Comments: Vicky Beeching comes out as a lesbian

These stories interest me less and less - perhaps she should have entered the Celebrity Big Brother House.

I don't care what evangelicals think, so long as their influence on the body politic is nil. For those who find themselves in conflict, either leave or build your own alternative. The Anglican unwillingness to leave and in a plural society is what gives the conservatives their grip - there are never consequences to their conservatism. And no one needs to be repressed when you can walk out.

Religion around the world is increasingly nasty and underlining its reputation for repression.It is becoming important to say that there must be less of it.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 5:45am BST

Vicky Beeching happens to be a personal friend of the family of Archbishop Justin. I find this to be vastly encouraging in her present situation. Here is an Evangelical Anglican prepared to be totally honest about the reality of her life as, co-incidentally, another a child of God who is gay.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 7:20am BST

My sympathies lie with the comment from Pluralist above. The increasing nastiness of religion in countries like Uganda, Russia and Iraq makes one wonder if religious belief encourages mainly hatred. If the Anglican Church can't even agree over who one is allowed to love, what credibility is left in its broader credal statements? Becoming a tolerant secularist may be a better road to happiness and fulfilment than indulging in irrelevant arguments - or "listening process" -the 'world' has already resolved.

Posted by FrDavidH at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 9:19am BST

Congrats, Vicky, and Welcome Out! "The Truth Shall Make You Free"

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 9:24am BST

Symon Hill's question is very pertinent. There seems to be an impression abroad, perhaps particularly in the media, that these groups have a monolithic character and represent the totality of those who might call themselves 'Evangelical' . While the EA might like to believe this (as might others with such preposterous names as 'Anglican Mainstream' or the 'Christian Institute') they can represent no one but themselves. The same goes for bodies at the other end of the candle. The 'Catholic Group' in Synod by no means represents all Catholic Anglicans, there are many within and outside Synod who, while holding themselves as Catholic will not or do not join such a group which pretends that it represents them all and that their interpretation of the word 'Catholic' is the only possible and the only correct one.

So the answer to Symon's question is 'no one' , or rather no one group can or should claim to represent a totality of view. An acknowledgement of this diversity would be a good place to start.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 9:51am BST

This is a game changer.

Vicky Beeching's an evangelical superstar, and established media commentator. Her coming out interview was courageous and raw, and has already inspired others to be open about their sexuality. It's the ultimate testimony.

I'm glad for her, and for the effect this will have on the church. Evangelical opinion is key to creating a better community for all.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 9:52am BST

I don't care what evangelicals think, so says pluralist.
I am wondering if by any chance there is a condition of evangelicalphobia, and if pluralist suffers from it.
I think that when I was a young anglo catholic I did, but since then I've come to believe evangelicals are children of god, wonderfully made!

Posted by ian at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 9:59am BST

Come on! Pluralist, should we also build our own hotel chains, if unhappy with those who would not host us? open our own bakery company? have segregated marriage venues? And last I looked, evangelical influence on the body politic, here and in the US, is far from nil.

Posted by Lorenzo Fernandez-Vicente at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 11:04am BST

Lorenzo, Pluralist is not alone in his opinion of Evangelicals, on this site or in TEC. Many in TEC actively work against Evangelical political influence in the U.S. and state openly that they aren't actually Christians. At least he's honest. The segregation has already happened. Evangelicals have charities they support, liberals others. And yes, they also have different favorite churches for weddings, etc. An Evangelical wouldn't want to be married by a priest who says there are many ways to God or that the resurrection is a fantasy, etc. Liberals don't want to be married by priests who are "Fundagelicals" or "Bible worshippers".

Posted by Chris H at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 2:10pm BST

"But tragically it is Vicky who is wrong on the morality of gay sexual relationships." - Ed Shaw on the EA website in response to Vicky 'coming out'.

Suspect that like Chalkey the EA will just write her off....

Posted by Fr Paul at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 3:52pm BST

I am fully supportive of Vicky Beeching's decision and wish her well. I just hope that she does not allow her 'coming out' or her sexuality to wholly define her from this point on. She was a theologian and a musician before this point and I hope that she can continue to contribute those gifts to the wider church and not become simply the one who 'came out'. Like all of us she is much more than her sexual identity.

Posted by Paul at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 4:53pm BST

Chris H. says 'An Evangelical wouldn't want to be married by a priest who says there are many ways to God or that the resurrection is a fantasy'

Chris, I am an evangelical, and the priest who officiated at my wedding had very different theological convictions to mine. Why did he officiate? Because he was my rector. He happened to be a personal friend, but that was beside the point. Someone early on made the statement that evangelical opinions are not monolithic. In my experience that's true, and I think people should beware of making categorical statements like 'an evangelical would not want...'

