Thinking Anglicans

opinion

George Pitcher explains on the Mail Online Why I signed the London clergy’s petition for ‘gay weddings’.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times As long as it is not a blessing . . .
And for the New Statesman he writes End of the hairy lefties?

Philip Ball writes in The Guardian that Even atheists must recognise the importance of a sociological study of religion.

Matthew L Skinner writes for The Huffington Post about Mark 1:40-45: The Inconvenient Truth About Taking Care of the Poor.

George Clifford writes for the Episcopal Café: Encourage People to Read the Bible? Maybe not.

Ursula Buchan writes A churchwarden’s lament for The Spectator.

Steve Parish writes in The Guardian about Female bishops and an exercise in diplomacy.

27
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
27 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
12 Comment authors
MarkBrunsonFather Ron SmithErika BakerDavid Shepherdjohn Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Father Ron Smith
Guest

I found Canon Giles Fraser’ article interesting. It would seem that, quite legally, an Anglican priest could offer in his parish church a service of ‘Thanksgiving and Dedication’ for any couple who have entered into a legal Civil Partnership – and presumably this could include a legally-conducted Same-Sex Civil Partnership – as long as no ‘Blessing’ is offered! This sounds an extremely odd arrangement – where an acknowledgement of a legal relationship between two human being can be undertaken in a church – but there is an embargo on offering a ‘Blessing’! Presumably then, now that the C. of E.… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest
David Shepherd

Giles Fraser needs to recognise the HoB reason for not authorising services of blessing: ‘‘The question of public rites for the blessing of same sex unions is still a cause of potentially divisive controversy. The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke for us all when he said that it is through liturgy that we express what we believe, and that there is no theological consensus about same sex unions. Therefore, we as a body cannot support the authorisation of such rites’. However we may contest its fairness, the stated purpose is avoidance of a public liturgy that affirms that which does not… Read more »

Steve Lusk
Guest
Steve Lusk

Giles Fraser’s piece reminded me of two quotes: “Unfortunately, the fool of an Act says ‘compassing the death of the Heir Apparent.’ There’s not a word about a mistake – Or not knowing – Or having no notion – Or not being there – There should be, of course – But there isn’t. That’s the slovenly way in which these Acts are always drawn. However, cheer up, it’ll be all right. I’ll have it altered next session.” (W. S. Gilbert) “[N]o man is fit to be an officer who has not the sense and courage to know when to disobey… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

So where does that leave us, David Shepherd, on the subject of Same-Sex services of Thanksgiving?

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘The material pro­vided by the House of Bishops in 1985 for those who have undertaken a civil marriage is called “An order for prayer and dedication after a civil marriage”.’

Yes back then they offered order for prayer and dedication after a civil marriage, IN ORDER to avoid blessing them. As if there was a difference !

SO, prayer and dedication today, and blessing tomorrow.

But prayer and dedication makes a lot more immediate sense any way.

JCF
Guest
JCF

What does the word “bless” mean, anyway? Isn’t it something like “God prosper, defend, inspire, protect, enliven, sustain”?

When we unpack the word “bless”, can we imagine NOT asking God to do these things for two people pledging their lives to each other? (and if in church, IN Christ?)

Not that high-level theological discussions aren’t important, but I just can’t see what these have to do w/ a couple asking the church for a blessing of their marri-, um, civil partnership [Speed the day when no Freudian slips are necessary!]

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Oh! What’s this ? Quite a different style and flavour in the Giles Fraser New Statesman piece. Flows differently, a lighter touch too …. Is Giles working up some new personas to help sustain his new career as a hack, or has some cheeky sub redacted him wholesale? As regards the other piece. Yes, interesting. The silent – just sign on the dotted line – civil partnership that the Church insisted upon back in the days when the Bill was drafted, now fits so neatly into the sacred process – even separated as the law expects from the religious ceremony… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“What does the word “bless” mean, anyway? Isn’t it something like “God prosper, defend, inspire, protect, enliven, sustain”?”

And the blessing is done by God, the priest merely asks God to bless something. It’s then up to God whether he does or not.
Or does anyone think that purely because priests bless war equipment God automatically obeys?

The church can refuse to bless. It still only refuses the ceremony.

David Shepherd
Guest

Father Ron asks an important pastoral question regarding the interim position regarding thanksgiving services for Christians involved in same-sex relationships. It is one which is taken up by JCF as he challenges us to address the meaning of blessing. Both might concur with a statement found in the Liturgical Commission’s paper entitled The Blessing of Worshippers within the Christian Tradition: ‘Human beings are created in the imago dei, and in part, this attribution carries with it the connotation of a priestly function of placing value on God’s creation and in re-claiming it for God’s good purposes. This priestly task is… Read more »

Counterlight
Guest

What a world, where priests routinely bless bombs that shred people to bits, and yet it’s considered an abomination to bless two men or two women who want to make a household and a life together.

The evangelical chaplain blessing the “Daisy Cutter” bomb on board the aircraft carrier — now there’s an abomination.

Mark
Guest
Mark

I hope no one sneezes in the middle of the service! Confusions and retractions may later arise.

