Monday, 14 January 2008

evangelical differences

Covenant has an article, sparked by the Wycliffe Hall dispute, which discusses the differences between open and conservative evangelicals in England, mostly from an American perspective.

See “Open Evangelicalism”, the Wycliffe Hall Labor Dispute, and Our Theological Divide by Craig Uffman.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 8:55am GMT | TrackBack
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I think the paper overstates some souls "openness". There have been souls who appear to be "open" and listening, but when push comes to shove, they are as blind and deaf as their more conservative ilk.

At one point Craig Uffman referred to "...a habit made possible by the gift of the Spirit but which can only be learned through participation in the community of persons pledged to Christ as Lord". This postulation ignores God's tendency to put aside souls specifically to challenge and rebuke the prevailing paradigms.

E.g. John the Baptist, woven by Holy Spirit in the womb, who lived in the desert and prepared the way for Jesus. Preordained Jeremiah (1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”). Israel's mother forsaken and rebuked yet promised redemption and status in Hosea 2:14-16 “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make… a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’"

The Daughter of Zion; at times to be outcaste, defiled and gloated over; but still ordained to thresh and devote to the Lord of all the earth (Micah 4:8-13). That redemptive vision for Zion is also in Isaiah 49, the polished arrow hidden in God's quiver, who appears to be completely rejected and yet is promised this "And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel… Is it too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Uffman's postulation is based on herd mentality; God does not require herds to bring about transformation. As I said to my daughter the other day "Salvation does not come through the masses, it comes for the masses."

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 12:30pm GMT

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/01/theological-divide-and-liberalism.html

The problem for the Open Evangelical is that whilst they want to keep talking, and risk others being involved in decisions, GAFCON and crew get on with it. The Open people are right, of course, for talking to others, if not about inclusivity, but they are being out-manoeuvred by their one time mates.

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 12:33pm GMT

Craig Uffman of Covenant and +Matt Kennedy of Stand Firm, a very conservative US blog, have recently engaged in a discussion of the Wycliffe controversy and Ruth Gledhill's article that I found instructive. It is far too long to post here so I will just post a portion, in this post some of Uffman's comments, in the following Kennedy's Here is the link:
http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/9026/Covenant
Craig Uffman:
Let’s be quite clear on this point:  Covenant does not endorse or ally with those who, in spite of the Windsor Report’s constraints, continue to advocate same-sex blessings or ordination of gays in their public roles.  Every one of our writers prays that the Lord will correct TEC in it errors and sustain us through the discipline that teaches us to walk in the ways of the Lord.
The Stand Firm editorial staff has challenged the wisdom of our including in our community two writers who disagree with the rest on the issue of human sexuality. They claim they are “hostile” to us because we “collaborate with heretics.” They similarly disparage Fulcrum.  And this is where the tensions between us intersect with Elaine Storkey’s dispute with Wycliffe Hall, and where the significance of the term “open evangelical” becomes clear.  For the dispute is not at all about Scriptural authority - I believe we stand shoulder to shoulder on that - , but rather the dispute is about what Scripture teaches us about how we are to interact with our neighbor when we have profound differences over doctrine grounded in that authority.  Do we avoid the differences by separating from our neighbor?  Do we shun our neighbor? Is there a difference between the discipline mandated by Scripture in the encounter with heresy and apostasy and the path of permanent structural separation that terminates fellowship?  And how does Scripture tell us to go about resolving these questions?  The answers we give to these questions point to the distinction between an “open evangelical” and a “conservative evangelical.”
[87] Posted by Craig Uffman on 01-09-2008 at 03:59 PM

Posted by: Emily H on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 1:26pm GMT

Here are +Matt Kennedy's comments:
Matt Kennedy: Yes, I have always maintained that only Canterbury determines who is in communion with Canterbury. And by every measure most bishops in the CCP, save those who remain in TEC, are not in communion with Canterbury. Nor, to my knowledge, do they support a Canterbury centered communion unless Canterbury determines to discipline TEC.
There is no participation of or faciliation of or communion with heretics that is in any way comparable to what is promoted at Covenant...common cause, participation, support and communion with those who actively promote and push for Ssb’s.
[63] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 01-09-2008 at 11:46 AM and again quoting from one of the Covenant posters:“The Stand Firm editorial staff has challenged the wisdom of our including in our community two writers who disagree with the rest on the issue of human sexuality.” and then responding
No, we believe that the inclusion of heretics as brothers and fellow travelers and the promotion of the fiction that heresy and orthodoxy can peacefully coexist within the Body of Christ is a lie and a deceit and an act of collaboration and participation in the wicked work of false teachers (2nd John 9-11)
[96] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 01-09-2008 at 08:54 PM
_----------------------------
Although I would not normally recommend this blog to Thinking Angcan readers, I found the discussion unusually civil and helful particularly the discussion of special pleading and I heartily recommend that the thread (Ruth Gledhill, Wycliffe GAVCON) be read in its entirety

