January 7, 2010

Thought for 1.7.10

If the Church is to err (as err it does) I had much rather see us err in being over-tolerant rather than in being over-scrupulous. This seems to me to be entirely more Christ-like -- the tolerance, not the error!

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


Erika Baker said...

But if it is to be tolerance, let it be genuine tolerance and not the awful kind of "just make sure I don't officially know about it" duplicity Bishop Graham Kings is advocating over on Thinking Anglicans.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Oh, yes. Absolutely... I just posted an additional thought in that thread -- that this need not be duplicity but optimistic pragmatism: taking the worst at its best.

What I advocate is saying, "We could be wrong, but it seems to us that faithful, stable, same-sex partnerships mirror the same virtues as similar mixed-sex marriages. If we are mistaken, God will make that clear in time (and hasn't made it clear to date)." The kakangelists seem to be saying either "Don't ask, don't tell" or more consistently, "No, all same-sex relationships are equally wrong, from the rent-boy and his client to the 'faithful' couple 'married' for 30 years." (This latter seems to me to be a form of moral blindness, by the way -- and inability to see the moral relevance of quality as well as gender.)

IT said...

Which would be the greater wrong: to be over inclusive, or over exclusive?

Put another way, is it worse to allow too many people in, or to keep the wrong people out?

It's a different version ofo the question of death penalty advocates; how many wrongful executions is too many, even if the price is that the guilty sometimes go free?

Paul (A.) said...

Selective moral blindness of the type you identify may well be related to the concept of "Matthew Harrison Brady Syndrome" as presented by James Downard here (in the context of creationists not seeing evolution science).

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

IT, it seems to me Jesus gave very pointed advice on the matter!

Paul, I'd never heard of MHBS, but it is a good descriptor... at least for those who have seen Inherit the Wind! I think it must connect with the larger philosophical mindsets of idealism and realism -- that some people just can't accept what is as what is without some underlying "cause." Or that a horse can be a horse without "horseness" being an external reality that exists apart from all instances of horse, as opposed to a conceptual shorthand in the mind. Jesus also had pointed words about the blindness of those who refuse to see, and those who claim to see...

KJ said...

Prior to my stumbling into the Land Episcopal, my partner and I were attending a large UMC church, where I had assumed matters regarding human sexuality were long since resolved.

I assumed wrong.

So, after about a year of our attendance there, the music director/organist came out (What???), throwing the church into a time of discernment.

The pastor, himself undecided on the topic at that time, gave a wonderful sermon on "coming out" Sunday (The pastor's wife plopped her son down next to me and my partner, which should have been my clue that this wasn't going to be a regular Sunday.). In his conclusion, Tobias, he said much the same thing as your thought. "There is not too much grace in this world, but too little." I have a written transcript of that sermon somewhere, written truly from a place of love by one who was genuinely confused.

June Butler said...

Kinda, sorta echoing IT, I've said more than once to my friends on the "other side" of the question of including all the baptized in full ministry, "I may be wrong, but I'd rather err on the side of inclusivity than exclusivity".

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks for that story.

I'm reminded of the parable of the generous employer. The only people who saw him as ungenerous were the ones who thought they'd "earned" more. As one who has gained far more blessing than I've earned, it is not for me to parse it out in dribs and drabs to others! Let it flow like a mighty torrent!!