still more on the Times interview

Benny’s Blog has The Sin of Honesty.

…So the Archbishop’s now famous phrase from last week’s interview in the Times that “He has no problem with gay bishops’ clearly needs another caveat placed alongside celibacy – the caveat that “He has no problem – as long as no-one knows!”

This is clearly a major issue for the CofE and the Anglican Communion. At a meeting of candidates for the current General Synod elections last week, 2 of the candidates openly noted that the Church of England has been ordaining gay priests and consecrating gay bishops for years, and that we need to stop living a lie!

Indeed, when I served on General Synod several years ago, I remember being part of a conversation in which a serving Bishop’s name was mentioned as being gay. The reaction was remarkable – there was shocked silence for a moment before one senior churchman (they were both men) for whom this was news, said “He’s not gay, is he?” while at the same moment another (who already knew of the Bishop’s sexuality) said, “He’s not gone public, has he?” Which was the greater crime, I wondered – being gay or being honest?

Lesley’s Blog has Balm in Gilead and the interview with Rowan Williams

…I have been musing about the pain Rowan Williams expressed in his recent interview with the Times. I had no idea that Jeffrey John and Rowan Williams were so close. I do hope that there is some Balm in Gilead to cover some of the pain that has been felt by so many people discussing the issue of homosexuality and the church. It will be my prayer…

Significant Truths has a little poem, see Nonsense.

Changing Attitude continues from its earlier posts with How to make a difference – but first, examples of dysfunction and abuse in the Church.

…How do we work towards changing this culture of secrecy and dishonesty? I maintain that it is corrosive of healthy church life, together with the behaviour of closeted LGBT people and the impact of lobby groups which are unhealthily obsessed with other people’s sexuality.

Take small steps
There are many small ways in which we can be doing something that changes the dynamic of our church life. Becoming aware, having courage to initiate conversations, remembering to question what doesn’t feel right, learning to listen to your inner voice.

Perspective
Getting the current state of affairs into a better perspective, ++Rowan, ++John, House of Bishops, General Synod, would be a dramatically significant first step. The behaviour of many in the Communion (independent of their views about homosexuality) is a disgrace which is infecting and corrupting the Church.

Build relationships
Create networks, relationships and friendships at every level of church life – and across difference – don’t allow others to marginalise us in their attempt to portray themselves as victims. It’s more difficult to be secretive, to organise conspiracies and to project onto others when you are in relationship with people rather than in denial of their presence and when you allow a holy light to shine on the encounters.

Pray
Well, obviously, for a gay activist, prayer comes first, 7am every morning! Pray openly, reflectively, trustingly, quietly attentive, yearning and listening to the loving, gentle, tender, intimate presence of God in your heart and soul. Trust – trust God, trust God’s infinite variety and complexity and simplicity in creation. Tune in to your own experience of God and trust, and pray for imagination, vision and enlightenment.

And two American views:

An Inch at a Time The Promised Rowan Williams Rant

In a Godward direction Rowan’s Job Description

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MarkBrunsonFather Ron SmithSpirit of Vatican IIGöran Koch-SwahneRosemary Hannah Recent comment authors
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Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Susan Russell is, as usual, spot on. Does the ABC ever imagine how gay Christians, gays in the C of E, would feel his words? Does he have one spark of empathy with others?

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

It is strange indeed for me to find myself defending the ABC – but I rather suspect, having now read more of his words, the ‘wound’ he speaks of is the whole situation. The way gay clergy are vilified. The way, especially, even celibate gay bishops cannot speak of their orientation. The way the church has been divided. The way people from a genuinely different culture have been made to feel sidelined. The way the opportunity for dialogue has become an occasion for haranguing and vilification – and this on both sides.

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II

Susan Russell has persuaded many people that Rowan Williams regards homosexuality as “a wound in the side of the Church” and has stirred up a lot of rage about this. But this is what RW actually said: ““I was very well aware of letting people down,” he says. Letting down your friend, Dr John? “Yes, of course, of course.” Is it true, as I read somewhere, that you knelt down and asked his forgiveness? “Let’s not go there. I regard private conversations as private. But, yes, I was conscious of that as, in a sense, a wound in the whole… Read more »

Christopher
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Christopher

The fact is RW has continued to use language choices that indicate a failure to have actually listened to lgbt persons, “wound” being one of them. His interview in Belgium is perhaps infamous for his failure to understand how that could be and was used to harm lgbt persons. Elsewhere he has spoken of Gene Robinson in terms that imply nothing less than that Gene is a wound and worse. And Gene even took him on in New Orleans over it. He seems so stuck in his own world of the head on this that I have to ask at… Read more »

Tobias Haller
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Spirit of V2, while I agree with you about what Rowan said, and what he meant, there is still a problem in the third necessary element in effective communication: how he is heard. He is himself aware of this dilemma, as he mentioned at the General Convention last year; that he can hardly say anything without his words being misunderstood. But this is precisely why Delphic or Bardic utterances, such as “Pass” do not help his situation. He seems simply to be unable clearly to say, “This is what I think… and this is my task as ABoC” — which… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

“The wound in question is church division due to disagreement about homosexuality, not homosexuality as such, which RW clearly does not view as a wound.”

