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Dialogue with David Virtue

SPECIAL NOTE: Individuals interested in a dialogue involving the so called "culture wars" going on in Christianity in general and Episcopalianism in particular might gain some insight and understanding of the conservative and liberal positions by reading the following exchange of letters. Perhaps through understanding and forbearance men of good will with different opinions and approaches to faith can learn to live contentedly in the house of the Lord.

David Virtue, pictured above, has a website and authors a digest known as VIRTUOSITY which is available over the internet. He may also be contacted at DVIRTUE236@aol.com.

Choose by selecting from the following letters:

set one email letters 1 through 25
set two email letters 26 through 50
set three email letters 51 through 75
set four email letters 76 through 100
set five email letters 101 through 125
set six email letters 126 through 150
set seven email letters 151 through 175
set eight email letters 176 through [latest]


001 - I - John writes
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Griswold knows that gays function well in the life of the church.
He invited the 3rd. World bishops conflicted over homosexuality to "come and see" for themselves.
Biblical literalists consistent to their principles, might want to OWN a few African Bishops.
John used the above provocative concept to jump start the dialog.

002 - II - David writes
These bishops would only see homosexual behavior which they roundly rejected at Lambeth.
Scripture has firmly spoken about sodomy.

003 - III - John writes
The African Bishops used a literalistic understanding when they condemned the gays at Lambeth.
Lambeth condemned birth control and years later rescinded the decision. They're not infallible!
The Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah story is NOT about Sodomy but hospitality.

004 - IV - David writes
The Bishops did NOT condemn homosexuals at Lambeth, they condemned the behavior.
Seven passages in both Old and New Testaments roundly condemn homosexuality.
Sodom story was both about homosexuality and social injustice.
A flood did cover the known earth. That has been attested too scientifically in our time.
The sun did stand still. There is enough scientific evidence to show it did.
Woman was created from man. What's the problem there?
You're probably right. Usury was not accepted in the OT, neither was interest
He made "male and female" not male and male. Homosexuality is contrary to the divine order.

005 - V - John writes
Those famous seven texts are often misinterpreted and mistranslated and misunderstood.
Quentin Chrisp insisted: "Male and female made he me!"
As sure as God created Adam and Eve He created Adam and Steve.
God Really said this stuff? "Do not put on a garment woven with two different kinds of thread."
God really said this stuff? "Do not sow a field of yours with two different kinds of seed."
No scholarly work suggests that our major languages radiate from the area of Babel.
On so many issues of science the bible was flat out wrong.

006 - VI - David writes
Sex is a gift not a right.
Celibacy is a biblical option that Jesus and the disciples recognized and practiced.
Reparative Theray for homosexuals is out there.
Sorry homosexuality is not found in most species.

007 - VII - John writes
The Godhead did not dictate a book to human scribes.
Such an untenable hypothesis fosters hate for gays as a corollary.
The Christian fundamentalist mind-set and the Moslem fundamentalist mind-set are the same.
The mind-set is the same; only the book is different.
For many scientific disciplines we find major contradictions with the bible.
The advocates of "reparative therapy" do not think much of it themselves.
Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity has been rrecently published.
Homosexual behaviors in animals are simply part of a much more expressive continuum.

008 - VIII - John writes
"Christ died for our sins" seems to me to depend on the "Atonement Model"
The Atonement conjecture always bothered me.
It is like God saying: "How high should I set the requirements?" "What percentage do I want to pass."
The losers, I think I will torture with fire forever!
The one who sets the standards has some responsibility for the outcome.

009 - IX - David writes
"Christ died for my sins." Any kid can understand that.
We cannot justify any behavior that is proscribed by Holy Scripture.

010 - X - David writes
The Bishop of East Carolina makes rector of St. Andrew's life a living hell.
C. King Cole is a die hard evangelical.
Bishop Daniel is a trendy, post-modern, revisionist bishop.
Bishop Daniel believes in ordaining active homosexuals.

011 - XI - John writes
The arguments in your article don’t support a thesis of persecution.
The bishop wants to exercise oversights without subversion by a maverick parish.
Rector Cole does not consider himself loyal to the Episcopal Church.
He does see bishops as having ecclesiastical authority over his ministry.

012 - XII - David writes
There is nothing "maverick" in holding onto the ancient truths of the church.
It is the bishop who wishes to change the ground rules for belief.
Nothing has been dug up to contradict Scripture as we have received it.

013 - XIII - John writes
David, I agree, toleration must work all ways in the Episcopal church
Who gets to write that bottom line? The average Protestant would say salvation is through faith!
The average Roman Catholic would say good works are required!
If by chance God prefers the Catholic doctrine does that mean that Protestants will go to hell?
To those like myself, who suspect there is life after death, it follows that Jesus is alive somewhere.
Your phrase "Scripture as we have received it" is interesting; the "look" varied a lot over history.

014 - XIV - John writes
The Episcopal church is shrinking most in the bible belt if you factor in the huge migration to those areas.
Attitudes toward the creeds vary; some say they must remain "a norm of Christian belief."
Others find the essence of faith in a life of discipleship rather than in credal affirmation.
I am comfortable with my fellow Anglicans, regardless of the divergent roads their faith takes them.

015 - XV - David writes
The data is spotty at best on whether liberal or conservative belief has an effect on membership.

016 - XVI - John writes
There are some Christians who speak of the Bible as error free.
Let me detail for you the many errors and contradictions found in The Bible.
To take the Bible seriously, I do not think that you can take it literally.
The Bible is the record of what some people said God said or conjectured God would say.
In what sense is the Bible Authorative? Can it be infallable on the larger issues?

017 - XVII - John writes
David Mills writes an article in Virtuosity and straw dogs liberals.
I rebut his contention that libreals think truth evolves and grows and changes.
I rebut all his contentions.

018 - XVIII - David writes
You make some excellent points John. I wish I had time to explore them all.
I suggest you send them along to David and see what he says.