Tim Chesterton

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 5:04pm BST

My impression is that, more and more, people in the pews reflect the public's growing acceptance of sexual and gender diversity.

To this extent, the ground is shifting, whatever the theological stances that may be proclaimed as 'official positions'.

There is no one evangelical position. There are people who go to churches which identify as evangelical churches.

When people like Vicky come out, they contribute to the sea change in opinion taking place, and the subversion of imposed moralities.

Human conscience and kindness are God-given graces. God's grace is at work, in people's hearts and minds.

Most Christians now recognise that the Bible story of Adam and Eve, or Noah's Ark, need to be read and understood in historical context. Using the same principle, the bible's (various) comments on man man sex (stone them? treat their acts as abominations? etc) may also be seen as expressions of religious communities and cultures, to be read in those historical (and fallible) contexts.

None of this makes God less, of course. Rather, God may be seen at work in human conscience, and in this way perhaps the Bible opens up instead of closing down.

As a woman with a transsexual past history, I've found people in the pews in Anglican churches very loving and supportive, far more concerned with me as a human being than as an 'issue' of theology.

It is only a minority who 'dig in' with theological resentment and resistance, but I suspect in this country they are fighting a losing battle against common decency of ordinary people.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 5:29pm BST

"The increasing nastiness of religion in countries like Uganda, Russia and Iraq makes one wonder if religious belief encourages mainly hatred."

I wonder if religion isn't rather a place to which people flee when "things" get to be too much? After all, it's easier to believe than to think; and if you can construct a belief system that is simpler, more comforting and self-justifying - well, that's a lot easier and more cozy than confronting the real work and having to re-think and adjust.

"I am wondering if by any chance there is a condition of evangelicalphobia, and if pluralist suffers from it."

Speaking only for myself, if an identifiable (and noisy and self-identifying) group spits in your eye long enough, it is difficult not to develop a phobia. As a gay person I have been blamed for everything from child-molestation to ruining the American farm (yes, really!) and a significant number of my friends have been thrown out of their families. How NOT to develop evagelicalphobia?

Posted by Nathaniel Brown at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 6:00pm BST

Chris H,
Evangelicals write off whole groups of people, based on what I consider to be superficial characteristics.
If people believe that God is all just, all merciful, all knowledgeable -- if God is Love -- would such a God write off someone because of whom s/he loves? How s/he worships God?
Too many evangelical Christians say "yes". Buddhist? Nope, won't make it in, no matter how you lead your life while alive, no matter how charitable you are, no matter how you acknowledged your faults and tried to make amends. Ditto Hindus, Muslims, and any Christian who isn't the "proper sort" of Christian. Mormons? No way! GLBT? Are you out of your mind?
Funny, I see no preconditions in Matthew 25:34-40. I see no exceptions.

Posted by peterpi - Peter Gross at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 7:30pm BST

Public provision of services is a different matter. They have to be non-discriminatory. Indeed, it is one way that evangelical influence can be nil, whilst they make a noise. I'll state openly that *I* am not a Christian but a Religious Humanist or something like that. My phobias are oppositions to those who would limit the liberties gained of others.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 7:57pm BST

Chris H, I don't think most liberals would want to be married by a priest who doesn't believe in the resurrection either. Liberal doesn't mean non-believer, and liberals are no more keen on hypocrisy than anyone else.

Posted by Jo at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 9:17pm BST

"Many in TEC ... state openly that they aren't actually Christians."

Is that your claim, Chris H? Because I want citations (esp re "many")

@ Pluralist, et al: while I get the cynicism, I really wish you'd post it to another thread. THIS thread should be for celebration of Vicky and her witness: Alleluia!

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 9:18pm BST

Game changer; no. Richard is right people are individuals and all Anglican groups, though Beeching was always in new frontiers though suspect will be long gone now, represent a very small number of worshippers.

Posted by Paul B at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 10:41pm BST

Andrew Symes, Executive Director of Anglican Mainstream, has this take on the matter
http://anglicanmainstream.org/vicky-beeching-is-gay-why-it-matters-and-what-the-church-needs-to-do/

The Ed Shaw article referenced in the above can be found at
http://www.eauk.org/church/stories/christians-and-same-sex-attraction-the-other-side-of-the-story.cfm

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 11:23pm BST

That Andrew Symes article is ridiculous. Apparently it's fine for him to go to the media, presumably because he has "the truth", but when anyone else does it they are "leveraging" or somesuch. He gives the impression that Beeching would have shown more integrity by getting a girlfriend and never telling anyone about it. How bankrupt Mr Symes' theology is.

Posted by AndrewT at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 2:50am BST

Sincerely hope this doesn't mean we all have to learn to love 'Christian rock'.

