Comments: William Nye's letter: a development

So there we have it. This is what the Archbishops meant by "radical new Christian inclusion". It doesn't include LGBTI people, nor any church which intends to stop discriminating against LGBTI people. Worse, it seems they believe that the difference between "radical inclusion" and "radical Christian inclusion" is that Christian means discrimination against LGBTI people is not just OK but required by God.

Truly disgusting.

Posted by Kate at Monday, 30 April 2018 at 9:09pm BST

No surprise there.

On the other thread, on Saturday, I posted that we could consider Mr. Nye's letter "as an expression of the Archbishop of Canterbury, wearing his Communion-must-be-preserved-no-matter-the-cost-to-English-LGBTQ-people mitre."

Was the Bishop of Coventry (chair of the Orwellian Commission) consulted in case the Archbishop of York was wobbly?

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 30 April 2018 at 10:16pm BST

Will any Church of England / Anglican Communion bureaucrat ever be held accountable for exceeding their authority - or more accurately, for usurping authority?

My favourite series of “Yes, Minister” was the last one (“Yes, Prime Minister”), where Haccker actually begins to turn the tables on that pompous hack Sir Humphrey.

Posted by Malcolm French at Monday, 30 April 2018 at 10:39pm BST

How much better would it have been to send a reply which says that the C of E is still engaged in working out its position? Might seem fence-sitting (our supreme skill) but would also be more honest towards those who hold divergent views. Something about prayer would not have been amiss, rather than a 'civil service' type of response which might suit government reponses but does not fit easily with the body of Christ and its mission to proclaim the love of God to all.

Posted by John Wallace at Monday, 30 April 2018 at 11:23pm BST

For clarification, the Bishop of Coventry is chairing the new Teaching Document on Marriage. And he is the only bishop who voted against Jayne Ozanne’s Private Member Motion on Conversion Therapy.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 8:14am BST

So Justin & John have decided, without consultation, to sign the whole Church up to Humanae Vitae?

Posted by Janet Fife at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 8:52am BST

I continue to believe the CofE needs to think through what it wants. Does it believe the ABC and the CofE have some senior/organizing role wider than itself, and if so, on what basis (history, 'catholic' claims, necessity/admin)?

There is an ongoing strain of complaint and distress when the ABC does this or that, not in the context of the CofE alone, but more broadly. Many Provinces no longer understand what his role is, and this lack of understanding is distributed across conservative and liberal members.

This confusing dance will in theory continue until the CofE clarifies just what the role of ABC is vis-à-vis the Communion. This problem will also not go away by simply giving "the role" to a committee, like the ACC. And there is little evidence the ABC himself thinks along these lines.

Until this happens more and more energy will be spent on evaluating things like Mr. Nye's letter, for whom it is written, etc.

This little episode--beginning harmlessly enough in a letter sent from a TEC committee to the Provinces of Canterbury/York--just underscores the issue. The more explosive episode, yet to come, will entail attendance at Lambeth Conference.

Posted by crs at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 8:53am BST

"Something about prayer would not have been amiss, rather than a 'civil service' type of response which might suit government reponses but does not fit easily with the body of Christ and its mission to proclaim the love of God to all. "

Is the institutional part of the Church of England part of the body of Christ? Just because it claims to be, probably thinks it is, doesn't mean that it is. To me, the primary purpose of the institutions of the Church of England appears to be an attempt to preserve / recapture a way of life, and the positions of leadership within it, which the rest of society and most members and parishes abandoned decades ago because the way of life was socially unjust.

Posted by Kate at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 9:32am BST

Having been raised in the Coventry Diocese - and now a retired priest in ACANZP - I would like to register my profound dissatisfaction with the involvement of the current Bishop of Coventry in the C. of E.'s continuing disrespect for legally married S.S Couples.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 10:41am BST

Malcolm French - Nye wasn't exceeding, still less usurping authority. He was, as I speculated on another much earlier thread, just doing his master's will, as, being an employee, he was duty bound to do.

The Telegraph report makes clear that both Archbishops were consulted, both before deciding to make a response and whilst formulating the response.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 10:46am BST

"to sign the whole Church up to Humanae Vitae" -- why would he need to do that when there is a perfectly good exemplar in the present liturgical and theological resources of the CofE?

Posted by crs at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 11:28am BST

"I continue to believe the CofE needs to think through what it wants."

Christopher I think we all agree with that sentiment. How do you propose it does so? By vote in General Synod? By asking the electoral roll members of the whole C of E? By having some kind of vote?

Thinking through what the C of E wants has presented problems for the entire history of this peculiar organisation. Hence why there was an Elizabethan Settlement. The same kind of thing will have to happen on this question as happened with the ordination of women as bishops. That was the way the C of E decided what it wants. But note that there will always be fall out. The present fall out with this question, as others noted commented above, always seems to be those who identify as LGBT voices and I don't for one moment believe that is what the C of E thinks is right. The question is how we discover that. And how long such a decision, or lack of decision, can hold. Because even if the C of E decides now that it can't support same sex marriage, that decision will not last beyond another generation.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 12:39pm BST

So York and Canterbury have decided it's more important that it remains 1968 inside the church, in order to keep Gafcon happy, than it is to notice that it's 2018 outside the church, in order to look decent to the general population of the UK.

It's a strategy, of sorts. Essentially, it's abandoning the mainstream of the UK population in favour of a small claque of noisy, generally elderly, die-hards. In twenty years' time, I wonder who'll be left?

Posted by Interested Observer at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 1:22pm BST

Malcolm Dix,
so when William Nye did not state in his letter that it was written in consultation with the Archbishops, but instead wrote it on the Archbishops' Council letterhead, stating that he wrote it after consultation with the Council, when in fact, the Council was never even told about this - was he still obeying his masters' will?

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 1:55pm BST

Re: Malcolm French, "The Telegraph report makes clear that both Archbishops were consulted..."

You are probably correct about The Telegraph. However one might take note of the tail end of the article, "A spokesperson for the Church of England said..." No indication of who the "spokesperson" is or in what way authorized.

In any event, not a surprise. Popular or not, Archbishop Welby clearly is cognizant of his role as of the occupant of the office of ABC from which the other 'instruments of Communion' historically and logically flow. He is also cognizant that The Communion remains grounded in his office for the moment. ( The Jerusalem Declaration lays down a competing religious based narrative should one be required to rationalize a future break).

The Anglican realignment movement has its own strategy i.e. a 'work around' the ABC and favoring some instruments of Communion over others i.e. The Primatial Curia is in and the ACC is out. The ABC has 'no jurisdiction' but Lambeth apparently is binding when convenient.

Will Welby go on the record regarding the Nye Correspondence? He may have to if he wants to dampen down the mischief making opportunity Nye has provided for realignment.

Indeed, in your part of the Canadian Church, some bishops have retired and gone directly to ANiC. Expect more theatrics and counter narratives as all sides try to leverage Lambeth 2020. Just watch the lead up to our GS in 2019.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 2:48pm BST

In Jeremy Pemberton's case against the Acting Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the phrase in the Bishop's letter "after consultation with the Archbishop of York..." was held in Court to mean 'the Archbishop of York had absolutely nothing to do with it. Honest.' Perhaps it carries the same meaning here?

Posted by Laurence Cunnington at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 2:55pm BST

I think we can infer that some questions were asked within the Council, regarding on whose authority Mr. Nye was pontificating. And that these questions have caused Mr. Nye's (apparent) misstatement in the letter itself to be corrected.

Perhaps Canterbury and York initially preferred to try to keep their hands clean. If so, that obviously didn't work.

It is now clear that Mr. Nye was speaking for two archbishops and a bishop only.

What does the rest of the Archbishops' Council think? What does General Synod think?

Perhaps Synod should dissociate itself from Mr. Nye's letter.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 3:11pm BST

At the very least the original letter should have made clear that the staff were acting as agents of the Archbishops and the Head of the Faith and Order Commission (+Coventry). Why the nature of William Nye's agency wasn't disclosed we will never know. What interests me is how the statements made in the letter can possibly be equated to the promise of a radical (yes radical not just incremental or insubstantial) new (therefore not just a rehashing of the old, in slightly less stringent or hectoring tone of voice).

Posted by Andrew Lightbown at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 3:30pm BST

AG: work it out. It cannot just fester forever.

Let the CofE tell the ABC you want him to stay out of Anglican Communion affairs and only manage his own province. Take away this business of 'I determine membership with my own hand.' No wonder he feels he has some responsibility to levy these decisions. If it isn't surrendered it will soon not be worth much.

Affecting a comparison with the Elizabethan Settlement is dramatic but not convincing. This is a far simpler set of issues.

I wonder if you speak for everyone, moreover, when you say "I think we all agree with that sentiment." Really?

Posted by crs at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 3:34pm BST

ooops! Malcolm Dixon replying to Malcolm French. A Malcolm too far ( : My bad. Otherwise, my comment stands.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 3:48pm BST

" "to sign the whole Church up to Humanae Vitae" -- why would he need to do that when there is a perfectly good exemplar in the present liturgical and theological resources of the CofE?"

As I recall, Nye argues that procreation is an essential part of marriage and that is one reason SSMs aren't valid. But the C of E, unlike the Roman Catholic Church, does not hold or teach that procreation is essential to marriage. This was debated at General Synod in 1999-2000 when the Common Worship Marriage Service was being discussed and approved. Bp. Nazir-Ali had argued that a marriage where procreation was not possible or intended was 'defective in intent', and Synod wasn't having any of it.

Posted by Janet Fife at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 4:35pm BST

Christopher:

"Let the CofE tell the ABC you want him to stay out of Anglican Communion affairs and only manage his own province"

A grand statement if ever there was one. Please tell us what exactly you mean by it? Who/What do you mean when you say C of E in this context? How are they going to tell the ABC? Please enlighten us.

"Affecting a comparison with the Elizabethan Settlement is dramatic but not convincing. This is a far simpler set of issues" Really? If it's so simple why has it been dragging on unsolved for at least 30 years?

Re my statement "I think we all agree with that sentiment". Yes. Really. Who do you think doesn't agree with it?

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 4:52pm BST

"Affecting a comparison with the Elizabethan Settlement is dramatic but not convincing. This is a far simpler set of issues"

Christopher: you might actually want to re-read my comment. I was affecting a comparison with the matter of women bishops. The citing of the Elizabethan Settlement simply illustrates that the C of E has, historically, always found it hard to work out what it thinks.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 4:57pm BST

As someone else said on an earlier thread (in relation to Matthew 23.34), when the Pharisees were stumped, they sent in a lawyer to do their dirty work. There's nothing new under the sun.
Yes, Jeremy and others, this is a matter for the General Synod, and Nye (plus those pulling his strings) should be required to apologise for exceeding their authority and presuming to speak for people like me. What a disgrace.

