Thinking Anglicans

opinions after Easter

James Mawdsley writes in The Times about The proper place of the Church in debates of state.

Michael Horan writes about the Resurrection in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column.

Christopher Howse writes about Pictures from a lost village in the Daily Telegraph.

Simon Barrow writes at Ekklesia about The God elusion.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that After the fire comes the resurrection.

And in last week’s Church Times Paul Oestreicher wrote This is not a religion of the book.

Also Una Kroll wrote Abandon establishment, and gain autonomy.

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Chaplain Steven Rindahl
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Chaplain Steven Rindahl

Paul Oestreicher claims in his article that Christians should renounce the bloody protions of the Bible and repent of violence done in God’s name. Would it not be better – more biblical maybe – to learn from those portions of scripture? Just as we see the bloody sacrifices being replaced by the final sacrifice of Christ and therefore not having to be repeated, the warfare of the past used to overcome the enemies of the people of God is replaced with the love that Jesus taught. While one may have been required at the time it has been replaced with… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
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Lapinbizarre

Archbishop Jensen set us all to rights in a recent lecture, Chaplain Rindhal. “If you get the big picture straight, you won’t be led astray as easily by the details of Scripture.”

http://your.sydneyanglicans.net/sydneystories/holy_spirit_draws_crowd_to_jensen/

Thanks to Caliban for the link.

Pluralist
Guest

It’s always pleasing when someone’s view of the resurrection matches your own! Michael Horan wrote: _Disillusioned, confused and frightened, the disciples seem to have returned north to Galilee to resume their fishing. As they reminisced, possibly over many months, recalling their extraordinary experiences with Jesus, links began to form between their mental images of him and then-current messianic expectations._ I would add that they were also observing Jewish rituals and observed the importance of food, and it is into and out of that comes the “presence” of Jesus, whatever else may have been bereavement effects. As a matter of interest,… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“If you get the big picture straight, you won’t be led astray as easily by the details of Scripture.”

I think the problem is that people like Jensen get the big picture straight.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Sorry, that should have said “…don’t get the big picture straight”! Duh! God’s little way saying I ought not try to look so smug and superior, I guess.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Hmm, these bright visitors remind me that I am ever so happy to rest and move and pray and witness within the generous spaces of a worldwide communion – in which Peter Akinola, and a whole host of angry conservative believers can still come to a shared table, just so long as in their anger and righteousness they cannot also prevent folks like Simon Barrow and Paul Oestreicher from coming along, too. Or Pluralist, for that matter. Or Cheryl C. Our generous reach as a communion is a key part of our reason for being Anglican in that other, alternative,… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

A beautiful set of papers, worthy and insightful comments through many of the articles. Thanks Lapin for the link and Ford for the chuckle. You wrote “I think the problem is that people like Jensen get the big picture straight.” A play on your words “I think the problem is that some only like to look at the big straight bits of the picture”. Some have read the bible from a quantitative perspective. God is masculine because over 95% of the imagery is masculine, forgetting that there is that 5% feminine imagery. Plus 5% of feminine God is a whole… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

To me, this is the core of Oestreicher’s commentary and something I wish the con-evos would learn:

“The Spirit is the contemporary judge over all that has been written. Jesus said, and the Spirit goes on telling us: “You have heard it said . . . but I say unto you.” Yesterday’s wisdom is not tomorrow’s. To the disciples, Jesus said: “There are many things you do not understand, but the Spirit will lead you to the truth.” He did not say: “Study the texts: it is all there,” and, significantly, did not write any texts himself.”

