on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 at 5.26 pm by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Anglican Communion, Lambeth Conference 2008
The full text of this has just been released and can be read at ACNS:
The Archbishop of Canterbury Second Presidential Address to the Lambeth Conference 2008
I’ve just had time to read this rather quickly, Am I mistaken, or did the ABC not mention, in either charactrization, the matter of boundary violations? See Bishop Gray of Misssissippi on that, for example. I don’t know if ‘lifestyle’ is the ABC’s word, or if it is a word he thinks those who object to full inclusion would use. Maybe it is both. In any case, it is insulting. A ‘lifestyle’ is something one may choose, and it may be as frivolous as how one decorates one’s home or as consequential as deciding to be a vegetarian. Sexual orientation… Read more »
The ABC’s goals are admirable, that we all get along. Yet his idea that “Holy Scripture, apostolic ministry, sacramental discipline” only matter to conservatives is deeply offensive. It is precisely because we read a Bible in which God repeatedly and consistently calls for us to work for justice, to have regard for the widow and orphan and the poor and the stranger, that I, at least, am deeply committed to inclusion of gay folk in the full life of the Church. Rather than seeking to “question” or “overturn . . . these things,” a concern for human rights is precisely… Read more »
To the innovator, can we say, ‘Don’t isolate yourself; don’t create facts on the ground that make the invitation to debate ring a bit hollow’? Can we say to the traditionalist, ‘Don’t invest everything in a church of pure and likeminded souls; try to understand the pastoral and human and theological issues that are urgent for those you are opposing, even if you think them deeply wrong’?”
And what do we say to lgbt people?
Oh, I forget – we talk about them, not to them.
“The ABC’s goals are admirable, that we all get along. Yet his idea that “Holy Scripture, apostolic ministry, sacramental discipline” only matter to conservatives is deeply offensive.” Precisely. On a second reading, his characteruzation of the liberal side is a caricature. It IS in Jesus’ reminder of our responsibility for ‘the least of these’ that we find a charter to reach out and welcome and incorporate the marginalized, including glbt people. As the actor Andy Griffen said in a shtick [sp?] he did early in his career, “It’s in The Book!” I really resent, and I expect many on the… Read more »
“And what do we say to lgbt people?
Oh, I forget – we talk about them, not to them.”
Davis Maciyalla has been on campus at the Lambeth conference for the past ten days, but judging from all the blogs and news reports, apart from a quick chat with Ruth Gledhill in Sainsburies, has any journalist or Bishop actually spoken TO Davis, rather than about him?
“Hello Adam! Hi Steve! How lovely to see you both in church this morning! Congratulations on your civil parnership. I hope you’re settling down nicely in your new home. I do hope you’ll stay for coffee after the service. There are a couple of issues I need to discuss with you to make sure that you know that our love and welcome is real. Don’t worry! I’m not going to ask you what you do in the privacy of your own home! I won’t go into it now, but I need to point out to you both that if you… Read more »
Wow. These comments certainly read like people more determined to root out and expose what’s clearly wrong in what’s offered than to enter into anything that might be helpful or right or – dare I say it? – challenging. I wonder if the traditionalist websites are being equally scathing over Rowan’s inability to properly characterise/ comprehend/ empathise with their truths? If they are – he’s perhaps getting it about right.
I am disappointed that Archbishop Rowan should have put things so bluntly. I had though he had a little finesse. However, If he sees the two sides of this argument as Conservative/Goodies versus Liberal/Baddies, then he is really no different from his predecessor, who is still rumbling somewhere in the background of this debate. Could it be that Rochester and Winchester have more influence than the broader Church has given them? One appreciates the yearning for Unity – but not at the expense of the Gospel. Perhaps, then, there must be a New Reformation, on the grounds of: ‘What we… Read more »
“…speaking from the centre requires habits and practices and disciplines…” Habits, practices and disciplines are founded upon presumptions and rituals from the past. They are about continuing what already exists. Habits sometimes need to be broken, disciplines sometimes need to be re-examined, principles sometimes need to be scrutinised and rituals can sometimes become downright hypocritical. Recall Jesus’ rebukes and the Pharisees obsessions with rituals and “appropriate” and timely conduct and associations e.g. with worrying about how to clean the outise of a cup. Erika’s posting was too conciliatory. “And what do we say to lgbt people? Oh, I forget –… Read more »
I agree with Cynthia that “lifestyle” is not a well chosen word. However, whilst it’s mistaken, I don’t think it’s best charitably interpreted as demeaning. I also don’t think that just because Scripture, apostolic ministry and sacramental discipline were mentioned in the “traditionalist” part of the address, that this was meant to imply that “liberals” or those who fall into the “it’s more complicated bracket” do not consider those elements of tradition as fundamental to their existence also. He could equally have mentioned them in the second section of the address. I don’t think the ABC does really try to… Read more »
TWP – Thank you for that thoughtful post.
