It can all be so exhausting: life, livelihood, striving, even spirituality with its laundry list of how to be. Maybe that’s why Psalm 130 is one of my favorites. The poet seems to want one thing, to enjoy God! When last did you just enjoy God? The fact of God? The way God chooses to be God as made clear in Jesus’ doings and sayings? Psalm 130 invites you to breathe and put your shoulders down as it hums to you, there’s no place too deep for God to reach you. God hears and forgives. Plant your hope in God’s garden. That God is trustworthy. All together trustworthy. Like a sunrise. Like a morning. Watch and see. Enjoy.
For Faith, 2021
For People with Bishop Rob Wright
The podcast expands on Bishop’s For Faith devotional, drawing inspiration from the life of Jesus to answer 21st-century questions.
Read the Transcript:
God doesn’t stop speaking with the last period in the book of Revelation. I mean, we could say, if it ain’t in the 66 books of the Bible, then we have nothing to say about it or that’s what we have to say about and that’s it. But I think we might both agree, this God is a loquacious God. This God continues to speak. Jesus said often, “You have heard but very truly I tell you.” So, Jesus was even doing jazz riffs.
Easton: This is For People with Bishop Rob Wright.
Rob: Hello, and welcome to For People with Bishop Rob Wright. Today, our guest is the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, Foley Thomas Beach. Archbishop, welcome.
Archbishop: Thank you, Bishop Rob. It’s great to be with you. And I’m looking forward to our discussion today.
Rob: Fantastic. Glad to welcome you. You know, it’s right that you and I would be having a conversation. I mean, you are in Atlantean, you studied at Georgia State. You started off– Well, you started off as a Baptist but became an Episcopalian. You worked at the Cathedral of St. Philip’s. And was a rector in one of our congregations here in the middle/north Georgia, in Monroe Georgia, in fact to be specific. So, in some ways, I know you live in Georgia now, but I suppose, welcome home.
Archbishop: Well, thank you. Actually, I grew up in Atlanta, was born at Piedmont Hospital. And I don’t know if you know any of my history, my mother got involved in drugs and was an alcoholic. When I was age eight, my parents got divorced. And she became what we called back then a hippie. And so, for many years, I pretty much lived on the streets of Atlanta. And I grew up learning all kinds of things at a young age that I probably shouldn’t have. And then she was arrested on my 12th birthday. I went to live with my father. So, I went to high school in Atlanta as well. So, Atlanta is home.
Rob: You know, I appreciate you saying that. A lot of times we have these beautiful, wonderful veneers over our real lives. And I like when people can stay in touch with those narratives that meant so much to us. And it really changed us, in some ways helped us to know who God is.
Archbishop: Absolutely. I found that an early age, for whatever reason, I don’t understand it. But I was always taking my younger sisters to church. It may have been God’s unconditional love that was expressed there. But it didn’t matter what community we were in. Actually, I spent a stint at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, downtown Atlanta. And sang in the boys’ choir at age 10 and 11. But anyway, it is just kind of amazing how the Lord uses all of that to create in us who we are today.
Rob: It’s no doubt. And it is true. You know, looking back, it’s a straight line. But when we were on the other side of things, boy it was circuitous, right? I mean, it’s just amazing. And all of it, you just see the mind and the genius of God, pulling your life through into something that is better in God’s hands.
Archbishop: Absolutely. I think that’s part of why, for whatever reason, I really have a compassion for hurting people and people that are suffering or are going through very difficult situations. Or, you know, just life has thrown a big curve. And to be able to bring the gospel and the loving heart of God into those situations with people is very meaningful to me.
Rob: Well, you know, there are some folks who think that you and I talking is a curious thing. You being the Archbishop of ACNA, and the Bishop of the South, I guess it’s the southeast province of the Anglican Church in North America. And me being the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. And we’ll get into that in just a minute.
But they think that it’s a curious thing. But I want to just tell people, how I got the idea that you and I should have a chat. You and I got connected recently, because we were both invited to a lunch table to begin to think through and plan a celebration of Archbishop Tutu.
Archbishop: Correct, correct.
Rob: And I was really struck that you and I were at the same table, and it was because of Desmond Tutu. And I thought to myself, even post humorously, Archbishop Tutu is still making peace, still inviting people to the same table, still lifting up the Lord Jesus Christ and drawing people you know to that reconciling love of God. So, we’re here in many ways, not only because you’re a nice guy, and I hope I am, but because Archbishop Tutu would want us to talk.