Ben W
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Ben W

Pat, There some assertions here that need examination: 1. Who says and what makes the Spirit “the judge of all that is written?” Whatever you say, does that some discount or negate what we have in the gospel accounts? 2. If what we received “yesterday” can simply be discarded, then it follows what is received tomorrow can be discarded the day after that (we live in simply arbitary world). 3.Does the Spirit simply operate apart from and without a place for the gospel witness to Christ? Or are “the texts” we have, represented by our gospels, the result and in… Read more »

cp36
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cp36

Has anyone wondered why God didn’t bother to ensure that the original writings of the Bible were preserved? About the woman speaking in church, 1 Corinthians 14:34&35 was most probably not from St Paul but was interpolated by a later copyist. If you jump from verse 33 to 36 it will make sense. Verses 34&35 appear after verse 40 in some manuscripts. Similar ideas are found in 1 Timothy 2:11&12. It is disputed by scholars whether Timothy and Titus were actually written by St Paul. St Paul said a woman my pray and prophesy in church. It is not possible… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“1. Who says and what makes the Spirit “the judge of all that is written?” Whatever you say, does that some discount or negate what we have in the gospel accounts?” Where in the gospel accounts does Jesus even once mention homosexuality or anything that could be construed to be homosexuality? “2. If what we received “yesterday” can simply be discarded, then it follows what is received tomorrow can be discarded the day after that (we live in simply arbitary world).” Who used the word “discarded”? Why not “reinterpreted”? “Made clearer?” And, for that matter, we have “discarded” (to use… Read more »

Ben W
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Ben W

cp36, I noticed you quoted a couple of scriture texts! Not a problem when you do only when somebody else does it? Interesting, it just so happens the ones you don’t like are the ones you think are interpolated so you can dismiss them. Very handy way to deal with scripture! I agree Gal 3:26-29 is a basic text on the question. You will note if you read closely that I referred to a text on the same subject in the same gospel in the same section of the gospel (in context!). So from here on can we take it… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Pat, To the contrary, what Jesus affirms about the sexual relation based on God creating them “male and female” in creation is decisive for the form of this relationship (Matt 19:4-6). The affirmation is basic and the apostle is in accord with this in marking departures from it. Is the “modern world” as such then to be the criterion for what we will accept or not accept? Quite an array of stuff in the modern world. Experiments on humans in the “most advanced societies” and the most terrible brutality or violence through this last century! We may set ourselves up… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“To the contrary, what Jesus affirms about the sexual relation based on God creating them “male and female” in creation is decisive for the form of this relationship (Matt 19:4-6). The affirmation is basic and the apostle is in accord with this in marking departures from it.”

That is, to my mind, a very restrictive and Pharisaic reading of the Matthew passage.

cp36
Guest
cp36

Hi Ben W, Sorry, I wasn’t referring to anything you said but to “This is not a religion of a book.” It says there, “Quite rightly, we may therefore say that St Paul had a view of the role of women that we now recognise to be less than Christian.” I say it is impossible for a woman to prophesy, which St Paul said she can do in church, and remain silent. In 1 Cor 14:3, he says, ” … the one who prophesies speaks to people …”. So St Paul couldn’t have contradicted himself in the same chapter. In… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Is the “modern world” as such then to be the criterion for what we will accept or not accept?” No, it is not. That is not what is going on here. How could it be? Except for a few pockets in urban areas in the West, the world says that gay people are less than human and worthy of imprisonment, if not death. Even in non-urban areas of the West, being gay is still associated with significant physical danger. The world believes that if someone should kill a homosexual, that is less of a crime and deserves less of a… Read more »

Ben W
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Ben W

Pat,

I note that you pick up on the first part of what I said but you ignore the second part.

It is true, I prefer to go with what Jesus affirms on the form of the sexual relationship, rather than simply my construction out of my inclination beyond anything he said! On the second part, I think that is the critical issue between us: whether “the modern” world serves as the criterion or God is God.

