A Modern Iliad
As a warm-up to The Whole Message conference in Ottawa 13-14 April 2007, Bishop Michael Ingham spoke at a service at St. John the Evangelist church in Ottawa on 7 March 2007. I was there Ė though hardly to welcome him. Michael Ingham it was who in 1998 precipitated the whole sorry mess that the Anglican Church finds itself in by authorizing the first Anglican blessings of same-sex unions in Canada in New Westminster Diocese.
The previous weekend I had enjoyed the teaching, preaching and company of Bishop Don Harvey, Moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada, who strides beside our errant Canadian church like a veritable Achilles. In the final showdown Achilles will surely vanquish Hector again, as in that time past, for he has divine assistance, though this time not from Zeus. See DH's visit.
I havenít attended a service before where the congregation was significantly homosexual. It was interesting to look around and see if I knew people. A few I did. It was also strange Ė I canít easily describe it. Certainly it was not uplifting or Holy Spirit-filled, to my sensors, though there were other spirits lurking. A refuge of sorts. As I entered, Linda Fisher-Privitera (the goddess Athena?) was leading the opening liturgy, in her capacity as chaplain to Integrity Ottawa. Then Dr. Patricia Bays welcomed Hector on behalf the Diocese of Ottawa with a warmth that was chilling. Contrast this with the lack of any Diocesan acknowledgement when Achilles had come to town preaching the Gospel.
Garth Bulmer, rector at St. Johnís and author of the infamous sanctity amendment at Synod 2 June 2004 (ref) welcomed Hector to the lectern. Garth takes the alter-ego of Priam, king of Troy in this analog, and like Priam he has his good points. His pastoral care for the unaccepted in our society is born from genuine love. Same as me in a way: I have a number of pedophiles and rapists for whom I am their only friend. They are all behind bars with noone visiting.
Hectorís talk was entitled Sex and Spirituality, or Sex and the Church Ė one or the other Ė and began with his memories as a teenager of being disgusted by Hindu sexual representations in India ŗ la Karma Sutra displayed within a temple. However, as he matured, he began to see that it was not Hindus who were out to lunch but Christianity for totally failing to celebrate such joys as a cornerstone of the faith, and instead tyrannizing future generations with unhealthy repression towards sexual expression in all its variety. He really should check out Malachi 2.
We then heard how the legacy of patriarchy handed down from the Greeks (he should know) had poisoned menís souls, keeping women out of the running for anything, and influencing the Bible writers to exclude women from any serious role in society. Funny; I always thought it was God who influenced the Bible. This kind of plays down the significance of Helen; she who launched 1000 ships. Patriarchy exists today (he felt) in such matters as inequality of the sexes in church leadership. According to one of the questioners later, it explains why only one woman was in the running for Bishop of Ottawa, for which we should soundly blame men.
Hector believes that marriage was instituted for the sensuous (my additional word, but apt) joy of relationship, not procreation and certainly not limited to one man one woman. How could we have ever been so deluded by Genesis 2? He couldnít imagine where Moses & Co. might have got the idea that the male body fitted into the female body, or that that was part of The Designerís plan which we really ought to accept rather than thinking we knew better, in the search for Karma and orgasm (my additional words, but apt).
Hector didnít explain why he had originally vetoed SSB in his Diocese before being persuaded that he liked it. Or why he thought that everyone else should have a change of heart just like he did.
There was a point of agreement between Hector and Achilles. That is the need for clarity coming out of the Canadian Synod in June. A fudge will please almost no-one. Achilles has seen too many of his good Danaans opting to leave Greece and joining other armies because of the failure of the high priests to follow Zeusís clearly laid out laws. Better to slice a clean cut than a compromise. Keep the faith.
I wonder if Priam will visit the HQ of Achilles one day to negotiate the return of his masterís effects.
Report of Bp. Inghamís talk in the Globe: here