3/21/2010 ~ St. John's Episcopal, Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C.
This Sunday I visited St. John's Episcopal Church in D.C.
I happened to be in the Capitol for the Anti-Obama Health Care Rally (Photos elsewhere on the site) and took the opportunity to attend Sunday Services at the so-called "Church of the Presidents" in Lafayette Square, just across from The White House.
While it has numbered many Presidents in its congregation (see the links above for the church web-site and an historical commentary) ~ sadly, Barack Hussein, despite his years of apparent Christianity and immersion in "Rev. Wright Liberation Theology", does not appear to be one of them.
The exterior of the church is overwhelmed by the gigantic blocks of adjacent concrete buildings and there was a bunch of trash at the base of the outdoor sign. But I was originally thrilled by the classical interior with literally yards of stained glass, carved wood panels, cushioned pews with individual cushioned kneelers (even in my Catholic youth we only had cushioned communal kneelers), multiple Hymnal boards, overhanging interior balconies, a formal Altar and a gigantic central chandelier under a skylight!
Additionally, the service was incredibly "High-Church" (reminded me of formal Roman Catholicism absent nothing but the Latin Mass itself!). It was definitely an "AH-men environment and the "Sign Of The Cross" (again, well remembered from my Catholic days, but not seen outside an R.C. Church to date on my Pilgrimage) was de-rigueur. In fact the service featured clergy and acolytes in vestments, a processional with a large cross, and about the best choir with soloist I've heard to date!
All the prayers were traditional as were the multiple hymns; and communion was taken kneeling at the elevated Altar, as bread and wine, from RECTOR, The Rev. Dr. Luis LeÓn himself, who was all decked out in his Black & White vestments. The congregation was the best dressed I'd seen to date and they all smiled and shook my hand at the rather subdued "Greeting" period. I was just getting into the sense of "History" - both liturgical and National - engendered by this "Blast from the past" when the Sermon spoiled it all ... Basically it was a pro homosexual-marriage (or as they call it "Gay Marriage") accolade, constituting sinful error on the part of the Reverend LeÓn. It was bad enough that he subscribed to this apostasy himself; but in preaching it to those in his care, from the pulpit itself, he is clearly guilty of grave error.
I had momentarily forgotten the Episcopalian/Anglican relationship (and their pro Sex-Abomination stance) when I directed the cab to this church instead of Catholic, St. Patrick's, in deference to the Pope's & Catholicism's recent "Pedophilia"/Homosexuality debacle. And when I heard Rev. LeÓn say that his congregation was affiliated with the "Nigerian Church," I thought that was a guarantee of fidelity to Biblical Principles. But alas, read my summary of the sermon below for confirmation of this travesty.
At this point I feel impelled to define my understanding and opinion of the matter: Homosexuality & Lesbianism are absolutely condemned by the Bible. Moreover they are against Nature and antithetical to the survival of the human race - ie., threaten God's People. Such actions and thoughts are sinful. The predilection for this behavior is NOT inherited. It is predicated on complex factors including nurturance and personal choice. (Therefore, those reared in such an environment are at high risk of developing the problem).
I absolutely do not believe that we should invade another person's bedroom nor investigate their sexual practices. Whatever these perverts do among, and to, themselves is their own private business. But society should not reward nor encourage their deviant behavior; especially not by granting such groups "Protected" minority status nor authorizing & enforcing for them spurious "Marriage" rights which merely demean the status of valid marriage vows between a man and woman. Moreover we absolutely must not allow homosexual couples to rear and pervert the next generation of children!
We must condemn "Gay" Rights for the Secular Humanist, Progressive Fraud that it is, and not be silenced in our criticisms by spurious, politically-inspired charges of "Hate Speech". Instead we, as Christians, are obliged to fight this sin and marginalize those - especially the deviant "Churches" - that promote such notions & lifestyles to the detriment of our culture.
Anyhow, read my summary of Rector LeÓn's sermon below:
The Rev. LeÓn preached on "CONTINUING REVELATION."
His sermon referenced two of the three readings given during the service. First was Isaiah 43:16-21, which urges: "Do not remember the former things ... . I am about to do a new thing." The second was The Holy Gospel according to John 12:1-8, where, while Martha served, "Mary took a pound of costly perfume ... anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair." Judas Iscariot, who wanted an opportunity to steal the proceeds, then asks: "Why was this perfume not sold ... and the money given to the poor?" (And I'll hold it safe meantime, trust me). To which Jesus replies: "Leave her alone. She bought it ... for the day of my burial."