019 - XIX - Mills writes
I think your objections have fairly obvious answers.
Obvious in a way that doesn't encourage me to pursue the discussion.
Growth requires an unchanging canon.

020 - XX - John writes
An issue of Virtuosity, has an article entitled, "The Puzzle of Life: True Science" by Charles Colson.
He says that An apple falls from a tree exactly the same way, whether in Montana or Mongolia.
Applied to DNA, this means natural forces would produce a rigidly repeating pattern over and over.
He therefore asserts that evolution is impossible.
John very simply shows him how he is mistaken.
The argument to explain the origin of life by natural causes is basically not a complicated one.
These processes are outlined in High School text books.
The big mystery is: How did God organize a world for the emergence and sustenance of life.

021 - XXI - David writes
I simply don't know enough to comment about.
I'm sure you may be right.

022 - XXII - John writes
The APA has removed homosexuality from its lists of mental disorders years ago.
One finds a tradition of same-sex unions, in sections of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.
The English word Sodomy comes from the faulty understanding of the Biblical story of Sodom.

023 - XXIII - John writes
"I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Did Jesus at that time understand his mission to exclude all non-Jews?
How does one who understands the scriptures as inspired see this?

024 - XXIV - John writes
The church has changed in doctrine - she accepts the lending of money for interest.
The church changes - it took only 50 years for the bishops of Lambeth to backpeadle on birth control.
How long will it be before she includes her gays in the full life of the church?

025 - XXV - John writes
Georgia's Southern Baptists voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to expel two churches
Why? Those churches allowed homosexuals to serve as leaders.

026 - XXVI - David writes
They are doing nothing more than Roman Catholics or Orthodox believers would say and do.
The Roman Catholics recently reigned in two Catholic leaders talking on gay issues.
Homosexuality is "disordered" or God has to change his mind rescinding the Genesis option.
For those living in permanent homosexual relationships where monogamy is practiced it's a hard call.

027 - XXVII - John writes
They are doing nothing more than Roman Catholics or Orthodox believers would say and do.
The Roman Catholics recently reigned in two Catholic leaders talking on gay issues.
Having changed extensively over centuries, the RC current set of dogmas are unchanging timeless truths?
Genesis is not a sex manual nor does it cover every conceivable sexual coupling.
It does not cover the orthodox church's service intended for older adults.
The ceremony is primarily for those who wanted to marry after childbearing age.
The historic gay same-sex liturgy is like the second heterosexual marriage ceremony.
Same sex unions have great potential for ‘civilizing gays’ -- to encourage monogamy.

028 - XXVIII - David writes
You make a lot of excellent points.
David has other things on his mind as he has a surgical operation scheduled.

029 - XXIX - John writes
John receives criticisms from the gay community.

030 - XXX - David writes
I think you'll survive the blast.

031 - XXXI - John writes
The ancient biblical authors lived in a society that was both chauvinistic and homophobic.
I suspect that the roots of chauvinism and homophobia are the same.
One looks into scripture to justify long held prejudices.
It looks to me that with the question of female ordination the mind of the church has changed.
With the question of homosexuality we have not yet turned Christ’s whole body around.

032 - XXXII - David writes
Pro-gay bishops in general are not abused.
Several outspoken bishops pour scorn on evangelical and Anglo-Catholic bishops.

033 - XXXIII - John writes
There is a shift from how the word belief is understood and used in the Gospels.
Belief in the Synoptic gospels means acceptance of the soundness of the positions of Jesus.
Belief in John's gospel means acceptance of the personhood of Jesus.
Belief in his positions - what he advocates is supplanted by belief in the person - who he is.
Matthew’s criterion of judgment is not A confession of faith in Christ.
What counts with Matthew is how one has acted with loving care for needy people.
In the great commission instead of personhood he opts for performance, "…teaching them to obey…"

034 - XXXIV - John writes
Inclusivity of gay people in ECUSA has generated a response which seems to point towards schism.
Inclusivity of divorced people caused hardly a ripple in the Anglican world.
Jesus was resoundingly mute on homosexuality but was quite eloquent on divorce.
The problem must be at a deeper level. The proper parallel is circumcision.
Homosexuality raises a deeper issue - a visceral not a theological one.
How can we receive communion next to those people who do nasty things with their privy members?
The kind morality that sets aside certain apparently innocuous objects as clean or unclean has vanished.
That Old Testament morality is not part of the world view of most Episcopalians.
No one abstains from Lobster because they think God abhors the practice.
No churchman avoids cotton polyester shirts because God’s word considers them an abomination.

035 - XXXV - John writes
It is clearly stipulated in the Old Testament that GOD required circumcision of his people.
It is clearly stipulated in the New Testament that GOD said no such thing.

036 - XXXVI - John writes
The bishop considered The Holy Spirit Church separated; they didn't pay dues or participat in meetings.
These people used titles like elder for church personnel they did not want to be Episcopalians.
A group of Biblical purists on their own, unwilling to submit themselves to constitutional authority.

037 - XXXVII - David writes
Certainly the use of the term "elder" is more Presbyterian than Episcopal.
It might have something to do with sexuality.

038 - XXXVIII - John writes
Gays and lesbians want to extend the meaning of marriage to include homosexuals.
Should this not be met with joy by those who fear for the survival of the institution of marriage.
Such an arrangement would increase the numbers in the ranks of the married.
It would provide a platform for the care of throwaway children carelessl procreated and abandoned.
More family units would surely result in a tendency to encourage family values.

039 - XXXIX - Jack writes
I haven't communicated with you in a long while. But I thought I'd second John Morgan's suggestion.
Could extending benefits of marriage to gays and lesbians possibly threaten the family?
Could it threaten the family or American values more than divorce or promiscuity?

