Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Teenagers interview Archbishop

Updated

Three teenagers from Oi! magazine recently interviewed the Archbishop of Canterbury at home in Canterbury and the text is online: Tea and Toast with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Update: This is now available on the Archbishop’s own website here.
A pdf file of the interview as it will appear in the print version of Oi! can be downloaded from here.

If the comments we receive are anything to go by TA readers may be most interested in what the Archbishop said about gay clergy but do read all of the interview.

Ruth Gledhill reproduces most of the interview in today’s Times: Family and God keep me going - even if they all think I’m an idiot.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 6:33pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

Abp Williams: "Our jobs mean we have to adhere to the Bible – gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practicing homosexual relationships don’t."

And yet, if same-sex marriage were permitted, the question as stated by the archbishop would be resolved, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 6:46pm GMT

Much ado about nothing.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 6:54pm GMT

Or perhaps I should say (looking at the post above) When signs do not signify...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 6:57pm GMT

You wonder how many of those kids will be flocking to a church nearby as a consequence of this!
That we can call this "Good News" makes you want to weep!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 7:07pm GMT

Pat

Why?

He says nothing about marriage --- just about acting on their sexual preference.

Marriage doesn't have anything to do with it.

Posted by: Margaret on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 7:13pm GMT

Pathetic. :-(

Your Majesty (Elizabeth), Gordon Brown, HELP US!!! New ABC ASAP!

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 7:48pm GMT

Oi Magazine have themselves put it up as a PDF:
http://www.creativeuksolutions.co.uk/archbishop.pdf

This differs from the other versions (including the one on the ABC's website) which quote:

“Our jobs mean we have to ADHERE TO the Bible – gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practicing homosexual relationships don’t.”

But the Oi version reads:

“Our jobs mean we have to TRY AND LIVE BY the bible..."

So much for 'direct quotes'. It appears that this interview wasn't recorded, or else why the confusion over what the ABC actually said? Although if the ABC was completely misquoted I'm sure he'll correct it...eventually :-)

Posted by: MJ on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 8:17pm GMT

I do try to defend +++++++++++++++Rowan from his many detractors on this side of the Church, but he makes doesn't make this easy by coming out with mealy-mouthed, gnomic statements widely at variance with comments he has issued in the past (and yet, privately, I am assured by all who know him that Cantuar insists his beliefs are unchanged). The mystery of the archbishop's missing convictions only seems to deepen...

Posted by: MRG on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 10:40pm GMT

Yes, you will always here as many versions (at least) as those present at any conversation or event.

I was struck that when asked what he thought of breathers, the His Garace, replied that he has no problem with them, as long as they don't inhale.

Erica bach they're not worth crying over. You are worth so much more....

Posted by: L Roberts on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 11:16pm GMT

"Why?

He says nothing about marriage --- just about acting on their sexual preference.

Marriage doesn't have anything to do with it."

Because the reason acting on their preference would be wrong is that it would be sexual activity outside marriage. Let them marry and that goes away.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 11:33pm GMT

For those of us not present at the Clergy Consultation recently, perhaps someone can tell us whether his address on 'present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the church' is consistent with his response to Oi that partnered gay clergy do not adhere to the Bible, even though they make good parents!

Is watching 'The Simpsons' more biblical?

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 11:55pm GMT

Pat O'Neill wrote "Because the reason acting on their preference would be wrong is that it would be sexual activity outside marriage. Let them marry and that goes away."

No. It doesn't matter how human beings label same-sex sexual relationships, the bible says that are wrong (see ref.s a few discussions ago). We are not the judges of what is right of wrong..

Posted by: david wh on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 11:58pm GMT

Rowan Williams may well go down in history as the Archbishop of Canterbury who achieved total irrelevance.

Posted by: Richard Lyon on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 1:28am GMT

It does rather spoil it, "the try to adhere" bit in the way it is all stated so bluntly, as is his "Not everyone in the country is a Christian, so the law
has to compromise to reflect different aspects of the discussion, for example if a rape was involved." This supposes that if everyone was a Christian we'd agree, and sounds like rape is part of a compromise.

He is trying to state more complex matters simply and briefly, and personally I think that his warmth and humanity comes through, and his care. His interviewers were impressed, and he obviously communicated with them by more than just words, but with a genuine and natural pastoral touch.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 3:18am GMT

"Why?

He says nothing about marriage --- just about acting on their sexual preference.

