Anglicanism and SSA.

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Truth, and Ethics' started by Starry, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. Starry

    Starry New Member

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    So this is a question that has most likely been asked a million times, but its one that's very personal to me.

    I'm greatly interested in Liturgical forms of Christianity; as I think they are among the most beautiful and fullest expressions of the Christian faith. I'm currently am not a Christian, but I am letting God guide me to a place where I can find some answers.

    However, a part of me feels as if there's a caveat to this. I'm gay/have same sex attractions. I'm also in a relationship with someone whom I love very much.

    I'm very well aware of what Anglicanism traditionally says about homosexuality, but that it also says (if I'm not mistaken) we are "saints in the making". As life goes on, I can see myself becoming more holy in my life. To the point where physical intimacy may no longer be needed and my partner and I could live together "as brothers". I also feel as if reason and light of new discoveries should be taken into consideration along with tradition and scripture. As well as personal conscience and seeking God for guidance.

    Any thoughts on this? Again, I'm well aware of what the traditional answer is, but faith and becoming wholly human are lifelong processes and are journeys that I could be very willing to take.

    PS, not sure if this is relevant, but even though I'm gay, there are a lot of things in "gay culture" that I personally can't stand. Plus, I tend to be more socially moderate/conservative on a lot of issues. So please don't think of this as someone who is out to force people to "accept" me or to kowtow to everything I say.
     
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  2. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    Welcome to the group Starry. I do not have answers for you BUT I'd love to say that it is a good thing to talk to a gay person who is not trying to get the Church to bend to their own will. The liberal church does not like such people at all and will suppress the knowledge that people like you even exist.

    I am in South Africa and not the U.S, and the church's stand is that all people are welcome in church. I suspect that yours will be a long journey (like the rest of us) and I will keep you in my prayers.

    My advice would be to seek the counsel of a priest, preferably someone conservative. Your situation is not unique in the sense that most of us have grown to accept teachings and views that seemed impossible when we started a similar journey.

    You are ahead though because you understand the purification process more than most of us did when we started out. The Eastern Orthodox refer to this as Theosis (I thought I'd point it out).

    I'm not good with words, but felt that I needed to reach out anyway. May God go with you!
     
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  3. Madeline

    Madeline Well-Known Member

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    Hi Starry, and welcome! I'm with you, that there are many things in gay culture that I can't stand, just as there are many things in straight culture that I can't stand: I can't stand the hyper-sexualization of human relations as it keeps us in a headspace and heartspace that is shallow, cheap and commodified.

    But what I'm more interested in is why you're not a Christian.
     
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  4. Starry

    Starry New Member

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    That's kind of a complicated story.

    But the TL;DR version is two fold:

    1.) I was raised Southern Baptist and for the longest time held foolish notions that all of Christianity was as (for lack of a better word) shallow as that tradition. It wasn't until I took many classes on theology and philosophy that Christianity in it's purest form has such an amazingly nuanced theology and a great philosophical legacy. Yet, even with that said, I suppose I still harbor some reservations due to how I was raised.

    Plus there are some theological points that I still have some hangups with.

    2.) Me being gay, honestly. I don't really agree with sleeping around and that being with one person is best. But even with that said, it still hurts that many see the need for wanting love as morally repugnant or even evil; even if they are of the same sex.

    I'm not saying that people should give up their convictions or stop seeing homosexuality as a sin, but some compassion and understanding would be nice.
     
  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    While SSA cannot in any way be accepted under God, I don't believe you will find us lacking in compassion or understanding. Maybe the Southern Baptists approach things differently?
     
  6. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Hello Starry,

    Welcome to the forums! May God richly bless your time here.

    I agree that liturgy is both beautiful and theologically rich. Have you had an opportunity to attend an Anglican/Episcopalian church service?
     
  7. Madeline

    Madeline Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your reply, Starry, and I was interested in what you had experienced as representative of Christianity. I just got a feeling that it was like somebody who says they don't like broccoli because they've only had it cooked in an unappealing way.

    Something I value about Anglicanism is that the Book of Common Prayer, the hymns and the sacraments help me to feel closer to God, and part of the continuity of believers through the ages. There's something in all of that that is deep and meaningful.

    You said that you're letting God guide you, which is great. Keep listening, as the Quakers say, to the "promptings of love and truth in your heart. Trust them as the leadings of God whose Light shows us our darkness and brings us to new life."
     
  8. Starry

    Starry New Member

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    Generally, yes. There is a plethora of pointing out others shortcomings before looking at ones own. A lot of holier than thou attitudes going on.

    For example, the Southern Baptist Convention strictly forbids alcohol. My father was an alcoholic growing up, but had no issue with going on how other Christians were going to hell based on certain practices or beliefs. Catholics were the worst of the worst, and Methodists were going to hell because of their method of baptism.
     
