Comments: letter supporting Bishop Iker

RE the signing;

Does this mean that the General Convention Catholic group has 51, 34 or any other number of members?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 4:53am GMT

Is the AC really supposed to exclude Iker (if he is not part of TECUSA but another province) but accept VGR because he is part of TECUSA?

Does that make sense when Iker has not torn the fabric of the communion and is acceptable to nearly all Anglicans in the AC?

Posted by NP at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 9:19am GMT

How can this be described as coming from the "Catholic Group" when 31 of its 54 signatories also signed the recent "Conservative Evangelical" letter supporting Duncan? More accurate to describe it as the work of a group determined to bring grief to TEC under any guise opportunity presents.

“Threatening secular legislation, as far as we are concerned in the Church of England, is an unthinkable way of going about things.” As an established church, the Church of England is probably more subject to "secular legislation" than any existing religious body, is it not? Do these folks read what they sign?

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 11:37am GMT

What in the world do they mean by saying TEC's leadership is "coercively utopian in social practice?" Is that supporting the MDGs? Would that be akin to feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and those in prison? Shame on us!

I guess the "unitarian universalist" in theology is because of our 30+ years of working towards inclusion of glbt people? Or is that still reaction to Jesus our mother, as articulated by that proto-unitarian, Julian of Norwich, as well as by ++KJS?

What a bunch of narrowminded, coldhearted bigots ... bless their hearts [as we say in the south].

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 1:34pm GMT

""coercively utopian in social practice?""

I would have thought the Gospel represented a utopian stance, actually, and for a bunch of conservatives who are threatening schism if everybody else doesn't comply with their ideas to condemn others for "coercive" practice beggars belief! Talk about your doublespeak!

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 2:57pm GMT

Cynthia, I love it!

Your comment: "I guess the "unitarian universalist" in theology is because of our 30+ years of working towards inclusion of glbt people? Or is that still reaction to Jesus our mother, as articulated by that proto-unitarian, Julian of Norwich, as well as by ++KJS?"

As founder of the Order of Julian of Norwich some 26 years ago and translator of her work, I have tremendously enjoyed the hullaballoo over the comment about "Jesus our Mother" made by ++KJS in her inaugural sermon! It demonstrated only one thing: the sheer ignorance and real spiritual poverty of those critics who seem all unknowing about major English mystical (and biblical) theology.

Thank you, dear lady, for the addition of yet another wonderful sobriquet for our holy patroness. "Proto-unitarian" is a new high/low in descriptives for her, and I think she would get a great chuckle out of it. I always wonder how many of the critics have had the honor of an eleven-hour revelatory vision of the crucified Christ? And spent over twenty years meditating in solitude on that divine gift?

I seriously suggest that it is that theological, ecclesiological, historical, and mystical poverty of the critics which lies at the root of the present conflicts. Was it people like these to whom Jesus quoted the words of the "master of the house", "I do not know where you come from...Out of my sight, all of you, you and your wicked ways!"?

Posted by John-Julian, OJN at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 4:22pm GMT

I hate to disappoint the bigots in the AC who think +Iker, +Duncan, +Schofield, etc. are going to win this argument but they aren't, hopefully by March or April of '08 all three will have been deposed. They are an embarrassment to the Episcopal Church, if they had one ounce of class they would renounce their orders.

Posted by Richard at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 4:36pm GMT

Cynthia Gillett writes: "What a bunch of narrowminded, coldhearted bigots ... bless their hearts [as we say in the south]."

Really? What part of the south would that be? Sussex? Hampshire?

Since the article doesn't name the signatories, how does Ms Gillett know that they are "narrowminded" or "coldhearted"? I could take an educated guess at who they might be - I suspect that David Houlding is one of them - and I would expect that I know some of them. Certainly, Prebendary Houlding, whom I knew when I was a member of London diocesan synod, is not by the wildest stress of the imagination "narrowminded" or "coldhearted". I suppose I can add that one to the other charming "liberal" interventions on TA such as the description of a group including the eminently sensible Stephen Parkinson, Dr Gill James and Sister Ann Williams as "nutters".

Posted by Alan Harrison at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 5:38pm GMT

I'm with Cynthia. Calling TEC "coercively utopian in social practice" is probably the biggest compliment anyone (friend of foe) could have given them.

What a wonderful reminder as we come into this Christmas season. God and Creation with their coercively utopian message of hope, greeting Jesus with a supernova and the rejoicing of all the heavenly realms, including sending angels to lowly shepherds in the fields looking after their flocks. Jesus who was affirmed at life and for whom at death the cherubim of the ark tore apart the veil in order to reach and rescue his soul at the moment of death.

Jesus, affirmed before he'd become an adult, accepted before he'd become a teacher, covenants pronounced for the whole world to see, free of any scholarly interpretations or straight-jacketing. A free and inclusive covenant that even covered the baby Jesus before he'd "proved" himself.

Praise be to God for the TEC remembering the covenant of Christianity's youth. They they have not disgraced themselves by seeking protection and authority through oppressive military or material means.

Let Proverbs 2:16-19 and Isaiah 30 & 54 serve as a rebuke to those who would rebel against the hopelessly utopian everlasting covenant of peace.

"“Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection,to Egypt’s shade for refuge. But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace. Though they have officials in Zoan and their envoys have arrived in Hanes, everyone will be put to shame because of a people useless to them, who bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.”

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 7:05pm GMT

The names can be seen here - http://www.fwepiscopal.org/news/cofe112007.html
Interesting that Elizabeth Paver, a Joint Standing Committee member who approved it's report on the TEC HoB statement, is among them.

Posted by MJ at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 7:22pm GMT

"As founder of the Order of Julian of Norwich.... the sheer ignorance and real spiritual poverty of those critics who seem all unknowing about major English mystical (and biblical) theology."

On first encountering Mother Julian, I Googled her name and found your order's site. What a blessing! I was studying for nerve wracking exams at the time, and from then till I passed, "All will be well" was my motto, and at times it kept me from cracking up. I love the Julain jottings, especially the one that talks of our current obsession with the "worship experience" as though worship is about what we get out of it. Why is Jesus the only friend we have who is expected to always entertain us properly? But we don't give up on our friends just because we didn't have such a great time with them last time lifted a few jars together! And your comment about the ignorance of orthodoxy on the part of a good number of the so-called "orthodox" is also spot on!

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 8:01pm GMT

"coercively utopian"


What a meaningless phrase.

Rather like when some acquaintances of mine on the hard left call the recently defeated NDP government in Saskatchewan "neoliberal."

It's useful to have a few nasty sounding but fundamentally empty insults to toss about.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 9:00pm GMT

I know coldhearted narrowmindedness when I see it, thank you very much. I don't need to know these folks' names ... by their fruits ye shall know them.

It's in the southern United States that one adds "bless his/her heart" after saying something negative about someone. It's a kind of false apology for being critical. As in, "She's put on quite a bit of weight, hasn't she? ... bless her heart." You put the emphasis and linger a little on 'heart.'

As a Yankee living in the south, I had subliminally tuned in on this, but a year or so ago, heard a Southern writer talking about it on a radio interview. A week later I went to a funeral home 'viewing', and stood in line for some time at the funeral parlor listening to the lady ahead of me in line doing a running commentary on the weight gain, loss of hair, poor job prospects, etc of other mourners, ending each commmment , "Bless her/his heart!" By about the 5th time, I nearly lost it.

I shall be retiring from my university teaching job at the end of spring term, and can com back to Dame Julian not as a text in an anthology of early English literature but as a spiritual light in my life. It is not the easiest thing in the world to introduce 21st century university students to her life and writings!

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Friday, 23 November 2007 at 9:23pm GMT

Ford Elms:

Please so drop me a note off line. Use any address on our website.

