Comments: Royal College speaks up

“The Church has a wonderful opportunity to lead rather than to be dragged along kicking and screaming. Christianity is such an inclusive religion,” said Professor Michael King

"Inclusive" statements of Jesus Christ (a small sample)
-John 3:36
-John 14:6
-Matthew 13 v 36-
"Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."

Jesus Christ's words are often not that inclusive, are they??
Read all his words in the New Testament and see - he ain't no "anything goes" Western liberal......by his own words and death to pay for sin (Mark 10:45), that is obvious.

Don't think we can ignore the words of Christ on sin and judgment in order to please some shrinks who clearly have not read many statements of Christ and so conclude his message is "inclusive" i.e. in agreement with their world views.

Posted by NP at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 8:54am GMT

Let's hope our bishops embrace reason over the coming months and make amends for the intolerable psychological damage done to gays and lesbians in the name of religion.

Acceptance should not be constrained by cold doctrine.

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 9:26am GMT

"No scientific or rational grounds for treating lesbian, gay, and bisexual people differently..."

Few people are disputing that. What the conservatives are using are superstitious and irrational grounds...

Posted by dave paisley at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 9:38am GMT

So -- the Christian church should do what the Royal College of Psychiatrists says because -- well why exactly???? Are they are god???

Yeah right!!

And talking about right, they know exactly how to treat all mental illness and that is why we no longer have any in society. No??? Well how come they think they know everything.

I don't know about Britain but we have a continual stream of people here in New Zealand, declared sane by Psychiatric "experts" who then immediately go on to kill and maim and commit heinous crimes. The best we get from these "experts" is "it can be hard to tell you know". But now they "know" exactly what we should do.

I think there is a credibility gap

Posted by Margaret at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 10:02am GMT

NP and Christopher Shell will devour it.

(Or not ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 10:26am GMT

I assume from what they have written that if NP or Margaret ever contract leprosy, they will consult the Bible rather than a physician for treatment...nor would they take medication for epilepsy, but fiind an exorcist. And I suppose too, using the cosmology of the Bible, that they beieve the earth to be a flat disk ....

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 11:23am GMT

"we have a continual stream of people here in New Zealand, declared sane by Psychiatric "experts""

Careful, Margaaret. It is one thing to express a belief that God considers homosexuality a sin. You are implying that we are also insane. You can still think I'm a sinner without calling me crazy. That is surely a sin on your part. Also, you are assuming that this statement is not based on advances in science, but political correctness. That is also wrong. I agree that the Church ought not to take it's marching orders from any secular group, including governments. It is one of my complaints that we have been allowing the state to dictate how we understand the Gospel for the past 1700 years, a fact conservatives seem curiously impervious to. It appears to be acceptable to sell out the Gospel to get along wiht the State, but not to get along with society in general. If you want to talk about a credibility gap, we can discuss the yawning chasm between the stated piety of conservatives and their obvious refusal to actually follow the Gospel in their own lives, speaking generally, of course.
And NP, you haven't exactly proven yourself to be all that insightful when it comes to Scripture. You can spout off chapter and verse with the best. I suspect you typed your last post from memory. But you clearly have little understanding of the words you quote.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 11:42am GMT

I think that psychiatrists have far more qualification to talk about this than either outdated story-books, written by men 2000 years and more ago, or premodern religionists

After all, if Jesus is as NP describes, then no-one with a brain would even consider such a person worth believing in.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 12:03pm GMT

no Cynthia....just that it ain't sensible to give much weight in theoogical matters to people who clearly do not know much about the bible or Christ.....however expert they are in other fields...and I am sure they are expert and help people.

the issue in the AC is the authority of scripture....not psychology or human rights or anything else......the question which matters is this, "Is Lambeth 1.10 right that certain behaviour is 'incompatible with scripture'?"

because opponents of Lambeth 1.10 cannot disprove it from scripture, many different types of arguments are raised...but in the end, the question before us is what is God's will in this regard and can it really contradict scripture?

Posted by NP at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 12:07pm GMT

NP: I'm pretty shocked at how dismissive you are of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. They are scientists who need to deal professionally with some of the results of religious dogmatism. Who knows whether you or I will depend on their professional care some day? I think they are worthy of our respect, rather than your snide "I know better" tone.

Posted by Fr Mark at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 12:07pm GMT

And, NP, instead of reeling off a list of Bible references to confirm your view of the world (I think a psychiatrist might be very interested in why you continually do that, actually), have you read the report, and if so, what do you think of it? It says that the prejudice and discrimination gay people currently experience in churches causes damage to them. Do you disagree?

Posted by Fr Mark at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 12:13pm GMT

Goodness, Margaret, I'd no idea New Zealand was such a hotbed of depravity, and all down to those wicked psychiatrists. The streets are clearly not safe to walk with all those kiwi psychos stalking around - so much better to leave them to rot, or just kill them, surely? So much easier always than consulting people who may know what they are talking about, but who may sometimes make mistakes, unlike you.
Speaking of perfection, NP: wherever do you get the idea that anyone ever thought Jesus Christ was an "anything goes western liberal" or that anyone of any significance within the Christian church believes that anything goes? No one I know or have met believes that the church should sanction abusive relationships - but perhaps they do in your parish.
What those wicked liberals do say is that gay partners who have proved their commitment to each other might, perhaps, beneficially be recognised - a rather higher bar than the church usually imposes on those heterosexual couples who present themselves for blessing before it.
Why, I believe some clergy are even prepared to marry divorced people - divorce, of course, being something against which Jesus spoke out most unambiguously, but which seems to be unaccountably overlooked by conservatives in the current fandango. I wonder why that would be?

Posted by stephen bates at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 12:35pm GMT

It just occured to me: has anyone here ever met a conservative who was content to say "I believe Scripture teaches homosexuality is a sin" and leave it at that? It always seems to be accompanied by statements, overt or not, that we are sinful rebels who choose our sexuality in defiance of society and God, or are in some way mentally ill, or addicts, or something. I can't recall ever reading or hearing anything by a conservative that, while piously proclaiming to only be following Scripture, DIDN'T also, in some way or another, indicate a belief that we are deficient in ways that other people aren't. The fact that conservatives don't know this is telling evidence of what underpins their belief. They can't even see what is so blatant to others, so how can they possibly deal with their underlying false assumptions? So people like Christopher, who believes us to have chosen a "lifestyle" that will lead us to die 30 years too early are actually sincere in that belief, actually do believe such a lifestyle exists, and are completely blind to the underlying prejudice that not only informs that idea, but, in Christopher's case at least, drives him to claim propaganda is science in order to support it. Curiously, the only one this may not apply to, now that I think of it, is NP himself. But he isn't concerned about the sinfulness of any kind of sexuality anyway. Why is it that conservative must use lies and slander to back up what would actually be a more respectable position without such falsehood?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 12:42pm GMT

Well said, Stephen.

Posted by Fr Mark at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 12:46pm GMT

Mark - how many times do I have to explain to you that the issue is the authority of scripture?

I do not take my theology from experts in other areas of study.....who feel free to call Christianity "inclusive" despite many statements of Christ which are quite clearly exclusive.

You will never change the mind of the communion by talking about psychology or rights etc
You need to show that our bishops were wrong in saying certain behaviour is "incompatible with scripture" if you want to change the mind of the communion........the trouble is that respected Anglican biblical scholars like your old teacher NT Wright and many others do not see strong theological arguments for changing the teaching of the church and do see that scripture consistently calls certain behavour sinful.

Posted by NP at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 12:47pm GMT

NP
A genuine question.
If we're created by God, then our ability to gain new knowledge and insights are also created by God.
Has he not blessed scientists in their new discoveries? Has he not blessed the psychiatrists who have helped so many previously dumped in Bedlam like institutions?

Why, then, would he not want us to take those new discoveries on board when interpreting his words as written down 2000 years ago by people who did not yet have access to those discoveries?

It strikes me that you are denying a huge part of God's creativity and creation if you dismiss as irrelevant everything that people have discovered.

It is clearly biblical not to deny it, as Jesus already announced when he said there were many things his disciples were not yet ready to hear but that the Holy Spirit would guide them in the future.
Was that guidance limited to the lifetime of the apostles? Did it not also guide St Paul and all those who followed on from him ever since?

You may not agree that same gender love comes under this banner, but are you denying the principle itself?
I would really appreciate a considered answer to this.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 1:02pm GMT

Ford,,
"Why is it that conservative must use lies and slander to back up what would actually be a more respectable position without such falsehood?"

They don't all do it, we're just confronted with some particularly bad examples here. Thomas Renz, for example, is someone who does believe that homosexuality is against God's will but who does not demonise, crimialise or belittle gay people in the slightest.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 1:16pm GMT

NP: I don't see why you keep harping on about my admission to having been in Tom Wright's lectures, as if that means anything. I also used to go to Rowan Williams', and he used to stand up for following the courage of your intellectual convictions wherever they lead you, even at the cost of being a lonely prophetic figure. I can't understand how he has since managed to give up on the whole intellectual philosophy he used to expound so eloquently to us undergraduates, which appealed precisely because it had an integrity to it. Tom Wright used to teach many gay people when he was at Oxford - Theology was traditionally the gayest subject to read, after Music, I think - and he should really know better than to keep sticking the boot into them now. I think power/influence among those who talk up their form of Christianity have gone to his head - I can't see any other explanation for it.

Posted by Fr Mark at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 1:19pm GMT

NP- there is a difference between approaching Scripture "as the Rule and Ultimate Standard of Faith" rather than as the only standard or as simply a rule-book for life.

Science is another method of describing the reality in which we live, and it is more capable of describing and understanding illness, psychological and physical, than Scripture. Psychology and psychiatry, like medicine, are also subject to the scientific method. Theories of disease and treatment are subject to testing and verification. That makes their conclusions pretty hard to confute as a matter of observation.

