Thinking Anglicans

opinions at Advent 4

Cif belief asked this week, Is the Bible anti-gay?
Responses came from:
Theo Hobson: Ours is not the same homosexuality
Davis Mac-Iyalla: A terrible use of the Good Book
John Richardson: Evasive answers don’t help
Judith Maltby: Not much to do with the Bible

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times that Perhaps the politicians really value Christians.

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times Thank God for the Courage to live with uncertainty.

Nesrine Malik writes in the Guardian about usury.

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MarkBrunsonFather Ron SmithdrdanfeeErika Bakerchoirboyfromhell Recent comment authors
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Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

In Diarmaid MacCulloch’s magisterial book on The Reformation he says (page 705) when talking about the outcome of the Reformation in relationship to homosexuality ‘Despite much well-intentioned theological fancy footwork to the contrary, it is difficult to see the Bible as expressing anything else but disapproval of homosexual activity, let alone having any conception of homosexual identity. The only alternatives are either to try to cleave to patterns of life and assumptions set out in the Bible, or to say that in this, as in much else, the Bible is simply wrong. In my view, liberating ourselves from Bibliolatry frees… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
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Richard
That’s because it doesn’t, as far as I can tell, appear on the Guardian website. If anyone can find it there, do let me know.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“The only alternatives are either to try to cleave to patterns of life and assumptions set out in the Bible, or to say that in this, as in much else, the Bible is simply wrong.”

As it is if you try to travel according to a flat earth with the sun and stars and planets revolving around it. As it is if you decide that slavery is God-sanctioned. As it is if you try to reconcile the biblical age of the earth with geology, half lives of radioactive isotopes.

What’s the problem?

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“Yes, the Bible condemns homosexual behaviour, as a threat to moral order. But the New Testament condemns something else as well: holy moralism. It announces an anti-legalistic revolution. It tells us we have to keep our moral thinking mobile, open-ended. The Bible sows the seed of the deconstruction of its own sexual moralism.” – Theo Hobson – This is the kernel of Theo Hobson’s ‘Telegraph’ contribution. Moral thinking has, indeed, to be considered provisional. As the Creator allows us to discover new ‘Truth’ about our common human nature, we must learn to live into the reality – as best we… Read more »

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Quite.
It’s not a problem for me but it clearly is for those people who believe that the Bible is inerrant. My problem is saying ‘This is the word of the Lord’ after each un-edifying Old Testament reading of murder and mayhem, adultery, vengeance and God’s wrath. I much prefer the New Zealand(?) practice of responding ‘Hear the word of the Lord’. I can afirm that.

Simon, I can’t find it either while other major articles from today are there. Copyright reasons perhaps?

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“..countries like Uganda propose introducing life imprisonment and the death penalty for gay people. Schism and heresy are nothing in comparison with somebody using the Good Book as such a terrifying weapon against us. That is the greatest blasphemy against God.” – Davis Mac-Iyalla – How well put by Davis Mac-Iyalla! Bibliolatry is using the ‘words about God’ against the People of God. This surely is using a tool of faith against the Incarnate reality of The Word of God, which is even more blasphemous. Who ever exalts words about God above *The Word*, who “became flesh and dwelt among… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ron “There is no way that an intrinisically-ordered ‘gay’ can be any other sort of sexual partner – than with his or her own gender.” We’ve been talking about this all evening, and I do accept there is an issue. Even Gene Robinson was married and fathered children – being gay rarely means being physically unable to sustain a heterosexual relationship. For women, it never means that. And that’s leaving aside my contention that many many people are bisexual but are pressed into identifying as either straight or gay because that’s where society’s discussion is at the moment. I think… Read more »

Mary Clara
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Mary Clara

Fr. Ron writes: “The only problem with Theo’s article is that he assumes (a quite common assumption among those who are determinedly heterosexual) that there is no truth in the assertion that homosexuality is a pre-determined condition, which many of us have recognised from early childhood. There is no way that an intrinisically-ordered ‘gay’ can be any other sort of sexual partner – than with his or her own gender. This, I would presume, is understood only by those of us who have had to live with the reality of this. Other people’s understandings can only be, at the very… Read more »