Posted by John-Julian, OJN at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 12:06am GMT

Having read something in an other place (unmentionable) I wonder:

Do we KNO that this letter was actually signed by those claimed?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 8:18am GMT

"I was studying for nerve wracking exams at the time, and from then till I passed, "All will be well" was my motto, and at times it kept me from cracking up"

I first heard that in our Julian group many years ago and it has since become almost a daily family prayer. Like with you, it has saved us from cracking up these last few years.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 8:19am GMT

Is Emma Forward still the youngest member of GS? Anyone know?

Posted by Royston at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 8:50am GMT

Bishop Iker and co would be horrified if they knew of the 'attitude' of some of signatorties of these letters to gay clergy. Interesting also to note that some of the signatories of the pro-Iker letter were not - as far as I can detect - also signatories of the pro-Duncam letter. Could this have anything to do with the desire to be 'anti-women priest/bishop' but not 'anti-gay p/b'? Of course, this may have nothing to do with the difference.

And look how many of the Church of England's bishops and other General Synod members have NOT written to support Iker or Duncan, et al!

Finally, though I utterly disagree with both letters and with the further mischief they cause, I cannot write off all the signatories as either mad or bad. Some have worked very hard to hold the Cof E together over these turbulent issues.

Posted by Lister Tonge at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 8:57am GMT

Elizabeth Paver, member of the Joint Standing Committee member who presumably agreed with the JSC report on the TEC HoB statement, compromises her integrity.

So does the signatory to both this letter and the previous letter from evangelicals, who is a partnered gay man.

Members of General Synod betray their membership of Synod and their fidelity to the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

There is integrity in the position of conservatives who believe in a different reading of scripture from me.

There is no integrity in people who betray their own sexual identity and personal relationship nor in those who are members of church bodies, sign up to reports, and then sign a letter like this.

Forward in Faith has in its membership a significant number of gay male clergy, many of whom do not subscribe to the teaching of ‘Issues in Human Sexuality’. They are catholics. They sign a letter alongside a number of conservative evangelicals who are campaigning against what they refer to in a derogatory manner as ‘the lifestyle’ of other signatories.

There is no integrity in the position of conservatives on either extreme of the church. They collude, knowingly or unknowingly, with each other. There is deep but unacknowledged corruption in the conservative coalitions, and whether or not they have any kind of majority in the Communion, their dishonesty and corruption will destroy them and their false alliances.

Posted by Colin Coward at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 9:13am GMT

Though this Epistle to the Texans may have had its origin in a catholic grouping in Synod, rather a lot of the names on the list are the "usual suspects" from the conservative evangelical wing. The single signatory from my own diocese is certainly one such, and a number of other names are familiar Reform/CEEC groupies. No love for Bishop Jack's lacy albs there, I fear.

Posted by cryptogram at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 10:31am GMT

Observant readers will have noticed that one of the signatories, Edward Armitstead, a former army officer who became chairman of the council of Oak Hill, was the author of an interesting article as long ago as four years ago, in the Church Society's autumn 2003 journal, entitled "Surviving as an Evangelical in a non-Evangelical Church" which advocates Militant Tendency style entryism to undermine or convert parishes whose religious style is uncongenial. I referred to it in my book A Church at War (page 150, paperback edition).
I would have thought such non-evangelical parishes in normal circumstances might include those of the sort of churchmanship represented by Father Houlding or, indeed, Bishop Iker. But perhaps that doesn't matter any more in the battle for Anglicanism's exclusivist soul.
Cynthia, I think the normally pedantic Mr Harrison was probably merely being facetious, though as usual only he is so obtuse as to see his little joke for what it is. If he really does not recognise the South to which you were so obviously referring, it's no wonder he lost his job in academe a couple of years ago.

Posted by stephen bates at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 12:55pm GMT

"Bless his/her heart" is common to the NW of England, where I grew up, and to the SE United States, where I live, Cynthia. In the UK, I only ever recall it's being used in a charitable sense, never ironic. Jonathan Williams, the North Carolina poet, was so delighted by the closing comment of a fellow Southerner that he included it as a couplet in a volume of verse. Though I own the book, I do not have it to hand, so the quote, though near accurate, may not be completely so:

"Bless her sweet heart,
Just kindling-wood for Hell."

Very Southern, no?

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 1:24pm GMT

I think the standard TEC idea has been that Iker and Fort Worth was included, and so was VGR and New Hampshire.

What pitches this into warfare is Iker's claim, lodged he says on behalf of God and of all real believers in Fort Worth (and indeed, all Anglican believers around the planet?), that at minimum he should never have to ordain any woman to ministry in TEC, nor suffer an ordained woman to despoil his own diocesan church life, nor - well it's obvious - ordain or suffer any Out (yuck), Partnered (gasp), and/or Parenting (gasp-yuck) gay or lesbian priest or lay person.

The issue is not whether conservative Anglican believers have a right to worship and pray and bear witness, but whether their claims are so Absolute and Final that their space to be must innately disrupt and contradict the breathing room of other Anglican believers who may think differently.

These tensions are at least as old among Anglican believers as the pulls between King Henry VIII and Pope, Puritan and Catholic, or Low and High Church. Now of course we have our own hot button issues, not least what to do with women who got educated, and what to do with queer folks who have enough ethical moxy to tell the truth, against traditional antigay pressures.

We now have to go to doctrinal war because frankly the conservatives in many provinces outside the so-called Global South have been slowly but surely losing their birthrights of what was formerly innate racial or economic superiority. This puts conservatives in crisis, because nobody can tell any longer which special church life in-group is their home base unless they have an outside target group against which they can clearly and adamantly define themselves.

Next? Canada? England?

So far, realignment isn’t actually going as well as the campaign preaches.

Bad mouthing modernity gets laughs so far. In the USA this aligns conservative Anglicans with Creationist and White Supremacist believers (even farther to the right than Iker).

Preaching woman cooties has only planted Title IX fairness, deeper into institutional life outside church.

Preaching queer cooties still gets wild cheers, but we have the slowly accumulating witness that one can be friends, co-worker, or neighbor, or family member of queer folks, without necessarily catching any of the nasty, dirty traditional cooties that queer folks carry.

Iker preach: Yo mama got combat boots. Sheesh.

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 4:10pm GMT

I am starting to think that its about time that these gay people working against gay equality whilst in gay relationships should be outed.

Posted by Merseymike at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 6:26pm GMT

Stephen Bates writes:
"If he really does not recognise the South to which you were so obviously referring, it's no wonder he lost his job in academe a couple of years ago."

Of course I recognise the "south" to which Ms Gillett was referring. The "little joke" of faux ignorance was, I hope obviously, drawing attention to the fact that she was commenting on a matter in a province with which she is perhaps not entirely familiar, and attacking people unknown to her.

In fact, one constant of TA is the ease with which those representing a "liberal" viewpoint launch personal attacks on those with whom they disagree. The sentence which I have cited from Mr Bates is perhaps a case in point. Two small points in response: ignorance of the geography of the USA, of which I stand accused, is hardly relevant to my field of expertise - industrial relations. And I did not "lose my job", carelessly leaving it like an umbrella on the bus from Uxbridge to West Drayton on 30 September, 2005. I was sacked.

I take Mr Bates' more serious point about "entryism", but in some shape or form it has been a feature of Anglican life, in England at least, for well over a century - most obviously at the other end of the traditional spectrum, where all those "spiky" medieval churches owe their Catholic appearance and ethos to some previous vicar or rector who introduced it.

Fr Coward refers to a "signatory to both this letter and the previous letter from evangelicals, who is a partnered gay man". Is this meant to be outing by a nudge and a wink? He goes on: "Forward in Faith has in its membership a significant number of gay male clergy, many of whom do not subscribe to the teaching of ‘Issues in Human Sexuality’." As far as the word "clergy", I understand the sentence, which is clearly true. The second half I don't understand. I'll live up to the pedantry of which Mr Bates accuses me by asking Fr Coward to tell us just what he means, and especially what he wants us to understand by "subscribes to" in this context?

