Friday, September 10, 2010

Cheap cross

Cheap cross, cheap cross! Buy now …

It was towards the end of Thursday during the passion week and here a man was selling his last stock of palm crosses to the faithful Christians, with time running out and the stock still high , the man chose to drop the price, oblivious that that very evening the church and Christians were remembering how high the price of their salvation was and now they are called to follow in the foot steps of others who faced rejection and were ostracized and lived like aliens in the world in hope of life in the world to come. Through this, world was has had Christ proclaimed in all the world.

Even though our stand on human sexuality is well documented and clearly articulated we have not escaped the tag of being ‘the church that condones homosexuality’ a fact that has soiled us on both fronts: in the world wide communion [where we opposed it] and locally [where we are tagged to it].One can be forgiven to think that the real occupation of the Anglican Church has been the issue of human sexuality in general and homosexual …specifically owing to the frequency with which we have held discussion, the passion with which we have defended our position, the influence and weight with which we have tried to convince on our position and now it has billed that the final schism of the communion will spring from here.

To this day the official Anglican position on Sexuality is the Lambeth Resolution 10.1: Of all the four themes put forward at Lambeth 1998 the question of human sexuality emerged top and of the 63 page resolution[1] none has been quoted and discussed like this, to the extent that the Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan singled this as the main problem. He reasoned that:
“The ordination of a practicing homosexual as a Bishop in the USA and the blessing of same sex relationships in Canada might not have had the repercussions they have had, if the Lambeth Conference in 1998 had not had such an acrimonious debate about sexuality.”

This position can obscure the implications these two acts had on our understanding and practice of missions.

One of the most telling parts of the 1998 Lambeth sexuality debate was during discussion of the amendment (Resolution V.35) proposed from the West Africa Region which stated ‘homosexuality is a sin which could only be adopted by the church if it wanted to commit evangelical suicide’. In response, Bishop Roskam of New York said, ‘If affirming homosexuality is evangelical suicide in [Africa], to condemn it is evangelical suicide in my region.’

What was clear in this exchange was the difference in understanding of missions and evangelism and how we practice in different contexts in the communion and therefore create different meaning to either.

The debate here will be lost if we begin and carry this argument in cultures, unless sufficient bridges are erected to enable us cross the gulfs of cultural assumptions. Besides, this [culture] is not good enough too to determine the gospel content, rather than how we ought to communicate. Being diverse, cultures often polarize our perspective and understanding of issues. I must hasten to add that we cannot ignore cultures either since God did not shout from the blear blue sky a culture free message, his word was revealed in cultures and we are reading it in different cultures today, calling on all of us to study and correctly interpret the message of scriptures.

Our argument on missions therefore, must begin with Christ whose mission we are an extension of, and on whose behalf we are called to carry it out.

We may not know what is in the mind of our Lord, but that the scriptures tell us of this we are able through the revealed word chart our direction.

His words lend us what he thought on mission: ‘As the Father send me so send I you… (john 20:21)’ gives the contours of how we must understand and practice mission in the pattern he himself was sent.

As he was in the world –to proclaim the love and judgment of the father to a sinful world, lost and rebellious creation, to heal, care and give his life in holy and consecrated service for the sake of the Father’s love- so we are sent by him. We too, if we are willing to do God’s will, will know what he requires of us. As a famous Ghanaian theologian says, we may not claim him and at the same time make his meaning and example obscure. The problem will show up when we too want to please our selves at the same time please him, while really unwilling to surrender our selves and wills, our so called personal freedoms, to him.

I suggest that we turn to scriptures to settle this, since this would be the surest way to know what is in the mind of our Lord I have chosen these three passages to help us in the study missions in Christ way.., and to help me in this I seek to use three passages talking on Missions.

