When groups of Episcopalians sit around and talk about their church, the topic of gays and lesbians always manages to come up. Then, it seems, one of two things most often happens: 1) the group drops it like it’s hot and doesn’t discuss it all, or 2) descends into polemical and political yammering. Whatever happened to informed, theological dialogue?
So I won’t drop the topic and I’ll avoid using political methods to discuss this issue in our contemporary church. Instead, I insist relying upon the traditions of our Church, my relationship with God in Christ, and the entire Biblical witness.
Now I have to hold myself to this standard. For starters, let’s look at today’s Daily Office gospel passage: Acts 10:9-23. This scene depicts one part of Peter’s struggle with the acceptance of Gentiles into the fellowship of Jesus (along with hearing God’s voice with instructions to “kill and eat,” Peter has a vision of unclean animals being lowered on a sheet). Eventually, partly inspired by this divine message, Peter moves to welcome non-Jews into the Christian fellowship.
Truth be told, this isn’t a pure parallel with today’s situation. However, just because it isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it can’t help guide us through our current struggles; because if we don’t use our resources and reflect on our past, then we have no hope for the future. Next time this “issue” comes up, don’t drop it like it’s hot, but rather embrace the awkwardness and explore it with theological integrity.
It’s what we have, let’s use it.