Thinking Anglicans

reactions to Rowan's Reflections

Updated Tuesday morning

Media coverage:

The Times Ruth Gledhill Archbishop of Canterbury attempts to paper over Church schism and also on her blog: Archbishop Rowan and TEC: Two-track communion the way forward.

Guardian Riazat Butt Archbishop warns ordination of gay clergy could lead to two-tier church

Telegraph Matthew Moore Archbishop of Canterbury foresees ‘two-track’ church to avoid gay schism

ENS Canterbury reflects on General Convention

Associated Press Meera Selva Anglican Church may have ‘two track’ structure

Blog coverage:

Episcopal Café Reactions to +Rowan’s essay vary

Adrian Worsfold The Real Archbishop of Anglicanism

Jared Cramer The Blindspots in Archbishop Rowan’s Perspective

Scott Gunn Parsing Rowan: Catholic, Covenant, and “chosen lifestyles”

Tuesday morning update

Los Angeles Times Duke Helfand Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams speaks of ‘two-tier’ church

Washington Times Julia Duin Anglican leader foresees two paths

Christianity Today Timothy C. Morgan Just Shy of Schism, Anglicans May Sub-Divide

Religion News Service Daniel Burke Williams Suggests Secondary Role for Rebel Episcopal Church

Living Church Archbishop: Two-Track Communion Possible

USA Today Cathy Lynn Grossman Restructuring, not schism, ahead for Anglicans

New York Times Alan Cowell Archbishop Sees ‘Two-Track’ Anglican Church

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Cheryl Va.
Guest

Don’t they mean 3+ tier church?

It’s already two-tier between males and females.

poppy tupper
Guest

Has ‘separate development’ ever been a creative, mutually enriching process? How can he be suggesting this? There are plenty of historical examples to show how it always fails and usually leads to violence.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

And on a more day to day and less exalted level: A marriage is made by the couple, the priest merely confirms it during the marriage ceremony. And so I am married whether someone in Canterbury or in Durham or in Abuja sees it that way or not. It is actually very important that those lgbt people deeply offended by Canterbury’s rhetoric understand that. Neither he nor anyone else can validate or dismiss our marriages. If we consider ourselves married before God, then that’s exactly what we are. The church can withhold the ceremony but not the substance. If you… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

Scott Gunn’s article is well worth reading.

Jay Vos
Guest

poppy tupper: “If we consider ourselves married before God, then that’s exactly what we are. The church can withhold the ceremony but not the substance.” That’s exactly what my mother was told by our priest in Vermont back in the early 1960s, when she asked him whether or not my brothers and I were bastards because the ceremony had not been performed in a church, but at home by a judge. She had married and divorced a man before she married my Dad; according to the rules of PECUSA at the time she was denied a church marriage for having… Read more »

poppy tupper
Guest

Jay Vos, you’re mixing me up with the estimable Erika Baker (hi, Erika, x). But I agree with you both. And, respect to your mother, and respect to the priest who was so courteous and gracious towards her.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“A marriage is made by the couple, the priest merely confirms it during the marriage ceremony” Erika, I’d put it a somewhat different way: The marriage is made by God acting through the couple. Is this consistent with a general understanding of the marriage sacrament? I ask becasue it seems pretty clear to me, but I don’t know enough of the theology around it. “If we consider ourselves married before God, then that’s exactly what we are.” Again, I’d say that you’re married if God considers you married. This idea that it is the believer alone who carries out the… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Scott Gunn’s article speaks of being ‘created with the gift of [homsexuality]’. Both ‘created’ and ‘gift’ are treated as givens, when he knows well that they are precisely the points under dispute: Both words, ‘created’ and ‘gift’, prejudge the genetics/environment debate rather than investigating it. Laying aside the also-relevant point that a good original creation can be corrupted, there are any number of question-marks here: -What about identical twin tests that come out in favour of environment as the dominant factor? (E.g., Bailey, Dunne and Martin, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2000 from 4901 questionnaires completed by Australian twins:… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Ford, to a Lutheran Marriage is no Sacrament. It belongs squarely in the Creation plane. There is not one Marriage for the Christian and another one for the Turk, Dr Martin says. There is only one.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford We’re back to the question you consistently ignore whenever I put it to you. God is in my relationship with me. Through the Holy Spirit in and through my prayers. When I discern his guidance, I follow it. In cutting edge ethical questions where The Church has yet to reach a discernment, yet I cannot afford to wait, I have to take my God given responsibility for my life very seriously. And so I have discerned that my relationship is as God given and as holy as any heterosexual one. My love and I have made solemn promises before… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Leaving aside the marriage point, and same-sex marriage point there, the other point is the worshipping. By going into a church and worshipping there, you are saying that this church and its denomination/ Church is somehow representing you and you go on to represent it – its beliefs and its method of authority. I have stopped taking communion because I recognise that in core beliefs and in rejection of authority I am different, whilst still using it as a vessel of worship in a more general sense and one more consistent (at least) with my general outlook.

