Thinking Anglicans

Kenya and Chelmsford update

John Richardson thought it would be helpful to give us chapter and verse of the things his diocesan bishop has done that he objects to: he spent time over the weekend listing them out, and you can read his list here:
Bishop John Gladwin on the issue of Human Sexuality.

Meanwhile his Anglican Mainstream colleague Chris Sugden has published an interpretation of “Listening” that can best be described as bizarre.

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Simon SarmientoJ. C. FisherChristopher CalderheadByronAlan Marsh Recent comment authors
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Rob Hall
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Rob Hall

Not the least bizarre aspect of Mr Sugden’s non-dictionary definition of “listening” is his statement that “Those who know Africans are well aware that they are expert as listeners, much more so than westerners.” This statement has – presumably unnoticed by Sugden – very unpleasant overtones. To ascribe qualities to allegedly superior parts of the one human race we all belong to was a practice much used by supporters of colonialism. Christians should not use that sort of language. I also note that the bizarre definition of “listening” is of a piece with Sugden’s signature of a statement of “full… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

This AngMain definition of listening rather nicely demonstrates a key new conservative strategy or pattern: Redefine, Reclaim, Realign. It is Newspeak arising out of our former historical, cultural, and legacy lexicons and legacy narratives. New Conservative Newspeak arising out of Plural Historic-Cultural Oldspeak. In Oldspeak terms, then, what is now being defined as listening appears to be mainly comprised of a combination of what used to just be called: Proclamation, plus Judgment. Like the altar call phase of a pro forma Billy Graham Crusade rally, the moment of decision arrives: For the neocon Christ, against the neocon Christ. Everything has… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

This sentence confirms my worst fears: “The reason we have to listen to them so that they can be transformed not continue in relationships which are unscriptural.” There is a corollary about men who do not allow women to say “no”, and explain to the courts why the woman “deserved it” and “really said yes” when charged with rape. The issue in both cases is the dehumanisation and dismissal of the needs of “the other”, which at an extreme becomes a socipathic self-righteousness that one has the right to impose upon “the other” because of one’s superiority and/or godliness. For… Read more »

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

It’s great fun to indulge oneself in a little George Orwell once in a while – New Labour in the House of Lords reminds me of nothing so much as the final scene in Animal Farm, where the lowly creatures peer through the windows of the farm house at their revolutionary comrades. It’s not a bad idea to look at the text of Lambeth 1.10 as well and find out what it actually says. It commits Anglicans to listen to the voices of those who perceive themselves to be homosexual, with a view to honouring as far as possible their… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Well, for sake of completeness, here is the whole of the relevant section of Resolution 1:10 (section 3 of 6).. that the Lambeth Conference: “3. Recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

I wish to go on record in dissent from the repeated new conservative Anglican referencing of Lambeth resolutions, Dromantine Reports, and even the Windsor report as if these were Anglican legal documents handed down from on high to the lowly queers or alternative believers. Softly whispered these sound like anguished calls for people to repent of their best consciences and best provisional discernments, alternative to the conservatism that aspires to the King. Loudly, these sound like threats that the ladies and the laddies are for burning. That certainly seems the point, repeated, repeated, repeated. Okay. The new conservative claim has… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

With about 30 years of listening to victims of abuse, I know how difficult it is recognise and avoid repeating the patterns and mistakes of dysfunctional childhoods. These people too were not “made” by God to be hurt by their carers nor to hurt their children; nor “made” to be abused by their partners/”significant others”. Also, why are there always these “either/or” or “all or nothing” arguments? For example, in this thread it is noted that the paper states that listening is for the purpose of transforming “the other”. The other side then posits the direct opposite as the alternative… Read more »

Rob Hall
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Rob Hall

It’s indeed worth looking at what Lambeth 1.10 and other texts (eg. the Windsor Report) say, as well as the behaviour of all concerned, especially if one does not attempt to twist the meaning of words to suit oneself. “Listening”, for example, means just that: listening. It does not imply any pre-judgment of what will be heard if one does “listen to the experience of homosexual persons.” In other words, listening itself does not imply either approval or condemnation of the experiences heard. Note that, contrary to Mr. Sugden’s statement, Lambeth 1.10 does not give any reason for the listening… Read more »

