Saturday, 17 November 2007

Canadians respond to Bishop Harvey's departure

The Canadian Council of General Synod is meeting this weekend. It has issued this statement:

A Statement to the Church From the Council of General Synod

November 16, 2007

The Council of General Synod, meeting in Mississauga, Ontario, from November 16th - 18th 2007, has received with concern the news that Bishop Donald Harvey has voluntarily relinquished, effective immediately, the exercise of ordained ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada, and intends to be received into the Province of the Southern Cone (in South America). Bishop Harvey, retired bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, has been a valued member of our church, and his decision is a source of sadness.

The Anglican Church of Canada welcomes and respects freedom of individual conscience and the theological convictions of its diverse membership. Our General Synods have consistently sought to honour every voice as we work patiently through contentious and difficult issues before our church. Our bishops have made adequate and appropriate provision for the pastoral care and episcopal support of all Canadian Anglicans. We value and respect the diversity of the worldwide Anglican Communion and have expressed our commitment to its ongoing life, even as we also ask for respect and understanding of our own.

To this end we wish to make clear that interventions in the life of our church, such as ordinations or other episcopal acts by any other jurisdictions, are inappropriate and unwelcome. In particular, we cannot recognize the legitimacy of recent actions by the Province of the Southern Cone in purporting to extend its jurisdiction beyond its own borders. We call upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to make clear that such actions are not a valid expression of Anglicanism and are in contravention of the ancient and continuing traditions of the Church. They aggravate the current tensions in the Anglican Communion.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for the world, and our primary task as Christians is to make this Gospel known through action and word. We strongly support our Primate’s view that the Church in Canada and throughout the world should make Christ and His mission its central focus. We therefore call upon all our members, lay and ordained, to commit themselves to this priority, and to respect the structures and authority of the Church.

We ask your prayers for our continued fellowship in the Spirit and our unity in the bond of peace.

The Anglican Journal has a report, Bishop leaves Canadian church for South American province:

The retired bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Don Harvey, has left the Anglican Church of Canada to become a bishop in the South American province of the Southern Cone, a decision that the primate of the Canadian church acknowledged would pose “complications” for the already fragile unity within the local church and the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Bishop Harvey, who has been outspoken in his opposition to what he considers the Canadian Anglican church’s liberal stance on homosexuality, particularly the blessing of same-gender unions, announced his departure more than a week before he was to lead a meeting in Burlington, Ont. to discuss the future of conservative Anglicans in the church…

The Anglican Network in Canada had this description of the event: Anglican Network in Canada bishop received into Southern Cone.

The Anglican Journal has a further report, Council expresses sadness over bishop’s departure.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 12:46pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Canada

"Bishop Venables, who was unanimously re-elected as Primate at the Synod meeting, confirmed that he had had a one-to-one meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury before taking the decision. 'We would not have moved if I had not had that conversation with him,' he said."
The quote from +Venables is an interesting one, but it can be interpreted in multiple ways. He will retire soon, presumably he will leave the "southern" cone to a group overwhelmingly populated by North Americans. As +Harvey is the Network coordinator for Canada, one wonders who the new "primate" will be, which one of the "Network" bishops who will have overwhelming numerical superiority over their Spanish speaking brethren will be this new primate? (At one point I looked at San Joaquin's website and couldn't find a single word in that language, and having lived in San Joaquin, with such a huge Latino population, couldn't believe it) My money is on +Duncan.

All in all, +Harvey's action, does present an interesting development. Canada has not taken an "in your face posture" on human sexuality. It did not approve SSB nor has it consecrated an active homosexual bishop. Its primate has been cautious. +Cantuar (and all the other primates) now has now clear and convincing evidence that appeasement is not an option.. If the global south doesn't like what a province is doing, ANY PROVINCE, it will simply invade that province, set up shop, and an "alternative ecclesial structure." Has +Cantuar had enough? Have the primates had enough? +Schofield in his most recent letter to his diocese has promised them that they will be in communion with Canterbury through Southern Cone. This letter was sent to them on the eve of their vote. There may be a great deal of miscommunication among +Venables, +Cantuar and +Schofield. If so, shouldn't it be corrected before San Joaquin votes? I found +Schofield's letter to be misleading at best and disceiving at worst.