Archbishop: Absolutely. And one person that is at the table, actually co-chair of our event, is former ambassador, Andrew Young, and our former mayor. And he speaks about what’s called the Atlanta way.
Archbishop: And the idea that even though we can disagree on some very serious issues, that we can still talk to each other and be friends.
Rob: That’s right. That’s right.
Archbishop: And not cancel each other, which seems to be the motif of the current culture that we find ourselves in. If I disagree with you, then I can’t have anything to do with you. Well, that’s absolutely not the Christian gospel at all.
Rob: Well, that’s not the gospel that I understand. One of the things I love about Jesus, he was a walking talking sort of embodiment of all that. I mean, the characters he ends up having conversations with, the dinners he has, the impromptu conversations, and even healings he has, really continued to direct my ministry. You know, he wasn’t a partisan, except for pleasing God. And I like that. And that really speaks to me and gets me in trouble oftentimes.
Archbishop: Well, me too. You know, I don’t know who wrote the book, but I remember a book called The Audience of One. He is our audience. And that’s who we are seeking to serve, to please, to honor, and to glorify in all our thoughts, our actions, and our words. Especially, caring for people and reaching out for people in need.
Rob: That’s true. And as much as Desmond Tutu, and the Atlanta way has put us together, we also have one more point of contact. When I came to Atlanta, to be the rector of St. Paul’s in southwest Atlanta, St. Paul’s Church in southwest Atlanta, the matriarch– The wonderful matriarch of that church was Gladys Richardson. And boy, let me tell you, she knew she was the matriarch and she wanted everybody else to know that she was the matriarch. And she was really brilliant. She was really a brilliant woman. And she was really a brilliant mathematician. So, I’ll leave it there and you tell me your Gladys Richardson story.
Archbishop: Well, Gladys Richardson was my high school math teacher, and I loved her. She was an incredible woman. Actually, one of my heroes from my high school days. And she taught me math. I just loved her dearly. I don’t know if she was the matriarch at that point. But she sure filled up classroom. And you didn’tget away with any in her classroom. But she taught me to love math. And I’ve just always valued her. I’ve talked about her a lot. Later on, I realized once I was the youth minister at the Cathedral of St. Philip, that she was also an Episcopalian. So, we were able to reconnect at that point. But lovely lady, and so grateful for her impact on my life.
Rob: Yeah. I know. And let me tell you, as a new rector here in Atlanta, first time being rector, I moved from New York City at the Cathedral up there. I mean, let me tell you, I learned an awful lot about context and proximity. I learned an awful lot from her. And I bless her memory. And I’m told by her son that he’s also an avid listener. So, you know, Arthur Richardson, we are sending a shout out to you if you’re listening. And thanking God for your mom.
Now walk us through this journey. Now you come through the Episcopal Church, you’re ordained, you’re serving faithfully at the Cathedral. You are an ordained Deacon and then Priest. And then, how do we get to you not being Episcopalian? What happens there?
Archbishop: Well, I served in Monroe for 11 years. And I was privileged to take really a small struggling church and grow it to where we actually had three services. Seems like suburbia began to grow out in Walton County and Monroe. We were able to take advantage of that and grow the church. The Episcopal church began to make some decisions that I just in my conscience couldn’t agree with. And although I expressed my opinion many times, it became a place where basically, if I didn’t go along for the ride, I wasn’t welcome. And I felt very alienated. And I had to follow my conscience.
And so, I’m trying to recall the events. I remember, I went on a prayer retreat. And I was really wrestling with the Lord as to what I needed to do. And I heard clearly that it was time for me to leave. And actually, it kind of hit me in the head like to two by four. And just the way that he made me, I would lose my soul. I had to honor the way that he made me.
