Good to be here... I hope.

Discussion in 'New Members' started by Bruce Williams, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Bruce Williams

    Bruce Williams New Member

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    Several people and Google searches have informed me that the Anglican Church is somewhat inclusive of non-traditional lifestyles.

    My situation is this:

    I'm married to my beautiful wife of over 30 years. Seven years ago, she was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease. She is now in stage six
    Early on, we had some very serious discussions as to how I'll take care of her, with the promise that I'd never send her off to memory care and always keep her with me at home. I have kept that promise.

    Another thing that was discussed was how I would care for myself with her suggestion that, when she is no longer physically and emotionally available to me as a wife, I should try to find a suitable partner to join us in a "family of three". I would have someone to talk to, get some respite time alone and down the road, look forward to a wonderful life together. My wife would have the sister she never had and be able to enjoy days out at shopping, getting hair and nails done and just living life to the fullest for whatever time she has left.

    I hadn't even considered this until two years ago when, together, we joined a couple dating sites to look for suitable candidates. We were totally up front as to our situation, desires and plans for the future. I also stated that I'd never first meet anyone alone without my wife present.
    I wanted to see the compassion in their eyes for her rather than the passion for me.

    After sifting through over two hundred interested ladies and rejecting those who were obvious gold diggers, wannabe trophy wives or, unfortunately, bore a distinct resemblance to some of our founding fathers, we finally found a lovely sweet lady who is compatible in every possible way imaginable.

    My question is:

    Will the Anglican church, especially those in Daytona Beach FL and Columbus OH, welcome us without judgement and condemnation, or should we look elsewhere?

    IMG_0387.jpg
     
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    We are all individuals with differing views. Although we are are all 'the church' we do not speak on its behalf, we just express our own view on what we think the church might make of the issues you describe.

    I do not envy your predicament, any of you. The nearest I can advise is for you all to try to think through what Jesus would advise in your circumstances.

    With his yoke upon you your burden should be lightened. Matt.11:30.

    I would be wary of following advice from those who would burden you still more. Matt.23:2-4.
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    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
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  3. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Instead of traditional or non-traditional lifestyles, which is a clearly unpersuasive category for you, I would encourage that you think about it in these categories instead:

    The godly versus the ungodly.

    How do we know the mind of God? Primarily through the wonderful and forthright revelation in sacred Scriptures, so pour over those sacred pages. Secondarily we know the mind of God through the witness of the Church, not something recent but something ever-present and timeless, from the time of Aaron, down to our Saviour, and then through the Fathers and the Divines.

    What they (and especially our Lord), would say to you is, that "many are called but few are chosen." "Wide is the road that leads to destruction, but he who enters through the narrow gate shall be saved." Don't take the easy road using measly words like 'inclusive'. Recognize that your life and soul, and mine, and all of ours, are forfeit on our own, doomed to destruction unless following the narrow and small and hard and difficult gate of God's teaching, and his grace.

    What are the hard and impossible choices do you have to accept? Have the great saints before you been in your shoes? Did Abraham abandon Sarah when she was barren and he was desperate for a son? Did Zachariah abandon Elizabeth? Why did St. Augustine enter into a life of complete continence and celibacy, after a youth of debauchery? Why did St. Paul say that it is better to be celibate than to be married?

    Maybe what you're missing is the very thing the world will not tell you -- the hard and impossible truth that your calling is to be celibate at this moment in life. To subject your flesh completely under the control and give it over to God, rather than be a slave to the flesh, and treat your wife as good as dead.

    These are the things that an 'inclusive church' will not tell you. But there is also NO difference between an inclusive church and 'the world, the flesh, and the devil'. You want to abide by the teachings which are a Sign of Contradiction. Teachings which come from a church which is the pillar and judge of all truth. You want the teachings which have always been, and do not fade, and do not compromise. What God hath put together, let no man put asunder.

    (But under celibacy, if you will accept a platonic friend while your wife remains your wife, that's another story. However I don't think that that's what you had in mind.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
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  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    Stalwart: I gave a qualified like because I think that your advice here is generally helpful.

    Only a couple of points though: Abraham couldn't wait to get a son so he got off with Sarah's handmaid Hagar at Sarah's instigation, and got a son called Ishmael. So not that good an example perhaps. Gen.16:1-16.

