Thinking Anglicans

Two more articles about the primates gathering

Updated Saturday

First an article at ABC Religion and Ethics by Christopher Craig Brittain:
The Primates’s Dilemma: Game Theory and the Anglican Communion

…For a “Game of Mitres” is unfolding within and among the churches of the Communion. It is a contest over power and influence and over the future course of the international family of churches. It will determine who has the legitimacy to define the very nature of the Anglican tradition.

In essence, this is not a dispute over homosexuality, the authority of Scripture, or the uniqueness of Christ: it has become a power struggle over how the Communion is to be governed….

Second, another article by Martyn Percy:
Sexuality and the citizenship of Heaven

…But the problem we now face, as an Anglican Communion, is the eliding of ‘lazy’ labels that no longer do justice to the complexity of the issues and debates. ‘Inclusive’ has come to mean ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’; ‘exclusive’ has come to mean ‘conservative’ and ‘traditionalist’; and ‘orthodoxy’ now claimed by all. So there is no escaping the need for some serious theological work in moving the Communion forward.

It simply won’t do to try and re-organise the Communion on an ‘Orthodox’ model, in the hope that this will somehow give Anglican Provinces more space to continue to be un-resolved and un-reconciled. Such a proposal may be politically expedient in the short term. But the longer term consequences – planting churches in one another’s Provinces to promote ‘traditionalist’ or ‘progressive’ causes, for example – would spell the end for worldwide Anglicanism in all but name. Episcopal oversight – to be authentically catholic – needs to be local and provincial for the care and cure of souls. We cannot have Archbishops presiding over congregations several continents away, planting at will. It would result in an ecclesial and legal catastrophe.

In some respects, the current proposals being touted – namely loosening our ‘bonds of Communion’ – are a collapse of confidence in the internationalism of Anglicanism. The so-called ‘Orthodox’ model of polity being propositioned for the Communion represents a failure of theological vision, ecclesial comprehension and moral leadership. Adopting the proposed ‘Orthodox’ model would be a disaster of epic proportions for the church.

As such, it is has some equivalence to the Munich Agreement of 1938, where Neville Chamberlain secured an armistice, with his famous piece of paper. But this was a ‘peace at any price’ – and the fee, ultimately, too costly. Chamberlain’s championing of his ‘concord’ transpired to be a weak political fix, born out of fear. It did nothing to challenge the cruelty and coercion that stalked Europe. Chamberlain’s ‘fix’ just gave the oppressors and aggressors further licence to act with impunity…

Updates

There have been several criticisms of Martyn Percy’s writings from conservatives, including

Andrew Symes Martyn Percy on sex and the Anglican Communion: 20 holes in his argument.

Ian Paul Martyn Percy’s non-sense poetry on sexuality

Martin Davie I wouldn’t start from here – a response to Martyn Percy

Martyn has written a response to Martin Davie’s criticisms and you can read that here, below the fold.

I found this an interesting response, Martin. You appear to concede that human sexuality is part of our identity, so a ‘given’ in a person, and not something that is their deliberate conscious choice. That said, I fully agree that the occurrence of ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ phenomena and behaviour in the mammalian genus does not necessarily mean it is ‘good’. Warring species of apes rape and kill each other. As humans, we have a language of sin and criminality for such behaviour. We don’t aspire to copy that. Other species of mammals can conduct internecine violence between themselves, and as you say, this can mean eating your prey (i.e., cannibalism). We don’t accept that either. And to pick up on your footnote 11, above, yes of course we have ages of (sexual) consent [though these vary from culture to culture, as they have across histories], and we have sensible prohibitions on incest.

But the vast majority of developed countries have ceased to criminalize lesbian and gay relationships between consenting adults. They have done so for two simple reasons. First, these relationships are consensual, between adults, and do no harm to the persons involved; they are not regarded as problematic, disordered, damaged or socially damaging. And second, these relationships are regarded as normal and healthy expressions of love and fidelity in society; albeit that such relationships are clearly a small minority across cultures.

Left-handers are a minority too – 10% of the population, anywhere in the world. Both my parents were left-handed. Both were beaten at school – literally, knuckles rapped – for writing left-handed. Now there are over 60 Bible verses that affirm God’s preference for his right handedness, and for ours (see Exodus 15:6; Psalm 118:16). Alas, left-handers don’t do so well in the Bible: see Genesis 48:13-18 and Galatians 2:9. How do we account for left-handers? What can they do to change their orientation or behaviour? Are they equal in God’s eyes, or part of our fallen creation – or just deliberately sinful?

