Friday, April 07, 2006

"Watch Brokeback Mountain"

... also in this week's Word, John Allen quotes bits of Fr. Timothy Radcliffe's talk at the LA Congress. Fr. Radcliffe is the former Master General of the Order of Preachers (The Domincans):
On the subject of the church and homosexuality, Radcliffe called for the church to "stand with" gay people.

"We must accompany them as they discern what this means, letting our images be stretched open," he said. "This means watching 'Brokeback Mountain,' reading gay novels, living with our gay friends and listening with them as they listen to the Lord."

Even when we feel that gay people are moving in the wrong direction, he said, we must "walk with them."

Radcliffe, an Englishman, later addressed what he called the "ideological divisions in the church in the United States," saying they struck him as deeper "than anywhere else in the world."

"We are not a sign of God's freedom until we can dare to belong to each other across every theological boundary," Radcliffe said, drawing sustained applause from the crowd in the Anaheim arena.
Though it sounds nice, I'm really not sure what "belong to each other across every theological boundary" actually means. And just what is "our images stretched open?" As to compassion and walking with, yes, absolutely. Most of the time its dismissive snarkiness, condemnation or just plain ol' silence with an unspoken wish, "just disappear please."

However, perhaps the ideological divisions in the US Church are deeper because, well, people believe things passionately, and are, therefore, willing to fight for what they believe? Granted, everyone needs huge doses of humility and charity in these debates. But maybe, just maybe, this is a sign of the vibrancy of the faith? I know that sound weird -- we're supposed to be united in the faith, after all. But there are boundaries, there are incontestables and givens. Not that these are the only things the ideological divisions are about ... but somehow, if there are fewer deep divisions in the Church in England, say, it could be because there is more charity there, and more unity. Or maybe, the faith is just, well, dead?

Ok, that was snarky.

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