040 - XXXX - John writes
General Convention affirmed life-long committed relationships thusly:
They must consist of fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection, respect, and careful, honest communication.
They must exhibit the holy love which enables those - to see in each other the image of God.
General Convention condemned promiscuity exploitation abusiveness in relationships.
The church will provide prayerful support, encouragement and pastoral care.
Those in committed sex relationships meeting these tests are to be supported by their church.

041 - XXXXI - David writes
Once you open the Pandora's box who is to say where and when it will all end.

042 - XXXXII - John writes
The new guardians of the traditional, the AAC, have no quarrel with women priests.
There is no supreme court of biblical interpretation there is no feedback in religion.
No one returns from the grave to tell us if God even prefers Methodists over Moslems.

043 - XXXXIII - David writes
The American Anglican Council approves of the ordination of women as I do.

044 - XXXXIV - John writes
The Episcopal church chose to allow divorce and remarriage contrary to the stipulations of Jesus.
Yet the outcry was minimal!
Jesus said nothing about gay unions; Yet the outcry has been clamorous.
The first break with the letter of the Biblical text should have provoked the most reaction!
The reaction was more visceral than theological.

045 - XXXXV - David writes
As a divorced and remarried person myself I don't give advice in this area.
So many divorces are not simply black and white.
Divorce was a problem as men shucked of their wives if they delivered a bad plate of food.
Homosexuality was not on the radar screen of Jewish teaching or thinking.
It is possible Jesus did address the subject but it was never recorded.

046 - XXXXVI - John writes
"...and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply…." Does he wonder if we will ever stop?
Perhaps Jesus had hoped one day the church would handle the issue of same sex unions.
The Torah contains a plethora of proscriptions that no one pays any attention to.
A kind of clean-unclean morality code that is not found in contemporaneous Episcopalian morality.
A kind of taboo code that makes certain innocuous objects and actions "clean and unclean."
Eating of shell fish was taboo and referred to as an abomination like a man sleeping with another.
I notice for myself that I have a far higher preference for sex than for shell fish.

047 - XXXXVII - John writes
What theology that would come up with "repents of our sin of idolatry to the Episcopal Church?"
I would merely recognize that my religious inclinations would better be served elsewhere.

048 - XXXXVIII - John writes
Forward in Faith is unlikely to hitch its star to the newly formed AMiA
Nor are groups who bolted years ago over female ordination.
Structure mediated by the AAC, the new tradition guardians, would accept women as priests.
I would think the concept of a female traditionalist priest as oxymoronic.

049 - XXXXIX - David writes
The AMiA wants a moratorium on women's ordination for six months to see what happens.
Both AMiA and ACC oppose any acceptance of sex outside of heterosexual marriage.

50 - L - John writes
Up to the 4th century all major Church fathers believed the Father greater than the Son.
The Holy Spirit was mentioned over 50 times in Luke/Acts.
The Trinitarian formula, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is not mentioned once in Luke/Acts.
Most New Testament authors see a father son relationship rather than a coeval one.
It took the church centuries to work out doctrines as, the Trinity, Atonement & Christ's deity.

51 - LI - John writes
Should not the biblical literalist be morally and truly able to justify divorce and remarriage?
"Not everyone can accept this word but only those to whom it has been given"Is this an out?
Matthew sensed that living in a wretched marriage was neither desirable or possible for some.

52 - LII - John writes
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
Must 'raised' mean the physical body of Jesus was resuscitated for a brief interval?
The statement uses the words, 'your faith' and begs the question: Faith in what?
Faith has content or as I frequently say comes in packages.
Paul had no belief about the Trinity.
The theology of Matthew did not seem high on Paul's list.
Matthew said that the sole criterion for everlasting life is how one cared for the poor and needy.
If one were to base his 'faith' on the gospels, one would have to pick and choose.

53 - LIII - David writes
The Biblical authors did not contradict one another.
The resurrection was absolutely necessary for our justification to have taken place.
Resuscitation is out of the question. No resurrection, no salvation.

54 - LIV - John writes
"Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given."
Are these words not a disclaimer by Jesus that divorce may be appropriate for some?

55 - LV - John writes
A survey reports that 21% of Web surfers have looked for spiritual or religious information.
With Virtuosity you have been furnishing your fair share of information.
I have also made some modest contributions at: Primer for Second Semester Divinity Students.

56 - LVI - John writes
The search for unity around purity of doctrine is futile within and and without ECUSA.
Tony Clavier was a bishop in the continuing Anglican movement for over 25 years.
If you think that perfect orthodoxy is solved through schism then listen to him.
The continuing Anglicans disagree about liturgy, the ordination of women, sola scriptura, Tradition.

57 - LVII - John writes
The Church of England could permit divorcees to remarry in church as early as next year.

58 - LVIII - John writes
We want to be separated from the 'ex-gay' label said the director of Courage, United Kingdom.
"None of the people have converted no matter how much effort and prayer theyput into it."
After 14 years with zero success it finally hit him - reparative therapy does not cure.
Exodus International, preaches that being gay is somehow anathema to being Christian.
Jeremy now realizes how damaging that position can be for most people.
He said. "They end up fighting themselves in an internal war."

59 - LIX - David writes
I will concede the difficulty to change. But that applies to more than just homosexuality.
Alcoholics don't cease to be alcoholics, they are recovering alcoholics, but they cannot drink.
The apostle Paul had a category called a "thorn in the flesh," and lived with it.

60 - LX - John writes
Two can play that game!

61 - LXI - John writes
How many subscribers are there to your on line magazine, Virtuosity?
Your list server idtntified 2,146 subscribers.

62 - LXII - David writes
My digest goes to 12 LISTSERVS around the world in its entirety.
Each has several thousands readers. The total is more than 80,000.

63 - LXIII - John writes
Virtuosity reported thousands of ex-gays left the lifestyle through powerful conversion testimonies.
None of the people Courage UK counseled have converted no matter how much effort and prayer.
How do we reconcile these conflicted statements?
Surely Courage would have witnessed at least ONE conversion; their leader insists NOT ONE.

