Love as Suicide: The Role of Enablers in the Episcopal Church
Copyright 2003 by William Meisheid (8-05-03)
The English word love carries such broad and imprecise meanings that it
can almost be massaged into whatever you want it to be. Fortunately, for us,
God's Word is not so indistinct. The three Greek and two Hebrew words
translated love in the Bible are specific in their meanings. But the
vagueness of the English language is only half our problem. Contrary to its
obvious emotional power, love, as an emotion, is not meant to rule our
decision-making, only inform it.
Paul makes that explicitly clear in Philippians 1:9-11 where he says "And
this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge
and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent,
in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been
filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to
the glory and praise of God.
It could not be much clearer: knowledge and discernment, sincere and
blameless, filled with the fruit of righteousness. Love, though called to
grow to great heights has specific limits. It is fire contained within a
hearth, not set free to burn anything in its path.
In the current crisis over homosexuality in the Episcopal church words of
"love" and accusations of being "unloving" get thrown around like
projectiles from a cluster bomb, indiscriminately attacking anything within
reach. If you stand for knowledge and discernment, striving for
righteousness, you are unloving, since to do so means rejecting the
homosexual agenda. Over and over we hear that the only loving and acceptable thing is
embracing those who are "different".
It is a no win situation in our current climate of political correctness.
Acquiesce or be labeled. There are a lot of labels to go around: homophobic,
unloving, cruel, unjust, narrow-minded, bigoted, and of course the dreaded
"conservative" or the even worse "right wing". Don't appeal to scripture,
especially to Paul in Galatians 1:6-9 "Evidently some people are throwing
you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even
if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the
one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already
said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than
what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”
Heaven forbid we should ever suggest eternal condemnation might await
those changing the established rules of the faith. After all, was not Paul a
closet homosexual who became vindictive in his frustration at being unable
to express himself? Ha! What if he was just right and true? What if God
really meant what he said through Paul? One thing I do know, when emotions
rule rather than just empower we have a firestorm waiting to happen.
The extravagances of the 60's and 70's taught us hard lessons about tough
love, love that was surprisingly guided by knowledge and discernment, not
enablement. It appears we have forgotten those hard lessons. Instead, the
Episcopal Church has become one of the chief enablers of what God has always
called wrong, even abominable if you want to accurate. It has brought fluffy
thinking and emotional mushiness into the sanctuary as a replacement for
true theology. Sin no longer exists. Not quite true, one sin still exists,
the sin of making someone uncomfortable, more commonly called intolerance, and all this discussion of sin,
tough love, righteousness, and other historic biblical concepts makes people
uncomfortable and labels anyone holding these positions as intolerant.
As a result, I think it is not for naught that Jesus asked in Luke 18 "...when the Son of Man
comes, will he find faith on the earth?" It appears "the faith
once-delivered unto the saints" is indeed hard to find in the Episcopal