Posted by: Emily H on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 1:32pm GMT

"the dispute is about what Scripture teaches us about how we are to interact with our neighbor when we have profound differences over doctrine grounded in that authority."

Am I right in assuming from this that their idea of the neighbour with whom they are to interact does not include anyone who isn't an Evangelical? After, surely this question has been before the Anglican Communion for a number of years. Why are they only posing it now? Note also the emphasis on discipline of TEC, that these people need to see TEC punished in order for them to be satisfied speaks volumes. It certainly illumines the attachment of some Evos to PSA. For them it would seem, there can be no peace, no reconciliation, without punishment. See also the free use of "heretic" as a reference to those who are more open than they on the issue of homosexuality. Beliefs on sexuality define heresy? Really? I never knew that.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 4:34pm GMT

Johnson, for sport perhaps, or from the spirit of contradiction, eagerly maintained that Derrick had merit as a writer. Mr. Morgan argued with him directly, in vain. At length he had recourse to this device. "Pray, Sir, (said he,) whether do you reckon Derrick or Smart the best poet?" Johnson at once felt himself rouzed; and answered, "Sir, there is no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea."
Boswell: Life of Johnson

Posted by: poppy tupper on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 5:36pm GMT

Poppy, you inspired me

Isaiah 45:9-12 "“Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’? Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to his mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’ “This is what the LORD says—the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it."

Isaiah 64:8 ", O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand"

Jeremiah 18:2-6 “...I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand..."

When souls shun others, they forget that we are all moulded by God. Some as male, some as female and some indeterminate; some without blemish and others with challenges. Unfortunately, there are naughty souls who try to deny, desecrate or steal other souls’ salvation. That is not and has never been their right nor place to do so.

Isaiah 56:3 "Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely exclude me from his people.” And let not any eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.”" Hosea 2:23 “I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ”

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 7:30pm GMT

I keep saying it, the open evangelicals and the closed ones all hide the fact that they cannot agree on what the Bible says about heterosexual marriage, divorce and re-marriage. To admit this , would destroy their anti-homosexual agenda and their argument that the Bible is clear and self-interpretating on all moral issues.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 9:23pm GMT

Many thanks to PoppyT and CherylC. You go girls.

Two things about the dilemma of open evos vs. closed evos strike me. Firstly, one part of the evo communities really is getting more overtly weaponized towards another. I had a fairly strong hunch this would have to happen, since weaponizing doctrines presumes targets and the evangelical targeting of the target peoples. Jesus came to take pot shots at sinners, that much seems so clear as to be theologically incapable of evo dispute.

Only some true and real portion of the evos, however, can rest assured that it is no longer being targeted by God in Jesus of Nazareth - since they alone are the truly saved, the real sheep long since gathered into the fold.

That leaves the Good Shepherd braving the storms and brambles without, seeking the lost sheep who are still outside the fold - one can only hope the sheep still safe back home do not gnaw the lost sheep's throat raw, once the silly animal crosses the threshhold. Small wonder that some of us sheep pronounced lost by the proper evo sheep bank on staying outside the evo fold with the Good Shepherd who bothered to come and find them in the first place?

Secondly, it still seems quite odd to me that the increasingly weaponized and militant fighting evos still preach so loudly that they are the surest means of unity, faith, and communion for all the rest of us, for simply all Anglicans - when in fact they can hardly get along with one another. Are these the believers we should trust so exclusively and so legalistically, to read the ethical and theological maps correctly and steer us with love and grace in nothing but the right directions as Anglicans? Oh come now. Surely not.

Peace, peace these evos cry - but they seem not to know peace, but weapons, that's the ticket. What they seem to know for certain about getting along peacefully with anybody different from themselves can apparently be written in mini-script by a precise laser on the head of a pin?