Posted by: EPfizH on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 1:35pm GMT

These neo conservatives really know how to overplay their hand. So, it doesn't matter after all what course of action a Province might take (or have taken) to deal with human sexuality. Canada has been the model of appeasement - just like Rowan asked - but NO! that changes nothing. Perhaps, Rowan (and the rest of the Primates) will see clearly that this is not about listening or polity - or taking first things first. This is about grabbing power and scapegoating to get it. Well done neo conservatives!!! No subtlety here - only raw overreaching and England is next!

Posted by: C.B. on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 2:26pm GMT

Well, looks like it's official. Every province is now fair game! Who's next on the 'Global South' hit list? I hope the majority of the Primates are paying close attention - you could be next. (Except they won't have the b*lls to try anything in England. If they do, +Williams will declare them 'out of communion' with him and, therefore, instantly out of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: MJ on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 3:28pm GMT

Is this plea from a member of the Commonwealth more likely to be heard than one from TEC?

Posted by: John B. Chilton on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 4:53pm GMT

Sad, but from what I understand not a shock.

However, it is the first step in those who wish to separate visiting upon Canada the nibbling that has been visited upon the United States. I appreciate the call of the Council to Canterbury to express a firm opinion on this. In light of the rumor (assertions of a "dependable source" notwithstanding) that Canterbury thinks this is "a way forward," I hope Archbishop Williams will listen - at least better than he listend to bishops in the Episcopal Church.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 5:29pm GMT

Whooie. Canada is a good image of the real stumbling blocks to totalistic conservative realignment. How does a religious community embody welcome while simultaneously pitting people against each other in worldwide Anglican Communion life in as pitched and loaded a manner as possible?

Achieving a seeming common mind and heart and faith all seems to so easy, so foregone to so many realignment leaders and believers - so long as we are mainly trash talking queer folks. Who cannot mumble something nasty and demeaning about queer folks, almost in their sleepy orthodox sleep?

Our legacy of trash talk - called an orthodox reading of the scruptures? - is something almost any conservative realignment believer - high church or low church or my great-great-great grandmother is buried in the largest Anglican or Episcopalian crypt around these parts? - can so easily accomplish that its amazing facility of meanness (and even its tremendous false witness spin?) no longer impresses as many people, the way such orthodox grandstanding once may have done.

One still gets miles and miles and miles out of trash talking queer folks, for example, in the so-called Global South. Bravo Southern Cone. And of course being united in misogynist commitments doesn't hurt a thing either, since women are like expert baseball pitches - down low corners and outside.

(Gee, one wonders. Didn't any of these men have mothers they actually admired for some positive human qualities besides their having birthed them in the first place?)

Underneath all this is the wheezing accordian music of the penal atonement frames - no longer a partial thread of unfinished human understanding seeking in pilgrim prayer to comprehend what God was and is doing in Jesus of Nazareth - but now become a central event of extreme wrestling in Anglican church life, pumped up on steroids and ready to smack down any and all comers in a pay per view title match.

Penal atonement, realignment, and conservatism are now fast brothers. Funny game. Is Yahweh really just one among many competing ancient near eastern deities, then? Does Yahweh win, by being meaner than any also-ran Ba'al? Funny game. The only way to win is not to play.

Ditto for realignment. You can get to Duncan or Iker or Venables on its terms, but you cannot quite get to a free and powerful love of God that is lived out through a free and powerful love of all neighbors.

Posted by: drdanfee on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 6:20pm GMT

Why am I not surprised that it is a RETIRED bishop? Don't these people know how to play nicely in their old age? Or do they want to bring back the "good" old days when men were allowed to be men, and women had to smile nicely and say "yes dear" no matter how rude or aggressive they were.

drdanfee's Ba'al reference was actually quite biblical.

