on Saturday, 5 August 2006 at 3.26 pm by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as ECUSA
Here is a selection of recent items related to current debates:
Nick Knisely The Michelson-Morley Experiment and the Experience of Gay and Lesbian Christians
Teresa Mathes Don’t Call Them Conservatives
Paul Zahl interviewed in the Church of Ireland Gazette
Doug LeBlanc in Christianity Today Falling Apart
Mark Harris Challenging the Archbishop: The latest report from the pack of cards.
In regard to Nick Knisely and others, it may well be that for many, if not most, Anglicans there is a confusion about what is meant precisely by ‘homosexual.’ In this regard, the gay activists have not done either party to the debate much of a favour. What is included in the term, good people with steady relationships based on mutual love and respect, or is it a great deal more open-ended than that? There are a great many rather more ‘predatory’ gays than one might think from the sympathetic propaganda. The lonely incompleteness of gay males as they get… Read more »
Harold These are legitimate questions, and areas that I would like to see more fully discussed and considered. For example, I distinguish between mutually consenting sex between two mature adults; from sex with immature souls or where bribery, power, coercion or deception are used. By bundling all GLBTs in the one basket, we have predators amongst gentle souls. While we have a group who refuses to countenance any discussion in the area, we can not tease these issues out more fully and work out how to protect people. The predators aren’t going to help us as they are using the… Read more »
I liked Theresa Mathes’ article, and it reminded me of article about African interfaith that I found the other day http://www.wombatwonderings.org/plugins/newsfeed.cgi?rm=content&plugin_data_id=14021 One comment was “If religious moderates keep quiet, then the extremists will have their day.” Similarly, if religious extremists use covert strategies (especially avoiding email) then they become a mirage and can taunt those they are attacking with accusations of paranoia or delusions. Knowing that they are organised and communicating, but knowing that the evidence to support the claims is hidden. Actually, ABC also made this error some months ago when he met with some US conservatives and warned… Read more »
Cheryl, I’m disappointed that you seem not to recognize that *Harold* is the one “propagandizing” here. I mean, c’mon: “The lonely incompleteness of gay males as they get older, still yearning for younger men’s attention, the lesbian partners who demand that you divorce your family in order to show your loyalty to them ?” Where does this come from? “Focus on the Family”? (Statistics, please? Or am I being too much of a “gay activist”, to demand FACTS not LIBEL?!) “No one seems to mention the psychopathology which is as evident amongst gays – or moreso – as among ‘straights’,… Read more »
J.C. He probably is propagandising. But the issues of predatory behaviour applies as much in homosexual circles as it does in heterosexual circles. It is naive to say that one end is “pure” and only the other end sins. That applies to workers/bosses liberals/puritans heteros/homos male/female. Bundling allows bullies to hide behind gentle people. Yes, there is a risk of divide and conquer. There is also a risk of a credibility gap if we do not take responsibility for the risks of predatory behaviour at the liberal end of the spectrum. By being prepared to ask the hard questions, and… Read more »
J.C. I’ve been thinking about your concerns since the last posting. There’s another couple of things that come to mind. Firstly, there is a pathetic debating style of finding one weakness to then dismiss the whole of someone’s argument (similar to finding one example of a woman’s poor morality to justify raping her). Or the sloppy methodology where one compares a bad example from the enemy to the best of your own and then generalise the pattern across both groups. The other question that is really niggling at me is “would you trust these people to negotiate on your behalf?”… Read more »
It is important to note Harold J’s comment
‘straights’, whatever that term might mean.
I would say there is no such thing as a ‘straight’ person and I am not straight or GLBT.
