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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?
Gentle Bishop ********, Thank you for your letter of January 20th. I am grateful for your continued willingness to engage me in electronic conversation. I hope that someday we might meet face to face. It appears that you have made up your mind already and that "no amount of argument" will get to you. Yet I do not come to you seeking your justification or approval. Jesus has already redeemed me. Jesus has already placed my sins as far away from me as the East is from the West. I do not come to you seeking to be let in, but as a brother disciple already let in by God's grace, which is still amazing, still abundant. When I imagine gentile Christians showing up at the Council of Jerusalem without Paul, on their own, bearing witness to the Good News that Paul had shared with them, I can appreciate any disorientation you might have with my Gospel witness. Gays like straights can and do sin, and when we do, we need to repent and turn to God. I do not understand my loving commitment to Ernest Clay for the last 34 years to be a sin -- for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to death do us part. My sin is not that I love Ernest, but that I do not love him as much as I love myself. For that I steadily repent and seek amendment of life. Even if I am wrong in my understanding of my sin -- and I might be wrong, just as you might be wrong -- I am not wrong in my understanding of God, whose property is always to have mercy. God hears us when we confess and ask to be forgiven of our sins "known and unknown." Your view puts you in an awkward and finally indefensible position of treating all lgbt relationships alike, as if a life-long commitment is the same as a one-time visit to a prostitute. Is it any surprise that lgbts who take your point of view seriously sometimes conclude, "Why bother with commitment if I am going to be damned anyway?" Suppose you are wrong -- and you may be, just as I may be -- are you prepared to live with the consequences? You say that you love lgbts, and I have no doubt that you mean what you say, but what part of your ministry have you spent in reaching out to lbgts in your own diocese? What have you done in councils of bishops in Africa to reduce the fierce and unChristian rhetoric of condemning homosexual persons as "lower than pigs and dogs"? Jesus tells us to ask God to use the same standard in judging us that we use in judging those who have sinned against us. Are you prepared to be judged by the same standard you use in judging gay and lesbian people? Am I prepared to be judged by the same standard that I use in responding to your categorizations of me? We see each other from afar, the public selves. Yet locally we are judged by the fruits of the spirit. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:19-23). Those who know me best at close range do not describe me as driven by lust or greed, or wickedness, but as manifesting the fruits of the spirit. They have not noticed in me any sickness, nor has my work for the church or the university been marked by any such dysfunction. Those who know me best understand that in bearing witness to that, they risk sharing the stigma that you and many other Christians have for lgbt people. Read what my bishop wrote of me in presenting me with the bishop's cross, the highest honor given in my diocese -- http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/bishopscross.html. I note that like me, you have not only a Ph.D. but also an honorary doctorate. (VTS?) Read what three seminaries of The Episcopal Church have said about me in awarding me honorary doctorates -- Episcopal Divinity School http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/dd.html General Theological Seminary http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/dd_gts.html Church Divinity School of the Pacific http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/dhl_cdsp.html They know me up close, you from afar. Their praise seems awfully inflated to me. I am very aware of my inadequacies, very aware of my sins, and am overwhelmed by God's generosity. I know how to grovel, but God does not want me to grovel. "I have not called you slaves, but friends." It would sometimes be so much easier to be God's slave than to accept the responsibility of being God's friend. You and I are God's friends. I hope we might be friends of each other, quite beyond any judgments or assessments we might make were we God sitting in judgment on the other. I rejoice that we are not God. I rejoice that we both are God's own, forever. Love, Louie, sinner saved by God's grace P.S. In your post script you ask, "what will happen if all of us becomes homosexual?" That does not seem likely. You outnumber us at least 9 to 1. ------ Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2008 08:57:56 -0800 (PST) > From: Bishop ******* ****** To: Louie Crew <email@example.com> Subject: RE: Why Do So Many Leaders in the Anglican Communion Hate The Episcopal Church? You said I am judgemental. Yet I did mention that we all do sin. What is peculiarly disturbing about gay and lesbians is that what they call "sexual orientation" we call it "sin." Forget about hating you, because we don't. Our prayer and heart desire for you is that you stop distorting the word of God and call a spade a spade. Jesus died for homosexuals as he died for all of us. I do have a besetting sin; an area of weakness that I can always be tempted with and whenever I become less prayerful I can easily yield to the temptation. I strive through the grace of God to overcome this area of weakness. However, I can turn around and claim that it is my orientation and that it is not sin to yield to such temptation. We love you. You need help. But you have refused to accept that you need help. When I schooled at VTS there were homosexual students. I related freely with them and we did everything together including sharing communion at the lord's table. But I was always mindful of the fact that they were in error and are being deceived into believing that they were not in error. Homosexuality is a human weakness that needs Christ's redemption just as lust, greed, wickedness, drunkenness or any other vice. We all need to be redeemed by Christ if only we will see ourselves as people who need to be redeemed. Unless a patient accepts that he/she is sick he/she cannot go to the doctor for medical diagnosis and treatment. Jesus said that if you do everything possible to reconcile with your offended brother and the reconciliation is not working, then you relate with him as an outsider, no longer intimately as a brother. The Anglican Communion has always been a safe place for sinners. That is why we are called people of the via media. We have always tried to avoid extremes. "On this middle ground lies the strength and weakness of the Anglican Church," writes Bishop Holloway of Edinburgh. The Anglican Church neither tolerated the judgemental stand of the puritans nor did it condone the laiser faire attitude of the Roman Catholic church towards spiritual things. Instead the Anglican Church told the puritans that God's grace is sufficent to make the vilest sinner clean and tells the Roman Catholics that we should not continue in sin that grace may abound. While the Anglican Church has always been a safe place for sinners, it has never justified their sins. Louie, forget about whatever arguments you can come up with, or whatever reasons to justify your stand on this issue. Go into fasting and prayer (am aware that it is not easy to fast in america) and seek the face of the lord. Ask him to reveal himself afresh to you and to lead You in the right path. I do not condemn you, I do pray for you. Thanks. +******** I do however understand the fact that what will break the power of "sin" in our lives is not much intellectual or theological reasoning and logic. No amount of argument will release the power that sets the forgiven sinner free. I will just be praying for you believing that one day God will touch you and open your eyes to the salvific work of Christ in the lives of sinners - homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not primarily addressed to human reason. It is received by faith. May the good lord give you a saving faith. And if I may ask you one question: what will happen if all of us becomes homosexuals?
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