64 - LXIV - David writes
It all depends on who you talk too.
I know of lots of healed homosexuals.

65 - LXV - John writes
Perhaps you might ascertain how "converted" these "healed" homosexuals are.
Do they still have their natural attractions for members of their own sex?
How frequent and passionate is their heterosexual behavior?
Lifelong monogomy does not seem to be in the cards for the best of heterosexuals.
I wonder how successful life long monogomy is for the impaired.
Would you have your daughter marry one of them?
Are these experimentees converted or just bent - to coin a phrase?

66 - LXVI - John writes
The Church has throughout the centuries departed from the faith "once delivered:"
It has departed over slavery, usuary and the meaning of graven images.
It has departed over the Trinity, the taking of oaths, and the meaning of marriage.

67 - LXVII - John writes
The Roman Pontiff uses the moral intimidation of his office to exact forced overpopulation.

68 - LXVIII - John writes
There was a gay man serving as a chalice bearer when a communicant wore latex gloves.
He took the bread and threw it into the chalice making an obscene gesture at the chalice bearer.
Are we suprised he was excommunicated?
That church is a mix of young & old, straight & gay, married & single with lots children.

69 - LXIX - David writes
Stealing intellectual property is an illegal offense.

70 - LXX - John writes
I think of prose or poetry as constituting intellectual property.
If you didn't want to share those email addresses why were they made available?

71 - LXXI - John writes
Is it not hypocritical to oppose homosexual unions when not opposing divorce?
The Presbyterians were wise in their latest decision not to outlaw holy unions of homosexuals.
Re-examinating the arguments about homosexuality leads to increased understanding and support.

72 - LXXII - John writes
Religious Tolerance gives conclusions reached about gays by conservative, mainline, & liberal Christians.
"Scriptural condemnations of homosexuality merely reflect biblical authors' cultural biases."
Conservative Presbyterians say homosexuality not among the essential messages of the gospel.
These Presbyterian conservatives can understand what is culture bound in the Bible.

73 - LXXIII - David writes
Is sexuality merely cultural or is Genesis 1 a statement about creation - male and female.
No conservative or liberal can re-intepret Rom. 1 to make it mean what it does not.

74 - LXXIV - John writes
Genesis is a myth – a creation story. It’s primary purpose was to describe beginnings.
The intent of the narration was not to describe every kind of human coupling.
The authors did not take the opportunity to proscribe gay sexuality.
Homosexuality was not mentioned – "not on their radar screen"
The Eastern Church has a "second marriage ceremony"
It was designed primarily for those beyond child bearing years.
The ceremony uses similar litanies and collects to the ancient liturgies for same-sex unions.

75 - LXXV - John writes
"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections…"
If Paul's theory of the results of Idolatry are correct then:
Most of the tribes surrounding Israel were predominately homosexual.
When the Israelites worshipped the golden calf in the desert did ALL turn homosexual.
Isn't turning one homosexual a most peculiar punishment for idolatry? Really!
How can something existing in the natural world be against nature?
Homosexual behaviors are now well documented in animals.
Are animal behaviors actions against nature?

76 - LXXVI - John writes
Christ Episcopal Church in Accokeek, Maryland is saber rattling.
After a homosexual priest preached and give communion many parishioners were shocked.
Where were they when GC mandated all the dioceses to do a study on human sexuality?
I can’t have the greatest sympathy for their naiveté.
Historically the church has changed in more profound ways than they realize.
A bishop should not want to have a rector in his diocese who has schismatic tendencies.

77 - LXXVII - David writes
Fr. Edwards said he wouldn't remove the parish from the diocese.
His PARISH might choose to remove itself, but Fr. Edwards would not instigate any action.
Sometime bring me up to date on your health

78 - LXXVIII - John writes
John replies to questions of his health.
The handful of biblical passages construed as anti-gay are culture bound promulgations.
It is impossible to embrace scientific findings which have not yet been made.
The assumptions of ones culture are often unconsciously taken for granted.

79 - LXXIX - John writes
Presiding bishop Griswold’s performs well at Kanuga event where the Anglican primates met:
"I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something..."
To Matthew these questions and their resolution ARE the gospel.
Matthew says their implementation will be the sole criterion for judgement.

80 - LXXX - David writes
They are the outworking or fruits of the gospel John.
The core of the gospel is still repentance and faith in Jesus.

81 - LXXXI - John writes
There was a goal, intent, and rationale for the law and the prophets as Jesus explained it:
To encourage love of God and love of neighbor, regardless what benefit might ensue for them.
The synoptic gospels use faith in the sense of trust.
The author of John elevates ‘faith’ to an acceptance of the ‘personhood’ of Jesus.
John seems to be saying that the importance of the gospel is about who Jesus might be.
Rather than what insight he might reveal – his person over his teachings.
Sorry Fred! No admittance here! You thought the great one was Abraham.
Sorry Chan! No admittance here! You thought the great one was Kai Chek.
Bob, quit trembling in your boots, you were lucky to have the right parents. You chose Jesus!

82 - LXXXII - John writes
Sins for the most part are against ones neighbor.
God may be indirectly offended but the directly injured party is usually one’s neighbor.
While God might be offended, the neighbor is the one who feels the pain.
Perhaps the first response should to see about getting the neighbor a new shirt.
And later how the sinner can improve his seating in the next world.

83 - LXXXIII - David writes
Forgiveness should be both horizontal and vertical.

84 - LXXXIV - John writes

"God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and he is going to destroy you and a lot of others."
The story of Sodom is a story with surreal overtones.
A city where all the men spend their evenings raping strangers, is indeed an evil place.
"But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."
The obvious moral to extract is that it is a kindness to offer shelter to strangers.

85 - LXXXV - John writes
Same sex union is merely an extension of the ideal for couples for whom marriage is impossible.
Even in transient affairs, homosexuality does not result in the creation of unwanted children.
Regeneration therapy is not the answer for the vast majority of homosexuals!
Jeremy Marks said in his 14 years of counseling in the ex-gay movement there were NO cures.
How one cares for ones neighbor with loving care and concern is at the heart of the gospel.

