Letter: Do more research on gays-in-church issue
Op-Ed · August 08, 2007

Having read your Soapbox Philosophy column in the Aug. 2 issue, may I suggest that next time you choose a topic you do a wee bit of research first?

As a child I worshipped in the Lutheran tradition and became a United Methodist upon my marriage. I currently worship with United Methodist and Episcopal congregations.

Since you admit to not having viewed the film you cite in your piece, and neither have I, that means neither of us is qualified to comment on it.

However, I am qualified to take issue with your comments regarding Bishop Robinson, homosexuality, the Bible, Christianity, and rules.

1) Bishop Robinson was elected to serve the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire after having served its people for over 28 years. He made no power play for this position as you insinuated, but was called to serve after prayerful consideration and discernment by the people. I would suggest that you might like to begin your research on this subject by reading a statement by the then presiding primate of the Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Frank Griswold at this website address:

2) God apparently created me to be a heterosexual. Yet that same God created some of my family members to be homosexual. I have come to know many wonderful people who happen to be members of the gay/lesbian community. Many of these folks I happen to worship with at New Song Episcopal Church in Coralville. This congregation is small but mighty in mutual ministry. This congregation boasts a wonderful mix of ages, genders, colors, teachers, lawyers, musicians, artists, writers, actors, chefs, etc.

Please accept an invitation to join us and get acquainted. We celebrate the Eucharist (Communion) nearly every Sunday and the table is an open table which means all are welcome to partake.

3) Your comments on the Bible, religion, and homosexuality are a bit tangled. There are numerous passages, about 8 or so, that are often cited in the current debate over homosexuality and the Church. I do not have space here to lift up the arguments put forth in this debate. However, in order for you to gain some more knowledge on this topic I would suggest that you seek out this book: Jesus, The Bible and Homosexuality, Explode the Myths, Heal the Church, by Jack Rogers, a minister, teacher and Moderator of the 213th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. The current debate over homosexuality is very reminiscent of the debate which occurred over one hundred years ago over slavery. Rogers’ book is an exploration of Biblical scholars’ differing interpretations of Scripture on this topic.

4) As for your comments on rules in the Church, I suggest that you open up your New Testament again. Upon a careful reading, you will see that Jesus was the ultimate Rule Breaker. In fact, he greatly angered the established religious powerful. Do you not remember the angered response Jesus received from the Pharisees in the following stories — money changers in the Temple, (John 2: 13-22), the Samaritan woman at the well, (John 4 1-26), and Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath, (Matthew 12:9-14)?

You seem to feel that strict adherence to a set of rules is a desirable attribute for leadership in the church. May I remind you that the greatest “rule” of all is: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength, and all your mind and Love your neighbor as you love yourself (Luke 10:27). A healthy church usually finds its leadership with the help of the Holy Spirit rather than seeking out those who follow a strict set of rules.

Ellyn Paulus

West Branch

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