Columba Gillliss
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Columba Gillliss

I’m returning to the thread about responding to Scripture readings – When we used to say “Here endeth the Epistle” or “Here endeth the Second Lesson” I could be quite thankful that the reader had stopped without commiting myself to approve what I’d heard.
Columba Gilliss

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Bravo Columba Giles!!! Yes, and it’s amazing that the 1662 BCP has more gender-neutral pronouns than any version later than… just goes to show…

You can be a traditionalist and very liberation theologically-minded.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

” When we used to say “Here endeth the Epistle” or “Here endeth the Second Lesson” I could be quite thankful that the reader had stopped without commiting myself to approve what I’d heard. – Columba Gilliss – Columba, may I say that, when we have concluded our Readings in the course of any service from the N.Z. Prayer Book, we are invited to say the following words: “Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church”. I believe that we can honestly answer this in the prescribed form by saying: *Thanks be to God* – If only to acknowledge… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

” being gay rarely means being physically unable to sustain a heterosexual relationship. For women, it never means that.” – Erika, on Sunday – Erika. May I re-phrase my statement you quoted, by saying that; although an intrinsically homo-sexual person may be perfectly capable of having a physical relation with someone of the other gender, it may not be psychologically possible, which is slightly different from what I said. As for a perfectly satisfactory love relationship with someone of the other gender – monogamous, even – this is indeed a possbility, but, as in some existing marriages, this can be… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ron
“As for a perfectly satisfactory love relationship with someone of the other gender – monogamous, even – this is indeed a possbility, but, as in some existing marriages, this can be without any explicit sexual contact.”

Yes, love without sex is indeed possible. But the kind of deep romantic love that combines all aspects of sharing body, soul and mind, is not possible.
What I’m really trying to get away from is this notion that homosexuality has only to do with sex. Sex and sexual attraction are only one part of it.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

The mysterious origins of homosexual orientations persist, along with the newly elevated empirical mysterious origins of heterosexual orientations. Neither is well understood in any detailed, predictive, empirical sense. Our most dominant research model at the moment involves Nature x Nurture, not either one set of factors alone. We are still slowly emerging from Embodiment Dark Ages in which sexuality was taken for granted; the main religious tasks being morally sorting particular sex behaviors that could be observed or reported, along with control through valorization or negative sanctions, and along with fine tuning the justifications and uses of force in particular… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“What I’m really trying to get away from is this notion that homosexuality has only to do with sex. Sex and sexual attraction are only one part of it.” – Erika Baker, on Monday – Erika. Me too! What mostly heterosexual males do not understand is that homosexuals, whether male or female are often looking for more than ‘just sex’. What is most often longed for is that one person who can identify exclusively with one’s-self as the perfect life-partner – who can share griefs and joys, sorrow and happiness, life and death situations. This has little to do with… Read more »

MarkBrunson
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I am celibate. No sexual activity. I’m still a homosexual.

No. It isn’t all about sex.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Mark, thank you for your honesty! Perhaps now the Church might really be more open to what once were called (often in a derogatory way – and certainly by the R.C. Church) Special Friendships. Religious Orders have mostly been the sad venue of such misguided and sometimes counter-spiritual shibboleth. I do remember a very wise Provincial Minister advising one of the new aspirants to his community – when the aspirant admitted that he was an instrinsic homosexual, and wondered aloud whether ‘Special Friendshps’ were still in vogue -“Our religious community must always cherish such relationships, but the important thing to… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Well, let me maintain honesty, and – in case anyone misunderstood – state I am not a member of a religious order. My celibacy is voluntary and embraced, but not out of shame or enforcement by societal standards, but because I realize my limitations as a human being, and a deeply-wounded one! That’s nothing to do with my sexuality, but with me, in the same way that so many heterosexuals need to realize that societal acceptance is not license. Many people I know, of which heterosexuals are the majority, need to be foregoing partnering and sexual expression until they figure… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Thank you, Mark. Very well said. Happy Christmas!

MarkBrunson
Guest

Happy Christmas, Fr. Ron!

And to everyone!