Posted by Alan Harrison at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 7:11pm GMT

Alan Harrison: I think what Colin means is that large proportion of FiF clergy in England are gay, many of them sexually active gay men. This is well known to those of us on the Anglo-Catholic "scene." I find it odd that the bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough could sign this, as (i) they exercise episcopal oversight within a context where there is lot of co-operation and good-will between them and diocesan bishops (Ebbsfleet, I believe, is officially an assistant bishop of Oxford Diocese, for example); and (ii) so many of their clergy are practising homosexuals. I have been to various liturgical events at which either of them has presided, and every time, something in the region of half to three quarters of the clergy present would fall into that category.

Posted by Fr Mark at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 9:20pm GMT

Lapinbizarre:

Didn't know 'bless his/her heart' was English as well - and of course it's by no means always used ironically over here.

I'm wondering if folks from NW of England came to the upper south in large numbers? Lots of Scots and Irish came to these parts, especially the mountains. That's how lots of the ballads collected by Childe [sp?] got collected in the beginning of the last century over here.

Great movie about that - called 'The Song Catcher" - it was a small independent film - but if you can find it on DVD, well worth watching. The music is terrific.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 9:20pm GMT

Dear Alan Harrison, please do me the courtesy of not using Fr as my title. I do not use it myself and do not identify myself as a priest on TA though I am indeed ordained.

Stating that both letters were signed by a partnered gay man is a statement of fact. I am not intending to out anyone.

What I mean by 'subscribes', Alan, is that members of Forward in Faith, and all those who signed both letters, claim that they are orthodox people who adhere to the teaching of the church. 'Issues in Human Sexuality' is claimed to be the teaching of the church for LGBT members of the Church of England. Homophile clergy, as the report quaintly names us, cannot claim the liberty to enter into sexually active homophile relationships.

What I would like everyone to understand, who believe themselves to be involved with an organisation or network such as the global south, Reform, Anglican Mainstream, or with Bishop Jack Iker or Bishop Bob Duncan, is that in associating themeselves with Forward in Faith, they are associating with gay priests, many of whom are sexually active.

It is impossible to create a church that is free of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. We are invisible and we are present everywhere. It is easier, sadly, to create areas of the church that do not ordain women.

I believe it is dishonest and totally lacking in integrity for an organisation to campaign against the full inclusion of LGBT people in the church alongside other such organisations, when the said organisation has many members who are partnered gay priests, so closeted and self-destructive that they campaign against themselves.

Posted by Colin Coward at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 9:49pm GMT

Colin is quite right: it is a pretty disgusting church culture that has created the current situation of so many gay priests being penned into stunted lives of perpetual hypocrisy. We should be working to break that vile culture in the Church, and gently encourage those men to come out and inhabit a safe space. I admire Colin for trying to do something about that: it is a noble task.

Posted by Fr Mark at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 10:10pm GMT

Obviously the gay issue is the pretext for anti-womens ordination. How can Iker et al conform to the Protestant canons, rituals of Southern Cone?
How can Southern Cone admit a diocese that prays for the dead, uses crucifixes, candles ,holy water and incense and prays to Mary!

Are Chasuables legal in Souhern Cone?

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 11:28pm GMT

It is surely not reflective of any sort of integrity to sign an anti-gay letter when you yourself are gay. Its a bit like being a union rep whose policies are to work for equality when in other areas of your life, you actively campaign against it. Alan will understand what I mean.

Posted by Merseymike at Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 11:49pm GMT

I had the delight of a few years back of being invited to sing with the choir of the parish of the composer/choirmaster George Oldroyd ("The Mass of the Quiet Hour",-the "Third Communion Service" of the American 1940 Hymnal). Without being specific to the location of the church, let's say it's minutes north of Gatwick on the local all-stops rail line. (London, Brighton and South Coast? London and Southwestern?-anybody here a railroad buff???_

Surprisingly I discovered that the parish was high-church; and also active in the FIF movement. My close friend touring the UK with me was under the impression that the place was liberally populated with LGBT people and that the priest in charge was probably also (I disclaim my "gaydar", I don't trust it at all).

My instincts of fairness were disturbed at the relevations of what Forward in Faith parishes basically stood for in the UK, and although the worship experience was quite wonderful (Byrd 4-Part, motets by Walton and Gibbons), I was left unsettled by the implicit inconsistency of it all.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 12:14am GMT

I think it's probably pretty widespread in the UK, Cynthia, not just the NW.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 1:46am GMT

I find it rather fun to know that a gay is participating in an anti-gay lobby. It takes Jewish self-loathing to a new level. Merseymike is correct to comment on their dubious integrity, it also raises questions of the integrity of the others that allowed them to participate and sign.

So, they are anti-gays, but gays are okay as long as they participate in bashing other gays? I think the biblical term that Jesus would apply is "hypocrisy".

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 7:21am GMT

I don't think the FiF people signing these letters are doing so because they are trying to take an anti-gay stand, though. Their worry is the imminent arrival of women bishops in England, and they are frantically looking for a way out of having anything to do with them, in any sort of alternative jurisdictional system.

Posted by Fr Mark at Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 9:14am GMT

My apologies to Colin Coward for my error over his churchmanship. I knew that he is a priest and had assumed from his evident knowledge of the Anglo-Catholic scene that he would wish to be known as "Father".

The point that I was making, perhaps not very well, to Mr Coward is that "subscribe" may have a particular meaning to some of us. Not wishing to put words in his mouth, I phrased my point as an open question. I would expect "subscribe" to be used of formal ascent to a doctrine or set of doctrines, especially in a confessional church. I don't think that priests of the C of E are required in that sense to "subscribe" to "Issues".

That many C of E priests, especially at the Catholic end of the spectrum, are gay is not in dispute. As a sixty-year-old "spike" I've been aware of the gay presence all my adult life. It's not something that bothers me, since I don't take a prurient interest in what others do in their bedrooms or with whom they do it. I've got quite enough sins of my own to repent of, thank you. (FWIW, if I had been invited to sign the letters to +Iker or +Duncan, I would have been reluctant to do so precisely because of their making an issue of homosexuality.)

Where I take issue with Mr Coward is in his apparent assurance that gay priests should demand that the Church accommodates itself to them. What of gay priests (including perhaps the one who signed the letters) who accept the teaching of the Church but acknowledge that they fail to conform to it? Should similar demands be made in other areas of morality? (For instance, years ago a (now FiF) parish in the Diocese of Exeter had a vicar who set himself up in a Bonnie and Clyde team with his housekeeper, burgling vestments from other parishes. Should he have demanded that we drop that "thou shalt not steal" stuff?)

Turning to Choirboyfromhell, I think I recognise the simple gospel hall to which he refers. The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway was the name of the company that operated the line in pre-grouping days, before 1923. Incidentally "London Brighton and South Coast Relgion" was an old-fashioned term for Anglo-Catholicism, because of the number of spiky churches in that area. I'm surprised that he's surprised. The liturgical trimmings to which he refers are more likely, I think, to be found in parish churches of the FiF persuasion than others.

While I think Fr Mark and I would come from opposite directions, I can reach some common ground with him on the letter to +Iker. Analogies with the the Labour Party seem popular here (e.g. "entryism"), so let me try another. I see Jack Iker as a sort of ecclesiastical Roy Hattersley. Just as Hattersley, once a rather right-wing figure in the eighties, has become left-wing just by standing still as the party has shifted to the right, so +Iker looks like a reactionary just by maintaining once commonplace positions.

