Now i may not be as informed about this debate as i could be, but here's my take. Since the RC adoption agencies receive public funds from the UK in order to operate, then there's no question that the anti-discrimination law should apply to them fully. After all, the public that's funding them includes same-sex couples. If the agencies are accepting money, some of which originates with same-sex couples then their religious convictions are already compromised. If, however, the RC adoption agencies were operating without any public funds, then the issue would be cloudier.
One statistic i've read claims that the RC adoption agencies are responsible for placing approximately 32% of 'hard to place' children in the UK. The RC church claims that they will shut down the agencies if forced to comply with the law. It seems to me that children suffer more from requiring the RC agencies to comply than glbt folks suffer if the RC agencies are exempted.
Also, given the RC church's continuing discriminatory position toward glbt people, how many potential glbt adoptive parents are likely to approach RC adoption agencies in the first place?
Of course, the position that glbt individuals are not suitable for adoption is a choice on the part of the RC church. i find it weird that any organization that claims to do Christ's work on earth would try to defend blatant discrimination on the basis of faith and morality. It would seem more in line with Christ's example for them to focus on what's best for these needy children than on protecting their moralistic position. But i suppose that's exactly what they'd say they are doing by refusing to consider same-sex couples suitable to adopt these kids.
That the Chuch of England chooses to advocate for exemption of the RC agencies really saddens me
Here's a link to the latest in this news item.
It feels like my characteristic self-defeating obstinance. Though i've thoroughly enjoyed every service i've attended since the beginning of December, i've skipped services for the past three Sundays. i've retired each Saturday night with the intention of attending church the following morning, but thrice i've overslept and missed my service of choice, the 7:30am plainsong Eucharist. One of those Sundays i told myself i'd still make the 11:15 choral Eucharist and even drove to the church, but a combination of tardiness and fear of the crowd indicated by two full parking lots scared me off.
i know i said it's due to my typical obstinance, but honestly i think it's fear. Of what? A fear of taking further steps on this path? A fear of church-goers? A fear of becoming someone unrecognizable to myself and my friends? A fear of the nascent call i felt in my youth?
All of the above, i suspect.
i continue to practice daily devotions, daily prayer, daily Scripture readings, etc.
Over the last year i’ve been slowly re-reading portions of a book I have called “Owning Your Own Shadow”. It’s a small book that relates Jungian ideas about how throughout the process of enculturation we all create a shadow self from the bits and pieces of our personalities that we try to reject. These fragments are not only the weak parts of ourselves; they very often contain a great deal of our personal power. Over time, if not acknowledged and expressed the shadow self gains strength. I’ve found this idea in other contexts, such as paganism, wherein I knew shadow work as “confronting the guardian”.
As I continue to cautiously explore a re-conversion to Christianity, it occurs to me that my feelings about the faith of my childhood and youth are part of my shadow. The betrayal and anger I felt towards the Church is part of my shadow. The fear I feel in just being open to the idea of re-opening a relationship with the Church is part of my shadow.
Here I thought I’d thoroughly confronted my guardian, regularly had her/him over for tea, and that s/he had very few surprises left to spring upon me. How shady of her/him to bring up Christianity when I comfortably ask “what shall we talk about now?” I feel as though an old and dear friend has just told me to “put up or shut up.”
The Church of my youth injured me spiritually & emotionally. The Church catholic continues to injure many, including God’s glbt children. I’ve tried to open my mind and heart to the reality of the Church today and found that there are many who understand that and are asking for forgiveness. Who are inviting, almost begging us to return to the table because they recognize that we are all one. They look at us and see their brothers & sisters, with whom they wish to share. Can I forgive the Church? Not an easy task, considering that there are still some there who continue to perpetuate violence upon our souls.
This morning after waking I was reading about lessons in forgiveness. As an example, the author related that the clergy and laity at an Episcopal parish, recognizing the continuing hate & injustice perpetrated upon God’s glbt children by the Church, and repenting of this, decided to hold a special service wherein they asked forgiveness of their local glbt community. Upon learning of the service, authorities of the parish’s diocese were angry. To punish the parish the authorities cancelled a low-interest loan that they had provided to finance the parish’s new worship building.