Pastor commenced by explaining that Isaiah is actually three books: The first book encompasses Chapters 1-39 where "Things are breaking up." (Nelson's Study Bible describes this period as the second half of the eighth century B.C. when Israel "was confronting Assyrian invasions.") Chapters 40-45 represent "Second Isaiah" where God's people are comforted. (Isaiah 40:1 reads: "'Comfort, yes comfort my people!' Says your God.") According to Nelson's this second period occurred in the first half of the sixth century B.C. and the text is addressed to the discouraged exiles in Babylon. Isaiah "Two" was Probably written by a different author, since the time-frame was two centuries after the original Isaiah lived. Pastor made the point that these words in "Second Isaiah" are about comfort and restoration with emphasis on the certainty that The Word of The Lord lasts forever.
The important concept here -- addressed to those Israelites who had been in exile -- is that "Things broken down are made new!" These people had in essence suffered "The loss of the known world." Now think of that in your own life: the world you grew up in has fundamentally changed! It has passed away. Then hear the comforting word: "I'm here, and the Word of The Lord will last forever!" Think what this means in terms of comfort for both the Biblical Exiles AND you!
At this point, Pastor reflected on an interview he'd given years ago. When suddenly asked what was the most important passage from scripture, he replied without thinking: "Isaiah ... comfort, comforting my people ... and ... The word of The Lord will last forever." Also remember, God says: "I am doing a new thing, do you not perceive it?" (These are the important themes in today's message).
The question for us then, is -- do we perceive God's hand in the present? ... are we Prophetic? Recall that, in the Jewish world, a prophet doesn't predict the future. Rather he sees God's hand in the here and now. At this point Pastor referenced a book by Rudolph Otto entitled "Idea of the Holy," examining that part of God about which we know nothing. (See German Protestant theologian and historian of religion, Rudolph Otto whose English translation of his German work "The Idea of the Holy" appeared in 1923 ). Let us examine that notion further:
At the outset we'd have to concede that God is at least as complex as a human being. Now think of the person closest to you -- do you know everything in their heart? Obviously not. And God is infinitely more complex -- He is in fact The mysterium tremendum. (The Awesome Mystery). How could you then know all that's in His heart?
So that brings us to the critical question: Do you believe that there's "CONTINUING REVELATION?" If not, then you know everything about God. But obviously you don't. If you did, you wouldn't need faith. And if the Biblical narration contains "all truth" then nothing can change. Now, we admit that God doesn't change. But our knowledge of God does change. (So that proves The truth of "Continuing Revelation".)*
Pastor then affirmed: "I believe in Continuing Revelation." This is the way God leads us into a new future. This is how God leads us forward. That's what we are being called into -- NEW TERRITORY -- a new understanding of Same-Sex Unions ... Same-Sex Marriage ... A new understanding of "Love!" This is an example of Continuing Revelation.
Pastor then suggested: "That's why Jesus was killed" - because He was bringing new thought into the equation. "Mary (in John's Gospel above) recognizes that this guy's different ~ He's The Messiah. And so she applies oil to His feet - because she's The Prophet." (So she recognizes God in her "here and now," whereas the Scribes who cannot comprehend the truth, can see only the danger posed by Jesus' actions in raising Lazarus from the dead; and thus they want to kill Him).
But we must remember Isaiah and discern the truth: "God is doing a new thing in the world." Do you perceive it?
You must ask: Is there such a thing as Continuing Revelation? If so, how does it apply to the issues of our time?
Pastor concluded: (After earlier stating that he believed in Continuing Revelation of God's "New Thing" in the world) "I for one think that God is calling us to see ... a new expression of (Homosexual) love."
[NOTE THAT THE ACCURATE, COMPLETE TRANSCRIPTION OF THE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT LAST HALF OF THIS SERMON, AS RECORDED BELOW STARTS AT THE FOCAL POINT MARKED * WITH A RED ASTERIX ABOVE IN MY SUMMARY OF PASTOR LEON'S CONTROVERSIAL MESSAGE].
