Thinking Anglicans

Saturday opinion columns

Giles Fraser writes in today’s Guardian that Anglicanism, a house divided against itself, can’t survive its civil war in one piece. Read Face to Faith.

And in the Church Times he writes about Why equality belongs with freedom.

Christopher Howse in his Daily Telegraph column has Sacred Mysteries: Evidence for the human soul.

David Cooper wrote in The Times yesterday that We need to remember the value of lives of service.

Rebecca Fowler had a report in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph : Women priests and their continuing battle.

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Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

What Giles Fraser misses in his Face to Faith commentary is that it isn’t the liberal side of this argument that is arguing that it’s opponents must go. I don’t know of any liberal who is saying he cannot remain in a church that includes Duncan and Iker et al. Rather, it is the conservatives saying they cannot remain in a church that includes Robinson and Jefferts-Schori et al.

So, once again, it’s the conservatives pushing to make everyone agree with them, not the liberals.

Merseymike
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Merseymike

I agree with what Pat says above, but it is encouraging to see liberals openly talking about a split. We now need one of the liberal groupings to openly advocate realignment as well, I think that a global TEC sounds like a good idea – Schori is worth fifty of Williams the Spineless!

NP
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NP

Of course a house divided will not stand….we have that on good authority! Pat says “What Giles Fraser misses in his Face to Faith commentary is that it isn’t the liberal side of this argument that is arguing that it’s opponents must go.” I am sure Dr Fraser is well aware of that, Pat. No, the small liberal wing of the AC is not arguing the majority must leave but it remains too scared to go it alone and have a liberal church which people who disagree with Lambeth 1.10 can join with integrity, preferring to be part of a… Read more »

Christopher
Guest

Giles Fraser misunderstands Lincoln’s position. Lincoln was in fact willing to compromise and continue to allow slavery in those states that were to secede. Only after secession did Lincoln become more willing to undo slavery in those states that seceded. Some border states continued in the Union and remained slave states.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Merseymike I just don’t get the theology of realignment. Let the conservatives shut their bedroom doors, stamp up and down and forbid their little sister to come in and play. Ever again. In their father’s house are many rooms, and the siblings won’t go away just because they close their eyes to them. What makes siblings siblings is their relationship with the parents, not their relationship with each other. And one day, the father will return, open all the doors and tell all his children that he loves them. I only hope and pray that those who so firmly shut… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

Well, any analogy has its strengths and weaknesses. I think that—on the whole—Giles’ analogy of the U.S. Civil War is pretty good.

[Most importantly, in recognizing that Anglican extreme conservatives = Confederacy firing on Ft. Sumter, where the schism (with its violence) really BEGAN. +Gene Robinson no more started this, than H.B. Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” started the Civil War—though each got that rap, in their time!]

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Giles’ beard comment made me laugh and I also agree with Pat’s comments. In the comments under the article, one reader made the valid point that it is not just the US taking this course, e.g. Canada who did not have a civil war. That said, there are lessons about the Civil War and the fight against slavery. One of my criticisms of much historical analysis is that it usually focuses on the leaders and what they did at crucial junction points in history. This overlooks that sometimes the leaders are swept along by the forces of history. For example… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Erika: I think it is inevitable and that being the case, it would make sense to do it calmly and sensibly.

Current events are not helping anyone and I cannot believe that there will not be some sort of split.

JCF
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JCF

“their VGR fait accompli”

You’d never guess you were talking about a HUMAN BEING, NP: beloved, redeemed and *sanctified* by the living God.

God bless +Gene Robinson—God bless the faithful, democratic-majority of TEC! [But yes: as w/ Giles Fraser’s piece in The Church Times, make us Yanks as mindful of equality for ALL. Lord have mercy!]

