Dutton-Gillett: The Gospel of Both/And, Not Either/Or

Centrists / Religion

There’s a wonderful essay on Episcopal Majority this morning, in which the author describes the difficulty of living in tension with people with whom we disagree, and seeing Jesus’ life as a guide to our actions today:

“The bishops’ statement, if examined carefully, seems to be attempting to do two things that are almost impossible to do at the same time. On the one hand, the bishops are attempting to preserve some kind of unity within the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church. In their clarification of B033 and in the position they took with respect to the blessing of same-sex unions, the bishops are attempting to say, ‘Let’s not walk away from each other just yet.’ On the other hand, the bishops are also attempting to take a just stand with respect to gay and lesbian people, and to insist that their dignity as human beings and baptized Christians be respected. And this is where that place of painful tension is found: in the attempt to value unity and relationship while at the same time valuing and insisting on justice and dignity toward a marginalized people.

This tension is, I think, precisely the tension of the Gospel, the tension in which Jesus himself lived and from which he carried out his ministry. As we look at the teaching of Jesus, it is clear that he refuses to abandon relationships for the sake of justice, nor does he abandon justice for the sake of relationship. He will, it is true, allow people to walk away from him if they choose to do so. But he never chooses to walk away from anyone. He certainly challenges people, and is even directly and indirectly critical of people about the choices they make. But he does not refuse to be in relationship with them or to sit at their table.”

Read the rest here: The Gospel of Both/And, Not Either/Or

(Via The Episcopal Majority.)

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. Is this our gospel, then?
    Jesus, I knew we were far off, but now I see just how far.
    The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a tension, it’s a promise no more visible than in Christ’s being put to death and rising again. In Reformation terms, we are put in right relationship with God by nothing of our own doing. Our life is between the promise of this proclaimed gospel and the realities of this life–that is the tension, not the gospel is tension itself. The gospel is promise, peace, hope, and life. And no more so, than to those who have heard a lot of anything but this gospel.
    This is more Anglican-self-proclamation.

  2. Well, I agree with Christopher on this one; why are we rehearsing how wonderful the Bishops are? They did their job; bully for them.
    Yesterday I heard the PB again talk about the “crucified place” she’s in now. Really, folks: get off it. You’re not suffering; nobody in the Western Church is being “crucified.”
    Stop yammering about how great you are and start doing something. (Not you, Fr. Nick.) Start actually doing something to advocate for gay and lesbian people in places where they are persecuted; nobody’s seen any of that yet, I hate to tell you. We’re not stupid, you know, and we’re not fooled.

  3. (So be on notice, Bishops et al.: you decided that you were going to back off on the elite problems of the church in America in favor of a more basic and more important issue. That was a good choice.
    But you will now be expected to actually act on the things you did claim for. We are going to hold you to it, my dears.)

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