Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 19 August 2023

Helen King sharedconversations The autumn of Living in Love and Faith

Karen O’Donnell ViaMedia.News Bodies at Prayer

David Newman Inclusive Evangelicals Evangelical unity and diversity

David Runcorn Inclusive Evangelicals How contraception has changed marriage

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FrDavid H
FrDavid H
9 months ago

As an evangelical, David Newman concedes appealing to scripture to settle arguments is futile since texts are open to more than one interpretation. To prove his point, he appeals to scripture to support his argument. This nonsensical, circular process – that appealing to scripture to show the pointless ambiguity of appealing to scripture – reveals how evangelicalism has nothing to say. Having a minority of bible-believers who describe themselves as “liberal” doesn’t make the foundation of their “bible-based” opinions more secure. It reveals evangelicalism as long passed its sell-by date. Quoting texts settles nothing.

Chris
Chris
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

Except that David Newman’s position is somewhat more thoughtful than that. He’s pointing out that scripture is open to a variety of interpretations which can be more or less faithful to the wider context, tradition and experience within which we receive scripture and therefore isn’t open to a simple “quote, quote, bang, done” reading. That’s very different from suggesting that any attempt to draw scripture into the conversation is futile – rather, it suggests that scripture can be extremely fruitful, but only if read thoughtfully and well. Which David then tries to do, as do many other evangelicals like him… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Chris
9 months ago

I still can’t see the point of evangelicals. If a thoughtful reading of scripture results in an opinion with which other evangelicals disagree, the very foundation of their claims about the Bible are questionable. David Newman uses a lot of words to say evangelicals have different opinions. It seems they can’t even agree about the nature of the Bible.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

‘I still can’t see the point of evangelicals’. Really FrDavidH? You hide it so well.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Runcorn
9 months ago

You have written We believe expressions of same-sex relationships to be supported by scripture whilst respecting the integrity of those who hold other views from the same texts” This shows that evangelicalism is reduced to merely a matter of opinion – with a text attached to support it {and/or contradict it} . I can’t see the point of that. Evangelicals can quote scripture to prove six impossible things before breakfast.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

Well either we are the mindless literalists you more usually accuse us of being – or we actually think about what we read in the Bible. Which is it? But I would be much more interested to hear what your own understanding is of the scriptures you and I committed ourselves to teaching when we were ordained. Why not actually contribute to the discussion here?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  David Runcorn
9 months ago

I am moved to respond by quoting the recently departed Dr Stanley Monkhouse from his blog. I find myself in total agreement with his writing .I don’t care about the virgin birth. I don’t care what adults do with their genitals for mutual pleasure. I don’t care whether the miracles are factual or not. I don’t care whether the events recorded in the life of Jesus are historical or not. I don’t care if they were all invented by his followers simply to “big-up” a remarkable man so that his teachings might take root. I don’t care about much Christian doctrine. Some of it… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

Since you believe so little of the Christian faith, I wonder why you bother with it at all? To take up your cross and follow someone who might not even have existed seems like a waste of time to me. I could probably do better with Seneca or Boethius.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

Dr Monkhouse died recently. His faith around the essentials shone through. I’m sure he will now know the results of taking up his cross and following Jesus.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

I mean no disrespect to his sincerity. I simply can’t see the point of taking up your cross and following someone when you don’t even care whether or not they actually existed.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

There’s much more to the final piece written by Stanley Monkhouse than Fr David H has quoted. Read on: ”I see the message of the gospel as the triumph of selflessness over ego-self, the agony in the garden leading to the death of self so that selflessness can rise. The equilibrium between looking after oneself—which is essential—and being selfless for the common good. With such selflessness we are no longer weighed down by guilt and shame and we can metaphorically rise to become like Him. Made like him, like him we rise.” Stanley clearly believed and cared that Jesus actually existed. Repeating what… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