Posted by Bill Broadhead at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 5:00pm BST

Re: CRS, "Let the CofE tell the ABC you want him to stay out of Anglican Communion affairs and only manage his own province. Take away this business of 'I determine membership with my own hand.' "

Sounds like the beat of the realignment fife and drum.

Since 1867 Communion membership has always been, and remains, a mutual not a unilateral affair. Communion with the see of Canterbury is something people in my part of the world value.

They support Communion partnerships, the instruments of Communion (all of them), The Mother's Union, The Anglican Women's Network, Communion wide indigenous relationships, the work of mutual mission via the Primate's Fund and so on and so on. Canada is hosting the Primates' gathering for our region and Welby will be there.

Disagreements can be tough and no more so when the relationship is so valued in the first place.

The Nye correspondence, while another lightning rod for hurt and resentment, does it really say anything new? Is there anything any of us on this thread have said that has not been said many times over already?

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 5:05pm BST

Dear Ms Fife

Mr Nye's text opposed 'gift of children' as a substitute for the procreation language of the present TEC BCP, as one of the traditional goods of the estate of marriage... an Anglican position found also in the churches of the Reformation.

Introducing an alleged Nazi-Ali position on 'defective in intent' as the position of Nye and the Archbishops' Council is simply inaccurate. The TEC BCP text has been cited in previous posts, and the changes to that are what Nye addressed in response to requests to do so.

Humanae Vita is not the TEC BCP.

Posted by crs at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 5:24pm BST

"The Nye correspondence, while another lightning rod for hurt and resentment, does it really say anything new? Is there anything any of us on this thread have said that has not been said many times over already?"

Yes.

1) The bishops were not consulted. The fact that the House of Bishops only meets formally is an excuse: it would have been easy to send a group email inviting comment.

2) Two bishops signed Jayne's letter disassociating the signatories from Nye's letter.


Posted by Kate at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 6:10pm BST

"Yes. Really. Who do you think doesn't agree with it?"

AG: take that up with RG.

RG: It doesn't take a realignment drum to point out the thin ice the ABC now manifestly occupies. Take it up with AG!

I have no interest in realigning anything but rather in noting the real mess this present polity exposes. I know you have your conspiracy concerns, as well as a certain affection for the Canterbury role when it might suit you. Fine.

I note a wave of umbrage and simply wonder why labour under it. Why not address it.

Posted by crs at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 6:14pm BST

Christopher: you don't seem to be able to answer very straight forward questions. Let me ask again:
What do you mean by the C of E in the context of your comment? Who is going to take the decision to tell the ABC what you want to tell him? Who is going to be the spokesperson?
Why, if it's simple, hasn't this issue been resolved?

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 10:03pm BST

"The Nye correspondence, while another lightning rod for hurt and resentment, does it really say anything new? Is there anything any of us on this thread have said that has not been said many times over already?"

I think after the not taking note vote and the Archbishops' response that gay people are people and not problems to be resolved, and after Justin Welby's statement about radical inclusion - yes, this is new.
This is a throw-back to a way of doing things we had hoped we had left behind us by now.

At the very least it would have been appropriate to say that the CoE is currently undergoing its own process of developing a new teaching document on marriage - the implication being that we don't actually know what the outcome of that process is.

It's the tone as much as the substance that is completely at odds with what is supposedly happening in the CoE right now.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 1 May 2018 at 10:43pm BST

"(The Jerusalem Declaration lays down a competing religious based narrative should one be required to rationalize a future break).

"The Anglican realignment movement has its own strategy i.e. a 'work around' the ABC and favoring some instruments of Communion over others i.e. The Primatial Curia is in and the ACC is out. The ABC has 'no jurisdiction' but Lambeth apparently is binding when convenient."
- Rod Gillis -

Rod's assessment here is nearer to the truth - about the Anglican Rift - that some people seem to realise. GAFCON has already declared its intentional split from the rest of the Anglican Communion; by (1) issuing its own 'Jerusalem Statement of Faith' (antithetical to us other Provinces of the ACC) and (2) by raising up its very own 'Primates Council'.

The fact that GAFCON Primates boycotted both the Lambeth and ACC Primates Meetings should have told the ABC that they no longer consider him to be the effective 'Primus Inter Pares - EXCEPT when it suits them to acknowledge him for their own underhand purposes.

GAFCON's intervention in other Provinces of the Communion, by ordaining bishops to further their own separatist agenda seems to have been blithely overlooked by the English Primates. When are they going to wake up to this reality and accept that the boat has already sailed?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 12:44am BST

Re: Kate, I was thinking more globally. Notwithstanding the trickling out of details the Nye Correspondence has not generated any substantially new conversation, as far as I can see. Just more salt in the wound, no?

Re: CRS, "... the real mess this present polity exposes..." It's a relational polity Chris, it's based on relationships.

"..affection for the Canterbury role when it might suit you." I have a particular practiced approach when it comes to contending with authority figures & structures; but, maverick or not, I strive to conduct myself from the loyal opposition side of the aisle.


"you have your conspiracy concerns..."

( : I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe your views of The Communion and mine are separated by such a vast 'no man's land' that I see little prospect of anything productive coming from debating them yet again and again.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 5:25am BST

Funny how right-wingers think globally on such a small and exclusive scale!

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 7:51am BST

"Re: Kate, I was thinking more globally. Notwithstanding the trickling out of details the Nye Correspondence has not generated any substantially new conversation, as far as I can see. Just more salt in the wound, no?"

Globally, no. Domestically, I think it has. As I say, two bishops signed Jayne's letter. Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, had a recent piece in the Daily Mail which was sharply.critical of the white, Southern, public-school "priestly caste". The bishops were shut out of the Nye response and are starting to voice independent criticisms. I think that is a massive development. Change can only occur when the College of Bishops is prepared to vote for it. While they were automatically aligned to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is clearly against any meaningful change, progress was impossible. But if the bishops start acting independently of Canterbury and York then we stand a chance for change.

Posted by Kate at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 8:32am BST

"I note a wave of umbrage and simply wonder why labour under it. Why not address it"

Umbrage? Is this a new theological discipline that has been developed and has passed us by? I rather thought we were dealing with gospel issues - I don't know - like justice, equity, mercy, freedom, grace and love? Concepts that might address the issue? If conservatives simply think it's umbrage, then I am not quite sure what their point is.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 9:05am BST

CRS, do call me Janet.

I apologise for not making myself clear. I did not mean to imply that Nye was arguing specifically that a marriage where children are not intended or possible is 'defective in intent' - though he does come rather near to that. I was pointing out that when Nazir-Ali had argued this theological position in Synod, it was vigorously rejected. A number of people cited cases of marriages where children were not desirable. I remember one particularly moving speech where a member told of being a carrier for a severe genetic abnormality; she and her husband had decided it would be irresponsible to have children.

Nye, in his letter, denigrates the inclusion of the phrase 'the gift of children if it is God's will', and those who would leave it out where no children were planned. I suppose Nye has never solemnised the marriage of an older heterosexual couple, or one where the bride has a life-threatening illness. I have, as have many parish priests, and I was taught as a curate to ask couples whether they wanted references to children included in the service.

That may cause some to recoil in horror at a supposed corruption of doctrine, but it is pastorally sensitive.

Posted by Janet Fife at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 9:31am BST

AG, as they say, take a chill pill!

Look, the simple point is that amidst all this grousing and umbrage re: the ABC, the truth of the matter is the CofE needs to attend to its own knitting. If it does not want the ABC to be involved in some special way vis-à-vis the provinces of the Communion, let it make its will known. Let it interrogate the reasons why such a single Province of the AC believes it has a role vis-à-vis the others.

You appear to prefer being 'stuck' and looking for others to find solutions. The Province of Canterbury is your own affair. Others will in turn make up their own minds from the perspective of their provinces. TEC leads the way here! Effectively it is putting paid to the idea of Canterbury having any serious role, and its ironic counterpart is Gafcon.

Posted by crs at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 10:31am BST

Fr. Ron, I think your explication of GAFCON is right on. Let's add to that, from within a larger horizon, the attempt to establish the ill fated Anglican Covenant and the very concerning Section 4 which would have impacted the relational nature of The Communion by undermining the role of the ABC and strengthening some sort of 'supreme soviet' style standing committee.

Re: Erika, I take your point. The Nye letter may well represent an escalation/regression and set back for Communion diplomacy that is now more acute.

But again, my point about 'nothing new" in the conversation was really aimed at the then ensuing debate i.e. the nature of marriage or not, children or not, sex inside heterosexual marriage or not, the role of the bible or not,the role of the ABC or not and so forth. For example, I have nothing new to offer the debate that I have not already said many times over here at TA.


In this sense the letter yields controversy as a reprise. Nye has played 'bad cop'. We will have to wait to see if Welby plays 'good cop'. (:

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 1:50pm BST

"That may cause some to recoil in horror at a supposed corruption of doctrine, but it is pastorally sensitive."

This kind of exaggerated rhetoric -- "recoiling in horror" -- to my mind gives the store away.

No one I know is recoiling in any horror.

And the older couples I know aren't confused by the difference between appropriate language for their own marriage and the elimination of such language tout court. This isn't 'pastoral sensitivity' but just common sense. Older couples usually get that.


Posted by crs at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 4:41pm BST

"...the truth of the matter is the CofE needs to attend to its own knitting. If it does not want the ABC to be involved in some special way vis-à-vis the provinces of the Communion, let it make its will known..."

Ah yes Christopher. So let me ask you once again. How? By what mechanism does the C of E decide such a thing and then let the ABC know this? Please enlighten us! I'm not actually stuck at all but you do seem to be on this one.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 4:48pm BST

"By what mechanism does the C of E decide such a thing and then let the ABC know this?"

Why can't Synod pass a resolution encouraging the ABC always to give regard, first and foremost, to the interests of the Church of England and its members, and to put second his own interests as an "Instrument" of the Anglican Communion, much less the interests of the Communion broadly speaking?

Seems to me that such an resolution would make very clear where the ABC's loyalties must lie. (It boggles the mind that this needs to be made explicit, but here we are.)

Then the ABC can decide whether that's a tenable position. Or not.

And the Archbishop Council's staff will stop acting like they work for the Anglican Communion Office.

