Comments: Saturday columns for thought

The (second)Church times leader is a true voice of the C of E.

Good for John Wolfenden and Michael Ramsey and the sensible down to earth, love thy neighbour bishops of that time. It took courage back then to stand up publically for a beleaguered minority.

Posted by L Roberts at Saturday, 28 July 2007 at 7:44pm BST

I was only 6 years old when the Wolfenden Report came out, but it changed my life, and I'm forever grateful to him.

When at 12 or 13, I realized I had homosexual feelings, I went searching for information. All we had back then were newspaper reports (always about dreadful scandals, violence, arrests of Gay people) and encyclopedia articles. I picked up the Britannica and read about Wolfenden's Report.

It was an eye-opener. I learned that not everyone believed that homosexuality is criminal, immoral, a mental illness; that numerous people in medicine, law and the Church believed (50 years ago!) that there's nothing wrong with Gay people that an end to oppression wouldn't cure.

When the reform act passed in 1967, I was 16 and still reading newspapers; so I heard about it the next day.

Not long after that, the state of Illinois, just five miles from my house, became the first U.S. state to decriminalize Gay sex.

Thus in my formative years I always knew there was another point of view about Gay people - and it was backed up by some well-informed authorities.

That changed everything for me. I became a Gay activist in Church and society, and now I've lived to celebrate Wolfenden 50.

Thank you, John. The entire Gay world thanks you.

Posted by Josh Thomas at Saturday, 28 July 2007 at 8:44pm BST

Thanks for that encouraging piece Josh Thomas.

I too was 16 when the law was reformed in 1967.

And TODAY is the 49th anniversary of the 1967 Act.

Yes much for which to be thankful.

Posted by L Roberts at Saturday, 28 July 2007 at 10:42pm BST

I find Tony Green's article unconvincing, in that nationalism and religion have always been bedfellows, each feeding off the other.

Here is a pasage from The Tablet article showing the connection, referring to the Catholic liturgical Latin traditionalists:

_Their political heroes are equally typecast: Charles Maurras, whose far-right Action Française was finally condemned by Pius XI in 1926, the Catholic dictators Franco, Salazar, Pinochet and Videla, and French fascist leaders from Pétain and his Vichy regime, collaborating with the Nazis, to Jean-Marie Le Pen and his racist Front National._

Catholics were pretty happy to chase Mighel Servetus until he went into Geneva where Calvin thought he might burn awake for a good half hour.

It is a dire history, and in these days of Benedict XVI the last thing needed is a revision of The Inquisition.

(On the other hand a gift to surrealism in comedy: getting on a bus, running down the street, just the action in itself, "nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" (I bet they did), saying it all wrong, the comfy chair, and too late.

Ximinez: NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise... surprise and fear... fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise... and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency... and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four* *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again.

Posted by Pluralist at Saturday, 28 July 2007 at 11:46pm BST

As Ekklesia reports, some now understand that there are limitations in trying to make everyone alike. Yet, there is a huge scope to rejoice in what another tradition has explored more fully that might have been overlooked in your own.

For example, a strange parallel struck me after reading Strange's article and attending a Catholic funeral earlier this week. Both priests completed the Lord's Prayer with the line asking God to forgive our trespasses as we are to forgive those that trespass against us. Yet, my mother taught me a version that concludes with "For the power and the glory are yours, now and forever, amen". That phrase has helped keep me grounded. It is the act of handing back ownership and credit back to God for anything that is made manifest in this world.

John the Baptist acknowleged he was from God when he stated "...the one who sent me to baptize with water told me" (John 1:33)

Jesus knew he is not all of God John 13:3 “Jesus knew he had come from God and was returning to God".

Rejecting or welcoming Jesus and his teachings is an act in kind to the one who sent Jesus e.g. Luke 10:16, Luke 9:48 & Matthew 10:40, John 12:44-45, Mark 9:37, John 6:44

John 8: 14-19 includes "I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me."

John 4:34 or John 5:30 John 6:38-39 or John 9:4 Jesus sought not to please himself but the one who sent him.

John 7:14-24 “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me...” Similarly John 8:28-29

John 14:24-31 which includes "These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me…, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name… will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you... do not be afraid. If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I."

John 15:18 - 16:16, which includes "…He who hates me hates my Father as well... They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me…"

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Saturday, 28 July 2007 at 11:50pm BST

For your meditation, Cheryl, thanks.

John's Gospel has always been my favourite, somwhow.

Forty-two years ago today, I accepted Christ - not realising then that he has already accepted me. I always remember this milestone in that boy's life with thanks. I feel especially thankful today for fellowship with 'God's people', or as the Quaker John Woolman put it 'the Church Catholick'--which he said, at the end whatever our skins and religions, we will all be revealed as one people, God's (he expressed it better than that)

( spiritual) questors all

In my post yesterday, I meant to say the 40th anniversary, of the Law reform, of course (1967)

Posted by L Roberts at Sunday, 29 July 2007 at 9:09pm BST

L Roberts

I concur. I always felt that John most represented the character of the man. Whereas Mark, Matthew and Luke were more concerned about the historical veracity of the man. Yet the book of Luke also tried to acknowledge both the character of the man and historical accuracy. All moderated that what was retained was many decades later by an incipient church trying to retain the core of Jesus in a turbulent world, filtered by what would survive in their times (e.g. respect for the feminine was a definite faux pas).

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Monday, 30 July 2007 at 12:37pm BST

Yes, Cheryl I can see that. I think I liked the Cosmic Christ and universality of John, linked to the light that is ever shining and the logos.
Luke for his attitide to women and the poor of course, and his special tenderness. And the sermon on the plain. And Matthew for the sermon on the mount and for chapter 25.

Posted by L Roberts at Monday, 30 July 2007 at 7:55pm BST

To me as a Swede, the Wolfenden Report says little (sexual acts between men were criminalized here between 1864 and 1944) but I once knew a Scottish refugee who spoke glowingly of it.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 31 July 2007 at 7:36am BST
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