Monday, 26 March 2007
InclusiveChurch on the American bishops
Press Release from InclusiveChurch
26th March 2007
We acknowledge the frustration which has led the Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) to reject the requests of the Dar Es Salaam Communique for the creation of a parallel church structure.
We welcome their strong affirmations of the equality before God and human rights of all people.
We wish members of TEC to know that we fully support them in their response to the Primates.
To lose the long-cherished principles of provincial autonomy, respect for diversity and active participation of laypeople and clergy would be to lose many of the defining principles of our Anglican inheritance. We have no tradition of centralising authority in the hands of a few senior bishops.
The majority of members of the Church of England find the continued failure of Anglicans to recognise the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people absolutely unacceptable.
It is increasingly clear to us that the process which the Communion has followed over lesbian and gay Christians has been very seriously flawed. Comparisons have been drawn with the ordination of women. In relation to that question a moratorium was imposed in 1948. But the next twenty years led to a conditional acceptance, following a great deal of work by the Communion and a serious and sustained engagement with the question.
But the initial Lambeth resolution in 1978 calling for sustained engagement over issues of human sexuality was honoured only in the breach. Twenty years later at Lambeth 98, the conclusions of the working party charged with coming up with a response to these questions were hijacked by a few conservative bishops with the active support of the then Archbishop of Canterbury. A resolution was produced which rowed back from the 1978 call. In other words, the “conservative” position became a “regressive” position.
In this context, the frustration felt by the Episcopal Church and expressed by its Bishops last week is entirely understandable. To add weight to that frustration, the “listening process” which was called for by Lambeth 98 and again in the Windsor Report has not been carried out with any degree of seriousness by those people who have most to lose by genuine engagement - that is, those parts of TEC loosely grouped under the American Anglican Council, the Province of Nigeria and conservative groups in England. And the cross-border incursions condemned by the Windsor process have, far from coming to a halt, merely increased.
In the meantime, the Church of England has moved on. The debates at General Synod on Wednesday 28th February showed that there is a desire by Synod to take a more mature and supportive approach to Christians who genuinely see the inclusion of lesbian and gay people as a Gospel imperative.
We are now in the ridiculous position where we have gay clergy living in relationship at all levels of the hierarchy - and where the blessing of same-sex relationships is taking place in a significant number of parishes. Parishes trying to live out the radical and inclusive welcome of Jesus Christ are thriving. But because of the untenable policy of the House of Bishops none of this can be acknowledged.
In the meantime, the Archbishop of Nigeria is proceeding at full speed with his support for the homophobic legislation proposed in that country which breaches the UN Declaration on Human Rights, unchecked by his brother Primates.
In this context, we do not see that Lambeth 1.10 can be considered any longer to hold legitimacy or credence. Nor do we see that the Windsor process (which was planned as a process of reconciliation but has been used as a process of exclusion) can continue any further. The road map, effectively, was torn up at Dar Es Salaam. We are now in a new world, in which it is hard to see how a meaningful Covenant can be agreed.
This week it is worth remembering that the entire House of Bishops was originally opposed to the abolition of the slave trade. It took William Wilberforce and his colleagues over twenty years to convince the Church of the rightness of their cause.
InclusiveChurch remains committed to its fundamental aim: to celebrate the diverse gifts of all members of the body of Christ; and in the ordering of our common life to open the ministries of deacon, priest and bishop to those so called to serve by God, regardless of their sex, race or sexual orientation. We will continue to work to fulfil that aim across the Anglican Communion. We look forward to ever increasing friendship with inclusive Christians around the world.
Giles Goddard, Chair, IC
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on
Monday, 26 March 2007 at 1:07pm BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
This thing is unravelling at an approrpriate speed.
nice try.....I know the strategy of delays and no decisions being made while the cofE was steadily subverted has worked well for decades -but, sorry, it is not going to be that easy to make Windsor and Tanzania disappear
how many times does the ABC have to marginalise and disappoint IC and TEC before before some liberals face AC reality?
pls launch TEC Global - you will have a few million people around the world and you can talk about inclusion till the cows come home (leaving the AC to get on with its mission)
The Covenant was (in ambiguous terminology) the terms of a cease-fire between some hard-line conservatives and TEC. As TEC have, to all intents and purposes, refused to be pushed any further there is now no need for such a treaty.