Thanks for this R.W. Excellent comment. I like to think of Stanley ( and Tim as well ) in terms of a hobby from my youth i.e., sparring. The idea is to to help your opposite develop their skills. In one of the email exchanges I had with him, he mentioned that the Eucharist was not just about ” a snack among Jesus and his friends, but a cosmic drama”. Fiddleback chasuble and all, there was a sense of the mystic. I watched the final liturgy he presided at as vicar. There was a tension between his sermon which was… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

His final homily is very moving, even prophetic. It is worth quoting further :  I think many people today are at best ambivalent about the supernatural, but are interested in the validity of gospel teaching when the penny drops. I would go so far as to say that Christianity in the west has no future unless it grasps this. Deserves no future, even. Stanley’s views seem much more credible to the contemporary mind than the usual trite drivel which passes for the smiling certainty of today’s declining CofE. As Mr Wateridge says, many misunderstood what he wrote on here and… Read more »

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

Father David makes a passing reference to ‘the recently departed’ Stanley Monkhouse. There may have been a reference on TA to his death on 11th August but, if so, I missed it. I would like to record how much I have appreciated his posts over the past few years for their realism, common sense and clear thinking. As with the late Father Ron, another stalwart, I shall miss his contributions here. I send my condolences to his family.

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Daniel Lamont
9 months ago

There were references to this earlier in the comments on this post, and also in this one https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/opinion-5-august-2023/

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
9 months ago

What is the practice for streaming funeral services over there? Wondering if Stanley’s Funeral may be streamed. I checked the St. Paul website but no indication. If that should happen perhaps someone could post a link?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Rod Gillis
9 months ago

Opinion is divided: no hard and fast rule but some are totally opposed. I assume that it is entirely a matter for Stanley’s family to decide. Currently St Paul’s does not have an incumbent (at least that is my understanding) and is still in a state of interregnum after Stanley’s retirement. Having said this, there are YouTube recordings of some of Stanley’s services and homilies. I don’t know what his approach would have been for funerals.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

Thanks for this R.W. Clearly those making the arrangements would decide that. I just had the idea that if there was to be a stream, one could tune in if one had the info beforehand. Over here if a funeral is streamed there is usually advance notice about how to access the service at the appointed time either on the church or funeral home website. I’ve appreciated the posts you have made since Stanley’s death. I have gone back and reviewed his Rambling Rector (retired) items, several of the links for which he sent me via email from time to… Read more »

WYH
WYH
Reply to  Rod Gillis
9 months ago

Rod and Rowland, like you, I have my favourite quotes, particularly from “ Rambling Rector Retired.” I delve into that, from time to time, I am inspired, challenged in my thinking, discover something by sheer serendipity and am mostly highly amused…. all at the same time !! It may be that the memorial service, at a later date, will be streamed and available.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  WYH
9 months ago

The funeral at Burton and the memorial service to be held later in Ireland are, properly, in the hands of his family. The formal announcement does include the details of the funeral director at Burton, but no email address. Should any further information come my way, I will post it here and, with TA permission, repeat it on the latest current thread so that people are less likely to miss it. I don’t know how much longer Stanley’s blog will be accessible. There’s a wealth of spiritual material in there if people will read and think more deeply: Rod refers… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

Apparently Anglicans can’t agree about the nature of Anglicanism, either. Does that mean there’s no point to Anglicanism?

Jonathan Sacks once said that the thing that had kept Jews together for 3000 years was arguing about the meaning of scripture. I really liked that comment!

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

Orthodox male Jews in Israel are exempt from ordinary jobs and military service. Their work is to argue about scripture. That is why their pointlessness causes resentment in wider society.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

Curious – is any of that actually true?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

I stand corrected. But given the fact that Jonathan Sacks wasn’t an Israeli, and that the vast majority of Jews worldwide don’t live in Israel and haven’t for two thousand years, your comment is still not relevant to my quote from Chief Rabbi Sacks, which was making the point that in Judaism, it’s taken for granted that disagreements about the meaning of the scriptures (and the Talmud) are an integral part of Jewish life, and can build community rather than breaking it. Something similar happens in many Christian small group Bible studies. I meet online with five other people on… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