And so, at that point, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. And by His divine providence a week later, I was at a dinner meeting. And I was put in touch with the primates of the Southern Cone, and the Bishop of Bolivia. And evidently, the primates had met the previous month or so and authorized overseas primates to offer temporary, I think what they call it a temporary emergency oversight to clergy or congregations. And so, I decided to try it and see what happened. And so, I became canonically resident of the Diocese of Bolivia, in the province of the Southern Cone, and that’s now South America. And planted a church 10 miles away from where we were in Monroe. I didn’t want people to feel like we were stepping on people’s toes. I didn’t invite anybody to come with me. Actually, the way I put it was, I told people why I was resigning and what I was doing. But I said, this is between you and the Lord. Some of you will feel called to be a part of this and some of you will not. But you have to follow the Lord. So, those who showed an interest, we began meeting in Loganville Middle School, setting up every morning. And I planted a new church called Holy Cross, which is in Loganville. So, that’s a quick overview.
Rob: That is great. And we covered a lot of territory there. I’m just going to click on a few things. So, you said the Episcopal Church, I mean, you’d been an Episcopal clergy person for a little while at that point. So, what decisions, specifically, did the Episcopal Church make that sort of grieved your conscience and you had to make these steps?
Archbishop: Well, I think the bottom line at the end of the day was when they decided to approve the consecration of Gene Robinson, who was in a same sex partnership, basically changing the whole doctrine of marriage. And I just couldn’t go there. It’s one for the culture to say– And that’s a whole other issue. But for the church to change it’s teaching and it’s moral ethics after 2000-years and the judo piece of that before that, I just couldn’t go there.
Although, I have loving friends who are in same sex relationships. But as far as the church blessing it, I couldn’t go that far.
Rob: No, I appreciate that. And, you know, some people wonder, you know, is Anglican Church of North America, a one issue sort of entity/organization? Because I hear a lot of people speak very passionately about broadening the understanding of marriage. You would say not being faithful to scriptural teaching about marriage. But I don’t hear them be as passionate about divorce or about premarital sex, all in Scripture. Or about care for the poor, which Jesus had a lot to say. And so, help us understand– Help me understand how this issue becomes the issue that is the genesis of forming an entirely different entity?
Archbishop: Well, it’s not that those other things aren’t important, because they are. And actually, I don’t believe ACNA is a one issue church. I think that was kind of the Spark. It’s a moral issue. And scripture is just so clear on it. We are feeding the poor, we are helping the needy, we are trying to encourage folks not to have premarital sex, we are teaching against adultery and divorce. We live in a fallen world and people mess up, and praise God for what Jesus did for us, so we have forgiveness.
But our focus in the ACNA has been to reach folks with the gospel of Jesus Christ to show people that they are loved by God and Jesus has done this incredible thing for us and desires relationship. It’s interesting that several years back, we had a time in the ACNA, where there are now more people in the ACNA that have never been the Episcopal Church than people that were. Actually, we have an issue now that people don’t know our history. And communicate it. It’s amazing how many new people that we’ve been reaching with the gospel.
So, we are not a one issue church. The times that I have preached on that subject, I don’t know if I have preached on that maybe once in all these years. So, I mean, we talk about it. Anyway.
Rob: We talked about it and I’m just back from a two week meeting in England and we’re still talking about it. Not that we shouldn’t talk about marriage and not that we shouldn’t talk about Christian character and holiness. That is our response to the good news of God and Christ.
But when I look at global poverty and what the one-thirds world is still doing to the two-thirds world. I’m really struck that those are not the conversations that dominate our gatherings. It is interesting that especially when we talk about the teaching of marriage, etc. I mean that comes later. Jesus does not seem to have an awful lot to say about it.
Archbishop: No. But he does speak about marriage being between a man and a woman. One other piece, you may not be aware of, one of my roles as the Archbishop of the ACNA is, I’m also President of the Anglican Relief and Development Rund. And the Anglican Relief and Development Fund has raised millions of dollars to help with poverty to help with needs all over the world. And the global trustees of that are primates from around the Anglican Communion, that actually serve on the board and make the decisions about where the funds go and what projects to. So, we’ve been very engaged in speaking about that and helping people in need.
And speaking of that, I mean with everything that’s happened in Ukraine. I did not realize that Ukraine and Russia are the breadbasket for so many parts of the world, especially in Northern Africa. And we have a severe food crisis happening right now that the press is not talking about. And the church really needs to step in and help people in need.