The question on human sexuality is this: why is a negative value (i.e., ‘sinfulness’) still being allotted to what we now know to be normal, natural human behaviours/orientations that occur across the mammalian genus, and do no harm to anyone? The principle of ‘harm’ here is crucial. Incest and rape are harmful. A same-sex relationship of fidelity that has been going for decades harms no-one.

I guess your answer here is that whilst these relationships don’t cause anyone any harm (and they don’t), God has told us he really doesn’t like them. As you know, I don’t find the (Conservative Evangelical) exegesis of biblical distaste for same-sex relationships at all convincing. But even if I did, I have to ask how we are to manage with the reality that God’s not fond of left-handers either, it would seem. And of course, as I have argued elsewhere, this is all going to get very Pelagian if we start telling Lesbian and Gay Christians in faithful loving relationships that they are either not really Christian, must be treated as second class, or are perhaps not even fully human…when the law of this land fully affirms their full and equal rights and citizenship.

Martyn Percy

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Father David
Father David
5 years ago

This looks like being the Mother of all Indabas. Let us hope and pray that as a result of this gathering of Primates a way forward may be found for our currently divided Anglican Communion.

Malcolm French
Malcolm French
5 years ago

Here is the comment I left on the Brittain piece, responding more to the initial commenter than the article itself: The previous commenter is very selective with his facts. The Church of England, which has taken a more conservative position on the presenting issues, is declining even faster than either the Anglican Church of Canada or the Episcopal Church. Indeed, while there are growing congregations of various sorts all over, every Christian formation in the developed world is facing numerical decline – except for the Roman Catholic Church, whose numbers are buoyed by immigration from the two-thirds world. Evangelical formations… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
5 years ago

Martyn Percy’s article is well worth reading in it’s entirety. He fairly succinctly lays out a beautiful theological argument for love with no exceptions. He is a real moral leader who is preaching the truth of God’s Love, poured out for ALL. More of the article addresses the theological issues than the issues of polity, though the main point is that our polity requires a new vocabulary. The vocabulary that he offers is that of Jesus. He suggests that appeasement with human rights violators is not the way of love. That we should be more concerned about LGBTQ who are… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
5 years ago

Christopher Brittain’s article was fun to read. Perhaps we might say, wryly, here is man in whom there is no ( or little) guile. Thanks so much.

You realize of course his analysis is almost certain to be rejected. Indeed the first comment posted under the article on the originating page suggests as much. It will be ignored because the church is a silo wherein perspectives from outside disciplines are usually rejected.

Whatever the plot twists it is increasingly clear that the hierarchy are putting on kabuki theater.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
5 years ago

@ Malcolm French, great comment, concise, to the point, right on.

Jeremy
Jeremy
5 years ago

Martyn Percy says, “We cannot have Archbishops presiding over congregations several continents away, planting at will.”

We already do.

Dave Marshall
Dave Marshall
5 years ago

Well done Martyn Percy for making the orthodox case so clearly. I doubt the GAFCON faction will be moved a millimetre but it makes me feel less alienated when someone makes the effort. But then, I’m more interested in re-imagining the Church of England as a Church *for* England. Rather than one institution among many run by anglicans for anglicans. Taking a stand for LGBTI equality, however necessary, is not addressing the wider problem. Martyn touches on the need for serious theological work to move the Communion forward, *almost* inviting the kind of theology I find attractive, but then retreats… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
5 years ago

I agree with Malcolm that some conservative denominations like the Church of England are also in decline, but others are growing, notably the pentecostal Assemblies of God in America, which just recorded growth for an incredible 25th year running. Its secret? Evangelism and church planting, obviously, but also, unique selling point (gifts of the spirit) combined with just the right level of compromise with surrounding culture: just like the runaway successes of London’s HTB and Chicago’s Willow Creek, while it’s conservative on homosexuality, it embraces women’s ministry. The Southern Baptists, by contrast, still ban women from the pastorate, and are… Read more »

Susannah Clark
5 years ago

Fantastic point from Dave Marshall: what many in our nation might really value, if such a new paradigm could be imagined into being, is a Church FOR England, not a Church for Anglicans. It is increasingly popular to decry the idea of a ‘national’ church. This is sometimes linked to cries for ‘disestablishment’ (a separate issue). But what seems to have happened is a dislocation, and the historic identification of many English people with their ‘national’ Church has broken down. That is partly due to the inexorable and long-term march of Enlightenment thinking and its consequences – the tearing down… Read more »

