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Married February 2, 1974
Louie Crew's Natter [BLOG]
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RE: Why Do So Many Leaders in the Anglican Communion Hate The Episcopal Church?
> 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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