Rob: Yeah, there’s no doubt about it. And we need to do more. Because I think, when you look at some of the survey data that sort of talks about what is all loaded in the word Christian, especially for young people. What’s loaded in that word is not the love of God in Christ Jesus, not God come near, not, you know, infinite mercy, and compassion, understanding alongside-ness. That is not what they click on. That’s not what they say. What they say is xenophobe, homophobe, judgmental, you know, those sorts of words, which is very different from the Jesus we meet in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
So, what have we done to Jesus? I mean, you know, what have we in the Episcopal Church and other churches done? And what have you and ACNA done to contribute to these negative things? I mean, these are the things that worry me, I think. What gets lost in translation because we are trying to institutionalize all this stuff. And we are trying to say, who is in and who is out and what’s good and what’s bad. It doesn’t seem as Jesus is as preoccupied with that as we tend to be, it seems.
Archbishop: Well, I think as well as when we walk out the doors of the church, are we living lives of holiness and faithfulness and loving people and caring people in the power of the Holy Spirit? And sadly, so many of our people, including us as clergy, are not living it out in the world. And it’s one thing to come love Him and praise Him on Sunday morning and receive Communion. But it’s another thing to go out in the world. So, I think we’re all to blame for that.
And then you take it to another level that the way the press interprets the church. We don’t ever get any positive, hardly any positive press about how we help people do things and care for people. All they broadcast are our fights or arguments, which tend to focus on those kinds of things. So, it’s no wonder that’s what a typical person out there thinks of when they hear the church.
Rob: I’ll give you that. It’s definitely true that good news doesn’t often make the news cycle, right?
Archbishop: That’s right.
Rob: As they say, if it bleeds, it leads, right?
Archbishop: Sadly, so true.
Rob: Sadly, so true. Well, we’ll be right back with For People and Archbishop Foley Beach.
Easton: Hi listeners, thank you for listening to For People. Keep up with us on Instagram and Facebook at Bishop Rob Wright. We would like to invite you to Imagine Church at the Center of Racial Healing on August 27th. Join the center, the youth of our diocese and friends for worship centered around brace spaces and tough questions. Register in episode description. And now, back to For People.
Rob: So, Archbishop, we’ve talked a little bit about the human sexuality thing. I read your most recent letter in response to Lambeth. And so, for all the church nerds out there, Lambeth is a gathering of Anglicans from all over the globe. The Episcopal Church is just one small branch of that gigantic tree. 165 nations were there nearly, 700 bishops. We were at Canterbury, the University of Kent. It was an amazing exercise in prayer, and dialogue, and networking, and conversations. And there were some dioceses, some provinces in the church who decided not to be there. Sydney in Australia, Rwanda, Uganda, and others. And they decided not to be there at this opportunity for fellowship because, primarily because at least according to your letter, and according to what they said, around this notion of of marriage. Teaching on marriage. Do I have that right?
Archbishop: One of the roles that I’m currently in is I’m currently chairman of the Primates Council of the Global Anglicans Future Conference, which is called GAF Con. So, I think what you are referring to is my chairman’s letter that I just wrote. And so, you know, the whole– How do I say this, the whole struggle that many are having with the Anglican Communion events is that their issues have not been addressed, and especially this issue about marriage. And I don’t mean to sound– When you view this through the eyes from someone from Africa, they feel patronized. And they feel like the colonial process is still in place. And that they are being manipulated. So, in their minds, one of the biggest ways to speak to this, is not to show up. They represent so many people.
All of us want to be apart of the fellowship. All of us want to be part of the events and be supportive. But that is a way their voice, they felt, could be heard. And it’s sad. And I’ve talked to the Archbishop of Canterbury many times, but I don’t think they really understand how colonialism and and this patriotism is still in process without them even realizing.
Let me give you an example. The Archbishop of Canterbury came out recently and talked about the commission that selects the Archbishop of Canterbury. That they were going to include, I believe it’s five more people, or maybe it’s seven more people, on the commission of 20 something folks to select the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion. Well, most of these primates feel like they ought to be selecting their spiritual leader, the first among equals, not having the Church of England tell them who their spiritual leader is going to be. But they don’t hear that. So anyway, I don’t know if I’ve answered your question or not. It’s very complicated.
Rob: You sort of did. It’s very complicated. But you know, the majority of the people who were at this conference that I was at, were African.
