Thursday, 3 May 2007

which direction from here? East Africa Yearly Meeting epistle

bollard party
Originally uploaded by jez s.
East Africa Yearly Meeting epistle is on page 3 of Epistles and Testimonies.

One of the reasons that I struggled with my Christian faith when I attended evangelical churches in the 1990s was the ultra-conservative attitudes. So I was disappointed but not surprised to read from East Africa Yearly Meeting (page 3 of the Epistles and Testimonies book):

...Apart from statutory business of the Conference, time was allowed for presentations and discussions on some areas of importance to the church and our day to day lifestyle, including stress management, poverty eradication and the introduction of Gay Culture among others.

The latter 'Gay' was condemned wholesomely since it does not come to us as an error made by God. God created man and out of him. He made a woman for man and it was good and without error.

Gay is contrary to the scriptures and nature. Even the tiniest crawling creatures observe strictly God's command and formation of nature Mark 10:7-9.

This Yearly Meeting shall not team up with any group that proclaims this immoral conduct.

...continues to end.

It would be easy for me to dismiss this, but these are my Quaker brothers and sisters who are saying and writing this.

It makes me uncomfortable to read this, to see this, but it is the view and belief of many thousands of evangelical Christians in East Africa and other places (for example, it is my recollection that when Licia Kuenning had her leading from God of his coming on 6/6/6 in Farmington, US, she believed that gay people would be 'cured' of their sexuality and become heterosexual).

I don't have a conclusion to this, I'm just saying that it makes me uncomfortable. I have long known that there must be many Quakers around the world with this view, whether outside Britain or, for that matter, within.



kathz said...

East Africa YM's epistle is entirely against my sense of truth. I have been helped in my spiritual understanding by gay people, Quakers among them. Some have struggled with their sexuality and have become more thoroughly spiritual by accepting their sexuality as a gift. I have also been helped at times by evangelical Christians.

I do not believe that any individual human or any human group has full understanding of truth. If we work together from our different perspectives, we may receive a fuller understanding of what truth is.

There is so much hatred in the world that it is folly to condemn love, because it is not expressed as we might express it. Let us condemn cruelty, violence and injustice - but not love and its expression.

I tried to write a few thoughts on gay sexuality and Christianity on my blog on 27th April. It's hard to express it rightly. None of us achieves perfect love.

foxie said...

I can completely understand how some might struggle with homosexuality in general and what they perceive as unhealthy behaviors in the community (these are not my views, but I know some that have them), but what gets me most is the last sentence of the epistle:

This Yearly Meeting shall not team up with any group that proclaims this immoral conduct.

I'm not really sure, given this, how it would be possible for Britain Yearly Meeting to continue correspondence with them, given BYM's stance on equality. It seems to be completely contrary to not only the equality testimony, but also the Quaker openness to new truth. By closing the door so firmly, it seems they're not only doing themselves harm, but also the wider Quaker community.

It would be very interesting to hear how other more "weighty" quakers than I interprete such an epistle. Is it a rather passive agressive way of saying that they no long want to associate with a wider body of quakers who *do* remain open to the light of all individuals? Extremely troubling to say the least.

(and I've really been enjoying the blog lately - thank you for keeping it!)