Thursday, July 16, 2009

The two Churches

Forgive my bad poetry.

It was ‘inspired’ by this article. I have always known of the Episcopal Church’s position on gay people.

I heard when Gene Robinson was made a Bishop, and of course, the brouhaha in the Anglican Communion which followed that. I didn’t know that the ‘Episcopal’ Church was part of the Anglican Communion, but I was adequately schooled by the rise of Akinola, and of course my country mate Orombi.

I was ‘born’ into the Church of Uganda, and once upon a time flirted with the Pentecostals. Before I came to my ‘current persuasion’. Maybe it is fair to say I have no faith, at the moment, but I continue to be very interested in matters of faith. My lover is a staunch Catholic. At least he was, till my lack of faith, (and homophobic pronouncements from the Holy See), shook him. I have many kuchu friends who believe deeply. Strongly. I support them. My lack of faith is a personal conviction. Why should I force it onto others? One can say an atheist is a believer. Of course it is true, though the atheist’s faith is the belief in the lack of a god. But that is digressing.
I was reasonably schooled in the Christian faith, and still love the teachings of Jesus. About love, practical love. And other things.

Anyway, in the same Church, or, as they call it, Body of Christ, one part, calling themselves conservatives have come out with a virulent, tough position with regards to people of my sexuality. They affirm that it is not natural, not normal, not scriptural. They have been militant, to the point of threatening to tear apart the Communion of the body, to usher in a new Reformation, because of differences in issues about my sexuality.

Orombi of the Church of Uganda is a particular leader in that. Martin Ssempa is another leader. He is rabid, in comparison to Orombi. Martin has instituted a gay witch-hunt within the Church, and within the country, using his considerable charisma and political acumen. He has been very successful recently, though his obsession with homosexuality pre-dates this years’ events. He is currently forging alliances with Moslems, other Christian groups, to fight homosexuality within the country. Stated aim is to ‘Kick Homosexuality out of Uganda’. Lofty ideal indeed.

Contrast this with what is happening in America.

I am quite aware of the fact that homosexuals were persecuted in America, and Europe. I am aware of the Nazi concentration camps, the Stonewall riots in ’69. What most Ugandans (and Africans) believe is that it has always been ok for homosexuals in the west. So they term it a ‘Western evil’.

Fast forward to now, in the US, a country where homosexuals were zapped with electricity in an effort to reboot our sexuality and make us heterosexuals, where they were hunted because of being security risks, part of the body of Christ is coming out and saying, enough is enough.

They acknowledged that, we are human beings. They acknowledged that we are natural, normal.

It is thrilling to understand that they accept that we are as fully Children of God as they are, despite the apparent ‘scriptural’ contradictions, which the conservatives bible-bash us with. The evolution of this thought has taken time, but it has come quietly, consistently, and strongly. With a certain grim inevitability.

When Gene Robinson was elected Bishop, the rest of the Anglican communion went mad. They couldn’t believe what had happened with their American brothers. From what I read, the Americans were taken aback. They didn’t expect that this kind of thing would happen. They were forced to go slow, in their acknowledgement of us as members of the body of Christ, despite our differences.

The conservatives have nearly split the church. Matter of fact, seems they went all the way but. They leaned back, at the last moment. These are momentous times. Funny that I have been following that friction on this very blog.

The ‘progressives’, despite the fact that they had been told to go slow for the sake of the whole communion, held on, for long enough. But they have taken the next step. Bravely, succinctly, knowing the problems. They are adamant in what they believe.

They believe that us homosexuals are also children of God.

What a challenge! What a testimony!

The part I liked best in this article is why they have taken the extraordinary step, in spite, and despite the opposition from their brethren. To quote, “they felt compelled to act because of their pastoral responsibility to gay couples who were increasingly coming forward to ask the church to bless their unions. Many also said they saw it as a simple matter of granting equal rights to gay men and lesbians.”

Once they took the step to accept us into the body of Christ, they saw the logical extension of that. We are as human as they are. Not second class citizens or believers. So, when we ask for what the rest of the children of God are receiving, what logic is their in denying us the blessings of God?

A related article with an interesting analysis is here.




Bolton said...


The interesting thing is that while the homophobes in Africa blame homosexuality on "Western influences", the historical fact is that homosexuality was widely accepted in Africa ("boy wives" and "lady men" were normative) UNTIL Western evangelical missionaries arrived in the 19th century and imported homophobia into Africa.

Africa, by herself, honored and respected homosexuality until the Western missionaries brought their Calvinistic ideas of "total depravity" and the like.

Homophobia was the Western gift to Africa, not homosexuality.

John Powers said...

Wow that very last link to Irene Moore's site was very interesting. I was particularly struck by the bishop's sermon who Gene Robinson was replacing:

"We who have been in the center don't like moving to the margin, even to different places on it, but we must do that if we're going to affirm the marginalized. That was the thrust of our Lord’s ministry . . . Welcome to the life where Jesus lived it . . . on the margin!"

If you take "Jesus" out of that, it could be someone talking about business today--edge strategies and what not.

I really like the idea of being pushed to the margins to make more room in the center. For all of us on this blue planet the challenge is to learn to live in better harmony. So I hope.

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