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"A number of years ago, I was having a conversation with a wonderful old curmudgeon in the parish I was serving at the time. I think it is fair to say that he was against pretty much everything...One day we when we were talking, we found ourselves discussing the subject of homosexuals in the church. At that time, I was still rigid in my convictions on the matter, and I was not about to allow for much wiggle room in the conversation...He proceeded to tell me that he had thought long and hard about homosexuals in the church. There was a distinction he thought was very important and not to be missed. I was all ears. He believed that what upset most people in the church about homosexuals is that they thought of them as "homosexuals who were trying to act like Christians." In other words, they were homosexuals first, and Christians, a distant second, maybe. "If that's the way you understand it," he said, "then it is never going to be very comfortable for you." He said that it was important to know these friends as fellow believers, as Christians first, as fellow travelers who understand their sexual orientation to be secondary. Frankly, I had never thought of it that way before."
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About the Author

J. NEIL ALEXANDER is the bishop of Atlanta. He has taught at the University of the South School of Theology, and General Theological Seminary in New York City. Originally ordained a Lutheran pastor, he has served parishes in Murray Hill, New Jersey, Cowan, Tennessee, and New York City.

Reviews

'From fear to love, from conditional to unconditional, from judgment to mercy,' this is the conversion experience of one wise bishop whose caring discernment on the vexed subject of homosexuality is what the over-heated Episcopal Church needs now more than ever. There could not be a more timely or useful book than this for a church in turmoil, a fine example of pastoral, personal, and prophetic theology. -- Professor Peter J. Gomes, The author of The Good Life

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