Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Mexico goes Inclusive

press release – 12th March 2007
Archbishop of Mexico becomes Patron of InclusiveChurch

InclusiveChurch is pleased to announce that the Archbishop of Mexico, the Most Revd. Carlos Touche-Porter, has agreed to be Patron of InclusiveChurch.

The Archbishop said “As an Anglican committed to promote inclusiveness and diversity in our Church, I rejoice, celebrate and support the ministry of Inclusive Church. May the Anglican Communion continue to be a house of prayer for all people, where everyone is welcome, valued and respected”. He is Presiding Bishop of La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico and a Primate of the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Carlos preached at a service hosted by Affirming Catholicism in Westminster Abbey on Monday 26th February. His sermon can be found here.

The Revd. Dr Giles Fraser said “Archbishop Carlos represents traditional Anglicanism of a sort that is familiar to ordinary members of the Church of England. His approach stands in marked contrast to the dangerous distortion that is occurring in other parts of our communion. We are delighted to have him as our Patron.”

A seminar on “Anglican Inclusion – A Global Tradition” is being organised by IC to take place in the summer. Further details will follow.

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Categorised as: InclusiveChurch

Congrats IC - never heard of the chap but congrats anyway

(might he be one of those who has presided over years of inclusive decline in Mexico?)

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 10:36am GMT

Politicians try to claim the middle /'mainstream' ground. Giles Fraser knows that what he says is not true. For 5 reasons:

(1) Modern views on homosexuality are a departure - more or less a 180 degree departure - from traditional Anglicanism;
(2) That said, it is irrelevant whether something is a departure from anglicanism (as opposed to world Christianity as a whole) in the first place. Why view anglicanism as some independent body that has no essential relationship to the rest of Christianity? It is self-contradictory to prize the title anglican above the title Christian - yet that is what is happening here.
(3) No one individual knows enough individuals and churches to know what is mainstream and what is not at any one time. They will probably think that they and their friends are mainstream, since 'Everybody I speak to says that...'. But this is a tiny insignificant sample.
(4) We therefore need to rely on statistics (e.g. those of David Barrett and Peter Brierley). These statistics are flatly against GF's claims.
(5) If GF therefore wants to refute the point that his claims are not based on anything apart from his own ideology/bias/propaganda, then how would he do so by appeal to facts? The whole point of the current debate is that we are trying to get beyond ideology, bias and propaganda and seek the truth, which (by its very nature) may not always be as we would wish it to be.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 1:36pm GMT

Please sir! Can I be the first to point out that the Mexican Anglican Church is a tiny one, and that therefore it cannot possibly represent truth or divine grace at work? The Macho Majority Mexican culture must be the one which speaks with the real Christian voice, must it not?

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 4:53pm GMT

There has been some fantastic things done by Christians in Mexico and Latin America in the last few decades. This is a pleasant, if not completely unexpected surprise. I hope God keeps affirming and encouraging the wonderful work that is being done there.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 7:59pm GMT

Christopher S wrote: "Modern views on homosexuality are a departure - more or less a 180 degree departure - from traditional Anglicanism".

Actually, I agree with him. Anglicanism, which has only been around for a few hundred years started on a terrible footing as for as homosexuality went.

Anglicanism was also originated during the schizoid period in history where Jesus had somehow replaced the God of the Old Testament and that the precepts of the Old Testament no longer counted because they had been usurped by Jesus and the new holy order.

The methods of how to deal with the "sexual oddballs" was being handled differently before Jesus time. Eunuchs were acknowledged and talked about. There was an ettiquette about what was appropriate (e.g. do not make someone an eunuch but treat them with respect if that is how God made them).

Do I have a problem gazumping a 350ish year old precept that was based on flawed logic for a 3000 year old principle founded in the Old Testament? Nope.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 8:04pm GMT

What a glorious name...a modern day apostle with a worthy name to follow in the tradition of the apostle to the apostles who elicited from Jesus the words 'Noli me tangere'...Carlos 'Ne Touche pas Porter'!

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 8:32pm GMT

If Mexico is so very macho, then why is it that a major TV heartthrob in that country (Christian Chavez) recently came out of the closet, and still has a flourishing career?