The problem folks like you and Margaret have is that when you compare homosexuality (orientation or behavior) to physical or psychological illness, it just doesn't convince. People with schizophrenia, depression,paranoia, and such lead diminished lives, have difficulty functioning in society or maintaing stable relationships. That is not true of otherwise healthy gay individuals.

Likewise, those who say that it is a disorder like alcoholism, genetic or biological in origin but still treatable, fail to see the distinction that alcoholism is a disease that destroys relationships and lives. Again, homosexuality (orientation or behavior) does not.

While it is laudable for you to be concerned about the after-life of all humanity based on your interpretation of Scripture, it is absolutely ludicrous to expect the scientific or rational world to observe a problem where none exists. What they do observe is how your interpretations do cause harm to other individuals, and that is what they are seeking to address - as they should and must.

Remember, the vast majority of Southerners were convinced by Scripture (and their own prejudices), that slavery was part of the divine order of creation. When you claim majority rules, or "The Bible says. . ." - that alone doesn't convince.

Whether Hooker would identify with the three-legged stool, he nevertheless did appeal to reason and tradition along with Scripture (Scripture being primary), but one cannot contradict the other. Reason is saying some very strong things that challenge how our tradition has approached Scripture on homosexuality. For better or worse, as a people of faith we're in a period of discernment as we examine whether there are other ways to approach Scripture on this subject.

Just like we've come to understand that even though Scripture acknowledge and tolerates slavery, no follower of Christ could ever claim ownership over another human being.


Posted by Dirk C Reinken at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 1:35pm GMT

Simply, then, to have openly LGB people in positions of ministry would be a tremendous support for stability and acceptance - that phrase "you are accepted" - just as is one of the effects of conferring blessings upon these folks for their relationships. Whilst the supernatural aspect of rituals might be questioned, the importance of ritual as a passing through, a gateway, and a reciprocal statement is undiminished. Such an obvious denial of this as at present, gives a kind of sanctification to discrimination. If the Churches are wanting to uphold people, to uplift people, then the policy has to change so that it can make its contribution to inclusion and not to maintaining the destructive past.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 1:41pm GMT

NP: it's not the (self-)righteous that needed Jesus, but the unrighteous. I think you'll find he had a spectrum of responses to people from nasty to accepting depending on they *thought* they were doing. (Salient examples: consider "whitewash", the story of the pharisee's versus tax-collector's praying style, the "sinners" with whom he ate.)

Then again your abuse of scripture indicates that you don't know the difference between "causes of sin" and "homosexuality" as you seem to think that passage somehow relevant.

Posted by Tim at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 1:55pm GMT

"opponents of Lambeth 1.10 cannot disprove it from scripture"

Some very credible people, "respected Biblical scholars" in their own right, disagree with you on that one. And you don't respect the authority of Scripture as you claim everyone else ought to.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 1:55pm GMT

NP - how many times do we have to explain to you that the issue is the interpretation of scripture?

Posted by badman at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 2:12pm GMT

NP "how many times do I have to explain to you that the issue is the authority of scripture?"

You arrogantly assume that those you disagree with are simply ignoring Scripture. That is completely untrue. There is now a wealth of Scriptural study on homosexuality which does not arrive at the same condemnatory conclusions that you do (which I very much doubt you have read any of). You regularly throw out the accusation of 'ignoring Scripture' because it makes it easier for you to feel secure. What you find deeply unsettling and threatening is the fact that Christians can interpret Scripture in a way different from how you do.

NP "I do not take my theology from experts in other areas of study.....who feel free to call Christianity "inclusive" despite many statements of Christ which are quite clearly exclusive."

Then you cannot in all honesty claim to be Anglican. As ++Michael Ramsey once wrote: "The Anglican shape of theological education simply means this: you study the Bible, and you study the ancient tradition, AND YOU USE YOUR GOD-GIVEN REASON IN DOING SO. IT IS THROUGH THE USE OF REASON THAT WE HAVE A CHANCE OF MAKING SCRIPTURE AND TRADITION INTELLIGIBLE IN THE MODERN WORLD." To undertake any form of Sciptural exegesis which does not take account of modern understandings in medicine, science, psychology, sociology, etc. is simply to practice Scriptural fundamentalism. And, by the way, find me one passage in the Gospels where Jesus had anything to say about homosexuality.

NP - "You will never change the mind of the communion by talking about psychology or rights etc You need to show that our bishops were wrong in saying certain behaviour is "incompatible with scripture" if you want to change the mind of the communion"

Perhaps if the bishops actually undertook the serious study they were called to undertake by Lambeth 1978 and 1988 then we might actually be able to have a constructive debate. How many of the bishops actually undertook that study before sticking their hand up at Lambeth 1998? Show me the study documents from those provinces most opposed which show any evidence of constructively addressing the theological and scriptural issues.

NP - "the trouble is that respected Anglican biblical scholars like your old teacher NT Wright and many others do not see strong theological arguments for changing the teaching of the church and do see that scripture consistently calls certain behavour sinful."

And who made them God! There are respected biblical scholars who have reached a different conclusion.

Posted by MJ at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 2:28pm GMT

Ford - the reason you see a fuller response is that have people in the AC who are pushing,some overtly but many more covertly, to be accepted as clergy (even bishops) while condoning behaviour our AC bishops consistently say is "incompatible with scripture"....they are ignoring what the communion has consistently said about beliefs....that is why more needs to be said because we do have people working from within against what the ABC has called "the mind of the communion"

Posted by NP at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 2:35pm GMT

http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/index.php/2007/11/16/gay-versus-post-gay-which-to-believe/

Posted by NP at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 2:36pm GMT

Oh dear, NP, lecturing us all again.

I think the issue might be relationship with God.

But then, I'm only a gay priest, how could I possibly know anything about relationship with God?

Posted by Colin Coward at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 2:38pm GMT

"the issue in the AC is the authority of scripture....not psychology or human rights or anything else......the question which matters is this, "Is Lambeth 1.10 right that certain behaviour is 'incompatible with scripture'?""

And what if that interpretation of scripture is incompatible with reality, NP? Shall we place the Royal College of Psychiatrists under house arrest, forbidding them to publish ever again, as the Holy Office did to Galileo?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 2:49pm GMT

"the issue in the AC is the authority of scripture....not psychology or human rights or anything else......the question which matters is this, "Is Lambeth 1.10 right that certain behaviour is 'incompatible with scripture'?""

And what if that interpretation of scripture is incompatible with reality, NP? Shall we place the Royal College of Psychiatrists under house arrest, forbidding them to publish ever again, as the Holy Office did to Galileo?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 2:51pm GMT

NP

I keep reading your last post to Fr Mark and it strikes me that you're not actually talking about the same thing.

You insists that same sex relationships are wrong because they are not biblical.

Even if you were right, would you not agree that the psychiatrists may have a point when they say that the current way LGBT people are being treated by the church is deeply damaging to them?

And if that's the case, could you not at least acknowledge that you might have to modify your behaviour a little in order to prevent some of that hurt?

I'm not expecting you to accept same sex relationship, I do know you are not able to do that. But why would you not be able to treat the people themselves in such a way that they suffer less psychological damage?
Can you at least see a possibility of fault on the churches side and a possibility for modified behaviour towards those you disagree with?

If not, please explain why not.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 2:53pm GMT

Scripture says that God has called people to many different vocations in the church such as teaching, comforting, healing, etc. When a group of doctors to whom God has given the vocation of healing come to a conclusion about a medical issue, God wants me to listen to them. I assume that God has given the vocation of understanding mental health to this group of psychiatrists, therefore, I trust their conclusions about homosexuality. God uses these people and their vocations to lead the church into all truth, so to truly be obedient to Scripture, we need to listen to those who Scripture says have been called by God to help us better understand what homosexuality is.

Posted by Ashpenaz at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 3:04pm GMT

NP -- scripture (meaning Jesus) teaches authoritatively that it is not up to Christians to make determinations concerning the sins of others. (I realize the Apostle Paul disagreed; it may well be that the Gospel was recorded to offer a countervailing influence to Paul's teaching.) I leave it to you to reap the conclusion, or ignore it.

The psychiatrists in this case are making a judgment concerning the harm done to people by those who consider themselves to be moral, and on the basis of their position, to make decisions governing and limiting the lives of others. The psychiatrists note that this is doing harm, and suggesting it should stop. In my opinion, it is they are reflecting the attitude of Jesus.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 3:31pm GMT

"the issue in the AC is authority of scripture....not psychology or human rights or anything else..." - NP

I used to be a Christian until I encountered this willingness to throw human rights and any contradictory scientific evidence out the window in favour of 'scripture'.

I then found, in conscience, that I couldn't accept that any 'scripture' could make the groundless ill-treatment of others OK. Writings rooted in the mind of late antiquity don't provide a full basis for how to treat people now. So I suppose I should be grateful to the 'gay bashers' for waking me up from my little cocoon of bible reading and prayer and getting me to think about what the churches were doing to others.

A common argument for these views is 'look at all the bums on pews in our churches!' Certainly you can get a lot of warmth and fulfilling worship experience in an evangelical church, if you're the 'right sort' (as I found) but it's also 'Daily Mail reader' syndrome, banding together against 'people not like us'. That's not something to be proud of. These churches may pull some people in, but they also encourage good people to take up evil attitudes to others in the name of The Bible - a truly sad thing.

The problem I experienced on the liberal side is different, because they're reluctant to come right out and say that the Bible is wrong on some things, even so-called liberal churches lag well behind the morals of most non-churched liberal people. They're not going to queue up to go to them, because the idea of giving authority to an ancient and flawed set of texts at all, is increasingly seen as a weird and unhelpful way of thinking among liberal people.

I don't know what the way forward is, and whether there is a place for Christianity in it beyond 'Daily Mail Island'. Part of me hopes so, as I still have a strong attachment to the church, (which is why I follow the arguments) but a just way forward cannot come at the price of sacrificing other human beings to ancient Biblical prejudices. If the Anglican Communion takes that route, then people who would otherwise be sympathetic, will need to fight it as an enemy of human rights for all.