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 14 January 2008 at 10:18pm GMT

Drdanfee

Now it is your turn to inspire!

Jeremiah 23:1-6 ““Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” … the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful... I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD…”

Isaiah 34:16 “Look in the scroll of the LORD and read: None of these will be missing, not one will lack her mate. For it is his mouth that has given the order, and his Spirit will gather them together. “

Micah 4:6-8 ““In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief. I will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever. As for you, O watchtower of the flock, O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem.”

Zephaniah 3:19-20 “I will deal with all who oppressed you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame. At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the LORD.”

Isaiah 34:15-16 “I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”

God rejects the worthless shepherds and redeems the lost and strays.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Tuesday, 15 January 2008 at 9:05am GMT

"Note also the emphasis on discipline of TEC, that these people need to see TEC punished in order for them to be satisfied speaks volumes. It certainly illumines the attachment of some Evos to PSA. For them it would seem, there can be no peace, no reconciliation, without punishment."

Another spot-on analysis, Ford (hope you're working on a book! ;-) )

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 15 January 2008 at 7:48pm GMT

Hi Ford-

You question whether 'beliefs on sexuality define heresy'. No-one has ever said they do. Sexuality happens to be the area where modern society is most adrift from the Bible (or one of the areas where it most is). It is therefore automatically going to be the case that Christians will speak out on that particular matter at this time and in this society. In a time & society where the key discrepancies from Christian standards were in other areas they would speak out on those (and indeed they already do).

It is clear that speaking out on one particular heresy does not make that heresy the defining heresy (of one uses that word). It is merely one of the several places where one could cross the line from orthodoxy to heresy. Where did you get the impression that it was the defining heresy? It is the one that is most often spoken about currently only because it is the one that most are currently guilty of: simple as that. But is that our doing or theirs?

Who is responsible for moving the goalposts? The one who does the moving or the one who remarks that they have been moved?

The very term 'sexuality' is a very modern one. It is illegitimate to assume a worldview where various 'sexualities' are 'on offer' without showing awareness of the fact that so many societies have got by without this concept. It is a very short step from using the word 'sexuality' to saying that different 'sexualities' are permissible - and that is indeed precisely why people use the word.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 1:19pm GMT

"is illegitimate to assume a worldview where various 'sexualities' are 'on offer' without showing awareness of the fact that so many societies have got by without this concept. It is a very short step from using the word 'sexuality' to saying that different 'sexualities' are permissible - and that is indeed precisely why people use the word"

Please explain to me why a committed Christian like you continues to lie here in public?

Ford, more than anyone else, has told you in heartbreaking detail how he found himself to be gay, how he prayed for years that he might be delivered from this and how long it took him to accept himself.
What makes you feel you can completely ignore his witness and still insist that this is in any way chosen behaviour?

You also know that you have never been faced with a pallet of tempting options from which you freely and heroically chose heterosexuality.

It's not like being presented with a box of chocolates and choosing the least naughty one, is it.

So why lie?
Is it impossible to make your point without resorting to false witness?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 2:11pm GMT

"No-one has ever said they do."

See the thread titled Advent Letter Rumbles On. Unfortunately, the link to the AM statement is not working, but you can read my exerpts from the piece in the discussion.

"Sexuality happens to be the area where modern society is most adrift from the Bible (or one of the areas where it most is)."

Really? What about the homeless people one steps over every day? What about government policies that keep the poor in poverty and are supported by fundamentalist Christians? What about Christian support for an evil war of aggression justified by lies? These are not betrayals of the Gospel?

"Where did you get the impression that it was the defining heresy?"

From Evos who continually say that it is, often in those words.

"It is the one that is most often spoken about currently only because it is the one that most are currently guilty of: simple as that."

Absolute nonsense! Christ only ever spoke of sexual behaviour in terms of divorce, and then only indirectly. He had an awful lot to say about our treatment of the poor and the downtrodden, and a great deal to say about judgementalism. We are guilty of ignoring these things in spades!

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 2:48pm GMT

"It (sexuality) is the one that is most often spoken about currently only because it is the one that most are currently guilty of: simple as that."

