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Louie Crew
377 S. Harrison Street, 12D
East Orange, NJ 07018

Phone: 973-395-1068 h


lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu

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Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


12/21/1974
 
9/23/2009


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RE: Why Do So Many Leaders in the Anglican Communion Hate The Episcopal Church?


  • To: Bishop ***** (Anglican Bishop outside of The Episcopal Church)
  • Subject: RE: Why Do So Many Leaders in the Anglican Communion Hate The Episcopal Church?
  • From: Louie Crew <lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu>
  • Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 13:08:36 -0500

> You also talked about the woman at the well in Samaria who confessed
> that Jesus told her all her SINS. She accepted that they were sins
> and she was willing to repent.

Bishop, that is not what the Bible says. You are putting words into Bible
that are not there in this story.  Re-read John 4: 7-30.  Never does the
Samaritan say that Jesus told her all her sins.  That's your language, but
decidedly not hers.  When she leaves the encounter, she says to her
Samaritan neighbors,  "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever
done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?"  The other Samaritans leave to try
to find him.  This is Jesus' first evangelism success outside of the Jewish
community.

The closest Jesus comes to taking about her "sins" (and he does not so name
them) is when he teases her, already knowing the situation, and tells her
"Go, call your husband and come back."  Unashamedly she tells him that she
has no husband, and he replies to her surprise, telling her about the man
she is living with and the 5 former husbands.

He does not add, "See, I know how wicked your are.  If you want to follow me
you must leave the man that you are with and go back to the first of the
five who is still living."  Had he done so, she would not likely have
proclaimed that he a Jew might be the Messiah.  The community already knew
about her sexual history, and it is very unlikely they would have sought
Jesus to know more about him if she had reported, "He told me how wicked I
have been and insisted that I must repent."

Jesus successfully communicated to her (and wants to communicate to all of
us who have ears to hear) that he cares much more about our thirst than
about our sins.

In merely talking to a Samaritan woman, Jesus was radically breaking all the
religious customs of his day.  She asks him at the beginning, "How is it
that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?"   and Johns adds,
parenthetically, "Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans."  Jews
looked down on Samaritans much as you look down on gay and lesbian people.
Some scholars suggest that she is coming for water in the middle of the day
as the time she is least likely to run into a Jew and risk being insulted.

I encourage you to visit the Samaritan well of gay and lesbian people to
bring good news.  However, you won't get much of a hearing if you go with
the judgmentalism you proclaim loudly in your correspondence with me.  You
won't get much of a hearing if you suggest that you are redeemed by your own
correctness and goodness.   You will get a very good hearing if you come as
a fellow sinner saved by grace.  You will get a very good hearing if you
enjoy  our company.  You will get a very good hearing if you are less
concerned about what other Christians will say about you for associating
with us and more concerned to love us as much as God does.

Does that mean gays and lesbians don't sin?  Of course we sin.  Does that
mean that you can never address our sins?  No, but it does mean that you
will find us welcome to discuss our sins if you first address your own sins.
Be prepared to listen to our understanding of our sins.  My sin is not that
I have loved my husband Ernest for these past 34 years (as of 15 days from
now), but that I have not loved him enough, that is, have not loved him as
much as I love myself.   I repent of that again and again.  Ernest, knowing
God more intimately than I do, always forgives and we begin afresh.

Prostitution and promiscuity are wrong, whether by heterosexuals or by
lesbians and gays.  I have observed gay male prostitutes in or near fancy
hotels in Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and in the countries
of North Africa, as in most of the rest of the world which I have been
privileged to visit.  Some heterosexuals seem to have their only knowledge
of gays and lesbians by observing this same phenomenon.  Would I have a very
accurate understanding of you and your commitment to your wife if I were
exposed to heterosexuals only as prostitutes?

And even if that were my only understanding of you, should not my response
be to love you and to befriend you rather than to condemn you? Christians
lash out against homosexuals in the press in much of Africa, almost as if
they are competing with Imams to see who can reject them the loudest.

