Monday, October 17, 2005

Two Bishops Celebrate Pro-Homosexuality "Reconciling" Cause in Washington, DC (IRD report)

John Lomperis

After briefly praying to “God our Mother and Father,” Bishop Susan Morrison of Albany declared of homosexual ordination within United Methodism: “It will happen, and it won’t be soon enough.”

Morrison was at Foundry United Methodist Church on October 5 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of that DC congregation’s joining the pro-homosexuality “Reconciling” movement. She was joined by Bishop John Schol of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, Bishop Susan Morrison claims homosexual ordination in the United Methodist Church "will happen, and it won’t be soon enough." (Photo Courtesy National Cathedral.)

Morrison noted that next year will mark the 50th anniversary of women’s ordination in the predecessor bodies of the United Methodist Church—“an embarrassingly short time ago,” she said. The Albany bishop then predicted that “the same will be said at the 50th anniversary of full clergy rights” for practicing homosexuals within the United Methodist Church.

The United Methodist Church requires its clergy to be celibate if single or monogamous if married. Practicing homosexuals may not be ordained—a policy against which the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) actively campaigns.

Foundry United Methodist Church became famous during the 1990s because of the attendance of President and Mrs. Clinton. Its administrative board voted by a narrow margin to become “Reconciling” at the urging of its then-pastor, Dr. J. Philip Wogaman, a prominent United Methodist ethicist and now acting president of Iliff School of Theology in Denver.

Bishop Schol told the audience at Foundry that he was very “proud of the Reconciling congregations” in his annual conference. In introducing Morrison, he praised her for the “prophetic voice” with which she joined 14 other bishops at the 1996 General Conference to declare their strong opposition to traditional Christian and United Methodist teaching on marriage and sexual ethics. Noting that Morrison had gotten a lot of negative reaction for that declaration, Schol indicated that as a new bishop he had started to experience similar opposition.

Both Schol and Morrison participated at the recent “Hearts on Fire” convocation organized by RMN at Lake Junaluska, NC.

In her remarks, Morrison recalled two pastors in her conference writing a controversial book called Wisdom’s Feast: Sophia in Study and Celebration. Morrison explained that Sophia is the Greek word for “wisdom” used to invoke feminine attributes of God. When a complaint was filed against the authors, Morrison responded by refusing to allow the disciplinary complaint process against the authors to continue.

Morrison incredulously told her Foundry audience that a complaint was then filed against her for failing to uphold the church’s teachings. Although the complaint against her did not result in disciplinary action, Morrison lamented that the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference passed a resolution criticizing her handling of the situation. Her “life was threatened more than once,” she said.

Morrison also recalled how “all hell broke loose” when she attended the “wonderful” Re-Imagining women’s conference in 1993. Re-Imagining featured the worship of Sophia and other feminine deities along with the celebration of homosexuality and the denial of traditional Christian teachings about Christ’s atonement.

Notwithstanding the “relentless and ruthless” criticisms of her, Morrison insisted that Re-Imagining “was one of the greatest events I ever went to.” Despite all of her work as a “pioneer” within United Methodism, Morrison regretted that “parochialism” and “intolerance” still persist within the church.

As we move toward next May's release of Ron Howard's film version of The Da Vinci Code, it should not surprise us that the movement toward homosexual ordination often makes common cause with radical revisionist views of Jesus. Ideas of the "divine feminine," conspiracy theories promoting notions of ecclesiastical suppression of "lost gospels," and revisionist theories of the role of Mary Magdalene have been trumpeted by radical scholars in elite universities (e.g., Helmut Koester and the ubiquitous and often interviewed Elaine Pagels are examples).

The pastiche of heresies masquerading as "the latest scholarship," have begun to filter into the consciousness of the general population via books such as Dan Brown's bestseller.

In debates within the ABCUSA, this nexus has not been pronounced, with proponents of homosexual ordination continuing to hold basically orthodox Christological views. However, as a cultural trend, the connections are clear and becoming more overt as the revisionists popularize their ideology through mass media outlets.

[The ideas contained in this blog represent opinions and analysis solely my own of cultural trends and do not represent any official body, person, or position]

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