Posted by Alan Harrison at Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 4:48pm GMT


As long as they are not being hypocritical and leading a double life, surely a person with homosexual orientation can still believe that it is a sin and sincerely oppose its acceptance.

I agree wholeheartedly with Fr Mark. though as to FiF motives.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 6:29pm GMT

Dear Robert Ian Williams, I am not sure whether there are provincial canons for the Southern Cone as such, but it is not a monochrome province despite its tiny size.Some dioceses have a SAMS background-I think this is true of Chile, Paraguay and Bolivia.N Argentina is SAMS but it is very Indian and quite sui generis. Argentina itself ( mostly Bs As and about 5 congregations in big cities elsewhere) are originally a USPG diocese I think;they use the spanish version of the ECUSA prayerbook ( prayers for the dead! ) and the chasuble is worn in the cathedral in Bs As-where the Dean is Chichester trained. There are 2 ( I think) Evangelical parishes in Bs As) out of 9 or 10.Uruguay was established as a USPG diocese-it is v small but monochromely moderate catholic. The first bishop William Godfrey is now Bp of Peru-I think he is a sort of evangelical/charismatic catholic,an opponent of the ordination of women I think , but the flavour of Peru is certainly not heavily SAMS any longer ( the Dean of the cathedral is a US Episcopalian Anglo-Catholic) The real problem is that the whole Southern Cone is very small yet covers enormous distances. I doubt if it is viable,if being self-supporting is a criterion.And in the context of South America it isnt entirely clear what Anglicanism should be about...and i cant see how this latest venture will help it in the longer term--Colombia/Ecuador/Venezula are all in ECUSA and Brasil is the biggest anglican community.It has been fed by various streams and sadly the most recent schism in Recife is in fact the third--there are now four bodies calling themselves Anglican ( only one in communion with the present province of Brasil )

Posted by Perry Butler at Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 7:34pm GMT

Alan
"What of gay priests (including perhaps the one who signed the letters) who accept the teaching of the Church but acknowledge that they fail to conform to it? Should similar demands be made in other areas of morality? (For instance, years ago a (now FiF) parish in the Diocese of Exeter had a vicar who set himself up in a Bonnie and Clyde team with his housekeeper, burgling vestments from other parishes. Should he have demanded that we drop that "thou shalt not steal" stuff?)"

You are advocating that we just keep our sins quiet.
What we are saying is that homosexuality is not a sin, should not be linked to burling etc., and that we have no reason to stay hidden.

It's kind of you not to mind what we get up to. But we'd really quite like the church to accept that we don't "get up to" anything but that we live the same holy lives heterosexuals live.

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 8:26pm GMT

Alan Harrison, I’d appreciate an explanation from you of the relationship between being gay and stealing.

Thou shalt not steal is one of the 10 commandments. Thou shalt not be gay is not in the Bible.

I’m not a moral theologian, but I believe there is a moral and ethical difference between the act of a person who steals and the nature of being born gay.

I am not asking the Church to accommodate itself to me. I am asking the Church, which ordained me knowingly as a gay man, to cease being prejudiced about the hundreds of lesbian and gay priests ordained in the Church of England.

I accept the moral and ethical teaching of the church. I do not accept the teaching of the Church when it treats lesbian and gay people differently from heterosexual people.

I do not accept the teaching of the Church when it uses discussion documents and non-binding resolutions and reports as if they are equivalent to the teaching documents of the Church.

Posted by Colin Coward at Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 10:11pm GMT

Alan Harrison, my shock came at discovering that Dr. Lloyd's parish was high-church, as my home parish in the states (quite low church, communion once a month) would use his setting for the important feasts of Christmas and Easter, so my surprise was centered in seeing the atmosphere for which his beloved music was used. A pleasant surprise, but a surprise no less. Discovering what and that it was a FIF parish was a whole different matter altogether.

I don't think it's particularly healthy to denounce something that is a part of you. Whether it is indeed a sin, or if it is a sin in the way that it is used remains to be seen (I believe the latter).

Goodness, the branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad through my old home was known as the "Hook and Eye" with references to the Amish country up north that it traversed. And you British know what the GWR stood for that branchline heading out west of Paddington. "God's Wonderful Railway" Is there a link between trains and our Creator?

Gibbons Short Service and a lovely Howells motet dedicated to St. Cecilia today at "Mister" Pauls. Morning Prayer (or "Choral Matins") has not died out completely in TEC.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 10:23pm GMT

"As long as they are not being hypocritical and leading a double life, surely a person with homosexual orientation can still believe that it is a sin and sincerely oppose its acceptance."

Yes, it's amazing what you can brainwash people to believe.

But the point made in this thread is that at least one signatory IS leading a double life, and not just occasionally but that he is someone with a long term partner.

The reason this is important is not because a poor lost soul is so confused about himself that he publicly speaks out against what he does in private, but because it shows that sexually active gays will not go away even from the purest of churches.

This whole enterprise of purging gays and women and putting us all into our supposedly God given places is just an unrealistic pipedream.
Thank God!

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 10:29pm GMT

Thank you Perry...that was very helpful...but you can bet your bottom dollar that Venables and co are conservative Evangelicals.

Is the lay presidency movement still strong in Southern Cone?

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 6:47am GMT

Erika Baker writes:

"What we are saying is that homosexuality is not a sin, should not be linked to burgling etc., and that we have no reason to stay hidden."

Thanks to Ms Baker for putting the point so honestly, robustly and concisely.

Colin Coward writes:
"Thou shalt not steal is one of the 10 commandments. Thou shalt not be gay is not in the Bible."

I don't think that anyone claims that "Thou shalt not be gay" is in the Bible. There are, however, some pretty harsh references to homosexual +activity+.

I have been around the Anglo-Catholic scene since I was a teenager - I'm now sixty - and have obviously been aware throughout that time that many priests and laymen were gay. But it's only in the last decade or so that I've been aware of an active push to remove the taboo. I remember one of my first ventures into online Anglican discussion, when I pointed out - rather naively in retrospect! - that the "God made me gay" argument can equally be applied to other paraphilias). The reaction was apoplectic. That's why I chose a comparison from disapproved behaviours outside the field of sexual morality.

I'm just a little bit puzzled that people should choose to adhere to a religion where something so central to their identity is a taboo.

Posted by Alan Harrison at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 5:45pm GMT

You mean Neo Platonism, for sure?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 6:28pm GMT

"I'm just a little bit puzzled that people should choose to adhere to a religion where something so central to their identity is a taboo."

Speaking personally:

Because, despite the fact that I angrily refused to go to a Church that was, to me, too liberal and wishy washy in it's understanding of Scripture, God was with me, and was right there when I needed to go back to Him. Because His hand is evident in my life. Because the Creation transforming Gospel that is the heart of the Catholic Tradition presents such a beautiful vision of redeemed humanity, redeemed Creation. Because our God works with that Creation, He gets His hands dirty. He uses the basics of the Creation: bread, wine, water, oil, the touch of a human hand to give us grace, and to show the transformation of Creation that is the Gospel. Because the Gospel tells us that Creation is a good place, broken, but good, and awaiting its perfection. Because we are all equal in God's eyes. We can't work our way into or out of His love, so in the only way that truly matters, we are all equal. Because in Christ He shows us that the ways of this world, and its understanding of power, are wrong and ineffective in the long run: He transformed Creation by refusing to fight the power. In so far as Evangelicalism has transformed this wonderful vision into a gloomy selfhating religion of fear and retribution in which the only purpose of faith is to buy passage into Heaven from a vengeful God who committed an act of suicide/infanticide to satisfy His own offended pride, it is a religion I could never follow. But the Catholic faith, now that's something I can get my teeth into!

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 6:47pm GMT

"I'm just a little bit puzzled that people should choose to adhere to a religion where something so central to their identity is a taboo."

