works in progress.” I wonder if Andrew ponders whether God is wanting to transform him in the area of his sexuality. If we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, as Romans 12:1,2 says, does that include our thoughts on sexuality? Is Jesus capable of redeeming fallen sexuality? Should homosexuality be considered fallen and sinful? Surely these are potent questions that you must wrestle with, Andrew. You’ve said you don’t want to think about what the Bible says about homosexuality, but unfortunately the church has to have a policy on what is sinful and what isn’t, especially when there is a large group of people who want to change that definition and there is an even larger group of people who do not. I feel I have had my life hijacked by this debate for over 20 years. I would much prefer to be working on evangelism than debating what is a sin and what isn’t…while watching the Anglican Church of Canada go into its death spiral.

    I think that seeking to have something blessed that has always been considered sinful in the past is an explosive issue, and Andrew shouldn’t be surprised that it stirs people up. Personally, I am not angry with Andrew for living his life as he wishes. I am more upset with leadership that has allowed people to continue to retain mutually incompatible doctrines of human sexuality.

    I am also grateful to Andrew for his clarification of his theological beliefs, as his article in the Diocesan Post on Joseph’s Bones certainly gave me an impression of a priest who didn’t know what he believed or believed something that I would consider not to be Christian doctrine.

    Those who struggle with what to do with their same sex attractions, people like Andrew and others, are the real losers in this confusion. Not only are their lives held up for public scrutiny, but the blessedness or sinfulness of their state is being debated, solid moral direction is not being given. And priests doubly so b/c their lives are to be moral exemplars for their flock. I wouldn’t wish the stress of being at the centre of this debate on my worst enemy.

    For those who don’t yet know what to do with their sexual attractions if they find themselves outside of the “heterosexual norm” – who do they listen to in the church? What should the church be teaching?

    For their sake, this debate must be held and concluded. And if the result is division as appears likely in Canada, then at least as many people as possible have been informed of both sides of the issue…should they choose to inform themselves.

    Andrew, you wondered whether the other priest in the debate with Munn would have eaten with you and talked with you. Did you ever ask? Please don’t assume that people are out to “get you,” just because they have had a different Biblical education than you may have had, and have come to different theological conclusions. Your assumption accuses those who disagree with you of being unloving simply because they disagree with your position. This is unfair to those who are attempting to uphold the Bible the best way they know how. Munn and Davidson both cared enough about this issue and the people involved to put themselves on the line to debate publicly about this issue. Why would two priests debate sexuality? Because it is a pastoral issue. How does one best shepherd one’s flock? Your defender Samm appears to equate believing homosexual sex is sinful with injustice and the moral equivalent of racism. I beg to differ. This is not a justice issue in the church. It may be in society, but then society is not called to live by biblical moral standards, Christians are. As a post-Christian society, it makes sense that Christian morality is being thrown out the window and that legal prohibitions against homosexual activity are lifted, sanctioned and replaced with civil marriage. But the church is not Canadian society, and the church is called to stand apart. But upon what doctrine do we stand apart? I do not like the hatred and censure I have received at the hands of priests and bishops in the ACoC, Diocesan Post and Anglican Journal editors (try getting an article posted if you are not a liberal), nor do I appreciate being wrongly called a homophobe (as if I am frightened of something) or a homosexual “racist.” I don’t like this any more than Andrew likes the comments he’s received. And if Andrew feels that the church is hypocritical, I agree with him. It is not the church it was, and I feel betrayed by those who have not upheld the gospel in all areas, not just the area of human sexuality, about which we are talking here.

    Comment by Sam — December 14, 2009 @ 4:05 pm


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