I am a man and I have sexual desires and attractions some of which God created for some of which God did not create for. I have a God based ‘worldview’ not a ‘sexual desire’ or ‘sexual activity’ based worldview
Well, DW’s position is obviously one way to go. However it is not the only, ethical, true, good, total, exclusive, final, absolute, eternally informed way to go. So I respectfully decline the invitation to erase or neglect or cover up that aspect of my person and relationships which educated common sense identifes as my sexual orientation, however well-meaning that invitation probably is. Part of my choosing another path involves my ethical call to honesty, admittedly an alternative clarity and honesty, particularly with myself as irrevocably related to the rest of humanity. I spent an entire childhood running away from my… Read more »
The key distinction we may seek and need is: dare I say it again? Our hermeneutic presuppositions, taken as self-evident, and therefore not scrutinized or intentionally investigated and chosen. When it comes to any bad data about LGBTQ Folks, the standard conservative heuristic-hermeneutic strategy simply presumes that it must have been caused – in whole or in part – by their not being straight to begin with. When it comes to any bad data about Straight Folks, the standard conservative hermeneutic strategy hardly ever bothers to presume that their sexual orientation must have been a partial or entire cause of… Read more »
[I hope I’m staying on topic, as an American w/ an opinion! ;-)] Cheryl, I don’t know why you keep harping on “predatory behavior” (which Harold brought up). It simply *isn’t at issue*. No defends it. No one countenances it. No one says “God made some people predatory, and they’re entitled to have their predatory relationships blessed/predators should be able to be ordained.” NOBODY. SAYS. THAT. When Harold queries, “What is included in the term, good people with steady relationships based on mutual love and respect, or is it a great deal more open-ended than that?”, it’s absolutely *rhetorical*. It’s… Read more »
I like your posting. It reminds us to not look only from our animal instincts.
Dear drdanfee, Thank you for your response. I think what we believe is mostly opposites here. You believe what I have said is not the “only, ethical, true, good, total, exclusive, final, absolute, eternally informed way to go” but I would say compared to what you are saying it is. But I don’t cover up my sexual orientation either in so much as I have already mentioned it. I don’t call it sexual orientation I call it sexual desires. I am tempted by many things including in sexual matters adulterous thoughts and temptations but I wouldn’t define myself by them… Read more »
Its not a case of temptation, Dave, but simply whether we are orientated towards sexual attraction towards the same or the opposite sex.
That is sexual orientation: what you talk about applies to people of all sexual orientations. The Bible has no understanding of sexual orientation, which reflects the knowledge of the men who wrote it. It emphasises why it is such an inadequate document on which to base our ideas on this topic.
Dave, you would not define yourself by these sexual temptations simply because they do not define. Most every adult person has these kinds of thoughts from time to time. It defines nothing. On the other hand, being gay does define someone. It certainly makes a difference to the street thugs who will beat up a person for no more reason than being gay. It defines something when someone feels the need to deny it. Everyone has sexual feelings — it is part of the human condition. But only part of the group — by far the largest part of the… Read more »
“One might ask why Jesus used treasure in the parable”
Perhaps because it’s a parable? You know, a story designed to produce reflection and thought and creative interpretation, not an end-of-year report on Judaean banking?
Yes DW I think we have different ideas about what sexuality/embodiment is, and how it is, and what value – if any – it has at different stages of human life (from birth to death). So far as the parable goes, maybe my approach would be equally clear (or equally disputed and confusing) if for sexuality, you simply substituted an alternate gift, intelligence. Intelligence/thinking can on occasion facilitate all manner of meanness. Or goodness, too. That capacity for meanness does not result in my adopting an approach wherein I presume – based on scripture and/or tradition – that the brain,… Read more »
drdanfee. I loved your comment “Acknowledging my sexual orientation is as simple and as complicated as the vocation to Tiukkun Olam.” J.C. The issue of predatory behaviour comes up because it is the issue that has most discredited the Christian churches in the last few centuries. Pedophilia cover ups, burning of midwives as witches, Klu Klux Klans led by ministers, accomplices to State repression aka Oastler. It is the kind of stuff that Jesus despised, and is also despised by the OT God. If we don’t acknowledge the issue, they still use the issue behind our backs. Just because we… Read more »
J.C. Again, thinking about it since the posting (you raised a good question). I think there are two other major motivators. Subjectively, personal experience makes this a passion – God’s training ground. Secondly, there is an illusion that once one gains favor with God, then one is above being reproached. That is a dangerous illusion, and one I personally had to deal with recently when the local minister told me that his church was above corruption because “they knew Jesus”. That is, Old Testament priestly errors did not or could not occur in Christian churches because of Jesus’ grace. Phooey… Read more »
Dear Mersey Mike, I would say it is a case of temptation, so I disagree with you. As to the Bible reflecting the knowledge of men and not adequate, well it is for Christians sir, though we cant expect non-believers to base their ideas on it. I guess that is where we will ultimately differ as we have different truths and worldviews Dear ruidh, I do not define people by sexual temptations but as people define themselves as gay I think that is defining by temptation. I rebuke violence by the way. There is no condemnation for those who are… Read more »
What is “predatory behavior?” One may encounter both gays and straights looking for one-night stands depending on what bars one frequents. Just say no or go to nicer bars. The other is pedophilia, statistically overwhelmingly committed by adult men who identify as straight against prepubescent children of whatever gender is handy, often their own family members. Just as most straight males are not rapists, most gay folk are not pedophiles. Much of the inapproporiate bahavior by RC priests was against little boys because they were handy – they – but not little girls – could be acolytes. RC schools often… Read more »
“I do not define people by sexual temptations but as people define themselves as gay I think that is defining by temptation. I rebuke violence by the way.”