As for modern views of gay-lesbianism being a departure from tradition, I don't care. Copernicus was a departure from tradition (the long sanctified cosmology of Ptolemy that could guide a ship, and support a literal reading of Scripture), and he proved to be right; and so did Galileo, despite the verdict of the enforcers of orthodoxy.

Posted by: counterlight on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 10:04pm GMT

Sounds like the mention of the tag word inclusion has echoed gastronomically, rather like a diver dropping chum into the shark waters on the opposite sides of the platform from whence he might lower his safety observation cage. But if you wish to see, well hear anyway, feeding frenzy in all its glories, a visit to Stand Firm In Faith will do us even better. Pretty amazing isn't it, to remember that we belong to a body of believers that vary all the way from the Church of Sweden, to Canada, to TEC, to ACMex, to Brazil, to South Africa, to Southern Cone, to U.K., to Scotland, to Nigeria.

The thirst to realign is strong right now, so Stand Firm says. Not among anybody I personally know much in my own neighborhoods, but then I associate with the wrong sorts to start with. Ugh, progressives.

I hope the HoB can keep steady given all the cross winds playing around the hot button topics.

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 10:57pm GMT


Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 3:06am GMT

With leadership like this Bishop it becomes understandable why Mexico remains 93% Catholic -- and the number of Episcopalians is so small it doesn't even figure in the statistics.

Posted by: Margaret on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 6:58am GMT

Muy excellente! :-D

[re Latinos and Anglicanism---specifically TEC---I like to tell this story: in 1994, the year I left New York City, my parish there had two English Sunday liturgies, and one Spanish one. When I went back to visit in 2004, it had two Spanish liturgies, and one English one! ;-)]

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 7:19am GMT

drdanfee - in your circles, you will find less enthusiasm for realignment because it sounds like you are are part of the small revisionist minority in the AC that has never had the courage to go it alone - but I guess it has made sense to be paid and housed by stupid orthodox people while subverting the church

(remember the vast majority of TEC's money was given over the decades by people who never imagined the agenda of the current leadership)

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 9:02am GMT

Actually, I'm rather pleased that my little spoof on Mexico and Mexican Anglicanism seems to have stopped the usual suspects from bashing on about why this significant and welcome development should be ignored.

As Tom Lehrer used to say "how I long to get back/to the land of the wetback/and forget the Alamo, in Old Méjico. Olé!'

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 9:04am GMT

Margaret - I am not sure that the numbers of Anglicans in Mexico has to do with its leadership. In non Anglophone countries (not part of the old Empire and zone of influence) I think you'd expect the Catholic church to predominate. Can you give statistics for Anglicans in Italy, Spain, or Poland for example? I think in Mexico, as in Brazil and Argentina the churches are not large, but immensely respected for what they achieve for God in and for the community - and they use the local lingo. A language too of inclusion (in Brazil and Mexico), and I think that message goes down well in all those cultures. You'd surely not encourage or welcolme intolerant and non inclusive leadership would you?
Perhaps you can expand on how you would convert the 93% Catholics who remain so? A rather odd goal I would think!

Posted by: Neil on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 9:17am GMT

I can't get babelfish to translate Neil's quotes. Can Neil or anyone translate please? I want to know.

Posted by: matthew hunt on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 9:50am GMT

On your logic, then, Margaret, the conservatives' friend, Archbishop Venables of the Southern Cone, must be a pretty terrible leader, despite offering "oversight" to US congregations who are too pure to share a church with people who disagree with them.

The number of Episcopalians in his province is so tiny that he has to spread it over Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru - and even then it can only muster 27,000 members.

No, that argument won't do.

Posted by: badman on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 10:06am GMT


The Latin American Christians have done so much more with liberation theology and its derivatives, especially the Catholic nuns and priests.

I still remember the four nuns being skinned alive in El Salvador.

It's good to see the Episcoplians on the band wagon too.

A lovely breath of fresh air.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 10:41am GMT

There we go again, back on the numbers seesaw.