What the consequences will be is open to debate - but it does mean that the Windsor process now has no point to it.
But I guess that those who both believe that they are right, and who cannot stomach breaking bread with faithful Christians whose views diverge from their own, will still want to impose their reality on the rest of the Communion.
I do not understand the comment of Pluralist, but I tend to think that if Lambeth 1.10, and the Windsor and Covenent processes are discredited in the minds of most reasonable Anglicans, that is a good thing.
This statement is extremely helpful.
The Windsor Report, Dromantine, Resolution 1.10 all have been undone by the primatial usurpation at Tanzania, and the Covenant is stillborn.
Williams ought to accept the American invitation at once. I suspect that by September 30 it will be withdrawn.
The CofE still answers to Parliament to some degree, correct? Are English progressives asking their MPs to introduce Early Day Motions and ask questions on the floor about whether:
-the Church of England has spent any taxpayer moneys to oppose the sexual orientation measures?
-the Archbishop of Canterbury or any other English bishop has spent English taxpayer money to insert himself into the affairs of the American Episcopal Church?
-the Archbishop of Canterbury can justify his job to promote religion in England with his activities involving churches in other countries?
Put some pressure on him through your MPs. Turn up the heat on this kettle. Look for ways to increase the attention of the public on these issues.
A strong campaign of "the archbishop is using taxpayer money to promote bigotry abroad and fight equality at home" might make things a little more uncomfortable for him at a time when he needs to be a little more uncomfortable.
English progressive Christians are in a unique place to put enough pressure on the ABC in his home territory to make much of the current fight go away.
Though in certain particulars the CofE may be answerable to Parliament (or, more correctly, to the sovereign in Parliament) it does not of course follow that the CofE is financed by parliamentary grant. It isn't. It does not receive tax revenues in any form, except some grants for the maintenance of historic buildings (which are small in any case) and a lower rate of Value Added Tax on repairs of such buildings. Nice try, but that one won't run.
Besides, it would doubtless be an open invitation to Dr Paisley to shout things which would put even Abp Akinola in the shade.
Abp Rowan is not a fool, and he isn't a spineless changeling. He's a good deal wiser and a good deal holier than most of his detractors, and he's playing a long game. It's better not to expect results by yesterday.
The criminal Bishop of Harare knows a spineless changeling when he sees one.
1. the condition of Dr. William's spine has yet to be determined and it is looking extremely flexible at this point.
2. the building preservation grants and the extensive tax allowances add up to a very large grant of money to the CofE. If the MPs are willing to stand up to Rowan on equal rights in adoptions and employment and housing, perhaps they would be willing to use these large subsidies to put a little more pressure on the ever flexible Rowan Williams. He seems to bend in the direction he is being pushed and at the moment most of the pushing is coming from Abuja and from the rightwing breakaway types in America. A little pushback might help the good Archbishop lean a little less to the right.
“But I guess that those who both believe that they are right, and who cannot stomach breaking bread with faithful Christians whose views diverge from their own, will still want to impose their reality on the rest of the Communion.”—Paul
Listen, Paul, I have no problems receiving Holy Communion with even—yuck!—Calvinists. It’s they who refuse to receive along side us.
No, No (Yes) Dr Paisley is reborn today.
There is an interesting turn of events, and I've said before about the strategy of resetting deadlines to fix something for the time being - at least if the direction is there. It was done in Northern Ireland because there was a goal. Here there is no goal. There is no Anglican Communion, NP, that can make decisions - the Church of England so set it up that provinces remain independent. And so they do. My point about unravelling at appropriate speed (tying error corrected) is that now the American centre of power has said "No" thus Changing Attitude has come out for a dance. What are the Covenant processes for? Nothing much.
We know roughly the measure of dissent in The Episcopal Church and there are means to support people who dissent. Those who want to seek foreign support now know what lies behind it in terms of intended human rights abuse, and it must be embarrassing. Some may be independent and splinter off. Well they will.
It is those who walk who tend to leave organisations, and the best bet is that the Anglican Communion looks like being what it was.
This is going to make an interesting next Goddard to Goddard letter. Are they still writing?
"Abp Rowan is not a fool, and he isn't a spineless changeling. He's a good deal wiser and a good deal holier than most of his detractors, and he's playing a long game..."
