Thinking Anglicans

Responding to domestic abuse

Update The report can now be downloaded from the CofE website (458 kB pdf file).

The Church of England has launched a set of guidelines for anyone with pastoral responsibility as part of the Church’s commitment to victims of domestic abuse and to addressing the circumstances that lead to such abuse. The press release is here. Responding to Domestic Abuse: Guidelines for those with pastoral responsibility was produced in response to a motion passed by General Synod in July 2004.

Two press reports concentrate on the reasons for abuse rather than on how to respond to it.

Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph Traditional marriage vows ‘could be used to justify wife beating’

Ruth Gledhill in The Times Distorted Christianity ‘causing abuse’

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drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

Of course I am just one person in the helping field, but so far I have yet to see the churches follow through very well on not only responding to the abuse, but also taking a deep and critically inquiring look into how some of these legacy presuppositions, frames, beliefs, values justify, maintain, nourish, and contribute to domination arrangements which tend to be the foundations of violence. Yes the journey is long, and the journey is a large and blessed part of the destination. Insights from inquiring into domestic abuse are useful for inquiring into other patterns of domination and… Read more »

John-Julian, OJN
John-Julian, OJN
14 years ago

The patroness of my Episcopal religious order is Dame Julian of Norwich. One of the central teachings in her magnificent book is a very simple one: “There is no wrath in God”. And yet, when one of our Oblates preached that truth at a conference, people got up and walked out! If the Church persists in preaching an Old Testament wrathful, judgmental, and punishing God, there will be wrathful, judgmental, and punishing people in that Church! And that judgment, wrath and, punishment will be visited upon their spouses – even with a sense righteousness justified by an uncritical reading of… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

No prizes for guessing that I welcome this long overdue reform (I would still have retirement monies if this had existed and been heeded when I had gone to the church for help with boundary management in 1996). Mind you, there will be some dioceses who will still refuse to acknowledge or implement this kind of work until the threat of legal litigation offsets the displeasure of having to deprive their tithing/working sociopaths of their “rightful” rewards.

mynsterpreost
mynsterpreost
14 years ago

“our 30-year-old expulsion of the word “obey” from the marriage vows”

We made it optional in 1928, and couples have to try VERY hard to have it included these days. Excision of the Ephesians reading from the list of lections would be useful, though.

I wish that folk would leave off the Marcionite ‘OT = Wrathful God’ though – there’s plenty of NT wrathful God (the Apocalypse for starters), and plenty of OT non-wrathful. It’s a bit lazy, don’t you think, to make this radical distinction between OT and NT, not to mention rather insulting to Judaism?

*Christopher
14 years ago

We vowed obedience to one another in our union ceremony, the others being fidelity, (essentially the Benedictine vows). Along with mynsterpreost, I think that if we read the OT and NT as our journey out of seeing God as wrathful, coming to see that the wrath is in us, not God, we’d do better. Otherwise, we come in danger of anti-Judaistic readings. But the same goes for obedience; we need to reclaim this word. And we need to reclaim Ephesians, perhaps reading it alongside the Johannine passage about friendship. Christ relates to the Church as friend, and we are all… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

There’s a song called “What a friend we have in Jesus”, I like that title, and think that applies to the biblical God of the Book of Truth. For those who were unaware that sloppy scribes allowed the stereotyping between the OT and the NT, may I recommend that they go back to the OT and look for the gentle nurtuing God that they love in Jesus. The same God is there too e.g. Isaiah 4:2-4; Jeremiah 5:1, 31:28-40, 33:6-16 & 36:22-38, 50:17-20; Zechariah 13:1 The other thing that would help is if people better understood the metaphorical imagery of… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
14 years ago

Depending on which version of the Bible one uses, of course… in mine a quick scan reveals some 140 occurrences of the wrath of God in the OT and some 40 in the NT. I will try to find a concordance to the Vulgate and see what Julian of Norwich managed to overlook.

*Christopher
14 years ago

It’s not simply a matter of what Scripture says or doesn’t say about God, but what the Resurrection reveals about God and Who God is revealed to be overtime with his people Israel, for they are one and the same God. A God that forgives even after we have put His very Image and Likeness, Son, Beloved, to death is not the vengeful, vicious deity so many seem not only to write into theology using bits of Scripture, but it also shows up the depth our own images of God as someone requiring blood and payment. We can misidentify our… Read more »

Prior Aelred
14 years ago

If some of the descriptions of an irrational, wrathful God in the Hebrew Scriptures are to be read literally, then coun’t me among the enemies of this deity!

It has been a commonplace of Scriptural interpretation from the earliest times that we are dealing with human understanding of the events that occurred and that the motivations ascribed to the deity are from a limited human perspective (most perception is projection).