Jesus competes with all us to see who can love and forgive people the most
fully, even before they know that they have a need for forgiveness.

A lesbian in Harare told several of us at the World Council of Churches
meeting there in 1998 how her parents, devout Christians, had hired a man to
rape her so that she could discover that she could enjoy heterosexuality.
After the man had ravaged her and left, she stepped into the hall and found
her parents there, where they had been listening to the entire assault.

That is not love.  That is not Christian.  It is not surprising to me what a
horrible mess the Anglican Church of Zimbabwe is in right now; it is
disappointing to me that neighboring provinces to Zimbabwe spend so much
energy trying to remove the mote they see in New Hampshire than they spend
dealing with the beam in Zimbabwe.

The woman who was raped is a strong Christian, very aware of God's love of
her. She has been a leader of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe.  They have
created a safe community for gays and lesbians to meet each other and with
the hope of building long-term commitments.

A Shauna woman, wife of a priest and  older than I am, said to me in a forum
at the WCC Assembly in Harare, "I don't want to embarrass you but have you
ever tried to be healed?"

"I'll answer your question in a moment, but may I first ask you a question?"
I responded.

"Surely," she replied with a twinkle in her eye. "What's your question?"

"Would you want your own daughter to marry a healed homosexual?" I asked.

Her eyes twinkled even more as she manifested a wry smile and thought for
many seconds.   "You will not ever marry so you don't understand that no
mother ever thinks any man is good enough for her own daughter," she spoke
at last, "but....well, he'd certainly better tell my daughter before he asks
her to marry him.  And [long, long pause] you don't need to answer my first
question, about whether you have ever tried to be healed.   You have already
answered why it's the wrong question."

What have you done as an evangelist to specific gay and lesbian persons?
What success has God blessed you with?  What efforts have you made to meet,
either in person or through his writings, your gay brother Bishop Gene
Robinson?  Have you passed your judgments on him without ever seeking to
know him?  Would you want God to use the same standard in passing judgment
on you?

As to your questions about theological agreement.  True it is important.
Are not the creeds, the Quadrilateral, and our baptism sufficient to hold us
together as in the same religion?  Why should different faith understanding
about homosexuality be faith dividing issues?    They were not so for Jesus,
and there was far more variety of sexual practice in his day than in ours --
take polygamy, for example.

> What will happen if a particular Anglican province
> decides that adultery is no longer a sin.

This is a red herring.  I know of no province that argues for the sanctity
of adultery.  Gay and lesbian Christians do not.  However, an experience of
mine perhaps speaks to your question:  seven years ago I was invited to
participate in a consultation on sexuality in the Anglican province of
Brazil. It was moving to observe gay and lesbian Brazilians witness to the
mighty acts of God in their lives, and to observe the affirming responses of
a large number of straights, clergy, lay, and bishops. One of several
bishops who stayed through the several days seemed deeply introverted. Even
in break-out groups, he said little. People spoke to me about him with great
respect, especially for his advocacy for the poor indigenous people in
Brazil, but he did not say much, . "Something is wrong with this
conference," he told us on the last morning, "Gays and lesbians are taking
all the risks. But everyone here has a sexual history, and I am going to
tell you mine."

You could have heard a pin drop.

"I cannot begin to express my great gratitude to the Anglican Church for
receiving my mother as a prostitute when I was fourteen years old. And
because she had a real conversion, she did not think that she was made
better than anyone else, only that she had been blessed. So even to this day
many of those whom I consider to be closest family are prostitutes. Recently
a group of other prostitutes asked me whether they might form a church, and
we are going to do that.

"And there is more. When I was in my late teens, a cousin and his male lover
came to live with us, and much that I know about the love of God I know
because of how those two loved not just each other, but everyone around
them."

"Open the door and let Mary Magdalene come in," I wanted to shout. "What
will the Anglican Communion look like if it become a safe place for
sinners?"

I urge you to spend your ministry demonstrating the answer to that question.

Thank you for listening.  God bless you, Bishop *******.

Louie

Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12d, East Orange, NJ 07018.  973-395-1068
http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew




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