Thinking Anglicans

Theos the think tank

Updated Tuesday

A new religious British think tank was launched this week, named Theos. Its website is here. Its first published report is titled “Doing God”: A Future For Faith in the Public Square and it can be downloaded as a PDF file here (warning: over 1 Mbyte).

Press reports of this launch event:

Telegraph Jonathan Petre Majority views religion as force for good

Guardian See the leader listed here yesterday. And on Comment is free see Madeleine Bunting, Martin Newland, and AC Grayling.

BBC Leaders back faith in public life

The Times Ruth Gledhill Archbishops back campaign to promote religion and Wise men of the churches set out to keep Christ in Christmas

Ekklesia Theos think tank ‘gives hope to humanists’. Here is the BHS press release mentioned.

Theos has also published this article by Alister McGrath The Dawkins Delusion

The BBC radio programme Sunday covered this launch too, listen to Christopher Landau here (Real Audio, 5 minutes 46 seconds).

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Ford ElmsDaveWGöran Koch-SwahneMerseymikePluralist Recent comment authors
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Pluralist
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Theos says secularisation is in reversal. Secularisation can mean loss of influence from the big public religious institutions, linear movement to rationality, the sacred dissolving into secular civic values, and the plurality that leads to a homeless mind. None of these have stopped or reversed. This has been seen as different from secularism, which is ideological; however, A.C. Grayling uses it in a political sense of separation, and it seems to me India would be a good model. Other than his throwaway lines, like the one about Tony Blair and George Bush praying together, I agree with the general point… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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Isn’t Secularization that the Gospel of God’s Righteousness in Christ quietly has been winning hearts and minds while “organized religion” has been busy spewing hierarchy, subordination, division, exclusion and self-hate?

DaveW
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DaveW

Dear Goran, No I would say the opposite, the Gospel of God’s Righteousness in Christ has been quietly winning hearts and minds despite secularisation, where the gospel has been preached and lived out. As to oragnised religion, if you meant that to include the Anglican communion, I think the ideas of exclusion and self-hate have come mostly form lobby groups rather than secualarisation in general. Take Sir Elton John’s comments this weekend for example how can the Anglican church be anti ‘gay’ when it wishes to assure all those with homosexual desires that they are loved by God, and that… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Religion is like a two edged sword. It can be an incredible power for good, but it can become the blade of oppression. Secularism that encourages debate is healthy for religion, it forces us to move from beyond “because God said it is good” to develop the language to say why it is good. Securalism that seeks to stop religious dialogue in the public arena has taken on a repressive theology of its own. To paraphrase a concept from Jung, it is in the interaction with “the other” that we find the reflection of ourself and from this comes self-knowledge… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“how can the Anglican church be anti ‘gay’ when it wishes to assure all those with homosexual desires that they are loved by God, and that it condemns fear and violence?” Of course, if the Anglican Church actually DID this, it would be laudable, but it doesn’t. I’m not talking about gay marriage here, but simple protection of basic human rights. As one example, the Canadian Church is the only one of the Churches of the Anglican communion to actually express concern over the support given by the Church of Nigeria to a law that oppresses gay people. Love is… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Well the Church is compromised, isn’t it. The cost of compromising this issue for unity, the bureaucratic motivation having more sway than the personal case motive, leads to ineffective words. It has always been compromised when others have called for equality, inclusiveness, participation, challenged hierarchy and other social and political issues. We’ve seen how Roman Catholic priests in SOuth America adapted belief and adopted ideology as a partner, and became critical of their hierarchy, in order to promote liberation theology.

DaveW
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DaveW

Dear Ford Elms Which Nigerian law oppresses ‘gay’ people and how does it affect God loving those people. I consider myself gay as in having a joyful disposition by the way. You wrote “Love is about a lot more than words, Dave, but all gay people get from the Church is pious words that are manifestly empty of meaning.” But it isnt all gay people is it. I am gay and heterosexually orientated and what about those in the church (for example the Canadian ‘ex-gay’ submission to Eames) who ‘were once active in homosexual behaviour, or who have struggled with… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Yes, you can. The total number of deluded ‘ex-gays’ suffering from self-oppression ( something which can be helped through counselling and abandonment of religion) is tiny in comparison to the number of out and happy gay people.

The largest ex-gay group in Britain has a membership in two figures. They are a sad irrelevance, but happily most who join such groups end up leaving.

daveW
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daveW

Dear Merseymike,
You wrote “Yes, you can. The total number of deluded ‘ex-gays’ suffering from self-oppression ( something which can be helped through counselling and abandonment of religion) is tiny in comparison to the number of out and happy gay people.”
Well I referred to the Canadian Anglican ‘ex-gays’ who aren’t deluded but freed. What they refer to as healing you seem to refer to as delusion. You may be deluded into thinking their healing isnt true. But I asked which Nigerian law oppresses ‘gay’ people and how it affects God loving those people…. Which I haven’t seen any answers to yet.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Dave, You haven’t been following these boards? Here’s a link to one report, there are others. http://civilliberty.about.com/b/a/257483.htm It doesn’t affect God loving us, Dave, but it certainly affects how the Church can express that love, even if the Church of Nigeria wanted to. As to the execrable “ex-gay” movement, I fail to see how driving people to suicide, which is the effect of some of these organizations, is showing God’s love to anybody. I have no quarrel with someone telling me I should be celebate, and that if I pray, God will give me the strength to do that (though… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I suggest DaveW peruse this blog:

http://politicalspaghetti.blogspot.com

DaveW
Guest
DaveW

Dear Goran,
The link isnt much help. It depends what one believes, I think God has clearly pronounced homosexual practice as wrong and not part of His purposes for His creation, political views may differ of course.

