Responding to recent writings within and without the Episcopal Church, the Rev Susan Russell, Senior Associate at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Pasadena, and member of the Task Force for the Study of Marriage in the Episcopal Church, writes that it is “time for TEC to catch up.”
Yesterday, Tony Campolo, founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, came out as a supporter of marriage equality.
When we sing the old invitation hymn, “Just As I Am”, I want us to mean it, and I want my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to know it is true for them too.
Rest assured that I have already heard – and in some cases made – every kind of biblical argument against gay marriage, including those of Dr. Ronald Sider, my esteemed friend and colleague at Eastern University. Obviously, people of good will can and do read the scriptures very differently when it comes to controversial issues, and I am painfully aware that there are ways I could be wrong about this one.
However, I am old enough to remember when we in the Church made strong biblical cases for keeping women out of teaching roles in the Church, and when divorced and remarried people often were excluded from fellowship altogether on the basis of scripture. Not long before that, some Christians even made biblical cases supporting slavery. Many of those people were sincere believers, but most of us now agree that they were wrong. I am afraid we are making the same kind of mistake again, which is why I am speaking out.
On her blog, ironcially (in this case) titled An Inch at a Time: Reflections on the Journey, Russell issues a call to the Episcopal Church to stop dawdling around the issue and catch up.
As we continue the journey toward the 78th General Convention — where marriage equality will arguably be one of the major items on the agenda — the “let’s slow down and wait a little longer” chorus is singing their song and turning up their volume. Here’s the version being offered by Craig Uffman from the Diocese of Rochester:
I begin with the premise that the task before us is to imagine a robust theology that makes our actions comprehensible to this broader audience, which also includes future generations of Episcopalians … My conclusion is that such a theology is possible, but we still need to flesh it out … My hope is that our next step will be to pause, let everyone catch up, answer those questions, and take the next step together.
So here’s my premise: We HAVE “done the theology” — what we haven’t done is overcome the objections of those who insist we haven’t done the theology because there isn’t enough theology in Christendom to convince those with sole possession of the Absolute Truth that it’s possible to come to different conclusions on these issues and still be part of the same Body of Christ.
She ends her message,
So — contrary to Craig Uffman — my conclusion is that it is time to “let our yes be yes” and to finally make full inclusion a reality and not just a resolution. And my hope is that in taking that step forward, others will indeed follow as we catch up with Tony Campolo and journey together into God’s future.
Picture credit: inchatatime.blogspot.com. Posted by Rosalind Hughes