Jay Vos
Guest

Oh, right, I meant Erika. (Note to self: poster’s names are below their comments.)

Ford Elms: About the “and yet”? I should have written “she *had* sent her 3 boys….” meaning Mom had remained a faithful Episcopalian despite what had happened.

Terry Pannell
Guest
Terry Pannell

“Two styles of being Anglican” That’s a big part of the problem isn’t it? This is what you get when you are more concerned with being “Anglican” than being Christian. And no, the two are not necessarily synonymous. Two- tiered Christianity of a particular Anglican “style” is a weird theological abstraction. We either love one another or we don’t. You can still disagree on any subject under the sun but at the end of the day if you exclude a sister or brother, or yourself from the Lord’s table then it really matters little about “what style” of Anglican you… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

I wonder if there will now be a two-tier funding setup, or if TEC will continue to be expected to pay the bills for this last little bit of the Empire.

Prior Aelred
Guest

IMHO, the “two-track” proposal is for 1. Anglicanism & 2. the CMS plantings.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Christopher: As it seems you will always and forever reject any evidence that homosexuality is inherent (or at least so early-developed as to be virtually so), there really is no point in arguing the issue with you. Nothing will convince you. As to the cultural differences you cite…well, that’s just it, isn’t it? They are CULTURAL differences. In Ancient Greece, there was no (or very little) cultural taboo to homosexuality (or, at least, what WE would call homosexuality–the Ancient Greeks wouldn’t have known the term at all); in Ancient Judea, there was. Therefore, it is highly likely that there would… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Christopher: As it seems you will always and forever reject any evidence that homosexuality is inherent (or at least so early-developed as to be virtually so), there really is no point in arguing the issue with you. Nothing will convince you. As to the cultural differences you cite…well, that’s just it, isn’t it? They are CULTURAL differences. In Ancient Greece, there was no (or very little) cultural taboo to homosexuality (or, at least, what WE would call homosexuality–the Ancient Greeks wouldn’t have known the term at all); in Ancient Judea, there was. Therefore, it is highly likely that there would… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

“And yet” is what males have relied upon for centuries. “And yet” women continue to go to church and build communities, even though they are insulted and abused and they and their children violated. “And yet” God keeps this planet in existence even though the men have no awe or reverence for her or its occupants’ existence or well-being. A few years ago the women in South America stopped the drug lords’ tyranny of them and their children by all the camps’ women refusing to have sex until their men repented of their extreme violence. Would that they would do… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Goran, thanks! If ++Rowan really wanted to see some theological work done on marriage, then he might start with Dr. Luther’s insight: Marriage is a civil matter, regulated by the state, for the good order of the community. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is approaching the question of same-sex marriages through this theological lens. In contrast, the overvaluation of heterosexual marriage in recent Anglican theology, which has led to so much trouble, is a theological innovation if there ever were one, and a thoroughly culture-bound innovation as well. It is an outgrowth of the sentimental cult of love-matches… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

‘two styles of being Anglican’

like high church and low church….? We’ve made that work under one roof for quite a while.

Chris Ty.
Guest
Chris Ty.

Rowan’s use of the offensive phrase “lifestyle choice” amazes me. Surely he knows that this is the rhetoric of the far right? A “lifestyle choice” is summering in the south of France, or driving a Mercedes; how flippant to use it of LGBT relationships. Also, Rowan seems to think that LGBT relationships are in the same category of “lifestyle choice” as de facto heterosexual relationships. Um, heterosexuals can choose at any time to marry, whereas the church denies this option for LGBT people. Some choice! And Scott Gunn rightly points out that to make celibacy compulsory for a class of… Read more »

SW
Guest
SW

Christopher, some posts back, is, I think, mis-representing the twin study he cites. Baily et al in the early 90s published a study of identical and fraternal male twins. They found that there was a very high correlation between identical twins, and a much closer to average correlation between fraternal twins in terms of sexual orientation. The Australian study Christopher cites was much larger and found not only the same patter for men but also for women. The conclusion of the study is exactly the opposite of what Christopher suggests. For identical twins the correlation of sexual orientation was higher… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest

¨What anyone in the church may approve of or not does not change one iota of my relationship with God, of my faith, of the way I worship. It really is time that we focused on God and trusted him, rather than felt beholden to those who claim to represent him. The church has absolutely no influence at all on that most important core of faith. We really do not need its approval or approbation. It’s God’s judgement alone that matters.¨ Erika Baker EXACTLY! You´ve stated clearly what I´ve always believed…how in the World did the ABC, Lord Carey and… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