I can't comment on anyone else's holiness. I tend to see him as either not smart or not gutsy, but certainly that's as much an outsider's view as anyone else's.
But for TEC and particularly glbt people - and especially those in places like Nigeria - it is very far indeed from being a "game."
And just how "long?" Unitl 30 September, as the demand from Tanzania states it? That doesn't seem very long. Or next Lambeth? Or until all present company have gone to be with Jesus? The ABC is not the only or the chief person that the "long game" can adversely affect.
See again MLK's "Letter from Birmingham Jail." I believe you can google and find the complete text rather easily.
A fundamental flaw in your recommendation that a new TEC-lead denomination be formed: the rest of the Communion is or will be wrestling with the same issues of diversity. The gay folks being persecuted in Nigeria are best served by a unified Communion that continues to tackle these thorny issues. If all the liberals leave, who will make sure the rest of the Communion gets kicked in the pants once in a while when in need of reform?
Byron ; on this one we disagree.
I think that the time for a unified communion is over - the conservatives simply blunt any possibility of a radical and new message.
And I'm afraid the Communion does precisely nothing about Nigeria.
No Byron - I want TEC Global to be the new home of all of those everywhere in the AC who want to make up their own scriptures and think thy exist to be global social workers......I want all wherever they are to take their buildings and realign with the AC or TEC depending on what they think their mission is at its heart and what authority they accept or do not accept.
In a hundred years, given what we see in London and the US on the ground, I know which will be strong and which will be disappearing.....but staying together in false unity will kill everyone.
The draft legislation reaching its final stage in Nigeria would actually prevent TEC doing in Nigeria what Nigeria has done in the USofA.
A gay friendly and affirming church would be outlawed by this legislation.
Not that I am suggesting for a minute that Peter Akinola’s lawyers had anything to do with the drafting of this Bill to ensure that this would be the case!
Dennis writes: "the building preservation grants and the extensive tax allowances add up to a very large grant of money to the CofE. If the MPs are willing to stand up to Rowan on equal rights in adoptions and employment and housing, perhaps they would be willing to use these large subsidies to put a little more pressure on the ever flexible Rowan Williams."
This is simply untrue. Government help with historic buildings is available to all the owners of historic buildings in this land and is not just a grant made to the churches. Furthermore it is not a grant made to the church centrally but to individual parishes and cathedrals - and it is a small contribution compared to the actual expenditure on church buildings.
Additionally, the relief on VAT on repairs to church buildings follows many years in which the VAT individual churches and cathedrals were paying was more overall than the actual grant given. Plus, the reduced VAT burden is available to other churches and not just the CoE. If you're trying to make out that the CoE is subsidised by the State, this is simply not true.
NP - you're a Puritan, not an Anglican. That is, you want every denomination to be "pure", with all of one mind even on non-essentials such as the ethics of other people's sexual orientation.
Not only is that not what the Church of England, let alone the Anglican Communion has ever been about - but Puritanism is not, in fact, at all long lasting. A habit of fighting the internal enemy is hard to shake off, and puritans fight other puritans until the whole movement disintegrates.
We still love you though! So you can stay with us - if you want to.
'But for TEC and particularly glbt people - and especially those in places like Nigeria - it is very far indeed from being a "game."'
Metaphor. I'm sorry if it is not understood outside the UK, but it is a common phrase here.
I am aware, pace Dennis and Josh Thomas, that Americans believe in the merits of kicking ass. Brits do tend to do things in a different and, dare I say, more subtle way. Paying out (another British idiom) a good deal of rope in the direction of Abuja may well result in a certain prelate stringing himself up. There are signs of it already.
As far as the issue of Harare is concerned - what inconsistency is here? If the ABC were to rebuke a TEC bishop, I guess that unless it were +Duncan or +Iker or one of that crew, most correspondents on this list would scream that he has no jurisdiction to do that. Harare is in the (autonomous) province of Central Africa. The ABC has no jurisdiction. Abp Malango may be as much use as the proverbial chocolate teapot, but ++Cantuar can do nothing. He can't even drop into Harare on a friendly pastoral visit, because Mugabe wouldn't let him in.
Game over by 30 September? Or Lambeth 2008? Don't count on it.
And thanks to Andrew Carey for spelling out the grants/VAT situation.
badman - thanks for the love.....I appreciate it!