Marriage doesn't have anything to do with it."

Because the reason acting on their preference would be wrong is that it would be sexual activity outside marriage. Let them marry and that goes away." - observes Pat O'Neill

Absolutely correct, Pat; a committed monogamous relationship should be sealed in marriage, whether heterosexual or homosexual.

Flitting from tryst to tryst, whether straight or gay, is the moral issue, not one's sexual orientation.

As a heterosexual husband, and father of three, and grandfather of one, and a committed Christian who happens to be an Anglican, I support that concept.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 4:52am GMT

"acting on their sexual preference"

He makes it sound like gays and lesbians are just foolishly 'prefering' sexual partners of the same gender. Do you prefer milk or sugar with your tea?

It's not preference. It's how we are made by God. It is innate, not chosen, like handedness.

Is ++Rowan right handed or left handed? When did he settle on one preference rather than the other?

Is this just careless language or is he that ignorant?

Neither possibility is particularly pleasant to contemplate.

When did he discover his preference for females rather than males?

I wish someone would ask him. Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 4:58am GMT

Margaret

you have listened to people on this site for a long time and you say you are working at a high level in the church.
You therefore know that this is not about "acting on sexual preferences" but about living our long term faithful loves.
If that is a problem because we're not married then conservatives should stop campaigning against same sex marriages and do everything they can to stabilise our lives.

The children who asked Rowan know this and Rowan knows this too. With his reply he has given one group of people the option of love filled lives and the other group of people no option at all.
That has always been the issue.


Incidentally, it would be interesting to get some conservatives' views on whether this whole debate is truly only about clergy and bishops as is officially stated.

Would you all be happy for the rest of us to live in love and faith together provided we didn't want to get ordained?

I do somehow doubt it but would really appreciate some thoughts on this.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 8:19am GMT

Is it permitted to ask who these "teenagers" are? Where do they come from? Exactly h o w is a magazine made "b y teenagers for teenagers"?

A youth "mission" of some kind???

Quién paga? as we used to say in Madrid back in Franco´s time, when talk fell upon the ETA and the famous grupo GRAPO...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 8:21am GMT

It is interesting that Margaret doesn't see how much her definitions (and refusal thereof) is part of the problem...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 8:22am GMT

i was one of the students lucky enough to interview him i must say i am shocked at the level of publicity this article has recieved and i am currently beaming from ear to ear

Posted by: georgie on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 9:33am GMT

Care to answer some questions?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 10:50am GMT

For example the difference between quoting "adhere to" against quoting "try and live by”???

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 10:53am GMT

Georgie - Well done on the interview, but can you explain why a direct quote from the ABC differs in the version of the interview in the Times and on the ABC's website ('adhere to the Bible'), and the version to be published in Oi! ('try to live by the Bible')? I'm sure you understand that in regards to an issue which is causing such distress within the Anglican Communion, and placing such an onus on the ABC, it is important that he is quoted accurately and in context. Did the ABC approve the article before publication?

Posted by: MJ on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 11:05am GMT

"Pat O'Neill wrote "Because the reason acting on their preference would be wrong is that it would be sexual activity outside marriage. Let them marry and that goes away."

No. It doesn't matter how human beings label same-sex sexual relationships, the bible says that are wrong (see ref.s a few discussions ago). We are not the judges of what is right of wrong.. "

Then why do you keep making those judgments?

Is it impossible for you to imagine that the translations and interpretations of a handful of biblical verses are either wrong or misunderstood? Is it impossible for you to imagine that the human writers of those scriptures were as influenced by their times and places as we are, and that those times and places affected how they understood God's message?

We have new knowledge about the workings of the human mind and the human body...knowledge that at least suggests--if it does not outright say--that sexual orientation is probably innate and definitely formed so early in life as to be beyond any "choice" by the individual.

Should we ignore that knowledge in our understanding of what God wants from us?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 11:21am GMT

we come from kent, our magazine is organsied and created by teenagers we say what we would like to read about we then do all the research etc.
it is a non profit magazine and is distributed to local schools in our area, we are currently attempting to get some shops to hand them out also.
hope this answered your question.

Posted by: georgie on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 11:30am GMT

I am another teen which was involved in interviewing the Archibishop of Canterbury, i can not answer your question with regards to 'adhere' and 'try and live by' however some texts do difer from our original piece which is a problem which we are currently adressing

Posted by: mily on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 11:49am GMT

georgie
brilliant interview, well done! My girls are so envious! No wonder you're still beaming.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 11:51am GMT

It doesn't matter how human beings label same-sex sexual relationships, the bible says that are wrong (see ref.s a few discussions ago). We are not the judges of what is right of wrong..