    Also "Why did St. Paul say that it is better to be celibate than to be married?" He didn't. He said "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. (Paul was probably a celibate widower). But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." (Presumably than to 'burn' with unresolved passions). However his objection to marriage was solely on the grounds that it was, in times of persecution, with the coming of The Lord immanent, a distraction from more important issues. 1 Cor.7:29-33.

    You were quite right to bring up the moral aspects of the issue though, and serious moral breaches are definitely the concern of the church. 1 Cor.5:9-13.

    It is I suppose a question of how prying a 'church' is into it's member's private lives, (I don't think it should be), and how 'private' those members keep their private lives, so as not to bring scandal upon the church, by their being publicly an associated member of it but obviously flouting its moral conventions.
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  5. Bruce Williams

    Bruce Williams New Member

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    Thank you everyone. I feel affirmation from both of you. ....Well, one of you anyway.

    Yes, how do we know the mind of God? We can't so we do the best we can with what we have.

    Of course, I'm not abandoning my wife, and neither did Abraham. I'm honoring her even better than I possibly could doing it alone.
    Paul, throughout his writings, had a dim view of marriage and women in general. I don't know if he was a widower, perhaps he was gay.

    Caregivers often die before the ill spouse due to depression, loneliness, ambiguous grief and the day to day stress of caregiving. By adding another to our "family", I'm not only keeping my marriage vows "in sickness and in health" but, exceeding them. My wife, despite her advanced stage, is one of the happiest people I know due to the fact that she receives wonderful care from two people who love her unconditionally. A home healthcare worker, after visiting us last month, told me: "In my over thirty years of doing this, I've never met anyone as well prepared, knowledgeable and competent as you".
    That was truly good to hear.

    You can judge all you want, stalwart, but I'm not here to get your opinion or to be preached at. Suggesting that I become celibate, while it might make you happy is unbelievable. God made us sexual beings and, I'm kind of glad he did. Sex is healthy for us and promotes a long and, surprise! happy life.

    By the way, Your church with a cannon pointed out the front door is disturbing.

    So far, asking Jesus what we should do has feeling we want to be connected to the church despite what a few people inside might feel.

    The reason I asked in the first place is because the church has been open to the LGBT (lmnop) community to the point of having a gay bishop somewhere. (Canada, I think) As an alternative lifestyle and a rather militant one at that. Perhaps that's why they're accepted so the church doesn't look bad.

    I think, over the past 10 or so years, that churches, in an effort to stop the mass exodus to more inclusive fellowships seem to have changed a lot.
    And, Tiffy, I really don't want to live in secrecy, nor do I want to be so blatant that I'm considered an evangelist for the polyamory movement.
    This is purely situational and before the illness, I never would have considered it.
    I'm not poly, nor do I want to be. I just want to be able to hold hands without heads coming together whispering about us.

    We're going to attend services this Sunday and see what the reaction will be after we introduce ourselves.
     
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    Paul was not as misogynistic as some may imagine, in fact probably much less so than many of his less enlightened brethren at that time, in that context. Much of his attitude to the inclusion of women would have been vigorously opposed by some male leadership within the churches he wrote his epistles to. Particularly the Church in Corinth, which caused him considerable grief over their disdain for his ministry and qualifications as an Apostle with authority over them.

    Before his conversion on the Damascus road, Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin and a condition of being in it was usually that the member must be married. Paul may have been an exception though, so we can't be sure. If he was 'gay' he certainly would not have been a 'practicing' one, judging from his apostolic advice on 'practices' at the time.

    And of course, as you have told us, your wife is fully aware and accepting of the 'work around' that has been agreed by all parties. However there is the issue of vows to be considered and "Keep thee only unto her so long as ye both shall live" is a condition that might need some consideration. I am presuming that you have already thought that through together.

    I appreciate that, but what the three of you see as the solution to your rather unusual circumstances clearly requires discretion and there will be many who will find your 'solution' difficult to understand and sympathize with. I am merely suggesting that you should not expect universal acceptance from everybody in the church, of 'outward expressions of affection' between the three of you in church. Holding hands is fine, but keep kisses on the lips and anything more demonstrative at home, in private, out of concern for the feelings of others, whose faith is not as strong on the issue as yours seems to be.
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  7. Bruce Williams

    Bruce Williams New Member

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    Theologians have, for centuries debated about Paul and his attitude on women. Too many denominations use a cafeteria style of pick and choose chapters and verses that fit their agenda.