Father David
Father David
5 years ago

With today’s news about a Free Vote even for Government Ministers it looks like Politics is following Religion in seeking looser ties with Europe. For once the Anglican Communion is leading the way with the forthcoming Primates Indaba which looks like transforming the Communion into a much looser Federation of provinces. But surely the British people will see sense when it comes to our membership of the EU and vote to remain as full members? Similarly a Communion is much stronger than a mere Federation. Better Together, that’s what I say!

Cynthia
Cynthia
5 years ago

I’d have to hear more about this philosophy that Dave Marshall mentions. Some of us liberals actually find the Bible, especially the teachings of Jesus, to be a radical document that still provides revelation. I think most of us believe that modern scholarship on language and culture can inform us even more. But finally, even while respecting the Scriptures and tradition, not too many of us are fundamentalists. I think there’s an understanding that it came down to us through human beings who were as flawed as we are, and whose cultural lenses were just as influential and distorting as… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
5 years ago

Father David, why do you think the Anglican Communion, as it now exists, is anything more than a “loose federation of provinces”?

I would have thought it’s even less than that–nothing more than a family of independent churches.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
5 years ago

@ James Byron, “…the pentecostal Assemblies of God in America, which just recorded growth for an incredible 25th year running. …Its secret? Evangelism and church planting…” Hi James, question. I’m, wondering if immigration is a factor? I gather that one of the factors that may account for their reported growth trend is that they are attractive to Hispanic communities. Pentecostalism has been very successful in Latin America where it is a strong competitor with Roman Catholicism last I heard. In Canada the R.C. church is in a much stronger position demographically than Anglicans and Protestants all of which are experiencing… Read more »

Eric MacDonald
5 years ago

I think there is a widespread misunderstanding about authority in relation to discussions about the continued unity (or lack thereof) of the Anglican Communion. GAFCON obviously thinks of authority in the old way, where bishops laid down the law in a way consistent with the theological and liturgical traditions of the church, and the rest dutifully followed, meekly kneeling upon their knees. Unless you have a structure like the Roman Catholic Church, which has retained its grasp on its own authority, and pits it against its own radicals, no matter what anyone may think, this kind of unity is no… Read more »

Father David
Father David
5 years ago

Jeremy – the clue is in the title!

Daniel Berry, NYC
Daniel Berry, NYC
5 years ago

We do see a lot about cherry-picking on both sides of some issues; but what’s not being said is that the bible is not a science book. Anglicans started coming to terms with that early 18th Century insight in the middle of the 19th Century. Some Christians still try to squeeze the bible into that role, but most of us know we can’t use the bible as a natural science text – not for geology, biology, chemistry, astronomy, botany zoology or physics. Even so, some modern folk still believe the bible can be used as a reference for the behavioral… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
5 years ago

“And do, please, stop thinking that this is all about England.” But it is largely about the Church of England’s inability to stop trying to control the Anglican Communion, a last vestige of Empire. The CofE likes its present metropolitan role in the Communion and wants to maintain it. This results, at present, in the CofE trying to have it both ways–to be a church for England and also a church for Uganda. As for “the Church, universal and apostolic,” that is a Platonic ideal. It is certainly not the Anglican Communion. We should not confuse the two. Nor should… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
5 years ago

@ Eric MacDonald, “But surely theology itself is as fragmented as the church.” Even more so I would say. Theology is done not just within the church but within the academy where it is often deliberately, perhaps necessarily, split off from faith. Theological scholarship is now imported from the academic world into the church where it is deployed as a hedge around socio-politcal perspectives. Conservatives to liberals all apply the work of academic theologians selectively as a kind of proof text, much in the way scripture has been misused. “How, in that case, is this theological work to be done?”… Read more »

Dave Marshall
Dave Marshall
5 years ago

Sorry Eric but “the Church, universal and apostolic” is a fiction. It always has been if the biblical record is anything to go by; there is no settled, theological agreement in the New Testament beyond the assumption, inherited from Judaism, that there is only one God. Christ became the early Church’s totem, but only as memories of Jesus the man died with those who knew him. The adoption of trinitarian belief as a mark of orthodoxy was a political convenience; it may have made theological sense at the time, but I suspect mythology worked differently then. Now we know so… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
5 years ago