If *might is right* then Jesus was a damn fool and God should know better than to be bigger than our imaginations. And he should have told his disciples that anal sex, whoever does it, is a Big Moral no-no. No questions. No changes.

You don't have to be big to have principles that are essentially right. Majority views are notoriously conservative - take the abolition of slavery, for example. Perhaps a better analogy is between public opinion on the Iraq war and the increasingly ambivalent attitude of the Bush Administration to the conflict they sparked.

Perhaps the realignment folk should take a leaf from the Bush script. I imagine it would be an uncomfortable experience for them to look at themselves to see how much of non-Church people's prejudices they confirm and reinforce. The most reasonable people I know wouldn't be seen dead (or married!) in a church - can +Duncan offer a reason for this that doesn't blame them? Somehow I think Giles Fraser and Inclusive Church - especially their new patron - are taking this proposition seriously. I just wish they had a similar communications budget.

Posted by: kieran crichton on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 10:43am GMT

Absolutely, Margaret, we can't have a bishop telling the world that anyone is entitled to deep love in their lives. Jesus would be scandalised - it's well known that he never mentioned love after all!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 12:03pm GMT

NP, I think you're still missing the point of the AC. It is a broad community of churches who don't all share the same beliefs and have a variety of theologies. No-one needs to have the courage to leave it and no-one needs to allow themselves to be pushed out by people who suddenly want to elevate sexuality to the only moral criterion that decides who is an acceptable Christian and who isn't. You may not share our views and find them as morally repugnant as we find yours - but we're here to stay and you will just has to live with us.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 12:09pm GMT

Noli me tangere means "don't touch me". If you search for the term in inverted commas "Noli me tangere" Wikipedia, for example, brings up: Noli me tangere is the Latin version of the words spoken, according to the Gospel of John, by Jesus to Mary Magdalene, meaning "touch me not" (the quotation appears in John 20:17).

The other phrase is a play on words. The Archbishop is called Carlos Touche Porter. Touche being like the French for touch, ne touche pas is don't touch.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 12:20pm GMT

Hi Cheryl-

Differences between eunuchs and homosexuals enumerated:
(1) Eunuchs generally speaking suffer a medical operation to beome eunuchs. Of course, 'Some are also born eunuchs' (ie are impotent by nature);
(2) To be a eunuch is (by and large, according to standard terminology) a profession; to be a homosexual is not. It reminds me of the story of the bishop who got in the train carriage in mufti. A fellow-traveller asked him what job he did. He showed his ring: 'Does this give you a clue?' 'Oh, you must be something to do with the gays.' was the response.
(3) The reason that eunuchs were made eunuchs was because they were heterosexual and would otherwise have been in danger of seducing the queen.
(4) Eunuchs are impotent; homosexuals are mostly not.

I am sure the OT principle is admirable - but it refers to eunuchs and not to homosexuals, who are dealt with by other OT laws (and - far more importantly - by the NT). By your present interpretation the OT takes away with the left hand what it gave you with the right.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 12:30pm GMT

NP - drdanfee is not part of a small revisionist minority in The Episcopal Church, his views are those of the clear majority of The Episcopal Church. It is your allies who cannot bear to be a minority and are scuttling off into splinter groups.

I am interested in your knowledge of the churchmanship of those who have given to The Episcopal Church over the years - although you are not American. I would be very surprised if they thought that divergent views on the rightness or otherwise of other people's sexual practices should be an article of faith - a communion breaking issue - or that the independence of The Episcopal Church from post-colonial tutelage should be signed away, all of a sudden, over 200 years after the American Revolution.

I imagine they would listen to the words of Jesus and, to be precise, Matthew 7:1-5, and wonder at the extraordinary vehemence with which some of us condemn the allegedly sinful practices of other people, from the comfortable heterosexual position of having no personal interest in such practices. Greed, pride, war - how much of the comments on Stand Firm in Faith or Titusonenine deal with those? You must have read them...

By the way, although you always wind us Thinking Anglicans up, NP, that is definitely a good thing. Keep it up!

Posted by: badman on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 12:31pm GMT

Hi Kieran-
You are so right. As I never tire of saying, the majority is not always right; might is rarely right.