I can't get this out of my mind. Do you really believe this? We live in a society that scorns spiritual poverty, that scorns meekness, that seems to be more interested in causing people to mourn than relieving that mourning. Where hungering and thirsting after righteousness are defined as judging people who do not practice a strictly defined chastity, where making peace is defined as traitorous, where purity of heart is defined much as righteousness is, where mercy is not even recognized and Christians thirst after the blood of those they consider to be criminals. We have systematically rejected every one of the Beatitudes yet you think that sexual promiscuity is the worst thing we have done! Your world is very different from mine, and, while I would never deny your faith, your understanding of Christianity is very different from mine as well.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 3:30pm GMT

Erika, it's OK to lie when you do it for Jeeee-zus!

Posted by: JPM on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 3:50pm GMT

I'm with you Ford on this one.

But don't forget that their indifference to poverty and suffering is simply one symptom of their complete contempt for this planet and its occupants.

They believe that their Jesus places them above and outside of this planet and its occupants' wellbeing.

Actually, no. If they are occupants of this planet then they are honor bound to support the intent of core covenants, most especially peace. They need to go back and re-read the bible. Peace is defined as respect and safety for all beings, an end to violence and accusations, and provision and reverence.

If they don't want to "play nice" then they have broken covenant and given God the chance to reaffirm the peace covenant. They can take their tithes, grain, blood and rituals and shove them somewhere; they are defiled and unpleasing.

Reread Zechariah 11, where the shepherds break covenant, then God breaks the staffs of Favour and Union, revoking the covenants they represent.

Or Malachi 2 God has sent you this admonition so that God's covenant with Levi may continue. It is a covenant of life and peace, that calls for reverence.

Or Isaiah 43:25-28. It is God who blots out our transgressions, who does it for God's own sake. God chooses not to remember our sins and challenges us: "Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence. Your first father sinned; your spokesmen rebelled against me. So I will disgrace the dignitaries of your temple, and I will consign Jacob to destruction and Israel to scorn."

Yet in the next passage Isaiah 44 the promise of redemption “But now listen… my servant… whom I have chosen. This is what the LORD says— he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid… I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. One will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD'S,’ and will take the name Israel.

See also Hosea 2:23.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 9:33pm GMT

Back to Wycliffe: Fulcrum has posted a very interesting link to a site reporting Richard Turnbull's recent visit to the Reformed Seminary in Orlando (http://inthylight.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/richard-turnbull-speaks-at-rts-orlando-on-the-state-of-evangelicalism/). It appears that he is unashamed about his tactics in "trying to call the Anglican church back to her Reformed heritage", and in making Wycliffe "a strategic international center for Evangelical orthodoxy." Hasn't he just made Wycliffe a strategic international centre for Evangelical infamy? (Infamy, infamy - they've all got it in for me ...)

Posted by: Sarah on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 12:11pm GMT

"Evangelical orthodoxy"

Isn't this an oxymoron? Given that many (?most) repudiate a fair number of things that have been considered Orthodox Christianity for 2000 years, how can there be an "Evangelical Orthodoxy". I know, same old drum, but still no explanation.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 2:08pm GMT

Curently on the stand Firm site they are debating baptism, and the acrimony between the Anglo-Catholic " orthodox" and the Evangelical
"orthodox " is showing.

Just imagine what will happen at GAFCON if the deceptive united front of these self proclaimed " biblical Orthodox"cracks!

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 7:34pm GMT

http://www.pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/

A couple of leading comments about Richard Turnbull and Wycliffe (ie top and scroll down).

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 8:08pm GMT

Hi Cheryl-

I am not part of any 'they', and nor are you. Each person is an individual. You will have never met, and will never meet, any person that has the same configuration of opinions that I have - nor have I ever met any person who has the same configuration of opinions that you have.

Now, guys, since honesty is on the agenda, why ignore the fact that I said that sexuality is 'one of' the areas where modern society is most adfrift of the Bible. You correctly identified the other such areas, and wilfully assumed (on no evidence at all, unless you can cite any) that I think modern society is well in line with the Bible on the hateful Iraq war, on homelessness and on poverty. Tut!

It has often been said that this is not an either/or. One is not either against sexual libertarianism or against poverty. That is logically obvious, and it is also something that you all know very well. So why continue to speak as though this is an either/or? We ought all to show our *actual* commitment to honesty in such ways. Rant over - I know I have made these points before, & I will continue to make them until they are digested.