“I can assure Cynthia that conservatives look at matters down the other end of the telescope. I may deplore them, but I sympathise with them. The liberals and progressives are the ones who use the Bible as a smorgasbord (and it is hard to question that in relation to the tradition), while the conservatives are those who try to exercise wisdom and discernment in upholding the faith once delivered to the saints.” I won’t deny that liberals use Scripture as a smorgasbord. After all, who can really think that Sodom was more ghastly for wanting to “know” Lot’s guests rather… Read more »

MarkBrunson
MarkBrunson
5 years ago

Why is a communion anything more than a loose federation?

Father David
Father David
5 years ago

Why is a communion any more than a loose federation?
The ties and the bonds of love are much stronger in a Communion. Those who are part of the Communion have much in common and the unity is far more evident. Within a Communion impaired communion is far less likely to be the case than it is in a loose federation.

MarkBrunson
MarkBrunson
5 years ago

I’m with Cynthia – the idea that liberals use a “smorgasbord” and conservatives “exercise wisdom and discernment” is ridiculous. I have no problem with the idea that both are capable of error, but that proceeds from the exact same place – conservatives are exactly as adept at using the incredibly complex and beautiful abilities of the mind to arrive at whatever conclusion their impulses and desires dictated from the start. It is exactly the same, and both are prone to err to the same degree, in the same way. The key is not to build on some fictional basis of… Read more »

S Cooper
S Cooper
5 years ago

MarkBrunson – because the majority of the communion still want it to be more than a loose grouping. No point pretending tht isn’t the case and we can expect an easy tolerance of all views. Was Gene Robinson invited to Lambeth 08? Did Tec accept that (disgracefully)? That alone shows you that wishful thinking about a loose federation is pointless. Now, ACNA is in…. Expecting them to argue fr a loose federation?

MarkBrunson
MarkBrunson
5 years ago

But what makes a communion as opposed to a loose federation?

It seems to me that the idea that “communion” means rigid control and unalterable definitions *rather than* a loose federation is creating “facts on the ground” as the CofE leadership is so very fond of accusing others of doing.

You need to stop letting the power-grabbers make the definitions in their own image.

Eric MacDonald
5 years ago

Well, friends (if I may so call you), I don’t question what you have to say in response to my little gadfly (which it was intended to be). It seems to me that we have a tendency to put each other into comfortable little cubby-holes (each with its own deprecatory label), and keep the kudos for ourselves. We are more discerning, less bigoted, more true to the attempt to model Christ in our lives. They cherry pick, unwarrantedly exclude those whom Christ would have welcomed, are wedded to an outworn paradigm. But, just referring to Africa and India, for example,… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
5 years ago

When Cynthia writes, ” …conservatives and liberals cherry pick from Scripture, but progressives are more open and honest about the need for discernment.” I agree with Cynthia on that generally speaking. The only caveat I would add is that discernment requires a lot of work if its to draw on Christian traditions (of which scripture is only one) in order to frame an adequate contemporary response. As Lonergan once noted, there is a solid right determined to live in a world that no longer exists, and a scattered left captivated by this and that; but what is needed is a… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
5 years ago

@ Eric, “And now we are telling them it was all a lie, that faith doesn’t remain stable, and that it responds to the surrounding culture with approbation.” Perhaps worth repeating what I’ve noted before, that in the Canadian Church, some Indigenous leaders are saying exactly the same thing to us. Canada is in some ways a microcosm of the wider Communion on this. One needs to try a strike a difficult balance, and it is difficult, of dealing justly with First Nations concerns around governance and decision making while acting justly toward GLBTQ members. I would have thought that… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
5 years ago

“However, as Martyn Percy says, we all lay claim to orthodoxy, and use the same word to condemn others.”

Personally, Eric, I don’t, and oppose the very concept as oppressive authoritarianism, not to mention self-refuting. Most every Christian alive is unorthodox by earlier standards.

Heterodoxy for the win!