The majority view on any topic is highly culturally dependent. It depends on who is shouting loudest, and who has a voice, in a culture at a given time. Hardly the way to truth.

All I was doing was correcting someone who had misidentified which party was the majority party. This is not a moral point but a factual point of information.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 12:33pm GMT

Hi Erika-
Your argument ('we're here to stay and you will just have to live with us') amounts to 'possession is nine tenths of the law'. That is pretty amoral.

Is this infinitely extensible. I believe in abortin every baby I conceive, but I'm not getting out of the church so you will have to learn to live with me. Repentance, schmepentance. I believe lying is no more wrong than truth-telling, but I'm not getting out, so learn to live with me.

There is a pretty hideous fundamentalist song whose amoral and surely unchristian spirit you are echoing here:
'I'm walking in prosperity;
Living life the way it's meant to be.
It's not wrong, dear:
I belong here-
So you might as well get used to me.'
(as sung by Donnie McClurkin)

The slave-drivers could have made the same point 200 years ago. Thank God for Wilberforce.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 12:39pm GMT

IIRC the eunuch was sometimes the equivalent of the infertile females with whom the princelings of some regimes were allowed to consort while the wars of the dynasty raged. The point under these circumstances (where the surgery was not total emasculation) was to ensure that any sexual congress which took place was not going to result in issue which might further complicate the succession.

There is literary evidence to suggest that eunuchs were prized as sexual partners when their surgery left them in possession of the necessary bits for intercourse, since they could keep going for as long as the lady wished!

Not sure that helps the debate along, but I do like to get things right!

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 1:14pm GMT

Thanks very much Erika,

Okay, but is that 'don't touch the bellboy' or 'don't touch the icky brown beer'? Either way, WTF?

Posted by: matthew hunt on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 1:16pm GMT

so if I don't agree with your definition of sin and genuinely believe myself to be a part of the redeemed body of Christ, I will nevertheless have to leave because you are the more righteous sinner in your own eyes? Interesting theology!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 1:38pm GMT

"...am interested in your knowledge of the churchmanship of those who have given to The Episcopal Church over the years - although you are not American." badman

Fascinating thought. I believe my Great Grandparents would have shot "puritan extremists" in the butt (or elsewhere) when they tried to steal the Episcopal Church Property/Stained glass windows in their little church/town in the Wild Wild U.S. West (nobody would have challenged them either as they were the *law* and the notable citizens of their time).

Odd, I'm directly descended from them which is part of the ongoing REALITY of LGBT and heterosexual female clergy/inclusion/welcoming in Episcopal Church History (Oh, I had a "more-than-single" uncle who was a World War II decorated war hero too...would he count in the "historical data" even though he was the "silent type"?).

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 1:57pm GMT

Christopher Shell once again shows off his hilarious Gnosticisms as bad as his abysmal ignorance and disregard for God’s Creation (very good according to Scripture).

Point by point: (1) Eunuchs come in many shapes. Some by surgery, partial (balls) or complete. These are the ones who “have been made so by humans”.

Others are Eunuchs by birth, such as Hermaphrodites (2 sets of body parts), Pseudo Hermaphrodites (0 body parts), along with those who have partial or undeveloped body parts.

Some Eunuchs are sterile, others are not. Impotence is an entirely different matter altogether.

(2) In Antiquity up to the 20th century, there were several professions open to Eunuchs, some of them to this day in India. Various positions at Imperial courts (Byzantion, China), Religion (Priest), Greek and Roman Church (singer), the Opera (ditto).

(3) “The reason that eunuchs were made eunuchs was because they were heterosexual and would otherwise have been in danger of seducing the queen.”

You have a poor opinion of the Queen. Eunuchs in Harems and the like, from Antiquity over Byzantion to the Ottoman Seraglio, as well as in China, had been subject to complete surgery. With the obvious exception of China, they were mostly black.