James Alison has indeed done some extremely insightful work on this (& has visited our monastery — very fine speaker).

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Christopher, the abc link didn’t work 🙁 Could you check the html please? Prior, I agree with your concerns. One of the interesting things are the examples in the Old Testament where God has a dialogue about what is or is not righteous. There are examples that show God will relent to prove his true justice where righteous souls can be found e.g. Abraham’s discussion with God before the angels went into Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:17-33); the repentance of Ninevah in the Book of Jonah; Jeremiah 18:8; Isaiah 48:9. Then there is Jeremiah 5:1 “Go up and down the… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
14 years ago

“God had so much wroth for the world that he gave …..” etc

*Christopher
14 years ago

Cheryl,

It worked for me in Firefox, but here it is again:

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/relrpt/stories/s1184713.htm

Also, his website with various essays, etc.:

http://www.jamesalison.co.uk/

You can find the talk under “Talks and articles”: Challenging deceptive sacrificial notions in Christianity

*Christopher
14 years ago

Cheryl,

My bad that’s another article. If you can’t access it, see my sidebar under “Reflecting”. The article link is “Befriending a Vengeful God”.

Spiro
Spiro
14 years ago

When Christ entered the Temple and saw the traders and hustlers misusing the House of Prayer for all Nations, did he not get angry and did he not make a whip and chased out (and probalbly beat the cr..p out of the) hustlers.

Surely, the God of the OT is no different from the God of the NT.

laurence roberts
laurence roberts
14 years ago

Doesn’t the Bible tend to operate like the Rorschach ‘blotter’ personality test ? We tend to see ourselves or aspects of ourselves therein.

‘The life which is unexamined is not worth living’ – Plato

We might do better to accept and face this.
Then we would have to face the truth of Julian of Norwich that ‘the wrath is in ourselves’. — the wrath, vengeance, lust –or whatever. No good trying to project it on to God or the AC !

It could be the making of us. We might grow through the agonising experience…..

Let Self examination begin !…….

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Spiro, If you read my posting of 3 October, you will see that it is acknowledged that God can be angry (and I actually refer to the same scene that you cited). The difference between God and humans; is that God chooses when, if and how to be angry. Whereas humans often become obsessive or narcisstic and lose control over appropriate boundaries to their anger. This is an excellent article from The Economist http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7281113 While the topic is to do with Narcisstic bosses, the dynamics can apply to priests as well. It includes: “…highly narcissistic bosses tended to make bigger… Read more »

Christopher Calderhead
Christopher Calderhead
14 years ago

Gledhill: “Distorted Christianity ‘causing abuse’”

Spiro “chased out (and probalbly beat the cr..p out of the) hustlers.”

Sounds like a case study.

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
14 years ago

It is impossible to understand either the OT or the NT without grasping the forensic concept of justice which runs through from Genesis to Revelation. Sin has consequences which must be addressed, for it angers the righteous God whose loving purposes are defied by human disobedience. Sin is unjust and unrighteous and the sentence which it brings is justly passed by God who judges all human acts and thoughts. The OT sacrificial system represents a temporary solution to the situation, one which it recognised itself could never finally take away the guilt which attaches to those who have broken God’s… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
14 years ago

“did he not get angry and did he not make a whip and chased out (and probalbly beat the cr..p out of the) hustlers”

Only in the Mel Gibson-made version, Spiro. ;-/

David Rowett (=mynsterpreost)
David Rowett (=mynsterpreost)
14 years ago

Cheryl contributed: the dynamics can apply to priests as well. It includes: “…highly narcissistic bosses tended to make bigger changes in the use of important resources, such as research and development, or in spending and leverage; they carried out more and bigger mergers and acquisitions; and their results were both more extreme (more big wins or big losses) and more volatile than those of firms run by their humbler peers.” I would suggest that this may well apply to the megachurches and power evangelists: big congregations sometimes, huge disasters at others. A lot to be said for pottering away quietly… Read more »

David Rowett (=mynsterpreost)
David Rowett (=mynsterpreost)
14 years ago

“The punishment meted out to the human race in the Flood exemplifies the severity of the plight of sinners.”

Hm, it also points out that God can come up with plans which are failures. He wipes out all humanity bar a handful, and succeeds in doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to get rid of sin.

sorry to spoil the party, but this is pious claptrap which does little to honour the complexity, subtlety and insight of the OT.