Colin Coward
Guest

The Lambeth Conference resolution was cobbled together in the course of a vitriolic debate in 1998. I was there and I have vivid memories. The original resolution was dramatically modified in the course of the debate; ‘abstinence’ was inserted in the first paragraph; ‘and we commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual people’ was inserted in the second paragraph; ‘while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture’ was inserted in the third paragraph, as was, separately, ‘irrational fear of homosexuals’. The result of these additons was to wreck the carefully prepared report of the sub-section which had worked… Read more »

John Richardson
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John Richardson

I do find troubling the amount of conjecture and spin I detect on the Thinking Anglicans website. Take the above statement about me: “John Richardson thought it would be helpful to give us chapter and verse of the things his diocesan bishop has done that he objects to: he spent time over the weekend listing them out …” Well, yes, I thought it would be helpful for people to see some of the issues which, to quote what I actually posted, “some people feel have sat awkwardly with [Bp Gladwin’s positive] affirmations” – affirmations which, as I have said, include… Read more »

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

Ironically it was former bishop Richard Holloway who pointed out that human beings are by nature capable of adultery, but I do not recall that even he (at that time) advocated it as a godly means of sexual fulfilment. The church continues to maintain that adultery is sinful, but does that mean that the church is acting in an authoritarian manner, oppressing people who simply want to engage in “open marriages” or find sexual fulfilment with additional partners as well as their spouse? Even to speak in terms of “conservatism” misses the point. The consensus almost everywhere in Christendom is… Read more »

Dave
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Dave

Alan wrote: “The church continues to maintain that adultery is sinful, but does that mean that the church is acting in an authoritarian manner, oppressing people who simply want to engage in “open marriages” or find sexual fulfilment with additional partners as well as their spouse?” Dear Alan, I think that you will find that quite a few “liberals” do indeed believe that it is oppresive of the church to suggest that any consensual sexual relationship is sinful.. provided everyone is “equal”, free to do what is “right for them” and mature enough to not be “hurt”. Same-sex sex is… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest

“Ironically it was former bishop Richard Holloway who pointed out that human beings are by nature capable of adultery, but I do not recall that even he (at that time) advocated it as a godly means of sexual fulfilment.” Oh please: apples and oranges. Adultery may occur EITHER in a context of homo- or heterosexual orientation . . . but adultery isn’t an orientation in itself! Thank you, Colin, for recounting exactly *how* the Lambeth “Listening” resolution arose in the first place: the fact that so many reasserters, throughout the world, are failing even *its* modest requirements, doesn’t change the… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear JCF, I would have been more than happy if my 30 years of listening had brought me to the conclusion that gay sex is moral – after all Christianity is a religion of Grace, not Law, so we only have to abstain from things that are immoral – not for the sake of religious duties. . And it is not very pleasant to be always at risk of being thought a bigot and oppressor! However, what is moral is defined by who God is and how He perceives them… not “how things are”, or how we perceive them. Reflecting… Read more »

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

Even if “orientation” exists only as a behavioural trait or lifestyle choice (there seems to be no scientific evidence for a “gay gene” or for any inherent biological disposition to homosexuality) the consensus of Christian opinion is that to move from orientation to intercourse outside marriage is sinful. That is the position reflected by Lambeth 1.10, and mirrored in statements by other mainline churches, based on scriptural study and more than three millennia of Judaeo-Christian experience of biblical doctrine and anthropology. The decision to engage in intercourse outside heterosexual marriage is a matter of free choice and moral discernment for… Read more »

Tuck-Leong
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Tuck-Leong

Colin wrote: “The report of the sub-section said: ‘We also recognise that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We wish to assure them that they are loved by God, and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ. We call upon the Church and all its members to… Read more »

Barry Fernelius
Guest
Barry Fernelius

Dave wrote, “I think that you will find that quite a few “liberals” do indeed believe that it is oppresive of the church to suggest that any consensual sexual relationship is sinful.. provided everyone is “equal”, free to do what is “right for them” and mature enough to not be “hurt”.”

Fine. Please support your contention with facts. Name three so-called liberal Anglicans who are advocating this idea. I doubt that you can. I don’t think that what you postulated represents the point of view of “quite a few liberals.”

