Thinking Anglicans

Understanding Same-sex Marriage

DLT Books has issued a press release announcing the publication of More Perfect Union: Understanding Same-sex Marriage by Alan Wilson. The text of this is reproduced below the fold.

John Bingham wrote about this book in the Telegraph under the headline One in 10 Church of England bishops ‘could be secretly gay’ – says bishop.

Alan Wilson has written on his blog about some recent reactions to his book, and about the recent College of Bishops meeting for “shared conversations”: Ins and Outs and Same-Sex Marriage.

** PRESS RELEASE FROM DLT BOOKS **

‘Alan Wilson is the only bishop in the Church of England who speaks for the full inclusion of LGBTQI people in the Church. In this powerful statement, he sets out the scientific, theological and Biblical reasons which have led him to believe that this is the truly Christian option.’ – Linda Woodhead MBE

‘An extraordinarily valuable contribution to the quest for an open and honest conversation around an issue that the Church can no longer sweep under the ecclesiastical carpet.’ – Steve Chalke

‘The joy of this book is a bishop telling the truth, not least about the way the gay issue has been handled in recent history, and the awful dishonesties in which we are now entrammelled as a result.’ – Jeffrey John

In a recent interview with Pink News Archbishop Justin Welby acknowledged that the Church of England had to accept same-sex marriage is now law in England and Wales, but Welby himself voted against the Same-Sex Marriage Act in the House of Lords in 2013. Indeed, even after having been passed into law on 29 March 2014, when the balloon went up and Messrs. Peter McGraith and David Cabreza made Britain’s first same-sex marriage at Islington Town Hall, many leaders of the Church of England remain strongly opposed. So much so that Canon Jeremy Pemberton, who married his long-term partner in April, was told to stop leading services and then barred from a post as an NHS chaplain.

In this important and timely book Alan Wilson argues that allowing gay people to marry is a moral purpose. Indeed, there is a burgeoning movement within the Church broadly in favour of same-sex marriage, not to mention leaders of the Church already in gay partnerships, who wish for their religion to fully ratify and acknowledge their relationships.

Wilson says: ‘I asked myself “what does God want for gay people?”. After re-revisiting the Bible, and more importantly getting to know gay people of all types and varying backgrounds, he decided the answer was that God wants for them the same as everyone else – flourishing faith, hope and love, involvement and inclusion.

Meanwhile, from a scientific perspective, More Perfect Union? asserts that homosexuality is part of a wide range of human sexual longing and expression, not an anomaly, a sickness, nor merely a lifestyle choice.

The vast majority of people Wilson encountered on his journey toward being in favour of same-sex marriage were not anti-gay, were ‘just trying to love their neighbour as themselves’, even if, in some cases, their heads lagged behind their hearts on the issue of gay marriage.

The ultimate aim of this book is to help Christians unite head and heart in a fully positive response to gay people marrying, and to enable them to wholeheartedly rejoice in such union, in doing so shaking off the hangover of years of stereotyping, fear and discrimination about gay people.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alan Wilson became Bishop of Buckingham in 2003 after more than 20 years as an urban and suburban parish priest, and some prison ministry, and has a doctorate in Church History. He has been married for over 30 years, and has 5 children.

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Laurie RobertsChristina BeardsleyPeter OwenMartin ReynoldsSavi Hensman Recent comment authors
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Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Oh, dear God!
Four “professional” gays entertain the bishops.

There really must be an end to this.
I thought after the humiliations of Pilling no gay person would see themselves put on show like this.
Who submitted themselves (and thereby us all) to this indignity?

Does anybody know?

JCF
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JCF

May God prosper Bishop Alan’s effort!

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

I notice how Bishop Alan has been subjected to Peter Ould’s ire. Why should the Bishop of Buckingham justify his position to a clergyman not even employed by the Church? He accuses Bishop Alan of breaking collegiality by identifying gay bishops, and then demands Bishop Alan names them! Ould states “Collegiality exists to… allow different points of view to be put forward with the understanding that no-one will be identified individually”. And then demands Bishop Alan sends him their names. I fear Mr Ould’s anger has left him terribly confused with a misplaced sense of his own self-importance.