. Mathew 28:18-20 this is a well known passage often known as the Great Commission, here our Lord laying on the apostles the task of discipling the nations. The task is discipling of things that make people into nations or communities. The shared processes of thinking, shared and common attitudes, world-views, perspectives, languages cultural habits of thoughts, social and political behavior and economic practices- all those things and the lives of the people in whom those things find expressions are meant to be with the call to discipleship. This implies that the great commission is not about numbers, nor about statistics, important as those are, nor about percentages of national populations that confess the Christian faith, valuable as those are. The Great commission is about conversion, the conversion of things that make people into nations, in effect the conversions of cultures. And conversion is not the overlay upon the old habits, attitudes and rebellious wills, of some regulations, requirements and solutions that do not answer to these realities. Rather, conversion is turning to Christ all that we are and bring all that we are into discipleship to him.

The second text is Acts 2:5-12, which describes the events of the Day of Pentecost. This l take to be the launch of the process of discipling of the nations that is laid out in Mathew 28. Pentecost in Acts was the counter to Babel in Genesis 11. Babel symbolizes the separation and parting among the nations and peoples, entrenchment of differences into virtual hostility. Genesis 11:4 indicates the abuse of a global language and a global culture in the goal of making a name for oneself, seeking a global reach and therefore, hegemony and world dominion, rather than seeking the glory of God.

Pentecost on the contrary is where the reconciliation of the nations is achieved and that only in Christ and for Christ. This is actualized through the Holy Spirit and leading to the glory of God.

how amazing that we all hear in our own languages the great things God has done’ (Acts 2:11). Pentecost was not the dissolution of cultural diversities, rather it was the divine demonstration that different cultures can and do have one and the same Lord and savior and therefore are under same discipleship. For the part of the miracle of the Holy Spirit was enhanced communication among crowds of people who spoke different languages. God who has no linguistic favorites determined that this purpose should be achieved through different languages. Pentecost is thus the demonstration that the Gospel is about all of us, speaks to all of us, summoning us all to repentance and faith; that the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ is and can become Father to us all. And therefore we do ourselves incalculable harm if we should willfully refuse to heed to what God says, speaking our language.

The third text is Revelation 7:9-12, describing the crowd that no one could number, drawn from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and singing the same song, in their different languages. Mathew laid out the true dimensions of missions, and Acts launched the process of missions, then Revelation 7 shows the end and the goal of mission. For here in the light of the end of all things, mission is not about the salvation of only part of our human existence but much more. The goal of all missions is our total redemption, the cleansing of all our social and cultural forms of life and expression so that they come to express praise, adoration and our total consecration to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Here then is the true end of discipling of the nations.

Mission seen from this light or point of view, as deep mission, is clearly more demanding than we may perhaps assume and it calls for resources far beyond what we tend to allow for in our normal priorities. Mission requires commitment and levels of sacrifices in time, disciplined spirituality, intellectual vocation, and often long term engagement with persons and communities .- levels of sacrifice and discipline that few of us probably are prepared or willing to make. Yet the truth remains: can we be engaged meaningfully in the discipling of nations unless we are also, like the first apostles, disciples of our Lord?

The passion of the debate over human sexuality is rooted in a common desire for service to God’s mission according to the authors of True Union in the Body?

We need to note at the very beginning of that work:

The call to bless same-sex unions arises because some (mainly in the West) believe this is an appropriate and loving response to people who seek the Church’s support, and so should be an important feature of the Church’s pastoral practice and a vital part of the Church’s contemporary mission. Many, however, see it as a major challenge to the Church’s identity, potentially overturning her traditional understanding of scriptural teaching about human sexuality and faithful Christian discipleship. Especially in the non-West there is the added fear that it effectively undermines the Church s mission in their context and denies the gospel.

Ian T. Douglas and Michael Poon

Our context:

Islam sees this as an outright sin:

Human beings are capable of many forms of sexual expression, orientation and identification. The existence of such a variety again is not found in any other species and thus further demonstrates our uniqueness among God's creations. The potential for behavior, such as homosexuality, does not mean that its practice is lawful in the eyes of God. Therefore, individuals are expected to control themselves and not act on their desires if such action is contrary to the guidelines of Islam. Homosexuality, like other forms of sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage, is thus prohibited. In any discussion of prohibited acts follows the question of what happens if they nevertheless occur. The Qur'an and hadith are explicit regarding severe punishment by the State if a person is convicted of such a crime. However, in order for conviction to take place, the individuals must confess or be accused by at least four eyewitnesses of the act of actual intercourse. Obviously, the likelihood of these criteria being met is small which means that most couples who engage in unlawful acts will not be punished by the State. They will then deal with the consequences of their behavior in this life and will be accountable to God on the Day of Judgment. How He ultimately judges is known only by Him. [ 1996, Muslim Public Affairs Council]

Our African community sees this as anathema we are left with no where to turn.