Romans 11:2-6 God’s reply to us would be similar to that made to Elijah “I have reserved for myself those who have not bowed the knee to Baal. So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace."

A worthy rebuking passage is Zephaniah 1:4-9 God will cut off every remnant of Baal, along with their idolatrous priests who fill the temples of their gods with violence and deceit.

Hosea 2:2-23 includes “She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold— which they used for Baal… So now I will expose her lewdness…” But later “…I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.... There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt… I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love …”

Jeremiah 32:35-42 "They built high places for Baal… to sacrifice their sons and daughters…, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin. “You are saying about this city, ‘By the sword, famine and plague it will be handed over to the king of Babylon’; but this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God... I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul…"

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 7:05pm GMT

Not only not a surprise, but a bit of a yawn. Descriptions of him in this his old diocese often make reference to his having been "Harvey contra mundum". While it goes back before OOW, he was this diocese's ringleader against OOW. I remember the day he stood in the pulpit of our parish church, HIS parish, and announced he had changed his mind. Now our parish is no hotbed of liberalism, still hasn't had a woman celebrate, cripes female SERVERS caused quite a snit in the early 80s! It was a testament to the esteem in which he was held that no-one walked out that morning. His explanation to me of his reasoning was what changed my mind on the issue, and I haven't changed back, despite the disillusionment I felt after it appeared his change of heart was the cost of the miter he got not so long afterwards. He has been heard to say he wants to go down in the history books for his opposition to SSBs, and his actions on this issue have caused consternation among even the die hard traditionalists here, which is to say most of the diocese. The skullduggery surrounding the organization of Essentials in this diocese has taken him down a few notches as well. His tenure as bishop was unremarkable, he left a great deal of dissension and hard feeling, as far as I can see. His reception at our cot, where he used to be a well respected rector, is frosty, and he hasn't been in a while any way. He seems to have gotten a bit wonky in the head. His references to "faithful Anglicans" have also driven away some of his support. Overall, I once had great respect for this man who now seems to have abandoned Christian decency now that he has found the great crusade in which he can seen as some sort of hero. It would appear it has taken him a lifetime to find it.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 8:47pm GMT

I am uncomfortable with the tone of the comments here trying to rubbish this retired bishop. Many may disagree with his analysis, but I think it is dangerous and just too easy to write off what must surely be a sincere (even if misguided from some viewpoints) position.
Having said this, I am alarmed that the so-called moderate evangelicals and catholics within the CofE seem to have decided some time ago that what happened with +Gene Robinson was so beyond the pale that no amount of appeasement 'post' his consecration will be enough to heal the tearing apart of the fabric. There is a real determination abroad (in the hierarchy) for some time now simply to sideline the TEC and those associated with them. However, where the leadership of the CofE is wrong, and has miscalculated, is that only the stormtrooping and marginal element like NP will follow. The vast majority of mainstream opinion in the CofE simply will not go down the cul de sac of homophobia.

Posted by: Neil on Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 11:52pm GMT

There will be no mass departures in Canada as Canadians are more indifferent towards Religion.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 7:47am GMT

Maybe it's beating a little dead horse here, but I think the Anglican Church in Canada really lost a huge symbolic opportunity to send a message by not electing former bishop Victoria Matthews to the primacy. While she is a woman and therefore anathema to many elements within the Global South, her willingness to enforce a moratorium within her diocese, however ill-willed it may have been, would have been welcome news to more moderate GS elements.

At the same time, I think that after the Niagara vote, the challenge may well be that Anglicans in Canada would now have to face the same pressures as the Episcopal Church (USA). So I suspect that Bishop Harvey's departure won't be the last any time soon. It may well be that in Canada, where same-sex marriages are legal, might be seen by conservative Christian elements down south as having "fallen to the infidels" and therefore open territory.

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 12:19pm GMT

Well, if they think so it's their problem, don't you think?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 1:44pm GMT

When Klu Klux Klan lynchings were going on, it would have been appropriate to denounce those who were participating in such gangs, even if you did not personally know who was a member.