Posted by Jeremy at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 5:07pm BST

"By what mechanism does the C of E decide such a thing and then let the ABC know this?"

If I may, this is a pitiful, and a bit sad, response.

You are asking me, not a member of the Church of England, how I am supposed to guide you in a problem that bothers *you*, a member of the CofE, about a ABC role "I think we all agree with being problematic," to quote you.

"Just do it," to quote Nike. Or quit complaining.

Is there a problem with sorting out issues in the CofE that members judge to be such, or is this some kind of deference to authority that also entails the love of it?

When this becomes clearer in your own mind, fine. Until then put the questions you excitedly pose to me to yourself.

And have a pleasant evening.

Posted by crs at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 5:51pm BST

To answer Erika's question from yesterday, Nye did not say that his letter was the result of consultation with the Archbishop's Council, but rather with the Council's staff. That is what he had agreed with the Archbishops, so he did as agreed, and gave the source.

For the avoidance of doubt, I am wholly opposed to the poisonous theology expressed in the letter, but that comes from the Archbishops, not from Nye, who is just the messenger. And I agree with others that this is a blatant betrayal of the promise of a radical new inclusivity made in GS after the refusal to take note.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 6:27pm BST

"Why can't Synod pass a resolution encouraging the ABC always to give regard, first and foremost, to the interests of the Church of England and its members, and to put second his own interests as an "Instrument" of the Anglican Communion, much less the interests of the Communion broadly speaking?"

Thank you Jeremy for responding to AG in a very sensible way.

For the life of me I do not understand why he persists as he does. Your note is required reading. You answer his importuning.

Posted by crs at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 6:32pm BST

"Why can't Synod pass a resolution etc....."
Jeremy that's a nice idea but how would such a resolution ever get to the floor of synod. Private Members Motion? Diocesan Synod motion? Would the business committee give it time? I doubt it as it isn't a motion that directly affects the Church of England.

The ABC's position vis a vis the Communion is an historic one. It would need other member churches to decide they wanted a different spiritual head than the ABC. Christopher's idea is simply not realistic, and he knows it otherwise he would have an idea how it might be done. He clearly doesn't.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 6:54pm BST

Just for the record, the present BCP in use in the Episcopal Church (1979) includes the following text:

In the opening exhortation, as one of the divine "intentions" for the institution of marriage (p 423): "and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord."

In the Prayers for the Couple, a text which can (like the prayer for progeny in the 1549 and following English rites) be omitted (p. 429): "Bestow on them, if it is your will, the gift and heritage of children, and the grace to bring them up to know you, to love you, and to serve you. Amen."

I do not see these as opposed to each other, but as different ways of saying a similar thing; though the latter is open to adoption, a concept deeply resonant with salvation history.

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 7:22pm BST

For the record Christopher: the ABC being spiritual head of the Anglican Communion doesn't bother me at all, and I don't think that is what bothers most members of the CofE - but it does seem to bother you rather a lot as you keep coming back to it. What I was suggesting we all agree needs resolution is the presenting issue that William NYE was asked to address - which was not the question of the ABC's relationship to the Anglican Communion. You invented that one.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Wednesday, 2 May 2018 at 10:31pm BST

Either way would work--private member's motion or diocesan Synod motion. Other such motions have made it to the floor at recent Synods.

As to whether it touches the CofE, of course it would. This would be the CofE telling one of its officers where his duty of loyalty chiefly lies.

It would then be for the ABC to determine what repercussions, if any, this degree of clarity would have for his Communion role.

So I fail to understand your objections.

Posted by Jeremy at Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 12:02am BST

"By what mechanism does the C of E decide such a thing and then let the ABC know this?" - If I may, this is a pitiful, and a bit sad, response.
You are asking me, not a member of the Church of England, how I am supposed to guide you in a problem that bothers *you*, a member of the CofE, about a ABC role "I think we all agree with being problematic," to quote you." - crs -

Granted, Christopher, that you are not a member of the CofE. BUT, what part of the Anglican Communion DO you represent at this present time - you have had so many different jobs lately - including a rather nice one in Europe.

I don't know, for instance, whether you are part of the Anglican Church in Canada, TEC, or ACNA. Can you tell us precisely where you exercise your peripatetic ministry so that we can assess the value of your contribution to this conversation?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 12:35am BST

As a priest (retired but active) in the ACANZP (The Anglican Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Polynesia), I am grateful for our filial relations with Lambeth, the ABC and the Church of England.

However, for a long time now our Church has acted independently of 'Mother Church' in some of our innovative canonical structures. We were early promoters of 3-house synodical government, as well as early ordainers of women clergy and bishops - well before the Church of England aspired to these 'modern' innovations.

Likewise, it is also likely that we might yet make an allowance for the Blessing of Same-Sex Marriages at our upcoming General Synod this month; proving that we already have taken steps that - in our canonical independence within the Anglican Communion - allow us a certain autonomy without breaking fellowship with other Communion Members.

However, WE HAVE NOT - as GAFCON Provinces have done - set up our own credal-type declaration of Faith, like their 'Jerusalem Declaration', which has already separated them from Canterbury and Lambeth and the rest of us who remain in koinonia at the Eucharistic Table of Anglican Communion Christians.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 12:49am BST

I've seen this "Canterbury can no longer speak for the Communion" rhetoric more and more from the US-based ACNA crowd. After a glimmer of hope that GAFCON could be used to wedge open the door to the Anglican Communion for ACNA, the reality (given Welby's "ginger group" comment) is that GAFCON is going to have to do the hard thing and morph into a bona fide denomination. TEC will move ahead with full inclusion, and CofE will follow in a generation (after Nye and his ilk retire). GAFCON will be fine, having traded an increasingly frustrating relationship with Canterbury for a partnership with those of ideological purity. As has been noted in other places, TEC reaction to this dust-up is barely a shrug.

Posted by Dan Ennis at Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 2:47am BST

"It would need other member churches to decide they wanted a different spiritual head than the ABC."

Now you are beginning to think outside of stuck mode. That's progress of a kind.

1. they (member churches) can do that and in some cases already have;
2. this does not of itself change the role, which is one of self-assertion, and therefore,
3. Jeremy's point remains on point, as does my own.

Consider for a moment. No church body--RC, Orthodox, reformed denominations--allow to rise the idea that one single individual determines globally, outside his own jurisdiction, membership in an entity called Anglicanism.

He does this by virtue of happening to be the Archbishop of a single Province of the Church of England. For no other reason than this.

And then AG and others complain about the role. It accrues by virtue of CofE's own historical claims. At least Jeremy realizes the problem arises from within claims made by the CofE and spin forth from that reality into wider claims.

That is progress.



Posted by crs at Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 7:19am BST

AG: Glad to learn that the ABC's role as Spiritual Head of the Anglican Communion suits you. It apparently suits him as well.

After consultation, the ABC ok'd Mr Nye's sending out a statement that represented his position on the CofE's teaching on marriage. Mr Nye also made it clear what the consequences would be if TEC did this or that.

That derives from this Spiritual Head idea.

Posted by crs at Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 11:46am BST

"I've seen this "Canterbury can no longer speak for the Communion" rhetoric more and more from the US-based ACNA crowd."

Exactly Dan. And that's where it is coming from in this thread.

Christopher: I realise you are a self appointed President of an (albeit miniscule) organisation called the Anglican Communion Institute and would therefore assume you understand that the 'Spiritual Head' is not some idea very recently invented or easily untangled. And of course the ACNA are not part of the Anglican Communion and I can't think of any Provinces who are part of ACNA AND are part of the Anglican Communion. Feel free to use your organisation to campaign for the ABC's removal from this role, but meanwhile the settling of the much more important issues of love, justice and equality will call rather more loudly.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 3:29pm BST

I can recall a conversation I had some years ago with the late Bishop Stephen Sykes, a man who thought theologically and knew Anglicanism in the CofE and globally. This was prior to the tenure of Rowan Williams and the topic had to do with emerging polity re: The Anglican Communion and the place of the ABC. (I had at the time been asked to write a piece on this for Pro Ecclesia). He could muster some arguments about the See of Canterbury though the challenge of an established church in a role vis-à-vis the Communion was not lost on him.

Many here seem to want to speak of the parishioners of the CofE as coterminous with the citizens of the realm and more than that, as those who manifestly set the theological and ethical direction of the CofE, or should do.

This is surely a neuralgic point if one is thinking about Anglicanism theologically and globally. And so it is showing itself to be. One observes the pressures being placed upon the ABC within the context of the CofE—rightly or wrongly—and then it appears all the more curious how the CofE role and the alleged AC role can be thought to function in concert.

We are not in the heady days of the decision to claim monarchial oversight of the church in England as the catholic, reformed, protestant church. So what the See of Canterbury will become for our day, given the blessings on provinces Anglican across the world, God only knows!

PS--Fr Ron, I hold a PTO in the CofE, am retired from TEC, supervise PhD students from across the world via Toronto, and worship in the Catholic Church in rural France, alongside my wife who just survived a live-saving lung transplant. For ten years, when I held a Chair in St Andrews, I was licensed there.

Posted by crs at Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 4:47pm BST

"Mr Nye also made it clear what the consequences would be if TEC did this or that."

He has no authority to do that, nor, I suggest does the Archbishop of Canterbury in terms of his role within the Church of England. It is bluster and TEC should ignore it.

As discussed on this thread, there is no obvious way to control what ABC does as the Instrument of Communion but equally, whatever he says, in terms of CofE itself it is all talk because he stands zero chance of getting anything regressive past Synod.

It's like WWI trench warfare. Progressives and conservatives are locked in a stalemate.

Posted by Kate at Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 5:19pm BST

CRS, no one seems to think that the ABC was ever a Pope-like figure in the Anglican Communion. The AC has been a family of churches with no central governance at the international level. Recent times seems to have instilled delusions of grandeur in the current and previous ABC. GAFCON exists solely on the basis of having lifted LGBTQI and female exclusion to the level of a central tenet of their christianity. Meanwhile, CoE is the established church in a country with equality laws and laws against hate speech. These values are in conflict. If only +Rowan had said to GAFCON "I'm sorry you're upset about the Americans (the Canadians, the Scots, the New Zealanders...), but we have no jurisdiction..." The resulting charade has not been productive at spreading any Good News to anyone. Sadly.

Meanwhile, from the Rocky Mountains of the US, it is clear that Mr. Nye's letter, whether or not the ABC and ABY were involved, is completely out-of-step with General Synod, the shared conversations, and the ABC's call for "radical inclusivity." What we can see, here at high altitude (my home sits at 5400 feet of elevation), is that with this letter, some people in CoE leadership are gaslighting us (in TEC) yet again. Yawn.

