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Wednesday, May 30, 2007
(11:51 AM) | Stephen:
Pentecost Sunday 2007

Last Sunday was Pentecost Sunday, which celebrates the birth of the Church. The following is taken from Acts 2:
On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. . . . . and everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. . . . .when they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers. They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs.
At the birth of the Church, gifts were given to the believers to enable them to speak to people from all over the world. The passage actually doesn't say that every person around was either ethnically Jewish or a convert, only the visitors from Rome are described thusly. Jerusalem was evidently a cosmopolitan place, with people from all over the known world there, and all of them heard these fishermen from Galilee speaking in their own language. Even people who would normally be avoided by "good Jews" were included in this. All of the prophets' words about the whole world coming to Jerusalem and hearing the message of God there came true that day, and before Christians were called that, before they left the synagogue, the message about Jesus was being told to people from all over the world regardless of origin or ethnicity.

So as I said, last Sunday was Pentecost, and at St. Stephen's Parish in Colorado Springs, they held a celebration for their "rebirth," a rebirth that consists of making sure that no homosexuals are present in the congregation or in any congregation associated with them. A rebirth marked by rejection, by division, by accusation and strife. This anti-Pentecost in Colorado Springs is about outward "righteousness," about focusing upon a so-called "sin" that is easy to avoid, if one is born heterosexual. They obsess over this "sin" because it allows them to feel righteous without having to actually be righteous. I could go on and on about how I'm not a murderer, and how that makes me a paragon of purity, but the plain fact is that I'm not ever tempted to commit murder. But there are many areas in my life where I do fall short of where I need to be, and my job is to work on those areas, not others. St. Stephen's Parish is choosing a cheap veneer of righteousness, a place of "worship" where the object of that worship is their own goodness and purity and how much better they are than those gays.

Pentecost is the birth of the Church. But in Colorado Springs last Sunday, one congregation celebrated its death.

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