*Christopher
14 years ago

Actually, Alan, no, there are two ways of understanding this. I’m linking to Lee’s reading of Keith Ward for the other understanding in which sin is its own self-punishment and does not require a wrothful God to mete out justice because sin is to go against one’s nature and carries with it automatic penalty because that’s the way God has so ordered the world.

http://verbumipsum.blogspot.com/2006/10/ward-on-original-sin-and-atonement.html

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Alan You might enjoy reading the Baylor University research into the four models of God interesting http://www.baylor.edu/pr/news.php?action=story&story=41678 Jesus tried to alleviate fears that there had been enough sacrifices and that humanity had matured enough to not need blood sacrifices to appease God’s anger. God did try to convey the need earlier, but there were those who literally could not hear that truth. The tragedy today is that we still witness those who suffer from the same deafness. What we can do today is recognise that there are some souls who are deaf to the unnecessary death, suffering and torture of… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Christopher The article and comments about sin being its own self punishment are interesting. It fits in with the idea of “as you judge so you will be judged”, and follows through with the Baylor model that as you see God determines how you see God’s response to your choices. An idea worth exploring more is that God chose to have space in between, that being separated and forced to communicate through limited means enhances the refinement of thinking. I think some of what God has done is simply for the satisfaction it brings God. It pleases God to have… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
14 years ago

I was waiting for Alan Marsh’s follow up on his Bible of the 180 Wraths of God, but instead I get an even more astounding post on “the forensic concept of justice which runs through from Genesis to Revelation”. Not counting Revelation, which is a most peculiar case, the Swedish NT 1917 concordance (there isn’t one to the 1981 or 2000, because they are not concordant translations but “Dynamic Equivalence” ones) presents 9 “wrath” claimed to be “the divine wrath” – 5 of them in Romans – and 20 “other cases”. In addition there are 12 vredesdom; “judgment of wrath”… Read more »

John Henry
John Henry
14 years ago

Writes Alan Marsh: “It is impossible to understand either the OT or the NT without grasping the forensic concept of justice which runs through from Genesis to Revelation.” Alan is so hung up on PSA (not the test for prostate cancer, but “penal substitutionary atonement”). It is interesting to check the indices of major systematic theologies (Wolfhart Pannenberg, Karl Rahner, Juergen Moltmann, Alistair McGrath, Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Robert Jenson’s, etc.) and you won’t find any page references. Isn’t that odd? All the great theologians named believe in salvation through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
14 years ago

David Rowett, you are entirely free to interpret any text, biblical or literary, in any way you choose, but the OT itself is accurately interpreted by Paul in Romans 6.23: the wages of sin is death. This remains true in the NT, but the second part of that verse now applies – “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. Neither the seriousness of sin nor its consequences are in any way abrogated or mitigated: but God’s grace, through the death and resurrection, offers as a gift the possibility of salvation. I don’t for a… Read more »

Ann Marie
14 years ago

Actually the idea that justice requires punishment is a Latin interpretation. The Hebrews and Greeks believed more in restorative justice. Thus the idea of things being brought back to their original state. Hence theories of atonement which have an element of the restoration or renewal of creation. Considering that Paul was Jewish, I would think his idea would be more restorative than punitive in Romans.

David Rowett (=mynsterpreost)
David Rowett (=mynsterpreost)
14 years ago

“Make your own mind up about the extent to which it (=the death of Christ) is penal, but I think there is little room for doubt whether it is substitutionary or a sacrifice.” I’m not sure that does justice to that little known Christian document, the Gospel of John. And there were plenty of Christians in the early centuries who managed quite happily without ‘substitution’ in that juridical framework. At the risk of being exceeding boring, I would commend the masterly ‘Dream of the Rood’ as an authentic expression of Christian understanding of the death of Christ from (about) C7.… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Thanks John Henry for spelling out what PSA means. The thing that fascinates me about the whole PSA and punitive justice thing is that it shows a fundamental disrespect for Jesus’ sacrifice, because it says it wasn’t enough. The other thing that amuses me is that States with excessively punitive justice systems often have worse problems with repeat offenders. There’s been some excellent work done in South Australia looking at trying to stop criminals reoffending, and using their time in jail to prepare them to be able to live as functional human beings in mainstream society. (When justice is overly… Read more »

Prior Aelred
14 years ago

If this isn’t wandering too far off topic (maybe a dead thread anyway), several months ago I had a dream — I was at some conference in Europe along with Presiding Bishop Griswold & I turned to him & said, “I believe that the doctrine of substitutionary Atonement is heretical.”

At General Convention I had the opportunity to speak to ++Frank (for the first time since he has been PB — I who MCed his first ordination, IIRC) & told him of the dream. He was quite aback, thought, smiled & said he liked it.

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Ann Marie

I shall use the word “restorative” as much as possible, a much more beautiful and appropriate intepretation.