86 - LXXXVI - John writes
All unions should share very similar liturgical and ceremonial patterns.
But there are differences; Perhaps we should have:
Sacramental marriage for the heteros.
Rite of blessing for the gays.

87 - LXXXVII - John writes
At one time Anglicans were a broad inclusive tent.
No one returns from the halls of eternity to advise if God prefers Moslems over Methodists.
Yet dissidents in the church are no longer content.
They don't want the larger issues of theology to be decided by the mind of the church.
They think that they alone have been given all the answers. Such Arrogaance!
They search for their own version of doctrinal purity and demand everyone else folow.
There has been a traditionalist female priest [oxymoron] refusing communion from her bishop.

88 - LXXXVIII - John writes
The search for the perfect Orthodoxy is futile.
There is a sobering and stabilizing factor in our common rites and liturgy.
The answers are not to be found in a never ending pursuit for purity of doctrine.
The answers for Episcopalians are to be found in our common worship, our collective discernment.
The answers for Episcopalians are in our pursuing together in love the yearnings of Jesus.

89 - LXXXIX - John writes
Some in our church make a kind of idol out of scripture itself.
The tradition of Anglicanism is to live with ambiguity.
To broadly define our beliefs as we each, in community, journey into our creator.
Our ancient texts should be a source of insight and example.
They should not be a weapon we use against our fellow Christians.

90 - XC - John writes
Danson wants to hear all voices. [including those he is not comfortable hearing]
Paddock does not want to hear all voices. [especially those she is not comfortable hearing]

91 - XCI - John writes
Christ Church, Accokeek, called Rev. Samuel Lee Edwards to be their clergyman.
Bishop Suffragan Jane Dixon of the Diocese of Washington worries about schism.
Edwards is a former executive director of the organization Forward in Faith/North America.
He has said some nasty things about the mother church. [ECUSA}
He has written editorials in the FIF/NA magazine, calling the Episcopal church The Unchurch.
He has urged clergy and congregations to "sever their connections" with ECUSA.
What sane, loyal bishop would want him moving into his/her diocese and causing trouble?

92 - XCII - John writes
Episcopalians are committed to worship - Anglican tradition that binds them in Christian community.
Creative ferment and vitality characterizes Episcopal life in local congregations.
Profound tensions are impacting life and relationship among congregations and judicatories.
Episcopalians successfully embrace diversity and changes in the life of their congregations.

93 - XCIII - John writes
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife....
Nothing is said about thy neighbour's husband!.
Most denominations, when printing this commandment, have redacted it making it gender neutral.
The book of Samuel has an explicit biblical model appropriate to the homosexually orientated.
Jonathan my brother your love for me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women.

94 - XCIV - David writes
I never cease to be amazed at your thoroughness John.

95 - XCV - John writes
Edwards should not be allowed to lead the parish of Christ Church, Accokeek as rector.
But it is counterproductive for the life and harmony of the church that the controversy continue.

96 - XCVI - John writes
The 'faith once delivered’ is confused with the set of ideas inherited from ones grandfather.
The church goes far, far back in time. There have been substantial changes over the centuries.
Do revisionist bishops say that Jesus is not the only way to the Father?
Pope John Paul II spoke against the notion of salvation exclusively through Christ.

97 - XCVII - John writes
Bishop Iker argues standards in one diocese should be the same in all dioceses.
Should this not be true for the acceptance of women priests?
There are couples in the Church who are living in other life-long committed relationships.
General convention resolved that they be given pastoral support.

98 - XCVIII - David writes
Iker meant doctrinal not pastoral.
It might be worth exploring further.

99 - XCIX - John writes
So far, in the battle for the mind of the church, traditionalist tactics have been:
To whine to foreign bishops & to disrupt congregations and to subvert churches.
To demand separate jurisdiction & refuse usual and customary visitations by their bishops
To self abrogate hundreds of years of jurisdictional geographical rules.

100 - C - John writes
Griswold reports very few congregations have asked for alternate episcopal ministry.
The Archbishop of Canterbury was outraged at scheduled schismatic ordinations.
He was probably more sympathetic with his adversaries on most of the divisive issues.

101 - CI - David writes
Virtuosity exists to keep people informed about the worldwide Anglican Communion.

102 - CII - John writes
The Presiding Bishop and the Archbishop of Canterbury show exasperation with the latest schism.
My Gospel Comparison Chart shows even evangelists didn't see eye to eye on all major issues.
And there is that tug between Catholic and Protestant about the essential requirements for salvation.
The bible is a rather complex and at times obscure and contradictory book.
There is no feedback; no one returns from the grave to correct mankinds idea of God's will.
Some say God is outraged with Organs in church because they were not noted in the bible.
Should I judge the ECUSA schismatics by what they believe or by what they do.
By their interpretation of scripture or how faithfully they carry out their ordination vows?

103 - CIII - David writes
Oh John you make so many points, some valid, always interesting. But always require unpacking.
There has always been a core of doctrine uncontested but worked out in the first 3 centuries.
Women's ordination is not central to the Faith.
Sexuality is fixed and has never deviated from man/woman.
Polygamy was always frowned upon.
Getting along with people is not the core of truth. Truth is always at the core.

104 - CIV - John writes
We both believe in absolute truth; we don't necessarily agree in all the particulars.
We put God as #1, find him appropriate of worship and awe and we try to be obedient to him.
The Bible represents the reflections of those in the western world who reached for God.
I find more a structure for moral striving rather than the final repository of revealed truth.
The two laws of Jesus resonate in me as eternal truths.
While I don't completely understand it I consider the Eucharistic feast beyond mere symbolic.
I realize there was a core of doctrine formed in the first three centuries.
It remained uncontested because of the tendency to toss out opponents, on their ears.
Only two places in Scripture are all 3 Trinity names are found together in one verse.
Biblical translation is intrinsically an act of interpretation.

