Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 11 August 2018

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Sexual Abusers and the Abused – the cost of forgiveness

Mark Vernon Church Times Century of the selfie

Sara Gillingham The Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale Being Intersex in the House of God

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Sara GillinghamChristopher ShellMichael MulhernWill RichardsCRS Recent comment authors
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Father Ron Smith
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A lovely testimony from Sara Gillingham. However, what Sara didn’t mention – so far as I can see – was the statement of Jesus, in the Gospel of Matthew 19:12, where he says: “There arer eunuchs who are so from their mother’s womb” – a category of non-procreators that includes both intersex people like Sara and those intrinsically gay. Such people are neither ‘freaks’ nor ‘abnormal’, but children of our loving Creator God.

JayKay8
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JayKay8

Great respect for Sara Gillingham for speaking about being born intersex and great news too for the church and society, which can learn so much from her.

Gordo
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Gordo

The claim that “1.7% of the population is intersex” is patently absurd, even worse than Kinsey’s claim that 10% of the population is homosexual (when the true figures are nearer to 2%, according to the largest studies ever dome). Social constructivism mascarades as science in intersex questions, as it does in gender disorder (now relabelled ‘gender dysphoria’). But now advocacy societies (like ‘The Intersex Society’) are set up to promote these outlooks and declare themselves arbiters of truth, so that medicine and psychology are no longer based on science but opinion forming, i.e. politics. This is what Leonard Sax had… Read more »

Susannah Clark
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Gordo, I’m sorry you are suggesting that gender dysphoria is a ‘social construction’. I suppose next you will be saying: “Social constructivism mascarades as science in Creation issues (now relabelled ‘evolution’).” To those who suffer the deeply unwelcome distress of gender dysphoria, I assure you that it is a reality and not a construction. Transgender people are facing an increasing backlash at the moment from fundamentalist Christians, extremist feminists, and sites like Mumsnet. Gender dysphoria is a scientific reality and so are various kinds of intersex condition, and I am sorry but you seem to be subverting these deeply distressing… Read more »

CRS
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CRS

So the 1.7% figure is accurate? (We can leave out the concerns about Noah’s Ark).

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

There is an easy way to tell if it is a social construction or not. If it is not, it will manifest in all countries and eras equally.

Sara Gillingham
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Sara Gillingham

I am sorry and upset that my sermon caused such a strong reaction. I am not aware of anything called ‘The Intersex Society’ , but I feel I should reply to your reference to the paper by Sax (2002) that has been discredited by intersex people themselves, including those with Klinefelter, as well as by those who were the architects of the nomenclature. There is consensus around the 1.7% I cited, as intersex is not merely a restricted to definitions founded upon genitalia (i.e. as by Sax [2002] and even then not all variations in sexual development), but also chromosomes… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

I have a different view to Stephen Parsons on the importance of forgiveness but I think that discussing the generality of Christian forgiveness in the context of abuse might be unhelpful to those affected so I will say no more than that I disagree.

Will Richards
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Will Richards

There is an interesting series of comments in the last-but-one thread (again, in response to a Stephen Parson’s blog), initiated by Bill Broadhead, which I am grateful for. In particular, Susannah Clark’s psycho-scientific insights were especially helpful, as have been other comments from a criminal justice perspective. For me, they highlight the degree to which our understandable expressions of outrage and disgust at abuse is in danger of skewing some broad and fundamental theological assumptions, and why more work needs doing in this area if the Church is to be a community of redemption rather than an echo of the… Read more »

Michael Mulhern
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Michael Mulhern

Agreed, Will. I think we are in danger of repeating some of the mistakes that were sorted out in the first four centuries (I will avoid the term ‘heresy’ in this context because it is a blunt instrument and has the potential to diminish the visceral experience of those who are struggling with these issues). Nonetheless, I think we are hearing (and reading) some sentiments, not least in the form of ‘official’ Church statements, that do not express the fullness of the Christian tradition. When Bishops are being told what to say by lawyers and media advisers, and their ‘theological’… Read more »