Thinking Anglicans

Guardian leader column

The Guardian has a leader about the Anglican Communion: Beyond compromise:

…Always a loose and unwieldy alliance, the communion has survived since the age of empire only because of the effective acceptance that each church was sovereign in its own land. With the initial encouragement of the religious right in America, however, conservative elements of the communion are trying to impose an infeasible doctrinal unity. Dr Williams has responded to this pressure by seeking compromises. His difficulty is that, as the head of such a loose confederation, he does not have the power to make deals stick, as the freewheeling action of the conservatives is showing.

Dr Williams is a liberal who is instinctively supportive of gay people. His desire to hold the communion together, however, has already led him to support a moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops and to suggest that Anglican churches should not recognise same-sex unions through public rites. These concessions have not, however, checked the communion’s unravelling. The fence on which Dr Williams has been sitting has collapsed. It is time for him to preach what he believes.

There is also a news report by Riazat Butt Archbishop urged to delay conference in gay clergy row.

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Erika BakerFord ElmsGöran Koch-SwahneChristopher ShellCheryl Va. Clough Recent comment authors
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Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

The scavengers want to completely dismember the body before they meet? They don’t want to meet until their guerilla warfare has been completed? They don’t want to meet where the victims of their foray might be seen and heard by others, and where the dissonance about what they are purported that others have said and done, and what they have actually said and done can be exposed? Are they worried that a big wind might blow over or that a high tide might sweep away their house of cards, which had been built on shifting sands of deception, exageration, accusation… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

The Guardian makes an assumption that Rowan Williams is a liberal. It will be interesting to see when he is no longer weighed down by various Anglican anchors and balls of chain what he emerges as – I still think he has become a frustrated Catholic where his form of narrative theology is secondary, and that the liberalism it did imply is subsumed by a view of Church.

Pluralist
Guest
acb
Guest

Yes: one of the interesting questions left for Rowan to answer is how he can consistently take the line he does on women priests and bishops, while maintaining that the wider Church is right about gays.

NP
Guest
NP

those nasty conservatives – they should have listened and not torn the fabric of the communion in 2003…..

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

‘Torn the fabric’…what rubbish. There is no Communion. There are two different beliefs in the same organisation, and the sooner there is a reasonable split , the better. But that means both sides willing to accept a simple split – no winners and losers, no right and wrong – just accepting that the differences are too wide to ford.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

NP: and they should all be listening, as part of the listening process now. Shame there’s not much sign of that.

NP
Guest
NP

Mark – people have listened for decades.

Rowan himself tried to argue the case for ignoring certain passages in the bible (or interpreting them to mean the opposite to what they say or what most other Christians in the last 2000 years have said they mean)….but even clever old Rowan persuaded few.

Listening does not mean agreeing.
I am sure you, like me, listen to George Bush but frequently disagree with him.

Most of the AC has listened and not heard convincing theological arguments to justify the behaviour Lambeth 1.10 says is “incompatible with scripture”

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

NP Go through the interim response to the Listening Process again Simon posted here a while ago. There are many dioceses who have openly admitted that they have not yet listened and are not planning to do so. Your favourite Akinola is among them. Christopher here still claims that gays choose to be gay and is worried about the take up rate if we keep giving them the bad impression that they might be normal. And this comment coming from England where you claim people have listened for decades. How can you genuinely pretend that people have listened when even… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Erika: the listening process is a joke in most English dioceses, too. The ConEvos go to extraordinary lengths to try to prevent their gay colleagues from speaking openly; and the others mostly just want to avoid having a row, so try to placate them.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Fr Mark,
this isn’t the right thread for such a conversation but it would be interesting to find out what each one of us has been able to contribute toward their local listening process.

In our diocese it was at first quite hard to get heard but in the end we managed a personal and helpful conversation with the man in charge of the process. Of course that doesn’t influence the diocesan result but as a major British supermarket chain says “every little helps”.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Erika: I came out, in what we were told was a confidential clergy meeting in our diocese as part of the listening process. Next thing I knew, I had a summons to go and explain myself to the bishop.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Fr Mark wrote: “Erika: the listening process is a joke in most English dioceses, too. The ConEvos go to extraordinary lengths to try to prevent their gay colleagues from speaking openly; and the others mostly just want to avoid having a row, so try to placate them.”