105 - CV - David writes
Keep reading my on line digest, Virtuosity.

106 - CVI - John writes
A church which has ordained and lavished rich opportunities should expect institutional loyalty.

107 - CVII - David writes
But loyalty to who, whom?

108 - CVIII - John writes
I am willing to grant that loyalty to God takes precedence over organizational loyalty.
If one bases their loyalties on scripture there is no certitude in which to be secure.
The biblical authors are men - humans who sometimes assert erroneous values.
Like for the relationships between the circumference and diameter of a circle.
Like Matthew who made an incorrect reference to the author of scripture in a passage quoted.
But somehow these schismatics claim better insight into theology than their religious peers.
Building a church around "purity of doctrine" is an elusive goal.
That is the usual excuse for quitting one church to found another.
Gee - you would think that by now there would be one group out there who got it right.

109 - CIX - John writes
There is an insightful article entitled "Homosexuals in The Church" by Nathaniel Brown.
Anyone who wants to understand how it feels to be gay in our times, should read his Essay.
It is often insightful to be able to see the world walking in someone elses shoes.
His full article can be found at: Joy Anyway.

110 - CX - John writes
Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster could allow the blessing of same sex unions.
He won enough votes [twice] in the General Synod to do this in is New Westminster Diocese.
He chose not to in order to accomodate the traditional in his diocese who were not ready.
He apologized to gay and lesbian Anglicans for how slowly the church is moving on their behalf.

111 - CXI - David writes
He said he didn't get a clear mandate.

112 - CXII - John writes
Some of our orthodox brethren hold that Hitler is in heaven if they take doctrine seriously.
The Westminster Confession says "..they can never fall from the state of justification.."
Little Adolph was the model Roman Catholic when he was a kid - an altar boy.
I wonder if God takes that doctrine as seriously as some.

113 - CXIII - John writes
The RC Church considers use of a condom a far greater evil than having sex outside of marriage.
Don't have sex outside of marriage but if you do don't use a condom. Is this crazy?
How do RC unmarried girls get pregnant? They reason: If I carry a condom, I am a slut.
But if I just happen to have sex in a moment of passion, I can still be a good Catholic girl.
Dogma got frozen at a time before condoms and the pill.
Do they have a spot in hell for those who advocate the forced overpopulation of our planet?

114 - CXIV - David writes
Genital mutilation is not connected to AIDS.
It is a vile practice which Christians are trying to stop.
Sex is only to permitted within heterosexual marriage.
Condoms are a pragmatic solution and often unworkable.

115 - CXV - John writes
If one intends to have sexual relations without benefit of matrimony, which is a greater evil:
That someone is having an illicit pleasure? Or...
The lack of care and nurture of a potential infant that might ensue?
Current sexual doctrine was written when scientific knowledge of sex was scant.
As Jesus said: Man was not made for the Sabbath; The Sabbath was made for man.

116 - CXVI - John writes
African Roman Catholic bishops recently condemned the use of condoms.
That position is also sustained by the vast majority of African Anglican bishops as well.
Africa is having a huge problem with AIDS.
In the U.S. the use of condoms has been of great use in preventing the spread of AIDS.
Which is more important the doctrine or the human? The theological or the pragmatic?
What did Jesus say: Man was not made for the Sabbath; The Sabbath was made for man.

117 - CXVII - John writes
The Accokeek story from the viewpoint of their senior Warden.

118 - CXVIII - David writes
Those figures are totally inaccurate.
What you are getting is the liberal spin.

119 - CXIX - John writes
More on Accokeek.

120 - CXX - John writes
A former novice friar said a fellow Brother repeatedly sodomized him for almost a year.
In perspective: His past heterosexual relationships never worked out.
He had formerly been raped at a military academy.
He was a 37 year old single male when he had this sex with another male for a year.
There is also no surprise that someone might smell money in this soap opera.
There is no surprise that the church might want to keep the incident quiet.

121 - CXXI - John writes
It is regrettable he did not at age 35 say NO to a temptation he thought was morally wrong.
It is more regrettable after a year of homosexual experience he chose to rat on his accomplice.
It is even more more regrettable that he waited 6 months before he chose to rat.
I suspect his troubles with depression and his pills went back long before joining the monastery.

122 - CXXII - David writes
James was raped in military academy between the ages of 8 and 12.
He entered the novitiate taking a vow of "obedience."
He was never tempted. He was mindf----d, abused and tossed out.
There is not one good thing ever to come out of sodomy. It is a behavior of sin and death.

123 - CXXIII - John writes
James carefully chose a monastery where he thought the brothers would have no gay overtones.
After the experience of rape at an early age he submit to what he thought to be a great evil.
we are not talking about a child.
We are talking about a middle aged man, who had experience with an act he abhorred.
His whole upbringing had convinced him that gay sex was wrong.
He ascertained to his satisfaction that the institution was free of gay inclination.
When he was tempted he failed the test not ONCE but over and over.
He then waited six months before he ratted on his brother.

124 - CXXIV - John writes
A novice friar is seduced into homosexual behavior while taking vows.
When he complains he gets tossed out and told to fend for himself.
These are the allegations of Virtuosity; The facts are:
The novice was 35 years old.
He had been raped as a child.
He tried to avoid a gay-friendly monastery in his selection process.
He came from a family with members of the cloth.
He adamantly believed gay behavior was wrong.
Yet he then engaged in frequent and repeated homosexual behavior for a year.
It then took him 6 months to decide to rat on his accomplice.
He got money as a result of his disclosures.
Old testament injunction against homosexual activity is found among the mixing of threads verses.
The not touching pigskin verses; the not eating shellfish verses.
If God is perceived showing abhorrence for mixed threads then churchmen would act differently.
Why would the modern Christian show up in church on Sunday morning wearing a cotton-polyester shirt.
Do you show your love for your best friend by doing what he abhors in his home?
Of course not; today's Christian thinks God said no such thing about mixing threads.
If one does not believe God forbade mixing then why think he forbade gay sex?
If one does not believe he said the one, why believe he said the other?
Why not just admit that everything in scripture was not cast in stone [pun intended] by GOD.