Eg. the treatment of those who support gay movement here has been inhumane and appalling. Even though there are no laws enacted against them the atmosphere is so charged against them actively practicing.


Where does the missionary get his authority to preach; from the Gospel which is the scriptures [ OT. pointing to Jesus Luke 24, and the accounts of the gospel telling of his works and words , and the NT acc. Also affirming the witness of those who believed

In the New Testament the teaching of Jesus as a whole is about caring for the outcast as a test of righteousness and in his own ministry he dealt with those on the margins.

There is a bias in the New Testament to inclusivity and those who have been excluded by others because of their sex, race, health or religion. Jesus’ inclusive community consisted of women, children and those outside the cultic regulations - Gentiles. His ministry was one of hospitality and generosity to all whom he met.

It could be argued that gay and lesbian people are the marginalized people of our age, because according to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement many refuse to attend any place of worship because they feel they are not accepted and welcomed.

Ecusa’s report to the Anglican Consultative Council at Nottingham in 2005 spoke of gay people being portrayed as perverted, promiscuous, sinful and untouchable by many Christians. Gay people have been personally rejected, socially ostracized, subjected to intense discrimination, violence and even death. They have seen the rejection of their sexuality as a rejection of them as persons. (American Report ‘To Set our Hope on Christ’ p28).

The source of this thinking is in the teaching that Gentiles, regarded as impure and second-class as compared to Jews according to the Holiness Code, is put aside in favor of the view of a God who accepts impure people. In other words the ritual and purity laws of the Old Testament are seen as purely temporary and cultural and are set aside. Christianity becomes an inclusive community welcoming those not normally welcomed into the household of faith.

The Cornelius story as those regarded as unclean accepted, has been pushed as a model for accepting the gay people for God accepts them for who they are.

Christ invitation was into His Kingdom and being born again the shift and transformation of life was key for entry he accepts Nicodemus but lays condition for entry by water and blood. And when one is in the Kingdom it is seen and known by their fruit of new lifestyle.

Even though Abp. Rowan William at Nottingham, there is no sign by which you can tell in and of yourself that you are acceptable to God. There is nothing about you that guarantees love, salvation, healing. But there is everything about God in Jesus Christ that assures you and so if you want to know where your certainty lies, look to God, not to yourself”

It is Paul in Galatians and several others that bring the moral teaching of life in the Spirit

The Kenyan thinking is that there is need to embrace Homosexuals but help them enter the kingdom of the transformed where they are not the center around which the scriptures are to be interpreted and church be formed [deifying love for HS] but we both face God to be made more like him Christ is the basis of our ethics and morality.

Our in ability to invite them in will reflect also on our in-ability to love and welcome those of other faith.


We are at a junction of Christian History:

A great body of disciples is emerging in the South America and Africa. It may be for them to show the way for human kind as they walk fully in the yoke with Jesus. But they will never do this or even solve the problems of their peoples, if they take the spiritual attainments of the Western church as the height of Christian possibility. In the first world countries Christianity simply do not advance very far into the health and strength of Christ. Psychological counselors frequently find little difference between the basic attitudes, actions and afflictions of their unbelieving clients and the believers with whom they deal. …Dallas Willard in The spirit of the disciplines – understanding how God changes lives [ san Francisco: HarperCollins, 1988, rep. 1991]

Rev. Francis Omondi

Anglican Church of Kenya

1. [1] “It commends to the Church the sub-section report on human sexuality;

2. In view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;

3. Recognizes that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;

4. While rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialization and commercialization of sex;

5. Cannot advise the legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions;

6. Requests the Primates and the ACC to establish a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion and to share statements and resources among us;

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