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

David, the only way to have a broad church, which does not slit over every difference, is to take a deep breath and allow others to do things which seem inappropriate and shocking to oneself. Where Anglican students train, one will find really substantial differences over matters of real theology. Is Christ really present in the Eucharist? In what sense if the Bible the words of God? The only way we cope with students who believe God is perfectly happy to burn people alive eternally, and students who do not so believe, is by respecting we can live with difference.… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

A very interesting definition of ‘Blessing’ appears in the New International Dictionary of the Christian Church: “Blessing is God’s imparting of divine favour” A question might arise here: who are we, as God’s ministers, to deny God’s willingness to ‘bless’ a homogenous, faithful Same-Sex relationship? Secondly, in this definition from NIDCC: “When a blessing is given by a man (or a woman?) it is a human act invoking divine favour. It can mean also to give thanks to God.” I am mindful also of a scriptural injunction: “Who are you to pronounce unclean what I have made?” – Did God… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

I don’t know why the message isn’t loud and clear, yet . . . clearly, so-called christian leaders want gays to NOT BE in their churches. I don’t deny the essential good in the idea of the episcopate, but look at what our lack of attention and complacency has placed in the various *cathedra*! Honestly, we expect excellence (for our buck, or euro, or pound)at a restaurant, why do we settle for the lowest-common-denominator in bishops? Mammon truly is our god.

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

Simon – I rather think the server or whatever is swallowing my comments.

ED NOTE: Yes, one found. Anyone else who thinks this may have happened, please say.

john
Guest
john

Ursula Buchan’s is a very nice piece.

john
Guest
john

Rosemary,

I entirely agree with your reply to David. But I also think it an ineluctable consequence of that position that those who do not agree with women bishops should not be compelled to recognise them even to the extent that the current proposed ‘special arrangements’ require. If not, why not?

David Shepherd
Guest

‘Honestly, we expect excellence (for our buck, or euro, or pound)at a restaurant, why do we settle for the lowest-common-denominator in bishops?’ Where vegetables are only served as an accompaniment, vegetarians can and do complain about the paltry number of unappetizing main course choices that are available. Fast food menus may diversify, but won’t change all that much. They cater to mainstream tastes, rather than public opinion on variety. The most that they will offer is a mere accommodation. The Department of Health probably won’t intervene to shut non-vegetarian restaurants down, nor will they be censured for false advertising. Even… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Clearly, you didn’t actually read the whole thing, David.

If you are going to try to be “witty” and dismiss me, at least know what it is you’re dismissing.

Of course, I’m just one of those homosexuals, so you can always simply make a sneering, condescending, ill-informed broadside and expect to be accepted.

However, since we are to clarify and thus teach the ignorant –

If
we
demand
quality
in
small,
relatively-insignificant
purchases,
why
allow
mediocrity
in
the
episcopacy
if
we
take
it
seriously?

Clear?

Words make good sense now?

David Shepherd
Guest
David Shepherd

Mark:

Predictably piqued, but that’s why we love ya! x

David Shepherd
Guest
David Shepherd

The hidden sub-text:
If the church merely caters to the majority, as with fast food chains, it’s a prescription for mediocrity.

It will probably lead to schism, with smaller churches more capably catering to LGBT expectations.

The Church of England will probably not reap the censure of the State.

I can see how that might be misconstrued as homophobic.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“If the church merely caters to the majority, as with fast food chains, it’s a prescription for mediocrity.”

That the minority is, by definition, less mediocre and therefore better is a highly suspect assumption.

Sometimes, the majority has understood something the minority is absolutely refusing to see.

You can find yourself in an advanced minority, in a majority that has not yet understood something, in a majority that has understood something, or in a backward minority.

Numbers really don’t count for anything.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“If the church merely caters to the majority, as with fast food chains, it’s a prescription for mediocrity.”

That the minority is, by definition, less mediocre and therefore better is a highly suspect assumption.

Sometimes, the majority has understood something the minority is absolutely refusing to see.

You can find yourself in an advanced minority, in a majority that has not yet understood something, in a majority that has understood something, or in a backward minority.

Numbers really don’t count for anything.

David Shepherd
Guest

Erika:

No assumption made. By ‘*Merely* caters to the majority’, I’m not pre-supposing the validity of majority or minority opinion. Merely suggests the complete exclusion of dissent from a smaller segment that might have an insight.

You might agree that prejudicially ignoring a minority view provides no insight at all.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

David,

“You might agree that prejudicially ignoring a minority view provides no insight at all.”

Indeed.
Pandering to a minority view after a process of discernment has found it to be wrong doesn’t provide any insight either.

Talking about minorities and majorities as though numbers had any value at all is completely misleading. In all possible topics.

Something is either right or it isn’t, and the determining factor for whether it is right or not is not the number of people who support it.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Justice is at the heart of the Gospel precepts. If the Church ignores justice, it may not survive.

MarkBrunson
Guest

Erika,

You are being run around a mulberry bush.

Seriously, do NOT waste your time with this one. You’ll find your tires spinning in a mudhole of sophistry. The worst kind of conservative is the kind who prostitutes his intelligence to justifying his prejudices and crying “tolerance, compassion” while denying it to others, and this is one of the worst.

You have better things to do.