That is the crux of it all, isn't it.
WHY are there so many gay Christians? Why are there so many gay priests? They can't all be subscribing to the strange idea that it's ok to sin as long as it's done in private and people don't have to acknowledge it officially.

Of course, we who live this life know that we are called to service by the same loving God who calls straight people.
We are being affirmed by him in our lives and our loves.
Some of us are called to be priests, a calling that is being confirmed again and again by selection conferences.

The anti-gay movement is trying to say to God, sorry, you got it wrong. You can't be calling this peson, he/she is gay don't you know.

I would strongly recommend anyone who has never truly examined their thinking on this to make the effort and read some recent theology. Even if you end up disagreeing with it it might give you an insight in how "the other side" feel and think about this issue.

A good start is Tobias Haller's blog In A Godward Direction http://jintoku.blogspot.com/ and Louie Crew's well referenced website http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/dojustice/j491.html
If you're serious about exploring this rather than sticking with unexamined beliefs you could also approach Changing Attitude and the LGCM for reading material.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 7:08pm GMT

Hi Alan

There is some interesting history that there were attempts to remove the taboos early last century, but the great depression, two world wars and the cold war put to rest those attempts along with a lot of other attempts at reform.

It has taken a long time to shake of the shackles of McCarthyism-like culture, but we are still unbinding the shackling of theological teachings into State justifications (no matter how cruel or sociopathic their manifestations).

The really amusing thing is that some of those who have been the most deprived and abused are at the forefront of fighting to keep in place the very systems that have caused their peoples misery for centuries. They just dont' get Isaiah 54 and that tyranny is meant to be far removed.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 7:22pm GMT

Ford,
thank you for that beautiful post.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 11:11pm GMT

Cheryl,
I'm not claiming to be an evangelical and I would never bible mine.
But you do both. Yet, you come to completely different conclusions to the likes of NP on this forum.

Could you possibly explain to me how one can reply to people who keep throwing the same biblical quotes at us?
I admire Ford for not wanting to avoid them, although I don't agree with him at all and am very happy to interpret them differently and simply "put them to bed".
You don't do that, you quote the bible in a much more direct way than I would.

Could you possibly explain to Alan, who is closer to your way of understanding Christianity than mine, how to break free from his automatic condemnation of people like me?

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 11:18pm GMT

At the risk of repeating myself, it isn't a sin until it's been mis-used. That (for me) is the crux of the matter.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Monday, 26 November 2007 at 11:57pm GMT

I was left unsettled by the implicit inconsistency of it all.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Sunday, 25 November 2007 at 12:14am GMT

Yes that's it in a nutshell...

Posted by L Roberts at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 12:12am GMT

Erika

They are good questions. I can not stop the likes of NP throwing bombs at you, they like doing it and no amount of biblical verses will stop them.

What I try to do is inject the anti-venom so that for every poisonous drop they try to inject from the bible, I offer several counter-verses to neutralise their poison.

At one level that makes me as offensive as them, and I apologise to souls like you for that.

At another level, if souls like I do not do that, they simply demolish you by claiming there is no biblical justification for protecting you.

Consider me as a flak jacket - I get torn to pieces, but I stop you getting the fatal blows. It is also biblical in that Moses was sometimes required to use poison to fight poison e.g. adding a snake head to his spear.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 7:56am GMT

Certain activity is "incompatible with scripture" say our Anglican bishops ..... this has been reiterated in TWR.....

Erika, your pronouncement that certain sins are no longer sins has little authority unless you can prove it from scripture and persuade our bishops to change the stance of the Anglican Communion......which happens to be consistent with most Christians including the RCC in the last 2000 years.....so maybe you presume too much in declaring something not to be a sin?

Erika, are you willing to have greed "declassified" so it is not a sin any more? It comes naturally to lots of people you know....and maybe it is different in the modern world to the ancient??

Some, not in the AC thankfully, preach that greed and materialism are not sins....in fact they are part of how God blesses people......they are not convincing because the bible says so much against greed and materialism.....right?
But people are greedy by nature....but greed is still a sin.
But poor people have welfare these days ..... but greed is still a sin.
But it is all relative and in a modern society, maybe a sports car and a swimming pool is not only the preserve of the super-rich....but greed is still a sin.

Appealing to nature or modern society or anything else does not change what the bible says....either something is "incompatible with scripture" (ie a sin) or it is not......

And if certain behaviour is not a sin, pls show that God accepts it as good and holy before you ask the AC to accept clergy who indulge in it......
(Rowan Williams has pointed out that one problem in ditching Lambeth 1.10 is that the bible says nothing positive about certain behaviour in any context so I suspect you cannot actually do this)

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 8:40am GMT

Alan Harrison writes:
I don't think that anyone claims that "Thou shalt not be gay" is in the Bible. There are, however, some pretty harsh references to homosexual “activity“.

Karl-Maria Kertbeny coined the term homosexual in 1869 in a pamphlet arguing against a Prussian anti-sodomy law. There can therefore be no references to homosexuality in the Bible and any translation using the word is a mistranslation. There are 7 possible references to same-sex activity in the Old and New Testaments. There is disagreement about the nature of the activity described.

Alan also writes that the "God made me gay" argument can equally be applied to other paraphilias.

Paraphilia – noun
: a type of mental disorder characterized by a preference for or obsession with unusual sexual practices, as pedophilia, sadomasochism, or exhibitionism.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006

: Any of a group of psychosexual disorders characterized by sexual fantasies, feelings, or activities involving a nonhuman object, a nonconsenting partner such as a child, or pain or humiliation of oneself or one's partner.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

: a pattern of recurring sexually arousing mental imagery or behavior that involves unusual and especially socially unacceptable sexual practices (as sadism, masochism, fetishism, or pedophilia)
Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc

I do not recognise homosexuality, nor myself, in the above definitions.

Alan also writes:
I'm just a little bit puzzled that people should choose to adhere to a religion where something so central to their identity is a taboo.

The puzzle isn’t why LGBT people choose to be Christians. The puzzle for conservatives is why God chooses LGBT people.

The puzzle for some of us who are lesbian or gay is why some lesbian and gay Christians perversely choose to belong to organisations which are hostile to lesbian and gay peoples' inclusion in the Church.

The puzzle for me is why some Christians are so obsessed about me and my sexual identity.

Posted by Colin Coward at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 8:55am GMT

Cheryl
"At another level, if souls like I do not do that, they simply demolish you by claiming there is no biblical justification for protecting you.

Consider me as a flak jacket - I get torn to pieces, but I stop you getting the fatal blows."

Thank you for your answer. I must confess, I don't quite see it like that.
There is plenty of biblical justification not just for protecting me but for accepting me fully. It's just that my way of looking at the bible is so fundamentally different from "theirs" that I have very little to say to them. I just cannot and will not engage at that level, not because it isn't appropriate but because it isn't mine.

You fascinate me because you do engage on that level and yet are able to come to different conclusions.
But you're right, it seems that those who will disagree on narrow biblical grounds cannot hear what a person with a broader biblical knowledge has to say either.

As for protecting us from fatal blows, you are very kind, but please don't worry about me. I, we, are safe in God's love. He has called us, he sustains us. The battle with those who disagree with us is only a side skirmish that cannot do fatal damage. It hurts, yes. It wounds, yes. But it does not deliver fatal blows.

We know we're loved, we know we're accepted. And I suspect some of us live with far fewer terrors than those who so desperately cling on to doing the right things in order to be saved from what they believe to be God's terrible wrath.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 9:28am GMT

Erika

I think you need to understand a bit more about what these kind of souls are.

I live in Sydney, we have the term "bottom of the harbour". It came about because there was a time in history where people were taken out in boats, their feet set in concrete, and after the concrete had set, thrown into the harbour to die.

