Thinking Anglicans

opinion

Ian Paul Do we need male leaders?

Symon Hill Freeing sexuality from an either/or model

Kelvin Holdsworth Some Bisexuals are Christian (and there’s lots of them)

Rowan Williams Embracing Our Limits – The Lessons of Laudato Si’

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Corruption entrenches inequality in South Africa, says Archbishop

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Father Ron SmithGeoff McLarneyKateJCFRod Gillis Recent comment authors
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John
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John

KH is really hitting his stride these days. I’m bisexual. I think at some point I decided girls were more fun but hey! ‘de gustibus non est disputandum’ (knowledge of that might help our church leaders, whose Latin is generally poor).

Father David
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Father David

Rowan Williams was totally brilliant in the lecture he gave last night on ‘Soil and Soul’ at Firle Place, near Lewes. How encouraging it is that we have someone of his vast intelligence within our Anglican ranks. I don’t think we appreciated nor valued him nearly enough when he was + Rowan Cantuar. One final thought he imparted in his lecture on the environment was that the Church was quite good at assisting people to be “imaginative”! “And if not” that, then what are we here for?

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Thanks for putting up the link to Rowan Williams on Laudato Si. I’ve never been able to develop an appreciation for Williams’ dense writing style. Now here is a guy for whom the appellation “scary smart” contains no guile.

Reading Williams is like suffering through the sorrowful mysteries of lent in hopes of arriving at the joyful mysteries of Easter. I waded through this article last week. Like the bishop of Rome, Williams has something to say worth considering– something to say in his own right about theological reflection on the environmental crisis.

Susannah Clark
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Rowan’s work on Teresa de Avila is very perceptive and helpful. I’d recommend anyone starting to explore Carmelite spirituality to study it, along with Ruth Burrows analysis of the Interior Castle, and Marcelle Auclair’s lovely account of her life. Rowan Williams has really authentic spiritual insights, and I personally value him more as a man of prayers and spirituality than as a man of letters. I know the hurts and criticisms around his role as Archbishop of Canterbury, but I agree with Father David that it is a joy to have someone like Rowan in the continuing ranks of the… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

As usual, wading through Williams’ turgid prose has all the appeal of taking a dip in quicksand. Given the weakness of his argument — life’s meaningless without God; Euthyphro, who he? — it’s little wonder he’d want to walk it off behind a linguistic Berlin Wall.

Personally, I’d apply “scary smart” to those who communicate incisive, original thought simply and concisely, but hey, different strokes!

One thing’s for sure: the authoritarian Williams ain’t no “liberal,” and never was.

Eric MacDonald
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Eric MacDonald

I’m surprised at how few people have commented on the article about bisexuality. What is bisexuality? Is it a kind of liminal state that changes depending on context? Or is it that people have a capacity for loving either heterosexually or homosexually, and circumstances dictate which one will govern one’s sexual life? Because I don’t see how bisexuality can govern what Christians have usually seen as a feature of sexual relationship, namely, a commitment of two people to each other without other such commitments on either side. If bisexuality is a liminal state, and changes with context, how is it… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ James Byron, “Given the weakness of his argument — life’s meaningless without God”

On the other hand, “now it is time to go, I to die, and you to live;but which of us goes to a better thing is unknown to all but god.”

-Plato, Apology ( trans. by W.H.D. Rouse)

Father Ron Smith
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Having worshipped and ministered side-by-side with ++Rowan Williams during his final visit to New Zealand for the ACC Meeting, one could not but be impressed by his deep humanity, spirituality and scholarly integrity. His love of Christ in the Sacraments of the Church is unquestionable. The occasion was a “Rally of the Faithful” at the premier Church Boys’ School here in Christchurch, Aotearoa/New Zealand. His sermon on that day was simple and yet profoundly moving. His address at a youth Gathering later in the day was to the point and enthusiastically received – obviously understood by those present, so ++Rowan… Read more »

John
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John

EM,

It’s this one: ‘Or is it that people have a capacity for loving either heterosexually or homosexually, and circumstances dictate which one will govern one’s sexual life?’ Then, when (no doubt after a few adventures on both sides) one makes one’s choice of an individual, one cleaves to that individual. Can’t quite see where the difficulty resides or why this scenario isn’t broadly compatible with Christian teaching.