You have a point - I am a bit of a "puritan" in that I want agreed standards (with foundations in scripture) and I want discipline to keep those agreed standards meaningful......this view is older than the Puritans and comes directly from the Apostles - does it not?
You are kind to say I can stay.....but I want to stay with the vast majority of the AC which is, to be honest, tired of having its mission distracted so terribly since 2003.
Anyway,it looks like TEC's HOB is walking away from the AC (maybe running away,now, not wanting to bend to the ABC's wishes for compromise nor to allow the creation of the "ACUSA" alongside TEC)
"I want TEC Global to be the new home of all of those everywhere in the AC who want to make up their own scriptures and think thy exist to be global social workers"
Are these FALSE accusations supposed to shut us up, NP? (I assure you, they won't). We in TEC---along w/ many, many Anglicans, all around the world---will continue to be faithful to Jesus Christ in the "historic Anglican formularies" as *we* have received them [and not in the REVISIONIST puritan (de)form that too many of the primates are trying to foist upon us].
God bless TEC's historic Anglicanism!
Can someone please tell me what's "inclusive" about this "Inclusive Church" statement? Surely that term is hereby shown to be as meaningless as some of us have long suspected it to be? Does it mean more than we like all those who don't include what we exclude or exclude what we include?
I wonder what the results would be if a poll of every member of the Church of England were to be taken in a nationwide referendum regarding the aforementioned subjects?
If these apostates don't like the teachings and beliefs of historic Christianity, why don't they just start their own church? Why do they feel so compelled to force their arbitrary political whims?
What awful, selfish, CHILDISH people.
I understand that through family you have certain insights into the issue of state money and the church. Thanks for sharing them.
But I can't help but remember a little controversy (which I am trying to find on the web) of CofE parishes applying for these grants for things like jumbo television screens and conference facilities. A friend in one CofE parish has used outside help to assist in creating a place for children to be cared for. That is an obvious attraction and counts as assistance in mission.
If the money is going only to protect the old building that is one thing (although I'm sure that the non-Christians may wonder why their money must protect buildings whose use they don't support) but some of the ways this money has been spent is another. But perhaps we wont debate how the money is spent. That it is available at all means that the state should have some voice in the affairs of the church. He who pays the piper calls the tune, as it were.
At this point I am willing to bet that the CofE is quite dependent on the VAT rebates and building grants (plus other little supports). I am suggesting that Parliament should now see that the CofE has a collar and leash around its neck. It may not be a large collar, more like one of the little ones that one may buy for a small pet, but it is a collar. That any state money goes to the church gives Parliament and the state the right to pull on the leash a little and see if the Church can be led to be a bit more tolerant and accepting and, well, moral. Parliament is in a position to lead on these issues, the church is obviously in a need to follow, and since there is money involved (no matter what form of grant or VAT rebate) then there exists a useful tool which should be used.
Though you might disagree, Rowan needs some pressure from the left to straighten up his spine. A good chartered accountant could probably find a link between his activities as ABC and the various grants and rebates the church receives - and once that is done he might find himself on a tighter leash. If Parliament is willing to play hardball then the fights that are being encouraged by certain previous ABCs might quiet down a bit.
Thanks for the explanation of "game" - of course it is a mataphor on both sides of the pond. I think in this case it is maybe not the best, as it suggests a trivializing of the real hurt and danger that are at stake for so many.
There is always a balance between patience and action that is hard to maintain. The 'p' word is not my strong suit, especially on issues of justice.
Crypto: thanks for the reminder that as simply minded Americans we are all hopelessly unable to use diplomacy or to even begin to understand the complex British mind.
Unfortunately this American spent some time in university in the UK and worked for a period for an MP in the HOC, so I don't buy it. When it comes to politics and academic fights, I have seen that the Brits believe in kicking some ass (as you put it), too.
The English have a taste for the street fight just as much as any American. Or have you never attended a football game?
My belief that Rowan needs some pressure from the left isn't from a desire to "kick butt". Rather it is from a desire to see the conservatives lose this fight and see the Anglican communion become an open and accepting place for all people. We aren't footwashing snake handling fundamentalists and it is damned well time that we stopped acting like it.
Rowan has shown himself little able to stand up to this struggle. He has underestimated the progressives and attempted to pacify the right by granting their demands. A little political pressure on him is a card that the English understand full well how to play and I am suggesting that they play this card soon. Perhaps Rowan could find some courage if he had a little pressure from the left.
