Thinking Anglicans

Lambeth 2008

This week, Rowan Williams issued a pastoral letter to the 38 Primates of the Anglican Communion and Moderators of the United Churches, in which he “sets out his thinking” on the Lambeth Conference 2008 (scroll down past the press release for the full text of the letter).

Although this provoked no reportage in London dailies it was noticed by the wire services:
Press Association Archbishop keen to avoid gay row
Associated Press Anglican Leader Rules Out Gay Debate and later, World Anglican leader rules out rewrite of stand against gay sex
and these reports were widely reprinted across the UK provincial press and across the USA.

The Church Times reported it this way: No enthusiasm for sex at Lambeth by Bill Bowder

In North America, there were several press releases or reports about it:
Episcopal News Service Listening: Archbishop of Canterbury sets out thinking on Lambeth Conference 2008
Living Church Archbishop Williams Writes to the Primates
American Anglican Council Archbishop of Canterbury Says Sexuality Debate Will Not Be Reopened at Lambeth 2008

Anglican Church of Canada Williams sets out thinking on Lambeth Conference 2008

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Simon SarmientoGöran Koch-SwahneDavePeter BergmanCheryl Clough Recent comment authors
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J. C. Fisher
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J. C. Fisher

I think the real reason Lambeth ’98 1.10 won’t be revisited, is because there is *so much more polarization* in the AC than there was then. 1.10, while by no means a consensus, was a *compromise* statement, that received a large majority of votes, by simultaneously stating anti-gay positions (veiled in the usual cover blather of “biblical” and “traditional”—which anti-gay positions aren’t, but nevermind), while at the same time, softening them through language like “cannot advise” and, of course, the policy of “listening”. That compromise position has completely broken down—as all sides realize what the others *really* meant. I have… Read more »

carl
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carl

“…by simultaneously stating anti-gay positions (veiled in the usual cover blather of “biblical” and “traditional”—which anti-gay positions aren’t, but nevermind…” You see, J.C. Fisher, this is why the conversation has become futile. You don’t respect your opponents. People on your side of the argument simply do not accept that any thinking person could honestly believe what your opponents believe. So you (as demonstrated in the comment referenced above) attribute their opposition to malevolent intent, or untaught ignorance – but never to a consistent world view consistently applied. Your idea of the conversation then naturally devolves toward “fixing” your opponents. This… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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“That compromise position has completely broken down—as all sides realize what the others *really* meant”

Surely, to allow a vote where there is no consensus is failed leadership in the highest degree?

(as indicated by the turmoil at Lambeth -98)

k1eranc
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k1eranc

Well, it all looks like someone wants groundhog day. Are the Americans invited again?

Prior Aelred
Guest

The ABC says, “… it will be of great importance, I believe, to think, when we pass resolutions, of the processes by which they can be made effective, and for the organisers of the Conference to be ready to propose ways of implementing them,” which would seem to indicate that ++ Rowan is suggesting that resolutions from Lambeth are now to have legislative force throughout the Communion, which many might suggest is a far more significant innovation than a gay bishop who decided not to stay in the closet! But one the other hand we have, “… The proposed focus… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
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“So you (as demonstrated in the comment referenced above) attribute their opposition to malevolent intent, or untaught ignorance – but never to a consistent world view consistently applied.” Yes, carl: I think that’s fundamentally true (not a consistent *Christian* world view, anyway). . . . but then again, I think that ALL human beings—being the fallen sinners we are—have an putrid pot of “malevolent intent” mixed w/ “untaught ignorance” boiling in their hearts. While I challenge those who are homophobic (whether through ignorance or malevolence) in our Church, at the same time, I have to be prepared to confront my… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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Carl wrote: “People on your side of the argument simply do not accept that any thinking person could honestly believe what your opponents believe. So you (as demonstrated in the comment referenced above) attribute their opposition to malevolent intent, or untaught ignorance – but never to a consistent world view consistently applied.” If I’m allowed to interfere… “Thinking” and “honestly believe” is one thing, a “consistent world view” perhaps an other, but it seems to me none of these are in any way incompatible with either malevolence or ignorance. They may co-exist all of them. And they may be both… Read more »

Jon
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Are the two sides here really more opposed than the snake-belly low evangelical and the nose-bleed high Anglo-Catholic? I’m also not so sure the ABC is really proposing that Lambeth should have legislative power. It sounds to me like he’s proposing bishops should give some thought to what practical steps need to be taken to have the resolution be something more than words on a paper. The listening process proposal from Lambeth ’98 is probably an example of what he’s trying to avoid. Certainly it would have been nice if some sort of structure for the listening process had been… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
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Cheryl Clough