(4) As suggested above, Eunuchs are not impotent, which is why Eunuchs in Harems were subjected to complete surgery. On the contrary, (partial surgery eunuchs, like the famous Farinelli and others, were much sought after because of their sterility, enjoying a most prolific and varied love life.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 2:10pm GMT

Christopher Shell--

Your understanding of eunuch is a fairly modern one. It is not the one, for instance, known in Roman law. It's also probably not the one understood in India. Moreover, some of the Fathers don't even read eunuch in your sense and refer to it as an aversion to women.

Posted by: Caelius Spinator on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 2:37pm GMT

Hello badman

Glad at least you like having irritating NP around here.

Don't think it is fair to say evos do not care on other issues - it is just that we do not disagree with liberals on issues of justice etc when consistent with the scriptures.....we only disagree when we are being asked to ditch scripture (and tradition AND reason i.e. "ignore those verses, we don't like them but listen to the verses against injustice" - this is not consistent)

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 3:46pm GMT

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon, in that the 'Biblical' anti-gay stance is often backed up by appeal to medico-epidemiological data.

This seems to me to be problematic.

Which is the primary authority? Would someone who would regard me as a 'reappraiser' care to comment?

Posted by: Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 3:58pm GMT

Erika - obviously, because of TEC's 2003/6 actions, the AC is changing from a loose affiliation of bodies into something more cohesive

- this is happening because the actions/ thinking of the leadership of TEC in the last few years is not acceptable to the vast majority of Anglicans in the world today......even the ABC is now giving TEC deadlines and asking for unequivocal responses

The AC has changed. TEC is causing a lot of sacrifice and will have to face sacrifices itself - I hope VGR is worth it.

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 4:43pm GMT

Christopher -

You're a tad confused. (But Cheryl's remarks were a little confusing too.) The Old Testament law for eunuchs was that they be excluded from participating in worship. I would hardly consider that admirable, or being "treated with respect". The prophet Isaiah looked forward to a time when eunuchs would be included among the congregation, thus flatly contracting the Law of Moses. In Matthew's gospel Jesus made a cryptic remark concerning those who make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom - one presumes he had Isaiah's prophecy in mind, although this is usually (and I think incorrectly) interpreted as advocating celibacy.

What I take away from that is that if Isaiah could flatly contradict Moses, so might we, if we sincerely think that a rule in question is wrong or irrelevent. Cheryl's point was just that, I believe. I don't believe that Biblical inerrancy happens to be an Anglican doctrine? The priest who taught my confirmation class back in 1974 apparently didn't think so, when it came to such matters as the slaughter of the Amalekites. I think everyone is tired of people raking up ancient hate texts, in whatever Testament, to support modern bigotry - and it certainly does nothing for the reputation of the church.

Posted by: Brian on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 5:48pm GMT

(remember the vast majority of TEC's money was given over the decades by people who never imagined the agenda of the current leadership) says NP

In British law the principle was established that over 25 years in continuation a congregation may change its beliefs and still be entitled to historical moneys given to it. This came about after the Lady Hewley case in York where Presbyterian Puritan foundations funded Unitarian congregations. Parliament changed the law in 1845 and Unitarian chapels were protected.

So even if a (British) TEC was innovating its views (and the US version is not innovating its primary views) it would still be entitled to the dosh.

You know, NP, eunuch on about this endlessly so I just thought I should open the door on this matter a little.

Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 6:37pm GMT

"The AC has changed. TEC is causing a lot of sacrifice and will have to face sacrifices itself - I hope VGR is worth it."

The AC *hierarchy* has changed, NP: it has, Curia-style, aggrandized vast amounts of POWER-OVER that previous generations of Anglican bishops, at Lambeth, seem to have never intended (Speaking of intentions: *contra* your "remember the vast majority of TEC's money was given over the decades by people who never imagined the agenda of the current leadership". Really not impressed with your "I know the Mind of God and the Saints" schtick, NP!)

Is +Gene Robinson "worth it"? No.