There are some souls which I particularly despise (no regular subscriber to TA will have to guess which kind I am talking about).

They are the ones who sit with you in the boat whie the concrete is setting. They realise that you are not frightened of death and have accepted you are going to die. But they are enraged that you are going to go to death at peace.

So they dragged loved ones out for you to watch drown so that you know your death was for nothing. Or taunt you until they provoke an emotional reaction and you are no longer centred and then throw you out to drown so you can not find an equilibrium before death overtakes you.

They are particularly hated, not because they want you dead, but because they want you to be tormented at the moment of death and they want your death to have meant nothing.

There are literally billions of these who have/do this is in Christianity's name, which makes Jesus culpible for their behaviour and refute any kind words of peace or gentleness that he promised the Daughter of Zion or any other soul at any other level of reality.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 9:37am GMT

NP: you ask if we want "greed declassified so it is not a sin anymore."
Well, usury has been declassified as a sin, hasn't it? And the remarriage of divorcees? And the use of artificial contraception (in the Anglican Church)? Etc, etc.

Posted by Fr Mark at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 11:48am GMT

Colin Coward writes:
"Karl-Maria Kertbeny coined the term homosexual in 1869 in a pamphlet arguing against a Prussian anti-sodomy law. There can therefore be no references to homosexuality in the Bible and any translation using the word is a mistranslation."

I'm not aware of any translation which uses the +word+ homosexuality. Of course the writers of scripture didn't use terms introduced by modern psychiatrists.

Apologies if my use of the word "paraphilia" was offensive. But I do sometimes become surprised, once again, at the anxiety of some homosexuals to distance themselves from "socially unacceptable" but entirely consensual practices such as fetishism or sadomasochism.

I take a "Wolfenden" position - that the law, and especially the criminal law, has no business interfering in the consensual sexual practices of adults. (In this, I think I can fairly claim to be more "liberal" than some out gay politicians.) My one concern about the position taken here by Mr Coward, Ms Clough and others is that it asks the Church to say that what it has hitherto defined as sin is no longer sin. I completely accept their right to argue their case, which they do with passion and commitment, but we need to recognise that this goes beyond, say, the shifting of position of many Anglicans on divorce and remarriage, or the actions of randy renaissance popes who arranged cardinals' hats or dynastic marriages for their offspring, but didn't attempt to change the Church's doctrine.

Posted by Alan Harrison at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 12:38pm GMT

"...... the bible says nothing positive about certain behaviour in any context."

"Your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women” perhaps, NP?

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 12:43pm GMT

Ford says "But the Catholic faith, now that's something I can get my teeth into!"

Well, an evo like me has lots of issues with the RCC, as you know.... but they surely understand the "Catholic faith" you describe....do they not, Ford?
And I notice that the Bishop of Rome is not leading his church to condone behaviour "incompatible with scripture"......
I am no fan of the RCC (especiallly of some of the non-biblical myths they peddle) but if you want to dismiss evos like me for not having "a Catholic faith" (you used a capital 'C'), pls explain what the Catholics do not understand.

Again..... your clobber verses are there and you are one of the few around here who is honest about them, Ford, .... but I challenge you to show me verses which positively support as good and holy in any context what most Anglicans believe, in agreement with our bishops, is "incompatible with scripture"

Posted by NP at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 12:57pm GMT

Alan: I don't agree that the shift which is now happening towards acceptance of gay people in churches represents a greater doctrinal alteration than that on the remarriage of divorcees. Remarriage after divorce was prohibited for nearly two thousand years on the basis of strong Scriptural condemnation. The change in doctrine on divorce is far greater than the gay one: it could be argued, from a conservative "family values" standpoint to have a much greater impact on a very large number of children growing up, for example. On the contrary, the acceptance of gay people is very small fry in terms of the number of people affecetd by it directly (though you wouldn't think so, from all the stroppiness the conservatives are displaying), and it doesn't make any change at all to the institution of heterosexual marriage, which the conservatives claim to be so anxious to protect.

Posted by Fr Mark at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 1:29pm GMT

"....the Bishop of Rome is not leading his church to condone behaviour "incompatible with scripture"......
I am no fan of the RCC (especiallly of some of the non-biblical myths they peddle)."

Explanation would be appreciated - though on past form I doubt it will be forthcoming - of the subtle distinction between "incompatible with scripture" and "non-biblical myths".

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 1:38pm GMT

"My one concern about the position taken here by Mr Coward, Ms Clough and others is that it asks the Church to say that what it has hitherto defined as sin is no longer sin."

But why is it this particular sin which arouses this concern in you? Why are you not concerned that usury is no longer a sin? Why are you not concerned that long ago, when we needed to suck up to the State, we decided there was a missing bit, so the commandment actually reads "Thou shalt not kill unless the government says it's OK?" We have been compromising the Gospel for 1700 years, conforming it to society to get along with society. I think it was all deplorable, but I am amused that some seem to think that we have never done this before. The idea that pointing this out is an attempt to justify it now is equally silly. I'm not justifying something, merely pointing out how silly it is for people to get all huffy (not in your particular case, I grant) about the Church "conforming to the world" and "compromising the Gospel" and "following social trends" when they themselves happily benefit from all the other ways we have been doping it for 1700 years.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 2:01pm GMT

IIRC David Houlding is the Master General of the Society of the Holy Cross (SSC) a strongly pro-gay organisation. I should count myself confused if the Windsor Process commended by this open letter is very welcome in much of the SSC outside of Texas.

Posted by Confused at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 2:03pm GMT

Alan Harrison wrote: "I'm not aware of any translation which uses the +word+ homosexuality.”

Not being ”aware” is no excuse. The New York Bible Society Revised Standard Version, the original “Dynamic Equivalence” translation, certainly does in both its 1958 and its 1972 Imprimatur editions (changed to accommodate Roman interpretations of “Tu es Petrus” and other such ideologically “interesting” places ;=)

The RSV puts Kertbeny’s 1868 word “homo-sexual” (made symmetric in the 1890 English translation of Dr von Sacher-Masoch’s Psychopathologia Sexualis; “hetero-sexual”) in the place of malakoì AND arsenokoîtai.

Kertbeny’s concept meant someone with an exaggerated sex-drive towards the same sex (thesis). The 1890 English symmetrication meant the opposite/same (antithesis).

Both are instances of the Gnosticist/Neo Platonist/Scholastic ideology of Continence for the Lay and Abstinence for the Ordained (Lateran II 1139).

A few years later (Berlin 1890ies) awareness moved in the direction of a 3rd Sex (the word “sex” still referred to late Modern Gender) to change again (synthesis) in the 1960ies into late Modern Essentialist “Orientation” with Father Zerwick’s 1966 Analysis philologica novi Testamentum graeci, which gives catamita as a synonym for malakós and sodomite for arsenokoîtai. Both in error.

But both concepts Late Modern essentialist symmetric opposites ;=)

You will note that The New Catholic Encyclopaedia, which appeared in the same year, still promotes the earlier Academic interpretation (9th to 10th centuries, both East and West): “men who masturbate” for malakoì in its article on Masturbation (with a reference to 1 Cor 6:10) page 438.

So what the RSV does is giving 1 Modern/late Modern Concept into “sex” for 2 pre Modern words, both 7th Commandment, into Household Loyalties.

“Of course the writers of scripture didn't use terms introduced by modern psychiatrists."

Ha, ha! You tell the translators that!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 2:38pm GMT

David Instone-Brewer has been looking into the papyri to see what they say on one-sided repudium, mutual divorce and the ethics of marriage in early Rabbinic Judaism:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/october/20.26.html

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 2:47pm GMT

"My one concern about the position taken here by Mr Coward, Ms Clough and others is that it asks the Church to say that what it has hitherto defined as sin is no longer sin. I completely accept their right to argue their case, which they do with passion and commitment, but we need to recognise that this goes beyond, say, the shifting of position of many Anglicans on divorce and remarriage, or the actions of randy renaissance popes who arranged cardinals' hats or dynastic marriages for their offspring, but didn't attempt to change the Church's doctrine."

