Re: Don't change canon, says commission (Feb. 2015, p.1). Somehow the world did not end in 2005 when the Canadian government made it the law of the land that same-sex couples could marry and have all the rights and protection of marriage afforded heterosexual couples. We were only one of four countries in the world that truly recognized equal protection under the law for any citizen or resident to marry the person of his/her choice. We are a country that prides itself on our diversity and liberal social policies.
Ten years later, the Anglican Church of Canada keeps tiptoeing around the issue and hiding under the skirt of the worldwide Anglican Communion with the excuse that the Communion—not the Anglican Church of Canada—should decide if the marriage canon should allow same-sex marriages. I'm sure there is high concern that allowing gays or lesbians to marry would divide the church within Canada, as did the issue of ordaining women in the U.S.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do not believe Christ checked in with the Pharisees or Pontius Pilate to see if his actions would upset the status quo. I'm fairly certain he did not get their encouragement or approval to continue with his ministry. I believe all of Christ's teachings can be boiled down to his golden rule: treat each other as we would wish to be treated. Withholding the right of the sanctity of marriage from the gay and lesbian members of our church is in direct conflict to that teaching. The church needs to practice what it preaches and offer the blessings of the sacrament of marriage to all who seek it, regardless of whose prejudices and sensibilities they may offend.
Since the Supreme Court made it illegal to discriminate against the gay community, the Anglican church has managed to do absolutely nothing. Lots of hot air but no action.
I am now watching for the actions or lack of actions of the Anglican church to the decision of the Supreme Court for a person to end their life if they so wish.
Dithering appears to be your soul’s aim while hoping the political climate will change. It should be pointed out that the majority of the justices of the Supreme Court were appointed by Stephen Harper, a person of the Anglican church’s political persuasion.
Take a look around: the dwindling numbers of Anglican church members may be a reflection of the lack of leadership in the Anglican church. Just for the record, demanding money from individual churches is not leadership.
I am writing as a Christian with a M.Div and who served eight years in Africa as a missionary. It is of great concern that those who are working for the Journal are so shallow in their faith to not know what is the true faith and what is not.
I am not even talking about discerning a complicated issue like same- sex marriage. In fact, we cannot possibly get that right because confusion seems to exist among Journal staff as to what being a Christian is.
There is an ad in the Journal for Taoist Tai Chi Arts. Is the Journal now promoting a different gospel?
A simple Internet search would give concern in accepting this ad. If the difference between Taoism and belief in Christ is too difficult to understand, then there is no hope to understand our differences with Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and even full religious differences with other [faiths] like Buddhism or Islam.
From Wikipedia, although I do not recommend Wikipedia as an
authority on anything, it just illustrates the shallowness of Journal
thought: “The term Tao means ‘way,’ ‘path’ or ‘principle,’ and can also be found in Chinese philosophies and religions other than Taoism. In Taoism, however, Tao denotes something that is both the source of, and the force behind, everything that exists.”
Sinologists Isabelle Robinet and Livia Kohn agree that "Taoism has never been a unified religion, and has constantly consisted of a combination of teachings based on a variety of original revelations."
And that revelation is not of Jesus Christ; the force in Taoism is not God as Christians know Him. Tao cannot be redefined to include our God unless we make our God something else.
Tai Chi is an attempt to mould an impersonal life force of the individual to an impersonal force of the universe. While a more difficult concept to grasp, it should be clear to anyone with even a little of Christian spirituality that this would be contrary to the Holy Spirit, as it involves the emptying of oneself instead of filling oneself with the Holy Spirit.
The Tai Chi and Taoist “spirit” is not the Holy Spirit—anyone with the
Holy Spirit would know this, unless they are so totally uneducated in
our faith or so spiritually shallow not to.
The Journal saddens me. Don’t be angry at my words; find out if what I say is wrong. Otherwise, you are simply tossed by the winds of the day.
The ongoing struggle around the church acknowledging the marriage of same-sex couples is disheartening, to say the least.
A strength of the Anglican church historically has been its ability to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in local dioceses. It would be really sad to compromise this strength in regard to the marriage canon.
The fact is, our society has moved on; it has already acknowledged the reality that gay, straight and transgendered people are equally able to make lifetime commitments in marriage, regardless of what the church has to say.
To hold this up any longer is just to make the church increasingly irrelevant in normal mainstream society, when church-people, clergy and laity alike struggle daily to present the gospel in a way that makes it relevant in the day-to-day lives of people. In our baptismal covenant, we promise to respect the dignity of everyone and strive for justice among all people. Please don't force us to compromise these promises any longer.
There are so many other issues that the church needs to deal with, like climate change, euthanasia, environmental degradation and the widening gap between rich and poor. It is long past time to move on.
The Rev. Cathy Miller
Re: Don’t change canon, says commission (Feb. 2015, p. 1). It never fails to amuse me that the amount of time wasted about proposed changes to Canon 21 is usually directly proportional to ridiculous rainbow flag waving self-perceived injustices in Canadian society today.
Of course Canon 21 should remain untouched by the bleating of gay/lesbian clergy and laity, and other adherents of ex-Bishop John Spong of the Episcopal branch.
