Comments: two responses to GC2006 and RW's Reflection

Anglican mainstream has published An Open Letter to Bishops and Delegates Who Participated In General Convention 2006 by Dr Leander S Harding which asks "Do I understand what you are saying?" See http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/?p=540

Reflecting back to someone what has been heard can help us to listen to each other. I'd be interested to know whether other participants or observers have heard the same message as Harding,. His reflections seem to me valuable for being lucid and less Windsor-centred than most.

Posted by Thomas Renz at Thursday, 6 July 2006 at 12:22pm BST

I will only comment one part of Dr. Harding's rather verbose commentary.

In item #14, I would be interested in any scientific evidence that genuine same gender attraction can be permanently reversed.

That is, I would like to see reference to research produced by legitimate scientists, associataed with research universities or major teaching hospitals [like the Mayo Clinic in the US] under controlled conditions, using scientific protocols, published in authoritative, peer-reviewed publications of genuine scientific societies such as the APA in the U.S.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 6 July 2006 at 4:34pm BST

Harding's letter seems to be a classic example of a straw man. In pretty much every particular, no, Harding, that's not what people said.

Posted by thomas bushnell, bsg at Thursday, 6 July 2006 at 5:42pm BST

Thomas
Frankly, I read Harding's article myself some days ago in the original at http://leanderharding.classicalanglican.net/?p=208
and did not choose it for inclusion on TA. Of course I wasn't at Columbus myself, but this article didn't seem to me to bear even a vague relationship to the reports of many others present there that I had also read. Lucid was not among the words that came to my mind either.

I would be much more interested in your opinions on the two articles that I did choose to link to.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 6 July 2006 at 6:42pm BST

Simon and others - thanks for your responses. I am interested in the hermeneutical issues involved and on this point I found Harding interesting and even lucid, maybe precisely because it is somewhat wordy.

Anglicanism (by which I do not mean "Church of England" which as part of the holy, catholic church is of course older than "Anglicanism" as a distinct branch of world Christianity) got going with people who had a wonderful way with words from Cranmer onwards. This is a feature which the AB did not mention - maybe because this wonderful way with words has so often degenerated into a mere playing with words. In our times it seems necessary to express oneself with more words rather than fewer, in seeking to define what we do and don't mean. The Anglican knack at finding formulations which people from various traditions can agree on, each meaning something different with the same words, may have had the effect of eroding trust in each other and now seems more of a liability than anything else.

I wasn't at Columbus either. My impression from reading blog entries was that there was a massive effort to find the right words - "right" in terms of desired effect rather than clarity of meaning. (I realise that I reveal my cultural prejudices in valuing clarity and precision so highly.)

With regard to the two reports linked to: I can just about see why LGCM might think that GC'06 decided "to conform to the terms of the Windsor Report" but at most it was an attempt to conform to the terms (phrases) without coming to terms with Windsor (intent), if you see what I mean. So maybe the title is right "halfway to Lambeth" - it's a bit like getting halfway to the world cup finals. LGCM bemoans that GC'06 got as far as the semi-final, playing dirty with (against) lesbian and gay people, while Fulcrum focuses on GC'06 not quite getting into the finals...

As you might expect, I object to the blanket use of "homophobic" for each and everyone who does not endorse same-sex activity.

Posted by Thomas Renz at Friday, 7 July 2006 at 10:03am BST

Thomas-

Wise words.

The valuing of clarity is not a culturally relative matter, but an essential matter. This is because there is only one logically possible position: namely that reality/realities come first and words come second and are derivative from the realities which they evoke.

Any worldview that sees words/language as primary cannot possibly be correct. Words are the servant: they cannot but point to the reality which brought them into being in the first place. (After all, which came first? - the word or the reality which the word expressed?) Words exist precisely to express a prior reality, and they are the servants of that reality. Hence the importance of clarity.

Since the 1960s or so there has been a tendency for words sometimes to be treated as self-referential. This precisely mirrors a turning-in-on-itself that is/was seen in other dimensions of life as well (architecture; postmodern irony etc.).

As already mentioned, this tendency is illogical and self-refuting; and also (which is connected) navel-gazing, ie selfish.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Friday, 7 July 2006 at 1:33pm BST
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