I'm happy to hear the very good news about your wife's recovery, crs. Praise God!

Posted by Cynthia at Thursday, 3 May 2018 at 10:46pm BST

I contacted Lambeth Palace. This paragraph is the substantial part of the reply from their communications department:

"On the question of procreation as a purpose of marriage, Mr Nye’s letter simply stated the fact that procreation has been at the centre of Christian understandings of marriage across many centuries and different cultures, and that to change something was certain to be contentious and might best be approached by seeking consensus rather than unilaterally. You are right that marriage of those past the age of child bearing has always been permissible, but it has been treated, hitherto, as an exception to a general rule and changing the form of liturgy for everybody, as proposed by TEC, would change the understanding of marriage for everyone. Mr Nye noted that this would increase the contentiousness of TEC’s proposals. He was asked by TEC to make a judgement on the impact of change, and he did so in the light of the known views of church members here and worldwide."

Posted by Kate at Friday, 4 May 2018 at 4:11am BST

"Spiritual *figure*head" would be more appropriate. His authority as teacher, prophet or temporal master is not above, nor better, than that of provincial polity. If he wishes greater authority, he must learn how to persuade, not threaten, and transparent efforts at appealing to "unity" as a means to preserve his own exaltation as the great Pope of Canterbury is hardly persuasive. If refusing a Roman model of "authority" means the Anglican Communion will collapse, let it. There's already a Rome, and they've done it longer and know how better.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 4 May 2018 at 6:04am BST

Thank you, Kate, for supplying that clarification. Doesn't appear anyone is retracting.

Posted by CRS at Friday, 4 May 2018 at 10:03am BST

As far as temporal powers go I think the ABC is rather better than other metropolitans. None of them can appoint notaries public - the ABC does so even in the province of York and in the principality of Wales.

Posted by american piskie at Friday, 4 May 2018 at 12:07pm BST

Quoting Kate, quoting Lambeth Palace: "To change something was certain to be contentious and might best be approached by seeking consensus rather than unilaterally."

This is ecclesiological wishful thinking. There is no currently existing process by which the Anglican Communion as a whole changes prayer books across the Communion. That process never existed.

1. How interesting that Lambeth wants to create it now, after 200 years of Anglican churches worldwide writing their own prayer books. Homophobic panic? Only the gays get a Curia. Would any other doctrinal issue generate this response?

2. How un-Anglican. The whole point of the Church of England was to establish a local church, locally adapted. Has General Synod expressed any view on whether a "consensus" of the rest of the Communion should be able to tell the Church of England how to write its own prayer book?

3. Then there of course is the moral/historical point. To demand change by consensus is to demand no change at all. Consensus is the opposite of prophecy.

Posted by Jeremy at Friday, 4 May 2018 at 12:21pm BST

"he did so in the light of the known views of church members here and worldwide."

"Known views of church members here"? Really?

Has the Church of England ever attempted to find out what its members think about marriage equality?

"And worldwide." Because the Church of England can never speak for itself alone. It must speak for the Empire too, who cannot be trusted to speak for themselves.

Posted by Jeremy at Friday, 4 May 2018 at 12:30pm BST

"procreation has been at the centre of Christian understandings of marriage across many centuries and different cultures"

This is the nub of the problem with Mr. Nye's letter.

First, substituting "gift of children" for "procreation" does not, arguably, remove or otherwise dismiss the notion; it merely provides an adequate nuance that allows for the reality that procreation does not in fact take place in all marriages, and that infertility (unless concealed) has not been, in Christian circles, a bar to marriage. As Nye observes, it opens the family to adoption; he seems to see this as a theological problem, while many see it as a virtue.

Second, far from being "central" to marriage, again arguably, the "central" portion of marriage lies in the marriage vows, none of which mention procreation.

Finally, from an American perspective, from 1789 until 1979 there was no mention of "procreation" in the American BCP marriage liturgy. All of the causal language of the English exhortation was removed in the first American BCP. A prayer for "the gift and heritage of children" -- using the phrase Nye finds ambiguous -- was inserted in 1928. Perhaps it may be news to Mr. Nye that American Episcopalians celebrated Christian marriage for nearly two centuries without mentioning "procreation."

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Friday, 4 May 2018 at 3:04pm BST

Folks interested in exploring some of the polity issues that have been alluded to on this thread in philosophically fragmented form may be interested in the following two books, one ancient one modern ( no doubt familiar to some).

The Lambeth Conference:Theology, History, Polity and Purpose. Paul Avis and Benjamin M. Guyer, eds.

And

The Lambeth Conferences of 1867, 1878, 1888. Randall T. Davidson, ed.

https://archive.org/details/a589564000lambuoft

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 1:29am BST

"Perhaps it may be news to Mr. Nye that American Episcopalians celebrated Christian marriage for nearly two centuries without mentioning "procreation.""

And the Gospel of John has no Last Supper account...and the American PB for nearly two centuries never ruled out committed same sex couples...and...and...theology by observing the presupposed and calling it omission.

Posted by CRS at Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 9:59am BST

"Thank you, Kate, for supplying that clarification. Doesn't appear anyone is retracting."

I pointed out to Lambeth Palace that Nye's letter is incompatible with ABC's promise of a "radical new Christian inclusion". There is nothing radical nor new nor inclusive about Nye's letter. I would even contest whether it is Christian.

Rather than reinforce the ABC's own promise of "radical new Christian inclusion" and say "please wait, the Archbishop is planning to say something," Lambeth doubled-down on Nye's letter. I think that tells us everything we need to know.

Posted by Kate at Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 10:10am BST

And indeed american piskie grant degrees.

Posted by Perry Butler at Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 10:19am BST

Re: two excellent points made by Tobias Stanislas Haller (Friday, 4 May 2018 at 3:04pm).

(1) "the 'central' portion of marriage lies in the marriage vows, none of which mention procreation."

Agreed. What's more, vows can be updated. Canada omitted the word "obey" from the woman's vow making them egalitarian in its 1959 BCP.


(2)"...from 1789 until 1979 there was no mention of 'procreation' in the American BCP..." In the current 1986 Canadian Alternative Book the bit about procreation in the opening didactic exhortation has been put in square brackets as optional, i.e. " ...[ and that they may be blessed in the procreation, care, and upbringing of children].

While I'm at it, Nye's letter (p. 4) refers to parents who may be "uninterested in children" and asks if removing procreation is "...colluding with the consumerist assumption that children are a choice not a gift?" Uninterested? Consumerist? Such language signals the worst kind of pastoral insensitivity and backward thinking. Many couples contend with a family history of serious genetic disorders. Thanks to the availability of DNA testing and genetic counseling parents who are otherwise deeply interested in children make an informed and often painful choice based on such expert resourcing.

The marriage of older couples who will not be having children is a major statistical fact. So much for the exceptional deviation from intent argument. Somebody should send Nye, or whoever he speaks for, on a course in statistics.

Let's face it,the notion that there can be no same sex marriage because sex is limited to binary marriage purposed for reproduction is a heartless 'catch 22'.

Requiring people to suffer existentially in order to protect the hypotheses in some dogma or other is well known in churches.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 2:51pm BST

When the omission of a portion of a liturgical text is deliberate, as it was in 1789 when the American revisers of the 1662 rite chose not to include the causal language in the exhortation at the beginning of the marriage liturgy, it is significant. In this case, it marks a shift in theological focus from any alleged "causes" or "goods" (including "remedy for fornication" -- a textually scriptural cause, yet one whose omission raises few eyebrows). It is not an argument from absence, but removal.

The report of the first Task Force on the Study of Marriage went into the theological rationale involved in the 18th century shift in ethical thinking from Aristotelian causality to Enlightenment rights and responsibilities, which arguably are more in line with the teaching of Jesus.

The point here, however, is that Mr. Nye makes a great deal out of the use of the phrase "gift of children" in the proposed liturgy -- yet seems unaware of the liturgical history of the American texts, and indeed of his own, since the Common Worship marriage liturgy also removed reference to procreation and replaced it with "gift of children."

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 3:23pm BST

“theology by observing the presupposed and calling it omission.”

Is this by any chance related to those arguments I keep hearing where people see Jesus omitting to teach on a particular topic (e.g. homosexuality) and then presuppose what his teaching was(= theirs)?

Posted by Fr Andrew at Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 10:10pm BST

Thank you, Tobias Haller, for providing the historical framework. It shows how the writings of Mr. Nye (and the ABC and ABY, if they were consulted) are intellectually, theologically, and historically incoherent. The TEC Task Force on Marriage has done an amazing job of study and prayer, and going on to enlighten, engage, and teach others. It's a gift for which I am deeply grateful.

The Nye letter is shoddy work, so shoddy that I see no reason for TEC to "take note."

Posted by Cynthia at Saturday, 5 May 2018 at 11:38pm BST

Here is the text Nye is referring to. "Enlightenment rights" seems a curious choice of words and is dubious academic pleading in any event. No point getting into the historicist weeds.

BCP 1979

Then the Celebrant, facing the people and the persons to be married, with the woman to the right and the man to the left, addresses the congregation and says,

The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation (Genesis 1-2), and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee (John 3). It signifies to us the mystery of the union of Christ and his Church (Ephesians). The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord.

Posted by CRS at Sunday, 6 May 2018 at 8:53am BST

Fr Andrew, It is exactly the same logic. The sexual ethic presupposed by Jesus is instead said to be his total silence on the topic.

Procreation as a good in marriage fell out of favor in 1789. And for some reason, it came back in favor in 1979.

For 200 years--the years after the Revolutionary War, through the American Civil War, and into the roaring twenties and sixties-- Episcopalians had a theology of marriage that operated without procreation, or the need to raise children in the faith. In the run-up to the 1979 BCP, someone decided to re-adopt "Aristotelian causality" and turn away from "Enlightenment rights and responsibilities, which arguably are more in line with the teaching of Jesus" such as existed from 1789 to 1979.

Mr. Nye should have known all that. It is just so obvious: our great American Episcopalian heritage of marriage without procreation warrants, preserved from 1789 to 1979.

Posted by crs at Sunday, 6 May 2018 at 12:25pm BST

Re: CRS, The liturgical construction from the American BCP says two things about marriage and God's will. The numbering and square brackets are mine added to delineate the points.

" [1] The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended by God for their mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, [2]when it is God's will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord."

[1]is God's will for marriage globally as a covenant. The conditions are expansive.

