The Anglican Journal (published in Canada) is re-running an article from 2003 this month. It’s written by Terry Brown, the bishop of Malaita in the Church of the Anglican Province of Melanesia. Bishop Brown attended the Lambeth Conference of 1998 as an “out” gay man serving as a bishop. This article is his reflections and objections to the resolutions passed at that Conference.
“What do I do (what do you do?) when I realize (when you realize) that a relationship, a touching, an intimacy – which is experienced by me (or you) as grace-giving and filled with love – is for another Christian, equally devout, an act of great sin and offence? Such is the experience of many gay and lesbian Christians. Even if the friendship is rooted and grounded in mutual respect, in faithfulness, in prayer, in worship, in trust, indeed, experienced as ‘in Christ,’ still the judgment of the other Christian is the same: it is sin.
But then there are other Christians who, though they have not experienced the grace of my exact experience, can place themselves enough in it from their own experience, say, of Christian marriage, to offer support and encouragement. But they too are condemned for such a leap of empathy and charity. The Christian who condemns me (and them), I finally decide, is not working under Christian grace, charity and freedom but rather under some sort of ‘Christian law.’ Or they have totally universalized their personal experience and are now prepared to impose it on all humanity. It feels like there is a great gap between us. Indeed, there is.
I am not prepared to renounce a friendship that is experienced as fundamentally grace-filled and loving. But I do not want to offend the conscience of another. And so I stay silent. But that is not so satisfactory. The other still tries to make me feel guilty and my freedom is assaulted. Yet if I respond with truth, the other is not interested in listening but only in condemning.”
Read the rest here.