Posted by: david wh on Wednesday, 12 December 2007 at 11:58pm GMT

No, the bible is silent on the matter --unless you read of (another) David and Jonathan.

Posted by: L Roberts on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 12:07pm GMT

Great Geogie !

Good for youse !

What will be the next project, I wonder ?

Posted by: L Roberts on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 12:11pm GMT

Pat O'Neill, sexuality can't be innate - many people experience different attraction "orientations" at different life stages. Changes happen especially in teenage and in mid-life. (hence the George Melly example - who went from exclusively homosexual to preferably heterosexual - though still rather promiscuous by biblical standards!) Anyway, just because you don't choose the desires you have doesn't necessarily justify acting on them. People have all sorts of desires..

The bible's rejection of same-sex sex isn't just down to only a handful of verses that might be mistranslated or erroneous. It is consistent with the whole thrust of biblical morality. Otherwise don't you think that ++Rowan might have said so? He was, after all, Lady Margaret professor of divinity at Oxford. He does have a reasonable grasp!

I just wish he would now act on what he says. Words are not enough.

Posted by: david wh on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 12:36pm GMT

ps The Bible doesn't make a distinction between clergy and laity when discussing what is right and wrong. And it says that none of us are sinless. However, it does demand that church leaders live up biblical moral and ethical standards, and that they are disciplined publicly for lapses. I presume that is why ++Rowan said it like he did.

Posted by: david wh on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 12:42pm GMT

At the risk of opening a whole can of worms ...

what difference are people trying to see between 'adhere to' and 'try to live by'? I'm not sure I can see one.

Unless, of course, some editor with a low view of teenage literacy thought people mightn't know the word 'adhere' and substituted 'try to live by'.

But honestly, why are we getting bogged down on this point? The central thing is that Rowan does seem to have said, without qualification, that any non-celibate homosexual is not adhering to Scripture. That does seem to me to be a significant shift in his position ... and one which begs an awful lot of questions about how Scripture shapes lives that I would normally expect him to be a lot more alive to. It is the lack of nuance in this which is really distressing, the sense that there might be different takes on what fidelity to Scripture means.

The key question, I guess, is this: assuming that this is what he actually said, is it now what Rowan really thinks? Or in trying to put things as simply as he possibly could, did he in fact end up over-simplifying in a way he now regrets? Clarity would be good...

Posted by: peter w on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 4:12pm GMT

Yes DWH, we hear clearly of both stability-persistence, and some change in sexual orientation across the longer and longer modern human adult life cycle.

Clearly, so far, the percentage who experience radical changes are a bit of the great empirical mystery of sexual orientation as temporary or developmental or enduring feature of human personality and persondhood. We do need further best practices empirical research.

The larger group of humans by far continues to experience stability and persistence in basic sexual orientation. They too are getting further investigation, and a whole truck load of basic human competencies (citizenship, partnering, parenting, ... and maybe even, gasp, praising God?) continue to be demonstrated empirically, not diminished or prevented by their not being straight, over a very long period of time, nor by their not being headed at all towards ever being straight.

Some of the most curious markers in this sexual orientation landscape are the conservative-traditional ones.

In that regard the distinctive question, for the rest of us who are conscientious objectors to that alleged piece of the new orthodoxy, might be:
Why do the people in that particular subset of sexual orientation changers, always experience sexual orientation change from gay to straight, combined at the same time with rather strict changes to extremely traditional notions of being straight?

(A corollary empirical question? What particular basic human competencies - aside from all the conservative religious presuppositional apparatus aka hoo-ha? - do such changers gain, over the short run, and over the long run, in their subsequent lives? Are they better citizens, aside from pre-existing presuppositions that they have somehow become very much more moral? Are they better co-workers? Do they give to the grace and wonder of our shared community and public life, more than before? Are they better and more caring partners? Is their parenting improved?)

Then a second distinctive question:
Why does this even less characteristic New Orthodox minority of an already less numerous changers subset get preached as the sole, shining universal model for simply everybody, no matter what might empirically distinguish changers from stabilizers, or various types of changers from one another?

Please, answer empirically - or at least via an empirically minded thought experiment?