When Nazism was being formed, it would have been appropriate to voice concerns and denounce the violence justifications.

Those who are attempting to "tear apart" the communion by guerilla warfare (their own term) claim that we have no biblical basis for refusing to deny GLBTs dignity and a place a the communion table. They are prepared to sacrifice their souls and their wellbeing. That is not the unconditional gift of free love that is offered by the gospel.

Revelation 22:17 "The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the FREE gift of the water of life."

John 8:36 "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 6:15pm GMT

So, my question is where is RW in all of this? You know, the ABC. When will he speak to restrain the Primate of the Southern Cone and those bishops, with and without jurisdiction, who are seeking "refuge", especially those claiming to transfer their entire dioceses to that jurisdiction? If RW cannot take a firm stand for Anglican order, at this critical time, then he will have failed his office, and failed the Communion in a most grevious way. Does no sane and practical person have RW's ear? Will his advisors be too timid to speak truth to power here and now for the sake of the Anglican Communion? The bishops and clergy of these departing dioceses know that they have bent the truth to the breaking point. They have a moral responsibility to know what Anglican order is and is not. But most of their lay people are not religious professionals and they are taking their cue from their clergy and bishops. For their sakes, and for the future of the Anglican Communion, the ABC has a duty to speak firmly and clearly now. Failing that, there is, in my view, no hope for the Anglican Communion to continue.

Posted by: revkarenm on Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 9:14pm GMT

revkarenm - the ABC and all the Primates aknowledged in Tanzania that primatial care for orthodox Anglicans in revisionist provinces will continue until such time as there is some resolution in the AC to the tear in the fabric of the communion made by TECUSA in, the ABC has wasted 4 years not making decisions (in order not to declare TECUSA way out of step with most of the AC) but maybe now we see an acceleration of action from the US and Canada and the prospect of most of the AC not coming to Lambeth......he may make some decisions.

Posted by: NP on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 8:30am GMT

"rubbish this retired bishop'

When I found my parish on first moving to St. John's 25 years ago now, Don Harvey was the rector, and a well respected one, as I said. I have lived in this city since. He was the bishop of this diocese. Even those friends he has left in the parish were disturbed yesterday morning when the news was announced from the pulpit. Truth to tell, most of the diocese would probably oppose SSBs if it ever came to a vote in synod. Yet Harvey is not popular here because of his behaviour around this issue, his denunciations of "faithless parishes", his pretended persecuted status, and on and on. As one parishioner said yesterday, "He keeps trying to make himself look like a martyr, but, sure, a REAL martyr doesn't go around telling everyone he IS a martyr!" I assure you, this is not "rubbishing". His unChristian behaviour is what has lost him respect in this diocese, not his stand on SSBs.

"must surely be a sincere (even if misguided from some viewpoints) position."

Don't be too sure of that. He opposed ordination of women until it became clear he wouldn't get a miter if he didn't change his mind. I will be looking with interest at what he does after Venables retires. Mark it down, he's going for Primate, but what will he do when Iker gets it, or Duncan?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 1:52pm GMT

Seems to me that if Don formerly ENL&L or Jack soon-to-be-formerly FW or Bob soo-to-be-formerly Pittsburgh become Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone then the real losers will be Anglicans in the Southern Cone of America who will have a Presiding Bishop who views them as mere props in a quixotic crusade.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 3:34pm GMT


You really expect R Williams to wade in and put all the GS bishops in their place? Have I got this right, the concerns of those who hold to historic Christian teaching - still the teaching of the wider AC in its councils and documents - do not matter? That is the way of worldly power and ideology. You speak of truth but appeal to "truth" itself it seems in your view is part of the ideology now to be enforced. Bishop Spence shows what this means, "there are a lot of people out there who think we should have and bless homosexual marriage. Besides the country has done this and now some other Anglican Church of Canada regions, we should too." It may be confused (actually developed as part of particular modern ideology), if you can identify it as a matter human rights.