Many in the parish initially reacted in outrage to this diocesan action, but the clergy of the parish asked that if they were seeking to dwell in forgiveness with the glbt community, shouldn't they also dwell in forgiveness with the diocese? This is the path the parish took. In the wake of their actions, attendance increased at that parish along with the offerings the parish received, and the worship building was paid off in three years.
Forgiveness yields its own fruit, sweet and nourishing. Perhaps I can learn to forgive the Church. Perhaps i can learn to forgive myself. I can’t think of any better place to try than my local parish, which turns out to have been the parish in this story.
What probably only a few of you know is that the Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA) is a participant in the worldwide Anglican Communion, which includes the Church of England, the Canadian Anglican church, and numerous other congregations around the world. In 2004 the ECUSA affirmed the elevation of an openly gay, partnered (read non-celibate) priest to the Bishopric of New Hampshire. While the majority of the ECUSA supports this decision, it resulted in conflict from a small group of renegade US Bishops (now the so-called "Windsor Bishops") in collusion with the Nigerian Archbishop. Feuling the angst of at least a few of them is their sexist concern that the ECUSA in 2006 elected the first female Presiding Bishop (the US' version of an Archbishop) in the entire worldwide communion, Katherine Jefferts-Shiori. This turned up the heat under the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who is the titular head of the Anglican Worldwide Communion.
Why increased heat? The Primates (Archbishops & Presiding Bishops) of the entire worldwide communion are scheduled to gather in a regular conference in February of 2007. The Nigerian Archbishop has stated that he will not sit in conference with PB Jefferts-Shiori, ostensibly because she supports same-sex unions and the elevation of Gene Robinson to the New Hampshire bishopric. Also, Archbishop William's choice to invite the Windsor Bishops to the Feb '07 Tanzanian conference may have lent legitimacy to their demands. They certainly appear to be encouraged in their vow-breaking and in inciting parishes to secede from the ECUSA. This is the 'impending schism' in the Episcopal church of which you may have heard. The Bishop of the local Rio Grande Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, is one of the Windsor Bishops. So, Archbishop Williams is facing conflict and contention at the conference over which he presides. It looked for a while that he might choose to 'dis-invite' PB Jefferts-Shiori from the conference to avoid conflict, but now it looks like she's still on his 'invited' list. So while he's prepping for a significantly contentious conference knowing he won't be able to please everyone (egad!), on top of that, this hits the news:
Fifty-one Church of England priests have married in the past year. Since Anglican priests are permitted to marry, what's the big deal? These 51 Bristish priests have married their same-sex partners. :D See what Elton John started! LOL! ;D
Check out the news article here
Here is how i matched up against all the levels:
|Purgatory (Repenting Believers)||Low|
|Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)||Low|
|Level 2 (Lustful)||Very High|
|Level 3 (Gluttonous)||Moderate|
|Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)||Very Low|
|Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)||Moderate|
|Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)||Very Low|
|Level 7 (Violent)||Very High|
|Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)||High|
|Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)||Moderate|
Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test
That's a phrase (or close to the actual phrase - i can't actually find it in my prayer book) that's said during the typical penitential rite of the ECUSA. It's also a phrase that sticks in my head.
During my childhood & youthful habitation of organized Christianity, struggling against my shortcomings (or sins, if you prefer) was characteristic of my faith practice. There was this whole martyr scenario that was being acted out. The tendency has continued in some respects throughout my adulthood in a proclivity to feel "put-upon" by life, or at least by others in my life.
When i look back to my martyr complex, it strikes me that it was then a way to feel special. To feel 'holier than thou'. It was ego, and not in a good way. I presume it still is.
A big difference in how i dwelt in religion then as opposed to now is that then i was always aware of the 'burden' of my sins. And an attendant solo struggle against sin. I recall routinely being filled wih guilt and shame, and begging God to relieve me of my sinful nature. Now, perhaps, i have a more mature perspective on redemption and grace. It isn't my 'burden' alone to struggle against my sins. Instead, it is my task to forgive myself as God has already forgiven me, and to make room for the Holy Spirit, who will guide me to being more Christ-like.