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

Phone: 973-395-1068 h


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Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


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RE: [HoB/D] GAFCON Response to Evangelical English Bishops

  • Subject: RE: [HoB/D] GAFCON Response to Evangelical English Bishops
  • From: Louie Crew <>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2008 13:42:05 -0500

Thank you, *********.  I am pleased that you want to continue the
conversation and I am glad to continue as well.

I too am put off when others besides my spouse come on to me, though I don't
think "Yuck" in response to unwanted attention.   At times unwanted
attention can be flattering. My response is, "No"  or in some cases, "No.
Thanks."  It is not up to others to keep my vows:  that's my responsibility.

I agree that "the Anglican Communion has deeply wrestled with these matters"
at a propositional level, but not deeply enough.  Most discussion has
occurred without engagement by lgbt Christians.  I am extensively networked
with gay and lesbian Christians in many parts of the Communion, and they
rarely report being included in the discussions of those who condemn the
actions of the Episcopal Church. Some parts of the Communion, especially,
but not exclusively, in the global South, are openly hostile towards
interacting with lgbts.  Some publicly advocate strict penalties for lgbts,
some for merely daring to meet and talk with one another.

General Convention is not nearly so culturally bound to US Christianity as
the Council of Jerusalem was bound to the range from Dan to Beersheba.
(Modern Israel is slightly larger than the state of Massachusetts).

St. Paul did not wait for the Council to authorize him to baptize gentiles.
As a good Jew, he certainly knew what advice such a gathering might give,
and thus found it is easier to act first and ask for forgiveness only when
the hierarchy became exercised over his actions.  Paul's actions, like those
of The Episcopal Church, provoked the huge controversy which prompted the
Council.  Almost all Christians at the time were Jews, and they did not see
Christianity as a new religion, but as the fulfillment of God's promises to
Israel.   They held the uncircumcised in contempt, and their limited contact
with the uncircumcised was contact with abusive foreign dictators and their

Regarding the outcome of the Council of Jerusalem:  I have frequently, as
part of dinner conversation through the years, asked tables of Episcopalians
to identify the three requirements for Gentiles that came out of the
Council.  Very few can come up with all three.  Of the that few, most
either teach the bible outside the parish or have recently prepared a sermon
in which Acts 15 was a major factor, or did a paper on some aspect of the
Council while in college or seminary.

I realize that anecdotal evidence is never conclusive, but it does italicize
my more important point: viz., the most memorable result of the Council is
the that it opened the door to the Gentiles.  Do not hold your breath
waiting for books and sermons addressed to the requirements to gentiles as
special:  by the end of the first century (much to Christianity's loss),
very few of the Christians were Jews.

The Anglican Communion is not a church or a denomination, but a communion, a
loose network with no juridical authority, a network for autonomous
provinces bound together by bonds of affection, not by law.

It is right and proper for councils of the Communion to offer spiritual
council.  It is important to listen closely to such counsel and take
remedial action if convinced that God is speaking through it.   Few,
however, would argue that we should treat the Communion's counsel as God's
counsel if our thorough review of the counsel does not convince us of that

Several current articles online reveal extravagant and sometimes
embarrassing counsel of earlier Lambeth Conferences  The most frequently
noted of these is the Lambeth resolution against a major evil threatening
the faith, namely contraception, and then only a few decades later, a
resolution praising responsible use of contraception.    See

Name for me any province of the Communion that has spent as much time
reflecting upon and responding to the Communion's counsel as has TEC in the
matters currently before us.  Name for me any provinces of the Communion
that would dare invite foreign bishops who disagree with them to be present
and to testify as TEC did at General Convention in 2000, 2003, and 2006.  We
even paid their way!  At the noon Eucharist before the votes to consent to
+NH in 2003, we all listened with respect to an Archbishop of Nigeria, the
preacher for that occasion.

It is unfair to suggest that General Convention plowed forward without any
regard to what others think. We understand the opposing point of view.  Many
of us once held it ourselves.  As recently as 1979 General Convention's
official policy was opposed to allowing sex outside the bonds of
heterosexual marriage, and the Episcopal Church had not yet even considered
blessing same-gender unions or consecrating lgbts as bishops.    Since
1979, strong majorities of bishops and deputies have been persuaded that we
were wrong.

There are few instances in Christian history where God changed everyone's
mind radically from one point of view to another all at once. (Did that even
happen at Pentecost?)  Christians usually report God working on one person,
or one community at a time.  When his disciples came to him complaining that
others whom they did not know were performing miracles in his name, Jesus
responded, "Leave them alone. Those that are not against us are for us"
(Mark 9: 38-39). On another occasion Jesus counseled, "Other sheep I have
who are not of this fold: I love them also" (John 10:16).  Gamaliel
counseled, "Wait and see.  If it is not of God, the innovation will
disappear." (See Acts 5)

Being a sinner, I know a lot about sin.   Take gluttony, e.g., which has
beset me off and on for my entire life.  Those who want to call me to better
spiritual and physical health do indeed need to say the hard truth to me.
They have the greatest likelihood of efficacy if they speak out of love, and
out of humility.  It is not their job to complete
God's work, only to plant the seed.   Those who have the least likelihood of
efficacy are those who speak out of moral contempt and smug

I believe that the councils of the Anglican Communion are wrong in their
objection to the decisions of the Episcopal Church, but even if they are
right, they are quite wrong in the way in which they have called us to
repentance.   They have used our "sin" as an occasion to mock us, bully us,
invade us, and demand all kinds of specific actions by specific deadlines.
I assure you that they themselves have brought far more members of The
Episcopal Church into solidarity than initially voted to consent to +NH.
While the 'gay thing' is not the issue most Episcopalians would choose as
the way to make a major response to God, 'the gay thing' is the major way
our time gives to us as a way to make a stand for God's inclusiveness.  Many
are discovering that Anglican comprehensiveness is worth fighting to preserve.

One person in her 80s told me in Atlanta once, "I was wrong the first time,
when God knocked on my heart asking me to let black people into it.  I am so
grateful that God has allowed me to live long enough not to be wrong in
letting lesbians and gays into my heart."

Towards sexual sinners Jesus was always most generous.  Legal purists
prompted his scorn.  Even if you take lesbians and gays to be a special
class of sinners (which I do not), it remains shameful that the Communion is
now driven by legal purists.   How much better would our witness be to the
living God if we were in solidarity across the Communion to re-direct these
energies and resource to relieving the poor, clothing the naked, reforming
our criminal justice system, healing those who have now no access to medical
care.....   The Gospel criteria for the Great Getting Up Morning have not
changed.  And I did not write them.   I find them as challenging and fearful
as anyone else might.

Last week the Province of Uganda threatened to secede -- see
ca/&articleid=332647&referrer=RSS.  My friend Ellie McLaughlin+ responded:

"Well, I would join them if they demanded that the American Church in its
diocesan and National Synods (Conventions) voted to acknowledge, and seek to
implement appropriate actions upon the acknowledgement that unregulated
capitalism as practiced here and exported throughout the world stands in
complete contradiction with the Gospel...or perhaps that a foreign policy
built about preemptive war and torture of captives is incompatible with the
Christian faith.... but this Ugandan proposal is simply the same old same
old of our inherited embrace of hypocrisy."


Louie, sinner saved by God's grace, amazing still

Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12d, East Orange, NJ 07018.  973-395-1068