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Well it would be absolutely lovely to forget as quickly as possible that the core views which conservative believers are now urging as our final, closed realignment about sexual orientation are also consistent with the church burning people at the stake in past centuries for being different. Savanarola got nuttin on the people who know exactly how God feels about gay sex sin, period. Yes, ideally, we should long ago have moved on. Yes, there is plenty else in our gospel that give us both the call and the spiritual energy and the blessing to move on. To find out… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

To continue drdanfee’s posting of 1 June – this is not just the experience of homosexuals, it is the experience of women, and in societies where violence is running rampant of “unworthy” castes. God makes us as he makes us, and it is disrespectful to challenge God’s works e.g. Isaiah 45:9-11 ending “This is what the LORD says — the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands?” Over the last day I’ve been contemplating the fear of acceptance of… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Sadly many of the activists I have met and debated with over many years are as convinced as drdanfee that almost everyone is either hiding something, or are susceptible to being converted to enjoy gay sex for themselves. It simply confirms my assessment that homosexuality is a chosen identity and an assumed lifestyle, rather than a medical disorder or an orientation. Why would anyone want to present themselves in public in such an identity, as drdanfee suggests, which is profoundly contrary to Christian witness? Society still, for the most part, does not tolerate drunkenness on the streets, and a sober… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

But of course the Church can change doctrine if it wishes to. It has done in the past and will do so again. In any case, there are clearly people who believe very different things amongst those posting here. This, to me, is the key issue – rather than try and force people to change, if there can be no point of agreement, then I think the best thing to do is agree to differ, and if that isn’t acceptable, to form two separate organisations. Is there really any sign that this debate is ever going to reach a peaceful… Read more »

nersen
Guest
nersen

drdanfee, Your argument based on some people misinterpreting the Bible to justify slavery is weak. The logical conclusion of your point is that we should be very careful to avoid wrong interpretations of the Bible…and this does not help your cause at all. The Bible does not condone slavery – if you read what it says on the subject, which is why “evangelicals” were at the forefront of getting it abolished! If the Bible did say, “Slavery is wrong, don’t tolerate it!” would you accept the prohibition? When the Bible does make it crystal clear that certain things are wrong,… Read more »

John Richardson
Guest
John Richardson

I see from the first full report of John Gladwin’s news conference on his return from Kenya that he doesn’t necessarily agree with the views of Changing Attitude (http://timescolumns.typepad.com/gledhill/2006/06/gladwin_i_blame.html)

“I was not asked to endorse the views of Changing Attitude when I became a patron.”

Do other patrons also take this position? Indeed, which of the patrons in fact do endorse the views of Changing Attitude?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

People present themselves as gay because that is what they are, and it is better in every way to be honest rather than lie.

Even if they opt for celibacy, that doesn’t make them any less gay.

But who wants a lonely, isolated life, living a lie? Not me.

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

I find MM’s latest comment rather odd. Most of the people I know who publicly or privately identify themselves as “gay” do not adopt mannerisms or dress which indicates something different – why should they, except to make some kind of statement, or to conform to a perceived sub-culture? What is deceitful or dishonest about continuing to maintain a conventional appearance? Does MM believe that making a statement is an essential aspect of homosexuality? Where is the “lie” in the consciously chosen celibate life? Does MM assume that everyone, but everyone is engaging in sexual intercourse, even if they do… Read more »

Byron
Guest
Byron

drdanfee’s post is simply wonderful and the vile and churlish replies by Alan Marsh and nersen are clear as sin. So sad. The debate can of course go on forever but I more and more sense that the so-called “orthodox” are so far from the message of Jesus’ love that it would be difficult to call them Christian at all – but then that wouldn’t be very Christian of me and I step back and continue to try to extend my love and prayers to them and hope they understand, in the end, the violence they do so subtly to… Read more »

Christopher Calderhead
Guest
Christopher Calderhead

Alan, I don’t know what ‘activists’ you’ve been hanging out with, but every gay man I know thinks it’s a really, really bad idea to go after straight men or guys who give sexually ambiguous signals. Far from wanting to make conversions, most gay guys just want to find partners who are comfortable with themselves and know where they’re at. Attempted conversions only end in tears. Oddly, in ten years of being active on the liberal end of the Church, I really can’t say I know more than one or two ‘activists.’ Though I did witness first hand the attempted… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest

GAY SEX * GAY SEX * GAY SEX * GAY SEX * GAY SEX [Simon, forgive the OT post, but this thread has already gone off the rails from +Chelmsford in Kenya!] Why is this the *only thing* that reasserters want to discuss? The point is NOT gay sex! The point is *spousal love, body and soul* for gay couples! “It simply confirms my assessment that homosexuality is a chosen identity and an assumed lifestyle…” Alan, you can justify your PREJUDICE any way you want to. *God knows how God made me* . . . and God has not and… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Yes, this off topic discussion is now closed.