Posted by Louise at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 3:39pm GMT

why is it, in the 21st century, that it's secular society that's pointing the way of the gospel?

tell me, NP: was man made for the sabbath or was the sabbath made for man? apparently, neither you nor the disciples could figure that one out on their own.

Posted by williex2 at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 3:45pm GMT

"...have you read the report, and if so, what do you think of it? It says that the prejudice and discrimination gay people currently experience in churches causes damage to them. Do you disagree?"-Fr. Mark

Of course he disagrees, he's got Jesus wrapped up in his smug little world of know-it-all-ism. (pay special heed to the operative verb in that sentence..'he has got') The ultimate in selfish religion.

So if Jesus's club is so exclusive, why would anybody want to belong to it? Selfish and exclusive, you can have your version of "Christianity" NP, just keep it away from mine.

And NP, you never answered my question about believing YOUR interpretation of scripture in the Creeds, and your argument about what Christ's lack of discourse on homosexuality and communion is pretty weak.

Picking and choosing!

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 3:51pm GMT

NP: I don't think many here question the authority of scripture. I think it's in the interpretation of scripture that we differ. How do you reconcile your quoted texts with Matthew 5:3-12? How do you reconcile your discussions here with Matthew 7:15-23?

Posted by Andy at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 3:58pm GMT

Well NP's stand is clear, it is just also clear that his reading of scripture about the naturalistic human side of who queer folks are is contradicted on too many levels by the empirical facts. Hence, the dilemma of reading scripture to verify flat earth facts which are then allegedly spoken or revealed by God.

To take a hint from the New Testament Jesus, let us do a thought experiment. If inclusion and equality of citizen life for queer folks is nothing but unscriptural and devilish and evil, how can inclusion or equality support or contribute to healing and improved mental health?

Surely, then, even according to Jesus, such a house divided against itself could not stand.

We might put the foot on the other side, too.

If condemnation and all the traditional negative ideas are so good and godly and right, how can they support or contribute to obviously evil and nasty things? What things? Glad you asked.

Things like bearing false witness against neighbors - which religious people routinely do without a second thought, when they use their targeting of queer folks as an evil modern group to tar brush every living queer person on the planet with this or that unfounded - and often unprovable - claim about innate immorality and depravity and the like.

For example, what piece of real world good living now obseved among the queer folks with whom we work every day gets NP's attention and approval? None. He cannot be bothered. Queer folks are not people to NP, so far as his comments reveal and presume, they are issues - dirty, dangerous, and disgusting.

Things like assault on citizenship - wherein queer folks are routinely subjected to legal or criminal penalties which would not be imposed on them if only they were straight.

Things like assaults on people - where queer people get physically attacked - often starting at a rather young age.

If the traditional views regularly have little or no consistent effects, except to support false witness, institutional assaults on equal citizenship, and physical assaults on real people - what good are they? What good purposes do they serve? Whose ends do they serve?

Keep repeating, NP, but I fear you are not answering the questions, because maybe you are not bothering to ask our questions?

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 4:01pm GMT

Citing John 3:36, John 14:6, Matthew 13:36 NP wrote: “Jesus Christ's words are often not that inclusive, are they??“

Some explanations, NP (never told the hoi polloi in your peculiar tradition):

John 3:36 “believe” pisteúon is not to share / subscribe to the beliefs (right or wrong) of the AC, or the accidental beliefs (again right or wrong) of a Primates meeting, or even a Lambeth Conference (remember Tea & cakes), or your particular Sect (always wrong), or anything like it, as you have been told by our 16th century Renaissance tradition of Neo Humanist Catechisms (the Congregation as School in the service of the State for Disciplining into Stabilitas), but “to have Faith / Trust in” – in Christ, of course. No one else.

Likewise “obedience” akoúå does not at all mean o u r post 16th century Renaissance Political Absolutism “obedience or else...” That one wasn’t invented. It means “to listen attentively with the intention to learn”.

No threat, no Hellfire. It’s the same in a l l languages: Hebrew, Greek, Latin, English, and Swedish… Sorry.

John 14:6 Egå eimi ä Odòs kaì ä Alätheia kaì ä Zåä,
oudeìs érgetai pròs tòn Patéra ei mä di’emoû.

I am the Journey and the Truth and the Life,
you will reach the Father only through me.

A Gospel Promise.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 4:48pm GMT

Matthew 13:36 “Fire” in a hot climate, and consequently in the Holy Scriptures (always in the plural) of the Bible, is an image / paragon / hyperbolä of the Purification of Hearts. There are innumerable examples in both Testaments (and also in the Scriptures which your peculiar "bible-believing" tradition doesn’t recognize / rejects / cuts out).

You only need to read it to see it.

But it is hamartía / wrong-stepping / missing the mark (aka “Sin” in the Scholastic tradition) that will burn / be purified/ be cleansed / disappear, not the persons.

Gehenna is not the later, pagan “Hell”, of Dante fame (which was not yet invented in Jesus’ day) as you have been told by your peculiar tradition, but a place to burn waste.

So Matthew 13:36 is not a statement of your late 2nd Millennium Anselmism cum Eternal Condemnation / burning in the Lakes of Purgatory / Hell PSA, but a Gospel Promise of Purification and Holiness. “For He shall purify the Sons of Levi…”

Wrong on all accounts (who can be at all amazed? ;=)

“If God be for us, who can be against us, who can be against us?”

“He who has ears, let him hear.”

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 4:50pm GMT

NP, you do not *explain*, you *state* that the issue is the authority of scripture and you conveniently leave out the words, "for me". You really should write, if you are going to be truthful, "The issue, for me and a small but vocal part of Christendom, is the authority of scripture.

You see, NP, for most of Christendom, following the actions and teachings of Jesus Christ is far more important than following the actions and teachings of a human being (Saul/Paul of Tarsus, let the reader understand).

How do you reconcile your frequent dashes to judge and criticize and condemn those who do not interpret scripture exactly as you do with the instruction of the Lord Jesus, whom you claim to follow, who said, "Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you deal out to others it will be dealt out again to you." (Matthew 7.)

Or again, NP, how do you reconcile your certainty of knowledge with the words of your own favourite guru who wrote to those he called "you wretched Corinthians", "Love never fails … as for knowledge, it will pass away [that is, it will lose its value and be superseded by truth]. For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), …. But when the complete and perfect [total] comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away -- become antiquated, void and superseded. … For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly); but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God]." (1 Cor. 13)

Do you not understand, NP, that your knowledge is fragmentary, is incomplete, and in rushing to judgement based upon that incomplete knowledge, that not knowing of all the facts, you are calling down judgement upon yourself.

Oh how I pray that you may be saved from yourself.

Posted by RPNewark at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 4:59pm GMT

NP posted: "Mark - how many times do I have to explain to you that the issue is the authority of scripture?"

This is, as others have said, nothing more than bibliolatry on NP's part.

NP is ignoring matters of translations of scripture over the millennia, and not just in the early Church itself, and he/she has the chutzpah to suggest irrefutable knowledge of what is accurate, as well as what the context was when the original words were written.

NP also falls into the trap of contending that it was God who directly wrote the original words (whatever they may have been, and in whatever context they were written), and not mortal men who wrote -- of course inspired by the Spirit, but mortal and subject to human error themselves -- the words of scripture.

Flat earth indeed.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 5:03pm GMT

When I was in seminary, I did my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at a state mental hospital, and I was profoundly shocked by how large a proportion of the patient population had been badly damaged by churches of many denominations. Religion (as opposed to faith) had been a significant contributor to the warping of sensitive minds. I think that the 21st century Church would do well to listen carefully to the insights of modern psychiatry.

Posted by Old Father William at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 5:07pm GMT

No NP, science is not theology. But theology cannot contradict science. The truth is the truth. Homosexuality is not a choice - a scientific observation. Conservative interpretations of scripture on this issue must therefore reconcile some contradictory passages of Scripture. For example, why does God say 'it is not good for man to be alone' and yet create individuals for whom the companionship he intends is to be found, due to orientation, with an individual of the same sex?

It is no good to simply say these individuals are all called to celibacy. There is plenty of theology on the call to celibacy predating this controversy that shows it is a gift to a few based on calls to particular missions.

Posted by Robert Leduc at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 5:13pm GMT

When you find that your theology is at odds with reality, it's time to reexamine your theology.

Posted by ruidh at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 5:38pm GMT

"... and do see that scripture consistently calls certain behavour sinful."

Translations do, NP. They may be wrong.

Just might.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 5:51pm GMT

NP, you will have to explain seventy times seven to Mark and the rest of us that the issue is the authority of scripture.

No matter how many times you say it here (and you say what you say with tedious repetition) an attitude towards homosexuality held by Lambeth 1.10 which is prejudiced and bigotted remains so, however many theologians, Biblical scholars, bishops and Primates claim otherwise.

You will never achieve an Anglican Communion that is free from faithfully partnered lay people, priests and bishops. It's tough on you, but this is what God creates and blesses, whatever he may have said to the contrary in the Bible.

Have fun!

Posted by Colin Coward at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 6:42pm GMT

I don't know about Britain but we have a continual stream of people here in New Zealand, declared sane by Psychiatric "experts" who then immediately go on to kill and maim and commit heinous crimes. The best we get from these "experts" is "it can be hard to tell you know". But now they "know" exactly what we should do.

I think there is a credibility gap

Posted by: Margaret on Friday, 16 November 2007 at 10:02am GMT

Thanks so much for clarifying that Margaret.

Perhaps you'd rather not listen to the conscientious thoughts of a group of caring people? You know so much better do you ?

I welcome their contribution--it would have been even more welcome years ago.

Posted by L Roberts at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 6:45pm GMT

Hey NP, you're doing Christ a great job of witnessing from the looks of all these following postings!

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 7:36pm GMT

There are souls who pray for "Judgment Day" so that all but the elite few can be consumed in hell.