The second statement indicates that children come about where God wills it. God wills children in some cases as a contingency to the global. Where God wills it a marriage without children is a marriage in which all the conditions 'willed' by God are met. Couples past child bearing age therefore meet the conditions that flow from God's will in both [1] and [2].


The point turns on whether or not other couples can meet those same conditions. Example: following expert advice from genetic counseling may also be a way of discerning God's will, no?

There are no conditions in [1] which prevent a same sex couple from meeting the will of God, and committing to do so in the vows which will follow. With regard to that same sex couple God's will for them, through the providence of their relationship, may mean with regard to [2], no children or children by artificial insemination or children by surrogacy or children by adoption.

There are more things in heaven and earth than were dreamed by ancient myth makers. We just have to go out into the weeds with Aristotle and work it out.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 6 May 2018 at 2:17pm BST

"Fr Andrew, It is exactly the same logic. The sexual ethic presupposed by Jesus is instead said to be his total silence on the topic."

Um, no. The argument goes: 1. Jesus did speak on divorce and care for the poor, and that's totally ignored. 2. Jesus did not speak on gay relations, and yet some have made homophobia a tenant of their faith. We tend to look at the totality of Jesus's teaching and see radical love, and radical inclusion, and we see that Jesus' most harsh words were for the institutional church for demeaning and excluding people. Jesus seemed to think that the church shouldn't be robbing people of their dignity. Any people.

You can't use our argument against us if you haven't fully understood the argument, or if you choose to cherry pick the bits that support your argument-du-jour.

La Paix.

Posted by Cynthia at Sunday, 6 May 2018 at 11:17pm BST

WOULD it surprise Mr Nye to learn that one of the C.of E.'s most saintly and Catholic archbishops married in older age with no expectation of having children. Presumably that was a perfectly valid marriage? (c.f. Arthur Michael Ramsey).

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 7 May 2018 at 1:36am BST

I know your views, CK. Let me try to help you with the logic.

"Jesus did not speak on gay relations" (omission)

"Jesus held the views of the Judaism of the day re: marriage and sexual conduct." (presupposition)

or

"Jesus said nothing about the God of Israel being God and not Zeus" (omission)

"Zeus is not the God of Israel" (presupposition)

Your views otherwise on modernity's "gay relations" are perfectly clear.

Posted by crs at Monday, 7 May 2018 at 7:25am BST

Any argument which begins "Jesus did not mention X therefore..." is not securely grounded because we manifestly don't have a complete record of what Jesus said during a public ministry which lasted, perhaps, 3 to 4 years.

Posted by Kate at Monday, 7 May 2018 at 8:53am BST

I don't think Jesus was totally silent about intrinsically homosexual persons - in his talk about relationships and marriage in the Gospel of Matthew - when he speaks of 'Eunuchs, who are so from their mother's womb'. In other words, their innate capacity to procreate is missing - a situation which applies to many homosexuals.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 7 May 2018 at 10:09am BST

"Your views otherwise on modernity's "gay relations" are perfectly clear."
Let me try to help you with the logic Christopher.
Today's modernity is tomorrow's history. Christianity is simply modernity within a longer view of time. What are you saying - that "gay relations" are simply a passing phase? What would you prefer the church to do - argue for re-criminalising "gay relations" or work within the culture it now finds itself in, as it always has done?

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Monday, 7 May 2018 at 10:59am BST

Re: Tobias Haller, "....the 18th century shift in ethical thinking from Aristotelian causality to Enlightenment rights and responsibilities..."

At one point earlier in this thread I pulled down Massey Shepherd's American Prayer Book [1928] Commentary. Shepherd notes that the exhortation in 1928 contains only a portion of the English exhortation. I had not thought of this in terms of a shift in ethical thinking going back to the 1789 book. Shepherd seems reluctant to let go of 'causal' thinking.

Certainly one knows about the shift in ethical thinking from say Aquinas to Kant. One also sees the effect of the enlightenment on American architecture--example: Christchurch, Philadelphia. You are commenting from expertise. Can you point in a direction where I may glean more?

I suggested above a consideration of the current 1979 book from a neo-Thomistic perspective ( more my wheelhouse)i.e. the will of God,providence, fulfilled conditions. One is able via a different route to contest dogmatic assertions like those held by Nye.

Additionally, Prayer Books deal in exhortations.The purpose here seems to be to exhort us to see Christian marriage as something above property and family transactions. We are exhorted to think about marriage in aspirational terms by hearkening back to wonderful scriptural stories.

We now know that creation did not take place in seven days, there was no paradise, no Adam and eve, no talking serpent; yet the myth encourages us to aspire to marriage in which comfort and companionship is a part.

But here is a problem. Given the legacy of literalism and binary thinking with regard to the Genesis story, is it's use in inspiring us to aspire to a higher sense of marriage now undermined? Just as museums retire displays, perhaps it is time for marriage liturgies to retire Genesis?

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 7 May 2018 at 2:38pm BST

Thanks for the "help" professor, but I don't need it, I have advanced degrees too and you would be surprised at the role of logic in studying and realizing complex orchestral scores. Or playing an instrument such as the violin at an advanced level.

A statement such as "Jesus did not speak on gay relations" (omission) is meaningless on its own. So you've constructed a classic strawman argument.

What is at issue is how human beings interpret such statements. The inclusive view is generally taken in the context of a totality.
A - Jesus didn't speak on gay relations, but he did speak on divorce (and we tolerate divorce)
B - Jesus was wildly inclusive and that pissed off the Pharisees, in fact, getting Him killed.
C - Jesus' strongest words were against the institutional church for excluding and demeaning people.
D - The Acts of the Apostles is a continuation of that radical inclusion, as the Holy Spirit was received by the Gentiles, as Philip baptized the Eunuch (also problematic, back in the day), and so forth
E - The Incarnation came as the Good News to all people everywhere
F - Scripture is overwhelmingly focused on justice, mercy, and compassion.

I wouldn't look to a pre-scientific culture for advice on medicine or aerodynamics. You are hanging your beliefs on a society that believed that male seed made babies and women were passive vessels for it. And on a society that had polygamy and was harsh on women who didn't live under the protection of a male household. You look to the OT and Jewish Law but there are plenty of Rabbi's who have taught me much about the law as an ever growing relationship with God that has taken them to a position of inclusion. You remind me of my Greek relatives who came over in the 1910's and have "maintained" the culture just so, but when you go to Greece, you learn that the Greeks have moved on from those years that have been kept crystalized in the US.

I don't find that your logic truly works, intellectually or in a way that benefits the health of individuals and society. It comes down to whether or not one believes in continuing revelation and relationship with Jesus, or if you believe that (a conservative reading of) Scripture, the Councils of Nicea, and Augustine got it exactly right for all time. And that just happened to be convenient for empire...

My views on liberation theology should be clear! For me, liberation for the poor and the oppressed is at the heart of the Good News. Heaven on earth is a world where all lives are equally valued. Where there is justice and peace.

Posted by Cynthia at Monday, 7 May 2018 at 6:55pm BST

Rod Gillis, when I researched the changes in the American marriage liturgy some 20 years ago, I consulted contemporary revisions of 1662 (King's Chapel, and the "Franklin Prayer Book" -- of which only two copies survive; I had the pleasure of using the copy Franklin presented to William White -- speaking of Christ Church Philadelphia).

McGarvey's Liturgiae Americanae provides a source for versions up to 1928. It is worth noting that the original draft of 1785/6 was even more radical, removing the "honourable estate" language (put back in in 1789), and reference to divine institution (restored in 1892).

The revisers were interested in a rational approach to marriage as a human phenomenon without needing a philosophical exposition on causes and origins, or questionable justifications regarding Jesus at Cana, or the symbolism of Ephesians.

That approach holds through the first American BCP (especially the 1785/6 draft), with much of the English rite pared down. ("The Oblation" is omitted from the Communion, for example). As with Federal architecture, the 1785-9 marriage rite is trimmed to its essentials in a rational, humanistic manner, in keeping with the philosophical trends of the time. Procreation, important as it is, is not essential to marriage, but may also be a perfectly reasonable expectation in most cases, which need not be mentioned. As I noted on another thread, it may be regarded as a cause for the general institution, but not for the particular instance.

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Monday, 7 May 2018 at 10:02pm BST

Jesus never mentioned a "Faith and Order Commission" either. How productive, really, can this discussion be?

Isn't the real question how you want to face judgement? GAFCON and its allies are betting their souls that salvation is a reward for keeping the gays in line. Pretty risky strategy, but only time will tell.

Posted by Dan Ennis at Monday, 7 May 2018 at 10:58pm BST

Re: Tobias Haller(Monday, 7 May 2018 at 10:02pm) . Thanks so much! Your exposition is most informative. Is the report of the first Task Force on the Study of Marriage, or some of the research pertaining to it, available on line?

PS: I did a sabbatical on Christian art and architecture in 2009. Christchurch Philadelphia was one of my researched stops.

-Rod

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 8 May 2018 at 3:27am BST

"A - Jesus didn't speak on gay relations, but he did speak on divorce (and we tolerate divorce)
B - Jesus was wildly inclusive and that pissed off the Pharisees, in fact, getting Him killed.
C - Jesus' strongest words were against the institutional church for excluding and demeaning people.
D - The Acts of the Apostles is a continuation of that radical inclusion, as the Holy Spirit was received by the Gentiles, as Philip baptized the Eunuch (also problematic, back in the day), and so forth
E - The Incarnation came as the Good News to all people everywhere
F - Scripture is overwhelmingly focused on justice, mercy, and compassion." --

The selective Gospel of CK. B is particularly insightful. Jesus killed by the Pharisees because he was inclusive. We will need to adjust the rest of the NT to get it to fit. Including Jesus' own descriptions of the work of the Cross.

Posted by crs at Tuesday, 8 May 2018 at 7:12am BST

"What would you prefer the church to do - argue for re-criminalising 'gay relations' . . . "

That's it, precisely. Don't let any of them pretend to care for us. They constantly try that deception.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 8 May 2018 at 11:12am BST

Rod, the report of the first Task Force on the Study of Marriage (2015) is available here:

https://www.episcopalarchives.org/e-archives/gc_reports/reports/2015/bb_2015-R044.pdf

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Tuesday, 8 May 2018 at 3:26pm BST

Cynthia is right to challenge the argument from silence. Assumptions made from silence are problem making not problem solving. When a text is silent we have have no way of evaluating how it might otherwise have dealt with nuance, exceptions, new thinking, or regression.

