Monday, October 06, 2003

Spongy thinking

Another result of googling for news on JPII: this piece from Australia, discussing some recent comments by Retired US Episcopalian bishop John Shelby Spong. Noting the offense Spong took at remarks made by John Paul II about difficulties in the path to Christian unity caused by the Episcopalian election of an openly-gay bishop, the piece quotes Spong: "Truth has to trump unity at all times."

Absolutely, Bp. Spong! For once, the man is right! Too bad he's right for the wrong reasons... he goes on to say, "I'm not interested in being a member of a homophobic church, and if the price of unity with the Bishop of Rome is that we have to begin to treat women as second class citizens and reject our homosexual brothers and sisters, I'm simply not interested in that unity."

Translation: if others do not bow to my infallible intepretation of the amorphous will of the genderless, apersonal deity, forget about them.

Thanks again for the reminder, Bp. Spong.


FiatLux said...

Your statement is not a translation but an inference... and from my clear vantage point, a very poor one at that. It would appear you have drawn conclusions based upon your personal beliefs and opinions for the "translation" in no way approximates what was actually said by Bishop Spong.

I am an Episcopalian but not a supporter of the retired Bishop, and would welcome as well his retirement from the limelight; however, as often as I disagree with Spong, he is clearly a man of integrity and displays a deep abiding love for all. To directly state he would "forget about" or dismiss another is disingenuous at best and arguably libelous.

Though I am often at odds with Bishop Spong, I find in this case he has made a pretty compelling argument. One based upon his experience and personal belief - and one you have failed to counter or for that matter even address. You just made a spurious statement regarding what you perceive his intent was behind his remarks (and I doubt even you actually believe it).

Thus, if by "Spongy thinking" you mean porous, then that might be an adequate metaphor to describe the thought process behind your post.

Chris Burgwald said...

Thanks for stopping by, FL.

You're right: if one is trying to be precise, then I made an inference, not a translation. I wasn't using it in the precise sense, though, but rather in the rhetorical sense in which it is often employed. FWIW.

Regardless, based on some of the works of Bp. Spong I've read in the past, I think it's accurate to say that his understanding of God is that S/He is apersonal and genderless; he was basically making this argument in the 70's. As to the rest of my inference, his comments as quoted above seem to indicate that he simply has no interest in unity with those who disagree with him on the matter of same sex unions. So how is my inference invalid? Is saying that he is not interested in that unity *that* different from saying "forget about them"? I'm not sure that it is.

Nor has Bp. Spong made any argument; in that he simply asserts (or strongly implies) that the Catholic Church treats women as second class citizens and rejects those with same sex attraction. As you surely know, an assertion isn't necessarily an argument. Why is the burden on me to produce an argument in response to a bald assertion? Certainly, I might do so, but I am under no obligation to do so. Now, if you -- unlike Bp. Spong -- are interested in discussing the Catholic Church's position on this matters, I'm happy to do so. But it appears that Bp. Spong has no such willingness, and the tone of my post was, I feel, an appropriate response to his own approach. But let me reiterate: I'm happy to be more conversational with you, if you're interested.

Again, thanks for stopping by; I hope we might continue.