Susannah Clark
5 years ago

Eric, that is precisely why we need ‘unity in diversity’ with accommodation of people’s consciences, rather than trying to impose uniformity on everyone. The reason why so-called liberal Christians may be defensive about their progressive views on sexuality is because Gafcon, and C of E bishops, seem to be trying to impose uniformity on the consciences of others. If people would only stop trying to dominate, and let individual churches and Christians follow their own sincerely-held consciences, then we could get on to more of the ‘other things’ that Andrew argues we should focus on. ‘Unity in diversity’ – seeking… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
5 years ago

Words do of course have varying meanings, but it seems to me that what the GAFCON party wants IS a Federation — a centrally controlled collection of entities whose individual autonomy is regulated by some central authority — rather than a Communion — a collection of autonomous churches who share elements of common doctrine, liturgy, history and so on. The only major point of disagreement between GAFCON and TEC has to do with sexuality — which is not now and has never been a credal or dogmatic issue. They have raised it to that level, and have broken communion (in… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
5 years ago

“The ties and the bonds of love are much stronger in a Communion. Those who are part of the Communion have much in common and the unity is far more evident. Within a Communion impaired communion is far less likely to be the case than it is in a loose federation.” I’m not sure I see any logic here, other than this is how Father David understands the term “Communion.” My understanding is different. To me a federation is stronger than a communion, because a federation implies some federal authority. A communion, by contrast, is a common meal–and by extension… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
5 years ago

“We are more discerning, less bigoted, more true to the attempt to model Christ in our lives. They cherry pick, unwarrantedly exclude those whom Christ would have welcomed, are wedded to an outworn paradigm.” Jesus helps us out here. He told us that we can tell the true prophets from the false ones by the fruits of their labor. The fruits of the nasty, “Biblically based” homophobic rhetoric includes: LGBTQ teen bullying LGBTQ teen suicide LGBTQ teen homelessness (outcasts from “religious” homes and accounting for around 40 percent of the homeless teen population in both of our countries) Hate crimes… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
5 years ago

“It’s bound to take some a little longer.” I can actually agree on this. I’ve been around the block and can empathize that we don’t all get to the Promised Land on every issue simultaneously. The problem is what do we do in the meantime. It seems to me that the Hippocratic Oath might be helpful “first, do no harm.” The human rights violations have to stop. People may not be ready for gay marriage, but they can stop jailing and killing our gay sisters and brothers. What unites us in communion is Holy Communion, the Eucharist! What also unites… Read more »

Father David
Father David
5 years ago

I’d be interested to know what Jeremy understands by “federal authority” other than everyone does whatever they like in their own particular Province caring naught about whatever happens in all the other Provinces?
When it comes to “Authority” that surely is part of the problem within Anglicanism because no one seems to have any in that we lack an Anglican Pope. The only authority Justin Welby has is the power of persuasion and it seems to me that will be tested to the absolute limit next week.

James
James
5 years ago

GAFCON have issued their own Collect:

http://gafcon.org/resources/prayer/

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
5 years ago

I don’t really understand how calling it either a Communion or a Federation makes any material difference. The only question is whether whichever structure is chosen can accommodate different views on same sex sexuality. And those that want to walk away because they need the same standards of purity among those they associate with, will not hang around just because we give the baby a different name.

cseitz
cseitz
5 years ago

The comment re national churches in a federation is exactly correct. A communion implies sharing a common meal in the Body of Christ. Clearly that has broken down, and just repeating the word will not make it less so. Perhaps what is meant is a Communion for those who judge their progressive stance the correct way ahead; and another for those who judge this a dubious step into time and space, as a Christian Body. But of course, that is what this meeting is about. The use of the term ‘federation’ has had wide range (LWF) but it has not… Read more »

John Swanson
John Swanson
5 years ago

Eric: “And now we are telling them it was all a lie, that faith doesn’t remain stable, and that it responds to the surrounding culture with approbation.”

As is so often the case, how one expresses the debate becomes part of arguing one’s own case.

On sexuality, the faith embraced by liberals has indeed changed. But to say it has changed in response to the surrounding culture – as opposed to changing in response to the Holy Spirit – is surely accepting a conservative perception of the issue.