Maybe so, but it would be nice if he could be clearer and more careful in his choice of words, wouldn’t it? I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say anything unequivocally positive about the place of gay people in the Church: it’s all just problems, trouble, wounds, etc, and nothing else.

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

Rowan was very positive when he came to speak to a group of gay clergy (The Clergy Consultation) at the Royal Foundation of St Katherine, led back then by Malcolm Johnson. He could hardly have been more positive about affirming same sex couples with a celebration of eucharist. He was very positive when he gave the Michael Harding Memorial address. When you give an address in honour of the dead, you don’t turn round years after, and say, “I was prof throwing out a few ideas.” No, he was a minister first and foremost, with a sacred trust to the… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

He is a very poor communicator. He appears to have no concept that people will not put as much effort into trying to hear him as he puts into writing. He does not appear to really understand HOW people hear.

This does not, however, mean that he intended queer folk to hear him say that he though they were a wound, when he intended to say that the current terrible situation was causing hurt all round.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

What we all need to remember here is that Rowan Williams did not leap at the opportunity to become Archbishop of Canterbury. In fact, he is reported to have expressed a degree of discomfort at the thought. The fact that he did, eventually, accede to the post seemed, at the time, a victory for reason over the prejudice of his predecessor, whose own attitude to gays was very different from that of Rowan. It was in George Carey’s term as ABC that the infamous ‘Lambeth 110’ prejudice was brought into the dicussion, muddying the waters on the homosexual question –… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

I may be wrong but given RW is such an erudite theologian with a well stocked mind, he may have used the word “wound” because half consciously perhaps he had in mind Antonio Rosmini’s famous book “The Five Wounds of Holy Church” Just a thought.

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

‘His public statements on this issue have always been attuned towards what he conscientiously sees as more truly representing the official ‘tradition’ of Anglican theology – as expresseed in its public statements.’Rev Ron Smith.

This is not the case.

Spirit of Vatican II
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Spirit of Vatican II

I’m not sure about this “terrible communicator” meme — after all no churchperson has communicated as much, on so many subjects, with so many people — and not in bland, sanitized churchtalk but with the individual quirkiness, delphic or bardic as it may be, that ensures his words linger in memory.

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

He does not understand when you need to use easily understood phrases which help listeners pick up on what you are saying, and when you can write with subtle intensity, so that those who have a greater interest in depth, and the linguistic ability to appreciate such things, can follow them. I fear, however much one can craft words, an inability to distinguish between a mass audience and a literary reader, makes one a poor communicator.

MarkBrunson
Guest

Sorry, but Rowan’s not that bright, nor do I believe we’re seeing any “quirkiness” – just absence of thought and a blindness to the quality of words, made up for, Rowan thinks,in quantity. In the end, simply writing theological tomes, acquiring degrees, etc. is no demonstration of brilliance. Being asked to speak somewhere is no hallmark of the articulate. At the very least, his words show a blundering stupidity – given the fact that he gave a politicized apology for his words on the gay “lifestyle” shows ignorance is no longer the problem – a blundering stupidity in his unexamined… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“This does not, however, mean that he intended queer folk to hear him say that he though they were a wound, when he intended to say that the current terrible situation was causing hurt all round.”

If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I am with Mark Brunson.

As to Father Ron Smith I say what I said to Rosemary Hannah; If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

“It doesn’t work” might just mean “it doesn’t please me”. People seem ready to hyper-ventilate about every perceived infelicity in the Archbishop’s language, which is not particularly helpful.

MarkBrunson
Guest

‘”It doesn’t work” might just mean “it doesn’t please me”. ‘ No. What it means is it doesn’t work. Rowan’s inability – complete inability, not mere “infelicity” – to comprehend the weight and import of his words make him a menace. If anything, given the series of absolute blunders he’s made, he should be very careful about his words. The fact that he isn’t means that he’s either too stupid or too self-involved to do so. Either way, he is in no way fit to speak to, let alone *for*, a communion. If one makes a claim of some special… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“That’s all there is to it. Desperate attempts to excuse him are more than unhelpful.”

– Mark Brunson, on Friday –

What is unhelpful, Mark, is to not give the Primus inter Pares Archbishop some degree of latitude in his public utterances. At least, they are not as corrosive of normal human response as that of the Global South Primates, who are intent on an ‘ethnic cleansing’ ritual against homosexuals within the Church. Rowan is definitely not of this category! Nor is he coldly dismissive of gays.

MarkBrunson
Guest

No. Not acceptable, Ron. Sorry. I don’t recall if you are gay or not, but I am, and this statement, in its clumsiness, was as cold and callous as you can get, and more destructive, in some ways, than the GS garbage because it comes from someone who is supposed to know better. “Degree of latitude?!” The man is present as a bishop standing in the place of Christ and you want to give him a degree of latitude you wouldn’t give a politician or a celebrity?! I can understand someone in the ordained ministry doesn’t like hearing that they… Read more »