Saturday, 12 December 2015


Rose Grigg Dear Church of England: from a gay ordinand

Nancy Rockwell Patheos No More Lying About Mary

‘The tide is turning’: Justin Welby interviewed by Michael Gove in The Spectator
Kelvin Holdsworth The next five questions the Archbishop needs to be asked

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 12 December 2015 at 10:59am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Michael Gove: "But, I challenged him, conscious of what many evangelicals believe, wouldn’t you say to them that while you love them, their relationship was sinful or inappropriate?"

Archbishop: ‘I would say, “I will always love you, full stop. End of sentence, end of paragraph.”

Yes, but at the same time you would not let them marry in your church. You do not even affirm their sexual relationship as equivalent to a heterosexual one.

Well you are entitled to your conscience. But so are other Anglicans, who believe in affirming lesbian relationships as just as valid and good and worth celebrating as anyone else's, and who maybe want to marry their partners in the heart of their own Christian community.

For a long time, and through Alpha's foundational years, HTB taught that gay sexuality was a sin. And while Justin quite rightly emphasises the value and preciousness of love, the idea of loving the sinner but not the sin still abides in many Anglican churches, in this country and elsewhere.

LGBT people in the Church of England are *still* being margialised... goodness, even being fired because of their gay relationships, or banned from ordination.

So although I accept the Archbishop has a right to his own view and conscience, so does every other person in the Church of England, so does every PCC and church, and so do the general public who will think that if 'the church is being pushed to the margins of society' (as Michael Gove posited) that is possibly brought about by the way the Church treats LGBT people and discriminates against their loving relationships as different, and somehow 'less ideal' than other people's.

To love the sinner, but hate the sin is pretty devastating when you are talking about a person's devoted love, commitment, care, and things so precious.

Justin doesn't use that phrase (anyway, he's too savvy to). But nor does he affirm gay or lesbian sexuality.

Frankly, his sweet line about how he would respond to a lesbian daughter offers little succour to people who are currently being marginalised and locked out of marriage in their churches. Or the priests being fired. Or the ordinands being declined... because of their sexual orientation... in this day and age?

Sentimentality is not going to wash: the Archbishop and his colleagues are trampling over other people's consciences, and trying to impose uniformity on other people's lives, intimacies, and faith.

Just saying 'I still love you' while also saying 'You must do what I say' is like a dominant husband or father who crushes his wife or children's flourishing.

I suspect Justin is a kind and decent person in lots of areas of his life. However, in his role as Archbishop, he is re-enacting the ill-fated 'Covenant' by trying to impose uniformity on people's and churches' consciences.

This position cannot hold in the end, but meanwhile it diminishes people's lives, and it diminishes the Church.

Furthermore, it needs to be challenged.

Because just saying 'Well I
love you' doesn't make injustice alright, or make your discrimination alright.

It may even seem like moral self-protection. It may even rub salt in the wounds that people feel, if actions contradict the love being asserted... insisted... imposed.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Saturday, 12 December 2015 at 12:04pm GMT

There's one question, above all others, that Welby needs to answer: "Do you believe that homosexual relationships are always sinful?"

It's a question he keeps dancing around with all these platitudes about love and acceptance. He could attend same-sex marriages on a weekly basis, accept a gay child, and still believe that what Higton terms "homosexual genital acts" are a sin and worse, a "salvation issue."

Until we get a straight answer from Welby on this point, we're stuck.

Posted by: James Byron on Saturday, 12 December 2015 at 1:42pm GMT

Well James, the fact that he demands celibacy from his gay or lesbian clergy would seem to answer your question.

If gay sex wasn't regarded as sinful, what possible reason would he have for imposing such an inhumane demand on his priests?

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Saturday, 12 December 2015 at 4:13pm GMT

"To love the sinner, but hate the sin is pretty devastating ..."

Thank you, Suzannah Clark!
I absolutely loathe the phrase. It smacks of condescension, paternalism (regardless of the speaker's gender), sanctimony.
"Even though I think you're a loathsome, deviant sinner, I love you anyway."
Yeah, right.

I'd rather hear a Christian minister thunder that GLBT people are disgusting, vile sinners unless they repent, and abandon their homosexuality, and are completely barred from any church activity except confessing their mortal sins,
than hear a Christian minister tell members of his or her church that they are loved and welcomed, but they can't get married and if they do get married, they can't become a minister, but if they are already a minister, they can't perform that church's sacraments or do any preaching.