Please temporarily refrain from simply repeating yet again what we all, already know, from the rich nastiness and possibly sincere ancient near eastern or medieval or otherwise flat earth error of so much of our conservative traditional religious pre-existing presuppositional lexicons

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 4:29pm GMT

peter w - "what difference are people trying to see between 'adhere to' and 'try to live by'? I'm not sure I can see one."

The point is really that this is meant to be a direct quotation by the ABC. If the interview was recorded there should be no ambiguity. If it was based on notes, then we must be sure that this paragraph is exactly what the ABC said (and no more or less) because as you say it has ramifications. One of the interviewers has here said that "some texts do difer from our original piece which is a problem which we are currently adressing".

However, the fact that the ABC's press officer appears to have happily placed the interview on the ABC's website would seem to imply that it accurately portrays the substance of the interview - which is worrying.

Unless +Rowan was stating that the Biblical texts reject homosexuality, just as they are accepting of slavery and a particular role for women, but that does not mean we must accept those understandings in contemporary society.

Posted by: MJ on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 4:49pm GMT

Peter W

What I can't work out is whether he means that only gay clergy have to adhere to (his new view of / the current official church position on?) Scripture, or whether this implies a condemnation of all same gender love.

It's telling that he also mentions an example of excellent same gender parenting. That does not speak of outright condemnation and lack of understanding what we're talking about.

Even more intersting is that the excellent parent in question is also a priest, and although the teenagers may not have known this, most of us following this debate do.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 4:49pm GMT

"And it says that none of us are sinless."

But there are certain sins that are considered quite acceptable. Remarriage after divorce was once considered sinful. Not any more, a privelege happily indulged in by many who then decry TEC as trying to make something holy that the faith has always said was sinful. It should be obvious why such an argument is not credible, and that's not the only example of conservatives happily doing things Scripture calls sinful when they derive from benefit from such actions. The thing is that those who accuse 'liberals' of picking and choosing the bits of Scripture they want to follow have no credibility since they clearly also pick and choose the bits of Scripture THEY think are valid. Sorry, but conservatives can't expect everyone else to hold Scripture is higher esteem than they do themselves. It also means that when conservatives make such demands, every laughs at them because they obviously don't hold Scripture in the high esteem they demand from everyone else.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 5:14pm GMT

Georgie and Myly,

The interview says one of you is a Baptist. Is that true for the others also?

Who provides the know-how? Who provides the technology?

Who pays the bills?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 5:21pm GMT

David Wh: I was in Rowan Williams' lectures when he was L Margaret Professot at Oxford, and I can assure you his theology had quite a different thrust then. In fact, I can't really believe he could have changed his premises so much.
Also, you say Geo Melly was "rather promiscuous by biblical standards." I think you might be another Evangelical who hasn't read much of the Old Testament...

Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 5:55pm GMT

RW: "As a Christian I could
never advise anyone to have a termination. Personally I believe a child is a gift from God and you wouldn’t give a gift back – would you?" This in response to a teen aged girl who tells him that she is pregnant. Again: "Our jobs mean we have to try and live by the bible, gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practicing homosexual relationships
don’t." God help the C of E. Why would we pay any further attention to what this man says? My New Year's resolution will be to ignore the ridiculous statements of this person.

Posted by: revkarenm on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 6:03pm GMT

just to help clear this up in our original interview the terminology used was 'adhere' hope this helps.
oh and with regards to goran's question holly is the christian, and to answer your other questions im not entirely sure what you mean.

Posted by: georgie on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 7:26pm GMT

'But honestly, why are we getting bogged down on this point? The central thing is that Rowan does seem to have said, without qualification, that any non-celibate homosexual is not adhering to Scripture. That does seem to me to be a significant shift in his position ... and one which begs an awful lot of questions about how Scripture shapes lives that I would normally expect him to be a lot more alive to. It is the lack of nuance in this which is really distressing, the sense that there might be different takes on what fidelity to Scripture means.'

I really couldn't give a shit what Rowan thinks about those of us who are gay --- or anything else, for that matter.

Posted by: L Roberts on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 8:23pm GMT

Two of Williams’ statements, when placed against each other, give me pause:

First: “There are two things that keep me going though and my family are one of them. Having support and love from those closest to me is hugely important.”

Second: “I have no problem with gay clergy who aren’t in relationships, although there are savage arguments about the issue you might have heard about. Our jobs mean we have to adhere to the Bible – gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practicing homosexual relationships don’t.”