Posted by John at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 8:41am BST

"Christian rock"? Have you even listened to her?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkILap_mUYs

Posted by Fr Paul at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 11:10am BST

"identify the anti-Christian secular or neo-pagan ideologies at work here"

Yes, Mr Symes, that's _exactly_ what's happening when a young woman who is still a practicing member of a mainstream church talks about a decision which will leave her a practicing member of a mainstream church. It's anti-Christian paganism, of course it is, that's exactly right.

Posted by Interested Observer at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 12:13pm BST

Quoting Andrew Symes's last paragraph in full below. It's either repugnant or incoherent, perhaps both.

However we need more than this – firstly to identify the anti-Christian secular or neo-pagan ideologies at work here, and address the problem of those promoting these ideas now openly attempting to force the Church to abandon its core doctrines. Then we need advocates of a positive theology of sexuality, marriage and spirituality in addition to or perhaps as a nuanced alternative to the current understanding of “love the sinner but hate the sin”, or “if you’re a gay Christian you can’t have sex”. Perhaps we could start with the idea that the clue to a solution may be in human desire for companionship, for community, for intimate union, for heaven; and the pain and stress of unfulfilled desire leading either to learning to find rest in Christ and abiding in the Vine, or to the false satisfier of the abandonment of chastity.

Posted by Jeremy at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 12:56pm BST

Underneath Ed Shaw's sanctimonious 'apology' to Vicky, he still displays the kind of teaching Vicky found so damaging in the first place. I hope no young gay people cross the threshold of his Church to have the yoke of guilt placed upon them, giving rise to self-hatred and confusion, based upon the false premise of biblical literalism. To condemn all gay people to life-long celibacy is utter nonsense.

Posted by FrDavidH at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 4:11pm BST

"Sincerely hope this doesn't mean we all have to learn to love 'Christian rock'."

Now THAT spectre is going to keep me up all night!

Posted by Nathaniel Brown at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 5:27pm BST

Unfortunately, 55 seconds of that Youtube link were much more than enough, thank you.

Posted by John Roch at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 6:54pm BST

One of my observations about the Christian world is that various subcultures exist which are almost completely invisible to each other. When someone who doesn't particularly like Christian Rock or Vicky Beeching's music comments to the effect that her testimony seems to have little traction - well it might be that the message is meant for a different audience. Bear in mind that the people who have appreciated her music will be differently affected by this news.

It is also a mistake on every side to imagine that simply because a group - like "evangelical" or "catholic" or "liberal" does not influence us personally, it has little influence.

And simply to use those terms is to pretend that they are meaningful - in the sense that there are large homogeneous likeminded groups to whom the labels belong, when within each is a rich diversity.

And within each is the search for God to which this story bears witness. If the story is diminished as not worth hearing, that is as much a denial theologically as calling it sinful. There are many other stories to be heard, of course - but trying to shout the story down only gets the shouts out, and does nothing for the stories.

If this story has any value more widely than itself, it will not be because VB speaks for others, but because she speaks alongside others - the Anglican Communion committed itself to a "listening process" in 1998, yet our collective capacity to listen seems not to have been greatly increased since then.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 10:10pm BST

Whatever we may think of the youth-oriented big-band music scene in evangelical circles, it does seem to have some goodly influence with teen-agers. We may not like their music, but we must accept the fact that Vicky Beeching's influence in Bible-Belt U.S., is fundamental to their basic understanding of the faith.

Vicky's 'coming-out' as an intrinsic Gay will no doubt make some of these young people - and perhaps a few older ones - reflect on the effect her faith has on their appreciation of her music.
It cannot be a bad thing!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 10:39pm BST

Vicky Beeching has taken a brave step. She will be accepted by many, I hope. But just what does 'acceptance' mean for gay and lesbian people in the Church. Does it mean 'I love you even though you are gay' or does it mean 'You are fully accepted for ministry and, if you marry, you will still be accepted for ministry'? Just how much 'acceptance' has traditionally been given to lesbian women in the church?

Posted by Pam at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 10:51pm BST

Vicky Beeching is Christian rock? No, no no. This is Christian rock:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9DryC90TvA

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 11:02pm BST

Listening without responding is like watching without acting: empty and pointless.

Posted by AndrewT at Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 11:33pm BST

Andrew T, remind me never to book an opera seat next to you

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 9:07am BST

Just to be clear - I am entirely in favour of Vicky Beeching's coming-out and think it will do much good. Nor do I object to 'Christian rock (or whatever)'. It's merely not for me. Of course, I also think it's largely rubbish but that doesn't matter, does it? Many 'Evangelical' (however defined) Christians wouldn't like and would think rubbish the music(s) I like. Note the 'all' in my original posting.