I can imagine the conversation between God and their "god" who justified the end of the world and eternal damnation for 99.9999% of its occupants.

God, "So, the world has ended, has it".

Litte g "Yep".

God "So where did all the souls go?

Little g "I sent them to eternal damnation".

God "Why?"

Little g "They wouldn't flatter me and wouldn't repent of the sins I didn't like. Anyway, I was bored with the planet and we'd consumed all its resources so there wasn't much point continuing the game anyway"

God "Hmm. Can you think of anyone who might be upset about that or how you've behaved or what you've endorsed?"

Little g "Nope"

God "Er, what about Cheva - the mother of all living things. Do you think she's happy that 99.9999% of her children were sent to hell? How about the Daughter of Zion? Did you ever get around to reconciling or acknowledging her? What about Levi and the covenant of peace that the High Priest is meant to implement? Ever got around to doing that one?"

Little g "Nope, same old same old and way too boring. Anyway, it's time for that new planet so me and the boys can have some more fun."

God "What new planet?"

Little g "You know, the one that comes after the old one is destroyed."

God, "Well, here's the thing, Cheva, Gaia, Zion and Levi have been and talked to me. They think you are a selfish dishonest narcissist. They think that you'll rape and plunder 99.9999% of the occupants of any planet your given. Plus they've shared their experiences with the other celestial bodies. Here's the thing, none of them want anything to do with you. You see, if you're prepared to exterminate all (intelligent) life on this planet, you're prepared to do it anywhere. There is no "new" planet for you if humanity becomes extinct. Plus, if humanity doesn't stop worshipping violence, tyranny and vilification, we're not going to allow you to spread your infection any further.”

The punchline - save this planet and humanity or everything done on this planet is a very small byline in the history of the universe (which will continue to exist after humanity's demise, thank you very much).

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 7:53pm GMT

Sorry, made the word count with 3 words to spare.

This is a commendable move by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

It reminds us that we are to treat people with gentleness and word to bring out the best in them, and to provide reasonable access to save life choices.

For those who want to preach the "repent" and live the "safe" life contemplate this:

A woman can not change her genitals (or by your theology shouldn't).

If we are meant to make lifestyle choices that mean we refuse to engage in activities that have a significant probability of reducing our life expectancy, then no woman should ever willingly consent a child, and probably should also refrain from all sex with any male.

That way we will never face the health risks of pregnancy, childbirth, post-natal depression or early motherhood; nor will we ever catch any sexually transmitted diseases.

If males insist that we continue to engage in sex and continue to conceive babies, despite the known verifiable health risks, then who are they to spout celibacy to GLBTs?

Demand no more of others than you would for kin of your own family. And if such souls think they are not a hypocrite, then why are they still reading this? They should have gone and committed suicide because their mother obviously did not live a celibate life and thus failed to live up to the standard that they demand of others.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 8:00pm GMT

As Anglicans we are told that our faith rests on Scripture read with the aid of reason and the Church's tradition. It seems to me that this report from an eminent group of scientists is one more resource that can help us to a better reading of Scripture on the question of homosexuality.

An analogous case would be to read Scriptural prohibitions on taking interest on loans in the light of an economics text on the function of interest in our economy.

It's all in the hermeneutics.

Posted by Nick Finke at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 8:09pm GMT

Louise

Have you looked into the Progressive Christianity Network? There might be a local group you could explore. www.pcnbritain.org.uk

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 8:22pm GMT

"I was profoundly shocked by how large a proportion of the patient population had been badly damaged by churches of many denominations"

The problem, Old Fr. William, is that this means nothing to those who do the wounding. Indeed, some claim a Biblical imperative for it, if they will admit at all that their "saving Gospel" of judgement and hate can actually BE damaging..

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 8:45pm GMT

"It seems to me that this report from an eminent group of scientists is one more resource that can help us to a better reading of Scripture on the question of homosexuality."

Amen Nicke Finke. A comment that should be so obvious it need never be made. But today ........ Ah!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 9:46pm GMT

I am shocked by NP's assumption that bishops meeting at Lambeth dictate doctrine. Did any of us realize that Lambeth 1.10 is now joined to the canon of scripture?

Clearly this is at odds with the spirit of the 39 articles where foreign bishops don't have authority in these national churches.

the Bishops can meet all day every day of the year - Lambeth cannot impose doctrine. period. Lambeth 1.10 is advisory by its very nature. That Runcie crammed through this resolution in an absolutist manner does not mean that it is now canon scripture.

Councils of the Church and gatherings of bishops have passed all sorts of resolutions over the centuries. Most of these since Nicea have all of the weight of the average diocesan resolution.

Obviously to the bigots, though, anything that has to do with gays applies universally if it is sufficiently regressive.

Posted by Dennis at Friday, 16 November 2007 at 9:52pm GMT

“THE Royal College of Psychiatrists has challenged Anglican bishops to support gay clergy and laity as an example to parents struggling to come to terms with having gay or lesbian children.”

The real synod speaks reminding those whose self-identify as Christian that the cure of souls is hopelessly outdated but potentially useful.

As another comment intimated, the good news reasserted is that biology is not destiny. Well, except neurobiology.

Posted by trog at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 2:35am GMT

NP has shown the frightening, indeed blasphemous, face of fundamentalism today.

The sad thing is that those who know better are as inefficacious as the Democratic Party, so the fundamentalists run and run, causing immense havoc.

The deep disedification that the churches are causing arises not from our open debates but from the constant trumping of them by the fundamentalist bullies.

Must homophobia reach Nazi proportions before we get serious about tackling it?

Like antisemitism it is a cancer on the Bible -- the letter that killeth -- and we deen discerning, spiritual, eloquent leders to make this manifest.

Posted by Joseph O'Leary at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 6:19am GMT

Media Statement - The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM)

16th November 2007

The Royal College of Psychiatrists have published a contribution to the Church of England’s listening process on human sexuality.

The report is available here http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/temp/CoEsplisteningspexercisespSIGspsubmissionsp311007.pdf

The Revd Richard Kirker chief executive of the LGCM said:

“”This is a momentous document.”

“When the Church stopped burning us and the state stopped imprisoning us - the medical profession went on torturing and maiming gay British people for decades.

There are many people around today whose lives were shattered as a result of these vicious and dehumanising “treatments”. We see this document as just a small part of a long and painful apology.”

“The submission is a useful summary of the up to date scientific evidence and it will help Anglicans in their understanding of scripture. It is both timely and helpful and it comes at a very important moment in the life of our Communion. We see the significant call for LGB people to be free from inappropriate therapies is a matter the Royal College should take further. We are asking the College to develop a set of protocols to identify these illegitimate therapies and in co-operation with the other Royal Colleges and professional bodies with responsibility for councillors and therapists ensure that these practices are not allowed in the UK.”

“The report's principal author Professor Michael King has graciously accepted an invitation to speak at LGCM’s lunch time meeting during the next session of General Synod,” Mr Kirker announced.


Posted by Martin Reynolds at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 1:16pm GMT

Just as Galileo's heliocentrism and Darwin's Theory of Evolution were once deemed "incompatible with Scripture" and at odds with the institutional Church, the Royal College of Psychiatrists now finds itself in the same place.

Their conclusions contradict the assumption made in Issues in Human Sexuality that "heterosexuality and homosexuality are not equally congruous with the observed order of creation", rendering this document obsolete as a pastoral and moral statement. Lambeth 1:10 and the Windsor Report should also be scrapped as the premise on which they are based is fundamentally wrong.

The Church needs to go back to the drawing-board.

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 3:24pm GMT

The report states,"Sexual orientation is not a choice,though sexual behavior clearly is. Thus LBG people have exactly the same rights and responsibilities concerning the expression of their sexuality as heterosexual people." So, if one has a sexual desire that one is born with one has the same "right" to express that sexual desire as a heterosexual person. The problem with this proposition is that in traditional moral analysis we don't talk about the right to express desires. Rather we talk about human goods and their right ordering. Unlike this report we don't say that because one has an "innate" desire it follows that one has the right to express that desire, rather we talk about to what end is the desire directed and whether that end is a human good. The satisfaction of sexual desire is not in and for itself a human good. I could go on, but suffice it to say this report does not get to the heart of the Church's objection to same-sex acts. Though I applaud the report's emphasis on kindness and understanding.

Although the report doesn't say I wonder how the Church is too support the sexual expression of bisexual people?

And on the isssue of listening,I don't think that reappraisers have substantively engaged the "theology of the body" being developed in the Catholic Church.

Posted by Phil Swain at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 6:03pm GMT

Phil Swain wrote: “The report states, "Sexual orientation is not a choice, though sexual behavior clearly is. Thus LBG people have exactly the same rights and responsibilities concerning the expression of their sexuality as heterosexual people." So, if one has a sexual desire that one is born with one has the same "right" to express that sexual desire as a heterosexual person. The problem with this proposition is that in traditional moral analysis we don't talk about the right to express desires.”

Nor do the Royal College of Psychiatrists, if you bother to read their piece again…

They say “… exactly the same rights and responsibilities concerning the expression of their sexuality…”. They do not say “the same "right" to express that sexual desire”.

Don’t know how you could miss that one…

Phil Swain wrote: “Although the report doesn't say I wonder how the Church is too support the sexual expression of bisexual people?”

You think bisexual people are the same as polygamous men, I gather...

(makes me think we can do without any "theology of the body" being developed in the Roman Catholic Church ; = )

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 7:11pm GMT

As to your question: Mutuality, as always.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 7:12pm GMT

I wonder why so much energy is expended by so many good people trying to argue rationally with NP. It quite obvious from reading his postings over a period of time that (a) he has nothing new to say and (b) that he doesn't accept anybody elses' position or indeed the validity of any other view. I suggest he is just ignored, like the rest of the conservative evangelical power hungry and the rest of us should get on with our lives.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 7:12pm GMT

The "theology of the body" being developed in the RCC is, ultimately, based on a flawed anthropology that reduces the human being to its biological basis. It also rests on a false assumption that male and female represent essential rather than accidental differences, an assumption that ultimately contradicts the doctrine of the Incarnation; and on the false assumption that sex exists primarily for the purpose of procreation (which it might be argued is true in animals) rather than the formation of human society. All of the talk of "goods" and "ordering" is so much begging the question by assuming the conclusion.