Ben W

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Ford, Have you followed the line of thought on this here? Pat made the point, on the basis of certain things that have been discarded because they are no longer “considered either viable or realistic in the modern world,” teaching on homosexuality might also be discarded (see her post above). So yes Ford that is what is “going on here.” It is true, in your terms about the world, most people do not find homosexuality natural or ideal, to be held up for the coming generation or to be promoted (of course this is true of other things like “open… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ben: “I think that is the critical issue between us: whether “the modern” world serves as the criterion or God is God.” I do not presume–as you do–that I know precisely what God wants of me…or the world. I move as I believe the Spirit directs me. Yes, I may be wrong. But I believe if I am, the Spirit will eventually redirect me…or the world. Western Society has been moving–for 2000 years–forward into an ever more open and accepting stance toward much that was once considered forbidden: women in power, young people controlling their own lives, social mobility for… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

“the “modern world” has been the criterion for what the Church accepts for the past 1700 years” Does “the world” have a major influence on what priestly castes and their flocks accept? Yes. That’s a tension that has been going on for millennium. Do God and/or “the Church” have a major influence on what “the world” accepts? Yes. That has also been going on for millennium. Examples of the former are “just war theory”, legitimizing power and authority with whatever means necessary, dismissal of God’s desires for peace or reverence for this level of Creation and its occupants. Examples of… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Pat, I think if we got past some assumptions here we might see that we are not as far apart as you seem to think we are! I do believe this is a quite “selective” reading of the history (nicely follows the “Enlightenment” paradigm = “western society has been moving” with reason finally to the better world – WE are getting better and better – we will bring in this better world). Who are the “we” here? Trouble is it overlooks so many blind spots, so many killing fields in discovering “the new world” – in N America but even… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Ben:

Like any society, western society has had its up-and-down moments…but the general trend has been toward greater freedom and greater equality. I think both those things are representative of the Spirit’s work among us.

Malcolm+
Guest

Ben, you are correct that the Spirit does not move “in a vacuum.” The guiding of the Spirit must be discerned. The potential problem with a liberal position, sometimes, is that it can be very easy to assume that any new thing is the guiding of the Spirit. A recurring problem with the “conservative” position is that is seems to assume that no discernment has even been attempted – indeed, that discernment has been defiantly rejected. When liberals point to the examples of usury, slavery or the role of women, some of them make the mistake that these examples support… Read more »

Ben W
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Ben W

Malcolm, I think you make an overall clear and helpful comment. In particular, you pick up what is a widespread assumption on this list and elsewhere (your statement: “When liberals point to the examples of usury, slavery or the role of women, some of them make the mistake that these examples support the position that the Church SHOULD revisit sexuality issues. They don’t.”). I am glad to see it acknowledged as such. (I have myself been prepared to “revisit” the issue of slavery and the role of women here and I think we need to do more with the issue… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“A recurring problem with the “conservative” position is that is seems to assume that no discernment has even been attempted – indeed, that discernment has been defiantly rejected.”

An even more recurring problem with the conservative position is the assumption that the Spirit inspiring us and speaking to us a few thousand years ago…or, that if it hasn’t, it only speaks to in tongues.

Susan in Georgia
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Susan in Georgia

While I enjoy the post-riposte at Thinking Anglicans, I wonder how often the contributors think about the people who will never post here, do not know the site exists, and wouldn’t read it if they did. I’m thinking about my nephews and nieces who spontaneously started calling my partner Aunt C. But more, I’m thinking about the older women at my church who have buried their husbands, watched their children divorce, and sometimes raised their grandchildren. These ladies have witnessed and survived World War II, the end of segregation, the acceptance of divorce and contraception, the new prayerbook, the ordination… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“What world are you living in?” I live in a world where the Anglican archbishop of Nigeria wants to put us in jail for 5 years where many of us will be killed. Where, just a few weeks ago, a young Iranian man was fighting not to be sent back to Iran on an immigration technicality because he would be executed when he got there. Where one of the major financial backers of those who would exclude me from the Church has publically advocated the stoning of homosexuals. Where someone can kill me, claim I made a pass at him,… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“An even more recurring problem with the conservative position is the assumption that the Spirit inspiring us…”

That should have been “…the Spirit STOPPED inspiring us…”

The dangers of editing on the fly…

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Susan:

Brava! Exactly so…the vast majority of Episcopalians (and Anglicans worldwide) know only their own lives and their own parishes. And within those lives and parishes they have seen that the “other” is not a thing to fear.

