Monday, June 19, 2006

Broken Communion

New US church leader says homosexuality no sin

The Anglican Communion is about to fall apart. (For a thoroughly fascinating article from The New Yorker on how it was cobbled together in the first place, click here.) And I couldn't be happier.

I have nothing against the Anglican Communion; I find the idea of an entire church created based on one man's desire for a divorce charming, in a weird sort of way. But today, one branch of Anglicans, the Episcopal Church in the United States, has taken a big step into my heart--one that will likely lead them away from many other branches.

Katharine Jefferts Schori, the new leader of the church, already made headlines as a woman chosen to lead a major American faith community. But today she's making more:
Interviewed on CNN, Jefferts Schori was asked if it was a sin to be homosexual.

"I don't believe so. I believe that God creates us with different gifts. Each one of us comes into this world with a different collection of things that challenge us and things that give us joy and allow us to bless the world around us," she said.

"Some people come into this world with affections ordered toward other people of the same gender and some people come into this world with affections directed at people of the other gender."
I tell you, I almost cried reading that. The article goes on to note that her statements could serve to further distance the American version of the church from those in other countries, especially in Africa. That makes her willingess to explicitly say that she believes I was made by God to love the way I love that much braver.

One day, I hope, she will not look so alone in standing up for the idea that a loving God can love all his creations. While I don't consider myself Christian, I do believe, as a reader, that Jefferts Schori has the right idea about what the Bible's main message is:
Asked how she reconciled her position on homosexuality with specific passages in the Bible declaring sexual relations between men an abomination, Jefferts Schori said the Bible was written in a very different historical context by people asking different questions.

"The Bible has a great deal to teach us about how to live as human beings. The Bible does not have so much to teach us about what sorts of food to eat, what sorts of clothes to wear -- there are rules in the Bible about those that we don't observe today," she said.

"The Bible tells us about how to treat other human beings, and that's certainly the great message of Jesus -- to include the unincluded."
Her words may not yet be gospel, but they are good news indeed.

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