Can we continue to dicuss this AFTER you've read Tobias Haller please?

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 3:34pm GMT

En argä there were the separate Hebrew scriptures (rolls), then the Jewish Septuagint in Greek; Koine (a book, the first Bible).

Then the scriptures forming the New Testament (1st, 2nd centuries) with later additions (Alexandrian and Byzantine redactions – today’s Romans is 5th century).

Then the lot was translated into Latin (North Africa, 2nd century onwards) and other languages (the early translations are important witnesses to the 2nd century text).

For most of the 1st Millennium all this was in separate collections (3-4 Gospels, 7-13 Pauline scriptures, Johannine scriptures, 7 Alexandrian letters, Apocalypse). The earliest pandects are 4th (Greek; Codex Vaticanus) and 8th century (Old Latin; Codex Amiatinus), respectively.

Then there was the Roman Catholic version of the Bible, that is Scholastic and ecclesiological changes to the Old Latin. It was made in Paris from 1162 to 1220 (adding chapters).

Then the Lutheran Bible, with the Deuterocanonical scriptures in their own section between the 2 testaments. This was made by Dr Martin himself in the 1520ies.

Then a Calvinist Bible, which excised the Deuterocanonical scriptures, adding paragraphs. Geneva 1551ff.

Then a second Calvinist Bible, the Piscator Bible, which the German Lutherans called “Straff-mir-Gott”. Johannes Piscator 1602-1604.

Then the Pietistic Berleburger Bibel 1726-1742.

And in our own days from 1947 / 1966 the manifold excesses of “Dynamic Equivalence”, accommodating various American Sectarian teachings.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 3:43pm GMT

Cheryl
"They are particularly hated, not because they want you dead, but because they want you to be tormented at the moment of death and they want your death to have meant nothing."

But that doesn't mean that it DID mean nothing.
They can do or say what they like (and these days certainly in my part of the world, the bottom of the harbour is only figurative!), they will not be able to wound mortally. They will not be able to turn wrong into right simply by saying it is so. And they will not separate me from the love of God.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 4:04pm GMT

Confused: is the SSC a "strongly pro-gay organisation"? In my experience, its members seem to be almost entirely closeted gay clergy who are anti-women priests. Do they have a public line on the gay issue? I rather asumed it was something they wanted kept quiet so they could go on camping it up in private.

Posted by Fr Mark at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 6:37pm GMT

"They can do or say what they like (and these days certainly in my part of the world, the bottom of the harbour is only figurative!), they will not be able to wound mortally. They will not be able to turn wrong into right simply by saying it is so. And they will not separate me from the love of God.

This is it, Erika, the idea that "they" can do something to "us". It underlies all our problems. Evos are so afraid that "They" will subvert the Gospel, they actually seem to think that God will let it die without their intervention! "Liberals" think that rights and freedoms are under threat by those who seek to impose their own power, as if God will allow His children to suffer any kind of lasting oppression. There's a lovely image in Orthodox iconography of the Last Judgement where all that is seen of God is His hand, above all the tribulation and torment, and in His palm is people, believers, us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Fear of dire consequences if the other side wins, and we all fall into it, I'n just on a bit of a mainc upswing today and I've been reading Merton, is actually weakness of faith, when you think about it. It seems to me that conservatives, especially Evangelicals, don't consider themselves in the palm of God's hand, but in the prisoner's box of God's courtroom.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 27 November 2007 at 11:24pm GMT

Ford
"It seems to me that conservatives, especially Evangelicals, don't consider themselves in the palm of God's hand, but in the prisoner's box of God's courtroom"
What an apt image!

You know, I completely agree with your theology here.
But I'm not sure I agree with the conclusion you draw.
Can I not, as a liberal who believes that something the church teaches is deeply unChristian and theologically wrong, know myself safe in the love of God and yet still do all I can to help the church as a whole to see that they have got it wrong?

Following Christ is as much about doing as it is about believing. Not because our actions redeem us but because truly internalised faith means wanting to bring about that which we believe we can glimpse of God's Kingdom.
He has only our hands on earth.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 9:16am GMT

"Can I not, as a liberal who believes that something the church teaches is deeply unChristian and theologically wrong, know myself safe in the love of God and yet still do all I can to help the church as a whole to see that they have got it wrong?"

Absolutely, but how often do our actions come out of fear? We all have trouble thinking of ourselves in the palm of God's hand, we're all afraid of something. The Left is as afraid as the Right on this, just of different things. "They" are afraid of God's judgement, "we" are afraid of some kind of perceived tyranny. At least that's what each side says. I suspect the fears are a lot more personal, and have to do with loss of power and self image, actually. I am not arguing, never have, for some kind of fatalistic Christian passivity. But we really have to ask what we're afraid of and, if we truly believe what we say we believe, whether or not fear is ever something we need to experience. This isn't a barb, Erika, but I find it interesting that most, not only you, take what I say as a call to passivity, as though there is no other way to look at things. We were here before a couple of weeks ago, and I was able to explain myself, but obviously not clearly. The Christian Gospel is radical in ways no-one thinks about, since we even define 'radical' in terms of the world. It is unbelievably radical to say that we as a group are called to serve the poor, the hungry, the downtrodden, and that those who keep them that way can do nothing that can harm us in any real way, so forget about them. Martyrologies are full of people whom God supported through the tortures of those who oppose the Gospel. Sure they died, miserable deaths in many instances, but that's all they can do to us, and Christ gives us the victory, so what odds about that? I know this is incredibly pie in the sky for a 45 year old man, and no doubt if called to it my courage and faith wouldn't be nearly as strong as they are in front of a computer but what's wrong with a little idealism?

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 1:24pm GMT

Ford: you're just too nice to be an Anglican noawadays!

Posted by Fr Mark at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 4:10pm GMT

Ford,
Yes, we're at that point again, aren't we.
Theologically I fully agree with you, and yes, there has to be another way but loudly claiming rights.

I have no fears. When there is a contradiction my faith is in Christ not in his church.

I cannot see deeply into your heart, you cannot see into mine. But by our fruits shall they tell us. Now it's easy enough to see what ill fruits we do not want not grow, but it's harder to see how to grow good ones. And while I accept that motivation and fearless faith and trust in God are the key to this, neither passivity nor activity are wrong in themselves.

There are many Christian martyrs but many of them were also very active in their fight against injustice before they were martyred. This isn't an either or.
The action is the external expression of some people's faith, the passive acceptance of the resulting consequence is the inner expression of that same trust in God.

We can do both.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 4:19pm GMT

Mark - I think usury is a sin. What is your point? The church is wrong on it? No surprise - we even have clergy who condone and even practise behaviour which our bishops say is "incompatible with scripture" i.e. sin and nobody does anything about it until the congregations get so small that the churches have to be closed.... so I know the church can be wrong

Erika - what you cannot do is make up your own god who agrees with you and ignore scriptures to claim you are following the God we hear speaking to us in the bible.

If the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ makes his view on something clear.... we really ought to know better than to ignore him in order to justify going against his stated will....

You say something is not a sin.... but what is your evidence that God does not think it is a sin??? And you have to deal with the "clobber verses" which consistently say certain behaviour is sinful......

Our Anglcan bishops are not the bravest souls in the world and bend to compromise whenever they can but even they say what you want to call good and holy is "incompatible with scriptre" ..... and they are biblical scholars and are in line with 2000 years of Christian tradition with very few theologians even today claiming they are wrong in Lambeth 1.10.