    At any rate, Paul is known to have his own agenda and own words inserted into the Bible. In the following verses for instance, we see in the Bible Paul's words and not GOD Almighty's:

    "Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. (From the NIV Bible, 1 Corinthians 7:25)"
    Whether he was gay or not, It seems that throughout history, priests, having taken a vow of celibacy, which I think is a sexual aberration, give marital advice on a subject they know nothing about and, considering all the scandals, the entire Catholic church has lost all credibility. That's why I will not attend a fellowship where clergy are not allowed to marry.

    Long ago, I wrote a story for a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, "Living with Alzheimer's and other Dementias"

    "The Talk" was the first of many discussions Ann and I had when we first noticed that she was changing. It set the stage for many conversations, both happy and sad that would help chart the course of our journey. Here's The Talk:

    The Talk

    I knew something was different about her the moment we first danced at Parents without Partners, a social club for single parents. A disconcerting ridge along her side. I recognized thoracic scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. Fifteen years prior to that eventful evening, I was working in my lab, developing a new type of brace specifically made to treat just that condition. It proved very successful in the treatment of scoliosis. I invited her out for the following Saturday and, just seven days later, I asked her to become my wife. In a mere six weeks, we were on our honeymoon. Her scoliosis, to my loving eyes, so completely disappeared that even now, I have to stop and think just what side it is on. She is my angel and her protruding rib cage, to me, is just one of her wings starting to grow. I loved her just the way she was.

    Our life has been blessed in so many ways, including her three boys who've matured into wonderful husbands, fathers and a joy to us both. Their love for their mother and acceptance, however strained at first, of me as a step-father who loves them and their families as if they were my own, has given us such incredible peace that we truly consider ourselves the luckiest people on earth.

    We've endured some bumps along the way. An airplane crash, which could have been tragic, left me partially disabled with an arm and hand paralyzed for half a year. I was broken and depressed until, getting ready for church one Sunday, I was able to move my finger just a quarter of an inch. That day became a turning point in our lives and, with her loving support and my never give up attitude, I woke up to the realization that everything was going to be alright and my last little invention turned into a business that spanned half the globe and allowed a lifestyle that gave us the opportunity to help others in so many ways.

    Sometimes, just when you think you've got everything under control, make plans for the future and have the autopilot set for new adventure, something intrudes upon your well laid course and brings everything to a screeching halt.

    Several years ago, my sweetheart began to have minor memory lapses. We laughed it off and dismissed it as “senior moments”, something that just comes with maturity. Soon, they became worse and had gotten to the point of being noticeable to family and friends. The Doctors, even after noting her condition had worsened over the last four months, did not offer a conclusive diagnosis. While it would answer questions and allow her to start medications known to help, they were hesitant to call it Alzheimer's which could potentially limit her ability to drive, not to mention provide fuel for a lawsuit if she were to be involved in even a minor accident.

    Small memory lapses become major events. Forgetting how to start the car. Not getting mail for three days. Asking the same question many times in a row, forgetting appointments and social invitations, paying some bills twice and others not at all, thinking I'd put new tires and wheels on her golf cart... the list goes on.

    I'd reached the point of needing to communicate my feelings in the kindest, most sensitive manner possible. I started by giving her a beautiful greeting card about true love. Adding words of my own, I wrote that, no matter the circumstances, I'm her man and would love her, care for her and be by her side forever. Thanking me through misty eyes, I led her to the sofa and started, “The Talk”, something I'd been dreading and could no longer put off.

    I began by asking her to reminisce about those times I would come into the house, put down a tool I was working with, get a drink and return to the hangar... leaving my tool behind on the counter. We laughed about my ADHD and being the absent minded genius, notorious for being scatterbrained. I asked if I had been a good husband to her and she quipped, “The best one I've had so far”. That's my girl.