Is *Christ-in-Gene-Robinson* (and every other LGBT Imago Dei) worth EVERYTHING? Abso-freakin-lutely! :-D

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 7:20pm GMT

NP, I am proud to worship in a small village church where my evangelical "opponent" and I don't agree on anything at all, but where we can kneel side by side at the altar, where we can share prayer meetings and sincerely share the Peace with each other, where we can speak out publicly against each other's views while still acknowledging that we are all members of the same body of Christ. We both know that we are driven by a deep love of Christ and a genuine search for what it means to live as a Christian. We regret that our answers are so different, but we do not believe this means we have to cast each other out of the church. All it means is that we have to trust God to scoop us all up with his redeeming love.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 7:47pm GMT

Goran and Caelius

Thanks for those postings. We need souls who can remove the veil on how the word eunuch has been redefined over history to gloss over the breadth of what was originally included.

That removes another of their debate points before the magistrate. Keep up the good work on that front too.

The more fronts they can't win on, the more points in the debate that they can not claim are "undisputed", the less their credibility.

Further if they try to play a debate point after it has been proven to be flawed, knowing that the flaw is there but they are trying to hide its existence, that also goes against them with the magristrate.

There are higher courts than human to which this appeal is being lodged. Neither humans nor angels have the last word on this matter. Things have gotten too out of hand, which means the defence advocate for the afflicted and outcaste has kicked in. Many of the previous advocates have been discredited due to hypocrisy and/or conflicts of interest, so some of the existing debating points are up for renegotiation because the previous "authorities" on the points have been demonstrated to be morally bankrupt and inconsistent.

Trust in God Ephesians 6;10-20 "...our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms..."

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 14 March 2007 at 8:17pm GMT

Erika - "agreeing to disagree" or pretending there is unity is not a model we are given by the Lord.

JCF: what I see is in TEC is 2Tim4:3

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 7:18am GMT

NP, we all have to have the same views on the morals of everything? If I disagree with your view on the death penalty I have to set up a different church? If you don't like me views on genetic engineering, money lending or divorce you have to cast me out because agreeing to disagree is not the model given by the Lord?

You must be reading a different bible! Mine is all about God's love, about loving your neighbour as yourself, about not looking for the spec of wood in the other's eye and about Jesus remeeming us all.
What a terrifying God you must be serving! No wonder you're so fearful and angry!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 10:47am GMT

I meant spec of dust, of course! Oh the joys of English as a second language!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 12:16pm GMT

Hi Erika-

It is true that agreeing to disagree is no good to anyone. It stifles discussion, and it means that people will hold tight to the so-called conclusions they want to come to without room for further enlightenment. That is probably the reason that people propose it. Surely all views held by honest people are provisional, and subject to further discussion and development?

Your bible is about God's love? Mine is about all sorts of different topics. God's love very much included. God's holiness very much included. There is no such bible as the one that is about only one topic.

You write to NP 'no wonder you're so fearful and angry'. This is the fashion of reducing everything to human emotions. People hold academic viewpoints because they are the results of their research. This is nothing to do with emotion, indeed emotion hinders objectivity.

Re: eunuchs - thanks for the extra info. Isaiah may well have wished to modify Moses. The way ahead here is an etymological/semantic discussion. Does the English word eunuch precisely correspond to the Hebrew and Greek words in question?

Posted by: hristopher Shell on Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 12:59pm GMT

_Erika - "agreeing to disagree" or pretending there is unity is not a model we are given by the Lord._ NP

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this, or indeed the regulative importance of 2 Timothy 4:3, written after Paul's death.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 3:14pm GMT

So, Pluralist - pls show where the Lord taught we should agree to disagree?

(He was pretty keen on the Truth - my bible tells me)

Erika - I am not reading my bible selectively - we cannot just ignore the bits we do not like in our culture

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 3:55pm GMT

Well batted Brian.

One of the other things to remember is the blatent censorship that has removed certain parts of the texts where eunuchs were acknowledged and treated with respect. My favourite evidence is 8:38, it's one of those times where numbering those paragraphs leaves a hole in the texts. Having proof in every living bible then raises the question of what else has also been cut out of the texts.

The comment "Your argument ('we're here to stay and you will just have to live with us') amounts to 'possession is nine tenths of the law'. That is pretty amoral."

