Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 23 March 2019

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Towards understanding why people are drawn into extreme religious groups

Lucy Knight The Guardian Being a gay Christian can be hurtful and gruelling. But I refuse to lose faith

Giles Fraser UnHerd Why is punishment so popular?
“Collective vindictiveness often dresses itself up in the language of morality”

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Speaking of sexual irony

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MarkBrunsonCynthia KatsarelisWilliamFather Ron SmithTobias Stanislas Haller Recent comment authors
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Jill Armstead
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Jill Armstead

I too was raised in the Christian Faith and have never come across a church community as described by Lucy Knight. I wish some LGBTI Anglicans would stop tarring all faith communities in the Anglican tradition with the same hostile brush. If she and others continually broadcast their mistaken belief that all Anglican communities fail to offer LGBTI Christians an unconditional, wholehearted welcome, they are complicit in their own victimhood.

William
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William

Identity politics are driven by the thinking that the world consists of oppressors and victims. What the world desperately needs at the moment are ideas that unite rather than divide. Traditionally, in the West at least, Christianity has served this purpose. We have so much in common, why focus all the time on our differences?

Susannah Clark
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Quite William. By focussing on the difference between gay spouses and heterosexual ones, Justin is accentuating not what these Christians have in common with him (love, compassion, service, devotion), but what makes them different. Why should that kind of discrimination be challenged? Because, like homophobia out in the big wide world, or hate crime, it damages, demeans and diminishes people’s lives. That’s not primarily about ‘identity’. It’s about humanity. At local church level, the reception is varied. I belong to Christian communities that are brilliant in their inclusion and affirmation. But I also have connections with Christian communities that are… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

The article articulates Knight’s existential dilemma of living in two worlds. Novelist High MacLennan coined the phrase “Two Solitudes” in his novel about the French-English divide in Quebec. The phrase seems applicable to Knight’s existential situation. Scientists who are also people of faith (or, is it people of faith who are also scientists?) often face the same kind of challenge as Knight is describing i.e. full acceptance by both worlds.
“I ..never come across a church community as described by Lucy Knight.” Knight has, apparently.

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

“I too was raised in the Christian Faith and have never come across a church community as described by Lucy Knight” With respect to your experience Jill, so many of us *have* experienced these sorts of communities first hand. If you were in the same Deanery as me I could direct you to at least half a dozen. True, the positive, affirming communities get less attention, but you can hardly say that calling out the bigots is complicity in that bigotry. LGBT people hear this attitude a lot, very often from within our communities: can’t you just be a bit… Read more »

Cynthia Katsarelis
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Jill, Lucy Knight’s piece seemed to really hit a chord with you. But I’m sorry, the congregations she describes is the reality that every gay person I know, including myself, has faced. Back in the time before every church had a website with code words that indicated the position of the parish, I would call churches and ask them if they were gay-friendly. I wanted to make sure it was reasonably safe. It made for some amusing conversations, as I’d typically start with the downtown church that was most likely to be fine. But sometimes it didn’t turn out well…… Read more »

MarkBrunson
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MarkBrunson

Don’t you love the continuation of “Being a credit to your race,” just adjusted to a sexuality, instead? “Why are you so angry? Why do you continue to see only *differences*? Don’t you know you are making yourselves victims, not anyone else?” These are all the same things that I, as a white, Southern male in the U. S., have heard the Black community being asked. It never seems to occur that people who call others on their exclusionary behavior are throwing *off* victimhood and placing the responsibility for the bigotry where it belongs – on the bigot. If people… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Thanks so much for the article by Lucy Knight. Excellent!

Susannah Clark
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I think Lucy raises a very good point about the ‘anti-gay evangelical’ tone in Christian groups at many UK universities. When I was studying for my nursing degree, as a Christian I attended the Christian Union but soon found that I was making members feel uncomfortable, and it was explained to me by leaders that they felt both my gender and my sexuality contravened God’s commands for us. Another interesting point was that this Christian Union had a mature woman who was a kind of ‘overseer’ and support from a local conservative evangelical Anglican church. Ironically, this was a church… Read more »

Jo B
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Jo B

Sadly, pretty much all student groups that style themselves “Christian Union” are associated with the UCCF which split from the Student Christian Movement because the latter refused to adhere to their doctrinal shibboleths. They’ve not changed much. Fortunately the SCM is very much still active, often linked with university chaplaincy teams and generally welcoming of LGBT folk. There is, however, an ongoing issue with UCCF being the ones that shout the loudest. The CU crowd telling the Pagan Society reps that the latter are going to hell is… not constructive.

Susannah Clark
Guest

Andrew’s article is deeply moving.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

absolutely! And deeply insightful on the structural issue.

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Guest

Indeed so, Susannah. I can only hope that the Church of England is merely where The Episcopal Church in the US was twenty years ago, and know that grace is hammering on the doors, and will not be denied, and will at last be welcomed in.

Kate
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Kate

That is without doubt the best piece from Andrew Lightbown that I have read.

Father Ron Smith
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Ah, the irony! Fr. Andrew Lightbown rightly draws our attention to the fact that the Church of England can officially commend into God’s loving care the body of a Same-Sex partner in a committed relationship, while yet withholding a Church Blessing to the S/S Couple in their lifetime. There is at the very least some taint of hypocrisy here. When is the C. of E. going to come out of the closet in its acceptance of the FACT that there are many couples in its congregations whose loving, monogamous Same-Sex relationships have long been quietly accepted by their fellow congregants… Read more »

William
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William

Father Ron Smith – why is it hypocrisy to commend a soul to the mercy of God. Isn’t this is what Christians do?

Cynthia Katsarelis
Guest

Christians also marry people who are in love and living faithfully together. All the sacraments for all the baptized, not selective ones.