Thinking Anglicans

opinions just before Lent

Updated Monday afternoon

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times that The synod is the place to challenge the unjust and evil.

Andrew Motion said in an interview with Janet Murray in the Guardian that “All children should be taught the Bible at school”. Theo Hobson in the Spectator was not impressed.

Sunny Hundal writes in the Guardian that It is worth having a healthy debate on the interaction between faith and violence.

Jonathan Bartley writes at Ekklesia about Hearing what children are saying.

At Comment is free Theo Hobson and Julian Baggini discuss Is Christianity a good influence on British culture?

On the BBC Radio 4 programme Today (Baroness) Sayeda Warsi argued that politicians are ‘ignoring’ polygamy. See Politicians ‘ignoring’ polygamy and also Happily married?

Update
Giles Fraser’s article in last week’s Church Times is now available, see Why is the Left so anti-Jewish.

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Pluralist
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It seems to me that Theo Hobson is confused between articles. Andrew Motion wants a positive contribution to culture, which elsewhere Theo Hobson affirms.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“So Christianity’s modern task is to accept liberalism (which it helped to bring about, remember) – and to exist within it. It must offer this vision of good overcoming evil, and of history coming good, without offending against liberal principles.” Theo Hobson v Julian Baggini It strikes me that in this statement by Theo Hobson, in his debate with Julian Baggini in Times online, Theo is expressing a fundamental truth about Christianity: needing to be ‘up with the play’ in today’s world context. We are reminded here that ‘God so loved the WORLD’- not just the Church, and for the… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

It isn’t that we “liberals” are anti-Jewish, it is that we are becoming anti-Israel in watching the once-oppressed becoming the oppressors.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Christianity’s modern task is to accept liberalism (which it helped to bring about, remember)” This is central to what is wrong with “conservative”, and possibly “liberal” Christianity. Many of the humanist ideas that we now take for granted find their roots in the Gospel,and spring from the fact that Western society has been informed by that Gospel for the past nearly 2000 years. Even those who reject Christianity still follow these ideas: the dignity of the individual, the basic value of every human being, regardless of their actions, that no-one is beyond redemption, that we are called to help each… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Ford, are you saying that ‘smug judgementalism’ has no truck with ‘hubris’? My understanding of the truly ‘liberal’ outlook is that it is consonant with the Gospel promise of ‘freedom’ in Christ – and even in the theology of Paul.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

Fr. Ron, no indeed. And you might understand the true liberal approach to be “consonant with the Gospel promise of ‘freedom’ in Christ – and even in the theology of Paul”, but at times that’s not what the liberal position looks like. It more often than not looks like wanton rejection of anything that isn’t new, combined with an attitude that we know more than God does, and that we get to tell him what He thinks. I tend to side with the conservatives on that one, actually. I can’t for instance, just ignore Paul’s words about homosexuality because he… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“That’s why I’d never get married, even if the Church says I can, I no more trust the liberals arguing for it than I do the consrervatives arguing against it. And if their arguments DO come from a place of understanding, why are they so bad at showing that to the rest of us?” – Ford Elms – Ford. Now that you’ve opened up the question, I must confess that I, personally, have a problem with the thought of a same-sex relationships being called ‘marriage’, per se. I would have thought that the simple description of *partnership* (the term used… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“I would have thought that the simple description of *partnership* (the term used by many heterosexual couples outside of the Church, who prefer to call their spouse ‘partner’ rather than husband or wife) might more realistically be used for same-sex relationships.” I have business partners. The woman I am “married” to is not my business partner, however convenient the term would be for other people. And we are not “just” living together, like many heterosexual couples who use the term “partner”, precisely because they have not made deeper vows. I accept that some people have difficulties in seeing my relationship… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Thank you, Erika, for being brave enough to open up the conversation on what, I think, is one of the most important aspects of same-sex partners living together in a fully-committed relationship – what exactly is the covenantal character of it? I must admit that my own hesitation about calling such a partnership ‘marriage’, is in its context as a type of sacramentality – which has usually been restricted to marriage between a male and a female. (I was going to add – with the prospect of procreation, but that is no longer expected of marriage where heterosexual partners are… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“I’m sorry, Ford, whether you personally ever wish to marry or not cannot stop me from calling my relationship a marriage.” Erika, I have never suggested otherwise! I meant what I said offline about your relationship, and I think I’ve said the same online. As gently as I can, I wonder if the ease with which you see devaluation of your relationship is not a contributer here. Do you feel that the Church’s refusal to marry us is a devaluation of your relationship? Is marriage really about validating relationships? I have always felt that was the least important aspect of… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ford, Oh, I am cross with the church, yes. Mostly so with those in positions of influence who privately are quite liberal as far as homosexuality is concerned but don’t speak out and believe that to be an honest way of living. But, no, I genuinely don’t believe that I feel the church can possibly devalue my relationship. It is outside its power to devalue any human relationships, all it can do is refuse to accept them, it cannot affect their substance. I feel strongly about gay marriage precisely because I have been “properly” married before. Unlike many, I speak… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Erika and Ford. How wonderful that you both are prepared to open up to all of us on this thread about your own understandings of your separate relationships with a same-sex parter. This is holy ground! One thing I have learned from you both is that each of your situations is basically the same – that you love your partner in a way consonant with what Christ speaks about in the gospels, mirroring that of Christ for his Church. I am inclined to believe what some of my Roman Catholic priest friends have told me about their understanding of ‘marriage’… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Fr Ron What to call the love of my life? I have no idea! There was a wonderful radio programme last week talking about just how difficult it is to find the right terminology here. It’s not just about what we would choose, although that could be a start. It’s also about not being strident, not offending people around us who haven’t thought about this issue – strangely, there are large numbers of people who still genuinely have not ever had the need to think about same sex relationships. And so we try to feel our way into every single… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

What you have said here, Erika, in response to my question of what to call your partner in terms of the relationship you have together, when people ask you. I think you have perhaps the only response you can give at the moment, which is to act sensitively; to both your partner and those who enquire as to the terms of relationship. I have known personally of a congregation of people whose attitude has changed, because of their exposure to the integrity of such a relationship. The word ‘courtesy’ springs to mind, which, I believe in this circumstance, is absolutely… Read more »