Rob: Right. So, these are a subset of the church in Africa. I mean, what was amazing about the thing is that for those of us who were there from the Episcopal Church, I mean, we got to see just how small we were. When you looked around, I mean, you know, the average Anglican there was brown, some sort of brown, whether from Africa or the Caribbean, or Latin America, or some other kind of place. And it was just fascinating to be in dialogue with them. And you know, there was no kumbaya moments. But they were people that were sort of doing what we are doing. They are trying to work it through and figure out how did you get where you are? How did I get where I’m at? Where is the Holy Spirit in any of this. And what do we do tomorrow as I think what the task is?
You know, I’ve read some of your stuff in preparation for the conversation. It’s interesting to watch you work through your writing. Because, as far as I understand, it’s up to the local diocese in your church to ordain women, is that right?
Archbishop: That’s correct.
Rob: Okay. But what’s your–
Archbishop: And many of our diseases ordain, and many do not. Some ordain to the Presbytery. Our diocese ordains women to the acumen. And then we have some diocese that don’t ordain women to the priesthood or the acumen. So, in our constitution it’s left to each diocese to determine how they’re going to handle ordination of women. And include women.
Rob: And where is that in Scripture?
Archbishop: Where is what in Scripture?
Rob: Well, how you’ve broken that out about ordaining– Because if I’m understanding you, you’re trying to stay as close to Scripture as you can. And I’m just trying to figure out, but you set up a system now, and I’m trying to figure out where in Scripture guides me for that?
Archbishop: Well, I mean, you’ve named one of our personally internal issues. And that is we have many folks that hold that Scripture teaches that women shouldn’t be ordained at all. And we have folks that show that scripture says, that women should be ordained. And so, that’s an internal issue that we’re continually wrestling with ourselves.
Rob: Yeah, my point–
Archbishop: I can argue both points from Scripture.
Rob: Well, my point is, is that as I’m reading you, you’re attempting in your conversation around women’s ordination with diocese and giving them an elasticity around this, you’re sort of trying to do what the Lambeth Conference is trying to do, or least tried to do. Some would say failed to do and some would say successfully did. And that is, trying to create some elasticity. In fact, I don’t have your quote in front of me, but I thought it was well done. There was some sort of point into a graciousness around how to hold this issue within ACNA, the ordination of women within ACNA. Isn’t that the same that some people in the Episocpal Church are trying to do? They are trying to hold a gracious space when it comes to human sexuality?
Archbishop: Well, in Scripture, you don’t find anywhere where it would say, that to ordain a woman is a sin. Whereas you will find that the moral code, the moral disciplines, what’s called a Holy Life, that is clear. And certain activities, especially certain sexual activities are considered in Scripture as sin. So, it’s a different, it’s a different issue. It’s apples and oranges.
Rob: That’s fair. That’s fair. I wonder– So, now you and I–
Archbishop: So, that’s why– Some people don’t hold to that. And now, what I just said about ordination, some would argue that I’m compromising on what ordination is all about.
Rob: Well, you beat me to it friend. Because I was getting ready too– I was getting ready to quote your Bible to you. And I think it said something about, suffer a woman not to have authority, right? And so, that’s pretty clear.
Rob: But you are providing for ordination.
Archbishop: That’s right. And some of our folks have a real hard time with that. And we have some rigorous fellowship over that.
Rob: I love it rigorous fellowship. Amen, Brother. We have some rigorous fellowship over all of this. And you know, look, I’m not trying to stick it to you. But I think what people– A guy asked me, he said, why would you have Archbishop Foley on your Podcast? You know, to legitimize his views, because your views are so different. And said, well, I don’t necessarily look at it that way, right? I do believe what the Bible says. We should be able to give an account of the hope that is in us. And so, if the spirit has revealed to you something as regard to women, authority, and leadership, and/or gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, then I want to hear you say it. And I think that other people want to hear you say it.
And so, that’s the spirit of this. So, I want to make sure that you and I are clear. I’m not trying too– I’m not coming for you. But I think people want straight talk.
Archbishop: Right. I agree.
Rob: Pardon the pun. I think people want to know, what do you know that so many other people don’t seem to know? When we left Lambeth, what we acknowledged was is that there are churches, in fact, what Justin said was fair I thought. And said that the majority of the Anglicans around the globe affirm traditional teaching about marriage, which is one man, one woman. Did you know that? Did you know he said that?
