Helping the Primates Come to Jesus

TIDINGS ARTICLE March 2007

Helping the Primates Come to Jesus

Like many of you, I read the communiqué from the Primates, and the letter of Marc in response, and the letter from our Vestry. I confess that on the issues at hand I have come a long way in my thinking—and when it is all said and done—I have come to believe that this is an altogether healthy conflict to have in the life of the Church despite its discomfort. It is the kind of conflict Jesus would wish for us.

My own family background and upbringing are typically Midwestern.  I believe in the sanctity of marriage and the spiritual oneness that comes from the union of a man and woman.  I believe the family is an essential part of the fabric, stability and continuity of civilization.  I believe it evolved from the necessity to protect and raise children and is celebrated and nurtured by faith by the Church, supported by the State, and relied upon by society to help define and enforce the norms of society and prepare us for our future.  I believe all that stuff.

There is also nothing in my upbringing or experience that imprinted me with a prejudice against others because of their race, or religion, or sexual orientation.  I came to realize from my own experience that I did not sacrifice nor diminish my traditional faith in marriage or the family by accepting the reality that there are different ways to define the commitment of two people of any gender to each other or the forming of family configurations different than my own.  Look around you, you will see both success and failure in unions and families in both traditional and “non-traditional” experiences.  This is not a zero-sum game.  My values are neither strengthened nor validated; my faith is not dependent or renewed by denying others the right to live their lives differently than my own. Jesus, after all, expressed some fairly untraditional views in his own time, and he even had the temerity to associate with “tax collectors and sinners” after all.

Jesus told us to follow Him.  And while I hear the angst in the words of the Primates, and the pained response of Marc, I think our Vestry got it right—and said it best:

“At St. Timothy’s, anyone and everyone seeking to experience God’s love, mercy and power to heal is welcome, and all who love God and seek Christ are invited to share at the Lord’s Table where we celebrate our unity and find sustenance, consolation, and hope.”

Together at the communion table these differences are healed by God’s unconditional love for us if we are only willing to come to Jesus.  And so, in an effort to help the Church resolve these issues at dispute I suggest we invite the Primates to put away their royal “we” and come to St. Timothy’s where Jesus is alive in each of us—of every race, every age, every nationality, every orientation, every family of every kind—and where because of His unconditional love for all of us, every day is Easter!

Gary Hunt

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