Comments: Opinion - 4 October 2017

Fr Colin Coward is surely correct when he identifies "some clergy and congregations (making) heroic efforts to live and proclaim a faith of great courage and maturity" against "puritanical, dishonest, unbiblical, Victorian Christian teaching and values". Sadly, the latter are the most 'successful' activists in 'planting' such puritanical values which most English people find obnoxious and repellent. They are an appalling advertisement for the Faith and will only increase the Church's alienation by enlarging the number of people who hold such prejudiced views.

Posted by FrDavidH at Wednesday, 4 October 2017 at 12:46pm BST

Thank you Jonathan Draper:

"Being ‘one in Christ’ has never been about simply believing the same things, it’s always been about loving one another in Christ in spite of our differences, whether we are Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, fundamentalist or liberal. Perhaps the Primates could spend some time contemplating that."

This is what I believe too.

Unity is not the same as uniformity.

Unity is opening our hearts to the love of God (in however many diverse ways) and loving one another.

Unity is only truly, eternally, found in Jesus Christ.

The expression of that unity is love.

As Justin has conceded this week, the differences of opinion on human sexuality are irreconcilable.

There simply is no uniformity so it's silly to pretend there can be. And it's not only silly, but wrong, for one group of people to try to impose their consciences on the sincere consciences of another group.

But where there is love, we can still co-exist, we can still pray for one another's flourishing, we can have good will.

That is unity in diversity.

That is the message the Scottish Episcopal Church has 'got'. As Jonathan Draper says, it's not about believing the same things. It's about loving one another even though we have diverse views.

It's about loving one another.

Maybe God is testing us and judging our actions, not over who 'wins' the argument on sex, but on the quality of our love towards one another.

In that sense, the journey turns out to be more important than the destination - a destination that otherwise leads us to schism after schism, driven by obsession with who is the purest.

While the primary imperative of God, as emphasised in the Bible, is indeed in Jonathan's words "about loving one another."

Posted by Susannah Clark at Wednesday, 4 October 2017 at 9:45pm BST

In fact, in many senses, perhaps the journey IS the destination. It's maybe less important to win theological arguments and arrive at a "pure" church, than to open our hearts to love each step along the way, and in our encounters with people we meet. Maybe that IS the destination, IS the point, and indeed IS the coming of God in our lives and our world.

Maybe the whole point is not insistent uniformity (or 'punishments' for dissidents)... but the quality of love, even when love has awkward interfaces and becomes sacrificial.

How strange if we start to talk in terms of punishments and alienation. Aren't we then entirely missing the point?

Arguably, using this metaphor of the journey, when we start to negate the key imperative to love each other, and set our sights instead on some purist and dogmatic destination... we are on the Road to "Nowhere"... when all the time God may be saying, No, the destination is every step of the way, and I'm calling and beseeching you to open your hearts along the Road to "Now, here"... and the opening of your hearts in the here and now to the grace and love you can find in me, and share with one another... including the strangers and outsiders you meet along the way.

I think that's what Jesus did.

He lived in the immediacy of love.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Wednesday, 4 October 2017 at 10:00pm BST

That Jonathan Draper article is shocking. "[Welby] could work towards getting people to understand that the debate is more important than the outcome". Is it _seriously_ the case that the debate about exclusionary and hate-filled attitudes towards LGBTQ people is more important than actual exclusion and actual hate towards LGBTQ people? "Never mind the consequences, feel the blogging?"

It's easy to say that if you're not on the receiving end of the hatred, and don't particular care about anyone who is. Otherwise, it's somewhere between narcissism and solipsism.

Posted by Interested Observer at Wednesday, 4 October 2017 at 10:16pm BST

" When challenged by Campbell on whether his response to same-sex relationships (however faithful, stable and loving they are) was ‘morally a cop-out’, the Archbishop responded: ‘Yes. I am copping out because I am struggling with the issue’."

Well, at least, Archbishop Justin is 'struggling with the issue' - which says much for a one-time aficionado of the Brompton school of theology. I believe that many people who have no idea of the struggle of LGBTQI people to survive the cold hostility of the GAFCON Primates would also find difficult the need of the Church to accept that there are conscientious Christians among us who cry out for understanding and justice from the Church. My prayer for the Primates at Canterbury is that they listen to the voice of conscience.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 4 October 2017 at 11:41pm BST

"Progressives need God"? I am a progressive BECAUSE I seek God.

Posted by Nathaniel Brown at Thursday, 5 October 2017 at 10:47am BST

I'm not accustomed to being on the same side of issues as Jonathan Clatworthy, but that article is excellent, and makes me think I want to read his book. Engaging with secular people about spiritual questions is one of the main things that floats my boat. Thank you, Jonathan!

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Thursday, 5 October 2017 at 4:55pm BST

Secularism or the term I prefer, Weber's "disenchantment" 'Entzauberung,' is inevitable. Traditional religion is just one of many language-games in this postmodern world. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Those who are religious can stand on the right side on the environment and civil liberties. But most do not, so I see no point in invoking a god to save us.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Posted by Gary Paul Gilbert at Friday, 6 October 2017 at 4:58am BST
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