This certainly is what it looks like from afar.

NP
Guest
NP

Erika

Mark 7 says we are all sinful and our sins come from our hearts….i.e. we are all by nature sinful…… there is no justification for any particular sin just because people say it is nature not nurture.

Our bishops are very well aware of the human and theological arguments against Lambeth 1.10 but still most will say certain behaviour is “incompatible with scripture”……..

We cannot listen forever, pretending that contradictory theological positions are equally valid….. this cowardly CofE position is ripping the church apart.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

What if your’s is the contradictory one, NP?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“We cannot listen forever,”

No, but seeing you personally haven’t even started yet I don’t know what you’re complaining about.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

The Idea of Somebody telling her to be Obedient, Erica!

;=)

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Doing the “ripping” on a flimsy pre-text…

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP, No indeed, you can’ go on listening forever. You might actually want to start listening before you go excluding an entire group of people from the Church mixing your reading of Scripture with lies and slander and not even bothering to try to understand the people you are lying about and driving away from God. You even deny the possibility that you personally by what you say and do WRT gay people has, in all likelihood driven away from God the very people whose salvation you pretend to care about. Think about it, with your hard judgementalism legalism you… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

The trouble with the listening process is not that there is any difficulty in listening. It is that listening presupposes that there is a possibility of changing one’s mind, and one ought not to participate in such a process with those who already know what conclusion they ‘want’ to come to, as though ‘wanting’ had anything to do with it. There needs to be a more objective criterion, because people’s wants are extremely, but extremely strong: so strong that they can and do easily cloud their judgment. Hence the need to have recourse to statistics.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“It is that listening presupposes that there is a possibility of changing one’s mind” Well, yes, ideally it should do that. But it goes far beyond that. To speak to someone effectively you need to know how they will receive your words. If you want to win someone for your cause you need to understand the person you’re talking to in order to know just which word to use to convince them. Unless you truly understand how women feel who feel compelled to abort you will not have the right words to speak to them, but will be reduced to… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Ford judges me to be “mixing ..(my).. reading of Scripture with lies and slander”

EVIDENCE pls, Ford?

Sadly, what you have written is misleading, Ford…I am not defending MY reading of anything…….I am merely agreeing with the consistent view expressed by our Anglican bishops – I think they are aware of the scriptures and the hard experiences of many people but I think they right on what the scriptures say…..is it unreasonable to say so?

Anway – EVIDENCE for “lies and slander”, pls Ford?

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Erika

You are right about waving the bible, and that is why I never do it. I appeal to things that people already know about human love and compassion, and hope that they will, becasue of this, face up to the fact that they are knowingly acting inconsistently.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Evidence?
Every time you call one of us here faithless you slander us.
Every time you say we deliberately ignore scripture you lie.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“listening presupposes that there is a possibility of changing one’s mind” No. Listening is about listening to other people, to hearing what their experience is, to understanding how one’s behaviour, which one might well have believed to be sincere and motivated by a desire to help, might have caused pain and hardship and despair. It is about acknowledging that gay people are human beings and asking onesself how one’s behaviour adversely impacts that humanity. How, for instance, does the behaviour of most conservatives towards gay people drive them from the Church, perhaps drive them to suicidal despair? Might there be… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

That last should read “I find it difficult to believe…..”:-)

NP
Guest
NP

Ford says “You are defending your reading of Scripture.” This is what you would call a “lie”, Ford….I am saying I agree with the consistent of the Anglican bishops in Lambeth 1.10 Is there any way of saying to some in the AC that “lifelong celebacy” is the biblical expectation for various people which will be acceptable, Ford? I doubt it…… for many, the AC will only have “listened” when it drops Lambeth 1.10….. note how even the nice “open” Fulcrum people are reviled around here when they do not in the end support condoning the rejection of the current… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