Eric MacDonald
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Eric MacDonald

Not that I disagree with you John, but my question was about the nature of bisexuality, and whether in fact it is an either/or or a liminal state, that varies from situation to situation, in which case ‘cleaving to that individual’ might in fact be incompatible with the state of being bisexual. But I don’t know, you see, and that’s why I asked.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

I tried to post a comment on Kelvin’s article and made a mess of it, so here again, also in reply to Eric. Bisexuality is an orientation like homosexuality, heterosexuality, pansexuality and asexuality. It simply means being physically and emotionally capable of loving men and women. That’s all. Like anyone else, bisexual people find a mate and settle down, only that that mate could be of the same sex or the opposite sex. If they find themselves on their own again, their next mate could again be from the same sex or the opposite one. Kelvin rightly points out that… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Eric, I think sexual orientation is about attraction not relationship. Therefore one could be simultaneously in committed relationship with one person, while being attracted by nature and sexual orientation to many: in the case of a bisexual person, both male and female. Personally I find some men attractive, and some women. But I am in a committed relationship to one woman. So I don’t really see any problem. My sexual desire does not have an on/off switch… I don’t have to stop finding women attractive to find men attractive. Like any heterosexual person, I am happy in my committed relationship,… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

I am a bi woman. For thirty years I was married to a man. There was much wrong with the marriage, but I was always physically attracted to him. In those days I still believed I was straight. After he left me, I was single for ten years. Then much to my surprise, I found I had fallen in love with a woman. As most bi people, it is not that my attachments are fickle, or that I ‘need’ to be with one gender or the other. It is that I fall in love with a particular person, and their… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ Rosemary Hannah, thanks so much for your courageous comment. Your comment is a reminder that both the experience of and empathy for people who know first hand what they are talking about are often sidelined in the so called “rational theological debate” over policy issues.

JCF
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JCF

“What is bisexuality? Is it a kind of liminal state that changes depending on context?”

Goodness gracious, I honestly don’t understand why some people find bisexuality such a conundrum. You fall in love w/ someone, w/o finding what’s between their legs (as opposed to between their ears: their mind, aka their “heart”) a deal-breaker. What’s the confusion? O_o

Kate
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Kate

Surely a Christian should choose a partner only on the basis of that partner’s love for God and issues such as sexual orientation, indeed sexual attraction, should be entirely irrelevant. Whether a Christian is straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual is, or should be, an utter irrelevance: a gay Christian might end up with a woman; a straight male Christian might find that the partner with whom he can best worship God is another man. Whether the relationship is then sexual or platonic is a separate question and again should be decided on the basis of Faith and not sexual orientation… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

I too found Williams’ text inaccessible. I was taught at school that good writing should have a cadence and rhythm too it, not as poetry or meter, but that the flow and structure of the text itself imparts meaning. In text like his that might mean short sentences when a point is being made and longer sentences when putting the background. All such aspects of writing are for me totally lacking in his piece.

Geoff McLarney
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Geoff McLarney

“whether in fact it is an either/or or a liminal state, that varies from situation to situation, in which case ‘cleaving to that individual’ might in fact be incompatible with the state of being bisexual” frankly this seems like a more theologically erudite phrasing of a comment i was appalled to have to answer in 2015 (in another online anglican context) wondering how bisexuality did not undermine the gay claim not to alter marriage, as it seemed by definition to exclude monogamy. surely that is not still what anyone thinks the word means? nobody would suggest that married persons cannot… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Kate, with reference to your statement that “Surely a Christian would choose a partner only on the basis of that partner’s love for God”

– I’m afraid loving doesn’t always work that way. It may be that divine providence allows one to choose one’s partner on an entirely different basis, which might just be sexual attraction – or an intellectual affinity. Who knows? Such a relationship might just turn out for the good for both parties, with the ‘other’ being so attracted by one’s love for God that they, too, can find a relationship with God for themselves.