Responses and Errata
I had a number of responses to the note I posted yesterday about our praying to God for a sign or a way for all to clearly recognize God‚Äôs desire in the issues confronting the Episcopal Church at this moment. They‚Äôve broken down into roughly two categories.
One set says in so many words ‚ÄúNice idea. Lovely thought. But it‚Äôs unrealistic. The answer is going to be found in the realm of political settlements.‚Äù The other set says ‚ÄúI agree prayer is the way out of this.‚Äù The first set is much larger than the second set of responses. I‚Äôm still unpacking the implications of this observation.
I struggled for days before deciding to make the post. I‚Äôve tended to fall in the first category in the past. But of late I‚Äôve become more convinced of the power of prayer to change things – to really change things. I‚Äôm no longer in agreement with the idea that I often heard in seminary that ‚Äúoffering to pray about a conflict‚Äù was at best a cop-out and at worst passive-aggressive.
What I hear people saying right now is that we are just repeating the same arguments over and over again. Prayer is the only tool I can think of that might allow us to escape the endless loop we‚Äôve gotten ourselves into. I can‚Äôt see how it would hurt. If nothing else – if we can get ourselves closer to God, we automatically draw closer to God‚Äôs creatures including the ones we perceive as enemies as well as those we perceive as friends just as one response has pointed out.
A couple of people have written to me to point out that I have mischaracterized the writings of Richard Hays on the subject NT ethics and homosexuality. I studied with Prof. Hays (at Yale) before he had finished work on his book ‚ÄúThe Moral Vision of the New Testament.‚Äù In class he made the argument I referenced – allowing as how one could reasonably argue that the scriptural witness was mixed (though he didn‚Äôt believe it was). He went onto to argue that the witness of the traditions of the Church were not mixed. (He dismissed Boswell‚Äôs work out of hand as I recall.) The point *I* was laboring to make was that reasonable people can hold that scripture contains a mixed witness to radical inclusion of GLBT folks in the Church. Hays does not make that statement. I was borrowing his term ‚Äúmixed witness‚Äù and his idea that scripture can at times present such a thing. I can certainly see how the sentence I wrote implies that I was claiming he was saying scripture had a mixed witness in this instance. I apologize for my lack of precision. (Sentences are hard. I much prefer equations – it‚Äôs easier to find the errors before you set them free to the world.)
Thanks to all the people who have written me off list and shared their thoughts and prayers. Thanks especially to those who are committing themselves to prayer.