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Ministry with lgbt persons
> Dear Louie:
> I could be wrong, but my uninformed belief is that among other
> things, Oasis promotes the idea that sexual relationships between
> members of the same sex is neither inconsistent with Scripture nor
> with God's call upon us to lead holy lives. If that is the case and
> notwithstanding my agreement with you that God does indeed love
> everyone and desires to have relationships with lesbians and gays as
> much as with every other person, I don't see how what you suggest is
> possible given our belief that sexual relationships are appropriate
> only within the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman. I
> don't purport to speak for St. *****'s in this regard but you are
> welcome to educate me about the mission and ministry of the Oasis so
> that if my understanding is inaccurate, I might be better able to
> understand what you are asking.
Jesus did not wait until Samaria had cleaned up its act before he
broke with Jewish custom and spent time with the Samaritan at Jacob's
Well. Nor did he say to her, "I really should not be out here talking
to you. You understand that, I hope. And don't be telling anyone else
about this conversation lest somebody misunderstand my compassion.
Before you can drink any of my living water, you have got to leave
your current lover and go back to your very first husband. And I
expect you to tell everyone how bad you have been. Then I'll see what
I can do for you."
As a member of the Oasis, I do not recall ever having to sign a
statement saying "that sexual relationships between members of the
same sex is neither inconsistent with Scripture nor with God's call
upon us to lead holy lives." If so, I could not sign it, because that
is far too simplistic.
Some parts of scripture clearly condemn relationships between members
of the same sex. I believe that all the law and all the prophets must
stand on the first two commandments, and the six bible bullets about
homosexuality do not FOR ME meet this test. I do not ask that people take
my word for it, however, but urge all of us to struggle with the whole
of Scripture and make up our own minds. I have made my own peace with
Scripture in fear and trembling, fully aware of what is at stake.
While I do not believe that being lesbian and gay is bad, I do not
proclaim that gay is good either. Instead, I proclaim that God is
good. It is God's righteousness that I proclaim, not any
righteousness of my own.
I may be wrong in my understanding about sexuality, but I am not wrong
about God: God's property is always to show mercy.
I have almost never experienced anything remotely like 'mercy' from
people who share your convictions on these matters.
As far as the East is from the West, so far has God put my sins from
me, sins known, and sin unknown. If so, why do you keep bringing them
up. When we Christians talk about sins, it is safest to stick with
our own, and even then not to wallow in them. God forgave us our sins
even before we knew we needed to ask.
Judgmentalism drives people away from the Church by the millions, and
not just the judgmentalism about this issue. We must make the Church
safe for sinners, for we sinners are the only ones for whom Christ
We are all commanded to go to the uttermost parts of the earth with
the Gospel. Few with your view ever move in in the lgbt community,
and when they do, they first condemn us and then claim they love us.
Jesus' friends "the prostitutes, drunkards, and collaborators with the
Romans" would never have invited him back into their homes if he had
treated them so shabbily. Jesus obviously enjoyed the company of
sinners, and they his company.
I have visited St. *****'s more than I have visited any other parish
in the diocese, and I seen the parish's love in action for other
sinners. When lesbians and gays are convinced that you enjoy our
company, that you aren't afraid of sharing our stigma, we will invite
you into our homes. What a day of rejoicing that will be, a foretaste
of Glory Divine.
[See the Oasis website at http://theoasis.dioceseofnewark.org/]