The example Cynthia provides with regard to Jesus and divorce is typical. Because the text is not silent, but speaks, we have data to attend to, perspectives to consider. We can actually move on, as the church has done, to set aside what the text says as no longer literally applicable.

Those who rely on assumptions about sexuality based on textual silence are relating to Jesus by attempting to read his mind across the expanse of centuries and cultures like Johnny Carson's character Carnac the Magnificent.

The greater problem with the NT is not silence but where it speaks. There are a number of things that the NT is very clear about that are wrong and can no longer be considered constructive to human community. They must be set aside if we want to have a message that is convivial and grounded in justice and integrity.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 8 May 2018 at 3:30pm BST

For what its worth, I thought Cynthia's six point summary of the 'inclusive' case was a perfectly plausible reading of the scripture, that could be amply demonstrated and defended with plenty of academic depth and integrity. "Jesus killed by the Pharisees because he was inclusive." A bit simplistic, but not difficult to defend this claim.

And whilst it's always hazardous to guess, I would also be fairly confident that if you took a straw poll among those who hold a current academic position in theology (Professor, Reader, Lecturer) across all English universities, you will find a significant majority defending the 'inclusive' case. One might say that the weakness of thinking in today's House of Bishops on matters like this is precisely because there are no current Bishops with a university background as a lecturer in contemporary theology (a contrast with times gone by...).

Posted by Revd Dr Charles Clapham at Tuesday, 8 May 2018 at 6:09pm BST

crs, I was arguing for a more inclusive reading of Scripture. Jesus was killed for challenging the status quo. The Pharisees complained about hanging out with the "wrong sort" and the end of the line for them was when Jesus overturned the tables and chased out the money changers in the Temple.

The Cross is about Jesus's love for everybody, sacrificial love to the point of horrible death. We are called to follow him in that sacrificial love. A couple of years ago I had an experience where I stood between an armed man who was drunk and belligerent and over 200 students. In that moment, the Holy Spirit assisted me in staying calm, giving me a spine of steel but a soft heart, guiding me to look at the man, extend my hand, and say, "la Paix du Christ, monsieur." Luckily, it succeeded in breaking the spell of this man's nightmare. He settled down, took my hand, shook his head in assent, and went home to sleep it off. In that moment, I learned the way of the cross. It was humbling (people may notice that I've toned down my rhetoric). And I hope never, ever, to be tested like that again. But I'll not forget that at least for one moment in my life, I "got it."

Sacrificial love is the way of the Cross and it means loving others, not finding excuses to keep them down.

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 8 May 2018 at 7:15pm BST

Yes, the crowds that called for Jesus' death 1) do not include you and me, and 2) saw he was a dangerous inclusivism proponent.

When he claimed to be equal to God, he was not making a theological claim. He was arguing for inclusion.

The sin of Adam he came to redress and redeem was not idolatry and self-serving and a heart gone ill across the board. It was failing to be on the right side of cause X.

The command of the Father to which Jesus refers in his farewell discourses: be inclusive. Not display forgiving sacrificial love by laying down you life. Pissing off the Pharisees -- that was not a unique vocation. The Sadducees already had the market.

As for polling university faculty -- be my guest! Anyone can play that game. Oliver O'Donovan (Oxford, Edinburgh), Richard Bauckham FBA (St Andrews), Jeremy Begbie (Duke), Trevor Hart, Alan Torrance, Markus Bockmuehl (Oxford), Simon Gathercole (Cambridge) and on it goes -- they would look at that list and cringe at its reductionism. There is no single academic position -- why would there be? This is its own kind of classism in any event.

Posted by crs at Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 7:32am BST

Well, CRS, this is a social media site, rather than a place for nuanced scholarship, so let’s allow for a degree of rhetoric – on all sides.

But my observation was that it’s perfectly reasonable to read the disputes between Jesus and some of the Pharisees as recorded in the New Testament as disagreements about ritual uncleanliness and the extent and validity of holiness codes, and to see Jesus as arguing on the more ‘inclusive’ side. It’s also possible to read Jesus’s confrontation with Temple authorities as being at least in part a protest against socio-economic (and ethnic) exclusion. The conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch can also be seen precisely as indicating the inclusion of the previously excluded (because of sexual non-conformity/ritual impurity) into the new humanity created in Christ. And if you are familiar with contemporary New Testament scholarship, then you’ll know exactly the kinds of scholars to whom I would turn to justify these claims.

If I were being particularly provocative, I’d even suggest that ‘Jesus was killed because he was inclusive’ is exactly the kind of punchy and populist rhetoric that would appeal even to a scholar as conservative as NT Wright – and at the risk of arising your ire further, I’m willing to bet that somewhere in Tom Wright’s voluminous writings for lay people one could find a sentence which expressed much the same sentiment.

And with regard to your list of British theological scholars, I’m not really suggesting we do theology by academic democracy – who has the most professors on ‘their side’. (To your list, as you will know, one could of course easily respond with a similar list of those who offer theological support to the case for inclusion of LGBT people fully in the life of the church: Graham Ward, Martyn Percy, or Diarmaid MacCulloch at Oxford, Andrew Davison at Cambridge, Elaine Graham at Chester, Elizabeth Stuart at Winchester, Adrian Thatcher at Exeter/Plymouth, etc. etc.).

My point really was to suggest that Cynthia’s reading – and the ‘inclusive’ side more generally – are offering a perfectly reasonable interpretation of scripture, which could find plenty of academic defenders. And given your background, you must in fact be well aware of this. Which is why I thought your rhetorical dismissal of Cynthia’s brief summary needed a gentle challenge.

Posted by Revd Dr Charles Clapham at Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 10:57am BST

"Jesus was killed for challenging the status quo. The Pharisees complained about hanging out with the "wrong sort" and the end of the line for them was when Jesus overturned the tables and chased out the money changers in the Temple."

Certainly not. What a thin reed. He called the temple his own body and promised its destruction and his own bodily resurrection. He raised Lazarus from the dead. The whole world has gone out to him!

Has anybody seen my old friend brother Jesu/can you tell me where he's gone/he freed a lot of non-Pharisaic people but it seems the good they die young/I just looked around and he's gone.

The status quo? Sin and Death are the status quo. No soixante-huitard nor noble cause leader can defeat them. It takes God's Son. An offensive claim he made about himself that brought the forces of death to a head. All his closest friends and co-workers fled. And why? That the scriptures might be fulfilled. That was His explanation.

Not, 'didn't we love the things that he stood for/didn't he try to find some good in you and me/and we'll be free someday...'. He knew the good in you and me are vain--as Peter learned. His Cross disturbs the status quo all right, but nothing so banal as pissing off Pharisees.

Posted by crs at Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 11:13am BST

Ah the yellow brick road of the thread,eh. TEC graciously attempts to consult, and receives a missive that makes a C of E committee look like some sort of ecclesiastical 'politburo'. But my how it has opened up the fault lines there and elsewhere. Not their finest diplomatic hour, no?

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 1:52pm BST

Rod, for some reason my attempt to post a link to the 2015 Task Force on Marriage report has not come through. The report is available at the Episcopal Archives, episcopalarchives dot org, or you can use a search engine for Task Force on the Study of Marriage report 2015 and it should pop up.

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 3:20pm BST

Thank you, Father and Dr. Clapham.

Obviously, the theological case for inclusion is strong in TEC. My laypersons study of it was a road to my well-being as an LGBT person. It was the antidote to horrible rhetoric. It brought me to Jesus and on rare occasions, I even make a good servant.

What I can't understand, is that whether you look at the Cross from my viewpoint or that of Professor Seitz, you still arrive at the conclusion that the Cross is about sacrificial love. I think that means that we make sacrifices for the love of others, not that we sacrifice others for the love of our own ideals. That may be flawed logic, but the Incarnation didn't come to fix everyone's logic, He came to love.

Posted by Cynthia at Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 4:14pm BST

CRS, I accept this is not the best forum for serious exegesis. But let me just illustrate one of Cynthia’s points, which you seem to dispute, and which I see as plausible, namely: “The Acts of the Apostles is a continuation of that radical inclusion, as the Holy Spirit was received by the Gentiles, as Philip baptized the Eunuch (also problematic, back in the day)”

So I consult the two most recent commentaries on the book of Acts I have in my study: Darrel Bock’s 2007 commentary (Baker Exegetical), and Craig Keener’s massive four volume treatment of Acts (Baker Academic, vol.2, 2013), and look up what they have to say about the Ethiopian eunuch.

Neither scholar can exactly be described as radical or liberal in their theology, but both make the point that the story is about the inclusion of those previously excluded. In Bock’s treatment, he emphasises that the eunuch is black and from a different ethnic group, and also that as a eunuch, he is restricted from participation in Jewish worship (Block is critical of earlier scholars like Haenchen for downplaying this). At best, the eunuch is an adherent to Judaism (a Diaspora God-fearer) limited to the court of the gentiles at the temple, so his conversion can thus be seen hinting towards the eschatological fulfilment of Isaiah 56. Thus, Bock puts it, ‘the gospel not only reaches the end of the earth but also INCLUDES those located on the margins, or EXCLUDED from, full rights in Judaism’. (op. cit. p.339, my emphasis)

Much the same reading is offered by Keener, but with much greater documentation. So Keener again stresses that eunuch was black, and also that eunuchs were ‘excluded from the covenant’ (p.1540), ‘marginalized’, subject to ‘ridicule’ and ‘stigma’, looked down on for ‘effeminacy’, seen as lacking ‘self-control’, and ‘always outsiders’ (see Keener’s discussion of contemporary sources on pp.1570-71). According to Keener, ‘the real issue is that this African God-fearer has been denied full conversion to Judaism’, and therefore that ‘at the point of his baptism, the eunuch, previously EXCLUDED from full initiation into Judaism through circumcision, is now welcomed into the eschatological heart of Judaism’. (pp.1589, 1590, my emphasis)

This interpretation offered by Bock and Keener is so commonplace in contemporary scholarship that I therefore genuinely struggle to see why on earth you would object to someone describing this passage as being about ‘inclusion’

Posted by Revd Dr Charles Clapham at Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 4:17pm BST

For a reflection on Cornelius and the Ethiopian reader of Isaiah returning from the Pentecost worship, or the extraordinarily praised by the whole Jewish nation daily prayer warrior Cornelius. And the narrative line of Acts you are welcome to visit my weekly podcasts at Wycliffe College.

All grace and peace.