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

NP: you ridicule the progressive position as “A few people…concerned for their rights.” I think that is quite out of order. Human rights are important, and come from a Christian reading of Scripture. You shouldn’t set Christianity and human rights in opposition to each other. That is bad Christian theology, and disastrous for the future of the church too. We should be drawing in people who are committed to fighting for human rights, because they are defending the lovely image of God in all His creatures. Instead, people like you are pushing human rights activists away from the church. That… Read more »

John B. Chilton
Guest

Some history. Lincoln made the comment when he was running for Senate well before the Civil War. He was saying, he claimed, that having some states free and others allowing slavery was not a stable equilibrium and that either slavery would spread to other states or it would die off in all of them. The divided house was not an intentional foreshadowing of open revolt and secession. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2934.html ‘Lincoln believed that the recent Supreme Court decision on the Dred Scott case was part of a Democratic conspiracy that would lead to the legalization of slavery in all states. Referring to… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Well said sister Erika 🙂

NP
Guest
NP

Ephesians 5v1-21

Mark- there is ministry….but it does not tell people that suddenly, somehow, God blesses behaviour “incompatible with scripture”…..we have ministry faithful to the teaching we have in God’s word

Pluralist
Guest

Seeing Rowan Williams recently on BBC Four it seems to me he is aware that there is a schism coming again, and that it is something that recurs. The only issue, then, is who ends up being on the other side of the one that is the main branch, and it would be those who don’t turn up at Lambeth and do organise their own Communion. His mistake is to couple this with centralising, because either there will be a break or it will have to be loose, but he seems to want something that centralises around instruments of Communion… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Merseymike
“Erika: I think it is inevitable and that being the case, it would make sense to do it calmly and sensibly.”

If someone calmly and sensibly wants to walk away, that’s their business.
I will calmly and sensibly stay and still recognise them all as belonging to the same family.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

NP
“Ephesians 5v1-21”

Guilty of coarse joking. Sorry!

Feeling better now?

John Bassett
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John Bassett

My Fellow Americans, as Lyndon Johnson so memorably began each speech, let’s give Giles a break here. I think his grasp of American history is probably a lot better than most of us would do with British history. Quick now! What were the corn laws? Why exactly did some German become George I? And what did the Fourth Reform Act do? And who had which color rose?

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Ephesians 5:1-21 applies both ways, I could have easily used that passage as NP. For example, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible…” That applies to having souls become honest about their sexual orientation and activity (rather than being a married “straight” guy and having a string of homosexual dalliances such as Down Low guys do). It also has to do with exposing political machinations where some seek to make deals and… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

NP: I think judgmentalism is “incompatible with Scripture.” Who condemned the woman taken in adultery?

NP
Guest
NP

Mark – like your publican argument (who was commended for his repentance), you raise another good point…..the woman was told to “go and sin no more”

Spot on….I see N T Wright taught you well…….repentance and faith go hand in hand.

Certainly, telling each that our sin is acceptable to God is not compatible with scripture – from Genenis to Revelation, that is clear.

http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=1+john+2%3A15-17

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“Certainly, telling each that our sin is acceptable to God is not compatible with scripture – from Genenis to Revelation, that is clear.”

And, of course, that requires that we accept YOUR interpretation of scripture and share your belief that the actions in question are, indeed, sin.

We don’t…and so your comments are meaningless.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

NP
“you raise another good point…..the woman was told to “go and sin no more”

You’ve avoided Fr Mark’s question. WHO told her to go and sin no more?

And risking to be boring by repeating a point I have made on a few occasions: this is the ONLY occasion where Jesus tells a sinner to go and sin no more.
That does not invalidate the encouragement not to mess your life up any longer, but it certainly means Jesus is not the moralistic stern punitive judge you so like to make him out to be.

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

My goodness, you’re smug, NP. YOu just don’t see any finger-pointing self-righteousness ever being condemned by Jesus, then?