If it is a question of truth the words of former ab Carey will need to be taken into account:
"I don't think that homosexuality is a human rights issue and one of justice. For me and many, many people, the issue is deeply theological. It has a lot to do with our humanity and how we find it and express it, to do with marriage… faithfulness and friendship."

He goes on to say, "I've never discriminated against them [homosexuals]. Having said that, I believe that the Church should have the right to make its own rules and I stand very firmly with what the Bible has to say about practising homosexuality."

He argues that the Bible is "clearly unequivocal" in stating that it is wrong, and accuses liberals in the Church who support a homosexual lifestyle of undermining marriage.

"I respect homosexuals, their right to exist, their right to set up homes and have same-sex relationships, but it's quite a different thing to say that those things should be normative within the Christian community," he says. "The Christian community has every right to say that certain behaviour is right, certain behaviour is wrong, and to hold to that ..." [see the reference to Carey above in the Daily Telegraph].


Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 3:57pm GMT

"I don't think that homosexuality is a human rights issue and one of justice."

Well and good. So seeking to be able legally to refuse us services is not a human rights issue? Seeking to jail not only us, but those who support us, including councillors who suggest that self acceptance is better than suicide isn't a human rights issue? What would Lord Carey define as a human rights issue then? And the last sentence in that paragraph sounds a lot like he's saying our relationships are NOT about faithfulness and friendship. So much for listening.

"accuses liberals in the Church who support a homosexual lifestyle of undermining marriage."

How fighting for two decades or more for the right to be married can in any way be said to be undermining marriage is beyond me. "See how these gay people are trying to destroy marriage by fighting to have their relationsihps called marriages!" That is based on the asumption that our relationships are inferior, presumably since they are not based on faithfulness and friendship, thus to call our base liasons "marriage" is to demean marriage. See how insulting this is, how closed, how unaware of his own prejudices?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 4:53pm GMT


Maybe we can agree: "I don't think that homosexuality is a human rights issue and one of justice." The point as I understand him is precisely to affirm these rights, they must not be denied to them. Services, counselling, citizen rights, medical care etc are there for them - part of their human rights. He is concerned with the issue within the framework of Christian faith and morality (I think he could have said some things differently or better!).

There are various relationships, there are wonderful relationships of friendship, mutual support etc. There are also relationships with some history that come close in some ways to the character or structure of what marriage has been, like one man married to a plural number of wives. There are people agitating for this as proper marriage. Do we say OK, ignore history and the evidence we have for the meaning of marriage in scripture and "redefine" it to include all these relationships as marriage?


Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 7:54pm GMT

"accuses liberals in the Church who support a homosexual lifestyle of undermining marriage."

I would suggest that the casual attitude toward divorce to which Carey himself subscribes has done far more damage to the institution of marriage than for same sex couples to be faithful to one another.

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 9:25pm GMT

"part of their human rights."

What this suggests to me is that you are accustomed to talking of gay people as an abstraction. "They" want this and that. Well, I am one of "they". I am not an abstraction. I am an active member of my parish, who is silly enough to believe that, despite everything he has said on this site, he is not out to his fellow congregants, none of them are stupid people, BTW, and must have noticed after all these years there is no woman in my life. Many of them have computers, and have probably found this site by now. So please, not "they", that just tells me something of how you approach this issue, and it isn't all that flattering. Or perhaps you just didn't know, in which case, sorry.

"Do we say OK, ignore history and the evidence we have for the meaning of marriage in scripture and "redefine" it to include all these relationships as marriage?"

For me, we don't. But see what Erika posted on another thread, I think, earlier today. She was quite clear, and quite toching, on what her relationship is with her partner. What kind of relationship is that? Other than the shape of their naughty bits, how is what she described different from marriage? What DO we call it, then? Sinful? Why? The Bible condemns other, far more clearly defined things that we quite happily believe are no longer sinful, indeed, are right and proper. And which of the images of marriage the Bible approves of are you speaking of? The polygamous one where a man was expected to marry his brother's widow in what we now condemn as incest?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 10:50pm GMT


I thought you were but did want simply to presume. Furthermore, I was trying to interpret ab Carey withour specific reference to you.