Actually, I think it is pretty amoral to deny the evidence of the variation in humanity e.g. distorted genitals/hermaphrodites and or to arbitrary reduce interpretations to suit a propoganda strategy. Both God and the bible are more complex than peoples' brains, especially when they've gotten into a group think rut.

If the afflicted are always going to be with us, then it is our responsibility to treat them with as much respect as possible and to embue them with both the rights and the obligations of citizenship. It is immoral to deny existence or justice to the aliens within our communities.

Isaiah 45:9-10 "Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter,‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’? Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to his mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?"

It is not our place to judge what God has created. It is our place to act as stewards to make manifest the best possible in the given circumstances.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Thursday, 15 March 2007 at 8:36pm GMT

Cheryl wrote: "One of the other things to remember is the blatant censorship that has removed certain parts of the texts .... … 8:38, it's one of those times where numbering those paragraphs leaves a hole in the texts. … raises the question of what else has also been cut out of the texts."

Early manuscripts contain rubrics. Sometimes these don't correspond with the text as given, indicating simple scribal errors, such as when the Codex Vaticanus gives the rubrics for the last chapters of Hebrews, but omits the text.

The Vaticanus in fact gives Alexandrian Heb as Pauline, because Clement who redacted Paul’s letters around 170 (the p 46), claimed it was (no one believed him). The Pastorals on the other hand, are not found in the Vaticanus because it was not considered (by Clement and most others) to be authentic.

The present, systematic, division into Chapters was introduced in Paris in the early 1200s in the Versio Vulgata (= the version common in Paris, so called in a 1248 letter) by the soon to become Cardinal Lambton, later ABC.

Verse numbers were introduced much later by the printer Estienne or Stefanos in Geneva in his 1555 edition of the integrist Calvinist (= shortened, that is no OT “deutero canonicals”) Bible. This was the first of our modern “canonical” Bibles – a different one for each church.

Following Erasmus and Luther the 1555 edition was translated from late Greek manuscripts of the 5th century Byzantine redaction.

This renaissance text (called the textus receptus in the foreword to a 17th Elsevier print) remained the Western one until the later part of the 19th century, when Tischendorf’s stealth of the Codex Sinaiticus made this late form of the Alexandrian Sondertradition fashionable.

Weston and Hort even labelled it the “neutral” text… But in fact it is much added to from the Codex Vaticanus, an elder and much more reliable specimen of the redaction of Clement of Alexandria & al around the year 200.

Compared to Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, the Byzantine redaction contains quite a few additions. Several of these are Harmonisations, bringing paragraphs and phrases over from “more complete” passages in the other scriptures. Cf the putting of Matt’s the Lords Prayer in Luke. Others additions are obviously dependent on later theological developments.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 11:44am GMT

Continued: However, 20th century papyrus finds show that some “additions” are in fact older and generally more correct readings than the Alexandrian ones. The Byzantine redaction was not only a harmonization for the new Imperial Patriarchate of Constantinople but an exegetical and theological effort at re-establishing the General Text, as before the Alexandrian Sondertradition.

While discarding the many hundreds of Sinaiticus additions to the text of the elder Vaticanus (particularly in the gospels), the Codex Sinaiticus Is Normative School of the late 19th and 20th centuries removed most of the Byzantine additions ;=)

This is the explanation for the 20th century lacunae in Estienne’s numbering.

The ancient Latin text of the West, a very reliable translation (2nd century onwards) of the General Text (the eldest complete manuscript is the early 8th century Codex Amiatinus at Florence) was much changed by the Scholastics in 12th century Paris, to express Imperial social disciplining and the teachings of the 4 Lateran councils; masturbation, mandatory celibacy, Emperor Louis’s 7 forbidden degrees of 829, the 6 persecuted Phantom categories (Jews, Muslims, Heretics, Bastards = sons of priests, Sodomitas, Lepers), & c.

This is when (the elder of) the present terror texts were invented. Others have been added post 1955 ;=)

Some of the Scholastic re-interpretations were, of course, shared with their Eastern colleagues who, however, could not introduce their in-readings into the Greek texts, as their Western brothers did to the ancient Latin translation. The East had to content with “interpretations” (such as malakós).