And usually the best way to put pressure on a man like Rowan is to threaten his funds. English progressives might find that this is the best way to bring the CofE aound to supporting equality and inclusion in their own country and no longer giving shelter to the bigots in other countries. Search for an advantage and use it to support the right and true direction the church should take.
I am hoping that our bishops in America also realize this and tighten the purse strings on the cash we send to the instruments of "unity" as a hint of what will come if Rowan and his friends keep it up.
"As far as the issue of Harare is concerned - what inconsistency is here? If the ABC were to rebuke a TEC bishop, I guess that unless it were +Duncan or +Iker or one of that crew, most correspondents on this list would scream that he has no jurisdiction to do that. Harare is in the (autonomous) province of Central Africa. The ABC has no jurisdiction. Abp Malango may be as much use as the proverbial chocolate teapot, but ++Cantuar can do nothing."
As much as I scream about the machinations of the imperial prelates in Dar es Salaam. I certainly don't agree that "Cantuar can do nothing."
Cantuar can admonish. He can admonish to his heart's content. He can speak plainly and forcefully and persuasively. He can even speak prophetically.
What he CAN'T do is depose or otherwise discipline the Bishop of Harare because he has no jurisdiction. But he can admonish until he's blue in the face.
And had the imperial prelates gathered in Tanzania admonished, had they spoken plainly, forcefully and persuasively, even prophetically, I'd have had no issue with the communique per se - as much as I might have disagreed with what they said.
But they went beyond that and began to set requirements and deadlines - things which they had no canonical authority to do.
Threatening grant given to individual churches and cathedrals, as well as the VAT relief, would be considered by Parliamentarians to be pressure of the worst kind if they wanted to manipulate the Church. The fact is, that the burden would be born by ordinary churchgoers and local volunteers who care for the national heritage of listed buildings.
You also seem to be talking about local authority grants to churches for providing social services. Well there is pressure on religious groups already to conform to equal opps policies. But I hardly think the left is going to want to make the poorest and most vulnerable suffer by playing the money card.
Nevertheless your point still stands. Many people on the left would like the State to pressurise the Church to abandon traditional Christian morality. Some Parliamentarians are trying to do this. And it could be argued that imposing certain aspects of the Sexual Orientation Regulations on the Church is an attempt to bring the Church into line with contemporary mores.
Fr Malcolm - Sadly, admonition from a British archbishop is simply dismissed as more neocolonialism from "Blair and his gay mafia". Harare hears only what it wants to hear, which is very little from Britain.
JCF - "historic anglicanism" and TEC in line - really????
I would love to introduce VGR to Cranmer (or Wilberforce!) and see what they make of where TEC has gone in rejecting scriptures it does not like
'Nevertheless your point still stands. Many people on the left would like the State to pressurise the Church to abandon traditional Christian morality. Some Parliamentarians are trying to do this. And it could be argued that imposing certain aspects of the Sexual Orientation Regulations on the Church is an attempt to bring the Church into line with contemporary mores. '
Posted by: Andrew Carey on Wednesday, 28 March 2007 at 9:13am BST.
I am not sure what your point is, given that you yourself have 'abandon(ed) traditonal Christian morality.' Are you really saying that the rest of us must do what you say, and not what you do ? As you have found the traditional morality untenable yourself, I think there is no harm in saying so. Infact, there is surely much to be gained by letting your actual practice inform your theory.
Especially as you would seem to have a ministry of journalism. If sure others would join in such a personal discussion,and exploration, in the light of our human and sexual lives, were you to initiate one.
"I would love to introduce VGR to Cranmer (or Wilberforce!) and see what they make of where TEC has gone in rejecting scriptures it does not like" NP
Well, St. Busybritches, while you're at it why don't you introduce Henry VIII to Pope John Paul II and King James (or Queen James?) to Adolph Hitler and let them sort their best moral likes/dislikes and interpretations of "scipture" out?
Dear Lord above, just when do we get to face reality and start living in TRUTH?
Can't speak for Cranmer, NP, but round here there's a persistent rumour that Wilberforce (whose constituency was just across the river)was less motivated in his anti-slavery thinking by high evangelical Christian ideals, but by the fact that he'd had some sort of row with a slave-trader and wanted to get his own back. I believe it is a matter of record that he was not a social progressive on anything else in early C19.