Hugh of Lincoln — quite so — but historically the low church have always attempted to get rid of the high church whenever they have the power to do so

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

I have a suggestion for the Archbishop of Canterbury and others who agree with him that all lesbian and gay people should be celibate: in solidarity with what they are asking of us, let them commit to life-long celibacy; let them share in the painful self-denial they are asking of the lesbian and gay faithful. “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers” (Matthew 23:4). … In the case of bishops, this would also do wonders for the ecumenical relationships… Read more »

toby forward
Guest

Hugh of Lincoln cites high and low church as two styles of being Anglican. That was in another country, and the wench is dead.
I’m old enough to have gone to Deanery Chapter Eucharists when everyone received, no matter what the style of celebration, vesture of the celebrant, or form of liturgy. There was no flouncing out and asking for a different mass from a different priest ordained by a diferent bishop. Those days were ended when John Hapgood came up with his barmy scheme for flying bishops.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The solution that resolves Shell’s dilemma is fairly obvious. We move from the old Nature vs Nurture frame; we inhabit and investigate by best practice hypothesis testing methods an amended frame – Nature x Nurture. This is more or less the going, effective frame presumed nowadays. We are thus encouraged to study possible or likely factors from both domains, interacting. Shell or other conservatives are only going to keep having trouble so long as we continue, trying to work things up, using an inadequate former frame, Nature vs Nurture. Not even modern genetics claims that simple biological factors exist which… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Trying to mull over RW’s two track business. Don’t we already have two tracks – more than two tracks – going as Anglicans, globally? If all that is more or less going along inside our existing big tent, what will adding some new covenant statement give us, that we do not already have? The conservative realignment answer is obvious: a means of policing and punishment that is more or less grandly lacking in our current big tent. Right now, no global Anglican believer has much of a way to dramatically police or punish another Anglican believer. One can give the… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

Christopher Shell makes an interesting suggestion: “-What about the possibility of becoming disenchanted with one gender and fleeing to the other in exasperation/revenge?” Perhaps this is a motivation of some ex-gays? They have been jilted or spurned by their own sex so they set themselves up in a heterosexual marriage. saying “that will show them!” The problem then is that their marriage has more to do with the love-object that has spurned them than with the person they marry. Or a misogynistic male might say. “OK, Ladies, I’ve had enough!” and go for a homosexual binge instead. Of course in… Read more »

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

Those who are positive that identical twins have completely identical genes should read this article about research at the University of Alabama in Scientific American (Identical Twins’ Genes Are Not Identical): http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=identical-twins-genes-are-not-identical. I think any parent of twins would tell you they aren’t identical!

MarkBrunson
Guest

Your “facts” are highly speculative, Mr. Shell, and cannot stand in the face of one, simple question:

What about what we keep telling you about ourselves?

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

HI drdanfee- Yes, I have always been greatly in favour of not polarising genetics and environment, aince both are clearly in play and both will clearly have a role. The question is, however, a different one: which factor is the stronger, and buy what percentage? One so often hears people speaking as though everyone knows the whole thing is genetic/inborn. That is very strange since no gene has emerged, and even if it did we are not robots: not the slaves of our genes. hi SW- You are right that there were two Bailey studies (1991, 2000) – and have… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Christianity of course rules out active bisexuality totally since (a) that would be against the principle of monogamy…”

Bisexuality does not imply polygamy. It simply means a person has equally strong attractions to both sexes. It does not mean that he or she cannot fall in love with ONE person (of either sex) and live in a loving, monogamous relationship with that one person forever.

You might as well say that because I have an equally strong attraction for blondes and redheads, I am incapable of choosing one or the other as a lifelong partner!

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Christianity of course rules out active bisexuality totally since (a) that would be against the principle of monogamy…”

Bisexuality does not imply polygamy. It simply means a person has equally strong attractions to both sexes. It does not mean that he or she cannot fall in love with ONE person (of either sex) and live in a loving, monogamous relationship with that one person forever.

You might as well say that because I have an equally strong attraction for blondes and redheads, I am incapable of choosing one or the other as a lifelong partner!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I expect the church will catch up in another 50-100 years and retrospectively validate it too.” This is the point, Erika. I have had enough conversations with you to know that you are a very devout, spiritual person. Yet, it blows me away that you should think the Church needs to catch up with you! You appear to have set yourself up as the arbiter. I know that that kind of arrogance is NOT a part of your makeup, but can you see how statements like these give that impression?I come from a very different place. I am one of… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Christianity of course rules out active bisexuality totally since (a) that would be against the principle of monogamy…”