I recommend you meditate on this, Erika
Prov 3:5-7
Eph 5:1-21

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 4:35pm GMT

"Ford: you're just too nice to be an Anglican noawadays!"

Isn't it amazing how much of one'sself one can hide behind a computer screen and keyboard? It's easy to keep reality out of your ideals when posting online!

"There are many Christian martyrs but many of them were also very active in their fight against injustice before they were martyred. This isn't an either or."

My ideas on this aren't fixed. I'm looking for place where this kind of thing can be discussed in a reasonably safe environment, and this is it, it seems. I'm just starting to put these ideas together into some kind of structure, so comments like this are very helpful. I think of a Zen story, not really a koan: A man had fallen in the snow and was calling our for someone to come help him get up. A Zen master came over and lay down beside him in the snow. Disgusted at the stupidity of the monk, the man got up and walked away. It's that kind of approach I'm thinking about.


Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 5:13pm GMT

Ford,
I like your story. And of course your monk wasn't foolish at all but very clever and knew exactly what do to do "heal" the man.
He wasn't doing nothing, he was shrewdly doing the right thing.

Thinking off the top of my head... isn't that a little akin to what we try to do? We see the fight for schism in the church. And while we argue forcefully for one of the positions we are also very clear that we are not willing to be separated from those who disagree with us, indeed, that it is impossible for siblings to declare each other no longer siblings.
They can try to kick us out but like the foolish monk we will continue to remain at their side.

Of course I will not be happy if they get up and leave. But like your monk I would like them to be "healed" of all their bitterness and rigidity and able to share that glorious knowledge that God loves them deeply and unconditionally.

It doesn't stop me from talking to them while I'm lying there.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 5:47pm GMT

"I think usury is a sin"

So why aren't you trying to kick the usurers out?

"what you cannot do is make up your own god who agrees with you "

You're the only one who gets to do that.

"what is your evidence that God does not think it is a sin???"

Some of us stop memorizing the Bible from time to time so that we can appreciate and express our gratitude for the presence of God in our lives. Are you so attached to the Bible because you can't find God anywhere else in your life? There was a "show-off" Christian on Survivor recently who was very distressed that she hadn't brought her Bible with her and couldn't "spend time with the Lord"! Here she was in a beautiful natural environment and she couldn't find God anywhere but in the pages of a book! I suspect you're the same way, you can't find Him in your life, you won't see Him in a sacrament, so reading is the only path open to you. Now, reading the Scriptures is important, but God to be found in a lot of other places, NP. Too bad you can't see Him.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 5:56pm GMT

NP: fine, if you think usury is a sin then you mustn't take out a mortgage, any kind of loan, or expect to earn interest on any money you have invested. In fact, you can't have anything much to do with the modern economic system, n'est-ce pas?

Posted by Fr Mark at Wednesday, 28 November 2007 at 6:11pm GMT

NP
"I think usury is a sin"

How can you, claiming to have studied economics at Cambridge? Surely you then understand the purpose of interest in our economy.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 7:45am GMT

Having said that, I'm in the middle of a fascinating translation on Islamic banking. They really do take the prohibition of usury seriously. Maybe you conduct your business through Islamic banks?

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 10:26am GMT

"Maybe you conduct your business through Islamic banks?"

He certainly seems to have an Islamic understanding of Divine revelation, He might find himself quite at home.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 2:09pm GMT

Erika says "NP: "I think usury is a sin" How can you, claiming to have studied economics at Cambridge?"

Eh? So, you want to argue that studying the economy means you cannot regard usury as a sin??

Mark - it makes it difficult to lend money at interest if you think usury is a sin...... so, I do not lend money at interest. Paying interest (for example on a mortgage) is not a sin, as far as I am aware.... is it??

Anyway, I think you will find the housing, pay and pension CofE vicars benefit from is based on many investments etc... so I can throw red herrings at you too..... .but I would rather say that Bishop Iker and Duncan are faithful Anglicans, acceptable in the vast majority of the AC and people are dreaming if they think the AC can lose these people and the GS for the sake of TECUSA given how few in the AC agree with its 2003 actions and its decline year on year.... we have to be realistic and I am heartened that the ABC has given ++Venables to take wholes TECUSA dioceses under his wing...... the AC is not fooled by all the spinning and fudge...... we cannot condone what is condemned 1 Cor 5-6
http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=1+Cor+5-6

Posted by NP at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 2:18pm GMT

"Bishop Iker and Duncan are faithful Anglicans"

I know the ways your assessment of Bp. Harvey is wrong, so I can only assume you are as poor a judge of Godliness in these two gentlemen.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 7:43pm GMT

"Mark - it makes it difficult to lend money at interest if you think usury is a sin...... so, I do not lend money at interest. Paying interest (for example on a mortgage) is not a sin, as far as I am aware.... is it??"

You have no investments...not even a savings account? In a savings account, you lend the bank your money and the bank pays you interest because it uses that money for other things.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 9:08pm GMT

Pat,
I have noted several times that usury is one of the many sins, like the taking of a human life, that was compromised away so long ago in the interests of getting along with society that most don't even remember it used to be thought a sin. It takes more effort to make conservatives this than to make them admit that gay people are actually worthy of some sort of respect. It shows a couple of things. First, their accusations that the actions of TEC are "compromising the Gospel to the world" are silly. Either they know very well that this has been a part of Church history for centuries, in which case they are being hypocritical, or they don't know this, in which case they are far too ignorant of Church history to defend any kind of tradition, since they obviously don't know what that tradition is. Either way, they have no credibility and end up looking really silly, ineffectively yelling fire and brimstone at poeple who think them either ill-educated about their own history or hypocrites. Pointing this out is taken as an attack on their position and is in no way seen as something they should fix. Indeed, the very suggestion is met with anger and defensiveness. So be it. If they are so determined to look ridiculous and have no interest in finding out how they can fix it, why should I worry?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 12:03pm GMT

Yes, you are quite right, Ford. I think ignorance of Church history is probably key here. Conservative Evangelicals are not generally very interested in Church history, except for the Reformation. Fair enough, one might think; but if one is in the business of priding oneself on one's conservatism, then a thorough knowledge of history is important, if one wants to be able to speak any sense. This exposes the great weakness of the "conservative" view, which is, of course, that they are not actually conservatives at all - they haven't a clue what they should be in the business of conserving. If they were standing up for the Protestant Reformation principle that each individual has the right to interpret the Bible for him/herself, I might find conservative Protestantism more attractive.

Posted by Fr Mark at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 6:25pm GMT

"haven't a clue what they should be in the business of conserving."

An efriend says they have no knowledge of the Tradition and instead fight savagely to defend the social norms of a few decades ago. I made reference to the essential unknowability of God here a few months ago and the outcry from the conservatives was quite amusing. I was denying Christ, apparently. Pointing out that this was mere apophatic theology, in the Tradition of the Fathers, The Cloud of Unknowing, etc. brought silence. Look at how NP seems to think that the Church was always literalist in its approach to theology, for instance, or the insistence that we can actually see Western Protestant modes of worship in the New Testament!

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 7:24pm GMT

"Look at how NP seems to think that the Church was always literalist in its approach to theology, for instance, or the insistence that we can actually see Western Protestant modes of worship in the New Testament! "

What I find so astonishing about this insistence of a 2000 year old tradition (which is shared by a number of other conservatives posting here)when it is so easy to discover the truth. 2 minutes of googling would do the trick.
So what is actually at work here?

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 10:36pm GMT

"So what is actually at work here?"

Myth-making.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 3 December 2007 at 3:48pm GMT

But who by? The ones who post here genuinely believe it to be true. They refuse to look closely, I agree, but they're not deliberately engaged in falsely creating myths.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 3 December 2007 at 4:49pm GMT
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