125 - CXXV - John writes
David criticizes presiding bishop Frank Griswold’s approach to pluriformity in Christendom.
But right in the gospels we see a pluriformity of views among the evangelists.
I have a greater confidence in the view of Jesus as expostulated by Mark than the synoptics.
Mark tells, what I call, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
He shows us a Jesus who sometimes fails in his endeavors and calls his disciples dense.
Jesus was portrayed as someone who expected to see a fig tree bear fruit out of season.
Mark says Jesus got mad at the tree and cursed it when it didn’t.
Mark’s Jesus sometimes does no mighty work because he can’t not because he chooses not to.
Plurality of understanding has been with us since the beginning of Christianity.

126 - CXXVI - John writes
Please accept a prayer, which I have composed, for use in the devotional of Virtuosity.
Assist us mercifully, O Lord, towards the attainment of a true and just peace.
Let all in authority find the courage to state openly that:
Kicking people out of their houses for racist reasons is immoral.
We are a good people Lord; help us through knowledge to overcome arrogance & blindness of heart.

127 - CXXVII - John writes
The Anglican Mission In America Responded criticized American Anglican Council criticisms
There is a limit, with the guardians of the traditional, in tolerating what the AMiA wants.

129 - CXXIX - David writes
I will be writing about this shortly in Virtuosity.

130 - CXXX - John writes
We both agree that Paul in the New Testament made some anti—gay statements.
His unnatural conjecture is disputed by what we now know of the animal kingdom.
His conjecture that homosexuality is caused by idolatry did not meet the test of time.
Liturgy in the gay churches, seems rather orthodox - no fatted calves sacrificed to Baal.

131 - CXXXI - John writes
We must ask the question: "Why do they hate us?"
We must ask the culture out of which the terrorists have risen that very question.
The hatred of Israel and America's support for a Zionist State will also be major factors.
Is our fear of asking this question, in reality, the third rail of politics?
If we do not face these questions will terrorism NOT continue unabated?
The terrorists have the most extreme reasons for hating us.
Some of these are the loathings found in right wing religious fanaticism.
They can be as silly as the fact that we allow our women to expose their ankles.
Nevertheless these extremists take clues from their society at large being extensions of it.
The vast Arabian people hate us because of creation of a state in the middle of their land.

132 - CXXXII - David writes
We must certainly face the hatred.
The how and with what is the question.

133 - CXXXIII - John writes
I sent a note to Pat Robertson:
I was watching the 700 club when I saw your massive Christian prayer shield.
Evidenced by the thousands of pin heads on the map, that you have erected across the USA.
We know that the American Christian tends to pray mostly for an hour on Sunday.
Moslems pray five times a day every day.
Do you suppose we might combine the two prayer shields.
After all, in the prayer shield war, their shield might be larger and more potent than ours.

134 - CXXXIV - David writes
David will be writing more about the Trade Center Terrorism & Christian Devotion following it.

135 - CXXXV - John writes
David's comments about the president of Integrity are reacted to by the gay community.

136 - CXXXVI - David writes
The comment on Integitry's president was emotionally inspired.
It is wrong to proscribe evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics from becoming the next Washington bishop.

137 - CXXXVII - John writes
One can be an Anglo-Catholic and approve of women priests at the same time.
The Church of Saint Luke in the Fields, in New York City, is a living example.
They were among the 1st to embrace Anglo-Catholic liturgy and ordination of women clergy.

138 - CXXXVIII - David writes
I am finding more traditional Episcopalian/Anglicans who are NOT opposed to women's ordination.

139 - CXXXIX - John writes
Results of a very large scale survey reveal trends in ECUSA over the past 10 years:
For those 65 and older we are growing MUCH faster than the population.
Among women we are growing faster than the population.
We are losing significant ground in the male population.
We are losing VERY BADLY in the aged 18-30 set.

140 - CXXXX - David writes
Thanks John for this as well.

141 - CXXXXI - John writes
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,
The Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 1:31
What is it that bothers me so much about such verses in John?
They seem to contradict other verses in scripture:
Belief is held as ultimate in John; yet has no intrinsic capacity for selecting absolute truth.
These verses in John carry a sinister corollary.
They tie God’s hands in that they reduce his options to a questionable and capricious formula.
These verses make a virtue out of the concept of belief.
The conditions for avoiding condemnation are not available to all.
John’s contention requires a validation that he does not deliver.
The church must regard the standard of belief expressed in these verses as incomplete.
Uncritical belief can sew the seeds of fanaticism.
The implication is that God created some to be condemned.

142 - CXXXXII - John writes
The very reverend Dr. Peter Moore, dean and president of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry.
He wrote an essay in Virtuosity why he thinks homosexuality to be evil.
John rebuts him point by point in an extensively long email.

143 - CXXXXIII - John writes
A church of Ireland rector does not believe in Christmas or that Jesus was the Son of God.
He received many messages of support, from both laity and clergy in the Church of England.
He challenges the heart of the Gospel, but sees room for diversity in all religions.
He has said he will consider challenging his suspension from clerical duties.
I think reverend Furlong holds a position similar to the Evangelist Mark.
Mark was more of a reporter and biographer than an advocate for a cause.
His view of Jesus is more human than that of Luke or Matthew.
You might say Mark depicts a Jesus with warts.

