Thinking Anglicans

Melvyn Bragg interview transcript

Last weekend, ITV had a repeat showing of the major interview by Melvyn Bragg of the Archbishop of Canterbury that was originally screened on 19 June 2005.

The full transcript of the section of this interview dealing with homosexuality can be found here. This is reproduced with ITV’s permission.

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drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

If this is Rowan’s best practice reading, he is lingering over legacy editions of yesterday’s newspapers. His male/female gloss is ever so mild & traditional, but ever so wrong. What’s left out? Well, although he mentions the rest of male/female in passing (besides/beyond the anatomy/physical), he neglects to take into account that our more detailed empirical understanding not only added loads more facts into the storehouse, but also – this is key these days – overturns the received male/female frame of mutually exclusive categories that he is referencing, basic, innate to his gloss. We are all male/female, empirically, overlaid in… Read more »

David Keen
David Keen
14 years ago

Did ++Rowan talk about anything other than homosexuality? Do Thinking Anglicans think about homosexuality every 7 seconds, but nothing else?

Simon Sarmiento
14 years ago

The answers to your questions, David, are:

1. Yes. The interview lasted a whole hour (less commercials).

2. No.

nathan
nathan
14 years ago

drdanfee, And yet gender (masculinity and femininity) IS, to a very large extent (some would say completely), constructed. That is, gender as opposed to “sex”. Knowledge does not divide neatly into the academic categories of Maths, English, Humanities, etc. yet this has often been found to be convenient for the purpose of (eg) scheduling a timetable for university. The notion of binary gender complementarity as expressed in a particular community may not line up perfectly with all genetic or biological manifestations of personality and physical features, which obviously vary greatly, but this is not necessarily to say that the notion… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

I do not say that the binary folk legacy of gender has no value or power, nor do I deny that it can have positive (albeit shorthand?) iterations. It’s a great place to start with young children, for example. I am questioning the use of binary shorthand folk legacy ideas in the ethics, discernment, and theological reflection processes. The moment you reference the shorthand as if it accurately summed up the facts – you are sneaking in at least two definitional assumptions. One, you are presuming without scrutiny that all the facts must elaborate your preferred categories – and all… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

P.S. to nathan: I liked your university class timetable mention because I have always felt safer at school than on the streets, generally speaking. But, when was the last time we were asking ourselves to bar somebody from the Lord’s Table because they had dared to sign up for a prohibited math class at six P.M. instead of the usual 8 A.M.? Just kidding. I do think we ought to be rather circumspect in claiming that we know what gender looks like in God’s eyes. Mostly we may know from our other legacy ideas what gender does not look like… Read more »

nathan
nathan
14 years ago

drdan, Of course I agree that it’s important to pay attention to the real details of real people. I would suggest that holding to the value of a “mythical reality” (eg. “You knitted me together in my mother’s womb”) does not have to mean willful ignorance of, or lack of interest in, the facts we observe (embryonic development). These have different purposes. I guess some would say it that if the “mythical reality” is really from God, has biblical support (Mark 10:6-8, Ephesians 5:31), seems right to the Spirit, then it is worth consideration. The question would be whether, in… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

To let oneself be deeply and positively informed by revelatory myth is one thing. To transform mythical vehicles into rules – maybe even rules in quotes – via institutional and other police powers might be another, really. Deriving ethical rules and theology, for example, only from mythical vehicles pretty consistently brings us repeatedly face to face with the Copernican lesson – What do we do with flat earth models derived in good faith in a prior era from mythical vehicles of revelation? and, What do we do with the real earth, planets, sun and galaxy? Is a flat earth model… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

It is good to see the acknowledgement that the descriptions of gender are arbitrary. I liked Nathan’s uni system model, which relates to a article that explores how to overcome overly blinkered specialisation http://www.wombatwonderings.org/plugins/newsfeed.cgi?rm=content&plugin_data_id=14417 On the rules of sexuality and the bible, the AIDS pandemic has brought home that humans are sexual beings. The God of the Book of Truth wants us to transcend or master our animal origins – God hates Baal-violence and narcissm. Commitment to life-long monogamous marriage is a way of bringing reverence into sex and a practical way of allowing people to manifest their sexuality in… Read more »

nathan
nathan
14 years ago

Cheryl,

Yes, although I didn’t mean to say that gender is necessarily “arbitrary”, which makes it sound flippant and without spiritual ontology. I would probably hold that gender has a real-ness which transcends the physical, just as do other concepts contained in the mystery of humanity’s relationship with God.

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