on Saturday, 1 July 2023 at 11.00 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
Tim Chesterton Inclusive Evangelicals From Rejection to Affirmation: My Personal Journey
Archdruid Eileen The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley “A Recipe for Red Tape” – the New Church of England Dioceses
Archdruid Eileen reports upon a generally excellent re-shaping of Diocesan boundaries. How many parishes would actually notice if you did it? Cat priests to be warmly welcomed of course.
Oh, the Archdruid creases me up.
Cathedrals… “The Church of England Go-Ahead Groovy Thought Department envisages their use as shopping centres.. as well as the location for more traditional cathedral activities such as crazy golf, funfairs, and dinosaur parks.”
The first two comments are also lots of fun… LOL LOL LOL
Why are people so naughty?
Most cathedrals have ceilings tall enough for dinosaur parks. Some even have enough length for the creatures to turn around without knocking over the bishop.And they’d be great for cleaning the lights and cameras in the ceiling.
The anonymous post at 12:16pm, July1 may very well hit closer to the truth than the current incumbent at Canterbury will acknowledge.
I thank Tim C for writing his story. It’s a wonderful thing when we confront the issues of which we’re afraid and let go of the layers in front of our eyes that cloud our vision and thus limit our actions (“if your eye offends, pluck it out and get a new one”). Wonderful – but not easy, and in my experience there’s always another one lurking. Well done and thank you.
Thank you Stanley.
Tim gives an honest and considered explanation of his position. I cannot see within it an immediately clear picture of his perspective on the position of those such as myself who think he is wrong.
I am not going to rehearse the “why is he wrong” issue. I weary in my bones with that question.
The issue is how do we deal with irreconcilable difference.
Thanks Peter. That wasn’t the question I was asked to consider in my post, and the post was already rather long. The reason for the existence of the Inclusive Evangelicals blog is that some of us are ‘weary in our bones’ of the assumption being made that all evangelicals are against equal marriage and that those of us who aren’t, are not real evangelicals (Ian Paul, for instance, is constantly accusing us of having abandoned our evangelical commitment to the authority of scripture) and not really orthodox. The main focus of the blog is the Church of England; I’m a… Read more »
I have just had a truly atrocious experience of malicious homophobia from a troll who thinks he is vanquishing demons on another blog. I am actually quite traumatised by the experience. To be clear homophobia is an abomination which I was confronting.
It is not and never will be the case that I refuse to associate with anyone, Tim.
I would stand shoulder to shoulder with you or your family if you faced one of these appalling people. They can call themselves what like. They are not believers
Thank you, Peter, but I’m confused.
If I understand your position correctly, you feel the differences between your position and mine are irreconcilable, to the point that we need to be in separate church structures so that it is clear to the world that you believe my position is a dangerous error. That’s what I meant when I said that you don’t want to be associated with me.
If I’m wrong about that, then I truly don’t understand why you think a structural differentiation is necessary.
Peter. Harrowed as you are by the inclusive theology of evangelicals, you have no time for any rudeness and trolling behaviour towards us by your fellow conservatives. Thank you. It takes courage. I have seen the blog you refer to. Of course once you react to a troll you are lost. And the only people that host silences on his blog are women (there are only two of them). To debate sexuality with conservative evangelicals is to enter a world of men talking to men about men. But that’s another blog for someone braver than me!
David, thank you. I appreciate your comment about my courage enormously.
I neither seek nor deserve credit, of course. If I am honest I am no longer willing to belong to any “tribe”. I cannot turn from my conviction that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Beyond that, I will stand with anyone – and I mean anyone – against abuse.
To address your substantive point it is certainly true groups of toxic belligerent men can create appalling closed cultures. One sign that has happened is as you note, the absence of women
The site in the question is clearly just such a group of deeply unpleasant men.
David, I appeal to you not to conflate that with conservative evangelicals.
The site in question purports to be a place for conservative discussion. That claim is risible.
It is also worth noting that though some ‘conservative’ groups and individuals can develop toxic culture, nevertheless there are also individuals with ‘conservative’ views who I am more than interested to listen to, and from whom I can draw encouragement in my faith. For example Vaughan Roberts. For example Simon Ponsonby.
But I do agree that a lot of the ‘posturing’ tends to centre on men talking to other men. Maybe that can happen in more socially liberal circles too, but I don’t pick that signal up anything like as much.
Susannah, you are incredibly patient and gracious on that particular website.
I’m not anti men ! There is of course something about the internet that facilitates vile behaviour.
Peter, I am so sorry you had that traumatic experience of being trolled. Being on the receiving end of malice is a shock to the system. You’re right that those people don’t speak for God.
Thank you. Your words are a tonic to my heart
Peter, I have just gone over to have a look at the site in question and I am truly appalled by the way you have been treated there (as well as some of our other regular TA contributors).
I truly think I need to have Matthew 5.22 consciously before me all the time when I am joining in a blog conversation. I know I often fall short. Lord, have mercy.