Should this particular canon be changed, they might as well just close the doors and reopen (after some tasteful redecorating, of course) and re-dub the Anglican Church of Canada to “The church of what’s happening now.”
Heck, even Elton John has been overheard as saying that “all” religions should be banned.
It makes much more sense to leave Canon 21 alone, and for the Anglican Church of Canada to quit wasting so much valuable time trying to fit a round peg into a square hole, or vice versa.
D. Gordon McKillop
Mathew Zachariah’s excellent letter, No eucharists alike (Feb. 2015, p. 5) speaks of the faithful, “looking at words in the Book of Alternative Services eucharistic prayer they already know by heart.” Thereby, missing the visual when the priest lifts up the bread and wine. What a shame more congregants do not watch the great significance of this part of the Holy Communion, and the holy mystery that is happening. Perhaps it is time for presiders to invite their congregants to look up toward the altar. Also, there could be more use of the tradition of sanctus bells to alert all people of the blessed moment at the altar.
Terry J. Love
Re: Anti-Zionism doesn’t mean anti-Semitism [Letters, Jan. 2015, p. 5]. The destruction in Gaza was not “wanton,” but carefully targeted to minimize civilian losses, most of which were caused by Hamas to gain world sympathy. What was “disproportionate” was the number of men of military age listed among civilian deaths. It has been established under international law that the Israeli settlements are not illegal, and the comments about “Washington's unconditional support” and “another apartheid state” are equally absurd.
Does it not make sense to install checkpoints to deter suicide bombers, as we do at airports, and a wall, which reduced Jewish casualties by 92 per cent? It is well to bear in mind that the Gaza Strip was given to the Palestinians, at great cost to Israel in human and economic terms, in hopes of establishing a friendly neighbour. What came instead was an incessant barrage of rockets and a network of terror tunnels, financed by corporations and nations (and yes, even churchmen) unable to distinguish between aggressor and victim.
Rather than following the suggested example, I propose we take seriously God's words in Gen. 12:2–3, and do our best to bring them about.
Re: Don’t change canon, says commission (Anglican Journal, Feb. 2015, p.1). So the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) does not want the Anglican Church of Canada to change its marriage canon because of the intense distress it would cause the Communion and the damage it might do to its ecumenical relationships? To approach the decision from this angle is confounding to me. This is either the right thing to do or it is not, and if doing what is right causes people distress, well, so be it.
There are clearly too many people who have never read Pierre Berton’s book, The Comfortable Pew, which casts a critical eye at the Anglican church as a religious institution. It was written in 1965 and sadly, almost all his valid criticisms apply today.
We seem to be focused on maintaining our institution instead of leading the lives we were called to lead. When Jesus asks the Samaritan woman at the well for a drink of water, when he turns the tables in the temple, when he breaks bread with the tax collectors, he does not concern himself that his actions will cause people distress. It is people’s discomfort, in fact, that gets them thinking, and opens their eyes.
We are talking about the officiating of a ceremony between two consenting adults who want to commit their lives to one another in love and before the community and God. This is something to be celebrated. This is something to be welcomed. This is the right thing to do.
North Vancouver, B.C.
As conscientious Canadians, we must respond to the very real threat to the continued existence of the CBC and our democracy coming from members within the Harper Conservative Party. We must use words to protect the voice of the CBC from being silenced. It is truly our strongest partner in the public domain advocating for the common good and the way of life we defend, not only as Canadians but even more so as Christians.
We must speak out loud and clear, and directly to those Conservative Party members who are calling for the defunding and dismantling of the CBC and to Stephen Harper whom we hold responsible for this wilful injustice as leader of the Conservative Party now in power. Our response is called active non-violent resistance and we must act now.
Let us wake up to the insightful words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “Without God, we cannot (but) Without us, God will not.”
In our hearts, we know that real prayer is compassionate action in support of suffering and marginalized people in an increasingly controlled and exploited society. Does this not mean that we as Christians should not at least advocate for, vote for and support the unique, enlightened and Isn’t that what Jesus, as well as Gandhi and other committed non-violent resistors, would have us do in the ongoing struggle for distributive justice in our world today? They died standing up to and speaking up to empire. And they succeeded in making an amazing difference in our understanding of what it means to be human and treat others humanely today.
As followers of Jesus of Nazareth, we have chiefly been called by him to be active participants in non-violent resistance to empire in the here and now. How can we as Christians “do unto others as we would have them do unto us” if the voices of the marginalized, oppressed and suffering people cannot be heard? I personally give thanks everyday for what I hear on CBC Radio, our advocate par excellence for social justice in today’s world.
Let us hope our faith leaders will follow our active secular humanists and encourage us, as Christians, to speak up for our partner in serious jeopardy with a much stronger voice and with a vote for restored funding of the CBC (see www.friends.ca).
Heather Joy Brinkman
Stoney Creek, Ont.
I've just put down the March 2015 issue of the Anglican Journal. I cannot remember a previous edition that has contained so much "good stuff."
The editorial was well written, informative and inspirational. The articles were all interesting and, I think, valuable to Canadian Anglicans.
That cover photo of Michael Peers and Fred Hiltz taken by the editor was the cream on the cake. Thank you.
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