Stephen Morgan
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Stephen Morgan

I had to read this several times before I took it in: It’s part of Peter Ould’s comments on Bishop Alan’s blog…

‘How can the Bishops move forward in a collective manner when some of them feel pressurised by you to reveal intimate details of their personal lives which actually may have no bearing on the ethical decisions they need to make…’

Breathtaking really! Presumably one of the most important ‘ethical decisions’ these covertly gay bishops have had to make recently was signing up to the infamous February Pastoral Statement?

Christina Beardsley
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Christina Beardsley

Hello Martin. I was one of the ‘gang of four’ who spoke at the College of Bishops meeting – standing in for another Trans member of the the LGBTI Coalition who was unable to attend on that date. We represented a range of views, identities and gender and I think that all of us had huge reservations about being part of this particular conversation in this particular format. Some of us certainly argued beforehand for greater participation in the event, but without success. We each spoke for about ten minutes and some of it was pretty trenchant – one speaker… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

What a gracious response, Christina! It seems you all shared my horror at this indignity but submitted nonetheless hoping that it just might have some influence ………. As you see, while understanding your generous motives, I find this expectation monstrous and something we should now resist because it does such harm and perpetuates the “elephant man” mentality that turns us into objects for spiritual dissection. We do have a message, we are compelled to call them to repent for their evil and atone for the mutilation, murder and deprivation of liberty their message of hate and rejection has inspired. It… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Who else?

Christina Beardsley
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Christina Beardsley

Thanks Martin. The LGBTI Coalition & Changing Attitude, England, with which I’ve been associated, do not (yet?)take the very clear view that you do, so we continue to occupy an awkward, sometimes uncomfortable space. I wish that were not so, but this is where we are at the moment and the Coalition needs to be really focused about the next step: I felt that the panel was something that we (& there were two of us from the Coalition) drifted into because other, fuller, engagement had not emerged as promised – that must not happen again. Maybe I’m getting old,… Read more »

Barry
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Barry

Martin, thank you for stating so clearly what I also have said on another site, that I cannot see how any self-respecting gay person can co-operate with Church “conversations” which would involve them being treated like laboratory specimens and discussed by those hostile to them. However we must remember that the underlying problem is not sex, but (as I have said on Bishop Alan’s blog) our understanding of the scriptures. When those who have long accepted historical criticism are faced with pre-critical literalists it is almost impossible to see what dialogue can take place. We are inhabiting different mental worlds,… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

There were three more ……….

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

Martin and Barry, I am one of the those whom you accuse of putting myself on show, submitting all LGBT people to indignity, being treated like a laboratory specimen and lacking self-respect! This is not how I perceive what happened: I believe there was some value in bishops hearing from laypeople and parish/chaplaincy clergy who are part of a C of E which, at grassroots level, has changed radically over the past half-century, though the bishops have by and large buried their heads in the sand. The Coalition will continue to keep up the pressure for greater inclusion and I… Read more »

Barry
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Barry

Savi, I appreciate your comments. It was not my intention to accuse anybody of anything, and I hope I would never use language describing people as putting themselves on show. If you felt that you could with integrity speak to the bishops then I thank you for doing so, and I hope that your honesty – costly, I am sure – will bear fruit, whatever my personal reservations about this process. I did not mention equal marriage, an issue on which I am still forming my own mind. I am aware of the change of outlook among open-minded Evangelicals and… Read more »

Laurie Roberts
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Laurie Roberts

Only a quarter of a century ago – catch up C of E !

Bishop Alan is one you need !