I AM REPRODUCING AN EXACT TRANSCRIPTION OF THE IMPORTANT LAST HALF OF PASTOR LEON'S SERMON BELOW, SO THAT YOU CAN READ PRECISELY HOW HE "COUCHED" & ARTFULLY WRAPPED, THE SENTIMENTS HIGHLIGHTED IN MY SUMMARY ~ SO AS TO ACHIEVE A MORE SURREPTITIOUS PRESENTATION OF HIS CONTROVERSIAL CONCLUSION SUPPORTING HOMOSEXUALITY & "GAY MARRIAGE." (Then, if you wish, you can actually click on a recording of the entire sermon itself, as given on 3/21/10 ~ for your own objective & unbiased evaluation of the content).
LISTEN TO> SERMON
TRANSCRIBED CONCLUSION OF SERMON ON "CONTINUING REVELATION"
(In support of Homosexual 'Marriage') by Rev. Leon, Pastor of St. John's Episcopal Church, Washington, DC. 3/21/10
*“In the old days we used to say … ‘Glory be to the father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever - and we’d all say ‘AH-men.’ That’s a very nice thing to say at the end of the Psalms, but I think it confused a lot of us. Now, God may not change, but our knowledge of God, I think, changes. Because I think God reveals part of God’s own self and we interpret that as we can during our own lifetime
“I have to tell you that I believe in Continuing Revelation; and I believe in Continuing Revelation because I believe God is guiding us into a new future, and that God is constantly doing something new, inviting us to consider whether this is of God or not – which is not an easy thing to do. It’s not an easy thing to do because we have to determine ... all the things we know, the things we know of our tradition, the things we know of our Bible, the things we know about ourselves – and consider if this new thing is of God, or it’s not of God.
“And it's a difficult equation ... and it’s a difficult decision. But I am convinced that this is how God calls us forward … constantly, constantly doing a new thing and guiding us to consider whether you perceive it or not.
“It's the struggles of the church; it's the struggles of our society. It was the same issue when we were talking about the ordination of women as it is now when we’re talking about same sex unions or same sex marriage.
“Do we believe that God is calling us forth into a new way of being or not? Do you perceive that God is acting out … acting … calling us forward into a new life? I think that God is! I like to believe that God is … moving us into new territory and moving us into new understanding of life, and love, and grace and mercy.
“The eleventh (chapter) was the raising of Lazarus. The moment Lazarus was raised, the officials in the town say: What is this guy all about? It’s all right to talk to a Samaritan woman, it’s all right to heal the deaf on the Sabbath – but raising a dead man to life? Let me tell you, that moved Jesus to the top of the ten most wanted people in the religion of the day. And immediately after that passage, there’s language that says: (you know it’s the scribes speaking to each other and they say) – We’ve got to get rid of this man. He’s too dangerous and he’s bringing some new thoughts that are going to ruin us; and not only is it going to ruin us, but the Romans are going to be so upset with us, they’re going to do us all in; and we need to kill this man, we need to kill this man because it’s better to have one man die than for all of us to perish!
“And then we come to this particular episode (the anointing) and the only person who gets what’s going on is Mary. And Mary does what’s not supposed to happen in her society – she takes that oil, pours it on Jesus’ feet, acknowledging that this guy is different; that He’s not only their friend, but that He’s now acknowledged to be the Messiah.
“And everybody recoils.
“Mary is a prophet just as all the other prophets, and does what prophets do, which is all the crazy things … and they act on things that we can't see until they got us into a new way.
“Isaiah invites all of us to see how you’re going to choose to live your life, and he offers us a thought: God is doing a new thing in this world. Do you perceive it, or do you not perceive it?
“Is there such a thing as continuing revelation? Or is there not? And how you answer that question to a great deal would dictate how you understand the issues of our society.
“I for one think that god is calling us fourth to see a new way of life; a new expression of love; a greater vision of mercy, of grace, and God’s forgiveness. Amen.”
LISTEN TO> SERMON ON CHRISTIAN ACCEPTANCE OF HOMOSEXUALITY, as given at St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square on Sunday, 3/21/2010.
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Pd. Pol. Adv., paid for and approved by Dr. Bill Escoffery,
Candidate for U.S. Senate from Florida.
Copyright © 2010 by William Escoffery III. All