In the days of the Civil Rights Era (in the U.S.), African-Americans would often march w/ signs that simply said “I AM A MAN”—to counter the emotional and spiritual (as well as physical) *violence* of those who would *redefine* them as subhuman.
What you are doing, DaveW, in *redefining* those who identify as gay, as “defining by temptation” is just more of this kind of violence: a different gospel indeed. 🙁
I’d also ask whether the RC priesthood attracted people with problems regarding their sexuality, which were exacerbated by RC rules
“The only way to neutralise the ultra-puritans in this regard is to prove that their mines are hot air and vitriole, and that when their challenges of sin are closely examined they are often guilty of such appalling behaviour – just in less honest fashions e.g. communicating verbally and avoiding emails so there is no legally admissable evidence of their attempts to predatorily bully parishioners or steal their assets…”
I think it’s up to me how I define myself, actually. I mean, I could define conservative religionists as deluded and unthinking, but that would not be very fair!
However, it certainly emphasises all the more than no gay person with a modicum of sense would choose such a worthless religion to follow
When are we liberals going to drop this nonsense about our all following the same faith and speak out clearly – liberal Christianity has NOTHING to do with conservative Christianity.
“I’d also ask whether the RC priesthood attracted people with problems regarding their sexuality, which were exacerbated by RC rules” It’s likely not so much RC rules as the culture of the RC Church in this country in the 1940s 1950s and 1960s when many of the offending priests were educated and ordained. That was a time when the RC church’s teachings about sexuality and celibacy were not very sophisticated, and when many priests went from RC high schools directly into diocesan seminaries, skipping college and much contact with a non-RC world. I would guess that RC young men with… Read more »
Dear J. C. Fisher You wrote “What you are doing, DaveW, in *redefining* those who identify as gay, as “defining by temptation” is just more of this kind of violence: a different gospel indeed. :-(“ As I said before I am not defining anyone but you are still doing it. Having done your defining I would say its a definition by temptation. I am sorry if you don’t like that. As to your ‘violence’, I would say its more like an attack against the gospel of Jesus Christ… that is your choice… we are all entitled to our opinions I… Read more »
You talk about liberal Christianity and conservative Christianity as two different things. That’s probably one of the more helpful comments here, the two beliefs are clearly mostly very different to the point that they differ more than they have in common in core points.
What is rather more revealing is that you have recently commented that you place little if any trust in the Bible. Can I therefore assume that you speak for liberals rather than liberal Christians or am I to assume liberal Christians dont place any trust in the Bible?
Dave reminded us 1 Corinthians 1:25 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” I would humbly point out that the logic of that is that the gulf between God’s foolishness and humanity’s complete stupidity is even wider. This has to be one of the most abused texts in the Christian canon — privileging non-sense (and not in the Zen understanding) over wisdom (another good OT theme), encouraging the rejection of reason (ironic in a faith which alleges fidelity to the Logos), rather than being allowed its proper… Read more »
DaveW ; I speak for myself and no-one else.
