Los Angeles and Stuff

It’s not that I hadn’t noticed yet another TEC Bishop who’s in a sexual relationship out of marriage, it’s just that it all seems rather de rigueur these days. In some senses would you expect anything less of a church that has stuck its two fingers up at the rest of the Communion for so long? Consecrating unrepentant sinners and heretics is what they do.

What I do find interesting though is the headline on one of Colin Coward’s blog postings– “Mary Glasspool’s consecration is a moment to celebrate God’s inclusive, transforming, radical love”. Funny thing is, when you read the post you don’t really get any sense of what “transformation” has happened. Sure, Bruno’s sermon is full of the usual liberal pat nonsense:

The world’s transformed only if we turn to each and every one of our brothers and sisters and see the face of Christ superimposed on them. The ones we disagree with the most are the ones we’re obligated to share our lives and teach the most.

I might be wrong, but when I read the Gospels this isn’t the kind of transformation that Jesus brings. The transformation Jesus brings is from darkness to light, not simply to the right chair on the equality agenda. It’s from sin to a holy life; Cheating tax collectors repent, adulterers determine to sin no more, cripples walk, the blind see. Yes, Jesus saw the dignity of every human being he met, but he called them to die to self and to rise to new life.

Simply accepting what is different is not the Gospel. Rapists are different to me. Those who abuse children or murder are different to me. I can’t see Jesus saying “well you folks who maim and pillage are different to me, but that’s OK – let’s just all do what God made us to do”. What, haven’t you heard? There’s a gene for murder. That makes it OK. And if not, then why is so much of liberal theology based on a “God created us like this so it must be good” motif?

True Biblical inclusion and transformation is not about creating a liberal environment where the greatest sin is not to let people hold hands with whoever they want. True inclusion is about accepting all sinners, whatever they have done and then helping them to repent and experience forgiveness and healing that leads to transformation of the innermost being. Unfortunately, transformation is often a painful process involving the uncovering, and then healing, of wounds from the past. It involves not letting myself be in charge but rather recognising that I am not my own and that I belong to Christ, that I cannot always do that which I wish to, or that my nature inclines me towards. It’s much easier to do what I feel is right rather than what Scripture says is holy.

What’s happened this weekend in Los Angeles is just a reflection of that. It’s TEC simply walking one more step on the road away from the cross and the towards self glorification. The real question now to be asked is what the rest of us will do about it.

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