Depending on what you mean by "traditional" moral teaching, rights figure very much into the equation. In Genesis 2, God grants Adam the "right" to choose the partner suitable to him, after Adam rejects God's first offer. No procreation is involved until after the fall. Unlike Genesis 1, where the end with humans as with animals is procreation, Genesis 2 is ordered towards the end of society, a truly human end for human beings. Jesus' teaching on these chapters emphasizes not procreation (which he doesn't mention) but the permanence of the human society engender in the union of persons, and contrary to the Jewish law that provided for divorce in the case of infertility.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 7:15pm GMT

"The satisfaction of sexual desire is not in and for itself a human good."

Some souls think sex is a dirty thing, and there were times in history where women were told to "lie back and think of England" whilst they allowed their husbands to attempt to impregnate them.

I'm still chuckling over a recent online Jewish article where they say you shouldn't think about God while you're naked or might have touched your genitals during the night. I wonder how they juxta-position that with one Rabbi's comments that he feels closest to God when he is inside his wife.

God must chuckle over priestly conundrums - don't think about God while you're having sex, and then later try and convince your wife that you really do love her and thank God for giving her to you...

If God didn't want humans to have sex, he wouldn't have created male and female and ejeculation and organisms would not feel so good. God wants us to be in a happy relationship with a significant other and manifest love and commitment and faithfulness to that soul, it's a dress rehearsal for how we are meant to also be in a committed reverential long-term relationship with God. If we can't do it with another human being, then who says we can do it with God either?

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 7:20pm GMT

I see that NP continues to lurk on TA as a troll. So sad and, as always, so very un-Christian.

Posted by Byron at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 7:36pm GMT

"I wonder why so much energy is expended by so many good people trying to argue rationally with NP."

I often wonder why I do it too, but Pat (I think) made a very good point here recently. We know there is no point talking to NP, but his views are fairly commonplace in some Christian circles and need to be responded to for the sake of lurkers on TA who might otherwise believe there are no credible answers. We're not really challenging NP, I'm quite sure that's impossible, but we challenge or reassure others.

Also, I have learned a lot from the views of others here, so the "engagement" with NP has been a helpful focal point.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 9:36pm GMT

"Some souls think sex is a dirty thing, and there were times in history where women were told to "lie back and think of England" whilst they allowed their husbands to attempt to impregnate them."

And let's not forget that in many countries in which the AC is represented female genital mutilation is still common. Men are just so frightened of (female) sexuality that they do everything to regulate, minimise and sanitise it.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 9:39pm GMT

Actually, NP's arguments are so very thin and weak - he really only has one point to make which is to harp on about what he thinks should be the 'authority' of the bible.

We have told him we don't agree with him on that, but he has nothing else to say to us, because that is ALL his argument rests on.

These threads show so well the weakness of conservative theology, its superstitious approach, its outdatedness, and its rigidity - personified by NP's contributions.

Posted by Merseymike at Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 1:24am GMT

"I often wonder why I do it too, but Pat (I think) made a very good point here recently. We know there is no point talking to NP, but his views are fairly commonplace in some Christian circles and need to be responded to for the sake of lurkers on TA who might otherwise believe there are no credible answers. We're not really challenging NP, I'm quite sure that's impossible, but we challenge or reassure others."

It wasn't me--I think it was Fr. Mark, actually--but I completely agree with the sentiment. Claptrap should never go unchallenged, lest the unwary remain unaware that it IS claptrap.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 3:13am GMT

The irony of the critique of 'The Theology of the Body' when the Royal College states: "It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment." How delicious! The Royal College has Romish closets.

Also note the next statement: "Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice, though sexual behaviour clearly is." What violence in an alleged statement of support. Everyone knows that behaviour cannot be separated from orientation.

No need to fret though-—another ten years and they will sing the right song.

Posted by trog at Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 4:30am GMT

On the "theology of the body": wasn't this in the same family of concepts used to justify the Roman Curia's position that (a) women should not be ordained at all (even to the diaconate?) and (b) the woman's place ought to be in "the church [but not the leadership roles], the school, and the home"?

All I can say is, if liberals have not engaged in that theology, it is because its very reactionary foundations are beyond redemption, and those who advocate it sometimes don't realize that it is founded on a patriarchial/authoritarian mindset. Even if it is (I hate to admit this) Tradition.

Posted by Ren Aguila at Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 12:33pm GMT

Who told Trog that it wasn't a choice as to whether to have a relationship or not? Doesn't make the person any less gay, though, hence the separation of having a relationship from whet the person is , is artificial - people are gay, they don't do gay.... and loneliness and isolation is very unlikely to be the best thing for that person. Naturally, outdated theology is so much more important than people's well-being and flourishing.....


Posted by Merseymike at Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 3:02pm GMT

I want to emphasise what Merseymike said.
It is NOT primarily about sex. Homosexual relationships, like heterosexual ones, are primarily about love, friendship, companionship and sharing the ups and downs of life.

And those who believe it's easy to be "celibate" are actually imposing not a sexless, but a loveless life on us.

The reality goes so far beyond what some people here insist on calling "certain behaviour" that it often feels we're not talking about the same reality at all.

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 10:32pm GMT

"Sexual orientation is therefore not a choice, though sexual behaviour clearly is."

In the context of the next sentence, which talks about rights and responsibilities, behaviour refers to the spectrum of relationships potentially arising from ones sexual orientation: from the consensual, monogomous, stable and loving at one end, to the abusive, promiscuous and transient to the other. The current stance of the Church condemns ALL gay relationships, regardless of where on the spectrum the behaviour occurs. This is what the report sets out to challenge.

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 11:54pm GMT

MerseyMike—is it not my assigned role to listen?

It is unfortunate that you could not share the mirth of two messages essential the same but being endorsed or rejected based, not on the message itself, but on the organization publishing the message.

As you will. It matters not.

Posted by trog at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 2:52am GMT

Colin says "No matter how many times you say it here (and you say what you say with tedious repetition) an attitude towards homosexuality held by Lambeth 1.10 which is prejudiced and bigoted remains so, however many theologians, Biblical scholars, bishops and Primates claim otherwise."

The ABC does not seem to think so, Colin..... unless you want to accuse him of never having "listened" and not being sympathetic or being less than scholarly in his approach, I think it is interesting that liberals like the ABC (i.e. liberals not driven by a single agenda) do see the integrity in the position of those who exercise reason and want to remain faithful to scripture and tradition....the ABC has said many times that support for Lambeth 1.10 or opposition to condoning clergy involved in behaviour "incompatible with scripture" cannot be written off as nasty or bigoted.

Crying wolf or "bigoted" does not persuade many that Lambeth 1.10 is wrong.....this political strategy of claiming victimisation to silence opposition does not address the issue or somehow make certain behaviour compatible with scripture. Theological arguments (as made, for example, by Rowan Williams in the past) have to be made .... and then they have to be widely accepted for a new consensus to emerge and the church to embrace it...... single provinces cannot move on without regard for the rest of the communion....however convinced they are that they are right.....not if we are supposed to be a "communion".

Since TECUSA deliberately tore the fabric of the communion in 2003 despite the ABC's pleas and those of ALL the Primates of the AC, there are serious issues to be considered i.e. the authority of scripture in the AC and what it means to be communion and the limits of acceptable behaviour within the AC if we want to call ourselves a communion in any meaningful sense.

I see the "bash the troll" brigade is back since there are no strong arguments from scripture to condone behaviour our bishops say is "incompatible with scripture"....ever thought that the "troll" is in line with TWR and very happy to have a covenant developed in the AC (led by ++Gomez)..... ever thought the "troll" might be quite mainstream in the AC and TECUSA HOB wanting to both deviate at will from agreed AC positions but also stay in the AC at the same time is the problem in the AC?

Posted by NP at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 7:39am GMT

NP
I have asked at least 2 genuine questions of you in this thread.

Could you please give me a considered reply, as they're general questions and do not just apply to what you so strangely call "certain behaviour".

Thank you.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 8:51am GMT

NP wrote: "... liberals like the ABC (i.e. liberals not driven by a single agenda)..."

Consevo versus liberal is not the be-all and end-all of reality.

Not all conservatives are anti gay, some liberals are.

Few share NP's very particular and heretic ideas on the Holy scriptures of the Church & c - or in fact, anything.

The Gospel of God's Righteousness in Christ is the agenda.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 9:30am GMT

Tired old Propaganda :-(

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 9:31am GMT

I have just spent time reading through this thread.

I have one question: Why do you call this site "Thinking Anglicans" -- it seems to me all you do is hurl abuse at anyone who doesn't share your exact prejudices.

Can I suggest a rebranding to "Closed minded Anglicans" -- it might not suit the way you like to view yourselves, but it would reflect reality.

Posted by MG at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 9:40am GMT

MG
Would you please not use more than one name when posting comments. You have posted in this thread already using another name. It's confusing enough without that complication.
Thank you.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 10:08am GMT

Sorry, Erika - did not see your questions.......to your first question, I think our AC bishops are right that certain behaviour is "incompatible with scripture"....just like many other actions which disqualify people from being ordained.

I do not think anyone has a right to be ordained....so, no, I do not think there is any special exclusion or injury as many things disqualify a person.....

You then ask, "And if that's the case, could you not at least acknowledge that you might have to modify your behaviour a little in order to prevent some of that hurt?"

What "behaviour", Erika?
-You want me not to agree with our bishops re Lambeth 1.10?
-You want me not to oppose clergy and bishops condoning behaviour "incompatible with scripture?