Tim: but you would accept, I hope. that while it is possible (nay, inevitable) that human beings have multiple understandings about texts, many or most of these understandings are wrong? How do you determine when an interpretation is wrong? The other problem is that evangelicals (as well as orthodox catholics) hold that Scripture doesn’t contradict itself substantively (not formally or temporally). The 39 Articles state the same, that Scripture must not be construed so that “one part be repugnant to another”. Liberal theology, on the other hand, is happy to assert that there are errors in Scripture, so it has… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  James
9 months ago

<i>’Tim: but you would accept, I hope. that while it is possible (nay, inevitable) that human beings have multiple understandings about texts, many or most of these understandings are wrong?'</i> I’m absolutely sure that some of my understandings are wrong. <i>The other problem is that evangelicals (as well as orthodox catholics) hold that Scripture doesn’t contradict itself substantively (not formally or temporally).</i> Maybe, but if you hold this to be true, you can’t simultaneously hold that other evangelical doctrine, the perspicacity of scripture. It’s not immediately clear that scripture is not self-contradictory, Theologians may be able to explain how Paul… Read more »

James
James
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
9 months ago

Tim: if you are ‘absolutely sure that some of [your] understandings are wrong’, how would you identify these understandings so as to repudiate them? You also sound a bit tentative (‘maybe’) on the evangelical and catholic doctrine that Scripture doesn’t contradict itself substantively. If you are uncertain on this, which parts of Scripture do you think are true and which are false? How do you decide which to believe and which to reject? On your understanding of ‘perspicacity’, I don’t agree with you here, for these reasons (at least). The ‘perspicacity of Scripture’ is a not a “doctrine” as such… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

I believe the Orthodox yeshivah students have a quote that “Studying Torah is as valuable to the country’s safety as serving in the armed forces”. I’m sure that really goes over well with the secular Israelis who have to fill in to keep Israel’s military up to staffing levels. It’s a different context, but I don’t think HM government is supplying the Ukrainians with Talmuds or copies of the KJV to shoot down Russian jets or stop Russian tanks. Supposedly, at the time of Israel’s founding, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first PM, decided that European Orthodox Jewry had been so devastated… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
9 months ago

A fascinating rabbit hole, but it’s a peripheral point in this discussion, thrown up like a smoke screen by DavidH to avoid actually engaging with the issue of his comment ‘I can’t see the point of evangelicals.’ Note: not ‘I can’t see the point of evangelicalism’, but ‘I can’t see the point of evangelicals.’ I’m used to DavidH’s abusive style, but I still find it rather disappointing that a person who has been ordained to the ministry of pastoral care would state on a public forum that he can’t quite see the point of my existence.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
9 months ago

Bewildering to learn that, even in Israel, Orthodox Jews are the focus of resentment.

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

Sorry – this was posted in the wrong place beforehand! I can only speak here as someone who was brought up rooted in evangelicalism. I really truly can see the point of evangelicals. My recently departed mother was proud to be one. Please don’t tell me you can’t see the point of my mother, because your comment is not just disparaging, but offensive. But back to your main point… Surely scripture is the living word – constantly feeding us and challenging us, day by day – causing us to reflect on it and life differently as a result. On a… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Chris
9 months ago

Holy Scripture was written over many. many centuries with some books containing passages of oral tradition that are even older by possibly as many centuries as the span of the written works. It was written by scores of authors in different geographical regions within the Middle East, Asia Minor (if that term is still used geographically), and Italy. It has no underlying structure other than being a collection of books about the early people of God. It has therefore become very easy for different people to cite different passages of Scripture — or even the same passage — and come… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
9 months ago

“But nonetheless, good people of faith can read Scripture thoughtfully and well and still come to different conclusions. The question is how can we do that peacefully and amicably while remaining in communion (figuratively as well as literally) with each other..” That is often said but it presupposes that people reading the Bible should, and do, come to a particular conclusion. I think that’s wrong. Rather I think we should see the Bible as quantum with a range of possible positions on a topic, some more likely than others but a range nonetheless. Only when we need to do something,… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Kate
9 months ago

“Take your example of “You shalt not kill”. Are we really saying that if someone is in pain and dying imminently that doctors can’t administer a large dose of painkillers which will have the effect of hastening that death? I don’t think that is what the commandment intends, nor I suspect do most people. And yet, it obviously depends on circumstances. If family need to get to the bedside that may change things.”