One of the many problems with the ABC’s address is that he won’t permit that conversation with “Adam and Steve”: they and their witness are locked out of Lambeth and all the committees he appoints.
I am glad to hear some reason (for “thinking Anglicans”) in response to the address by the ABC.
In particular it is important to highlight his statement: “I want to imagine what people on different sides of our most painful current debate hope others have heard or are beginning to hear in our time together.”
Cynthia, The question is can there still be real conversation? Just to follow this thread, the response is largely “my way or the highway.” Did you not hear the key point from the ABC? “I want to imagine what people on different sides of our most painful current debate hope others have heard or are beginning to hear in our time together.” He seeks to do what I miss here, to hear what the other person is actually saying or concerned about. He may well not succeed completely. To think a little further about your statement: “A ‘lifestyle’ is something… Read more »
TWP Yes, Adam and Steve, blessing you would mean some Muslims in Africa might burn down a church, and it would be your fault. Just like women being raped because they dress in mini skirts is their own fault. If you’re just quiet for long enough we’ll eventually get round to persuading the Muslims that attacking African Christians for something that happens in a village church in England is wrong, although we haven’t actually started any conversation about that with them yet, and we wont for a while, because it might provoke them. And if you wait even longer… or… Read more »
“I imagine a conversation with Adam and Steve might go more along these lines; “if you were to seek a blessing, we would not be able to grant it at present. To do so, might be to endanger the lives of our fellow Christians in Africa.” Not only would I NOT join such a church, I would call my local public health officials, and ask them to keep an eye on this location: there is a person(s) with evidently untreated mental illness, suffering from significant delusions. Yes, that’s right, DELUSIONS: there’s no other word for it, to equate a “granted… Read more »
Let me ask you this: Do you recall at some point in your youth “choosing” to be heterosexual? No? Then why do you presume that homosexuals have made a choice?
“Do you mean to say our sexuality is like the colour of one’s eyes? It seems like you forget that we are all sexual beings and what we are and do with sexuality has not been like that for me. Today in the culture we get everything from heterosexuality to multisexuality and those who claim to be polyamorous simply “promiscuous”). For many of them “this is just the way I am,” the end is chaos. Sexual identity then is not a “mere matter of choice,” but to say it is not key is to trivialize it.” Let me see if… Read more »
“I want to imagine what people on different sides of our most painful current debate hope others have heard or are beginning to hear in our time together.” Ben, what I don’t think you grasp is that many conservatives manifestly have not listened, despite repeated urging from Lambeth conference for the past 30 years that they do so. Their statements show a profound ignorance of homosexuality. They seek “information” that is largely propaganda to support their exclusion of gay people. I am not merely talking about individual conservative lay people on this site, based on whom I have often made… Read more »
Asserting that gay-friendly churches on one side of the world are causing “literal physical risk to Christians” on the other is a serious charge, but what evidence is there for it? As far as I can tell, there is no mention of this in the Windsor Report or any of the other documents of the last five years. So why has this been adduced at this late stage, on the eve of ‘gay day’? Where is it substantiated that African Christians have been attacked, or threatened with attack, because their assailants were sufficiently well-versed in Anglican affairs to be able… Read more »
NO, no ! Open your ears man ! He has got it completey wrong. We gays won’t be condescended to any longer. So Pete — YOU choose. WE have had to. This about poeple’s live not your doctrines and notions. Lives … ‘Wow. These comments certainly read like people more determined to root out and expose what’s clearly wrong in what’s offered than to enter into anything that might be helpful or right or – dare I say it? – challenging. I wonder if the traditionalist websites are being equally scathing over Rowan’s inability to properly characterise/ comprehend/ empathise with… Read more »
‘..imagine a conversation with Adam and Steve might go more along these lines; “if you were to seek a blessing, we would not be able to grant it at present. To do so, might be to endanger the lives of our fellow Christians in Africa. You’ll both remember, having been together for many years, the threats of violence that hang over the heads of many homosexuals in this country… But we’ll walk with you, offer your life in our prayers, and ask you to hold us in yours. You are welcome at the Eucharist, although we acknowledge that attendance at… Read more »