Ben W
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Ben W

Ford, Injustice is wrong wherever and whenever it happens. You and I live in a world where thousands of children live not just under threat but starve every day! We are trying to do something about that and want to do more. And there are wrongs done to homosexual people that need to be addressed. But we, I thought were talking about where you actually live, I do think you dramatize the situation generally and certainly for Canada or the US – do you not remember the outcry from people and in the media against those who brutally attacked a… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Thank you Susan et al Pat It was exactly the claim that “Spirit had stopped inspiring us” that precipitated my breaking the boundaries of my dioceses for assistance. In February 2005 I witnessed first hand a bishop announcing that the gifts of prophecy were no longer required nor meted out. That anyone who claimed to do so was either insane, delusional, a money mongerer. If any confirmations were to come their way that was proof that they were evil incarnate and not to be heeded. Specifically, that even if such gifts did exist, there is no way that God would… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“What world are you living in?” Let me tell you about my world. I am very tired this morning because I spent the night worrying about and praying for a gay friend who was attacked two days, and none of us has been able to make contact since. As I posted here only about 2 weeks ago, I live in England, where: A man can walk tearfully into a Christian listening centre after his male partner died in a car crash, only to be given a lecture about his sinful life. Where a group of street pastors in training can… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ben:

I live in a comparatively centrist eastern suburb in the US. Yet, the students in the Gay-Straight Alliance in the local high school had to go to the school board to stop a school administrator from treating them as second class…keeping them out of the yearbook, tearing down the posters advertising their meetings, etc.

Yes, it’s not violence, but it indicates that all is not as rosy–even here, in the suburbs of the City of Brotherly Love–as you would have it seem.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“I don’t need a collection of cases from Africa or elsewhere and then conclude that this is the way things are in general.” Ben, we in the Anglican Church are constantly being reminded that those who are accepting of homosexuality are in the minority in Anglicanism, indeed, in the world. Given that, with which I do not disagree, I would suggest to you that the situation I describe IS the way things are in general, TEC, and to an extent Canada are the exceptions. You refer to “a gay person” who was brutally attacked a few years ago. Can you… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Ford, I accept that this is the great concern for you(has nothing do to do with with how much I know or don’t know about it). I have no interest in getting into some kind of contest with you about this (especially since it seems no matter what I say you will assume the worst even when I basically affirm your concern). I have clearly said: Injustice done to any group needs to be addressed and certainly even when we disagree “that is not a reason to hate or act against people. And you have not heard me or others… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

For me, this issue isn’t quite so personal. For Ford, and for some of the others on this list, it really is about the fact that their lives are at risk simply for being who they are. Consider Matthew Shepard: “Shepard was robbed, pistol whipped, tortured, tied to a fence in a remote, rural area, and left to die . . . . Still tied to the fence, Shepard was discovered eighteen hours later by a cyclist, who at first thought that Shepard was a scarecrow. Shepard was still alive, but in a coma, at the time of discovery. Shepard… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Ben, My points are: 1) The acceptance of gay people is not about complying with the world, but rather with trying to understand if the world might have a point. Sometimes the world sees things we Christians do not. I, BTW, am not a supporter of SSBs, wouldn’t have one if I was allowed to, and am slowly soming to the position that the Sacramental aspect of matrimony is connected to reproduction. This is disturbingly pagan to me, and would also imply that we ought not marry those not of reproductive age. 2) In so far as societal trends MIGHT… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Erika,

I don’t quite live where you do, but what you report is atrocious. I think as Christians we reject this hatred and behavior in the strongest terms.