Hi Erika-
My point is slightly different here. To deny the ubiquity of the concept 'sexuality' is merely to be factual. To say that people are more likely to believe there is a smorgasbord of options available in a society where this concept is used than in one where it is not is also pretty undeniable. That is different from saying that people are never sexually drawn to others who happen not to be of the opposite gender, comparable age etc.. They always have been, just as people always have been and always will be drawn to do many things, some of which are beneficial and others of which are not. The more a society tolerates and normalises a given option, the more people will occupy their minds with it the more, and the more will take up the option, given that (biblically, and actually) desire is something that can be fanned into flame.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 9:22am GMT

Christopher
"To say that people are more likely to believe there is a smorgasbord of options available in a society where this concept is used than in one where it is not is also pretty undeniable"

I might concede that you're willfully ignorant rather than actively lying, although it's a fine line because the willfulness is there.

Pretty undeniable is that historically, homosexuality was a punishable criminal offence, so of course many people would not "use" this option of the "smorgasbord" you believe exists.
The fact that we are no longer so ignorant of the true nature of sexuality and that society is finally recognising the truth about it, clearly means that more and more people are now free to live open lives with the integrity that had been denied to them.

That this view is more true than yours is obvious from the kind of witness here you continue to ignore with such determination.

I ask again - why do you insist on ignoring what real homosexuals tell you in favour of what you would like to be true?

Whether you believe that being homosexual and living in a faithful stable relationship is beneficial or not is a different issue altogether.

You can make this point without lying about us.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 9:58am GMT

Christopher: your suggestion is that legal "toleration" of gay people encourages people to be gay who would not otherwise be? I've just been reading A.L. Rowse's book "Homosexuals in History", which is a survey of well-known historical figures who were gay. It served to remind me how shameful the history of their treatment in Britain is, compared to many other European countries. We have persecuted and executed many thousands of gay people over the centuries (including the hanging of an Anglican bishop for having sex with another man in the 17th c). I think that is a terrible record, and we should now be contrite and penitent about it. Your comments fail to recognise that Christians need to adopt a more apologetic tone towards the gay community: they have nothing to be proud of in how they have victimised and marginalised gay people.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 1:24pm GMT

Hi Erika-

Again, that's not the point. I repeat: all people have always had various urges. Some have urges to commit crimes. Some have urges to harm children. Some have urges to shoplift. Some have urges to betray their spouses. Some may have urges to feed their cornflakes into their ear, rather than into the orifice for which they were biologically intended. (Maybe it feels nicer that way.) And so on. There is not a person alive who does not know what it means to resist an urge.

Your initial misunderstanding was to say that I was unaware that Ford had testified to having these urges. Yet we are all well aware that he had so testified.

To have urges does not mean that those urges should be acted upon. Each of us has some that we act upon happily, each of us has some that we act upon out of weakness, and each of us has some that we fail to act upon because we have weighed the options.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 1:48pm GMT

Fr Mark
I don't think many conservatives have a lot to say about the harsh treatment of gays in the past. You only have to read how little they protest about the harsh treatment of gays in many non-Western countries today, even within the church.

If pushed, they might agree that they personally wouldn't opt for such harshness, although that doesn't mean that the sin (used synonymous with crime here), is any less sinful (criminal).

Some have the decency to admit that being gay is just one of those afflictions people can be born with and which they have to learn to live with.

I supsect that many of those who genuinely believe there is choice are probably at least bisexual themselves and have made a real choice for themselves.
Otherwise they would understand that a true homosexual recoils at the thought of heterosexual sex as much as a true heterosexual recoils at the thought of same sex love.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 2:05pm GMT

"Each person is an individual."

This is heterodox. The faith tells us that we are more than just ourselves, that we are part of a community. I get your point, we shouldn't stereotype groups. But you seem to me to be straying towards a Protestant induvudualism here that is just not orthodox.

"So why continue to speak as though this is an either/or?"

Because you make it appear so:

"Sexuality...most adrift from the Bible"

"...most are currently guilty of: simple as that."

