Thinking Anglicans

Jesus' Family Values – Seminar

Ekklesia is sponsoring an event:

You are invited to join Professor Deirdre Good in conversation about ‘Jesus’ Family Values’ and their challenge for the churches’ current stance.

11-12am (with refreshments), Thursday 31 May 2007.
St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace
, 78, Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AG.

The meeting is free. It would help if you could tell us you are intending to come by emailing: ekklesiaevents@gmail.com

British-born Dr Deirdre Good, now Professor of New Testament at General (Anglican) Seminary in New York, has already caused waves in the USA with her book Jesus’ Family Values, which argues that Jesus replaced his family of origin with differently configured communities and households.

The subject is highly topical. Churches are embroiled in angry arguments about adoption, sexuality and the future of marriage. The latest British Social Attitudes survey says traditional family structures are under pressure. And the government is highlighting family policy as a major focus.

This event – which launches Professor Good’s book in the UK – is being promoted by the UK think-tank Ekklesia, which examines the role of religion in public life. It is being hosted by St Ethelburga’s, a centre in the City of London for reconciliation among people of different religions and beliefs.

Full details here.

34
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
34 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
4 Comment authors
Ford ElmsChristopher ShellErika BakerChirstopher ShellCheryl Clough Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Cheryl Clough
Guest

Good on Ekklesia. Just to show they are not the only ones evolving, this week’s Out In Scripture is also looking at the question of patriarchy and family structures. http://hrc.org/scripture/week.asp I particularly liked this passage “The setting of the book of Proverbs is the patriarchal family in which the father instructs the son, passing on the wisdom of the sages encapsulated in the form of proverbs. Hochma represents wisdom, which has broken loose from this traditional setting of court and family. Instead she can be found in public spaces such as the street and the city gates. Her knowledge is… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Good stuff! Jesus’s family values were certainly not those of his own society, nor of ours, nor of the Moral Majority.

Mind you, anyone who takes this to mean that Jesus was pro abortion, pro homosexual practice, pro divorce etc has not an iota of evidence on their side, and plenty against. Talk about making in one’s own image.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Mind you, anyone who takes this to mean that Jesus was pro abortion, pro homosexual practice, pro divorce etc has not an iota of evidence on their side, and plenty against.” Not, as far as I’m aware, what is being said. The point is frequently made that both He and Paul, presumably on His inspiration, didn’t think much of marriage one way or the other. For Paul, it’s clearly a sop to the poor striaghts who can’t keep it in their pants, Jesus’s Gospel statements on the topic seem to revolve around respecting one’s spouse, ie no adultery, that sort… Read more »

Chirstopher Shell
Guest
Chirstopher Shell

Hi Ford-
I didnt say that this particular individual Deirdre Good had any such views. My point is simply this: I have come across people who make the point that Jesus’s family values were not ours, and each one of them is motivated by a desire to oppose the position of the American religious right. That is why they are selective about what they say and what they do not say.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher,
I didn’t imply that you did, merely that I have heard, well, no-one, say what you claimed was being said. Now, maybe a few nutters in your experience, but they no more represent the majority than the Rev. Falwell did, surely. And, you aren’t allying yourself with the “American religious right”, are you? Falwell and that bunch?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Christopher, are you saying that those of us who will allow abortion in some circumstances, don’t have a problem with homosexuality, and know that divorce can sometimes be for the good, misquote Jesus as an ally? If so, I think you still misunderstand how we (I)read Scripture. You forget the Spirit and the discernment of the Church as a whole in this. Thomas doesn’t like the way I mention “sola scrpitura”, and I suppose in a strictly theological fashion he is right. But the fact remains – If Christianity were limited to what people (however important), wrote 2000 year ago,… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Erika Yes, that is what I am saying, and is a fair summary of the position that, wso far as we can tell, was taken by the Jesus of the gospels. Your implication that this was not Jesus’s position on abortion, homosexuality and divorce astounds me. What positive evidence can you cite? What evidence there is, is against you (and on divorce there is a lot). For the rest, there is no reason at all to doubt that he held the mainstream Jewish position, particularly in view of his love of children. Is there any evidence in favour of… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Erika You have a great faith in modern psychology, which in some cases may be fair enough. Never once have I used ‘the Bible says’ as an appeal to authority. Nor would I, since it is a circular argument. If anything is true, it was also already true *before* the bible said it. So the bible didnt make it any more or less true. However, many of our discussions have been about what the bible does actually say. That is also an important question. (a) ‘What does the Bible say?’ [assuming it says just one thing, which it doesn’t always]… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Christopher, so you didn’t ask for “theologians” but for “New Testament Specialists”. If I remember correctly, you may even only have asked for “names” to back my views up, but I haven’t got the time to verify that now. Look, if you were seriously interested you would have done that research for yourself by now. I get the feeling that your questions reflect hidden accusations rather than genuine interest. As for what the bible actually does say ….yes, but the question is almost irrelevant unless we agree on the relative importance of Scrpiture in God’s revelation of Himself. Do you… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“First of all, there is no ‘bunch'” Yes, there is, and they have a “prayer breakfast” with George Bush frequently, weekly if I’m not mistaken. “Lumping them all together is the classic ploy” and used very regularly by the “reasserters” to foster the persecution myth I have spoken of so often. It is indeed they who identified the so-called split and labelled the parties supposedly involved, lumping all “liberals” together as believing the same things, when in fact it is only a small minority of the far left that state such beliefs. Really, Christopher, this is all a bit much,… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Ford- Yes of course – where else could life begin? But there are people with the title of Christian leaders (Abp Habgood, Lord Harries – is he a Lord? – Richard Holloway) who seem to manifest a lack of conscience and compassion on this one. Or – roughly translated – their policies will lead to a lot of precious babies never having the chance to be born. Hi Erika- Moral issues range from very obvious to very complex. To my mind there are a lot that are very complex. But how does that stop the very obvious ones being… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“If male active homosexuals live 20 years less on average than married men, then the decision about which is the healthier lifestyle is scarcely difficult” Please!!! You know as well as I do that this is about condoms and not about morally healthier lifestyles. Or are you saying these people are being struck down by God because he disapproves of their loves? As for your view on car mechanics – if it was a little bit more logical than the previous point you made, I might consider that you had read enough car mechanic magazines and listened to enough actual… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“where else could life begin?” Birth. Judaism, I think, believes this. At some point during the 9 months of gestation, cf.Psalm 139:15-16, which hints this might be the case, cf. medieval ideas of progressive ensoulment, or those who felt life began at quickening. Lots of different ideas as to when, so not so clear. “male active homosexuals live 20 years less on average than married men,” You’ve made this claim before, and, after much cajoling, gave a reference. I have been unable to find this journal in our local medical library, and have since lost the reference, so if you’d… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Ford-
The info is easily available by googling – but that is not the point. The point is that I am surprised that you are surprised by this data since the scientific studies all tend to point the same way, so that there is nothing unexpected or controversial about such a finding.