Posted by Crs at Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 6:48pm BST

Re: Tobias Haller (Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 3:20pm), Thanks for this. I think I can track it down from the info you have provided. Thanks again for your perspectives throughout this thread. -Rod

ED: I found and rescued the original comment with the link which had gone into the Junk folder.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 9 May 2018 at 9:27pm BST

"...you would object to someone describing this passage as being about ‘inclusion’" -- for the very simple reason that you have decided the word needs to be in scare quotes.

The inner nerve of Acts is introduced in chapter 1 by Jesus himself, before his ascension. The Gospel is to be preached beginning in Jerusalem and Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

The spread of the Gospel is the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham. It is testified to in the scriptures -- so the high official from Sudan reading his Isaiah, where in ch. 56 he can see his baptism figurally anticipated.

The guard rails set down in Acts 15 for gentiles are to be found in Leviticus, those pertaining to the sojourners in the midst of Israel.

Paul is an apostle to the Gentiles who never leaves the synagogue and who does his preaching there. This Holy Spirit work of God in fulfillment of the scriptures is not 'inclusion' as that word now has come to be used. It is not pissing off Pharisees. It is not some generalized notion of knocking down social barriers. It is quite specifically the command of the Risen Lord and the work of God the Holy Spirit amongst the gentiles -- the first two very providentially anticipated as exemplary God-fearers.

People have read Acts and have seen its inner nerve for generations and generations. It is called the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ beginning in Jerusalem and Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

Posted by crs at Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 6:02am BST

CRS, I entirely agree that Acts is about the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. But this is not simply about preaching, nor merely about individual salvation, but about incorporation of believers into the people of God, as the new humanity in Christ. And this does indeed involve “the knocking down” (your phrase) of social, linguistic and ethnic barriers. This is a matter addressed so repeatedly not only in Acts but right through almost the entirety of the New Testament, and dealt with so extensively in contemporary scholarship that it would be tedious to reference it here. Since this is exactly where the debate on LGBTQI christians is in the current church (namely, who is allowed to participate in the life of the church, and on what terms?) it is entirely relevant to the discussion.

The figure of the eunuch - as a kind of third gender, inhabiting an ambiguous space outside the heterosexual matrix - is also an interesting place to explore this issue. So in Leviticus, the exclusion of the eunuch forms part of a religious ideology that connects physical integrity, procreative capacity, and ritual purity (not without relevance to Nye’s insistence on procreativity). But it’s clear that these are connections that Jesus rejects - as even conservative commentators note. So Gordon Wenham (NICOT) observes the Levitical code is based on a certain view of ‘normality’ (his word) which is challenged by Jesus when he explicitly invites the maimed, the lame and the blind to the wedding feast (Luke 14:13) - all categories excluded by Leviticus. In so far as Acts builds on Isaiah 56, and also on the comments of Jesus on eunuchs in Matthew 19, you can see exactly why those (like me) sympathetic to LGBTQI christians might read Acts 8 as part of an emancipatory trajectory, that points to the full inclusion of those who are gender queer in the life of the church (just as we read Philemon or Galatians 3:28 as pointing towards the incompatibility of Christianity and slavery).

None of this will convince you, I’m sure. But it would be good to see those who want to uphold what they see as ‘traditional teaching’ engage more seriously with the very considerable LGBT-sympathetic theological scholarship that has emerged over the last 40 years. There may be more in it than you realise.

Best wishes.

Posted by Revd Dr Charles Clapham at Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 1:05pm BST

Editor, tks. Scrolled up and was able to open Fr. Haller's link. ( :

Posted by Rod Gillis at Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 2:25pm BST

To be clear, my reference to Leviticus entails the sojourner in the midst regulations that tracks with Acts 15.

In the for what it is worth category, while making Acts into 'inclusion' -- as against the Holy Spirit's overwhelming (see the story of Cornelius).

There is no consensus on whether the Ethiopian was literally a eunuch or whether the term means, as it can mean, an official at court. Hence, no consensus on whether he was a proselyte or a God-fearer. Obvious he is a man of some considerable high status. He owns a scroll and reads Hebrew or Greek, and is in charge of the entire treasury of mineral rich Sudan ('men of Cush' in Isaiah). The trip from Kinshasha would take several weeks and very few people have that kind of time off or a private vehicle and probably a driver.

I read scholarship for a living and so to train PhD students in method, including lots of crap and things I do not agree with. It is ever so. But thanks for the 'tip.' As it happens Isaiah is an area of my published work and supervising. And I deal with Acts in the podcasts I referred to.

have a day of Holy Spirit blessing.

Posted by crs at Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 3:30pm BST

The exchange between The Rev. Dr. Charles Clapham and CRS is instructive. It demonstrates the limits of a particular area of expertise i.e. exegesis (even 'serious' exegesis) with regard to contemporary theological problems.

One considers differing even conflicting considerations of a text by experts in one field of study. However, one considers not only the success or not with which experts engage the horizon of the text. One considers the success or not with which the exegetes bridge their own contemporary horizon with the horizon of the biblical author(s).

In order to gain further insight or cues from a text regarding 'inclusion' one would need to consider insights from systematic theologians and pastoralia theologians. One would also want to engage other disciples such as sociology, psychology and the like.

Having said that, if I were on a jury sifting differing 'expert opinions' from Clapham and CRS, I would have to say Clapham seems to have the more compelling argument.

So let's all pick our bean color, put them in the jar, and see who the winner is. ( :

Posted by Rod Gillis at Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 7:01pm BST

There's also no consensus that πόρνος applies to gays or consensual, monogamous gay sex, ditto the other "clobber passages" in the NT.

There are plenty of scholars who make their living reading and writing Scripture and theological texts and have come to the inclusive view. Continuing to say that "I'm the expert and I hold the truth" simply isn't convincing. It is very shaky ground upon which to judge and condemn others.

Is faith about ticking the right salvation boxes? Or is it about relationship and love, justice, mercy, compassion...? Can't God work that all out and spare us the trouble?

Posted by Cynthia at Thursday, 10 May 2018 at 9:18pm BST

Thank you CRS. I am aware of your academic background and experience, and in fact it was for exactly that reason that I was somewhat surprised by your comments.

If nothing else, our disagreement at least indicates the gulf that exists in the current Anglican communion - as well as highlighting the irony that as a priest serving in the Church of England, I'd be much more comfortable with the views on LGBT inclusion currently expressed in TEC or the Canadian church, whilst you (I guess?) would be more persuaded by the current English line.

How to bridge this gulf, or even to continue to converse? At some point, an amicable split seems the only way forward... But I genuinely wish you well.

Posted by Revd Dr Charles Clapham at Friday, 11 May 2018 at 12:05am BST

RG--your bean is perfectly expected. This is after all LGBTI Thinking Anglicans -- where 90% of the contributions are inevitable. I write here with full knowledge of that.

Your position has always been more eccentric. There is a Jesus. You know who he is (or better, who he isn't). The Bible tells us many things but it does not tell us who he is, as he resides somewhere else. He died on the rough terrain of millions of victims and did not rise from the dead but in that tragic embrace somehow encourages us. What the NT tells us Jesus himself thought is well intentioned (maybe) myth making.

You occupy the higher terrain of gnosis. It does not need the particularities of textual letters. Being abstruse is its most solid benefit. Are you sure your bean has a color at all?

All good fun. Myth making fun. Enjoy.


Posted by crs at Friday, 11 May 2018 at 6:44am BST

Re: CRS, that my "...position has always been more eccentric." I tend toward the eclectic and strive for synthetic thinking.A rose by any other name. These are tendencies that come from decades as a general pastoral practitioner I reckon.

Your exegetical position and that of Dr. Clapham (one could list others) are perfectly intelligible in the same way that any hypothesis is intelligible when read by an intelligent non-expert. One may re-trace the steps in an argument another has developed even though one did not develop that particular argument one's self.

Hypotheses contend for the better explanation of the available evidence. The data may be thin but the speculation extensive.

One comprehends competing 'serious' exegetical arguments. One weighs their relevance to the question. It's not rocket science.

The question about something termed 'inclusion' or 'inclusivity' has arisen. In what senses are CRS, Clapham, and Cynthia each using the term? As each references scripture are each talking about the same thing?

As for "myth making 'fun' ", Bernard Lonergan notes, "...myth recedes and metaphysics advances ... as the attempt to understand things as related to us gives way to the effort to understand them as related to one another..." --(Insight. XVII)

Posted by Rod Gillis at Friday, 11 May 2018 at 2:00pm BST

"The Bible tells us many things...."

It does indeed Christopher. Especially to be wary of those who are certain of their own rightness.

Your sad little caricature says much more about its writer I suspect. Keep arguing for that re-criminalisation of your fellow human beings. It's so impressive.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Friday, 11 May 2018 at 2:35pm BST

"Keep arguing for that re-criminalisation of your fellow human beings".

Totally weird.

One supports LGBTI rights civilly, and one is in favor "re-criminalization" -- whatever that means.

One holds to marriage as other than LGBTI definitions and one is in favor of... "Keep arguing for that re-criminalisation of your fellow human beings."

I fear that what is "impressive" is your exaggerated paranoia and misrepresentation. If you think this will help your cause, good luck.

Let's hope that Thinking Anglicans can imitate serious thinking as a general populace has known that, Christian and otherwise

Mansplaining is also a real feature here at TA where Cynthia needs lots of male help to explain her view and speak for her...

"Let her speak for herself," as my colleague in Toronto would say in her several publications on this theme...


Posted by crs at Friday, 11 May 2018 at 6:25pm BST

Re: CRS, "Mansplaining is also a real feature here at TA where Cynthia needs lots of male help to explain her view and speak for her..."

This is a total bogey. We are not explaining to Cynthia. We are sometime supporters of her point of view as an act of solidarity. More like, you go girl! Not 'mansplaining" Chris, more like "Seitzsplaining"

( :

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 1:31am BST

I didn't mind others carrying the burden of proclaiming the Good News to LGBTQI people. Especially when you argue that my view is singular, modern, and divorced from rigorous theology. As if... All are welcome to help untangle strawman arguments and cite conflicting sources.

Posted by Cynthia at Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 4:53am BST

"As for "myth making 'fun' ", Bernard Lonergan notes.." -- please don't take this the wrong way but the constant adverting to BL is tiresome. Who cares? It seems odd to have some single Guru one keeps intoning. Is this Thinking Anglican?

Here is a quote from the Dean of St Vladimir's.

"After many centuries of monotheism, understood from a philosophical rather than scriptural perspective, it is today more likely to be assumed that if there is a God, there is only one God, and that while Scripture speaks about him, it is also possible to be in independent or direct relationship with him; that one can believe in God before he is encountered through Scripture; and the one already known (or thought to be known) is then identified with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of Jesus Christ." John Behr, The Way to Nicaea: The Formation of Christian Theology, Vol. 1 (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2001), 19.