Davew
Guest
Davew

Dear Ford Elms, Thanks for the link. Please see my response to Goran. The question was would God love a homosexual any less, and the answer is no. As to imprisonment, personally I wouldn’t support it but neither would I support gay clubs. Why would I want to if its against God’s purpose? But neither would it stop me loving anyone who practiced same-sex sex, why would it, I am not perfect either, I fall short too. As to showing love, I agree with you, no I don’t think putting people in prison is showing love its showing justice and… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

DaveW,
Well, something that drives people to suicide is execrable, sorry, but it is. The Gospel shouldn’t drive people to dispair, if it does, then you have to wonder if it’s the Gospel. I also don’t need fundamentalists denying what God has done in my life. These organizations take hurting people and, under the guise of “healing their brokenness” exploit it and claim they have done something good.
And I’m taken aback at your response to the Nigerian situation. How can you say that putting gay people in jail is justice and punishment for wrongdoing?

DaveW
Guest
DaveW

Ford Elms, You wrote ” Well, something that drives people to suicide is execrable, sorry, but it is.” Sorry but it isnt necessarily so. So angry were some people at Jesus teaching that they wanted to kill Him. Matthew 12:14, Mark 11:18 Luke 13:31, John 8:59. But Jesus came to save not condemn and that Satan destroys. You wrote “The Gospel shouldn’t drive people to dispair” What do you mean by the gospel? The gospel as I understand it is that God so loved the world that we have in Jesus the resurection and the life for eternity. God loves… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Jesus came to save, not condemn, so why is the Evangelical approach to preaching the Gospel so often about the threat of condemnation if people don’t obey? Ex-gay movements do drive some people to suicide. One of the founders of Exodus left for just that reason. If preaching the Gospel drives people to suicide, are you really preaching the Gospel? And who are “the Canadian Anglicans”? I’m Canadian, and my knowledge of ex-gay movements doesn’t come from the Canadian Church. I believe God has blessed me in many ways. One of the ways is through a gay relationship. You would… Read more »

DaveW
Guest
DaveW

Dear Ford Elms, I thought we had acknowledged labelling wasn’t helpful. When Jesus came to save and not condemn, He didn’t have any ‘evangelicals’ to be evangelists, He just had disciples. Now if people feel condemned enough for suicide because of what Jesus taught then they can’t have received the message of salvation, but rather the message of condemnation. But the teaching of Jesus shows us we who believe are bought at a price, by His blood our sins are forgiven, all of us whilst we were sinners. As to ‘ex-gay’ and the Canadians, they were just an example of… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

DaveW, I’d suggest that you Google ex-gay groups to find out exactly how toxic they are, but I doubt you’d be convinced. If you choose to see them as helpful in spite of the mounting evidence they are dangerous, there’s nothing I can say to change your mind. As to the “evangelical approach” I spoke of, I’m sorry, but the only preaching I have encountered from self-identified Evangelicals(not my label, but theirs) certainly was of the “believe or burn” type, what I refer to as conversion by fear. What’s more, my oft mentioned anti-Christian friends certainly see the Gospel in… Read more »

DaveW
Guest
DaveW

Dear Ford Elms, On the contrary I may have some sympathy with you as I may not agree with some ex-gay groups ideas as I believe God is the only one who can really change people. However I think you are still missing the point. If I hear your witness and the witness of those like the Canadian Anglicans I and don’t doubt either I can only then see the Canadian Anglicans are in line with Jesus teaching and the Bible as a whole. I think its worth remembering what Jesus says about adultery, that even looking and lusting after… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

DaveW You speak of Canadian Anglicans and seem to equate us with “ex-gay” ministries. These organizations are, thankfully, rare in this country, I don’t know of any branches, and the only ones who speak of them at all are the few Essentials members whose ignorance on this issue and willingness to be led astray by any disreputable “investigator” who confirms their prejudices is astounding. Objectivity is unknown to them. My point about “believe or burn” is that it certainly is a misrepresentation of the Gospel, but it is the way Christianity is presented by many Christians. In this day and… Read more »

DaveW
Guest
DaveW

Dear Ford Elms, The reason I mentioned the Canadian Anglicans was just as an example of some of the people who testify to the healing God has done in their lives in the area, and how to understand and accept God’s Biblical condemnation of’ same sex activity; nothing to do with prejudice or ignorance. As to eternal life or eternal death rather than ‘believe or burn’, I find the vengeful God idea comes from not accepting we are disobedient and fall short of God’s glory in the first place and Jesus as the witness of how God so loves us.… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

No, Dave, people think of God as a vindictive, vengeful God because they have been told that’s what He is, in so many words, by people calling themselves Evangelicals. “Anglicans are not saved, they are not truly baptised, and unless they repent, they will go to Hell.” “Roman Catholics are not saved and will go to Hell.” Yes, Dave, I have heard these things, and way worse, said. Frequently. By those who call themselves Evangelicals. A large and ever growing proportion of Western society is not only not bothering with the Church, they actively hate it and the God it… Read more »