So you also don’t know what it is to be bisexual, I see.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford I am not telling God what he has to accept, as you very well know. But I do not share your lofty view of the church or its discernment processes. What I see is that it’s discernment processes are as human as everyone else’s – how could it be other, seeing that it’s made up of fallible human beings. Someone said that because the church believes in broad agreement before it calls something a new discernment, it is automatically on a very conservative track. That is not in itself bad, but it does mean that it relies on others… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“of course rules out active bisexuality totally” I have stopped reading your uneducated posts, but since others have quoted this in their replies I thought I’d wade in again. Just for your information – because you clearly need some! I am bisexual. This means that I married a man when I fell in love with a man, and that, unlike when a homosexual marries heterosexually, my marriage was successful, both in emotional and in physical terms. Then I fell in love with a woman, and I am now civil partnered to her. And again, this is an emotionally as well… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Ah Mr. Shell, nice to hear that you aren’t depending on Nature vs Nurture, necessarily. So, now we can get on more fully to consider a key question: Is anything good in the outcomes of nature x nurture that so far as we know now, regularly results in queer folks existing, all around our planet? We ask, particularly: Are we able to see and appreciate any goods – practice? ethical? In the modal outcomes, those patterns we can perceive, in modern daily life for queer folks, especially in non-punitive cultural-legal contexts, such as western democracies? (A blog isn’t roomy enough… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“it’s discernment processes are as human as everyone else’s – how could it be other, seeing that it’s made up of fallible human beings.” Every human being individually is fallible. Yes, the Church can be fallible too, and gets it wrong. She has strayed from the Gospel, and much of what is happening today is an attempt to correct that straying and return to God. That’s why it’s so painful for conservatives. They are confortable in the traditional staatus quo, which was blessed by the Church. They just can’t see that She was wrong to bless that status quo in… Read more »

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

Erika, Thanks for your helpful post about bisexuality. The problem, as you surely recognize, is that many (most?) “conservatives” consistently reduce non-heterosexual sexuality to actions, because (it appears) they fear admitting that non-heterosexual sexuality is something more complex than where we stick our genitals. So, they assume that “bisexual” must mean that a person wants to have sex with men and women at the same time, and that this is what bisexual people actually do. They have trouble with the notion that sexual orientation is about who we ARE not what we DO, and that a person’s sexual orientation is… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

No. The type of fact that is least speculative is the lived fact.

You live in a world of research, reducing us to lab rats you play with. It’s inhuman of you, and your response shows that you have no comprehension of us.

How could we possibly include you in our counsels?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford “But surely thousands and thousands of people prayerfully and meditatively aprroaching an issue (OK that’s idealistic, but bear with me) have a better chance of discerning the will of God than one lone human being.” You know me well enough by now to know that for something to make sense to me it has to be true in the extremes of life, not merely in that particular moment of history I find myself in. The first few people to take up the fight against slavery were not wrong just because thousands of prayerful people weren’t joining them immediately. If… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Erika and Pat- I said ‘active bisexuality’ not ‘bisexuality’. Erika’s point about educated/uneducated is of course an assertion rather than an argued point – but that does not make it inaccurate. The reason I believe it to be inaccurate is that out of all the participants in a conversation the one[s] who take the trouble to familiarise themselves with research data are, all things being equal, not showing themsleves to be less or equally educated compared with those who do not, but rather more so. All things being equal. So what is required is an explanation of why the… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Ah! Now I see.

This has never been about Truth, or well-being, but about making Mr. Shell look clever.

No interest in that, thank you. I’m afraid I have to live in reality not remove myself from it.

I’m a Christian, you see.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Bisexuality is not something that can be “active” or “inactive”. It just “is”. A bisexual individual might act upon his or her attraction to another person, just as a heterosexual will, but there’s nothing to suggest that that attraction is always–or even often–to one of each sex simultaneously.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Bisexuality is not something that can be “active” or “inactive”. It just “is”. A bisexual individual might act upon his or her attraction to another person, just as a heterosexual will, but there’s nothing to suggest that that attraction is always–or even often–to one of each sex simultaneously.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Mark Brunson- Which lived fact do you mean? If it is the fact that you and many others currently feel drawn to your own gender, then who has ever denied that? The question we were raising was a different one: the proportions of genetic and environmental explanation that we should use to account for this universally-agreed phenomenon. As everyone knows, one cannot gain knowledge of genetics, or even of the varying proportions involved, by instrinct alone. That is why research is necessary. But research is necessary in order to obtain maximally large-scale, accurate, objective data in all parts of… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“To say we have to wait until the last Christian in the world has also seen the light is emphasising the role of the church to an almost ridiculous degree and to minimise the theology of prophecy virtually out of existence.” That’s not exactly what I’m saying. In Ware’s The Orthodox Church, he discussed the idea of what makes something Orthodox. He points out that there have been numerous councils, but only seven have been considered Ecumenical. Why? Because they came to be accepted by the whole Church. He conveniently skirts the issue that this was only accomplished by declaring… Read more »