Naturally, the socio political changes to the Parisian Versio Vulgata had no counterparts in the Byzantine manuscripts used by Erasmus and other post Scholastic Neo Humanists (= new Neo Platonists), so while removing the 5th century “additions” of the Byzantine redactors, they a d d e d the 12th century Scholastic changes to the Byzantine text!

Which proves that they indeed knew what they were up to.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 11:45am GMT

NP, I'm sorry that once again you have not answered my question. Do we have to agree on all major moral issues before one of us has to leave the church, or is only sexuality of such key importance?

I'm glad that we agree on not reading the bible selectively. But it's not a case of "ingoring" the bits we find difficult but of trying to work out what they might mean.
The overriding "rule" is that God Is Love. Everything has to make sense in that context. If it doesn't, then it's clear to me that my understanding must be wrong.

I know about deep love as a daughter, friend, wife, lover and mother, and I know that God's love is always deeper than mine, always greater.
So if I see Christians using the word love to cloak an unthinking adherence to strict rules which exclude people who squeal and shout that that they want to be included too - then it reminds me of the father who beats his child sternly saying "this will hurt me more than you". This is NOT love, because it falls short of even my own small ability to love, so how much more must it fall short of God's love!

So I have to go back to my bible and read it in the right context until I can understand who all those "difficult" bits can be read and accepted in the overriding context of Love.
Rigid rules to tie people down doesn't come into it.

And, Christopher, this is not a purely intellectual exercise. I keep bringing emotions into it because Love is about emotions. Christianity is about integrated people, body, mind and soul in balance. It's wrong if it's purely emotional, but it's just as wrong if it leaves emotions aside and pretends to be a purley rational faith. The two must go hand in hand for any of it to make true sense.

So if I see a Christian who is constantly angry, bitter and willing to impose tight rules on others, I can't help but feel that he's truly missing the point of God's amazing and liberating love.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 1:21pm GMT

Erika - the later chapters of Romans say we do not have to agree on "disputable" matters....but we cannot agree to ignore certain bits of scripture just because we do not like them - they are there and there meaning has not been obscure for 2 millenia

Posted by: NP on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 3:48pm GMT

so slavery was disputable because, after all, we have eventually disagreed and changed our minds, including the true biblical believers like you, so it can't have been a disputable matter otherwise people like you wouldn't have changed their minds.

Ursury was disputable for the same reason. The death penalty and Christian involvement in war are also disputable, because people hold different views without anyone complaining.

But whether I can live peacefully in a life long relationship with my partner is non disputable and a cause for me to leave the church if I don't agree?

I really don't understand this!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 16 March 2007 at 9:52pm GMT

'So there is nothing in the medical or scientific evidence at the moment that need cause us to abandon the teaching of scripture on the rightful place of sexual activity within the marriage covenant or to question the traditional wisdom of the Church on this matter. Indeed, we need to regain our confidence in the Gospel - the teaching of scripture in relation to sexuality is good news for our society.'
Glynn Harrison

THIS is not psychiatric discourse.

His initial 'So' (by which he intends 'thus') is not justified by his argument up to this point.
This is wishful thinking.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 19 March 2007 at 10:02pm GMT

Hi Erika-
So what are the respective places of emotion and intellect in a debate?
If someone is angry does that make their facts more wrong?
If someone is calm does that make their facts more right?
We all agree that both intellect and emotions are important. But the best option is to be maximally intellectual and maximally warm emotionally. It is not to say 'you can only go so far intellectually and the rest is emotion' (or vice-versa). What we need is the maximum amount of both.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 20 March 2007 at 12:21pm GMT

I couldn't agree more!

What I object to is angry rejection of every intellectual statement I make without trying to engage with what I've actually said.

And what I equally object to is high handed purely intellectual statements as though they weren't made about real people with real feelings.

And, sadly, it is often the conservative side which does not want to hear my individual human story, which does not want to engage with the feelings of love or rejection I'm talking about, but which instead insists coldly that some purely intellectual Christian interpretation means I just have to go away, hang my head in shame and come back when I've repented.

That is not a truly integrated "human" approach.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 20 March 2007 at 2:54pm GMT
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