Posted by NP at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 10:48am GMT

"I see the "bash the troll" brigade is back since there are no strong arguments from scripture to condone behaviour our bishops say is "incompatible with scripture"....ever thought that the "troll" is in line with TWR and very happy to have a covenant developed in the AC (led by ++Gomez)..... ever thought the "troll" might be quite mainstream in the AC and TECUSA HOB wanting to both deviate at will from agreed AC positions but also stay in the AC at the same time is the problem in the AC?"

There are no strong arguments from scripture to condone divorce, usury, or belief in a non-geocentric universe...and yet we accept all of them now. Why? Because reason permits us to look at our world as it changes...and as we change...and to interpret scripture in new ways, so as not to have scripture so clearly in opposition to reality.

Or do you prefer a scripture in opposition to reality?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 11:52am GMT

Sorry, NP, you don’t seem to have seen the questions I referred to.
I would like you to answer my points made here Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 16 November 2007 at 1:02pm GMT , as well as this question:
“I'm not expecting you to accept same sex relationship, I do know you are not able to do that. But why would you not be able to treat the people themselves in such a way that they suffer less psychological damage?”

They have nothing to do with Lambeth and the majority of the AC.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 1:11pm GMT

"it seems to me all you do is hurl abuse at anyone who doesn't share your exact prejudices."

NP, Advent is coming up, a time of hopeful penitence when we examine ourselves to draw closer to God in expectation of the coming of the Kingdom. I have no idea if you at HTB follow such "traditions of men" or not, but you really need to. This statement shows why. It is impossible for me to accept that you do not realize that your statements here are derisive, mocking, insulting, and unChristian. If you do not, if you truly believe that all you are doing is standing up for the Truth, then you really, really need the upcoming four weeks to examine your soul. Please, for your own sake, do it. What you do here is not evangelism in any way, shape, or form. Those who respond to you in anger do so only after intense provocation from you. You'd have far more success if you could actually treat you opponents with Christian love. That you do not suggests to me either that a) you truly do not understand how bad your behaviour is, b)you enjoy getting people all worked up, c)you want to make people mad with you so you can call them hypocrites for not being "inclusive" or something, and think yourself oppressed. Either way, you really need a bit of self examination.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 2:25pm GMT

Ford
"It is impossible for me to accept that you do not realize that your statements here are derisive, mocking, insulting, and unChristian"

I don't know how to say this without being insulting to NP, but as a physician you ought to know that it is entirely possible for people not to have the emotional awareness to assess the impact of their words.
I don't know if NP falls into this category.... but I will not judge...

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 2:45pm GMT

Erika, true. I was actually trying to express that, so I should have said difficult, not impossible. I felt I was being clearer in the rest of the post. Another example of righteous indignation on my part clouding my judgement.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 3:01pm GMT

Tobias, thanks for your comments. Given the limited space, let me just say that the TOTB sees sexual difference not merely biologically, which is why it uses phrases like the "nuptial meaning of the body". The Church agrees with you that Jesus and Gen 2 are not asserting that procreation is the primary purpose, rather the primary purpose is the two-in-one flesh union of husband and wife.

Goran, I hope that you will bear with me on my question about people with bisexual orientation. As I understand the Report, bisexual people should have the same rights and responsibilities to express their sexual desires as heterosexual people. I assume that a bisexual person cannot fully express their sexuality with just one other person in a life-long monogamous relationship. So, what sort of relationship for a bisexual person would you like the Church to bless.

Posted by Phil Swain at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 3:24pm GMT

Ford, Erika - do you understand how upsetting it is to many of us in the AC when people condone behaviour "incompatible with scripture"?

Sorry but the hurt is not all one way in the AC

When TECUSA deliberately tore the fabric of the communion, a great injury was inflicted....I know Ford did not agree with the manner and timing of their actions but my point is that while you find it offensive that I want the church to stick to Lambeth 1.10 and remind everyone of that position from our Anglican bishops, many others in the AC find it offensive that some people want to be in the AC but at the same time free to go against nearly everyone else at will (remember, ALL the Primates asked TECUSA not to go ahead in 03..... I am not making this up)

Posted by NP at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 4:01pm GMT

Phil Swain wrote: "I assume that a bisexual person cannot fully express their sexuality with just one other person in a life-long monogamous relationship."

You needn't tell me... I already gathered that.

But it doesn't square with what I have observed, nor with what I have been told by people who know...

You didn't catch the irony (from iron) or the warning, did you?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 4:31pm GMT

Phil
" assume that a bisexual person cannot fully express their sexuality with just one other person in a life-long monogamous relationship."

I think you have the wrong idea of what being bisexual means. It means being physically and emotionally able to love men as well as women.
It does not mean moral incontinence and it is quite easily possible for bisexuals to form a life long relationship with the one they love, whether that person is of the opposite or of the same gender.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 4:38pm GMT

NP,
The hurt isn’t all one way. You may feel aggrieved, just like I do when the wrong party wins an election. I know the feeling can be strong and I don't want to deny its validity.

But you're asking much more of me than I'm asking of you.
You're asking me to say to my partner tonight - sorry, love, you have supported me and my children for the last 5 years but you have to leave.
You see, I've discovered that I'm immoral in loving you. Sorry, I really am. I know you started working harder when my daughter got ill and I had to cut down my hours. I know you made many sacrifices. I know you spent nights sleeping with my younger daughter while I was in hospital with the older one. You gave her love, stability, comfort. You fed her, clothed her, looked after her.
But you can see the AC's point, can't you.
They’re rightfully distressed about the fact that every so often we have time to hold each other and to kiss.
Darling, I know you have held me through more tears and fears than I ever knew I would have to face. You have kept me stable, have helped me to keep my faith alive.
And you’re still doing it. Only today you took the puppy to work because the older daughter has chemical burns from chemo gone wrong and needed urgent treatment.
Again and again you put yourself last, giving all for my girls and for me.

But you see, every so often we get time for just the two of us. Time to love, to heal, times for joy, for sharing, for talking, for holding each other, time for worrying about the future together.
And you must see that this truly distresses the righteous majority in the AC.
If I try to tell them what our love is really like they tell me I’m playing the victim card. And they must know!

So you see, sweetest lady, I have no choice but to send you packing tonight. You’ll be fine, once you have repented of loving and giving. God will love you again and the AC will graciously welcome you back. The girls will be fine, don’t worry about them. What’s another divorce statistic when so much is at stake!


NP.... I don’t think so. Do you?

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 4:55pm GMT

"do you understand how upsetting it is to many of us in the AC when people condone behaviour "incompatible with scripture"? "

Do you understand how discrediting it is when people pretend to be all upset about condoning "behaviour incompatible with Scripture" but they quite happily not only live lives incompatible with Scripture, but also try to justify and deny such incompatibility? Why is it acceptable to say "I am allowed to sin, you are not." Why are you not required to obey Scripture, to repent, to obey the Two Commandments: love God, love your neighbour, while demanding that I comply? It isn't that your sin justifies mine, NP, it's a question of how you get to ignore Scripture when I do not. It seems to me that if you are going to demand I comply with the Law, you could at least obey it yourself, and, if you see no need to obey the Law, you could at least explain why a Law that doesn't apply to you is applied to me without any compassion at all.

"you find it offensive that I want the church to stick to Lambeth 1.10"

No I don't. You know what I find offensive, and this ain't it.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 5:11pm GMT

"do you understand how upsetting it is to many of us in the AC when people condone behaviour 'incompatible with scripture'?"

No I don't. How are you injured by this? Of what business is it of yours? Why are you more concerned with the (purported) sinfullness of others than your own?

Posted by ruidh at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 6:10pm GMT

Erika,
Well said!

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 7:23pm GMT

Erika, if a bisexual can form a fulfilling life-long monogamous relationship then what you're saying is that it is not necessary for a person to act on their sexual orientation in order to have a fulfilling life. In other words, isn't the bisexual person denying part of their identity by not expressing their bisexual nature?

Posted by Phil Swain at Monday, 19 November 2007 at 8:48pm GMT

Phil Swain,

Surely you don't find the thought of a heterosexual monk contradictory. Why is a monogamous bisexual any different?

Posted by Chris Ashley at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 12:07am GMT

They have a double indentity, meaning they can switch: they don't have to deny themselves closeness and human companionship - which doesn't mean, but in the eyes of the most prejudiced, that they live a continuous orgy.

In your dreams!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 6:09am GMT

(I hope this answer fits your points too, Erika)

Ford says "...it's a question of how you get to ignore Scripture when I do not. It seems to me that if you are going to demand I comply with the Law, you could at least obey it yourself.."

I don't get to do that, Ford.
We all sin (ignoring scripture) but that is supposed to be followed by repentance, as you know..... the issue is that some are arguing we should accept certain sins in the AC and some just ignore the statements of our bishops and teach and live in contradiction to them and scripture.

Of course, all are sinners.....but some are fighting for the AC to accept certain sins and no longer call them sins even though they are "incompatible with scripture", as our Anglican bishops consistently say.

I am not aware of any Anglican clergy teaching that my sins are somehow no longer sins.... I would oppose them if they existed.

This is the difference, Ford - the attempted justification of behaviour "incompatible with scripture" is not acceptable to most of us in the AC.....not just my view, as you know.

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 7:51am GMT

NP: it isn't that you are shocked that some Christians justify behaviour "incompatible with Scripture though", is it? Because that happens much more in the acceptance of divorce and remarriage by Christians nowadays. If you're counting up the number of sins committed by others, you've got a massively bigger total there to get wound up about. So, could you please go along to the Bishop of Winchester's palace and chain yourself to the railings until His Lordship repents of his pressure on the C of E to loosen up its doctrine on the remarriage of divorcees?

Posted by Fr Mark at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 8:50am GMT

Phil,

Your question implies that a bisexual person is moral when he or she fall in love with someone of the opposite sex, whereas they act immorally when they love someone from the same sex.

Once you take the artificial notion of straigth being somehow more moral than gay out of it and look at sexuality as a natural given, then the morality comes from having a stable and faithful relationship.