Do you believe homosexuality is something that one feels and that one can if one wishes choose one's "normal" heterosexual desires over homosexual desires? If so, how do you justify ignoring the testimony of every gay person who tells you this is not the case? It doesn't seem to be all that honest, nor truth seeking, to ignore the testimony of gay people, and instead keep repeating what YOU need to be true. If you are going to judge me a sinner, you could at least judge what I AM. The longer you persist in this, the more dishonest you look. I have defended your honesty for the past year, but even I am beginning to reassess the situation.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 2:55pm GMT

"Ford had testified to having these urges"

I most certainly have not testified to "having urges". I have told you I AM something, that has been the experience of my life. You have chosen to ignore that and instead believe a lie. I read your beads a long time ago, but thought your obvious lack of scientific knowledge had led you astray, that you had fallen for the propaganda of people like Cameron because it seemed like good science to you, and fit what you already believed. Even your refusal to accept what someone trained in science told you about the quality of your "data" didn't deter me. I didn't think you were being wilfully dishonest. You made claims about rising crime rates, then ignored me when I linked to evidence that the opposite is in fact happening. Still I felt you misguided, not dishonest. I still can't call you a liar. Yet, Christopher, your continued defence of people like Paul Cameron, your obvious lack of knowledge of the more basic principles of science, your ignoring of any evidence that casts doubt on your preconceived notions, and your absolute refusal to learn the error of your ways definitely reveal that you are not the objective, scientific seeker after truth that you want us to think you are. You have an image of the world and of gay people and you will believe anything that confirms that image while ignoring anything that casts doubt on it. I used to think that was based on something like perhaps fear, or uncertainty, or lack of knowledge, anything but dishonesty. Now I am not so sure.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 4:06pm GMT

Christopher
You’re making a category error here. We all have urges, that is not the question. Having urges (sexual or otherwise)is a physical phenomenon and has nothing to do with one’s innate being as such.

The difference is that in terms of sex, some can only satisfy these urges with a partner from the same sex, others only with a partner from a different sex.

What we’re talking about is the fact that relationships are primarily about love not about sex, and that homosexual people are innately unable to LOVE people of the other sex.
The love they do feel for another human being is, like with heterosexuals, often expressed sexually. But the sexual expression is a consequence of the love and the underlying innate sexuality.

Even if we didn’t have a sexual relationship I would remain bisexual, Ford homosexual, and you heterosexual. The core of what makes you attracted to women and Ford attracted to men is the underlying sexuality, which is part of who we are.

How we choose to express that is another matter.


Ford
“I used to think that was based on something like perhaps fear, or uncertainty, or lack of knowledge, anything but dishonesty. Now I am not so sure.”

The cause of the need to lie, or at least for self-deception, is fear.
That makes it no more attractive or Christian, but at some level understandable.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 5:02pm GMT

Christopher: being gay is not about giving in to some unpleasant urge, and it is not sensitive or accurate to compare it with shoplifting, is it? I live very happily with my partner, and am an Anglican, indeed a priest: there is no contradiction involved in that, except for some very loud people who were evidently entirely ignorant of our existence until recently. They are the ones who have the problem and succumb to the temptation to sin when they start screaming at us, not those of us who live in a stable faithful loving way. It's time to get over that block you have: practising gay people can be as good (or as bad) as anyone else, and not on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 18 January 2008 at 6:14pm GMT

Hi Ford-

Re crime rising or falling, there are millions of possible different time spans and locations one can cite, and unfortunately a lot of people cite the ones that back up their preferred position. My position has always been that the crucial seachange took place at or around the ungodly legislation of the late 1960s, as all kinds of stats seem to indicate - crime figures before and after this seachange included. I am speaking of the UK here.

You will find by checking my earlier comments that my position on the Cameron article is not as you say: the points I generally make all hold even if Cameron had never lived: (1) Cameron's findings are only in line with the bulk of other findings which identify homosexual communities as being very much at the high risk end of the spectrum for STDs and other causes of premature death; (2) some research on a given topic is better than none at all, so obviously one cannot accept the authority on this specific topic of one who has not researched it (even a little) above one who has; (3) how many other researchers (and, more tellingly, what proportion of them) come to similar conclusions on the relevant data? (4) An honest interlocutor would surely (!!) respond to my challenge: 'If this is not the correct general statistical picture (that being homosexual is so high risk as to be arguably higher risk than smoking), then what is?' - and if one has not researched this matter then it would be irresponsible to adopt the relevant lifestyle until one had.

The whole idea that the data I cite is somehow 'my' data you know not to be true. I did not research iit nor originate it; nor is there any data which I rule out of my investigation, since I believe in the value of comprehensiveness. You by contrast (correct me if I am wrong) rule out certain researched data before you even start. By pure coincidence, this corresponds exactly with that which you would least *wish* to believe.

I found the idea that some cannot love the opposite sex sad. Christians love many people of both genders deeply.