It comes across to me as this: I find the support and love of my family hugely important. But if you are gay or lesbian, you may not have the love and support of that kind of relationship, hugely important to me, regardless of how hugely important it is to you.

I am reminded about Jesus’s words about those who tie up heavy burdens that are hard to bear and laying them on the shoulders of others while being unwilling to lift a finger to move them.

Posted by: dr.primrose on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 8:23pm GMT

"Pat O'Neill, sexuality can't be innate - many people experience different attraction "orientations" at different life stages. Changes happen especially in teenage and in mid-life. (hence the George Melly example - who went from exclusively homosexual to preferably heterosexual - though still rather promiscuous by biblical standards!) Anyway, just because you don't choose the desires you have doesn't necessarily justify acting on them. People have all sorts of desires.."

Sexual orientation is not a gay/straight, either/or, switch on/switch off thing...any more than, say, skin color is.

Rather, like skin color, it comes on a spectrum, fading from completely heterosexual through varying degrees of bisexuality to completely homosexual. I suspect Melly is really bisexual and went through stages where--for a variety of reasons--one or the other of his preferences took charge. Analogously, I've always considered redheads the most beautiful of women...but I'm not averse to ogling blondes or brunettes.

As far acting on innate desires...why would a loving God give someone a desire from birth (or so early in life as to make no difference) that He then called sinful to act upon? Is God a trickster?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 8:35pm GMT

ABC chooses his words carefully. Note the response to the question containing a number of issues: coming out, homophobic bullying, a happy gay partnership and gay adoption. He only answered the bit about adoption.

What are we to infer from his reply to the next question on gay clergy? Just as the Vatican imposes a celibacy condition on its clergy, so Anglican gay clergy are required to be celibate (or appear to be), to avoid scandal. Not because being in a gay partnership is intrinsically wrong, but because conservative interpretations of biblical morality determine Communion orthodoxy.

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 10:17pm GMT

Hello all,

OK, riot gear on and ready to post ;)

at the risk of being terribly bland - I think it should be remembered that RW was asked a question about gay clergy/bishops, not partnered gay people in general. It's quite clear that his words only apply to clergy - this shouldn't be read as 'what the ABC thinks of gay relationships'.

Also, surely he gave the answer he did because that's the current official C of E position - an ABC can't diss / contradict current teaching. However daft / painful current teaching may be, until it's officially changed, that's what he's bound by his role to say...

Felt pretty hacked off when I first read RW's words (and I'm a single layperson by the way) - but as Pluralist said above he's trying to put complex matters simply. Have calmed down having thought about it a bit.

And, just because he's restating current teaching, doesn't mean it's illegitimate to question that... RW's own work is of course a resource for doing so.

in friendship, Blair

Posted by: Blair on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 10:35pm GMT

KarenM:

Thanks for pointing this out...I had missed it--

"Personally I believe a child is a gift from God and you wouldn’t give a gift back – would you?"

I believe sexuality--of whatever orientation--is ALSO a gift from God. Why would he not want us to use it as intended?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 13 December 2007 at 10:39pm GMT

This is yet more reason to leave the Church. Once you move outside, its instructive just how risible it seems, and how quickly one comes to realise that it isn't necessary or helpful.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 11:07am GMT

drdanfee, I don't think that many people would argue with the view that life is usually much easier for "heterosexuals". In fact it is usually easiest for monogamous heterosexuals. Their partnership is by nature the most integrated - both with who they are physically, and as human beings, but also in its relationships with other individuals, couples and families. But people who love like that also have struggles and sacrifices of what each individual wants; as Pat O'Neill says, sexual attraction is on a spectrum (in fact I'd say it is a multi-dimensional spectrum). Our sexual orientations are not the only factor to consider when deciding how we form a family and live in relationship to other people. Sexual attractions, like anything else, can make us go wrong.

Sex is a dangerous thing... of course no liberal will admit that, but just look at the growing number of STD infections and the terrible toll relationship breakdown is taking on society. Sexual liberation has messed up too many people's lives and shortened many!

Some people do change (George Melly said he was not at all attracted to women until someone suggested he try having sex with a woman at a party!), some other people are able to form a satisfying relationship and choose to not follow some of their sexual desires. For some people, the best option that is sanctioned by scripture is singleness in community.

ps Fr Mark: I think you may be confusing what the Bible describes with what it approves and teaches.