Similarly, if the family simply are tired of the physical and financial expense of caring for the patient, is that the same circumstance?

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

Pope Francis draws heavily on the Bible in his encyclical Lumen Fidei, for example. Valuing Scripture, and approaching it thoughtfully, is common among eminent Christians of various denominations.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Savi Hensman
9 months ago

Only evangelicals assert supremacy for God’s Word Written, claiming their bible-based opinions are from God Himself. Millions of them are confident Donald Trump is a worthy Christian leader.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

‘Millions of them are confident Donald Trump is a worthy Christian leader.’

Like Henry VIII?

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  FrDavid H
9 months ago

Evidence suggests that, in the USA, a sizeable majority of white Catholic regular churchgoers backed Trump, while a sizeable majority of black evangelicals did not. And many of the evangelicals I know would not claim that their opinions are directly from God, recognising instead that they are human and their interpretation of God’s will is fallible, though there are some who do believe that the meaning of Scripture is plain – and people from other wings of churches who oppose greater inclusion on the basis that they think this contradicts Christian tradition, authoritative teaching, reason or whatever.

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Savi Hensman
9 months ago

Savi Hensman, do you have a citation for your statement that black evangelicals do not support Trump? Most of the American media just repeat the claim that sizable numbers of evangelicals still support Trump, without breaking it out racially. To me, it makes sense that black evangelicals would not support Trump, but that’s me as a white guy making assumptions. While trying to find any info on the subject, and failing after an admittedly short search, I ran across an interesting news article. It stated that while evangelical pastors find Trump’s morality or ethics (or, more accurately, lack thereof) to… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  peterpi - Peter Gross
9 months ago

See Pew Research.

https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2021/08/30/most-white-americans-who-regularly-attend-worship-services-voted-for-trump-in-2020/

Nine-in-ten Black Americans who attend religious services monthly or more voted for Biden in 2020, as did a similar share of Black voters who attend services less often (94%). Just 10% of Black frequent attenders and 5% of Black infrequent attenders voted for Trump.”

James
James
Reply to  Rod Gillis
9 months ago

Given that blacks vote 90%+ for the Democrat, Trump did pretty well for a Republican among blacks, and really well among Hispanics. Biden’s victory, aided by postal votes and Facebook-funded poll workers targeted in Dem areas, depended on boosting the black vote in Philadelphia and Fulton County.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  James
9 months ago

The pew research supports Savi Hensman’s comment and answers Peterpi’s query regarding the same. That was my reason for adverting to it. Peterpi wrote: “Savi Hensman, do you have a citation for your statement that black evangelicals do not support Trump? Most of the American media just repeat the claim that sizable numbers of evangelicals still support Trump, without breaking it out racially.” Pew research provided the break down.

Jo B
Jo B
9 months ago

I think David Runcorn’s piece contains one or two unwarranted assumptions, particularly in relation to “Since no one today would dream of including any of these in a summary of the ‘tradition of marriage’…” A brief examination of conservative (both Catholic and evangelical) views on sexuality would find any number of examples of these understandings of marriage, whether it’s “trad wives”, “quiverful”, or the pronouncements of some (RC, mostly) Bishops. Patriarchal understandings of marriage are still alive and well, even in the CofE (why else would it have special bishops for those who think men have to be in charge?)