Rob: He said it countless times. And so, there was one part of the body there that was like, wow. And then what was said also in the document, was that, and yet, I don’t remember the exact language. There are other churches in the communion, who after theological study, review, etc., have developed ways to welcome and affirm gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, etc. And so, in some ways, although it didn’t satisfy either group. In some ways, it was just naming the fact that the sky is blue and water is wet. And that is we differ on the issue.
Archbishop: Yup. And yeah, that is what he said. And what I would respond, that is part of– And to equate them as he did, kind of as equal valid arguments, that’s where the folks who represent the majority of the communion, which I’m in fellowship with and our church is in fellowship with, would say these others have departed from the teaching of the Scripture on this issue. And we need to address it. And of course, there is no means to address it, it seems. Other than having talks and agreeing to disagree.
Rob: You know, taking these long walks together. I think that’s the thing. We have learned, if we know anything about Christian history, is that this is not microwave popcorn what we are doing right now. And so, people who are looking for a quick win, quick fix, quick anything are going to be thoroughly frustrated. In fact, you know, in service to haste around these issues, what we end up doing is doing violence to each other, right? So, I’m highly suspicious of people who just think they can run the ball right into the end zone and then spike it, right? History has proven that when we do that and call Jesus the leader of all that, we do just about everything antithetical to his gospel, right?
So, I’m appreciative of the slow walk. And I think we do need to have some more conversation about it. So, I mean, you know, as we sort of turned the corner and hit home here in the podcast. So, what do we do? I mean, help me understand, at least in ACNA, what do I do– I mean, I’m very clear in Atlanta and can state that. But what do we do with LGTBQIA folks in ACNA who love the Lord and know in their heart that they are made just the way they are in God’s image? And what do we do with the woman in the ACNA diocese who knows in her heart and has been conformed by her community that she is called for leadership in the church? Ordain. What do we do with that in ACNA?
Archbishop: Well, first we love people and we care for them, and we serve them. And for the woman that feels called, she has split ways that she can fulfill her ordination. I mean, that’s why we have different dioceses that do different things. And one thing we have in the ACNA which you might not be aware of is we have overlapping jurisdictions. We have several dioceses that kind of form like a spiderweb. I don’t know how to describe it. And, so you know, she would have many options.
As far as the other folks in the community, we love them, we care. And I think most folks would say that they experienced that in the ACNA churches. Now we don’t affirm the practice of what would be considered immorality. But we love them and care for them. And we encourage them to live lives of holiness.
I think maybe a way to personalize this a little bit in my own life is, you know, I shared with you earlier that my mother was an alcoholic, into drugs. Well, that actually runs through all my family. In my early 20s, I found myself drinking a lot. And the Lord brought me to a place where he said, Foley, if you want to live a holy life, you are going to have to stop drinking because this is something that is causing problems in your life. And genetically, I’m pre-supposed to be an alcoholic. I mean, it’s in my system. So, to obey the Lord, I have chosen not to drink. And I don’t. Because I want to live a holy life.
And I may be pre-supposed a certain way sexually or whatever. But if I’m going to live a holy life, what I would say is, then we will follow the Lord and we live in holiness. We say no to those things that he considers immoral. You’re mighty brave to have me on this podcast and share these opinions. And I hope you don’t get chewed up too much.
But you know, this has been the position of the Christian church, in love, because we are supposed to be people of love and representing the love of God. And for, you know, for 2000 years, and sometimes the most loving thing to tell somebody is when they are in sin or when they are wrong. I don’t like to hear it when people tell me that. But when people love me enough to tell me I have messed up or blown it, it is real love. And so, I don’t know if that helps you understand a little bit.
Rob: Of course, it does. And you know, I’ll tell you, I’m always on the side of somebody who wants to talk in terms of their own life, deficiencies, and journeys. So, I appreciate that.
Let me ask you to be a little bit vulnerable here for a second. And I will be with you as well. Do you ever think you are wrong?
Archbishop: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And I, one of my prayers every day, is Lord help me speak your truth. Help me speak it in love. Because I don’t have all the answers. But I do know he does. But I also know His word is trustworthy as well. And you are a Bible man, I mean, we can trust his word.
