Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 2 December 2017

Jamie Fletcher Christian Today WWJD about ‘Transgender’? A trans Christian responds

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of size

George Pitcher New Statesman Don’t let the cosy stable fool you – the Virgin Mary’s story is brutal

Madeleine Davies Church Times Can the tide turn in Blackpool?

Anne-Marie Naylor Church Times Rich parish, poor parish — time to choose

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Advent is a feminist issue (and so are posh Advent calendars)

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Susannah Clark
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Good article by Jamie Fletcher. As she says, trans people are not a ‘theory’. This is our lives. That important point reminds me of G Bauer’s 2009 research paper entitled: “I don’t think this is theoretical, this is our lives” – how erasure impacts health care for transgender people. Too often people try to tell us theologically who or what we are supposed to be. Whereas what would be most valuable – in the Church of England for example – would be a ‘reverse discourse’ based around the actual lived experience of trans people. Chris Dowd’s paper reflects that reverse… Read more »

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

Such a relief to find an unsentimental piece of writing on Mary’s story, from George Pitcher.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Seeing Janet Fife’s comment, I thought I would give the George Pitcher article a read. Very interesting. Along the lines of a non-servile Mary, I recommend a section of Raymond Brown’s, The Birth of The Messiah, the section on the genealogy of St. Matthew which includes four OT women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. Brown notes a possible purpose in Matthew doing so: “The third proposal…finds two common elements that they share with Mary: (a) there is something extraordinary or irregular in their union with their partners–a union which, though it may have been scandalous to outsiders, continued the blessed… Read more »

Laurie Roberts
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Laurie Roberts

A Church of England approach like this could be really valuable, to counter ignorance, and as a reversal of the top-down way of doing theology, where we can end up being defined by others and told who we are. There is a lack of knowledge and insight of the actual psycho-social challenges of living daily life as transgender people; and as with lesbian and gay people, too often the critics of trans people presume they are “choosing a lifestyle”. No. This is actual life. This is who a person is. The General Synod has affirmed gender transition, and hopefully we… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Indeed, a good article on the BVM by George Pitcher but isn’t Our Lady usually referred to as “Queen of Heaven” rather than “Mother of Heaven”. That being said, it always amazes me that those who would blench to have a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in their churches seem quite happy to have her there in their Crib scenes. I can’t quite see the difference! Anyway, I am enormously looking forward to seeing the traditional Nativity play next Wednesday (6th December – the Feast Day of St. Nicholas) at our excellent local Church of England School. Elsewhere I… Read more »

Anne Lee
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Anne Lee

for “Father David”. The difference between having a statue of Mary in a church and having her in a ‘crib scene’ is huge. In the crib, Mary was a major player in the event and to omit her would make nonsense of the story. But I would personally object very strongly to having a statue of her in any of our churches as I do not believe she is somebody to ‘adore’ or ‘venerate’. But I appreciate that there are others who disagree with me, for whom such statues are helpful. Just another area where the C of E is… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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I think some of the veneration of Mary can be attributed to the masculine image of God in patriarchal Christian times. She fills a space for the feminine, and a female expression of God’s nature. In reality, and speaking only personally, I regard God as the Queen of Heaven – however that doesn’t stop me reflecting on Mary as Jesus’s mother, or praying sometimes for her intercessions. I believe in the omnipresence of the eternal country – what I like to think of as the Land of the Saints – where we dwell with God after our lives here on… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Guess it was only a matter of time before the Logos incarnate was accused of “mansplaining” (or, to give Pitcher his due, the obvious-but-passing-amusing “messiahsplaining”). Next up: the Almighty’s told to check his privilege.

John Wallace
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John Wallace

I do find it sad that no-one has responded to Anne-Marie’s article (and by association that of Madeleine). Where is our ‘bias to the poor’? Surely this is something DDOs and training institutions should be focussing on? The ‘gritiness’ of Mary only underlines this. I do live in the prosperous SE (lay) but being politically aware, can see the dire need of other parts of the UK, which feel marginalised and forgotten. As an example, it takes me less than half an hour to go by train the 40 miles to London. How long from Manchester to Leeds? 30 or… Read more »

William
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William

The most likely answer to your comment John is that the ‘prophetic witness’ is coming from those actually getting on with it rather than talking about it endlessly on Thinking Anglicans.

Andy
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Andy

Christianity Today has published a response from David Robertson to Jamie’s response to his original article. You can find links to all the articles at https://theweeflea.com/2017/12/04/what-should-the-church-do-about-transgender-a-response-to-a-response/

Jo
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Jo

You know, I look forward to the day when we no longer have to put up with bigots accusing their victims of bullying.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Thank you to Andy for the link. David Robertson: “I hear the voice of the doctor who tells me that they have given up doing sex change operations because the outcome is 80 per cent negative.” A doctor – a surgeon? – said that? If he cannot name a name, this just comes across as trans-critical propaganda to me. Reason: I know James Bellringer and Phil Thomas – the two most experienced gender surgeons in this country, who have simply done thousands of these operations. Their clear view is that there are high levels of satisfaction after surgery, not to… Read more »

Disgraceful
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Disgraceful

I found George Pitcher’s article almost unreadable. Does neither he nor the New Statesman believe in the basic rules of grammar or proof reading?