THINKING ANGLICANS

Equality bill completes passage through Parliament

The Equality Bill completed its passage through the UK Parliament yesterday when the House of Commons accepted all the Lords amendments. It will now go for Royal Assent.

Press Association Equality Bill sent for Royal Assent

Ekklesia Faith groups hail new law allowing civil partnerships on religious premises

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MarkBrunsonBobRev Laurence RobertsFather Ron SmithSteve Caldwell Recent comment authors
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Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

As a transsexual Christian, I feel glad about his legislation. It isn’t perfect but it extends protections against prejudice and discrimination. I am pleased that schools may not discriminate on grounds of gender reassignment. I was asked to leave when the time came for me to transition. I had really generous references but 95 job applications later, it was obvious I wasn’t going to get a position – so I joined the NHS who have proved to be excellent on inclusion. I wonder what the Anglican church will be like on inclusion. I am exploring vocation as a nun. I… Read more »

badman
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badman

The final debate can be viewed at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmhansrd/cm100406/debtext/100406-0021.htm#1004073000001 The Government stressed that the Lords’ defeat of provisions clarifying the limits of exemptions for religious organisation would make no difference to the law, since the elements removed by the Lords – such as an express proportionality test – are implicit in the existing exception anyway because of binding case law. The Government said that it has now responded to the European Commission’s reasoned opinion of November 2009 which suggests that the UK exceptions do not comply with the EU Equal Treatment Framework Directive. Although its response is confidential, the Government said… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“if the Anglican Church seeks to be inclusive, I wonder if it has space for transsexual nuns and transsexual priests.” – Susanna Clarke – Well, Susanna, if you are authentic enough to be employed by the N.H.S. and are content to offer your life to God in Community as a Nun, then Paul has a word for you, and it is this: “In Christ, there is neither male nor female.” It seems to me, as an advocate of LGBT persons already within the ambience of the Anglican Church, that you should pursue your quest in the light of this significant… Read more »

mark wharton
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mark wharton

I was totally taken aback when I read Susannah Clark’s post. Did God make a mistake when he made you male? It is absolute madness to attempt to change your gender and then say that you have listened to Gods call to follow him into religious life. Just who are you listening to? Rev Ron smith, it never ceases to amaze me just how you can manipulate scripture to mean whatever you want it to mean. You should really give classes. Il be praying for the healing of both of you.

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Some years ago the then Bishop of Bristol, Barry Rogerson, confirmed that a man who had gender re-assingment as a woman could remain at her post as a parish priest.

Fr Mark
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“It is absolute madness to attempt to change your gender…”

Oh dear, Mark Wharton, is that the caring face of ecclesiastical conservatism at work again? Or the scientifically well-informed one?

Counterlight
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Counterlight

Male and female may be biologically assigned, but masculine and feminine are cultural constructs.

Susannah is no more mad than any of the rest of us in this world driven by ambition, greed, and cowardice. I see no reason to cut her off from the Fellowship of Christ’s Eternal Priesthood, or to deny her the opportunity to explore her vocation. Nor would I deny God His liberty in making such a calling.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“Did God make a mistake when he made you male?”

No, Mark, God did not make a mistake, no more than when God made me gay and female, and you male and [I assume] straight. How dare you call another of God’s beloved ‘a mistake.’ Shame on you.

Mudduck
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Mudduck

Mr. Wharton, God makes all of us female to begin, then sends hormones to customize the body of some in a masculine direction. God doesn’t make us male or female — God makes us as we find ourselves to be. Some people, now called intersex, have genitals between the male and female standard; God makes them so. Others LOOK male or female standard, but have feelings and desires that don’t match. Our minds are also sex organs, made by God. I wish all of us could live as we feel impelled to, in the bodies we were born with. I… Read more »

evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh)
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evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh)

“Did God make a mistake when he made you male?” Unbelievable. And She didn’t make any mistakes in Haiti or Chile recently either. But God did give us a brain to be in touch and to improve….maybe that’s not a mistake after all. The other night I rode the train back from Albany, NY after helping a promising young musician move into his post at the cathedral there, and was seated in the dining car across from a transgendered-transsexual (?). It was weird and a little uncomfortable for this (raised conservatively) mid-westerner, but I grit my teeth and listened. He/She… Read more »

Fr. Jon
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Fr. Jon

Susanna was absolutely moved by your testimony, hope wherever you calling leads you, God will fulfil your desire to serve him and bless you Fr Ron in your encouragement. I find it interesting Mark that you feel it necessary to pray for healing for these two willing servants. Do you not think that God would want to bestow healing IF he has no part in Susanna’s call or Fr. Ron’s careful and encouraging support. God loves, God calls and God is not powerless nor rejects those he creates in His image.

