Monday, 5 March 2007

GS: some follow-up items

Jonathan Petre has blogged some reflections at Dust settling on the Synod.

Bishop Nazir-Ali of Rochester wrote this article for the Sunday Telegraph: I believe in Trident, and using it if necessary.

Anglican Mainstream published the text of the intervention by Chris Sugden in the debate on the Gilbert motion. AM had this comment on the debate:

The danger is that this can be taken to mean that lesbian and gay Christians are welcome as full members of the church, whatever their behaviour and practice.

AM also reported on the scripture reading used at synod on Thursday morning, saying rather oddly: “the following scripture, chosen some time beforehand, was read at the opening Morning Worship” when in fact it came from the authorized Weekday Lectionary of the Church of England, so “chosen” by the General Synod itself.

As previously noted, AM published the text of Paul Perkin’s remarks on Wednesday afternoon.

The Observer carried this leader comment yesterday on the media debate.

Additions
Two items from Sunday’s radio programme Sunday now available:

Trident

“Morally unacceptable” said the Archbishop of Canterbury at Synod this week, talking of the Trident nuclear weapons system the Government wants to buy. “Morally acceptable” said one of his Bishops, Michael Nazir Ali of Rochester, in the Sunday Telegraph. And he said a preemptive strike against Iran could also be justified.
Bishop Michael was unavailable for comment. The Bishop of Reading, Stephen Cottrell, who on Friday is going to celebrate Holy Communion outside Faslane Naval base to protest Trident, spoke to Sunday.
Related link: The ethics of Just Wars
Listen (5m 8s)

Synod and sex in entertainment

The Synod of the Church of England voted unanimously to express concerns over TV standards and warned that shows like Big Brother and Little Britain can “exploit the humiliation of human beings for public entertainment”.
The Synod also heard claims that the British Board of Film Classification was “making pornography easier to access by giving hardcore material 18 certificates”.
The former President of the Board, Andreas Whittam Smith, who passed two of the most sexually explicit and violent films, is a Synod member.
Listen (4m 2s)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 7:58am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: General Synod
Comments

Nuclear deterrence has worked so far.

Covert intervention e.g. assassination of other governments' challenging leaders or supporting a more sychophantic regime have worked so far too.

So why not keep them all going?

Who cares that one nation spends 41% of the world's military budget, and that it is funded by ignoring social welfare in the current generation and incurring debt for further generations.

Military bases in strategic locations have worked so far too. Go read John Pilger's book "Freedom Next Time" to see what lengths they will go to achieve that too. Have no illusion a lot of the Middle East conflict is to do with getting that strategic base. But the whole of Muslim nations and every other decent human will despise them for the following reasons.

Who costs the role of military bases and various rest and recreation ports in terms of establishing and maintaining organised crime for the troops recreation (prostitution, recreational drugs and other "delights"). Who measures the cost that this has been probably the largest and most effective vector for the spread of the AIDS virus into new territories?

The regime is still in place, so the system must work, and anyone who says it doesn't isn't in God's grace or has a personal axe to grind.

It is Pollyanna in reverse. The world is beautiful as long as our paradigms are flattered and our sponsors are not threatened. What flatters and supports them must be good. Anything that might divert funds towards other nations or generations is distraction to be ignored. Apparently their god only cares about flattery and the here and now.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 9:09am GMT

'He was in a gay relationship. And through prayer, the gospel of Jesus, the power of the spirit, the support of friends, and finally the love of a woman, he has in his own words been released from an unwanted same-sex attraction.'
Chris Sugden at Synod.

Very touching indeed.

I wonder whatever became of the other person in the 'gay relationship' ? ( Why not just say relationship in fact ?). This other young man is simply implied en passant, and I am sure that you and I are supposed not to give HIM a second thought. Is this ethical ? Is this good news ? Does Canon Sugden not care about this young person ? Does he advocate Anglicans disposing of one, to whom, they have committed their life ?

Why do the practices of 'conservative' and 'orthodox' practitioners of Anglicanism so often fail to impress (me) ? In fact , a great disappointment.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 10:39am GMT

Funny how these things happen. Something that was kicked into touch and then kicked into further touch for good measure ends up being a paradigm shift, that events happened in the General Synod that changed the ground in the Church of England on the whole homosexual inclusion issue.

The previous set position, the one to which the Arhbishop refers, somehow now has the skids underneath it, and is no longer the set position at least in these parts. The Daily Telegraph blog summarises this quite well.