Father David
Father David
5 years ago

I’ve been looking up the meaning of the word “federation” and I have come across two definitions:- 1. a group of states with a central government but independence in internal affairs. e.g. “the Russian Federation” 2. the action of forming states or organisations into a single group with centralised control. e.g. “a first step in the Federation of Europe” Both of these definitions are more political than either spiritual or religious and so it seems to me that “federation” is a totally inappropriate word to use in describing the future of the Anglican Communion. As a world wide Communion we… Read more »

Eric MacDonald
5 years ago

I am interested at the range of responses to my little firecracker. I deliberately posed the issues sharply, hoping to prompt some thought on this matter. I’m not sure I was successful, but it took us part of the way. I think I was probably one of the first in the Diocese of Nova Scotia who began speaking publicly about gay and lesbian rights (the wilderness of sexualities has, I think, confused that central issue, and it is not altogether clear how the Church should respond to a cause which keeps adding letters to its acronym). However, I did so… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
5 years ago

@ James and the GAFCON collect, ah yes, “I thank thee Lord that I am not like other people”. Reminds me of the prayers of the faithful that lapse into a sermon. Weaponizing piety is a long standing religious practice. Think of the collect for the conversion of the Jews which in Canada at least has been struck from the BCP. Re Federation v. Communion, the terms can be but are not usually mutually exclusive. See for example the website of Lutheran World Federation which also describes itself as a Communion. What we have at the moment is schism. @… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
5 years ago

Exactly so, Father David. The Anglican Communion has never had a federal polity — it has never really had a polity at all! The Anglican Covenant and GAFCON appear to be pressing towards a Federal structure: limiting the autonomy that provinces have enjoyed up to now by some kind of central reference process. I only raise this because some seem to be inverting the terms, implying that a federation is somehow “looser” than a communion, and that it is a federation that the progressives seek. I think what the majority really want is a Communion, in which each province governs… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
5 years ago

Tobias Heller sums it up succinctly and with more theological authority than I can muster. GAFCON has raised a 3rd level issue above all others. It seems to me that this naming, federation vs communion, is not helpful. The Anglican Covenant is what we need to refer too. We called ourselves an Anglican Communion before the covenant failed, we’ve called ourselves that since. The crucial point is that the Covenant was designed to empower more central control to Lambeth or other Anglican entity. In short, it was a referendum on whether or not the “world wide Anglican Communion” wanted to… Read more »

Father David
Father David
5 years ago

Thank you Tobias, I share your hope and plea that there be “a renewed focus on the centrality of Christ rather than obsession with the pelvic issues”. That wonderful euphemism deserves an entry into the Hall of Fame alongside “tired and emotional”. The phrase “The Anglican Federation” will never catch on, so let us stick with “The Anglican Communion”.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
5 years ago

“(the wilderness of sexualities has, I think, confused that central issue, and it is not altogether clear how the Church should respond to a cause which keeps adding letters to its acronym)”

That’s a strange comment.
If same sex sexuality isn’t immoral, then any added letters to the acronym make not the slightest bit of difference to the response the church should make.
Whatever gender or sexuality individuals may be, the morality lies in the way they conduct their relationships, not in the external bits and pieces they employ.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
5 years ago

@ Eric, “…all of this grew out of the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, which to many was a deeply anti-Christian movement (which it was), and in many cases nihilistic. ” The first part is certainly true. All of this did come out of the sexual revolution in the post world war II era. The availability of reliable birth control technology which allowed for a breaking off of sexual inter-course from reproduction changed the cultural frame on sexual expression, which contributed eventually to a cultural re-framing of homosexuality. Reproduction as destiny (for women) came to be seen as oppressive while… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
5 years ago

Eric, for all your writing on behalf of legal justice for LGBTQ people, but theological conservatism, I think you’re missing the main point here. This isn’t about theology, this is about power. And you are missing the big picture. The Anglican Covenant was defeated, and it was defeated by plenty of Anglicans holding a traditional view of sexuality. Regardless of their traditional position, they VOTED not to have a central authority imposing views on each other. The Anglican Communion has had an opportunity to vote on whether they wanted GAFCON to have the power to ostracize TEC and they said… Read more »

Eric MacDonald
5 years ago

Rod, it is true that we now talk about human rights, but it is precisely on these grounds that the African bishops are expressing themselves as excluded from the church of liberal white culture, which cares more for a peculiarly white culture of liberal freedoms than it does for belief in Christ. This speaks both to memories of colonialism as well as to the gospel that was preached to them “in days of yore.” And just remember who heads the UN Human Rights Council! I have just been reading the New Year’s letter of the Archbishop of Kenya, where he… Read more »

Peter Owen
5 years ago

Cynthia

The vote against the Covenant in England wasn’t quite as overwhelming as you state. It was was approved in eighteen dioceses and not approved in twenty-six dioceses.

You may have been thinking of the first reference to dioceses of legislation to allow women to be bishops, when 42 out of 44 were in favour.

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