I found Jessica’s post on the Anglican conference to be very fair, and to make the salient points.
I also thought Francis encapsulated my views exceptionally well when she said this:
One should always apologise if one’s behaviour towards others is uncharitable. But this is different from, pointing out, in truth as well as love, that we all sin (including in the sexual sphere) and that this sin separates us from God. What is problematic today is that you can’t state this in public without being called “homophobic”. One might coin the word “Christophobic” to describe people who can’t bear the toughness of the Christian faith and hate those who try to live it. We are all called to sexual restraint outside marriage between a man and a woman. This can be very hard – but part of being a Christian is “carrying one’s cross”. Today, the “Cross” is a scandal to our hedonistic society that refuses to allow any restraint on any kind of sexual behaviour. Sadly this has infected the Anglican Church in the West – but not in Africa where the bulk of Anglicans live.
Very true, and very well stated.
But as I read through the comments, something else struck me. Our churches have come very close to condoning all of the sexual sins, homosexuality, yes; but also adultery, fornication, and occasionally lately paedophilia as well. And always abortion. But there is more than sex concerned here.
All of these sins (and most are either, or lately were, crimes, as well) have one thing in common. Like strongarm robbery, they are crimes of the strong against the weak. To Francis’ point on the differences between Christianity, one needs to look no further than last New Years Eve in Germany, for the difference between Christianity and Islam, and how our secular governments cower before Islam. And that is something we are increasingly seeing as the tide of Christianity rolls back in the west. The protection for the weakest amongst us is leaving with it.
That shouldn’t surprise anybody, really. The protection of the individual (and the organic family) is a key feature of Christianity, based on Judaism. All other systems have elevated the ‘collective’ over the individual. Only in Christian Western Europe and places it has reached in the world, like North America, has the individual been exalted over the group. Remember, in Christianity, many may believe but we are judged, and saved, individually.
This is the centerpiece of our faith, He came down from heaven to save us, each of us, an individual sinner, not the nation, or the tribe, or the congregation, but me. The protection of the weak against the strong, and we can tie that back into our secular history just as easily. What else is King Arthur, the Once and Future King, but the end of the rule of ‘Might is Right’. And that is the entire thrust of Anglo-American legal history as well. The protection of the individual citizen against the all powerful, and uncaring state, whether King, Parliament, President, or Congress, the objective law is the weak individual’s bulwark against the state. All the way from King Alfred the Great, through Magna Charta, and the Cousin’s Wars to the 15th Amendment to the US Constitution, and beyond.
And that is what I see in where many of our churches are going, and undoing, not only of the Faith, as it has always been taught, everywhere, but and undoing of the very rights that we believe God himself gave to us, in favor of bullies and slavemasters.