NP
Guest
NP

Mark – I do not see that self-righteousness or anything else is a justification for any other sins…. Erika says “And risking to be boring by repeating a point I have made on a few occasions: this is the ONLY occasion where Jesus tells a sinner to go and sin no more.” So? You reallly want to try and make the case that Christ was tolerant of sin? Guess who said the following, Erika? “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. “ Matthew 5:48 does not support your view of tolerance of sin. Mark 10.45 is… Read more »

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Hi Pat-

Under what ‘interpretation’ of Scripture are the actions in question not sin?

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

“You reallly want to try and make the case that Christ was tolerant of sin?”-NP

Gee, since He associated with tax collectors, lepers, ladies of the night, “rich” people and others undeserving of any praise from the populace at that time, I’d say He was somewhat more tolerant than you could ever be.

Ellie
Guest

NP, the Greek for “perfect” in that verse from Matthew is “teleios” which means “brought to its end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness”. It does not mean “flawless” or “without sin”. It comes from the same root as “telos” which means “the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose”. It can ALSO mean “eternal”. As a spiritual director I have really had to pick up the pieces when people have interpreted that verse to mean they have to engage in perfectionISM. I’ve seen people brutalize themselves as a result. It can’t mean that. If it did then… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Christopher:

Under the interpretation that 1) the concept we call “homosexuality” had no meaning to the people of the First Century and therefore the words typically translated to mean that cannot mean that; and 2) our scientific understanding of human sexuality has improved in 2000 years and we can no longer use an ancient understanding of same to condemn our gay brothers and sisters…just as we no longer condemn scientists who work with a Copernican model of the solar system or a Darwinian model of life.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I can’t answer for Pat, but its clear to me that some of the Bible is quite simply wrong, out of date, superceded by later knowledge. We should not fear that reality – because, after all, the Bible is just a book, written by men of their time.

If we do not start from that position, we are essentially revering the cultural mores of the first century and before. Societies closer to that premodern model thus find biblical literalism easier to follow. Those who have progressed and are more enlightened cannot do so.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“You ask me WHO tells the woman to “go and sin no more” and make my point stronger……it is not I but the Lord who says this, Erika…… “

So, NP, keep quiet from now on then and let the Lord speak to me if he feels it necessary. You are not his mouthpiece.

Oh, and stop confusing “judgement” with “condemnation”, the two are not synonyms.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Pat:

Fine! But your (1) is splitting hairs, since there is no way that Paul, writing as he does, can regard *any* kind of homosexual practice as either natural or good; and your (2) is not an ‘interpretation’ of scripture at all: rather it’s an assertion that this particular scripture is wrong on this point. Hence we’re still waiting for the ‘interpretation’ that oks homosexual practice. It certainly isn’t found in any of the scores of commentaries by those who have studied the texct longest, and who compare and contrast the various viable interpretations.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“there is no way that Paul, writing as he does, can regard *any* kind of homosexual practice as either natural or good”

Proof?

“It certainly isn’t found in any of the scores of commentaries by those who have studied the texct longest”

Those who argue for full inclusion don’t know the Scriptures, or haven’t read them, or aren’t sufficiently familiar with them? What is your evidence for this, other than, since they don’t agree with you, they must not be sufficiently informed? The ABpofC doesn’t agree with you, neither does Jeffry John. Are you saying their scholarship is lacking?

NP
Guest
NP

Erika says “So, NP, keep quiet from now on then and let the Lord speak to me if he feels it necessary.”

Well, I will point people to his words as I have pointed you.

I hope you do not tell people that he says “Go and carry on sinning if it feels right for you and you’re not harming anyone”

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I will point people to his words as I have pointed you.”

Is that what you call it? you really think you’re evangelizing?