Rob: We can. And just because fairness is fairness, and yes, I do think to myself, you know, am I consistent with Scripture? Am I being faithful? Am I being forthright when that is called for? Am I being bold and gentle? I do think about all those times and I’m undated with opportunities and times when I have missed the mark. And by the grace, comfort, and mercy of God, I have hit it a few times. But I know what it’s like to fall short in all of this. And I know what it is like to be gently corrected as the Bible talks about. The spirit of God gently corrects.
But you know, I think maybe the last turn will take here, as we wrap up, God doesn’t stop speaking with the last period in the book of Revelation. I think this is the most difficult thing we content with, right? I mean, we could say, if it ain’t in the 66 books of the Bible, then we have nothing to say about it. Or that’s what we have to say about it and that’s it. But I think we might both agree, that this God is a loquacious God. This God continues to speak. Jesus said often, you have heard but very truly I tell you. So, Jesus was even doing jazz riffs. And the people who experienced Jesus thought he was a heretic.
Archbishop: Some did.
Rob: Some did. A lot did, a lot more did than didn’t. What do you do with that? With the continual speaking and enlarging process of Holy Spirit in our lives? What do you do with that? How do you tend to that?
Archbishop: One of the things that our faith has taught us and even our Catechism says, is that he won’t lead us to do anything that’s contrary to His Word. And so, we have, I’ve always viewed it like a grid, or even a strainer maybe. You poor things through and it gets the bad things out of it. And so, all these new things, revelation thinking, and I have hung around a lot of charismatics in my day, and you know, people are speaking words of– You have to view it through the grid of Scripture. Those are our guardrails. I’m all for, my goodness, all the things that we are learning today from science, AI, and on, and on, and on. It’s just phenomenal the time we’re living in. At the same time, it brings up all these issues around ethics and morality and what’s right and what is wrong. And we have this incredible guide the Lord has given us, called his Word. And it’s a wonderful guideline. And I think it’s his truth.
I don’t know if that answered what you were asking, but that’s kind of how I view it. It’s like the guardrails or the grid that you look everything else through.
Rob: So, your point is well made. It’s a prickly business and how to hold all this stuff together, what was and what is evolving and what we know now. When I talk to folks around these kinds of issues, I always ask them, have you ever been to Red Lobster?
Archbishop: I have been to Red Lobster. Love their rolls.
Rob: I love the rolls too. Have you eaten the lobster there or the shrimp?
Archbishop: I have eaten the shrimp there. I haven’t eaten the lobster there. I love lobster. But I haven’t eaten it there.
Rob: Well, you know, by biblical standards, if we’re eaten, enjoying lobster or shrimp, you know, we are an abomination. And if our clothes are made of more than one fabric, we’re out of the will of God as well. And so, in a conversation too much for this podcast, that’s what we have to do together I think is figure out, what do we bring forward? What is for us now? And how do we go forward to honor this God?
Archbishop: I would agree. And also, I’d remind you of Miss Gladys Richardson, when she talked about context. That is so important. And you know the early church wrestled with that and wrestled with what to bring forward. And they were pretty clear on that. And even in the New Testament. We can argue about that at another Podcast.
Rob: Well, look, everybody, I’m grateful for Archbishop Foley Beach, giving his time and sharing his heart and sharing his mind with us. And so, thank you, Foley. Glad you were with us.
Archbishop: Thank you for your courage in having me. Thank you for your friendship. And thank you for your brotherhood in Christ.
Rob: Yeah. May God continue to guide us both.
Archbishop: Amen. God bless you, brother.
Rob: Thank you. God bless you.
Todo puede ser tan agotador: la vida, el sustento, el esfuerzo, incluso la espiritualidad con su larga lista de cómo deberíamos ser. Tal vez por eso el Salmo 130 es uno de mis favoritos. El poeta parece querer una sola cosa, ¡disfrutar de Dios! ¿Cuándo fue la última vez que disfrutaste de Dios? ¿El hecho de Dios? ¿La manera en que Dios elige ser Dios como se deja claro en las obras y dichos de Jesús? El Salmo 130 te invita a respirar y a bajar los hombros mientras te tararea, no hay lugar demasiado profundo que Dios no pueda alcanzarte. Dios escucha y perdona. Planten su esperanza en el jardín de Dios. Que Dios es digno de confianza. Enteramente confiable. Como un amanecer. Como una mañana. Observa y mira. Disfruta.
Revista For Faith 2021