Nice to see oneself being paraphrased a few days later. (Apparently “consistency” in application has struck a nerve). Thank you. Unfortunately the paraphrasing is done inconsistently. There is the joy of using similar words (plagiarism is much easier than creation), but then to achieve consistency in application. For a start off, mud slinging does not sound like encouraging dialogue and tolerance. “…by simultaneously stating anti-gay positions (veiled in the usual cover blather of “biblical” and “traditional”—which anti-gay positions aren’t, but nevermind…” An accurate quote? True. But the interpretaion? It was seen by myself as a statement by someone expressing frustration… Read more »

Christopher Calderhead
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Christopher Calderhead

Well. I’m pretty disenchanted with the whole thing. The whole church needs to work out whether we’re ready to work alongside one another. So I say hold the conference in the poorest post-industrial city in England. Everybody leaves their purple shirts behind, and nobody gets to put a plus sign any where near their name (let alone a double plus). Break the conference into small groups of ten or twelve. After a hearty English breakfast each day, set them to work building habitat for humanity-style houses for working families. Each group can decide on the division of labour; those with… Read more »

carl
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carl

Mr Koch-Swahne and JC Fisher. Mr Koch-Swahne, Your point is well-taken and I accept it. But it doesn’t really address what I was getting at. Please read on. Mr Fisher, The specific launch-point of my original post was the oft-repeated charge of ‘homophobia.’ Given that I hold homosexuality to be a willful violation of God’s created order – idolatrous rebellion in fact – how do I make that argument without triggering the charge? I don’t think I can. Certainly some frequent posters on this blog have made exactly the case that what I just said is intrinsically “homophobic.” It’s a… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
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Cheryl Clough

I’ll give Carl points for honesty. At least you know where he stands. What he wants at is is very clear cut. His victory is a church with no tolerance for homosexuality (they’ve gone elsewhere). His loss would be a church that tolerates homosexuality, at any of the varying levels of the spectrum. I do not think Carl is alone in his thinking. The question then is, does the Anglican church want dialogue on homosexuality (a loss in Carl’s mind) or not? If yes, what do people like Carl do? If no, what do people who want dialogue and tolerance… Read more »

Christopher Calderhead
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Christopher Calderhead

A woman from Latin America once told me a story. She was married to a man who played the guitar and sang for his living. One day, about forty years ago, they moved to a big city and her husband got a job in a whorehouse singing to the ladies and their clients. My friend hated this–she was a devout, faithful homemaker. A few months later, her youngest child, an infant, died. She and her husband were alone at the funeral in church; they didn’t know anyone in the big city. But one by one, the prostitutes from her husband’s… Read more »

carl
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carl

Just to be clear. I do not desire a church without homosexuals. I desire a church the calls homosexuality by its proper name: sin. My definition of victory or defeat revolves around the churches’ disposition of these issues: the nature, authority, and perspicuity of Scripture. Those are the essential first principles at stake. It is not possible for a church to hold mutually-exclusive views on these issues. The Scripture is either Theopneustos or it is not. And the church will decide its answer simply by virtue of who leads it. It cannot be avoided. As those on my side of… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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Carl wrote: “a wilful violation of God’s created order” “how do I make that argu-ment without triggering the charge? I don’t think I can.” Well, probably not. A claim like that one leaves very little room for mutuality, respect or exchange. “and avoids the underlying moral argument” I wonder what this would be. Conti-nentia? “And anyway the charge has nothing to do with me.” This I’m sure is true of some, but it cannot be true of all. If one takes a look at this debate (and I have from 2000, when there was an American outrage in the city… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
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Carl, if you have “first principles” involved, it is difficult to see how they have *anything* to do w/ homosexuality. What does your “Winner Take All! No Compromise! No Co-existence!” mentality have to do w/ the Christ Jesus who *emptied himself*? The Lord of All, who came not be served, but to serve? I have to ask: do you even *know Jesus*? Experienced his all-encompassing LOVE? [God only knows: I fail to manifest in my life, the love that Christ has shown to me: “Lord have mercy”. But God is not finished w/ me yet, Praise Christ!] God, grant your… Read more »

Jon
Guest

I doubt it is really your responsibility to repeatedly confront those you believe to be sinning, unless, perhaps, you are a priest. For a lay person, it is probably sufficient to make your view known to the person and to the parish’s priest. A priest’s responsibility is more complicated, though, I suspect. After all, it is important to take the pastoral care aspect into consideration. When the sinfulness of the action is being debated by the church things get even more complicated. Do you figure it is appropriate to split the church based on a doctrinal disagreement? Jon

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

I am confused by Carl’s postings.