I have noted here before that interpretation of the scriptures is a challenge - it is at least as complex as human life - it means taking it seriously! So on different matters we read do not read it not simply on the flat but in terms of where it's going in the fulfillment represented by Jesus Christ.


Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 11:26pm GMT


Trying to dash off a note to you and missed a key word. The first sentence should read,"I thought you were but did not want simply to presume."

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 2:00am GMT

"So on different matters we read do not read it not simply on the flat but in terms of where it's going in the fulfillment represented by Jesus Christ."

I take this to mean that you, like me, believe that a proper approach to Scripture involves seeking to understand the mind of Scripture, to live "by the spirit of the Law" rather than the literalism usually used against gay people, the "find me a verse and I'll agreee with you" approach?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 1:39pm GMT

Surely you mean "find me a verse and I'll dis-agree with you", Ford?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 4:29pm GMT

Or find me a verse and I'll hit you over the head with it! The so called "Steel Plated Bible" style of religious debate.

Posted by: Ford ELms on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 7:41pm GMT


If you mean taking into account the context or the line of thought of scripture on a matter we are in agreement on this point. On sexuality I look at the line of thought as it begins with God's intention in creation, how other texts referring to it line up (they may affirm what is there or they may negate departures from it), what is affirmed by Jesus, and how the NT affirms or fills this out.

It cannot be a matter of just taking one text, this then to be used as a weapon against someone, but really to discern meaning in context. There is more than one side on which ot fall off the path (and a narrow literalism can be one).


Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 8:46pm GMT

Ben W,

You have no idea of "God's intention in creation".

None of us do.

It's Blasphemy.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 9:23pm GMT


I won't say anything about this response except a question: It is interesting - we have no idea of "God's intention in creation" but we know it's blaphemy!?

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 at 1:59am GMT

Now Ben W, t h a t was "intentional"...

But I'm sure it was not God's intention.

For you or for anybody else.


Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 at 9:00am GMT

Good Faith - Bad faith - Evil faith.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 at 9:01am GMT

"sexuality I look at the line of thought as it begins with God's intention in creation"

Jesus says that "in the Kingdom, they neither marry nor are given in marriage". Paul clearly sees marriage as a sop to those heterosexuals who are unable to control themselves. St. Photini was sent by Jesus to tell the Good News to her people, despite the fact that she had had several husbands and was living with a man to whom she was not married, a far more profound scandal then than now. To me, this says that God doesn't really have all that high an opinion of marriage. He doesn't denigrate it either, but I don't see all that much evidence in Scripture that it is considered some sort of holy state. So what do you see as God's intention for sexuality?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 at 1:36pm GMT


You will note that in context Jesus is talking about the final stage after the resurrection when people "niether marry nor are given in marriage."
With creation already after humans as "male and female," the relation is affirmed as "very good." Jesus affirms that and so does Paul, though recognizing that there are circumstances and individual callings in which the better way can be singleness (cf. 1 Cor 6 and 7).

Close reading confirms that the Corinthians are part of a confused culture on sex - some think to be really spiriual you keep yourself from material things as much as possible (sex is tainted and one better abstain) or the body/material does not matter so indulge it according to impulse. So Paul begins from where they are and is speaking back to them their ideas. From Paul himself in this section we get the body as the good creation of God and the temple of the Holy Spirit!
There is a better way!


Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 at 5:42pm GMT


I think we're getting a bit confused here.
Noone doubts that marriage is the best place for expressing sexuality.
The question is whether the state of marriage can be open to same sex couples too.

For a biblical analysis of this read Tobias Haller's "lawfully joined"

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 8:52am GMT

sorry, I hope my last comment didn't sound like a plea for SSBs. It wasn't meant to be. I do believe that ANY stable, faithful and monogamous relationship fulfills biblical criteria for "marriage", whether the couple in question is gay or straight. It's the commitment that matters not the legal form.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 10:26am GMT

"You will note that in context Jesus is talking about the final stage after the resurrection when people "niether marry nor are given in marriage.""