144 - CXXXXIV - John writes
I was a Roman Catholic and attended a good cross section of Parochial schools.
I never met a priest, brother, or nun who was not a wholesome model of the image of Christ.
There was never even the appearance of sexual impropriety. The education was first rate.
The theology had a rather severe bent.
The old Baltimore Catechism assured us that all sexual sins of desire were mortal.
Easter Sunday, on national television, I was also startled to hear an announcement by Roman Catholic prelates.
They said research indicates that one-third to one-half of Catholic Priests are homosexual by orientation.
They said that an estimated 4% of Pedophile priests were mostly interested in boys.
In the general population Pedophiles are more interested in little girls.
Actually 2/3 of that 4% are not "Phedophiles" because their encounters are with those past puberty.
In an institution that considers homosexuality such an evil, bishops have done the unthinkable.
The "sex offenders" have been relocated to where they have comparable temptations and opportunities.

145 - CXXXXV - David writes
You are right about Phelps.
The Roman Catholics concealed and hid pedophile priests.
Homosexuality and Pedophilia have little connection.

146 - CXXXXVI - John writes
A 37 year old man consents he is not homosexually abused.
The Old Testament should have talked about custodianship not dominance of our planet.
The author of Psalms looked for his reward in this life not beyond the grave.

147 - CXXXXVII - John writes
There were two creation stories; each stressed a different reason for the creation of women.
Genesis one stressed procreation.
Genesis two stressed companionship
These each mirror the emphasis of the two heterosexual marriage ceremonies in the Orthodox Church.
The companionship goals of the second Orthodox marriage ceremony share purposes with same-sex unions.

148 - CXXXXVIII - David writes
God gave Eve to Adam primarily for companionship.
The sexual matrix of male and female is also the issue.
Male to male would have been viewed as an aberration.
The Israelites never accepted or proposed it and it was forbidden behavior.

149 - CXXXXIX - John writes
Gay understandings did not come to holy writ; there was no constituency to articulate a viewpoint.
Can you imagine Leland saying: "Mom, I've got this beautiful boy...
Old Testament morality was taboo based; that of Jesus was rational.
The Christian church rejected most of the holiness code; homosexuality remained problematic.
The Church has had pockets of gay support in her same sex union ceremonies.
Episcopalian woman reject Paul's conjecture about women covering their hair while in church.
Can't a few other changes be made as well.

150 - CL - John writes
Early American Episcopal church tried dropping Nicene & Athanasian creeds.
Reverend Moyer refuses to let his bishop confirm - looks for confrontation.
Bishop of Kansas seeks ways to implement General Convention Resolution.
Anglican bishops restrain desire to push doctrinal interpretations on others.

151 - CLI - John writes
Bishop Iker writes another letter of alarm and dismay.
Bishop of Kansas authorizes blessing of same sex unions.
Both dioceses belong to Province VII.
Fort Worth diocese will not attend Province VII synod.
Bishop of Kansas would chair and must be punished.
John comments on Bishop Iker's letter.

152 - CLII - John writes
A group of "Orthodox" bishops write Kansas Bishop.
John thinks his letter to Bishop Smalley is an improvement.

153 - CLIII - David writes
Many of the "Orthodox" bishops were retired.

154 - CLIV - John writes
Father Moyer should have been censured not defrocked.
Father Moyer would not permit his bishop to confirm .
A priest with such a stance is asking for trouble.

155 - CLV - David writes
There should be more humility on both sides.
Bennison is an apostate bishop.
Why should they follow Bennison.

156 - CLVI - John writes
Priests don't have the luxury to choose the bishop.
A young priest should not be insubordinate.
Perhaps he can start a church of his own.

157 - CLVII - David writes
Bennison has NOT upheld discipline and doctrine.
No one should have to follow an apostate bishop.

158 - CLVIII - John writes
Bennison is not an Apostate.
Dogma changes.
No one hears sermons about evils of birth control these days.
Always been some sort of controversy about creeds.
Nicene and Athanasian creeds removed from first prayerbook.
Trinity was only mentioned once in Scripture.
It took years for the "doctrine" of the Trinity to emerge.

159 - CLXI - John writes
Bishop didn't interfere with Moyer's priestly functions.
Father Moyer should have permitted his bishop to confirm.
Father Moyer was grandstanding.

160 - CLX - David writes
Had the bishop confirmed basic doctrines,
Moyer would have let him come.

161 - CLXI - John writes
David speaks of battle for the life and soul of The Church.
John argues should be no battle; Christianity is not a war.
Peter Moore is Dean/President of Trinity Episcopal School.
He writes again on homosexuality.
John rebuts his paper in great and exhausting detail.

162 - CLXII - David writes
David says: John you make a thoughtful rebuttal.
David wishes he had more time to comment.

163 - CLXIII - John writes
Episcopal women no longer cover their hair in church.
Women read selections from the bible from the pulpit.
The church rejects those admonitions of Paul in Scripture.
What other conjectures of Paul are not authoritative.

164 - CLXIV - John writes
John sends Christmas gift to David.

165 - CLXV - David writes
David sends Christmas gift to John.

166 - CLXVI - John writes
American Family Association releases Barna survey.
Americans rank prostitues above Evangelicals.
Americans rank homosexuals above Evangelicals.

167 - CLXVII- David writes
Dean Paul Zahl et al. write "open theological letter."
General Convention has no authority to authorize same-sex unions.
Episcopalians should not leave the church over this issue.
Unconstitutional acts do not void our vows of obedience.
Together and in submission we will find transformation in Christ.

168 - CLXVIII - John writes
John satirizes and rebuts the article.
General Convention has authority to authorize same-sex unions.
Justice is more important than unity.
Paul coins new word about gay sexuality.
Biblical translators try to figure out what it might mean.
New Archbishop of Canterbury reads Paul without preconceptions.
Paul really says heterosexuals should not try gay sexual acts.

John S. Morgan's email address.

David Virtue also has a website and authors a digest known as VIRTUOSITY which is available over the internet. He may be contacted through e-mail at DVIRTUE236@aol.com.

To view an outstanding source that outlines in a very structured an formal manner some of the issues David and I have touched casually on in our exchanges see: THE BIBLE AND HOMOSEXUALITY