A House Divided
Outta there: Thank you, Jesse Hyde, for this informative and well-written story ("Thou Shalt Not," July 27). I admire Father Roseberry. I resigned as rector of my Lexington parish over this final straw, effective immediately on the Sunday that Gene Robinson was consecrated bishop of New Hampshire. I subsequently renounced my priesthood and am preparing to enter the Orthodox Church. I am encouraged, Jesse, by your honest truth-telling.
Alice C. Linsley
Readers respond to "Thou Shalt Not"
Majoring in minors: As a straight United Methodist, or better still, a straight person trying to follow the teachings of Christ, I wince every time a mainline church denomination fights over inclusion of gays and lesbians in the pulpit and leadership positions.
The UMC has had similar controversies, but ours rose no higher than the rank of an ordained pastor, not a bishop. However, as a former religion reporter who covered the UMC's main legislative body two years ago, I recoiled when the delegates spent two days arguing over homosexuality--and precious little time on how the denomination can make disciples for Christ. And this is at a time when membership in the UMC has continued its 30-plus-year decline.
So it goes with the Episcopalians. What, pray tell, are they doing to make disciples for Christ? What are they doing for the hundreds of thousands of people desperately searching for saviors while the Episcopalians are arguing about gays and lesbians?
And what about those hundreds of thousands of people who are on the cusp of attending church and establishing a meaningful relationship with God? What do they think when they look at how some Christian leaders are condemning an entire group of people?
"I don't want to be a member of that church. I don't want to establish a relationship with their God. Those Christians, they're all alike."
No, we're not.
Spin-free zone: Nicely balanced article, delivered in a very thorough, informational format. I am a Christ Church member and was admittedly curious as to what, if any, "spin" might be put on the conservative leanings of our parish. I appreciate the exposition of both sides.
How I lost my faith: I came to the Episcopal Church as an undergraduate in college. From our small parish in Long Beach, I saw the election of a California governor from our membership and later the ending of the Vietnam War. I have never thought twice about being liberal or conservative. I have accepted and worked with gay people all my professional career. But this is too much. What do they want? To identify yourself through your sexuality to a group of people who are willing to tear apart the "body of Christ" is, after a great deal of thought and prayer, simply demonic. The Windsor Report cautioned against demonizing the gays--but that appears to be exactly what they are doing. Why? My rector, a wonderful woman, simply says, "this too will pass away." But the Episcopal Church will never be the same. I do not trust an openly "gay" priest, though I attended an ordination in Los Angeles, and when the ceremony approached the words, "Therefore if any of you know any impediment or crime because of which we should not proceed, come forward now and make it known," the bishop surveyed those present very carefully. There was my chance. I did not stand and say no to the known lesbian and gay deacons who were about to become priests. At that decisive moment, I was a coward.
Recently, a very much loved cat, who had been a member of our family for years, died. I turned to the Book of Common Prayer to guide his passage as a spirit without sin to the afterlife. I found no comfort. The words were hollow. Have I lost my belief? Are we all losing our faith and trust in the Episcopal Church?
Beverly Hills, California
Schisms, public and personal: I was intrigued by your use of the word "schism" in delineating the differences between the Reverend Roseberry and the Reverend Waller of Saint Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Dallas. I recently heard the Reverend Waller speak. With my fundamentalist Southern Baptist background, his point seemed rather un-concrete and simplistic but set my views swirling. To me his point seemed to be that in any relationship, man/wife, man/God, we understand the other more completely as time passes and we grow. Do we not see the fruit of "schisms" in history and daily news, Hitler and the Jews, Northern Ireland, the current conflicts in the Middle East?
While facing possible death by cancer and attempting to avoid my favorite New Testament sin of "judge not," I need to avoid a personal schism between my concrete understanding of a loving New Testament God and a more mellow understanding of who God is.
Thanks for your article. I hope it provoked thought amongst other readers as well.
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Tale of two parishes: Thanks for the insightful article about two very different priests in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas. I found the writing compelling and extremely revealing! Great job all around!