Posted by John at Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 9:13am BST

Pam, You asked - about acceptance - "Does it mean 'I love you even though you are gay' or does it mean 'You are fully accepted for ministry and, if you marry, you will still be accepted for ministry'?

In my experience it is not mutually exclusive, but fits within that old Christian paradigm of a journey and transformation.

The starting point is not knowing some one is gay because they are closeted. The act of coming out starts the journey, which will then pass through your first stage to reach your second stage.

Simon

Posted by Simon Dawson at Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 9:32am BST

Well Tim, if that's Christian Rock, give me the 'Hard Place' My ears is delicate!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 11:00am BST

Laughing out loud, Ron! Back in the 1970s I was a big fan of Randy Stonehill, and also of his mentor Larry Norman. That was before a lot of Christian rock went commercial, and it was pretty exciting for a young Christian like me to see that you could use 'Christian' and 'rock' in the same sentence. Nowadays, of course, everyone takes it for granted.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 8:54pm BST

I digress from the subject of the thread but, Father Ron Smith, you must be the only person to have hyphenated the word 'teenagers' since about 1960. Do you still write 'Roumania' and 'alarum clock'? :-)

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 10:45pm BST

Simon Dawson - thanks. It's just a little bit annoying that a male heterosexual has an easier time than a female homosexual. In the Church of all places.

Posted by Pam at Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 10:46pm BST

Mark Bennet
thank you for your comment!

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 22 August 2014 at 9:15am BST

Pam - Yes I understand.

I spent a decade, the 80s, in the armed forces. This was a time when when those caught participating homosexual acts faced two years in prison, yet it was still easier to be a gay man in the armed forces than a woman.

With all of Jesus' affirmation of women it is sad that the church is no better than the armed forces, but I now suspect it is worse.

Best wishes

Simon

Posted by Simon Dawson at Friday, 22 August 2014 at 12:58pm BST

"Many in TEC actively work against Evangelical political influence in the U.S. and state openly that they aren't actually Christians." Chris H

I keep coming back to this thread hoping to find a list with citations as JCF asked for.

Posted by Doug18 at Friday, 22 August 2014 at 1:47pm BST

Sorry Doug, my original response seems to have disappeared/never made it here. How about Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori calling evangelicals idolaters at the last General Convention? Also, on 26 January 2013 she went to South Carolina and during her sermon talked about evangelicals point of view as: “It’s not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings, or in those who want to arm school children, or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage." The video and transcript, along with several agreeing comments are on the Episcopal News Service site.Doesn't sound like she thinks they're Christian to me.

As for the "many" take a look at the comments here on the women priest posts after the November defeat. JCF, Cynthia, and several other TEC members all commented that any church without female priests and/LGBT priests wasn't Christian. The word "cult" was used. I had a few quoted in my previous comment, but it apparently wasn't PC enough for editors to show it. The Lead (Episcopal Café) website is a good place to look for anti-evangelical posts copied from many sites. I'm off to work, but if this post makes it past the filters I'll try for more specifics.

Posted by Chris H at Friday, 22 August 2014 at 3:57pm BST

Tim, Perhaps it's a difference between this diocese and the UK. Choosing location and priest are separate decisions. Many TEC parishes are 60-90 miles apart(Montana is the size of Great Britain but with only 40 parishes.)So they often share priests with the Methodists, Lutherans, etc. Events often occur in different churches between denominations, so people often decide they want to be married in this or that church or that Fr. X is who they want to perform the service. TEC priests rarely stay more than 3-5 years so they may be more familiar with one from another denomination or focus more on their theology than the person him/herself, because by the time comes for a wedding or funeral, that particular priest will be gone so they decide on a conservative vs liberal priest. The churches take their fee for the ceremony and that's that.

Posted by Chris H at Friday, 22 August 2014 at 4:17pm BST

Hi Chris, thanks for your reply. I live in western Canada, not the UK, and at one point in my ministry I was in what I believe is the third most northerly Anglican parish in the world, so I think I know something about distances!

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Friday, 22 August 2014 at 9:15pm BST

I'm sorry, ChrisH, I thought you meant that Episcopalians were *describing themselves* as "not being Christian". My bad at the misunderstanding.

Are "Evangelicals" (self-described) Christian? Well, they have the benefit of the doubt, at any rate. There are some I might debate (especially if they encourage the sort of violence that killed their purported Lord). Just my 2c.

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 23 August 2014 at 3:30am BST

Scott Lively has referred to "a tidal wave of gay theology"

http://www.wnd.com/2014/08/churches-warned-tidal-wave-of-gay-theology-looming/

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 24 August 2014 at 10:26pm BST
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