Tim, I really really appreciate your words. They are a consolation to my heart. I don’t think I have it in my spirit to go on calling for structural differentiation. Yet, I cannot turn from my conviction that marriage is between a man and a woman. I just cannot do it, Tim. I think the future for me is in prayer and the breaking of bread with the local family of believers. I cannot be part of a tribe any longer I wish you, your daughter, her wife and all those you love every blessing in this age and in… Read more »
I understand, Peter. I was in that position a few years ago.
I did see the exchange on that site last week. If it is any consolation (and it probably is not) I and others have also been ‘blooded’ by the individual in question, and his (I am assuming it is a man) contributions account for my wariness in sticking my head above that parapet. The exchange may have been protracted, but it is not unusual. I can only assume that he considers that he is performing an important function, as a gadfly, in order to test the views which others advance. In that sense his contributions are usually wholly negative, but… Read more »
Hi Froghole, Thank you so much for your careful analysis which is an enormous help. I witnessed the troll (no woman would every behave in such a way) harass three people with whom I have regularly conversed on this site. Two of them disagree with pretty much everything I say ! All three are serious minded and thoughtful people. I was not going to look the other way. I honestly do not know if it achieved anything. By the end I was so irate that I ended up looking the fool. Anyway, people on this site have a been an… Read more »
I’m intrigued that so many people seem to know the site you’re referring to, though you never mentioned which site it was!
I’m glad people on TA have been a consolation, even though many of us often disagree with you. Discussion of differing views, done with grace and courtesy, is the only way for us to understand each other. And often a way to learn from each other and move on in the faith.
Despite the malice present on the site I think it would be wrong to name it.
TA is a really important public resource. I think it would be wrong to attempt to drag TA into a sustained inter-blog conflict.
To be candid, that was not my view at the time of the abuse.
Simon (TA Simon) rightly measured his response to my plea for support and I support his judgement on the issue
I wasn’t asking for the name – why give them free PR? I was just wondering how so many people guessed it without being told.
It also puzzles me when someone posts under a pseudonym, and gets a reply using their real name and title. I seem to have missed out on the ESP many TA users are apparently gifted with- or maybe there’s a secret code I haven’t learned to read?
Janet, speaking for myself, I had a hunch about the site, as it’s one both Peter and I visit from time to time, and I was very familiar with the kind of behaviour he described, so I went over there and checked the recent posts.
Do you need Tim’s perspective on those who, like you, disagree with him?
It was a genuine question, Janet, and Tim’s answer makes perfect sense. We are all exhausted.
Tim, happy Canada Day. Thanks so much for this article. I really appreciated it. It is very interesting to see how you worked things through carefully and theologically. Like you, many of the people I know, gay or straight, evangelical or catholic, who support same sex marriage in the church also have an orthodox commitment to scripture and the creeds. You mention the Church Army in Canada in the past. One of my classmates, a mature student at AST was former Church Army. He was one the finest parish priests I have ever known. He passed away a few years… Read more »
Thanks, Rod. I’m grateful for many things about my Church Army (now Threshold Ministries) heritage, including the lifelong friendships it has produced. It did not, however, equip me to deal with issues like this, and many of my friends are not at all happy about the change in my views.
Tim, thank you for your latest article at Inclusive Evangelicals. It is really moving and encouraging. You mention an arch-conservative among your Church Army classmates, who later came out as gay. I think that happens with some frequency, because his strong conservatism was me back in the 1980s. I was really alarmed that the Church of England was ‘soft’ on homosexuality, so much so that I wrote a long letter to my bishop about it. The thing is, I think sometimes people (like me) try to surround themselves with rigid ‘watertight’ dogma, to help us push down the diverse sexuality… Read more »
Thank you Susannah.
Thanks for all the kind words, folks. I’d like to point out that there are also excellent articles on the Inclusive Evangelicals blog by Marcus Green, Savi Hensman, David Runcorn, Nick Bundock, Peter Carrell, Charles Read, Jody Stowell, Jonathan Tallon, and Christopher Marshall. See https://www.inclusiveevangelicals.com/.
Thank you Tim. I was particularly struck by your line about the bible’s: ‘communal character, with conversations going on in its pages on different subjects just as they do in the church today. I recently heard a sermon which included the phrase ‘the bible’s view is clear…(the historic view that sex should only be between a married man and woman)’ I kid you not. That is one issue on which the bible is not clear. For example, it tells us that Jesus is descended from Judah, by the wife of his dead son’s widow. In this unhappy family situation the… Read more »
Outstanding piece by Tim.
Many thanks to you, Tim, for this post and a great many others. It is so comforting to know that you have come to recognise that God unconditionally loves all people he has made, coming from a tradition that has not necessarily accepted this. And that we are called to love and to celebrate love towards others just as God made them. When I converted to Christianity, my first spontaneous, ejaculatory prayer was ‘God, forgive me for becoming a Christian’. With your online ministry I no longer have a problem with Christianity, realising that it’s just some individuals who refuse… Read more »
Gosh, what a compliment! Thank you, Josephine, and God’s peace and joy to you.