If you're married you will have met your future wife and fallen deeply in love with her.
That's no different from bisexual people. They meet someone, either of the same or the opposite sex and fall deeply in love.

You have a pool of millions of women to chose from, bisexual people have a pool of millions of women or men. To make a choice and commit to a single individual does not deny any part of your identity, unless you believe your identity is expressed through multiple sexual encounters only.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 8:59am GMT

Part of the monogamous marriage/life-long union deal is choosing to refrain from exploring a broader market. That exercise of restraint is not based on whom one desires but from refraining from all others one might desire, irregardless of whether one's sexualilty is homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 8:59am GMT

It seems to me the difference portrayed here by NP, is between believing what one is/does is Righteous and Holy and Gospel (Ford and Erica),

and knowing what one does is wrong and sin, repeating it (NP herself).

Have I missed something?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 10:25am GMT

NP
You still haven't answered the question I asked in this thread earlier:

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 16 November 2007 at 1:02pm GMT

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 11:02am GMT

Erika - pls remind me of your question

Mark - the difference is that +Winchester and others made theological arguments and persuaded our bishops (it was not like TECUSA making unilateral changes and presenting a fait accompli to the AC in 2003).

Decision making in the church needs to be based on finding genuine agreement which all can live with....if that is possible.
http://anglicantheologyethics.blogspot.com/2007/11/rowan-williams-decision-making.html

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 1:23pm GMT

Erica: NP's too busy picking and choosing! Reason and Tradition have nothing to with his form of Anglicanism; scriptural authority take precedence over faith in Christ and trust in Holy Spirit. He quotes St. John about having faith in all things through Christ, yet he can't do it without his cookbook!

Just say...Picking and Choosing!
Picking and Choosing!
Picking and Choosing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 1:31pm GMT

Erika and Cheryl, I believe that in order to subscribe to the Royal College's report the Church must sanction a person's expression of their bisexuality. The report asserts that a person ought to have the right to responsibly express or act on their sexual orientation whether homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual. That "right" is based on the implicit argument that a person's happiness or fulfillment is dependent on their responsible expression of their sexual orientation. In other words if they are denied that right then they are being denied the right to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. If as the report says a person can have a bisexual orientation then it follows that denial of the right to responsibly express that bisexuality is a denial of the right of that bisexual person to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.

When you say that bisexual persons ought to have life-long monogamous relationships(which is what the Church sanctions for heterosexuals)then you are telling bisexual persons that they can live a fulfilling and meaningful life while denying their sexual orientation, but that is just what the report denies. Your conclusion has to be one of these three statements: (1)bisexuality is not a sexual orientation; (2)the Church should sanction responsible bisexual relationships; or(3)the responsible expression of one's sexual orientation is not determinative of what it means to live a fulfilling and meaningful life and, so, the denial of the "right" to express one's sexual orientation is not a denial of the right to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.

Posted by Phil Swain at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 3:40pm GMT

I am unsure whether Phil Swain is serious in his questioning, but perhaps this quote from the Church Times article that accompanied the release of this statement will help him understand that his assumptions are incorrect:

"Sexual orientation was a spectrum. “In nature, there are spectrums: they can’t be cut into neat joints.” At one end would be someone who was predominantly heterosexual, and at the other someone who was predominantly LGB."

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 4:06pm GMT

Phil, you are misunderstanding/misrepresenting the point. We are not talking about sexual behaviour, we are talking about attraction, which includes, but is not limited to, sexual behaviour. Bisexuals are attracted to members of both sexes. I can't understand it, I'm as far to the gay end of the Kinsey scale as you are to the straight end (I assume, forgive me if I'm wrong). That means, as has been said before, they are ATTRACTED to many. Striaght people, as well, are ATTRACTED to many. To suggest that one has to have sex with both genders indescriminately in order to fulfillingly express one's identity as a bisexual is like saying that, in order to fulfillingly express one's heterosexuality, one should have sex with every woman, or man, one desires. I find conservative heterosexual ideas around fidelity to be bizarre. Straight people seem to have huge issues with monogamy. Conservatives here frequently equate being celibate with remaining faithful to one's spouse, as though it is such a huge spiritual battle to keep the vows one made before God to a person one presumably loves and respects. I have never had a problem being monogamous, "promiscuous fag" though I am! But then again, I've never been allowed to make those vows, either, so perhaps it's the vows that make the fidelity so difficult. Now, it seems you are equally unable to understand the difference between sexual attraction and desire and fidelity. Is fidelity for straight people really just a matter of some sort of Law? Do you really feel no requirement to remain faithful to your spouses other than legal compulsion or social pressure? Or is it only just conservatives who have that difficulty? Come to think of it, I've never heard a straight liberal moan about how hard it was to remain faithful to his wife.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 4:09pm GMT

Phil,
You really are getting your knickers in a twist.

Look, it’s simple.
I am bisexual. I fell in love with a man and for 20 years was happily married. The marriage ended. The next person I fell deeply in love with happened to be a woman, and we are now “married”, hopefully for the rest of our lives.

I am not denying my sexual orientation, I live in a loving relationship that has a satisfying sexual component. What else can I possibly want?

If I had been heterosexual my second marriage would have been to a man.
If I had been lesbian my first “marriage” would have been to a woman.
If my marriage had not ended I would still be happy with my man.

This is not about sex, it’s about love.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 4:15pm GMT

NP

Scroll up to "Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 16 November 2007 at 1:02pm GMT". That's my question.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 4:19pm GMT

Phil,

To add to my last comment. What the Royal Society of Psychiatrists is saying is that I should be accepted by the church whether my life long partner is male or female, because my nature makes both natural for me.

When I was married the church accepted me with open arms.
Now that I am living openly with a woman, the official church has all but thrown me out. That this had psychological consequences should be obvious (a statement of fact, not a playing of the victim card).

But my second choice of life partner is no less natural and therefore no less moral for me than my first one.
The irony is that my husband was not a Christian, whereas my partner used to be a Reader until the church refused to relicense her because of her honesty.
We're living in the most God focused relationship possible, yet the church is denying its validity, whereas it was happy to accept the far more unChristian marriage.

But of course things will change in the long run. Even the church cannot resists Christian values forever.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 4:27pm GMT

Simon

“At one end would be someone who was predominantly heterosexual, and at the other someone who was predominantly LGB."

That’s an odd statement.
It’s the B that’s in the middle, the other end of the spectrum is the LG.

Our recent conversation with Christopher who believes that gay people somehow choose their sexuality has got me thinking. Ford tried to draw him out whether he truly believed that gays choose their sexuality, after all, Christopher had presumably not chosen his.
But I do wonder. As most of us are somewhere on the bisexual spectrum, could it not be possible that many people, when they are first aware of sexuality, have an awareness of the same sex. Because they “know” it’s immoral they don’t investigate and subconsciously “choose” to be firmly straight. If they did allow themselves to look closer at their desires they might well find that they’re genuinely not very bisexual, and definitely not homosexual but truly happily straight.
But those who fear that they might just become “contaminated” become those who are most vocally anti gay.

So if Phil’s level of lack of basic understanding of sexuality is anything to go by a lot more needs to be said about bisexuality and the general spectrum of human sexuality. It could mean that a lot of people will lose their fear of homosexuality and of “catching” it or somehow being vulnerable to choosing it.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 4:36pm GMT

Erika - I obeyed you and scrolled and scrolled....sorry for missing your question earlier.

You ask: "Has he not blessed scientists in their new discoveries? Has he not blessed the psychiatrists who have helped so many previously dumped in Bedlam like institutions? "

Certainly he has blessed scientists in their new discoveries. One of the men at my church in Cambridge is a world-class geneticist and was master of a Cambridge college (not mine)..... he said that his faith grew massively as he studied more and saw more of what God has done (he did not believe the schoolbook "evolution" ideas that are supposed to be science, by the way)

But you are right, Erika, not many think the moral law given by God in both the OT and NT is overturned by any science we currently have and nor can it be really. The reason our Anglican bishops consistently stay with the "traditional" interpretation of scripture is that the alternatives have not been very persuasive to many.....it is not a question of science but of the meaning of scripture.

I think this is relevant and interesting, Erika:
http://anglicantheologyethics.blogspot.com/2007/11/homosexuality-first-order-issue-i.html

Worth looking out for more from Dr Goddard - this is the first of a series developing his thoughts. He is not a stupid "fundagelical" of the type some think I am ....he is worth reading.

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 5:11pm GMT

I think Erika and Simon are denying that bisexuality is an orientation. Simon, I assume the Church Times misspoke when it said that LBG persons were at the other end of the spectrum from heterosexual persons. Am I incorrect in assuming that on the "spectrum" bisexual persons are in the middle? If this is correct then doesn't it mean that bisexuality is less an orientation then it is unresolved feelings. What I hear you saying is that a bisexual person can deny the expression of part of his "orientation" without denying himself a fulfilling life. But if people can deny part of their orientation without denying themselves a fulfilling life then the implicit argument in the report is invalid.

Gone for the Holidays- see you in a week- keep thinking you Anglicans!

Posted by Phil Swain at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 5:23pm GMT

"The irony is ...whereas it was happy to accept the far more unChristian marriage."

That's not ironic, Erika, that's blatantly hypocritical. The world knows it, and laughs at those who defend it. It also tells them the Church has nothing to offer them, since She does not practice the Truth She proclaims.

"But those who fear that they might just become “contaminated” become those who are most vocally anti gay."