So Wilberforce's take on Scripture might not be that authoritative, certainly not if his motivation was less selfless than the romantics like.
A bit off-topic, but fun nonetheless. Now back to writing a Quiet Day for clergy - help!
you don't hold it with the creeds then either, do you? Or the concept of the Trinity? Or the Incarnation? If I remember correctly, they're not found in scripture either.
From cryptogram: 'Sadly, admonition from a British archbishop is simply dismissed as more neocolonialism from "Blair and his gay mafia".'
MF - True enough, unfortunately. But the fact the the admonishee isn't willing to listen is no reason to be silent.
From NP: 'I would love to introduce VGR to Cranmer (or Wilberforce!) and see what they make of where TEC has gone in rejecting scriptures it does not like.'
MF - This really is the desperate "argument" of one who cannot present a cogent case for his position. The vast majority of Anglicans on all sides of this question are sincerely trying to determine the will of God and the true witness of scripture.
Claiming that anyone who disagrees with you is "rejecting scripture [they] do not like" assumes a) that interpreting scripture is simple, b) that the meaning of scripture is always obvious, c) that there can only possibly be one legitimate interpretation of scripture, and d) that whatever NP thinks that only possible interpretation is must be correct. It is as foolish as claiming that anyone who does not endorse the blessing of same sex unions and the ordination of non-celibate gays is necessarily a homophobe.
MF - I can't say I like being bracketed with NP (and he probably would regard it as being unequally yoked with an unbeliever) but allow me two comments on your 18.29 posting.
1) I'd be very surprised if some token of archiepiscopal disapproval had not been imparted to both Malango and his suffragan of Harare.
2) Was it not Origen who observed that scripture has Spirit, Soul and Body, in descending order of importance? Spirit is equated to the allegorical meaning, Soul to the anagogical, and Body to the literal, which is of interest and use only to the most unspiritual of persons. Of course it didn't stop him apparently taking the logion about making onesself an eunuch very literally indeed...
Of course religious groups have to abide by equal opps policies, Andrew - just like everybody else.
And if those same groups wish to provide services to the public, then that is what is expected of them.
Personally, there's a lot to be said for rigid application of the divorce restrictions, Andrew. Met any adulterers lately ?(watch that mirror!)
Merseymike, as you well know equal opps policies which I support do not trump religious conviction in each and every circumstance. And that is absolutely right.
Laurence and Merseymike, you are quite entitled to cast stones at me. But you'll have to forgive me for not responding because I'm not prepared to go into personal stuff in such a public forum.
Andrew who is throwing stones ?
You are the one with a relentless personal vendetta against gay people. You are the one who combines this with your abondonment of what you are pleased to call traditonal morality. There is no need at all for you 'to get into personal stuff in a public forum' -- or anywhere else. You do one thing and say something else. You seem to think that tradtional morality is only for queers.
You bring stones into it -- have you ever heard the one about 'people in glass-houses' & 'stones' ? THAT was my point.
I'm not happy about where this conversation is going.
Whatever other people may or may not have done is between them, those it affected and God to whom all hearts are open, all desires known and to whom nothing is secret.
None of us have any idea about the soul searching, the praying and the repenting that may have happened. My own path through life has been complex enough to feel very strongly about this.
It has nothing to do with the theological acceptance of something you believe is sinful.
Oh I hated to say this, because I so disagree with Andrew's anti gay stance!
Malcolm French writes:
"It is as foolish as claiming that anyone who does not endorse the blessing of same sex unions and the ordination of non-celibate gays is necessarily a homophobe".
Well, I'm not so sure about that.
It's a bit like saying you don't want blacks to be treated badly but you wouldn't want your daughter to marry one.
It's not as bad a supporting slavery, so you can feel good about your moral credentials. But it still falls short of seeing lgbt people as full and equal brothers and sisters in Christ.
Erika - you really seem to have a sketchy knowledge of the bible - it certainly does contain the doctrine of the Trinity!
Malcolm says "Claiming that anyone who disagrees with you is "rejecting scripture [they] do not like" assumes a) that interpreting scripture is simple... "
No, Malcolm - but I have not fallen for the simply stupid view that it is legitimate to interpret scriptures in contradictory ways and both must be accepted. This would imply the writers had no clear view which they were trying to communicate - wouldn't it?