Sorry, Ben, this is a reasonable discussion, so I don't want to sound here like I do when I'm all fussed up and nasty with NP, but this sounds to me like so much fudge, meant to give status to something that really doesn't deserve it. Aren't we already living, in some sense, in the Kingdom? Creation is awaiting its perfection, but aren't we supposed to live in ways that work towards that goal? I don't think we achieve that by giving something a value that isn't part of the Kingdom we are supposed to be working for.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 1:17pm GMT


If you can only see your own point should it be a surprise that you keep missing the points others make? In response to Ford the question was about how Paul thought of sexuality, my reference to Genesis and the creation of "male and female" as the "very good" creation of God is there to affirm that (no more - it was not about your concern).

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 1:44pm GMT

please don't be patronising.

Your whole conversation with Ford was about the place of homosexual relationships in the spectrum of Christian relationships. In particular you said "There are various relationships, there are wonderful relationships of friendship, mutual support etc. There are also relationships with some history that come close in some ways to the character or structure of what marriage has been, like one man married to a plural number of wives. There are people agitating for this as proper marriage. Do we say OK, ignore history and the evidence we have for the meaning of marriage in scripture and "redefine" it to include all these relationships as marriage?". This was prompted by what Carey said about homosexual relationships and in particular you respons to revkarenm's post (Posted by: Ben W on Monday, 19 November 2007 at 3:57pm GMT )

The rest of the conversation followed on from there. The link I gave you bears direct relevance to the point you made.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 4:56pm GMT

Any church in which Bishop Harvey preaches should have its tax-exempt status revoked: Should Canadians give tax advantages to FOREIGN churches?

Good riddance to this most preposterous, vain, self-righteous bigot.

Posted by: TJ Ollerhead on Thursday, 22 November 2007 at 5:42pm GMT

"this most preposterous, vain, self-righteous bigot."

You know, I've said the same kind of thing about bishops I do not agree with. I was once a parishioner of his and had lots of respect for him. I have lost that respect because of his actions. For all this diocese is quite conservative, his behaviour has turned a lot of his former supporters against him, not for what he thinks about gay people, I think a good chunk agree with him on that, but they way he is going about this is just nasty, and shows a deep lack of Christian charity or anything else based on the Gospel. All the same, I'm kind of gobsmacked at how these words stung me. I might even agree with them, but they're different when the target is someone you know. I have to internalize that, 'cuz I'm given to the same kind of pronouncements about the faceless other.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 23 November 2007 at 12:02am GMT


I was speaking with reference to the message just exchanged with Ford. If you go back over the week and pick things who knows where conversation might go! Bye.

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Friday, 23 November 2007 at 3:19am GMT


My my my, I have clearly rattled your cage. Apologies!

But having read the whole thread again I still don’t see why my post should have been dismissed so rudely.
It started out as a conversation about homosexuality, the opposition to which you base on your way of reading the bible. Ford and you then talked about approaches to reading the bible with regard to what it says about sexuality.

You said that sexuality begins with God’s intention in creation, Ford asked you what you see as God’s intention for sexuality to which you replied that God created them male and female and called this “very good”.

So I posted my link of an outstandingly scholarly assessment of another way of understanding the creation story in a way that it includes those relationships you condemned at the outset of this thread.

If I misunderstood the twist of your conversation with Ford, I apologise.
But this sudden rudeness of yours is really not called for.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 23 November 2007 at 9:33am GMT

Come, come Erica. You're being too hard on him. Throwing stones to cover his retreat was the only thing he could do – short of giving up his Sect.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 23 November 2007 at 3:08pm GMT


You easily presume (on all counts in this post). I am not upset nor am I trying to be rude, I think we have gone over these points and just want to conclude.


Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Friday, 23 November 2007 at 5:49pm GMT

The only people who can close a thread are the owners of this forum.
The customary way to close a conversation is to stop posting not to tell the other person to stop talking.
All posts are intended for the person they're addressed to but they are also public so others can join in at any time.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 9:27pm GMT
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