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“Hi Pat: Fine! But your (1) is splitting hairs, since there is no way that Paul, writing as he does, can regard *any* kind of homosexual practice as either natural or good;” Again, since “homosexual practice” is a term Paul would have no knowledge of, it’s ludicrous to make that statement. “…and your (2) is not an ‘interpretation’ of scripture at all: rather it’s an assertion that this particular scripture is wrong on this point. Hence we’re still waiting for the ‘interpretation’ that oks homosexual practice. It certainly isn’t found in any of the scores of commentaries by those who… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

Same tired old record, NP. Have you anything new to say to us?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Christopher Shell wrote: ”But your (1) is splitting hairs, since there is no way that Paul, writing as he does, can regard any kind of homosexual practice as either natural or good” On the late Modern understanding that Paul wrote the gloss Romans 1:26-27 and the late Modern understanding that the Hellenistic author of that gloss (Clement of Alexandria or someone contemporary) means and, not least, r e f e r s to the same late Modern understanding… And so on, and so on. However, as our late Modern prejudices are very different from pre Modern prejudices, how could this… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Mark says “Same tired old record, NP”

Yep- – that nasty habit of looking at the words of Christ rather than making him into a western liberal to suit myself…..same commitment to the authority of scripture and opposition to condoning anything which is “incompatible with scripture”

Sorry, Mark – you can make up your own morality if you like but I will always stick to what our bishops say is compatible with scripture.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

No, NP, God didn’t write the bible – it was written by people. So, your advice is incorrect

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Pat- You write: ‘When science differs from literal biblical interpretation, a wise scholar follows the science and finds a way to make the biblical fit….’ For ‘wise’ read ‘dishonest’. What does an honest scholar do? Either they conclude that the bible is wrong, or that the science is wrong. False harmonisations are not characteristic of ‘wise’ people but of those who have a preconceived idea that the bible and science must agree in the end. Why must they? Hi Goran- The world is full of thousands of New Testament specialists. Name just one who agrees with you about the… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Thought you claim to be a non-attending Anglican, MM??

Do have a read of the 39 articles…..

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Christopher Shell wrote: “Hi Göran-
The world is full of thousands of New Testament specialists. Name just one who agrees with you about the gloss.”

Was that a l l you could find in my post?

Nice foot-work…

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“New Testament scholarship” Ah, so not subspecialized in the right area? therefore their ideas don’t count? “What does an honest scholar do? Either they conclude that the bible is wrong, or that the science is wrong. False harmonisations are not characteristic of ‘wise’ people but of those who have a preconceived idea that the bible and science must agree in the end. Why must they?” The first sentence gave me a laugh, given your love of people like Cameron! I do, however, agree with your last point. It is futile, IMNSHO, to try to make the Bible and science harmonize.… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Yep- – that nasty habit of looking at the words of Christ”

If only!
What you do round here is continuously looking at the words of Paul instead.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“For ‘wise’ read ‘dishonest’. What does an honest scholar do? Either they conclude that the bible is wrong, or that the science is wrong. False harmonisations are not characteristic of ‘wise’ people but of those who have a preconceived idea that the bible and science must agree in the end. Why must they?”

Because if the Bible doesn’t agree with the science, then we must conclude that God is deliberately trying to trick us, by giving us insights into nature that he denies in his holy word. Would a loving God do that?

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Pat- Yes, but that assumes a lot about the nature and origin of the biblical documents which in most cases even their authors do not necessarily agree with – or we have no evidence that they do. Paul was only referring to Leviticus, to Genesis (and the manifest creation order), and to his own observations of what was already the case. His words were not prescriptive, therefore, but descriptive. There is no good reason to assume that a given passage of ‘the Bible’ (which is actually a library of 66 or so separate documents) is true and accurate merely… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Absolutely right!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“but it is true and accurate by virtue of corresponding to real-world realities, not by virtue of being included in ‘the Bible’.”

Sounds like you’re saying that, since we know the Earth was not ceated in the way Genesis says, then Genesis is wrong, and that God did not create the world. I doubt this is what you mean, so could you go further? Not a nasty attack this time, Christopher, I’m interested in your ideas on Biblical truth.

NP
Guest
NP

Erika – from what you say, you think ST Paul contradicts Christ??