Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Strange Case of Rev. Mary Glasspool

Why do we elect those who would be Bishops? To what standard do we measure those who might become Bishops, should they meet the prerequisites? Where do we find this measuring stick? The questions seem ponderous at first, especially in an age where it takes a nation's CEO the better part of a year to make a decision. The questions may also seem seriously daunting to those caught in the kudzu of political correctness. Don't misunderstand me for one moment. The questions have extreme gravitas and the way in which they're answered have serious and lasting spiritual impact. No, far from being flip or sarcastic, this is an issue that calls for clear-headed consideration. Graciously, the Almighty has already done some heavy lifting for us in this search for answers. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit moving through the pen of Saint Paul, these questions have been answered for us ahead of time.

We elect Bishops that the church may have oversight and leadership. Consider St. Paul's words to the Ephesian Church:
... to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming... Eph 4:12-14

Those who would be Bishops have the Divine charge of stewardship over the flocks of the Almighty, to shepherd them away from darkness and onwards towards the light. They guard against the false and cunning teachings that would shipwreck the faithful. Too, we've been provided with prerequisites that one who would be Bishop should meet before "hands are laid" upon them. These are neither impossible nor onerous:
... Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap. ... I Tim 3:2-7
It's quite clear that the Bishop is to be one who is rooted in the historic, orthodox Christian faith. Scripture is unambiguous as to the gender of one who would be placed in this office. This fact does not denigrate the the female gender one jot or tittle, and no amount of shrieking on the part of Shelby Spong, et al, will make it so. There is no Title IX clause or ERA Amendment to Scripture. If we attempt to shoe-horn a woman into a sacramental office that was ordained as one for a man, we are operating outside the pale of Scripture. The "Proverbs 31" woman, as blessed as she is, is not qualified by scriptural writ to serve in the office of Bishop/Overseer.

Now, ((gasp)), its time to address the 800 pound primate in the room...

Miss. Glasspool, by her own admission has chosen to engage without repentance in sexual activities clearly proscribed by Scripture. I will say to her credit that she has done this openly and without pretense but regardless, she has lived in open defiance to the counsel of the Almighty. This fact, on its own merit, is a disqualification to stand in the office of Bishop.

I want to lay down some presuppositions for a number of folk I'm fond of, including Mickey+, Mark+ and others. I hold no hatred or animus towards the homosexual or lesbian whatsoever. I am stridently opposed to any violence done to the gay individual on the grounds of their choice of lifestyle. Those who do violence against gay individuals deserve for the full weight of our justice system to come crashing down around their ears. In fact, I've no compunction in seeing the ultimate penalty (read capital punishment) handed down to those guilty of the ultimate violence against the homosexual, or for that matter anyone (without the need of hate crimes "training wheels").

Homosexuality is just one shade in a spectra of brokenness that separates us from fellowship with the Almighty. It is no more sinful than theft, adultery, murder, lying, gossip, grumbling, unthankfulness, witchcraft, etc. Regardless of what some loons or orifices may claim, the Almighty has not placed the homosexual under any special interdiction. No, Like any other brokenness, healing and redemption has been made available for us through the atonement.

Should a former, freed homosexual who now walks in newness of life in Christ Jesus be kept from an office they're otherwise qualified for? Absolutely not. Should one who continues in their sin, in spite of the Almighty's offer for healing be even considered for a sacramental office? Absolutely not.

It's not about barring the door nor freezing the homosexual out of the house of God. For the love of God, I would that every orthodox, God-honoring parish would throw their arms around the gay community; not to celebrate and wallow in their brokenness, but to point them towards divine transformation.


Padre Mickey said...

Andy, I don't think of you as one who hates homosexuals.

I do disagree with you as I don't think homosexuality is "brokeness." It's a different sexuality. I don't have any problem with women as bishops or priests or deacons, as I see much of scripture as influenced by culture; there is no getting around it.

As a person who has lived in several cultures, I can't get too excited about St. Paul's cultural references and I don't believe that whatever Paul believed is what God believes.

I believe that what we should look for are the fruits of the Spirit in the ministries of everyone. If a gay or lesbian deacon, priest, or bishops' ministry shows the fruits of the Spirit, then it doesn't matter what Paul may have written. If a heterosexual man or womans' ministry shows the fruits of the Spirit, then it doesn't matter what Paul has written. The Spirit goes wherever the Spirit will and doesn't really care what we think.

But if someones' ministry does not show the fruits of the Spirit, then, male or female, straight or gay, they should open themselves up to the Spirit's movement in their lives and get back on track.

Andy said...

Mickey+, you are a Gentleman and a servant of the most High.

Padre Mickey said...

¡Gracias, hermano mío!