Comments: Fulcrum on listening

I think, though, that the basic problem remains that we have utterly different views and no matter how much listening, there really isn't a way of combining them.

The choice, thus, is to accept diversity or expect one side or another to alter their perspective, in terms of 'the bottom line'

To be frank, and I have been involved in many of these processes - I know my view, why I hold it, and why I think it is right, and it isn't going to alter. I know that others on the opposite side of the fence feel the same way

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 7 November 2006 at 6:00pm GMT

We did not know what listening was until we had a child who had no words.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 7 November 2006 at 10:19pm GMT

I welcome AG's cautious efforts to wrestle with the legacy views, without hoping that this wrestling will do much more than confirm the silliness of antigay violence, along with all its multiple variations.

The longer you wrestle in deep detail with both the legacy stuff and the modern empirical research data, the clearer it becomes that scripture offers us a poorly conditioned place to start considering what we really know from data about (queer) personality, embodiment, and relationships. That is to say, at best, that scripture is quite ignorant of the modern depth and details of queer people who are leading queer lives because that is most natural to them.

If the scriptures conceive of same sex relatedness at the genital level at all, it is mostly as one of three mistaken core definitive things: (1) male/male sexual assault, (2)domination arrangements of stronger/weaker, older/younger, and the like according to many different ancient near eastern customs, and (3)ritual sex worship of ancient near eastern deities. It is exceedingly difficult to cling so dearly to the six or seven clobber passages while more and more distancing from these three core presumptions of the essential scope and meaning of sex, presumed to be a harrowing violation of masculinity and male embodiment in particular.

None of this speaks or even begins to construe what we now understand as essential to a data-based notion of queer personhood or queer embodiment. The bottom provisional line now is that, just as scripture got many empirical details of cosmos and animal nature wrong (via errors of commission and/or omission), so now the research data clearly nudges us towards a similar conclusion about scripture's views of human sexuality, human nature, and the often patriarchal-tribal presumptions of the relations between men and women. Rather than painstakingly sort through the innumerable ins and outs of all the legacy stuff, I now consider it better to background much of that legacy, while discerning the core ethical and spiritual/religious values of truth-telling, mutuality, and the huge respect for incarnation shown in Jesus' incarnation of God who sent Jesus to us.

The best that comes from this wrestling is to slowly but surely discern the covert presumptions of straight privilege to mistreat non-straight people, not least by believing and promulgating terrible things about them. And then acting badly towards them.

Posted by drdanfee at Wednesday, 8 November 2006 at 5:41am GMT

'The best that comes from this wrestling is to slowly but surely discern the covert presumptions of straight privilege to mistreat non-straight people, not least by believing and promulgating terrible things about them. And then acting badly towards them.'

Thanks for these words and indeed, for this entire piece (0f 8th Nov).

The Election news coming here, is very encouraging, to me.

Posted by laurence at Wednesday, 8 November 2006 at 9:35am GMT

There are many who see Lambeth 1.10 as having no legitimacy or authority because it called for others to do precisely what the Lambeth Fathers were unwilling to do.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 8 November 2006 at 9:56am GMT

It seems to me that Andrew Goddard is offering a timely reflection, which we in the Anglican Communion would do well to reflect carefully upon. One may not agree with everything he wrote, but the attitude of mind behind his article is very different - and to my mind far more Christian - than that of some self-proclaimed defenders of "orthodoxy," who seem not to recognise any ethical constraints on their actions.

Lambeth 1.10 has in many eyes been discredited, not least due to the behaviour of those who treat it as an infallible text. There are also, sadly, many who do not believe that their attitudes and thinking can ever change. But if we do, as Andrew Goddard suggests, genuinely and respectfully listen to God and each other, ways out of the current impasse may be found that we cannot now imagine.

It strikes me that there is much hope in Andrew Goddard's comment: "The simple fact is that in a genuine commitment to listen we are unable - if it is true listening - to control the outcome of the process."

Posted by Rob Hall at Wednesday, 8 November 2006 at 12:11pm GMT

I enjoyed reading this piece by Andrew Goddard. It came across to me as a gracious (in every sense of the word) contribution to the on-going process in which we are engaged as a communion. It was good to have an opportunity to really listen to someone who comes from a different tradition within the church wrestle with Lambeth 1.10 and the various reports and communiques and find in them potential paths forward. In that respect it reminded me of the St Michael Report, which I think has the same potential to open up a process that will allow us to speak and to listen on this topic without being driven apart. Thanks for posting this, Simon.

Abigail

Posted by Abigail Ann Young at Wednesday, 8 November 2006 at 3:40pm GMT

It strikes me that there is much hope in Andrew Goddard's comment: "The simple fact is that in a genuine commitment to listen we are unable - if it is true listening - to control the outcome of the process."

Exactly...

Posted by laurence at Wednesday, 8 November 2006 at 5:11pm GMT

When did Lambeth Conference resolutions become 'the official teaching of the Communion'? We do not have a Magisterium; I do not accept that a Lambeth Conference resolution is binding. As a priest of the Church of England, I am bound by the Canons of the C of E, which is quite enogh, thank you!

Posted by Jonathan Clark at Wednesday, 8 November 2006 at 9:45pm GMT
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