NP Not long ago when badman was advocating a broad church you said: Would prefer a faithful church….(http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002090.html) The implication is clearly that a broad church and those in it who disagree with you are not faithful. Do I condone ignoring bishops and the scripture they refer to? I condone ignoring bishops, yes, if I genuinely believe that their interpretation of scripture is wrong. The difference is that I don’t ignore scripture, I interpret it differently. NP, you claim to have gone to Cambridge. Please, you probably didn’t mean Cambridge Primary School, so you must be intelligent enough to understand… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Is there any way of saying to some in the AC that “lifelong celebacy” is the biblical expectation for various people which will be acceptable, Ford? I doubt it” Why don’t you give it a try? Why doesn’t any conservative ever give it a try? Erika made the point today that I should go easier and think that perhaps you aren’t capable of understanding the hurt your words cause. That may be. I’ve actually been trying, and failing, to find a way to make my point in ways you can hear. Consider your claim that you are being discriminated against… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Is there any way of saying to some in the AC that “lifelong celebacy” is the biblical expectation for various people which will be acceptable, Ford?”

Quite honestly, on my part, no. Because I refuse to believe that a loving God would give to one of his creatures a desire that the same God would then condemn as immoral…and then force that creature to deny his desires.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Because I refuse to believe that a loving God would give to one of his creatures a desire that the same God would then condemn as immoral…and then force that creature to deny his desires.” I’ve never really found this argument convincing, Pat. First of all, as I’m sure you WEREN’T implying in that comment, it isn’t just about sexual desire. Second, though, many are born with unhealthy desires. Whenever some conservative makes the comparison with pedophilia, we all angrily jump on him with “There’s a difference between the two, stop calling me a pedophile.” True, and I DO believe… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ford:

I take your point–but there is no scientific evidence that pedophilia (to use your example) is an in-born desire. There is scientific evidence of that for homosexuality (not for a “gay gene”, mind you, it’s far more complicated than that, as is almost all genetics). Pedophilia is clearly a learned response to early experiences–a pedophile is as much a victim as those he abuses.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford, Yes to all you say, but with one big exception. I think you make a category error when you equate sexual desire with paedophilia, in that the one is a sub category of the other. Sexual desire is the overriding category, and it comes in heterosexual and homosexual form. It can be holy and moral. But both forms of sexual desire can be corrupted, and paedophilia is only one of the many possible corruptions. Those who equate sexual desire with paedophilia imply that heterosexual desire is in itself moral, although there are some black sheep, whereas homosexual desire is… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Pedophilia is clearly a learned response to early experiences–a pedophile is as much a victim as those he abuses.” I must admit, I’m not fully informed on the issue, though I do know about your last point. And, Erika, that is the assumption I was making, though obviously not that well:-) The argument is put by conservatives (not by me) in a slightly different fashion: that heterosexuality IS sexuality, and both homosexuality AND pedophilia are corrupted forms of sexuality. I naturally don’t agree with this, and I think the point needs to be made clear. As it stands, I’m not… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford,
then I must have misunderstood you. I thought you had said that you don’t like the argument that God would not give people desires they cannot fulfil because paedophilia is just one of those desires.

I find this argument to be not fully logical because of the category error involved.
Pat is right, God would not give us desires that have no positive possibility of being fulfilled.
Paedophilia does not come under this cateogry.

