As someone who took part in the regional version, I'm interested finally to see the GS version. The booklet's use of 'taking out the pews' as an example makes the point that people take up the same position for very different reasons, and presumably the authors are trying to keep this as unthreatening as possible (they even avoid the usual emotive language of 'ripping out the pews'! I like the emotional intelligence advice in the fifth section.
But I still don't have a sense of what GS members will actually be doing. Does everything happen in the group of 20 or do those groups sub-divide? What does 'sharing a personal faith journey' mean? And are members expected to do this with 20 people? (it was difficult enough with two others at the regional version...)
So, after all this Talk-Talk - will any proposals be tabled and voted upon or will there simply be a statement issued after all the secret conversations saying - "Let's all be terribly nice to one another"?
Fr David, I don't think anyone expects a statement at this stage, but it's my understanding that some attempt at a motion is expected in 2017.
I agree with Helen here. There has been a lot of TalkTalk, not in General Synod, and it's GS where any actual decisions will be made.
As a participant in one of the Shared Conversations I think this a hugely positive start. They're not "secret", but they're "confidential".
We've clearly not been successful with our conversations so far. We keep getting stuck at the same place. I see a lot of people supporting the traditional view who caricature the liberal approach and then dismiss it - and vice versa. We tend to talk at each other, not with each other. We very rarely engage with the whole person, getting to them in the context of their faith.
That's what the Shared Conversations enable. They are not a facilitated theological debate, they are a facilitated experience of each other as real people.
We sorely need more of that.
"They are not a facilitated theological debate, they are a facilitated experience of each other as real people."
Apart from the fact that if people "out" themselves to offer personal experience they risk being treated like Jeremy Pemberton et al.
Re shared conversations:
I don't really care why the conservatives believe in their exclusive version of the Kingdom of Heaven; it isn't going to influence my experience of God's Love and my learned reading. I've stopped caring about how some conservatives continue to say that the inclusive view is "culture" rather than a powerful revelation of the life and teachings of Jesus, and how the same people can't see that they are equally guilty of cherry picking Scripture.
What matters is why one group is empowered to oppress the other and when does this onerous oppression end? Those are the only questions that matter.
After Orlando, I've lost my empathy for conservatives who insist on entering their denigrating rhetoric into the public consciousness. Done.
I know why conservatives believe as they do: many are decent people who sincerely believe that the Bible ties their hands; others are homophobic, and using scripture for cover.
The solution is clear: conservatives must be willing to stop demanding their personal beliefs be imposed on everyone else, and to share a church with those who disagree.
If "shared conversations" don't allow for debate and deals on policy, how do they aid in that necessary change? Right now, it looks like they're yet another delaying tactic by the bishops. This doesn't impugn those using them to better understand and empathize with their opponents, but it does call into question their underlying purpose and efficacy.
Regardless, a decision can't be put off much longer.
Re: Talk Nice...
Tone policing is "a thing." It's used to minimize the real anguish of hurting people for the comfort of others. It is crucial for CoE to hear the anguish. There's a weird cultural belief that all can be resolved with abstraction reason and that all views are equally valid. It can't and they aren't.
The anguish needs voice, the truth of the fruits of exclusionary rhetoric need to be heard, and the conservatives need to answer for whether to continue to impose this suffering or to open their hearts and leave judgement to God instead of themselves.
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