He now wants homosexuals in the church?

As what? Closet “down low” men? Celibates? Silent or talking? And if they have cronical depression or angst because they are hiding/suppressing their homosexuality, does the church minister to them? If so, how? By not talking about what is the problem? As an underclass to be hidden and denied or as an acknowledged component of the diversity of the body of Christ?

How does Carl envisage having homosexuals in the church, whilst staying true to the penultimate absolutely true theological position?

Christopher Calderhead
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Christopher Calderhead

Carl, I don’t accept any of these black-and-white dichotomies you offer. In fact, I don’t consider you my mortal enemy, either. I see no reason why we couldn’t worship side by side, work in a soup kitchen together, or engage in Biblical study together. We might never agree, and I might not vote for the same vestry (or PCC) members that you would. But I’d consider myself a bad Christian if I didn’t find a way to build bridges here. You say the Scriptures are either divinely inspired or not– but I’d have to know what you meant by that,… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
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Cheryl Clough

I am still confused. In an earlier posting, Carl wrote: “The two sides in this engagement are enemies – mortal enemies. Victory for one means defeat for the other. To the victor goes the spoils, and in this case, the victor gets to define the first principles by which the church operates. All your talk of “inclusion” cannot cover up the reality that only those who accept your world view will be included should your side win. Others can hang around of course – principally to give money, and offer up their children for re-education. But the church will not… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

From the diametric opposite position to Carl. I think he is right in his arguments – there is no point of compromise and no possible meeting point. There must be a split which would benefit all of us. We have fundamentally different positions.

k1eranc
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k1eranc

Speaking as an *homosexual*, there are two things that stand out to me about the postings that followed carl’s comment. I’m prepared to be open if he is. The first is, I am an Anglican because (for all its faults) it is a church in which I am included. It is annoying that people seem to think that my sexuality is the only interesting thing about me, and that I can be reduced to this one very insignificant aspect of my being: would carl “confront” or welcome me if I appeared at his church? The second is, we seem to… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

At the risk of being offensively glib (please forgive me those who consider this to be “mortal combat”), there does seem to be an opportunity for finding common ground. If we were to use paraphrasing and copying each other’s language as a sign of recognising our common humanity, then in this round there have been at least two cases of people acknowledging the other sides “phraseology”. Maybe we could progress to acknowledging that quotes passages really came from the same bible?

Peter Bergman
Guest
Peter Bergman

k1eranc: I’ve never known anyone who ‘chose to be gay’ (though maybe they exist), nor do I believe that ‘God made people gay or called them to be gay’ – though many people do make this assertion (your good self apparently, as well), without any biblical basis. You will not like the comparison, but all kinds of paraphilias or ‘orientations’ exist in the world, and their moral status is not determined by whether they are freely chosen or not. Morality is largely a matter of what we do with our desires: killing ungodly ones and acquiring and following godly ones.… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Dear Cheryl I’m surprised that you have taken so long to see that your views and “conservatives” views are more-or-less mirror reflections of each other. The language used it different (not surprisingly given the differing world views and discourses that we use) but the effects are rather similar: – Both think that sexuality is a primary issue – Both will accept the other side if they conform, otherwise they “exclude themselves” I do think that liberals are still confusing themselves by claiming to be “inclusive” and “tolerant”. You are not absolutely tolerant if you are unable to tolerate people who… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Dear Dave,

You have got it all wrong.

Sexuality is not “a primary issue”.

Not in the Bible, not now, not never.

Only for some ;=)

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Göran

If you don’t think that it is a primary issue, why don’t you just accept to keep the church’s teaching on sexual morality and practice as it was – in line with the beliefs of those of us who do think that it has to do with primary issues ?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Dear Dave,

I have little difficulty with the Church’s teaching “as it was” from the late 10th century to the late 20th; chastity, but the present, anti-modern post-1966 mandatory heterosexuality cum fertility cult-thing is too new for me ;=)

As I have told you repeatedly…

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Please, let’s not repeat endlessly the same comments. Thank you.