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Jo B
9 months ago

“Patriarchal understandings of marriage are still alive and well, even in the CofE…”. Nail on the head. A concise way of noting that marriage in the church is more about the imposition of values than it is about discerning causes for the same. The church’s take on marriage is tied to an etiological myth in Genesis i.e. marriage exists because God ‘intended’ it and for particular purposes. Propositional truth is squeezed out of myth. I find it helpful to look at the institution of marriage from an anthropological perspective wherein family and kinship structures are in the first instance socially… Read more »

american piskie
american piskie
Reply to  Rod Gillis
9 months ago

You remind me of a sermon by E O James, himself a distinguished anthropologist and in his old age Chaplain of All Souls, where he presided at the wedding of the Professor of Anthopology’s daughter. He began with multiple hesitations and amplifications: “Marriage …. marriage in our culture … is … is usually … the union … the lifelong union .. of a man and a woman … … Today etc.”

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  american piskie
9 months ago

‘American piskie’, your anecdote, like your sobriquet, remind me of college dons and sherry hour after traditional high mass. Among the churches, Anglicanism is especially gifted at creating hypothetical worlds from biblical mythology. The debate on marriage is illustrative of the point.

Kate
Kate
9 months ago

I don’t agree with everything that David Runcorn says, line by line, but his conclusion that contraception has changed our understanding of the institution of marriage seems unassailable since the Church of England does not have a doctrine against the use of contraception and, therefore, can no longer assert that sex must be procreative.

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
Reply to  Kate
9 months ago

Even the first English BCP (1549) recognized that procreation was not essential to matrimony, by directing that the prayer for fruitfulness in procreation be omitted when the woman was “past childbirth.”

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Tobias Haller
9 months ago

I think that is different. Elizabeth was past childbearing age but conceived John but also contraception is a deliberate choice.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Kate
9 months ago

I think it means that childbearing as an essential part of marriage cannot be part of the Church of England’s “doctrine of marriage” (if the Church of England can properly be said to have a doctrine of marriage – which seems to be widely assumed and/or stated without a sufficiently argued basis).

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Mark Bennet
9 months ago

My wife and I, along with a number of other married Christian friends, chose not to have children for a variety of reasons, all valid and very personal. But that doesn’t mean we are any less really married ‘in the sight of God’ than several Christian families we know who each have more than ten children. Their particular cultural and Christian understanding is quite the opposite of ours (schooled in the ‘Christian responsibility / no more than two children each’ ethos of the 70’s and 80’s) but equally valid. The trouble is that we, as a wider church, have this… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  John Davies
9 months ago

That’s such an important point. So often the Church of England has a narrow, even binary, view of right and wrong. Twitter sadly is full of ministers judging those who chose to watch football this morning rather than go to church. (Their argument that worship is paramount is clearly hypocritical when they don’t put on more than one service a day.) It’s seen as black and white. Life isn’t like that. It’s complicated. In an ideal world I wouldn’t have used medical resources for gender confirmation but I tried to mitigate it by paying for everything – and am now… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Kate
9 months ago

What I like about Thinking Anglicans is the way that seemingly different threads can often interrelate. Does Kate’s third paragraph comment here overlap with the “call no man father” debate elsewhere on TA?

What is the place of personal conscience in making decisions such as as these, against the dogmatic statements of church leaders?

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Kate
9 months ago

Thanks, Kate. I’m glad you could build on my comment. My feelings on abortion sound very similar to yours too; I dislike it, and feel uncomfortable with it, BUT like the alternatives even less – the last thing we want is a return to backstreet abortionists. Sadly its an issue best avoided with many of my evangelical friends, who will only see it in very stark, black and white terms. One indeed was prepared to die rather than have a fetus conceived in her fallopian tube aborted (in which case her first son would have lost his mother) and was… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  John Davies
9 months ago

“If I’ve learned one thing in my Christian career, it is that there are NO easy, black and white answers to life’s problems. The most dangerous people are the ones who think there are – and have the power or influence to impose their views on others.”

I fear that’s “our” fault. In my experience telling people what is right and wrong (often in quite simplistic terms) is a big part of mission. A large number of sermons have a similar focus – I don’t recall one teaching that “It’s complicated.”