It makes me believe in a theology of the Holy Spirit moving things constructively in the sense that no one intended this outcome (except a few will have seen where it led).

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 12:36pm GMT

I am unsurprised by the peculiar attitude of AM to the lectionary.

The local AM/Reform offshoot across the river happily puts its notice sheet online, and (setting aside the fact that to join the fellowship one has to undergo, not baptism but an Alpha course) makes no systematic use of scripture whatsoever, preferring a locally drafted 'thematic' approach which often means that no Gospel reading is used, even at the Sunday Eucharist. I noted with some concern that at Christmas the John 1 1-18 reading never saw the light of day, despite the fact that 'belief in the incarnation' would be one of ts tick-boxes.

As many of us remember from the ASB, there is a problem with thematic reading, in that themes may exist in the mind of the compiler, not in the chosen texts....

Consequently the alleged high view of scripture which this place claims to uphold is not evidenced in liturgical practice.

Anglican Mainstream, as someone wickedly observed, is very good at being neither...

Posted by: mynsterpreost on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 12:41pm GMT

Michael Nazir-Ali is justifying a huge waste of money on the basis of al-Qaeda getting hold of nuclear material... But al-Qaeda has a theology of death, and not life - so threatening them with mutually assured destruction is just one more road towards paradise. His logic is baffling. Talk about "virtually two religions"!

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 12:43pm GMT

I'm also very sceptical about such claims. It is quite possible for a bisexual person to sublimate the gay element of their orientation, but that doesn't mean that it goes away. In fact, to be fair, not all of the ex-gay groups promote this line. They recognise that change in orientation is unlikely.

The real point is that well-balanced and happy gay people do not wish to change, because they are happy to be the people they are. And in the UK< the total number of ex-gay group membership is barely in three figures. Compare that to the ever increasing number of gay people who are coming out and getting on with their lives - now reflected as valid and mainstream by the state

And the church still can't get to grips with this reality. In time, they will have to do so, or remain ever more on the fringes.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 2:18pm GMT

Nazir-Ali is a disgrace. I suppose the relevant Lambeth resolutions about war and nuclear war don't matter, just the ones about sex.

Posted by: Bill Carroll on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 3:25pm GMT

What a come-down: first reading Barry Morgan's brilliant essay, then Michael Nazir-Ali's article in the Tory-graph. From the sublime to the borderline-offensive.

Posted by: Caliban on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 3:52pm GMT

Would it not be strange for the wider UK society and law to shift towards equality for its gay citizens and their relationships, and the CoE to remain completely unaware and unaffected? I do get that many pockets of CoE life are much more conservative than otherwise. But surely that may be said of almost all provinces, up to the majority conservative provinces, whose side pockets probably have progressives and/or closets aplenty.

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 4:35pm GMT

As an ex-ex-gay pioneer of what is now misleadingly called Reparative Therapy, I can attest that the case of me and my family, nothing happened except three outcomes. First, great truck loads of terrible and unnecessary suffering were borne by me and by my extended and church families, all in order to accept God's plan to make gays straight, and to be able to live that for the greater glory of God. The claims of ex-gay change get loudly repeated, but so far no methodologically sound study is available to sort out the confounding issues. Were most of the later changees in the first place more accurately located as bisexual, or even conflicted or confused straight, rather than gay? Is this a change in behavior, at various personality and relationship levels, or does it amount to a real change in sexual orientation? What key factors or stages allowed the changee to shift on the orientation scale? Was the shift dramatic and wholesale, from gay to straight? Or was the shift stepwise, from more gay to less gay to finally straight? Method, then, for asking and for testing the ex-gay claims.

Second, the real life lesson was a paradox. Instead of proving the ex-gay models, it served to disconfirm them, and expose an underlying potential for confusion and nastiness. Talk about tearing the fabric of caring relationships. Just this paradox lesson seems to occur, in some instances where the legacy damnations get pushed to their logical conclusions; and maybe that is part of the paradox good that emerges from the ruins of such failed experiments in so-called orthodoxy. We might wonder whether the big orthodox push is actually helping to set the stages for later change, as the going orthodox paradigm fails, this time in public for all of us to hear and see. If the dear old Anglican closet comes back, then, it will be openly watched for its goodness by all the rest of us, gay and straight alike, believer and unbeliever alike. That isn't a methodologically careful test, but it is a daylight test and may be helpful in the long run. Meanwhile, prepare to help the draggled and tortured survivors of this return to yesteryear.