Posted by: david wh on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 12:14pm GMT

Nobody seems to have picked up on the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury is NOT the "Head of the Church of England".

Posted by: Terence Dear on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 1:06pm GMT

The impression given by the teenagers involved (well done on the interview by the way) was that both easy acceptance of abortion and easy acceptance of homosexual practice belong to the same package of (I won't call them beliefs, as that would suggest reasoned argument - but) trends.

Surely this is liable to be the point at which good or honest people stop listening? If one wanted to press claims for homosexual equality, the last way of gaining credibility would be to show one had not grasped the first principles of how precious/valuable life is.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 1:29pm GMT

David Wh: ...and some of us find that the right way for us to live is in a monandrous stable relationship. You just have to get used to that, I'm afraid, and respect our right to make our own moral choices: we're not asking your permission, and we are as Christian as you are.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 2:05pm GMT

"Surely this is liable to be the point at which good or honest people stop listening?"

So real people tell you how they feel about life and your response is to stick your fingers in your ears, call them bad and dishonest and refuse to engage?

As a church we really are failing society badly with our pathetic self-righteousness. I wonder how many of the people participating in the interview read this TA thread and still believe that we have anything worthwhile to tell them.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 2:22pm GMT

"Some people do change (George Melly said he was not at all attracted to women until someone suggested he try having sex with a woman at a party!)"

The ignorance if this is unbelievable. Do you seriously think that gay people do not go through a period of trying to be straight? Most of us, at least of my generation, do. Gene Robinson did, for God's sake, and when he realized how wrong it was to pretend to society that he was something he was not, but about which he had been honest with his wife, he and her amicably ended a marriage that they felt was not based on truth, and you conservatives condemn him for it! I tried for ten years not to be gay. It didn't work. That is why this kind of ignorance is so insulting. You make these blithe claims about people changing, ignoring the fact that these "ex-gay" "ministries" are little more than manipulation of people's brokenness that often drive people to suicide. If sexuality is so mallaeable as you seem to think it is, why don't you try having sex with a man at a party? You might find out you're gay! I think that people who believe gay people can change are actually hiding the fact that they have been lying about their sexuality all these years. They have been pretending to be straight for so long, and are so invested in preserving the sham, that they don't understand why the rest of us don't do the same. The only way a person could think sexuality is a matter of choice is if they themselves have ion some way made a choice. If you "choose" to appear straight, you don't understand that for some, the choice is not about whether or not to APPEAR straight, we choose instead not to lie. You could at least realize that making statements like this merely shows your ignorace. We Christians are supposed to follow the Truth. It constantly amazes me how conservatives seem oblivious to truth in any form, propounding anything that supports what they believe, true or not.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 2:51pm GMT

"at the risk of being terribly bland - I think it should be remembered that RW was asked a question about gay clergy/bishops, not partnered gay people in general. It's quite clear that his words only apply to clergy - this shouldn't be read as 'what the ABC thinks of gay relationships'."

Might so be, but to me the trouble is rather that he doesn't seem to think anything at all.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 3:11pm GMT

I still want to know who pays for the O! Magazine.

The Murdoch Times? Wycliff College? The IRD?

Ruth Gledhill herself?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 3:13pm GMT

""Some people do change"

Why would I want to?
I love my partner deeply. What possible reason could I have for not wanting to love her?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 4:53pm GMT

"Why would I want to?"

So you can get into Heaven. See other posts in which I expound on this idea. Don't forget, for all the outward claims to believe justification by faith, they actually believe in justification by works. One buys one's way into Heaven through mindless obedience. Disobey and your salvation is in jeopardy. You are disobedient. Thus you will not be saved. I here there's a Seat Sale coming up: first class tickets to Heaven for half the obedience. Sounds like quite a deal.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 6:45pm GMT

"You make these blithe claims about people changing, ignoring the fact that these "ex-gay" "ministries" are little more than manipulation of people's brokenness that often drive people to suicide. If sexuality is so mallaeable as you seem to think it is, why don't you try having sex with a man at a party? You might find out you're gay! I think that people who believe gay people can change are actually hiding the fact that they have been lying about their sexuality all these years. They have been pretending to be straight for so long, and are so invested in preserving the sham, that they don't understand why the rest of us don't do the same. The only way a person could think sexuality is a matter of choice is if they themselves have ion some way made a choice. If you "choose" to appear straight, you don't understand that for some, the choice is not about whether or not to APPEAR straight, we choose instead not to lie. You could at least realize that making statements like this merely shows your ignorace. We Christians are supposed to follow the Truth. It constantly amazes me how conservatives seem oblivious to truth in any form, propounding anything that supports what they believe, true or not."