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Mark Bennet
9 months ago

What people think marriage is, is elevated to doctrine. It is the essence of the “war on woke”. People have had their own, personal definitions of things like “marriage, “couple”, “woman” which are narrow based on limited experience of diversity served with a dollop of prejudice. When their world view is challenged by people and couples who don’t fit that world view, a common reaction is to elevate a personal definition into “tradition”, “normal” or doctrine. Then people search out others who share the limited world view to reassure themselves that they aren’t prejudiced. If a limited world view can… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
Reply to  Kate
9 months ago

“Then people search out others who share the limited world view to reassure themselves that they aren’t prejudiced.”
And then politicians exploit those people by declaring a “war on woke”, even thought those people and the politicians couldn’t define “woke” in a rational debate.
“Woke” or “CRT” have become catchall phrases by opponents of liberalism to mean “anything I don’t like”.

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
Reply to  Mark Bennet
9 months ago

That’s it precisely, Mark. It seems some misunderstand the prologue to the marriage rite, which includes procreation as a cause for the institution of marriage, to mean it is an essential element; but as the later rubric indicates, any individual marriage might or might not lead to procreation, and one incapable of procreation was not restricted from marriage. I do agree with Kate that this is not the same thing as contraception (as choice rather than condition) but this is one way in which the Church of England eventually came to see contraception as permissible.

FearandTremolo
FearandTremolo
Reply to  Tobias Haller
9 months ago

Possibly this is because the child-rearing idea in the Prayer Book goes back to St. Augustine’s good of proles. Whilst understood to mean something like ‘making babies’ in 1662, through the Early and High Middle Ages it had been taken to include adoption and what we would now call ‘step-parenting’, and certainly the Roman Augustine himself would’ve understood proles to include some kind of adoption (quite how he squared it with the concubinage that was also widely practiced, including by himself, I’m not sure). The binding together of proles specifically with procreation seems to be a later Medieval idea (by… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
Reply to  FearandTremolo
9 months ago

Yes, I think that is a valuable way of seeing it, especially the trend away from adoption. The prologue of the Cranmerian marriage liturgy makes the older link explicitly: not simply the fact of procreation, but as connected with children being “brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and praise of God.” This is a good summary of an Augustinian causal “proles” — somewhat less fully expressed in the collect (to be omitted when the woman is past the time of childbearing) where the focus is more on procreation itself and longevity, “even to the third and… Read more »

Francis James
Francis James
9 months ago

Interesting that David Runcorn entirely omits the huge value of condoms in preventing STD. This was recognised first on a major scale during WW1, when the military found that STD was causing manpower availability problem & began compulsory sex education lectures & free issue. The redoubtable Aggie Weston was an advocate even before the war. This all brought condom price down, availability & knowledge up, and as a by-product the contraceptive genie was well & truly out of the bottle regardless of what the bishops said or thought.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
9 months ago

There is little doubt that the sexual revolution has changed the social institution of marriage. Reliable birth control (pharmacology), a changing economy, issues of affordability, and certainly feminist activism are each contributors. Liturgical renewal, tepidly influenced by modern theology, is playing a slow game of catch up. The old BCP claims that marriage is “...instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency...”. That of course is a mythical statement. No such thing actually happened. That sentiment is now tacitly referenced with more amorphic wording about marriage as a God’s gift of grace to creation. Hasn’t your Common Worship marriage… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Rod Gillis
9 months ago

In a way my life’s wheel has come full circle over this debate. Some forty years ago an acquaintance and his wife, who both held very much to the patriarchal view of male headship, were trying to persuade me to go wife-hunting at conferences etc and expect God to move. (I couldn’t agree!) When they started talking about the ‘joys of sex’, as a kind of ‘enticer’, I suggested that that particular view had only crept into the evangelical churches following the development of modern contraception and, should there be a major health scare connected with the pill, attitudes might… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  John Davies
9 months ago