Or "not identified,' as is more often the case.

"Your exegetical position and that of Dr. Clapham (one could list others) are perfectly intelligible in the same way that any hypothesis is intelligible when read by an intelligent non-expert. One may re-trace the steps in an argument another has developed even though one did not develop that particular argument one's self."

Good for you. To what end? The entire book of Acts unfolds on the basis of the Risen Lord actually speaking and giving directions to the huddled 11/12. Without that Risen reality, there is no exegetical argument to be evaluated -- the premises would be lacking. Jesus died the rough death of martyrs, embraced the fate of victims, and that was the end of that. No point wasting breath and ink evaluating exegesis.

Posted by crs at Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 7:07am BST

Perhaps to return to the original post: this is about texts and how they are read. The texts in question being a letter from Mr Nye and a proposed revision to liturgies in the US. Mr. Nye objected to the removal of a word (procreation) and insertion of a phrase (gift of children). My small effort was to call his disingenuous bluff by noting that the word whose removal he laments had been missing and replaced with the problematical substitute for centuries in the American past and currently in the English present.

So, it seems to me, the problem is not with words, contrary to Mr. Nye's assertion. The problem is that some do not believe marriage can take place between persons of the same sex, however that is described. Arguing about words is a proxy war in this case, and does little to support the cause of those so opposed. It is a bluff, and it has been called.

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 12:24pm BST

"Well, CRS, this is a social media site, rather than a place for nuanced scholarship, so let’s allow for a degree of rhetoric"

I call that "mansplaining." FWIW.

As for bluffs being called, I doubt it. No one is going to reduce Nye's larger argument to a simple matter of 'gift of children' versus 'procreation' -- anymore than one thinks in 1979 the BCP returned to pre-1789 "Aristotelian causality" and away from "Enlightenment rights and responsibilities."

Posted by crs at Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 1:07pm BST

Of course not, CRS. That is the point. It is Nye who raised the red herring of vocabulary; the disagreement is much more fundamental.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 3:01pm BST

Re: CRS, "To what end?" I'll first apply your question to the overarching problem of the Nye controversy.

One examines the competing exegesis and applications of the Genesis myth(s) to the issue of marriage in general and same sex marriage in particular and makes a judgement about relevance. I've stated my views on that in previous posts. Illustrative of our disagreement with regard to an exegetical framework is your comment, "Acts unfolds ...the Risen Lord actually speaking and giving directions ...Without that Risen reality, there is no exegetical argument to be evaluated -- the premises would be lacking." So what? One must make a vital distinction between the experience of a community and the mediation of that community's understanding of experience via a text.

I do not recognize my position on resurrection in your characterization of the same. I am firmly committed to the mystery of Christ's resurrection. What I am interested in is the metaphysical notion of resurrection (being) articulated after wrestling with differing NT texts (mythology).For a view written by an Anglican see Ian Macquarrie's, Jesus Christ in Modern Thought, (especially 3.19). Otherwise, as Abe Lincoln said, one war at a time.


As for Lonergan, "who cares?", the best answer is to point toward the quantity,quality, and wide application of current Lonergan studies. Lonergan provides this Anglican with the epistemological solutions and the conceptual framework which facilitate my thinking. I make no apologies for not being more parochial--something I picked up years ago from reading Dom Gregory Dix.


Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 12 May 2018 at 4:08pm BST

CRS, I hate to tell you this, but from my perspective, you win the grand prize for "mansplaining." Just sayin'.

Thank goodness for New Zealand! An antidote to Mr. Nye.
🌈💕🎊🎉💐🌹🏳️‍🌈

Posted by Cynthia at Sunday, 13 May 2018 at 7:26am BST

TSH: If the idea is some massively significance absence of ‘procreation’ as a good in marriage—not noted by the dullard Nye—it would have to be matched by the 1979 return of said language as massive significant. Boy, that is an undiscovered fact unearthed by accident in your research! A return to Aristotelean causality.

Or, no one thought of it as absent and so its articulation in 1979 was totally anodyne.

RG: if I were to take a poll I’d estimate less than .5% of TA own a copy of BL and maybe 10% have even heard of him. His significance is in proportion to this on the ground reality. You can’t invent a significance that simply never took hold. I know he is your Guru but the Canadian Catholic Thomist Metaphysics is exciting to a tiny sliver of enthusiasts.

CK: Did NZ OK LGBTI marriage?

I take mansplaining to mean helping out female allies when they produce rhetoric and not logic.

I assure you I am not that, but thank you.

Posted by crs at Sunday, 13 May 2018 at 7:36am BST

Re: CRS, Where you use the word 'guru' ( : I would use the term philosophical orientation.

Two areas of fundamental difference stand out with regard to our respective philosophical orientations: (1) the turn to the knowing subject and (2) the historical question. Such difference alone limits the productivity of debating the Nye correspondence.

Regarding Nye a crucial difference in method exists. Before charging off to tackle an issue armed with a bible and vested in armour woven from snippets of tradition, one must carefully size up the phenomena on one's horizon. We live in an inter-disciplinary world. Arguments made by guys like Nye are empirically doubly deficient . They evidence little of either (1)serious engagement with the data of experience articulated by GLBTQ communities or (2)resourcing from experts in the field of human sexuality. But, if you want to play Sancho Panza to Nyes' Don Quixote, go ahead.

"... the Canadian Catholic Thomist Metaphysics is exciting to a tiny sliver of enthusiasts."

But what a dynamic cohort,eh!The narrow provincialism of your comment withers in the light of the work of international Lonergan Centres and scholars. Why bother engaging it. Anyone who has a search engine can test it.

For those curious about my indefatigable enthusiasm for Lonergan I have attached, hot of the press, a short non technical article, A Protestant Lonergan Scholar in Rome.

https://bclonergan.org/a-protestant-lonergan-scholar-in-rome/

With regard to Nye and his cheering section,one begins to feel like the main character in the movie Groundhog Day.


Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 13 May 2018 at 5:22pm BST

"...what a dynamic cohort,eh" --

talk about provincialism gone hog wild, eh! Dynamic?

Enjoy your little enclaves no one in Anglicanism cares about.

A bit of advice: stay away from single gurus. It is a form of lazy thinking and comes across as sycophantic.

BTW, can you re-send your energetic comment about what the crucifixion was really about? It is a winner. All I recall clearly was the embrace of victims, death with the tragic, and some kind of 'resurrection' in our empathy.

I am quite sure the Ethiopian and Cornelius and all those addressed by Paul to the ends of the earth preferred this Deep Myth to what Luke has actually written.

Pentecost blessings.

Posted by crs at Sunday, 13 May 2018 at 6:59pm BST

CRS, loath as I am to attempt explaining this once again, as you appear to have lost the thread and most definitely missed my intent, let me rehearse the issue:

Mr Nye writes to object to the replacement of the word "procreation" with "the gift of children," expending over half a page doing so (page 4). He argues that this removes the _concept_ of procreation, as he says, "effectively erasing" it. He is vehement on this linguistic point.

I responded that the American liturgists did much the same thing over 200 years ago; not to "erase" procreation itself, but as part of a radical simplification that removed all causal language as redundant. No one suggested that procreation had ceased to be a cause for the institution of marriage; but the revisers felt it unnecessary to recite a causal prologue in re the institution -- and as Anglican liturgies had provided since 1549, reference to procreation regarding the particular couple marrying could be omitted when it was considered impossible due to age.

The reason I see this as a disingenuous bluff (unless it is simple ignorance on his part, which it might well be) is that I suspect his real concern is not with the word, but the concept, which he feels is diminished by the "ambiguity" of "gift of children," allowing for adoption. Furthermore, far from this being a "unilateral" change on the part of TEC, the very same change in language has already taken place in the liturgy of the Church of England (Common Worship).

Nye is attempting to present as a logomachia what is in fact a fundamental objection to even the possibility of same-sex marriage. That is his bluff, and that is what I call it.

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Sunday, 13 May 2018 at 7:49pm BST

Re: CRS at 6:59 pm, A pious wish prefixed with the inevitable dissolution of the conversation that comes with trying to dialogue with you. 'Groundhog Day', once again. ( :

Notwithstanding, with regard to my previous post, I'll make the same offer to you that I used to make to theological students doing field placements in my parishes i.e. you may wish to read this and then take some time to think about it. Then perhaps we can chat about it. There will be another thread no doubt.

cheers.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 13 May 2018 at 11:59pm BST

TSH: and I am weary of pointing out that if your scenario were true the BCP 1979 would have been met with astonished gasps that 'procreation' had been reinserted into a 200+ period of having solidly removed it.

This did not happen because your scenario is false.

Posted by crs at Monday, 14 May 2018 at 7:01am BST

CRS, you weary yourself to no end, in that the "scenario" you describe is not mine. You appear to think I hold the removal of the causal language from the 1786/9 rite indicates the revisers rejected procreation as a cause. That is not my claim, but, mutatis mutandis, Mr. Nye's. He thinks changing "procreation" to "gift of children" somehow removes procreation from the picture. That is "false."

My position is that the 1789 revisers were rationalists who wished to focus on the couple and their marriage, their rights and responsibilities to each other, rather than eager to present an exhortation as a theological framework. A plain reading of the liturgy shows this to be true; no abstruse "scenario" need be supposed. No one thought procreation was going to disappear. It literally "goes without saying," as does much of the rationalism of the 18th century revision.

As to the restoration of the exhortation in 1979, the chief object of debate was reordering the causes, going back to 1949 when the canons were amended to require a declaration with the causal language so reordered -- on biblical grounds. 1979 presented the opportunity to insert that canonical language into the rite itself (see Hatchett's commentary, p 433). The difference between the 1949/79 language and that of 1662 concerns the place of procreation, and its conditional standing. This represents a philosophical compromise between a causal view of the institution, and a focus on the couple, by recognizing that institutional causes may not always be realized in every instance of its employment. As I said elsewhere on TA, procreation may be understood as a cause for the institution of marriage (which is what the prologue states) without being a reality in any particular marriage.

I hope this clarifies my point of view for you. I apologize if any lack of clarity on my part is responsible for your having so far misunderstood me.

Posted by Tobias Stanislas Haller at Monday, 14 May 2018 at 3:49pm BST

I'm calling time on this thread, which has got too far adrift from the subject matter of the original article. I would also admonish one or two posters here to avoid ad hominem remarks about other posters.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 14 May 2018 at 4:33pm BST