What I have heard about this ex-gay industry is wholly in the negative. I once met an ex ex-gay, who, I must say, was one of the most bitter persons I've ever come across.

I have also experienced, when a quite casual conversation fell upon somebody, one of those present exclaim: "He! but he's my ex. He is not celibate!"

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 6:46pm GMT

Qouting L Roberts in a thread above:

"..So, just because some people currently experience themselves as sexually orientated towards people of the same sex, doesn't mean that same-sex sex is righteous."

And on the other hand :

just because some people currently experience themselves as sexually orientated towards people of the opposite sex, doesn't mean that opposite-sex sex is righteous."

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 7:01pm GMT

Absolutely, Erika.

You see, this is itself the problem. Conservatives problematise that which is not a problem. So, they talk about people 'struggling' with sexuality.

There is no need to struggle. What needs to be removed is not the sexuality, but the cause of the4 feelings of struggle

Conservative religion.

Give up conservative religion - no need to struggle. There are many gay and lesbian people who can vouch for that - who aren't plagued by continuing 'struggle' and accept their sexuality as something to celebrate!

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 7:10pm GMT

"Sex is a dangerous thing..."

So is eating, sometimes. Your point?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 9:29pm GMT

D Wh: "Sex is a dangerous thing... of course no liberal will admit that . . ."

David, might I ask that you try to make the occasional post without lying. After all, lying is a sin too - and unlike homosexual acts, it is a sin that makes the Top Ten. You may recall that bit about bearing false witness.

There is not a liberal around who does not understand the danger inherent in the misuse of sexuality - disease and alienation are only a start. In North America (where most of us evil hell bound liberals seem to be) the first attempts to change sexual practices in the face of HIV and AIDS were rooted in the gay community.

It really would be easier to have a meaningful conversation if you stopped lying.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 10:29pm GMT

Per DavidWh: "Sex is a dangerous thing... of course no liberal will admit that, but just look at the growing number of STD infections and the terrible toll relationship breakdown is taking on society. Sexual liberation has messed up too many people's lives and shortened many!" This argument presents us with an interesting logic. I have the fun of being both a registered nurse and a priest. In my capacity as a nurse, who once specialized in infectious disease, I would like to point out that the most dangerous diseases to humans are those that are airborne. With this in mind, perhaps DavidWh would consider gathering some of his fellow conservatives together, who are so worried about STD's and the "shortened lives" that go with them, and form a group to advocate refraining from breathing, or, at least, to permit breathing only under the most restricted conditions. After all, breathing is dangerous!

Posted by: revkarenm on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 10:59pm GMT

"What I have heard about this ex-gay industry is wholly in the negative. I once met an ex ex-gay, who, I must say, was one of the most bitter persons I've ever come across."

Doesn't it make you want to cry. If only it were possible to show these people what God's love truly means! Just imagine - if it were possible to make them understand that they're loved and accepted as they truly are! That it's ok to live and love as you have been created! That, pace Peter O, it truly can be holy.
If only we could find the right words to unlock all this mess of self hatred.
Wrong religion has SO much to answer for!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 11:14pm GMT

Good Spell, Bad Spell, Evil Spell.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 16 December 2007 at 2:43pm GMT

"If only we could find the right words to unlock all this mess of self hatred."

Compare the "success" rate of this kind of manipulative "therapy" and the risk of suicide it incurs with any currently approved treatment modality for any other illness. If a treatment for cancer were to have this low a "cure" rate with this high a risk of death, it would not be approved. (I mention cancer because at least one prominant cleric thinks I am the equivalent of a malignancy). One number of "cures" of homosexuality I have heard is 30%. It matters not that I think this number is massively inflated. Even if it were a true number, 30% is less than chance. Something that doesn't work 70% of the time is hardly effective as a treatment modality. But, I suppose, it's better to be dead than gay. So, you COULD consider suicide to be treatment, I guess, and if you factor in the suicides and the changes in behaviour, maybe the "success" rate would be higher. I, however, don't consider suicide a favourable treatment outcome.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 17 December 2007 at 2:10pm GMT
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