  9. Starry

    Starry New Member

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    Thanks for the welcome. :)

    I think I have? I've been to Catholic and Orthodox liturgies, but I can't remember if I've ever been to an Anglican/Episcopal one. I'm almost certain I have.
     
  10. Starry

    Starry New Member

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    Thanks for the welcome and kind words. I agree that the BCP is a wonderful book that is full of a rich and beautiful theological tradition.

    I'm currently attending a Quaker school and am aware of their speak of the Inner Light and letting the spirit move us. :) Very inspiring stuff.
     
  11. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Starry, the traditional Christian view is love the sinner and hate the sin. On this there can be no compromise. You can be assured of love on this forum my brother in the one true God
     
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  12. Rhys

    Rhys Member

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    The Episcopal Church ordains openly gay men and women; there is no reason why you shouldn't be accepted by any TEC parish.
     
  13. Starry

    Starry New Member

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    That's very true. It's nice that they are generally accepting of LGBT, but I disagree with them on a few other issues (organizational, social, and theological).
     
  14. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    Starry emphasized that he is conservative. I doubt he would fit well within the Episcopal Church. He would probably be persecuted for not going with the flow.
     
  15. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Ive only found the pressure to conform to the liberal agenda among the clergy. As a lowly layman, ive never had to pass a purity test. That may just be the case among the parishes ive attended.
     
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  16. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    There are still some conservative parishes left in TEC. I personally know worthwhile TEC people in there still. How many will be left in 10 years is the question to ask... I know they aren't appreciated

    The next big thing in TEC is a huge revision of the Prayer Book (again) which may severely affect those still in, who were on the fence

    What is the new thing on the chopping block this time? Gendered language in the '79 Prayer Book or something like that
     
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  17. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The whole question about where we worship, the local expression of the Body of Christ in which we find a base is enormously difficult. If I simply go a choose a group that suits me, that expresses my social and faith agenda, does that really help me to grow? Equally finding a group where I don't fit in seems to be fraught for either I am going to be uncomfortable or I am going to create discomfort or both.

    For a long time I struggled with inclusive language then I resolved that language changes over time, as for example we no longer (for the most part) ask the Almighty to ensure that justice is administered indifferently. I suspect what we have seen in recent time is a realisation of the power of language and the ability to use it for good or ill politically. For a while in Australia we saw news reports talking about 'king hits' and then a news outlet decided to stop apparently enlarging this, and to revise the language to 'coward punch'. This brought about a great deal of pressure on legislators and we now in most states have enlarged punishments for what are now described as 'one punch attacks'. So certainly the feminist movement has been very pro-active in promoting the use of gender-neutral language, to the point now when I hear gender bias in language it seems odd. For me the prayer book, if it is to be in the 'vulgar tongue' needs to use gender neutral language. Prayer Books don't seem to have the staying power they once had.

    There is of course in the liberal agenda what is described by some as an unholy lust for relevance. Yet that does not mean that the answer lies in the pursuit of irrelevance. I see part of the Church's role as to be a bridge, we need to be anchored in heaven and earth. We clearly need to be relevant, however I don't think relevance should be our primary pursuit. The pursuit of holiness, seems to my mind to be a better agenda for the Church.

    Part of that holiness is most surely an acceptance of others, an ability to walk with them, with our hearts and minds turned towards God. Historically some of our conversation has been about labelling people rather than actions, which I suspect have been divisive unhelpful and dehumanising. I think we need to talk more about God and less about sex, more about love, and less about gender, more about how wide Christ throws the gate open and less about high high we can build the fence.

    Let us all with unveiled face behold the glory of the Lord.
     
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  18. Starry

    Starry New Member

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    Thank you for this. Many people (especially other LGBT) have asked why I just don't join a gay friendly church? Simply put, I'm not comfortable in them. I don't see spiritual transformation or challenging theology. Just one big hug box.

    Conversely, I also feel uncomfortable joining a church with an incredibly hard-line stance. I almost became Catholic some time back, but couldn't get over what I saw as a lot of hypocrisy when it came to ethics; including how homosexuality is handled.

    I don't want to be paraded around, but I also don't want to be on the fringes and live in contention with the community.

    This is where my own conservative side comes out. While I do agree that language changes over time, inclusive language for the sake of inclusive language is pointless. I go to a school where inclusive language is a policy and we once spend 10-15 minutes debating what words were okay to use before we prayed.

    It might have begun with good intentions, but it has become ridiculous.

    Earlier in the thread, I had mentioned how even if one doesn't accept me being gay and non-celibate, that compassion is what I ultimately would want. I think what you wrote is a great example of that.
     
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  19. Christina

    Christina Active Member

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    I pray that you find a Church that is neither "one big hug box" nor "incredibly hard line".
     
  20. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    I respect your forthrightness brother, I'm also aware that you struggle against sin , as do I
     

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