This is actually becoming clearer. Recently, after Senator X (I can't remember his name) was caught cruising an airport bathroom, I read an article that describes this phenomenon. The usual idea is that these men are closeted gays living live of quiet desparation, but are they? Most, apparently, are not. If they could honestly address the small amount of homosexaul attraction they DO feel, they'd probably be a lot happier about themselves, knowing that they aren't really gay after all. Instead, the "inhumanity" of homosexual attraction, that they might be so evil, sick, and perverted, so means they can't even consider the possibility. So, they have a deliciously naughty and dangerous bit of anonymous sex in a public washroom, then strap on the breastplate of righteousness lest anyone think they actually have any such subhuman, likely Satanic, tendencies. I wish I could be sad for them

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 5:27pm GMT

Phil
The fact that you put words like "spectrum" and "orientation" in quotation marks confirms my original suspicion that you are not serious in your original comment...
The only point i was originally trying to make was that sexuality exists as a spectrum not as a binary value.
I daresay it would probably have been more correct for the CT to have said LG rather than LGB.
Try this page, if you are serious about wanting to understand it:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A543872

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 6:16pm GMT

Phil,
I don't get your difficulty.
Yes, bisexuality IS an orientation. It means you can orientate your love life either way.
It doesn't mean that you HAVE to have lovers of both sexes.

I loved a man first, I love a woman now. My identity is still that I could love a man, but the option isn't there because I'm "married". Should I ever find myself single again I might fall for another man. Or not.
That's the identity part.

The rest is the same as for everyone.

Which part of that is so difficult to comprehend and why?

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 6:45pm GMT

Np,
thank you for your reply. I'm sorry you felt you had to "obey"!

But I find your answer fascinating. On the one hand you say you do believe in new discoveries that shape our views, on the other you stick only to scripture and want people to come up with bible verses to support their theology.

Leaving same sex relationships aside for a moment, when do new discoveries have theological relevance and when do you insist on a literal approach to the bible?

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 7:17pm GMT

"One of the men at my church in Cambridge is a world-class geneticist and was master of a Cambridge college (not mine)..... he said that his faith grew massively as he studied more and saw more of what God has done (he did not believe the schoolbook "evolution" ideas that are supposed to be science, by the way)..."

Please ask this gentleman for permission to give us his name. I have great difficulty in believing that any "world-class geneticist" could not believe in "schoolbook evolution". Evolution and genetics are inherently, indisputably (by any reputable scientist) connected. If all species are not ultimately connected, why do so many share the same genes, why are so many affected by the same diseases?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 7:28pm GMT

NP wrote: "... the moral law given by God in both the OT and NT is..."

NP, seriously! "moral law" is a Scholastic concept; 12th century or so. It is, however, an anachronism to read it into both the OT and NT.

I know (as you should) that ABC Cranmer did so defending Henry VIIIth's divorce (or was it repudium?) from Queen Catharine, and others with him, but it is wrong; seriously wrong, and anachronistic.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 8:31pm GMT

"Intelligent Design" is un-intelligent.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 8:36pm GMT

NP: you say that the Bp of Winchester and others (Geo Carey was one too) were persuaded by theological arguments rather than a fait accompli to argue for the liberal view when it comes to the remarriage of divorcees. Do you know that the official change in the C of E's policy was preceded by several decades during which pastorally-minded clergy just went ahead and remarried divorcees out of pastoral care while it was still illegal according to church rules? If you've seen the film "Shadowlands" you will remember that C.S.Lewis was married, illegally in the eyes of the C of E at that time, by his college chaplain breaking the rules, to his divorced wife. Is such a situation not what you would call a fait accompli, then? I would call it a proper sense of pastoral care being more important than rules: the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

Posted by Fr Mark at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 8:37pm GMT

I quote from Fr Mark: NP: you say that the Bp of Winchester and others (Geo Carey was one too) were persuaded by theological arguments rather than a fait accompli to argue for the liberal view when it comes to the remarriage of divorcees."

Could I be as presumptuous as to ask exactly what the “theological arguments” for the bishops’ resolution at Lambeth 1998 (Res. I:10) look like?

Most everybody seems to take their existence for granted, but no one seems to know?

There is the CLAIM, in facts many claims, but w h o can tell what it looks like?

(there is a current discussion on the TEC House of Bishops / House of Deputies mailing list, about this. So far no answer. Only the assertion (and re-assertion) that the “shrimp” question is settled (“debunked” was the word used) – but only with regard for shell fish).

But by whom? when? where? how?
Where are the “theological arguments”? No one seems to know. There is the Claims – and then there is silence.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 20 November 2007 at 10:29pm GMT

Mark/Goran...none of what you say justifies condoning what is "incompatible with scripture" i.e. sin. Rom 6:1 / Eph 5:1-21

Erika - if you are going down the "nature/nurture" line, I do not find that persuasive. We are all by nature, sinners...see Mark 7. So, if "science" came up with something to "prove" that it is natural to do certain things the bible calls sinful, that is no surprise....... I know that from my own experience.
People can twist Darwin's theories to justify promiscuity...... but I would still suggest the bible is right on faithfulness being best for the individual and society....as well as being required by God for holiness, of course. God is concerned with our holiness, as you know...Eph 5:1-21

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 21 November 2007 at 10:05am GMT

NP:

Mark and Goran's question was "what ARE the theological arguments for finding homosexual practices 'incompatible with scripture'?" You say they were made...so what were they?

And, again, you are suggesting that God made us as "sinful". Really? God deliberately set us up for failure?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 21 November 2007 at 12:52pm GMT

"the bible is right on faithfulness being best for the individual and society....as well as being required by God for holiness, of course."

But, you see, NP, you're wrong. The whole "Christ event"(the Incarnation, Nativity, Life, teaching, death, Resurrection, Ascension, and Descent of the Spirit) is required by God for holiness. While Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, that is not even an explicit statement that one HAS to be a Christian in order to attain to that holiness. And following some Law certainly isn't required for holiness, that's the whole point. To say that obedience to Law is required for holiness is justification by works, and that's just wrong. We are saved by grace, NP, and God loves us all, so no matter what you do, no matter how obedient you think you are, no matter how "good" you think you are, it all counts for nothing. God loves you because He loves His Creation. He loves the worst serial killing child molestor just as much as He loves you, though that man's sins might grieve His heart more than yours do. When he knows as he is known, like we all shall, he'll grieve over his sins just like God does, but God still loves him, no matter how much he has covered the image and likeness of God in which he was created by the horrible sins he has committed. Don't you understand that? Your problem is that, despite everything you claim to believe, you still think holiness is to be found in Law. We do not follow Christ's teachings so that we can be holy, NP, God has already made us holy. We follow Christ's teachings because they are God's way, that's all. None of this means that you are wrong in what you say about homosexuality. It just means that you need to think differently about your justification before God.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 21 November 2007 at 1:53pm GMT

NP wrote (amongst other things): "People can twist Darwin's theories to justify promiscuity..."

No one is doing that here, so what's the point you are trying to make?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 21 November 2007 at 4:42pm GMT

The point, Goran, is that "science" or psychology are not necessarily the best guides in deciding theological questions...

Pat - do have a read of Gen 3 and Mark 7. You want to justify stealing or telling lies on the basis that it is perfectly natural to do these things? You may also look at your Anglican 39 articles


Ford says "While Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, that is not even an explicit statement that one HAS to be a Christian in order to attain to that holiness..."
Disappointed and surprised you take that view, Ford......
-Why did the Lord give us the Great Commission then?
-What did he mean in John 3:36?
-Are we not to respond to being saved by grace in the way St Paul teaches in Rom 6:1?
- We are certainly saved by grace alone (Eph1-2) but what does Eph 5:1-21 teach us re how to live as those saved by grace?
-What is Romans 10:5-13 all about?
"For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 or “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”"

Ford, I think my Anglican ancestors had it right on this issue and others!
http://anglicansonline.org/basics/thirty-nine_articles.html

Posted by NP at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 9:58am GMT

"The point, Goran, is that "science" or psychology are not necessarily the best guides in deciding theological questions..."

That is not what you said...

But I admit the cannot stand alone as be-all and end-all.

But they cannot be discarded either.

That your theology pretends they can be discarded and corrupted into "intelligent" designs only shows it's a lie.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 3:19pm GMT

"Why did the Lord give us the Great Commission then"

Why be a Christian, NP?

"Are we not to respond to being saved by grace in the way St Paul teaches in Rom 6:1"

Of course, who says we're not?

"We are certainly saved by grace alone (Eph1-2) but what does Eph 5:1-21 teach us re how to live as those saved by grace?"

Because living that way shows the influence of grace in our lives, so that we can be cities set on a hill that cannot be hid. So that we, as He said, can let our light so shine. You jump on what you see as rampant liberalism and ignore the real issues: why be a Christian? Why do you think, despite everything else you claim to believe, that holiness is to be found in following a Law?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 3:37pm GMT

A response to the Royal College of shrinks

http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/index.php/2007/11/23/response-to-submission-to-listening-group-from-the-gay-and-lesbian-group-in-the-royal-college-of-psychiatrists/


Posted by NP at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 3:58pm GMT

"Second, as a culture, the LGBT engine is not heading in a morally conservative direction."

Might this have anything to do with the fact that, the Church having not merely rejected gay people for centuries, but actively been a hostile murderous presence in our lives (why are we called 'faggots'?), and is furthermore fighting tooth and nail against recognizing our humanity(you can't respect someone's humanity while calling them 'inhuman' after all), the church has had no positive influence whatsoever in many gay people's lives? Might the Church have dropped the ball? Might it be that, had the Church actually respected us, had not driven us away and/or killed us, was not still tearing Herself apart trying to keep us out, things would be different? Why would people have any respect for the morals of those who are trying to kill them, reject them, deny their basic humanity? You can't say to people "If you make yourself known to us we will insult you, lie about you, slander you in public, make false claims about you and back them up with lies that pretend to be science, and generally treat you in ways the go against the very values we preach." and expect your targets to then turn right around and embrace your values! Is this delusion or self rioghteousness? "In disobedience to my own Creed, I will treat you worse than dirt, but if you don't accept my values, YOU are rejecting ME." Perhaps if these people actually showed in their lives the values they see gay people rejecting, things might be different. But then, they wouldn't get to feel superior, would they?

Posted by Ford Elms at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 3:48pm GMT
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