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29429961

Christina Beardsley
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Christina Beardsley

Interesting isn’t it? Savi and I both wrote long, hard-hitting critiques of the Pilling Report but are also well-known for being incredibly kind and patient with those who disagree with us (no matter what the topic) so no surprise that we are still happy to have a conversation … with anyone … in the hope that things really are going to get better, and I think that they could. David Porter has made it very clear that decisions will have to be made at the end of the two years of conversations (though they are not bound to go in… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Christina, I perfectly understand your generous motives and share the hope that one day things will change. My issue isn’t with the genuine aspirations of those who participated in this event …. that is clear already from our exchange. My concern is with how we engage with this process and note that you acknowledge that the engagement took place as a “drift” and should not happen again. As I recall there was universal agreement post Pilling that we should not put ourselves in the position the bishop of Buckingham describes as having taken place. It’s hard to take a stance… Read more »

Sue Whitlock
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Sue Whitlock

I had not been aware that LGBTI people had been asked to appear before groups of Bishops for interrogation/conversation, like specimens under a microscope! This brings me back to the question I ask again and again of people who are homophobic, or very cautious around homosexuals: how many gay (LBTI) people can you count among your friends? I sometimes think that some form of immersion therapy, whereby homophobics were made to spend a day/weekend with LBGTI people, with none of them having any outward form of identification, could be enormously productive!! Many thanks to Savi, Barry, Tina, Martin and all… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“I sometimes think that some form of immersion therapy, whereby homophobics were made to spend a day/weekend with LBGTI people, with none of them having any outward form of identification, could be enormously productive!!”

Chances are that they are surrounded by LGBT people. The problem is that a sense of safety is part of what’s needed. If someone is coming from an anti-gay bias, it’s pretty hard to feel safe. It’s asking a lot of LGBT people to graciously interact with our persecutors, especially now, that’s so 1980’s.

Christina Beardsley
Guest
Christina Beardsley

Once more to Sue: I was not aware of any entomologists at Market Bosworth! Now Martin. Yes, I loved your ambitious programme in dialogue with Erika, but who is going to plan, organise and manage it? If you feel strongly that these events should happen will you be proposing them to LGCM, Inclusive Church (which held a day conference on the theology of marriage last week where I co-led a trans workshop), the Coalition, Changing Attitude, England, the Academy? I’ve explained why I think the Coalition drifted into the the panel event – because the promised fuller engagement did not… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

I should maybe add that Christina and I were not there to make a formal presentation of the Coalition’s perspective to the bishops, who have already been written to on various occasions. These letters, and Coalition news releases, are published on the website http://www.lgbtac.org.uk/ and often discussed on Thinking Anglicans, e.g. http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/006358.html , http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/006453.html , http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/006470.html , http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/006723.html . The principle that there should be ‘nothing about us without us’ has frequently been put forward, and the regional conversations are designed always to include several openly LGBTI people. However this posed an obvious challenge for the College of Bishops, which… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Only one of the links Savi provides works. But, as one suspected and Christina confirms’ no links promised by the Church of England work despite their assurances – as she writes “the promised fuller engagement did not transpire”! On an earlier thread I warned those who allowed the CofE to use them for their purpose ….. It is heartbreaking to repeat, you are not dealing with honest men. Again , on an earlier thread I recalled how the liberals had been suckered into colluding with the ACO in the production of material for the last Lambeth conference. There was genuine… Read more »

Peter Owen
Guest

I’ve reformatted Savi’s comment, and all the links should now work.

Christina Beardsley
Guest
Christina Beardsley

I’ve found this exchange here with Martin extremely helpful in processing the experience of being recruited to present at the recent College of Bishops meeting. I have focused on vulnerability and humiliation but this dialogue has helped me to realise the real power that LGBTI Christians have and that we are not using to full effect. Thank you. Just to clarify: my remark that the ‘promised fuller engagement did not transpire’ referred to the Coalition’s (lack of) involvement in the early and recent stages of the process (which came as a shock to me) rather than to outcomes from the… Read more »

Laurie Roberts
Guest
Laurie Roberts

Christina’s comment is very encouraging.