I think the Bible is a book which contains some insightful material, but it all needs to be approached in the light of what it is – a human production writeen by men of another age who had very different levels of knowledge and assumption framed by their culture.
I don’t generally ‘trust’ books which are inanimate objects.
Cheers to Cynthia for taking on the hard issues and trying to tease out some of the assumptions. Alan M seemed confused about predatory behaviour being more than homosexuality or pedophilia. Predatory behaviour can be entrapment e.g. pimps ensnaring women (or young boys) into sex trade by confiscating their money and using violence to keep them under control. Some spouses also use the same tactics, as do some parents over their children. We also see such behaviour being used against the intellectually disabled, the physically weak (old age pensioners are popular targets for con artists). We see such behaviour in… Read more »
DaveW commented “What is rather more revealing is that you have recently commented that you place little if any trust in the Bible. Can I therefore assume that you speak for liberals rather than liberal Christians or am I to assume liberal Christians dont place any trust in the Bible?” If I may quote from an official, if much-neglected, document, the 1922 Commission on Christian Doctrine published 1937 under the chairmanship of William Temple… “The authority ascribed to the Bible must not be interpreted as prejudging the conclusions of historical, critical and scientific investigation IN ANY FIELD (my caps) not… Read more »
Poor Cheryl has a rather warped view of the world if she imagines that conservative Christians are routinely engaging in the behaviour she describes.
It would be helpful if, before hitting the keyboard, she would first write it out on paper and ask herself, is this reality which I am describing, or merely polemic?
I think conservative Christians’ ideology almost inevitably leads to controlling behaviour, Alan. Part of the territory.
Well it would be really nice to live on a planet where I could expect support for my family life and parenting, as well as for my professional work, my daily dependence on and involvement with something from the sciences, and so forth. To live alternatively and ethically is not a contradiction. My work is sufficiently complicated that we who pursue it must stay open-minded, and able to learn from and correct our mistakes, or simply grow the good into something better. My life, my work, my care, and my person are not exhaustively encompassed or discerned, only in the… Read more »
Odd, that comment, MM. All the evidence I see from the USA is that the liberal wing is in such complete control that it has even dispensed with basic rules of justice, such as a fair trial in public. Or is this just untypical, aberrant behaviour by one unrepresentative set of “liberals”?
Dear Merseymike, You wrote “I speak for myself and no-one else.” That’s what I was questioning, if you speak for yourself why did you write ‘we liberals’ and do liberal Christians believe the Bible is simply a product of man as you say? In my view of course the Bible was written by men but although it contains for example history, parable, prophesy, poetry as well, it also contains the words and teachings of Jesus and of course written that it is by impartation from God by His Spirit. So then in this way it is not dependent on men’s… Read more »
Dear Dave Rowett, You wrote.. “I would humbly point out that the logic of that is that the gulf between God’s foolishness and humanity’s complete stupidity is even wider. This has to be one of the most abused texts in the Christian canon — privileging non-sense (and not in the Zen understanding) over wisdom (another good OT theme), encouraging the rejection of reason (ironic in a faith which alleges fidelity to the Logos), rather than being allowed its proper purpose of reminding us of the limits of human reasoning powers.” If you mean what the scripture says about the issue… Read more »
Poor Alan seems to think that either all conservatives must sin or no conservatives have sinned.
I have no respect for any group, especially a religious caste, that tries to deny that there are any problems by setting unreasonable standards of assessment. The court cases and scandals of priestly abuse demonstrate that priestly castes (including conservatives) do have people that do sin.
That conservatives seek to insult people by denying their experiences with insults merely condemns themselves as complacent and self righteous.
Dear Cheryl Clough,
“That conservatives seek to insult people by denying their experiences with insults merely condemns themselves as complacent and self righteous.”
Jesus says that His disciples will be insulted on account of Him. I dont think anyone is denying experiences, just denying the experience is what God wants… besides I would say righteousness can only be attained through Christ, self righteouness is where we try and attain it ourselves or follow our own ideas.
“All the evidence I see from the USA is that the liberal wing is in such complete control that it has even dispensed with basic rules of justice, such as a fair trial in public.”