Oriscus
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Oriscus

Is there a variation of humanity in which God’s image is not present? The rest is trivial.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

I hope Susanna will continue to have the courage of her conviction and live and serve in the knowledge of God’s love and calling for her. Mark, I don’t know how old you are or where you were educated, but this is the kind of elementary biology my children are learning for their GCSE exams at 16. If you live in Britain, I suggest you take a biology GCSE, if in another country, whatever equivalent they offer. I’m sure you don’t realise just how uneducated you sound, but you would really do yourself a favour if you did not make… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Mark
Another question – what kind of logic parades the ex-gay movement and tells gay people they could change if they only wanted to, but then tells transgendered people that they must remain as God made them?

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“Did God make a mistake when he made you male?” – Mark Wharton, on Thursday – Mark, this is precisely the problem with many opponents of the LGBT community’s efforts to educate conservative Church people. They usually base their argument on an out-dated understanding of basic biological and psychological research that has taken place since the Scriptures were written, and since the Church laid down its moral precepts about gender and sexuality that have been historically ill-informed. What is needed is for the Church to thoroughly enter into dialogue with those whose task it is to research and develop new… Read more »

Steve Caldwell
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Genesis 1:27 says:

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

This implies that the the image of God contains both female and male. Would this mean that God is in some sense transgender (“Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender roles, but combines or moves between these.”)?

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“This implies that the the image of God contains both female and male. – Steve Caldwell, on Friday – Precisely, Steve! This gives us one reason why the exclusively patriarchal image of God runs counter to the fact that, if we are all made in the image and likeness of God, then God has to contain (or surpass) any singular construct of human sexuality. This is basic to the need for ‘inclusive language’ when expounding the Scriptures – in order that they may be understood to be totally inclusive for the instruction of all humanity, as created in the divine… Read more »

Bob
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Bob

Out of the interest of desiring to understand more on this issue, how do people read 1 Cor 11:14-15 “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.” (bearing in mind the historical context of head covering vs the universal principle that Paul is making here)?

Rev Laurence Roberts
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Rev Laurence Roberts

‘…how do people read 1 Cor 11:14-15.. ?’ (Quote)

I have nt given this verse (and great many others) much / any thought for years now. Sorry about that.

But is nt it high time Paul’s various letters were not treated as sacrosanct ?

Just look ! There are living letters all around us and though aglow the C of E stops its ears to them so often…

Bob
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Bob

I guess it depends on how we view Paul’s letters – as one of the Apostles who’s writings are part of the Canon of Scripture or just as letter that has historical interest? Hmm, interesting. With your view then, how do we take Paul’s teachings – as moral guidelines? No cultural relevence? Read our context into it?

MarkBrunson
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The writings of a man, nothing more, no more capable or worthy of inspiration and Holy Spirit’s guidance than the rest of us, just as capable of error, whose writings were also selected as canon by the same sort of men. To do otherwise is not only spiritual laziness making one unworthy of the name disciple, but also errant idolatry.

Hope that answers your loaded questions. Happy fishing!

Bob
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Bob

Thanks Mark. No fishing intended or trying to cause debate here! Although I do respectfully disagree with the theological conviction on this issue, I am merely desiring just to understand and appreciate others views on this.

With that in mind, then how much how much of a reference point does the Bible play in our spirituality. And are their parts of Scripture that we are to focus more on (e.g. teachings and life of Jesus, Old Testament Law, etc)?

MarkBrunson
Guest

Worst allergy season ever, here, Bob. Forgive the churlishness. I appreciate honest and respectful disagreement. Now, I’m not a theologian, but, I suspect you weren’t looking for a theologian’s answer. If you’re like me, those tend to obfuscate rather than illuminate. My answer is this, and it is a layman’s answer: I treat Scripture as very important and very sacred because it points me to what my heart and soul have been seeking. It gives me a form to direct myself toward. It is a letter of introduction. Having been introduced, I come to know the Introduced on a personal… Read more »