Cynthia, I can agree when you say, “I simply loathe ‘lifestyle’ as an empty word, devoid of useful meaning in any context.” I think it was probably used with more weight by RW. On the nature of sexual identity and with identity as a whole the setting in which we grow up is important. But sexual identity and identity as a whole is also formed in the choices we make. In other words my point is, sexual identity is not inevitable as eye colour. It was not for me, and I also know a young man who went into the… Read more »
I want to stay with these imaginary conversations, and work through some of the issues arising. Erika, You said: “Yes, Adam and Steve, blessing you would mean some Muslims in Africa might burn down a church, and it would be your fault.” The way I understand what it means to be bodily bound up in another person and in the Body of Christ entails a connectedness that it is difficult for me as a “western individual” to comprehend. Of course blessing a gay couple would not directly lead to church arson, but a church policy in which homosexuals are blessed… Read more »
|To your question: “Let me ask you this: Do you recall at some point in your youth “choosing” to be heterosexual? No? Then why do you presume that homosexuals have made a choice?”
|Actually,yes – in some small ways/choices in my setting and in decisive ways at a few points (there were some who were open around open to various forms of sexuality). Now what about your presumptions?
“Aagh, Wid the God the gift te gie ‘us; to see oorsels as others see us” (approximately) I guess each side of the many arguments here would do well to take heed to the words of Robbie Burns (above). We cannot know what is troubling the other person who is gay, trans-gender or hetero – unless we can walk in his/her footsteps. Likewise, unless one has been homosexual from as far back as they can remember, with absolutely no inclination to ‘get into bed’ with someone of another gender, it might be difficult to even remotely imagine what ‘being gay’… Read more »
Ben W’s defence of his bady chosen word “choice”, for comples matters we don’t grasp (and maybe never will), is paralelled in Ford’s critique of the same on the tread above ;=)
“I have chosen”… (What did Disraeli say sarcastically about a self-made man who a d o r e s his maker?)
“Now what about your presumptions?”
No presumptions, just a confirmation of what I’ve thought long ago, that those who are most vocally against homosexuality because they believe it to be a vile choice, are usually at least to some degree bisexual.
Perfectly natural, you know.
And either choice would have been morally ok, as long as it included love and faithfulness.
TWP “It seems to me that addressing such difficult and fraught questions at a Lambeth conference is to make all parties vulnerable, and is a long way from sticking heads in sand.” But is there any evidence at all that any conservative person has ever addressed this in the slightest? Is there an official dialogue with the African churches about their treatment of homosexuals in the same way there clearly is official communication about the American way? Where are all these people who openly and lovingly point out to Akinola that his attempt at criminalsing supporters of gay people was… Read more »
Erika, I don’t know about whether a conservative person (are we speaking about a bishop here or others?) has addressed this issue whilst at the conference. I’m not sure how anybody can fail to address it, but the question of engagement is quite key. To engage is to do more than repeat one’s own rhetorical line on a repeated basis. Somebody else will have to answer the question as to address and engagement because I don’t know the conversations that have gone on at Lambeth. It seems charitable to presume that the people who came to Lambeth have come prepared… Read more »
This thread refers to an assertion that “…blessing you would mean some Muslims in Africa might burn down a church…” There are some with “scriptural” authority that think that blessing, acknowledging or countenancing some souls would mean some camps would burn down a church/tear apart a communion. We can’t be nice to women, because some misogynists would tear apart a “feminine” church. We can’t be nice to Jews, because anti-semitics would attack us. We can’t be nice to the poor of the “third” world, because our corporate sponsors would deprive us. We can’t be nice to Muslims, because some “pure”… Read more »
“…those who are most vocally against homosexuality because they believe it to be a vile choice, are usually at least to some degree bisexual.”
Thank you. Exactly what I was going to say following Ben’s response.
I will refer you to the statement from TWP just above: “To engage is to do more than repeat one’s own rhetorical line on a repeated basis.”