Hi Erika-
But you would be wrong to listen. I know nothing at all about car mechanics. And likewise, there are many people who claim to have opinions on NT exegesis who are not equipped to have an opinion of any sort on this.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the scientific studies” We’ve been here before. Last time you mentioned “scientific studies” it took weeks to get even one reference from you. I have Googled, and gotten a lot of obviously biased stuff a la Gagnon, but little that is reliable. You’re going to have to do better than references to “studies” that you do not cite. This sort of thing makes it look like an attempt to give a scientific veneer to something not terribly supportable. If the evidence is there, produce it, please. Does the article, for instance, give any reasons why we are supposedly dying so… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Christopher, the problem is that Jesus did not mean faith to be left to the experts. You see, if you had a working knowledge of car mechanics after some comprehensive private study of the subject, I would certainly listen to you. If you tell me you don’t know anything about the subject, then of course there’s no point asking your opinion. But in matters of faith, we can all read the bible, we can all read what the experts have to say, and we can all listen to what our church and our priests say. With that, and prayerful conversation… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

A Google search today turned up this, by the Family Research Institute: http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/26/3/657 A link to “similar studies” on Pubmed, the major medical journal search tool, is to studies having to do with life expectancy in HIV. Tell me this isn’t your “scientific study”. When we last discussed this, you claimed you weren’t citing Gagnon. No indeed. But Gagnon clearly isn’t the only one doing what he is doing. They state: “The main outcome measures of interest were age-specific patterns of death, life expectancy and life expectancy lost due to HIV/AIDS at exact age 20 years, and the probability of… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Ford- I am no expert. The articles known to me are two: one which gives an 8-20 figure for Canada (International Journal of Epidemiology 1997) – this was the one cited before. The other (EPA_2007_Homo_Footprint.032107.pdf – check with me if this is not correct) focusses specifically on comparison of the married (who obviously live especially long) with those in homosexual ‘partnerships’. All you need to do, as I said earlier, is give other scientific studies that give a significantly different picture from a wider sample. If you do, I will tentatively (pending further propgressive enlightenment) go with that. If… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“we are both obliged to treat the largest scientific studies as the best available information.” No, we are obliged to treat as the best available information those studies conducted with appropriate scientific rigor. This is not one of those studies. All kinds of studies of doubtful significance get published all the time. I need give no studies to refute one poorly done in the first place, I need merely show that it is not done in a proper scientific fashion, and thus its findings are not trustworthy. I believe I have done so. The other link doesn’t work. If you… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Erika- Your position is untenable, but let me explain why. On spiritual/experiential matters, I agree that everyone can speak about their own spiritual experience, and should certainly have the right to do so. But not everything connected with Jesus is a spiritual issue. There are historical issues. There are theological issues. There are sociological issues. There are even (believe it or not) statistical issues regarding how often a given word appears in the different gospels. And so on. On all of these the experts are considerably more worth listening to than the average person in the street. In other… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“for which we need to seek the opinion of the experts.”