I consider the first minister to be far more honest.

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Saturday, 12 December 2015 at 7:01pm GMT

Did God choose Mary because she was a feminist? In "The Testament of Mary" Colm Toibin wrote "We held each other and stood back as he howled out words that I could not catch. And maybe I should have moved towards him then, no matter what the consequences would have been. It would not have mattered, but at least I would not have to go over and over it now, wondering how I could not have run towards them and pulled them back and shouted out words, how I could have watched and remained still and silent." Mary, mother of Jesus.

Posted by: Pam on Saturday, 12 December 2015 at 9:12pm GMT

Realpolitik, Susannah, just like all the "liberal" English bishops who "discipline" LGB priests; though I agree that Welby probably does think that gay sex is always sinful. He is, after all, an unimaginative company man, trained in expensive "public" schools to play the game, get on, and to be suspicious of the academy, and of thinking in general.

Posted by: James Byron on Saturday, 12 December 2015 at 10:12pm GMT

In my In-box today came the following link to the recent talk given at St. Paul's in the City, by the Revd.Dr.Sarah Coakley, on the Theology of Sexuality.

It is well worth the hour taken looking in on it:

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 13 December 2015 at 10:24am GMT

I think it would be unfortunate if the Archbishop's rather unexceptional comments about sexuality were to divert us from the Archbishop's much more provocative and problematic comments about war in general, and the current Middle Eastern conflict in particular. Sex, in certain circles, risks becoming such a fixation that we ignore much more urgent issues, such as Archbishop Justin's effective imprimatur on the 'just war' against the Islamic State. It is at least questionable whether this conflict really meets the traditional requirements of a just war ('distinction of non-combatants,' 'proportionality of means,' and 'reasonable chance of success' perhaps being the most rickety planks here). And if you're unmoved by classical theology, the fact that Michael Gove - of all people - seems to think the Archbishop is a thoroughly decent chap on the strength of his support for airstrikes ought to be cause enough for concern.

Posted by: rjb on Sunday, 13 December 2015 at 11:13am GMT

The comments under Kelvin Holdsworth's excellent piece are startling. Apparently, gay marriage is equivalent to joining ISIS. Yes, those gays, with their beheadings and their mass child rape, eh?

Posted by: Interested Observer on Sunday, 13 December 2015 at 4:21pm GMT

" You tell me the African churches will kick up a raucous tantrum if I'm seen to be accepted by you. You tell me I have to be silent, to be patient, to put up with the abuse. You tell me it's my cross to bear." - Rose Grigg (above linked article) -

And this is one of the problems of our world-wide Anglican Communion at this time. The Church of England, and other provincial Churches of the Communion seem to be held in thrall by the GAFCON Primates, whose understanding of gender and sexuality is less than humane or up-to-date.

There is an awful lot of duplicity going on in our Churches - in order to appease the sola-Secriptura conservatives. Are we missing out on vocations because of this fundamental flaw?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 13 December 2015 at 9:04pm GMT

"You tell me the African churches will kick up a raucous tantrum if I'm seen to be accepted by you."

Martin Luther King had something to say about this. He said that it was unconscionable to demand that a class of people be made to continue to carry the heavy burden of injustice for the sake of others [like African human rights abusers].

And just in case anyone thinks "yes, but he meant African Americans" I would remind you that he, his wife, and his children have been and are strong supporters of equality for LGBTQ people.

I'm sure that Rose Grigg will be a fine priest. If she has trouble in CoE, then I hope she'll consider coming over here to TEC.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 14 December 2015 at 6:31am GMT

Metropolitan Ambrosios of Kalavryta and Aigialeia recently told his flock to beat up and spit on gays, because we're "not human."

Truth be told, it seems to me that that is more open and honest than this long, slow, passive-aggressive purge in the Anglican Communion, and CofE, particularly. There is something fundamentally evil - a word I use advisedly - about claiming to love and respect people while sending every possible signal that they are defective, unwanted, unclean, perverted, are, in fact, "not human." This is why I don't believe God could possibly be "against" homosexuals or homosexuality, because that would make God evil, claiming love while giving disdain and even hate.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 15 December 2015 at 8:03am GMT

Every time I read about the continuing conflict over the status of LGBT people in C of E and other churches, I thank God that I am, as my bumper sticker says, "Blessed to be Episcopalian."

Posted by: Susan in Georgia on Tuesday, 15 December 2015 at 1:25pm GMT
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