Your rejoinder is thoughtful and nuanced. On the ‘joy of sex’ shtick see below. To your latter observations in your second to last para, the nature of love in a marriage, certainly spot on. I was parish priest for 35 years. Certainly married couples are required to journey with one another in love and mutual support. Past sexual trauma and sexual dysfunction are real. It’s more than that of course. As couples age and contend with acute or chronic illness, their own or that of their parents, or perhaps that of their children, couples face the reality of what is… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Rod Gillis
9 months ago

Quick reply – thank you for your support regarding my comments. One great benefit of my ramblings on this site is tht I don’t feel such an ‘odd man out’ – there there are other people who think like I do.

Yes, it was the title of a particular book – it makes a convenient ‘handle’ for the whole issue.

Give me time to read your whole passage, and I may get back to you.

God bless

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Rod Gillis
9 months ago

Thanks, Rod, for your comments, which I’ve now read in full. As you say, much of the current debate within the church, as with womens’ roles and rights, is ‘old hat’ within wider society – a painful ilustration of how badly isolated we’ve made ourselves with our chronic introversion. Certainly, once you regard friendship and mutual support as the basis for marriage, the ‘same sex’ problem fades away. Jill and I have always worked on that basis – we each married our best friend. Friendship, particularly when based on a relationship in which Jesus is regarded as the true ‘head’… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  John Davies
9 months ago

John, I’m just catching up with this latter reply two days late, Isolation, the ghettoization if you will, of the church is certainly an issue. Thank you for your thoughtful rejoinders.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

Repeating here a post on the 5th August thread where the death of Stanley Monkhouse was first reported:

Just announced in the Irish Times, a funeral service for Stanley Monkhouse will be held at St Paul’s Church, St Paul’s Square, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 2FZ on Thursday, September 7 at 2.15pm (family flowers only).
A memorial service in Ireland will follow with a date to be confirmed.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

A reminder of a distinguished medic and fine priest, as well as a stimulating contributor on this site .Would that there were more like him. May he rest in peace.

Mary Hancock
Mary Hancock
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

Thank you, Roland. Sad news. I will miss Stanley and his comments.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

Thank you for reposting, I would have missed it otherwise. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

WYH
WYH
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

Rowland, Thank you for this additional information, much appreciated.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

Many thanks indeed. St Paul’s, rather than St Modwen’s (the neoclassical ‘historic’ church) is perhaps the most appropriate place. He was a fan of Victoriana and it was put up – with Bass cash – by Grimthorpe (which did not much interest him) with considerable re-working by Bodley (which interested him very much indeed). His house is almost literally in the shadow of St Paul’s, a little to the SE of the church, and is also just around the corner from the very impressive town hall (also put up courtesy of the Bass family): the square surrounding St Paul’s, with… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Froghole
9 months ago

I recall his once telling me that he wished his ashes to be scattered in Ireland where, as you know, he has family. On the 5th August thread Simon Sarmiento linked a short article from St Paul’s with a fine picture of a smiling Stanley in gold Roman chasuble standing in front of the altar there.

Unfortunately, I am unable to attend his funeral, but I imagine that many readers of TA and Surviving Church will be there in spirit with Stanley.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Froghole
9 months ago

This further announcement on his website with a wonderful photograph:

https://ramblingrector.me/2023/08/25/the-death-has-occurred-of-reverend-dr-stanley-monkhouse/

WYH
WYH
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

Rowland, thank you, a splendid photo indeed. We can remember him with fondness and recall his numerous, pertinent witty comments to this site.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

Very many thanks for that, Mr Wateridge! I think that image provides an excellent snapshot of his personality: there is a combination of formality and correct form, with more than a hint of mischief.

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

This further post from his family describes the difficulties encountered in dealing with the consequences of his death
https://ramblingrector.me/2023/08/31/england-is-broken-for-your-consideration/

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
9 months ago

Poor Stanley. My deepest sympathy to his family. I had similar experiences when my wife died ten years ago and, without going into details, almost had to postpone her funeral.

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