In this respect I felt Pat was right.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Erika and Pat, This is something I think about a lot, actually. I’ve been pretty clear on what I see as evidence of God’s love for me. My sexuality is not something I chose, but something I fought and prayed against for ten years, till, I believe, God forced me to accept it. But, from what I understand, a pedophile also experiences his desires as innate. For me, the question is, how are we different? We must be. Or is it that I am misunderstanding God’s love for God’s approval? But, if He loves me but does not approve, why… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford, I come from a different personal experience. I grew up with liberal parents and just knew that some people were straight others gay and that there was absolutely no moral difference between them. So I cannot truly understand your struggle to accept your sexuality, although I feel deeply for you. I’m trying to untangle what you’re saying. You’re right, innate desire alone is insufficient to explain why paedphilia is bad and homosexuality isn’t. To me it’s obvious that the consequences of sexuality play a major role. A stable homosexual relationship can have positive consequences for those who find lasting… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford, I’m still trying to get to the core of what is bothering you. Could you imagine a heterosexual person agonising whether their healthy desire of love and positive sexual expression should be equated with paedophilia because both desires may be innate, and can you imagine that the question of God’s love/approval results from this? The question arises only if you start out with the presumption that homosexuality is sinful. You then realise, like I did, that God is drawing you to this path, that this is where your destiny and possible fulfilment lies. But because you still somehow fear… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Erika, does your life experience mean you didn’t have an adolescence hiding what you were, that making sure no-one was looking at you before you looked at that cute girl(boy in my case) who walked into the school lunch room wasn’t second nature to you, dating members of the opposite sex desparately trying to find the one who would make it work? Keeping the secret becomes such a reflex that it ceases to be a burden. I was a long time before I could kiss my partner without looking to see if we were in a window, not out of… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Ford I don’t know that you know what it is like to live in a misogynistic world. The last time I only oggled a male (long after my divorce), I was called a f_ _ _ing slut in the car park. Jeremiah 2:24 or Hosea 8:9 are hardly flattering to females. Then there’s the whole thing that women are brought forward for stoning and death for adultery whilst the male goes unaccussed and uncondemned. I empathise with GLBTs not being able to express their sexuality honestly, but do not think that is peculiar to your category. Women in some societies… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford, I suppose my experience is different because I feel equally integrated in the straight world. I grew up in a liberal Christian household where it was just accepted that people had different sexualities. Although I never told my mother that I was bisexual I knew I could have. I remember her once suspecting my brother might be gay (he isn’t), her only comment being that she hoped he would not be afraid to tell her. In the last 5 years my father and the rest of my family have warmly welcomed my partner as a full member of our… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford Just one quibble with your last post… are you sure Christ inspired Paul to say what he did? Isn’t it possible that Paul felt so inspired but, just like all of us, he couldn’t see clearly? Jesus said clearly that there are things his listeners could not understand and that he would send the Holy Spirit to guide them. But he also said that there are things we just cannot see clearly in this life. I’m always surprised that people accept that you or I may be misunderstanding Christ and the Spirit, but that we never believe St Paul… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

How is it relevant that ‘most pedophiles identify as heterosexual’? For the rate of pedophilia to be the same among homo- and heterosexuals, a minimum of 9 or 10 times more paedophiles would have to identify as hetero- than homo-. This is very far from being the case, to say nothing of the fact that the statistics will be further modified by the actual number of children involved in different cases (ie not every case involves just one child, and the average numbers seem to vary between hetero- & and homo-).

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Christopher

It’s not relevant, of course you’re right.
Only people who condemn homosexuality often link it to paedophilia to prove how evil it is, and in that false context it IS important to point out that most children are at risk from their fathers, not the gay stranger hidden in the bushes.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Oh, oh… Christopher Shell has been reading “Dr” Cameron again…

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“The last time I only oggled a male (long after my divorce), I was called a f_ _ _ing slut in the car park.” Cheryl, maybe it’s because a lot of my friends are sexually confident women with whom I ogle men! Seriously, if one of them were called what you were called, the answer would likely be “You say that like it’s a bad thing!” I don’t want to sound accusatory, I only have a vague glimpse of what you have been through, but take stuff like that back, don’t let others make you a victim like that. You’re… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I’m always surprised that people accept that you or I may be misunderstanding Christ and the Spirit, but that we never believe St Paul was in the same position.” I’m one of them, actually. I have never been blinded on the road to anywhere by a talking light that said it was Jesus, and then promised, and delivered on, a miraculous cure. Paul fascinates me, actually. To me, his conversion is one of the most solid proofs of the Truth of the Gospel. How does someone go from what he was, and I can see why NP likes him so… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford, I quite agree, I give Paul more authority than myself to discern the gospel. But not to the extent that I believe every single word is infallible. Yes, he did have an extraordinary revalation revelation of Christ, but so have others since, and in a small way, many of us today. It does not follow that all these people automatically become sinless, righteous and blessed with Christlike insight into God’s will. If it meant that their witness would almost be unimportant to me because I could never hope to follow them other than by following the letters of their… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford “It is not appropriate to just say that bit wasn’t inspired. How do we prove that?” I suppose if I’m honest I don’t fully understand the question. Intellectually it is very easy to prove that Paul’s words against gays are not directed at the kind of relationships you and I are having. Theologically, there have been many outstanding scholars making impressive cases against a clear anti-gay reading of Scripture. They come at it from various angles. None of them “prove” anything conclusively, no more than you can “prove” anti slavery sentiments and feminist theology or liberation theology conclusively. It… Read more »