    I held her tightly and, as gently as I could, asked if she ever had done any research of her own, carefully avoiding the dreaded “A” word. She hadn't, and admitted that she was fearful of what she might learn. Cuddled together, we looked at a few websites, one of which stated that Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia. As I scanned the text, hoping she wouldn't notice the “tough parts” she, nestled under my arm, looked up at me with welling eyes and asked the most heart wrenching question I've ever had. “Would you ever put me away in a rest home”? Barely able to speak around the knot in my throat, I choked “Never, my darling, so long as I live.”

    That evening, I found her at the computer, pouring over page after web page for the next two hours. Looking over her shoulder, I could see Alzheimer's stages, treatment but no cures, progressive debilitation and, sadly, the final chapter. Later that night in bed, I reach to touch her beautiful face, and feel the wetness of her tears. Turning to me, she poses an even tougher question. “Honey, you're so smart. Will you invent a cure for me”? “I sure will baby doll, I'll really try”. I replied.

    Sleepless, the promise I made burning in my brain, I silently make my way down to the workshop. Walking past welders, milling machine, drill press, saws and testing equipment, I sat at my old workbench, scarred with the tinkerings of inventions past, that changed so many lives for the better. I brush aside the workings of the “next big thing”, and contemplate the pile of gears, springs and bearings. I pick up one of the gears, examine it for a bit, then spin it on it's axle. Like a toy gyroscope, it remains stable for a little while, falters then careens off the bench, once again reminding me of the fragility of her future.

    Knowledge can be a wonderful thing but it often reveals a dark side. At that moment I realized the awful truth. I'm an Engineer, not much more than glorified mechanic. I could not cure her, I could not make her better and could not keep my promise.

    In the cool dark of the shop, I resignedly put my head down, and sobbed myself to sleep.

    _________________________________________________________________
    Yes, Tiffy, you are so correct. We're all mature adults in a situation where modesty and decorum is important. I never want to be one of those "in your face" types who flaunt a relationship that, admittedly, is unorthodox, at least in a church setting but as I was surprised to learn, is not that unusual under similar circumstances.
     
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member

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    I sincerely hope that you find a faith community able to understand your predicament and support you in your determination to tackle your problems in a way that you are satisfied, through hard won faith, will gain Our Lord's approval.

    Who are we, to judge another's servant? Rom.14:4.
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  9. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Friend, it sounds like what you need is not theology right now, but spiritual direction and support. Trying to fix this by pointing to the theological manuals and church doctrinal positions is a mistake, and finding a compromised church that will tell you teachings which are indistinguishable from the world will not solve your problem. You need an answer that comes from God. That answer can only be found in the sacred Scriptures, and in the teaching of the Church. But you could also just have a friend to cry on their shoulder. Both are okay. But the church cannot be your buddy that says everything you do is okay. The Church is a teacher, and a parent. God is not a buddy, God is father. The Ancient of Days. Eternal and everlasting. He's not going to whisper that everything you do is okay. He has already told you: "narrow is the path, and few there are who find it". Be terrified at that statement.

    So find a friend, and cleave unto the Church and unto God.
     
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  10. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    I hope all is well but it seems what you're looking for is affirmation rather than finding out what Anglicanism teaches. Anglicanism upholds classical Christian doctrine. I do not know of a single province, even the more liberal ones, that would allow a sexual relationship with another person while married.
     
  11. Leacock

    Leacock New Member

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    This reminded me of the Colenso Affair, which I continue to view as being to blame for most everything wrong with Anglicanism today but regardless.

    Lambeth 1988 had this to say on Polygamy:

    "
    Resolution 26

    Church and Polygamy

    This Conference upholds monogamy as God's plan, and as the ideal relationship of love between husband and wife; nevertheless recommends that a polygamist who responds to the Gospel and wishes to join the Anglican Church may be baptized and confirmed with his believing wives and children on the following conditions:

    (1) that the polygamist shall promise not to marry again as long as any of his wives at the time of his conversion are alive;

    (2) that the receiving of such a polygamist has the consent of the local Anglican community;

    (3) that such a polygamist shall not be compelled to put away any of his wives, on account of the social deprivation they would suffer;

    (4) and recommends that provinces where the Churches face problems of polygamy are encouraged to share information of their pastoral approach to Christians who become polygamists so that the most appropriate way of disciplining and pastoring them can be found, and that the ACC be requested to facilitate the sharing of that information."

    https://www.anglicancommunion.org/r...e/1988/resolution-26-church-and-polygamy.aspx
     

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