To what do you refer? If you want to look at how TEC runs itself, you have only to go to its web site and find the Canons and Constitution – admitedly not always easy with our current allegedly ‘cool’ website. Many but not all dioceses also post their constitutions and canons on their web sites.
I refer to the widespread abuse of the abandonment procedure – which four bishops are now attempting to apply to the Bishop of San Joaquin.
Deposition without trial is grossly unjust. It is the ECUSA equivalent of Guantanamo Bay.
“Jesus says that His disciples will be insulted on account of Him.”
Dodgy ground, a dubious syllogism looms. ‘I am insulted’ may often be connected with ‘I am faithful to Christ’, but may from time to time be connected with ‘I am behaving like a prig/idiot’. I am sometimes insulted for Christ, but far more often people rightly take the proverbial out of me because I’m being a right prat.
The Circumcellions’ attitude to martyrdom is an instructive case….
Dave W said; “one cant do anything with a document one doesnt trust or believe in.” I don’t think there are many Christians around who would reject Scripture (whatever that is) as a faithful and painfully honest account of human-divine interactions in a particular area of the Middle East from the LBA onwards. The devil (if you’ll pardon the expression), though, will always be in the detail, and detail is something which a large number of conservative evangelical commentators are remarkably reluctant to engage with. The word ‘slippery’ comes to mind. What does ‘trust’ or ‘believe in’ amount to? (I… Read more »
For those concerned about the “widespread” application of the canon on the abandonment of communion (and I would scarcely call the very few instances of the application of this canon “widespread”) I would simply observe that anyone who is charged under the canons (IV.9, or IV.10 for Bishops or Priests/Deacons respectively) all that is needed from them is a good faith statement that they have not in fact abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church by a renunciation of its Doctrine, Discipline or Worship. The problem, of course, is that stating that one is not bound by the Constitution and… Read more »
Dear Dave Rowlett, I have to answer to Jesus on His return whether people think I am a prat or not is secondary. You wrote “You are using ‘believe’ and ‘trust’ as vague, emotive terms which are in their unqualified sense devoid of meaning. Tighten your language, sir!! :-)” No I am clear what I believe and trust I was addressing the comment made by Merseymike that he didnt ‘trust’ the Bible. He thinks the Bible is merely dependent on man’s knowledge. In my view thats not a Christian position let alone an Anglican one so I was asking whether… Read more »
“I refer to the widespread abuse of the abandonment procedure – which four bishops are now attempting to apply to the Bishop of San Joaquin. So far as I can tell from press reports, the four bishops are following the procedures available to them in our system. You may not like the system, but we are all bound by it. That seems to be an issue for many conservatives who, having not prevailed in the regular processes of General Convention, wish to be exempt from what the majority of the church has voted for. I did not vote for the… Read more »
Ah. But souls are not being insulted on account of Christ, because they have not honored his intentions. They use the words of Christ if and when it suits their arguments. They gloss over the teachings that Christ was meant to honour (the Torah and God himself). They ignore and insult Christ’s faithful one who proved her annointment of him at the transfiguration.
They are not being insulted because of the Christ that was anointed. They are being insulted for assigning the same name to the idolatrous paradigm of their own construction.
Dear Cheryl Clough,
“They are not being insulted because of the Christ that was anointed. They are being insulted for assigning the same name to the idolatrous paradigm of their own construction.” Or they are being insulted because the word of Christ denounces their idolatrous paradigm of their own construction.
It remains to be seen which is right. Personally I am confident the word says what it says
All books are reliant on knowledge, understanding and culture, DaveW. The Bible has to be read through the eyes of social construction, just like any other book.
The problem in trying to analyse the legal system in ECUSA is that nothing is ever what it seems. It is already somewhat deficient in its ability to deliver justice impartially and effectively, and for that reason alone ought to be thoroughly revised at the earliest opportunity. When abuse of the plain meaning of canon law is added to the already disturbing picture, it is time to act rather than wallow in complacency, or worse, ascribe an unchallengeable authority to General Convention. Most urgent of all is the need to devise some kind of appeal procedure, so that abuses can… Read more »