Your response does not engage what I said, just proceeds on old assumptions. If that is all you expect and want from this conversation so be it, but then do not expect me to be part of it.
TWP “And there isn’t a “best option”, but there might be compromises” There might be. Can you imagine one that doesn’t include treating lgbt people as secondary church members? Your Adam and Steve image at least allowed Adam and Steve to have their childen baptised in a church (thanks!), but apart from that found only very sweet words to deny them what every straight couple takes for granted. And not on theological grounds, which at least has some integrity, but simply to achieve a compromise. Maybe when the compromisers have to sacrifice something they themselves hold dear and don’t merely… Read more »
I think that, as I remarked above, there is no direct causal connection between one blessing and anybody burning anything. I do, however, consider (on the strength of the ABC’s address) that an attitude of blessing of homosexual relationships by the western church might put some Christians in Africa in danger of violence (I’m not so interested in Muslims so much as some traditional African cultural taboos). There is a difference between “being nice to women,” and promoting women’s places within the ministerial hierarchy. In the same way, there’s a difference between actively blessing homosexual relationships, and being friends with… Read more »
Erika, Thanks for keeping the conversation going. “Can you imagine… ?” Well, other people that are offered blessings would traditionally have been married once and subsequently divorced. To offer blessing to previously married straight couples is to hold the covenant of marriage as indissoluble. And yet, the blessing is an offering of a new start of sorts. One does not treat previously married people as second class citizens, but instead acknowledges that something different is happening. Thus to deny same sex partners a blessing is not, necessarily, to treat LGBT people as second class citizens. There are no second class… Read more »
TWP I am still not sure I fully agree with your analysis. The point is not whether same sex relationships are the same or different from marriages, or whether a relationship blessing is already a secondary tier acknowledgement of a relationship after the failure of a marriage. And I don’t think it matters whether you are convinced that a marriage model is what many lgbt people would want to adopt. We have started this conversation on the basis that there IS a couple seeking a blessing. And whether a blessing is recognised in a neighbouring parish or not is also… Read more »
(2/2) Nor, more importantly, do I see where they are being asked to compromise. I accept that coming home from Lambeth without having gained anti-gay ground may be difficult for some bishops. I’m not sure it’s the same scale of difficulty that has been imposed on Gene Robinson for the last years. Are we comparing like with like here? So as a priest or bishop who believes in blessing same sex relationships and who wants to retain his integrity while refusing actual blessings, at the very least I would say to Adam and Steve: “I’m so sorry Adam and Steve.… Read more »
Erika, I am unconvinced that blessings should simply take place without some underlying theological notion as to what the church is affirming when they occur. So whilst I appreciate that talk of marriage/blessings is something of a detour, it’s a conversation that needs to take place in the context of speech about such blessings. OTOH, there are many Christian LGBT people who seek blessings. Assuming for A & S that that is the case, my next few questions would seek to explore the content of what they’re hoping blessing might represent. I would strongly disagree that it does not matter… Read more »
I don’t want to get into a “for whom is X action more difficult?” discussion. Gene Robinson and many of the constituent Christians of various Global South countries have different burdens to bear, but burdens can‘t be compared like for like. My favourite part of your post was your conversation with Adam and Steve. I was hoping that my conversation might be viewed as generous and empathetic, but your response is much better. The line about scapegoats sounds wonderfully like James Alison in the best way possible. Your words about speaking against African bros/sisters when they speak of criminalisation are… Read more »
TWP Thank you for your reply! Not being a theologian I’m beginning to be out of my depth. What a blessing might mean to the church and what it might mean to those getting married/civil partnered is something I see at a very basic level. I know that, theologically speaking, the church never “marries” people, in a marriage service it simply confirms a relationship that already exists. Now, as to what kind of relationship that is, I get my theology from Tobias Haller (http://jintoku.blogspot.com/ The Sex Articles), but I accept his writings because they confirm my own feelings, not for… Read more »
(2/2) I now find myself in a same sex relationship, in which for both of us God is the absolute centre of our lives. Our faith informs everything we do, and it certainly is a major part of our relationship. We are deeply involved in our local church where we have the full loving support of our priest and our congregation. Only with all of their support were we able to cope with looking after my two daughters together when my oldest one was diagnosed with leukaemia. We have done more intense parenting together than the girls’ father and I… Read more »