Sometimes bad things happen. The majesty and grace of God is being able to transform setbacks, tragedies and appalling circumstances into something wondeful and uplifting. The phoenix from the fire, grace rising up out of the ashes, life from death, hope from gloom, forgiveness from failure.

God not only redeems, God restores.

*Christopher
14 years ago

Alan, If such were the case, we’d have to say the same for all of the heterosexuals and AIDS as well; the point is that commandment and cannot be disconnected from flourishing, from becoming more like an image of God, Christlike which is in contrast to a Calvinist understanding that places commandment as something to be submitted to irrespective of a “why?” or nuance about interpretation. I think a model that insists on divine punishment even more troubling, and one that is most often spouted off at homosexuals by evangelicals. That way, I guess they can justify their nastiness in… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Prior You are starting to sound like a Jew! They believe that matters of Torah interpretation are not just dicussed within awake human consciousness but at “higher levels”. If you are interested let me know and I will see if I can find some online examples. I’ve read a couple of good examples where there was a debate about how to read a portion of the Torah and then in a group meditation a dead teacher came and described that both perspectives are valid, it just depends on how you are defining space or relative location. For example there is… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
14 years ago

I’m sorry Christopher, I wrote a considered follow up to your posting, but it has not appeared here, and I unfortunately did not keep a copy.

Simon Sarmiento
14 years ago

Alan
As your comment well exceeded the 400 word limit, I emailed it back to you. As always, you are very welcome to resubmit in briefer form.

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
14 years ago

Thank you Simon. Now in 354 words – DR, I know the A/S “Dream of the Rood” very well, but the quote you provide does not support your argument, neither does the rest of the poem. And it is not a biblical text. The point is that the bible has its own explicit understanding of the Cross. Substitution is at the heart of the Jewish sacrificial system, such as Genesis 22’s account of Abraham and Isaac, and the alternative offering provided by God. The OT spells it out in Leviticus 16. Atonement is made by the substitutionary offering of blood,… Read more »

Prior Aelred
14 years ago

Cheryl —

Thank you.

As Pope Pius XI said, “We are all spiritual Semites.”

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Alan

Yes and the whole point of Jesus sacrifice was to end that phase of humanity’s development for once and all times. Anyone who still advocates the punitive God requiring sacrifices for fear of punishment insults both Jesus and God.

Plus you need to remember faith and forgiveness, which cover a multitude of sins e.g. Hebrews 11, Isaiah 1:11-17, Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.”

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
14 years ago

Cheryl, Nobody is advocating any further sacrifices. What Jesus offered was “a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world” in Cranmer’s words, but that does not mean that sin came to an end on the Cross or our need for redemption. On the contrary, the eucharist is “a perpetual memory” of his offering which he commanded us to continue in the bread and wine of holy communion, the Church’s paschal offering of the new covenant, recalling the paschal lamb of the old testament. It is an offering made for the sins of… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Alan Does your posting say that it is God’s wrath and God’s place to judge? If so, then who are we humans to decide who should or should not seek out God? Does not the bible also say that God calls His own to Him? If that teaching is true, then those who come to our doors have been called by God? Surely we then sin if we refuse to open our doors to them? The bible warns us that we will not always recognise or be comfortable with whom God has called. For example: Isaiah 44:5 “One will say,… Read more »

David Rowett (=mynsterpreost)
David Rowett (=mynsterpreost)
14 years ago

AM said Substitution is at the heart of the Jewish sacrificial system, Is it? It may comprise a part of it, but my memory of the OT is that there’s more to (say) the ‘minhah’ than mere substitution. On top of that, there is, I believe, significant discussion as to whether the (so-called) ‘sin offering’ in the OT is a substitutionary rite in the first place (see eg the thesis of Milgrom, who also points out that the word we translate as ‘sin offering’ — hatta’t — is also used in situations where sin is nowhere on the horizon, eg… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

Alan Marsh,
Before you go too far in youinetrpretation of the Orthodox understanding of the Atonement, I’d suggest you read:

http://www.orthodoxpress.org/parish/river_of_fire.htm
It kind of puts PSA in its place.

Cheryl Clough
Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Ford

I’ve forwarded the link for future reference and started to read it. It’s a long one. You might find the Jewish model of tzaddik interesting. I find this a moving piece:
http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=325708

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
14 years ago

Cheryl, God does call his own to him. His word is “Repent, and believe the good news”. Note that metanoia must come first. As Rowan Williams said recently, the church is to be welcoming – not inclusive. Ford, I took a look at the link you provided, but it does not deal with the patristic teaching on the Atonement such as that provided by St Cyril of Jerusalem. I have not heard of the author or the organisation. (I am in the UK). There are many who call themselves “Orthodox” just as there are many who call themselves “Anglican”. David,… Read more »

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