The writers were not stupid - they had an intended meaning that they wanted to communicate and it is our job to work hard at seeing what it is.
It is not convincing to claim they mean the exact opposite to what they all say consistently from OT to NT - you don't do that when considering poverty issues, I am sure.
Laurence, your assertions are untruthful. But don't let me stop you - you're on a roll.
Merseymike and Laurence,
in any case, this is not about throwing stones in glass houses. The argument is not that we want to be allowed to be as immoral as everyone (including we!) can potentially be at times.
The argument is, to paraphrase what drdanfee put so beautifully not long ago: we don't want a new morality, we want it to be accepted that we and our relationships fit neatly into traditional morality.
NP: "The writers were not stupid - they had an intended meaning that they wanted to communicate and it is our job to work hard at seeing what it is."
In seeing the second half of that statement confirms that you at least agree w/ me in a posting from another topic. So if some see it as contradictory, what are we to do?
I am publishing no further comments here involving personal attacks on individuals. Please talk instead about the original article...
NP: "I have not fallen for the simply stupid view that it is legitimate to interpret scriptures in contradictory ways and both must be accepted."
and also: "It is not convincing to claim they mean the exact opposite to what they all say consistently from OT to NT - you don't do that when considering poverty issues, I am sure."
Do you ever actually try responding to things people have said instead of just setting up straw men and knocking them down?
What some of us try to do is grapple with difficult questions and seek the will of God. What some of us try to do is call everybody who disagrees with us evil and stupid. You may be part of that first group. To date, your posts lead me to conclude otherwise.
And yes, I do think we should pay attention to what scripture says about poverty. But despite my politics, I don't believe that scripture endorses any specific political or economic system.
Erika said: "Well, I'm not so sure about that. It's a bit like saying you don't want blacks to be treated badly but you wouldn't want your daughter to marry one. It's not as bad a supporting slavery, so you can feel good about your moral credentials. But it still falls short of seeing lgbt people as full and equal brothers and sisters in Christ."
A lot of people who oppose equal marriage and the ordination of non-celibate gays are homophobes. A lot of them are people who are struggling with the issue and trying to find the mind of Christ. A lot of them are people who have come to a position with an understanding - and even compassion - about what it means for their brothers and sisters who are gay or lesbian.
But no, not all of them are homophobes.
And just as NP's accusation that everyone who disagrees with him is "picking and choosing" from scripture does nothing to support the conservative cause, neither does it serve the progressive cause to claim that everyone else is motivated by hate.
I agree, it is too facile to say that everyone who does not support the liberal cause on gay issues is motivated by hate.
I personally know many people who had no reason to think about this until they were suddenly faced with an openly gay couple (doesn't happen so often in our village!) and who genuinely needed to struggle to find the mind of Christ. And I also know that many of those are still on the road to full acceptance.
But I do maintain that nothing but full acceptance can be the goal and that, in the final analysis, once the element of shock and surprise are taken out of the equation, that which stops the final acceptance is hatred and underlying fear (isn't all hatred ultimately down to fear?).
In our Western world women were owned outright by husband and father, later they became slowly more independent. But even recently a woman had to give up work when she married; then she was allowed to work but only with written permission from her husband; banks would not give her mortgages regardless of her income; higher paid and professional jobs were, at first completely then largely outside her reach.
Violence in the family was first accepted as norm and not even illegal, now even rape in marriage is a crime.
In the church we have moved from women having no voice at all, gradually to women's ordination and, hopefully soon, women bishops in my part of the AC too.
What happens is that, as the more conservative people slowly concede the more obvious violations and society moves on, that which was in the middle becomes the next deplorable violation, and slowly the world realises that, actually, what had been done before was not enough.
Those who supported the middle ground did not used to be seen as misogynistic, but are seen as such once that middle ground become the new unacceptable violation.
I firmly believe that the gay issue falls in exactly that same category and that eventually, there will be full equality with straight people – and past positions will be considered ... well... sad ancient and unchristian history. And, yes, I also firmly believe that this slow melting of resistance, this intellectual recognition of what is wrong, is accompanied by a deeper understanding of the underlying psychology – essentially hatred and fear.
The Bible contains verses that in the 4th century formed the basis for formulating the doctrine of the Trinity.