Ah, but Christopher, which experts? For many of us, there are experts whose opinions others discount because they are merely “the traditions of men”. Indeed, we need to be careful who we identify as “expert”. You, for instance, feel you have identified ‘expertise’ in a scientific study that is dodgy to say the least, and doesn’t deserve your trust. Would you consult with John Spong for his “expertise”? Neither would I. Why not?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Christopher, it’s like in every other walk of life – we have to chose our experts and then trust them. But that means we have to acquire sufficient knowldge ourselves to base our judgement on. Our whole complex democracy is based on the principle that experts make their views available, we assess them with all our skills, and then support one side over the other. In that respect, faith is no different. You feel persuaded by evangelical scholars, I don’t. You and I both make our decisions based on a variety of reasons, but a working knowledge of theology is… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Erika- Eh? Which ‘evangelical scholars’? I have not mentioned any evangelical scholars. I was speaking of my *broad* agreement with all known qualified and recognised New Testament specialists on the range of options available (and excluded) for interpreting Rom 1 and 1 Cor 6. I agree strongly with your rejection of didactic ‘authority’. ‘So-and-so said XYZ’ does not make XYZ true. However, the expert will always know better than you and I, unless we are among the experts ourselves. Hi Ford- You have suffered awfully, for which you deserve a lot of sympathy. On your other points: one is… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“You have suffered awfully” No I haven’t. I know people who have, but I’m not one of them. I apologize if I presented my hypothetical example as though it were somehow my experience. I guess I assumed my first statements about my happy home life and the statement that I MIGHT feel differently IF my mother had been in such a situation made that clear. It obviously didn’t. Sorry if I led you astray. “for which you deserve a lot of sympathy” No I don’t. “one must oneself be a semi-expert (as Erika says). One must then sift the data.… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher,
Sorry to be posting fast and furious here. I found a link to something called

Federal Distortion of Homosexual Footprint(Ignoring Early Gay Death).

Is this the other piece you were referring to?

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Ford
Yes, I think so. The headline is justified. The fact of early gay death is a mountain; the fact that advocates never refer to it shows spin and a deliberate lack of balance IMHO.

After all, even if the figures were wrong, they could at least refer to the correct ones. But they never refer to figures of any kind. And then (it gets worse) they claim to have made up their minds on the issue in advance of consulting any figures.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, So now I’m confused. You have referred repeatedly to “scientific” evidence for what you claim, yet here the only two studies you cite are seriously flawed: one poorly constructed, and another by the chair of the Family Research Institute, an organization you earlier this winter denied referencing! This makes me doubt you, actually. A Google search of his name will turn up many sites dealing with the rejection of his work. He is not in any way reliable. This is not science! The things you have cited are not reliable. The chilling thing is that you cite them as… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, PubMed is the search engine used for searching the medical literature. It is the one we use here pretty much exclusively. If it is in the medical literature, it is on PunMed. I did a search with ‘homosexual life expectancy’. It turned up 21 articles, hardly a “mountain” when you consider that a search for, say, squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue wiill turn up hundreds, if not thousands. Only the first of the two articles you cited was there. Everything else had to do with HIV or certain cancers, with the exception of this: J Consult Clin Psychol.… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

I did a PubMed search of Paul Cameron. It turned up 21 articles, all but one of which were published in a journal called Psychology Reports, spoken of in this from the Boston Globe: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/07/31/beliefs_drive_research_agenda_of_new_think_tanks/?page=full I can speak of one occasion when the Globe published a report from a freelancer that was fictitious and ended up publishing a retraction, but this, combined with everything else I find on the web tells me Cameron is not to be believed. Sorry, Christopher, your “science” is appearing more and more like propaganda all the time. Frankly, if you cite Cameron, you have no… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

We are not talking about what *not* to believe (which is only deferring facing the real issue), we are talking about what *to* believe. On each topic the best we can do is follow the *most* scientific stats and data that is currently available. As I have repeatedly said, as soon as preferable studies (broader-based, more rigorous) become available, one follows them instead. And so on. Poking holes in one study does not help us find what the true stats/data are. (Not that any of us would know, not having conducted the studies: that is why we have to defer… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“We are not talking about what *not* to believe” Yes we are. Propaganda is not to be believed. Faulty “science” is not to be believed, and certainly not quoted in an argument that slanders a whole group of people. “*most* scientific stats” No such thing. You cite one study in which the flaws render it useless. Cameron is propaganda, and not “scientific stats” in any way. To say that until someone does a rigourous scientific study, I will continue to believe propaganda and lies just because they are made to look like science is a poor argument. You seem to… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Answer the question man!! :o)
(1) What think ye of the International Journal of Epidemiology findings?
(2) We still have to use the most scientific study hitherto as our default position. What is that study and where is it to be found?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

1. Asked and answered. Numerous times. It is a poorly constructed study, thus I think poorly of it.
2. Cameron’s work has been compared to the antisemitic propaganda of the Nazis. It is beneath either of u s to give it credence.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Oops! Editing error. Neither of these is “the most scientific study hitherto”. I searched Pubmed, and found nothing other than Cameron on gay lifespan. Reputable work may thus not have been done. That does not mean we have to accept propaganda, however. I have to question your motives in pursuing this line of argument. Your “scientific evidence” is neither scientific, nor evidence. Until you can come up with some real science in this, I will not engage you further. I refuse to debate the merits of propaganda. I even question your ability to critically read a scientific paper.