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 4:39pm GMT

Third. Going through that much unnecessary pain and surviving it do something profound to all involved. Some folks in my church and/or extended biological family never actually recovered. They are cut off from me (since I failed in their views), or are cut off from country USA Bible Belt church (since the church failed in their views), to this day. Others of us experienced such a deep shift that it is difficult to explain or describe the change, to this day. A change for the better. A profound experience of the sheer idolatry that may be involved in what Herbert Marcuse brilliantly called, surplus repression.

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 4:40pm GMT

>>>The danger is that this can be taken to mean that lesbian and gay Christians are welcome as full members of the church, whatever their behaviour and practice.

One cannot be too careful. First hateful, sex-obsessed fundamentalists were welcomed into the church, and now they have decided that they *are* the church.

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 5 March 2007 at 7:22pm GMT

Thanks for this drdanfee

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 6 March 2007 at 12:10pm GMT

"shows like Big Brother and Little Britain can “exploit the humiliation of human beings for public entertainment”.

Really!

The Church does it much better:
'He was in a gay relationship. And through prayer, the gospel of Jesus, the power of the spirit, the support of friends, and finally the love of a woman, he has in his own words been released from an unwanted same-sex attraction.'
Chris Sugden at Synod.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 6 March 2007 at 7:38pm GMT

Pluralist wrote "...Al-Qaeda has a theology of death, and not life - so threatening them with mutually assured destruction is just one more road towards paradise."

Well done. That is the crux of my contemplations in the week following 9-11. That humanity had reached a hubris where fighting fire with fire was literally going to feed into the enemies of humanity and this planet.

It became clear that peace could not be imposed. We could not wait for the "perfect" world where there was no violence or injustice to start building the new world. All the evil one had to do was incite one more group or whisper into one existing power monger's ear and there would be another atrocity that needed to be answered for.

If the evil one wants to stop reconciliation, if the basis of reconciliation is wanting to guarantee safety and perfection before one begins building the temple, then the temple will not be built.

The book of Nehemiah is useful. We begin building the temple, and put in place alarm and defense systems concurrently.

Resorting to invading a nation actually guaranteed the escalation of violence - a grounds to incite hatred against the invader and their collaborators. Demanding a standard of security vis a vis other nations' wellbeing; whist systematically interfering, sanctioning and sabotaging the running of other nations where they jeopardise your own self interests is sheer hypocrisy. Denying the rights and needs of a particular group of citizens (e.g. GLBTs) parallels a theology that denies the rights and needs of another group of citizens (e.g. infidels).

Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

As you judge so you will be judged.

Peace comes when you heal rather than judge.

Physician, heal thyself.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 6 March 2007 at 8:50pm GMT

Hi Martin

A good principle, I find, is to trust a person's own testimony over testimonies that others may give on their behalf and/or suggest to them.

If this person's own testimony was that this constituted a deliverance, then he knows best. Far better than you or me.

By denying that this can be the case in even one instance, you would be breaking a second important principle: namely the desirability of analysing cases on a case-by-case basis.

Is your position that there is no such thing as an unwanted same-sex attraction? Or that those that are unwanted ought to be wanted? Surely unwanted attractions are everywhere in life - e.g. among men wishing to stay faithful to their wives but nevertheless finding themselves confronted by temptation.

Are you able to justify your absolutist position on this?

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 at 12:35pm GMT

Christopher,
how about you scroll back up this thread and read drdanfee's moving posts about this?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 at 10:18pm GMT

I note that Christopher believes in partner swapping, which is contingent upon partner dropping. You seem to wish to import this from the straight world, into the gay world.


Nonetheless, I welcome your acceptance of 'wanted same sex atraction.'

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 at 10:55pm GMT

Hi Laurence

Wow - I don't remember saying any of that. I certainly don't believe any of that.

(1) Partner swapping - no. Rather, I have never affirmed the idea of a homosexual partnership in the first place.

(2) Only straights and not gays partner swap? You know very well that this is not true - so why did you say it? (Unless to demonstrate your bias for all to see?) The truth is that in modern Britain there is a great deal of both. Have you read figures on homosexual promiscuity?

(3) I do not remotely accept 'wanted same-sex attraction': see (1).

Huff! puff! Don't they teach logic in these schools? ;o)

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Thursday, 8 March 2007 at 12:25pm GMT
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