Hi Fr Mark-
I neither called it an 'unpleasant' urge, nor compared it directly to shoplifting. Shoplifting was one of a million possible *random* examples I could have given to indicate the general truth that to feel an urge and to give in to the urge are two different things. Some of these urges are more trivial than others.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 2:10pm GMT

"I supsect that many of those who genuinely believe there is choice are probably at least bisexual themselves and have made a real choice for themselves."

Good on ya for this! The idea that my sexuality is about a whole welter of "urges" from which I may choose the "normal", righteous heterosexual path or the evil, rebellious gay one is foreign to me. I have always assumed that heterosexuality is the same. So I find it odd when a hetero makes these kinds of claims. I have to wonder, is this thought, so alien to me yet so natural to the other, coming from the fact that this is precisely what the other person is experiencing. Does some one think I can choose because they themselves have made a choice? Are they so angrily trying to force me to make the same choice because they are miserable with the result of their own? No, Christopher, I'm not saying you're gay, I just don't understand why, despite having been told repeatedly that gay is not a choice, byu gay people who ought to know, and despite having, I assume, the experience of your own heterosexuiality being innate, you still deny any possibility other than that I am making a sinful choice to be gay?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 2:43pm GMT

"(4) An honest interlocutor would surely (!!) respond to my challenge: 'If this is not the correct general statistical picture (that being homosexual is so high risk as to be arguably higher risk than smoking), then what is?' -"

Lifestyle, Christopher. Unprotected sex with multiple partners. Drug addiction. Alcohol addition. Not being homosexual, but chosing an unhealthy lifestyle.

Many of these go hand in hand with living in a society that despises you for how you were born, that does not allow you to be integrated into their society on the same terms that straights are. That accords you no respect because it believes you are willfully sinful. If you had to grow up in a climate like that, might it not have crushed you too?

Living with a single partner in a faithful relationship does not increase your risk of STDs one bit, as you well know.
So why persist to claim that it does?
Why persist to claim that homosexuality per se is damaging and shortenes peoples' lives?

I just don't get what it is you think have to gain by being so dishonest.

As for Christians being able to love people of both genders deeplyl, why, yes.
But I shouldn't think that you loved your best man at your wedding as deeply and in the same way as the woman you were pledging your life to.

It is absolutely pathetic that you pretend not to know what I'm talking about.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 6:09pm GMT

As for the "urge" to love, to give my whole self to another person, to look after them and be looked after by them until the end of our lives, to be there for one another at all times, to share life's burdens and life's joys, its tears and its laughter, to pray together, to praise God together - I sincerely hope and pray that I will never ever lose that urge.

Whether you or anyone else can see the beauty of it or not.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 6:13pm GMT

erika,
i know this will categorise me as a sixties person with no taste, but i always liked this, even though i knew it was a bit of modern invention. i think you've obeyed the first part in your discussion with christopher, don't you think it's time to pay attention to the words at the end?

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

Posted by: poppy tupper on Saturday, 19 January 2008 at 6:39pm GMT

Poppy
thank you!!
Of course, we have these conversations not only with the people we're addressing on these pages, but also with all those who merely read the threads.
So although you're undoubtedly right, I doubt I have enough willpower to remain quiet for long....huge failing of mine!...

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 21 January 2008 at 9:40am GMT

Christopher,
Erika was referring to 'eros', not 'agape', as you well know. I doubt you think Christians are called to erotic love of "many people of both genders". I was referring to data you quote, I know you didn't research it. Stop playing with words. You cite "the bulk" of scientific evidence, yet you don't actually give references. After months of my asking, you finally cited Cameron and one other cource for your "data". Unprotected intercourse spreads STD's not any particular sexuality, and Erika's explanation to you about this is clear and valid. A monogamous gay man is as safe from STDs as you are. As to a little research being better than none, you are again showing the way you have resolved your cognitive dissonance. This is patently wrong, yet you can't see it. A poorly constructed study, like Cameron's work, does not give reliable information. Thus, it's conclusions cannot be relied on and stand a good chance of being incorrect. Thus, a small amount of poorly done research, by running a high risk of coming to the wrong conclusions, can actually increase the ignorance around a topic and can be used for nasty political reasons all the same, as Cameron's "data" show. Thus, poorly done research is worse than none at all. I'm curious, why do you think Cameron has been discredited by his peers?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 21 January 2008 at 2:20pm GMT
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