And evangelicals I know would not for a moment countenance this. Is there any question whether “mainstream” evangelicals associated with former ab Carey, John Stott, N T Wright and others would stand for this? There is polarization around this issue, so you have the language of hate and extremist reaction on all sides (the fires of hatred have been fed from more than one source).

The best to you.

Ben W

cp36
Guest
cp36

Has anyone wondered why the Lord Jesus Christ, after spending 3 years teaching and training the 12 apostles, had to return and call St Paul, who was then an anti-Christian, and commissioned him to preach the Gospel. Think about it. What exactly is the Gospel?

It seems to me that lots of modern Christians, just like the earliest Christians, are lost somewhere between Moses and Christ.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ben
thank you.
You have no idea how much a post like this from a conservative like you means to me. I wish there were more like you.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Is there any question whether “mainstream” evangelicals associated with former ab Carey, John Stott, N T Wright and others would stand for this? “ Ben, I appreciate, like Erika, what you said, but words are just words. Unfortunately, yes, there is evidence they would stand for this, and more. Indeed, they are standing for it right now. They have said nothing against the move in Nigeria to jail us. They said nothing in support of Mehdi Kazemi, or anyone else in his situation. They supported those who claimed that it was an infringement of their civil rights to rent us… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Ford, What can I say to you? I think about all I need to say I have said. On your point 2 I think we are quite prepared to revisit different issues like “just war” or “usury.” When we do I think we realize that to the extent that the church simply abandoned the main line of Jesus or NT teaching in these areas it lost the the good news. What was intended in the teaching has to be clearly discerned as well as how it can be implemented in particular social contexts. And who disagrees with the basic point… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Ben, What you call “promotion”, I call portraying us as normal human beings, subject to all the good and bad of ordinary human beings. What do you propose as an alternative? The media can ignore us, it can portray us in a negative light, affirming stereotypes as it does so, it can portray us as normal human beings, or it can portray us as an ideal to be striven for. I think it is doing #3. You seem to feel it is doing #4. Am I misreading you? If not, can you explain how homosexuality is something that straight people… Read more »

ben W
Guest
ben W

Ford, The original issue was simply the promotion of certain forms of life in society (has nothing to do with whether homosexuality or heterosexuality as such is simply a “choice” or not). I do believe culture forms people and they are affected in their direction by the media etc. So in that sense sexuality is not simply like being blue eyed or brown (but leave that aside for now). Hollywood or Hefner fit here only as cultural icons through which certain things are held up (that form thought and life). We have thought about various issues anew at differernt times,… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

“It seems to me that lots of modern Christians, just like the earliest Christians, are lost somewhere between Moses and Christ.” Too true. There are some who think the way to deal with eunuch, GLBT type dilemmas is to deny and shun the evidence of their existence, and if discovered either heal or destroy it. Jeremiah 18, God the Potter makes the pots as and how and when God sees fit. We do not come from a computerised robotic factory production line. We have variances in same shape or colour and blemishes and flaws. Sydney’s 2008 Mardi Gras was entitled… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“I don’t need a collection of cases from Africa or elsewhere and then conclude that this is the way things are in general. Ben W“ You don’t need??? especially to conclude “in general” – because you don’t want to. You want to go on dreaming that your responsibility as a human being “in general” doesn’t exist. Yet. Your only answer (repeated) is “could we please engage the actual line of thought being presented?”. The “actual line of thought being presented”?? Have you ever heard of “spin”??? I think you have. You yourself said: “The word as I use it has… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“So we may think again about certain issues, to understand more clearly or to implement more meaningfully, but there is no necessary implication that we then leave behind NT teaching.” Which is what the Church is now doing about gay people. Why is it that revisiting our understanding of homosexuality as we continue to be led into the Truth of the Divine economia is so wrong? We did it for other things. We have no problem when, after much prayer and consideration, we decide we are led by the Spirit to contravene the words of Scripture, as long as we… Read more »