Interviews with Katharine Jefferts-Schori - Return to "Gary's Personal Creed."
Katharine Jefferts-Schori was invested as the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America on November 4, 2006. As the first female leader of this mainline American church, she was interviewed by a number of major and minor news organizations.
Time Magazine's interview is available on the web.
A widely referenced analysis from Agape Press has disappeared from the web along with Agape Press itself, so I re-re-distribute that analysis here from alternate sources. Schori's statements were negatively perceived by these and most Christian writers, but I feel that I present a position supportive of Jefferts-Schori in my personal creed article.
ECUSA's Incoming Leader: Homosexuality Not a Choice, Jesus Not the Only Way.
Comments by Jefferts-Schori During Interview Appear to Contradict Scripture.
By Jody Brown and Allie Martin, November 2, 2006.
(AgapePress) - She says she doesn't consider Jesus Christ to be the only way to God. She says she believes God makes some people "gay." And she's soon to be the leader of a mainline Protestant denomination in America.
In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul writes that "in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (Col. 2:9, NIV). But in an interview this week with Associated Press, Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori who is to be installed on [November 4, 2006] as the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA stated that Christians should not say that Jesus is the only way to God. "If we insist we know the one way to God," she said, "we've put God in a very small box." [Gary's note: Jefferts-Schori didn't say that there is a way to God that is inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus. Any path to God is consistent with Jesus' teachings, but it may be possible to find a Christian-like path without reading the New Testament.]
In John 14:6, Jesus in responding to a question posed by the disciple Thomas said: "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
But Jefferts-Schori says she disagrees with the idea that salvation comes only through trusting in Jesus Christ. "It's this sense that one person can have the fullness of truth in him or herself, rather than understanding that truth is like God more than any one person can encompass," stated the soon-to-be ECUSA leader. [Gary's note: Again, Jefferts-Schori isn't disagreeing with the Bible itself, just with certain interpretations..]
Jefferts-Schori says she views salvation as the healing of all Creation through holy living. "I understand salvation as being about the healing of the whole creation. Your part and my part in that is about holy living," she offered. "As Christians we understand [salvation] as relationship with God in Jesus, but that does not mean that we're expected to judge other people's own commitments."
Where does she stand on the issue of homosexuality? The Episcopal Church has been embroiled for years in a debate over the ordination of homosexual clergy and "blessing" ceremonies for same-sex couples. Jefferts-Schori supports both and in fact, she voted in 2003 to confirm her denomination's first openly homosexual bishop, V. Gene Robinson.
She told AP that she does not believe the Bible condemns "committed" homosexual relationships. God, she says, made some people "gay."
"Sexual orientation is pretty clearly defined at a very early age, before the age of reason. It's not a choice," she said. "In that case, a person of faith would need to say that it's a piece of how one is created."
Consequently, she says, the Church should offer what she calls "a sacramental container" to help homosexuals find "holy ways of living in relationship."
Scriptures in the Bible about homosexual acts being sinful, she says, are misunderstood. "They're not about what today we see as mature human beings entering into committed relationships with each other on a full and equal basis," says Jefferts-Schori, who believes such "committed" relationships can be blessed.
"The religious community's job, really, is to help all human beings find healthy and whole and holy ways of living in relationship."