Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 6 July 2022

Simon Jenkins Ship of Fools On holiday with the Lord

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love LLF – Next Step Group bishops to hold meetings with interested groups

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Wymondham Abbey Developments. Vicar resigns

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Fr Dean
Fr Dean
1 month ago

Much of Stephen Parsons’ comments about Wymondham seem speculative and I’m not clear that they are at all helpful. As he is an observer and from afar, I think the maxim least said soonest mended applies.

Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Colin, I support most of the stated goals in your article, but I have uncertainties about this one: “An end to homophobic and transphobic teaching and practice in the Church of England.” Any definition or example of what constitutes ‘homophobic and transphobic teaching’? If you are saying that a priest/minister would not be allowed to preach from the pulpit that gay sex is sinful, I could not really travel with that one myself, even though I don’t think it is sinful. I do believe (as many others in the Church of England do) that the belief – that man-man sex… Read more »

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Susannah, I asked a Question about this for the July Synod. Here it is! Professor Helen King (Oxford) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops: Q49 In June 2021 the Next Steps Group discussed taking forward a proposal to form a working group on gender identity and transition. Is this work still scheduled to take place, and if so, who are the members of the working group and what are their terms of reference? The Bishop of London to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of Bishops: A This work has been paused for the… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Helen King
1 month ago

Thanks Helen.

Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Thanks for your thoughtful engagement with my blog, Susannah. You believe the idea that man-man sex is a sin can be held in good conscience as a theological position. I have come to the conclusion that this is not a Christian position based on the teaching and practice of Jesus and on an understanding of the nature of God as revealed in the complexities of Scripture and in the evolution of human thought and understanding. My understanding has evolved and continues to evolve. I have come to the conclusion that the unconditionally loving God which I believe in (through battling… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
1 month ago

Thank you Colin, I appreciate and understand your response. You know, from conversations we have had, that I share the majority of your views an the goals you stated in your article: Radical inclusion of LGBT+ people in the Church of England: I believe the floodgates should be opened to *allow* all local churches that wish to, to welcome, to affirm, to bless, and to marry LGBT+ people, and to make clear that LGBT+ lives are authentic, blessed by God, and bring gift to the Church. I believe once local churches are *allowed* to do this, more and more will… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
1 month ago

I find this quite extraordinary. It seems that you take the position that the idea that man-man sex is a sin cannot be held in good conscience. A person continuing to hold that idea would, in your view, be in a continuing state of bad conscience and therefore would be unable, in your view, to recite the General Confession and receive Holy Communion. Would you even tolerate such a person in your church? If someone said to you that the view you hold on sinfulness of man-man sex cannot be held in good conscience, you would probably call them a… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Unreliable Narrator
Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 month ago

Unreliable Narrator, I’m glad that you find my ideas quite extraordinary. I find them quite extraordinary myself quite often. I also find, as my mind opens to new possibilities and realities, the ideas of Jesus Christ quite remarkably extraordinary – challenging, transgressive, not what I expected – and more significantly, not what I was taught to believe and especially not what the Church teaches today about same-sex love and intimacy and relationships. “It seems that you take the position that the idea that man-man sex is a sin cannot be held in good conscience.” Unreliable Narrator, would you point me… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
1 month ago

According to you, if a person states views that are different from those you hold on this subject, then their views are not Christian. If they then claim to be a Christian, they are making incompatible statements: which cannot, according to you, both be true. So at least one of those statements is false. In other words, they are lying: according to you. Hence my deduction that you felt that such views could not be stated in good conscience. However, I welcome your clear and explicit statement that you simply disagree with such ideas, and that you accept the good… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
1 month ago

Why don’t we all just agree that we should respect people’s right of conscience on issues with diverse theological understandings… without having to believe all those views ourselves? Fundamentally, we cannot impose our own conscientious views on someone else’s conscience. People will believe what they believe. Someone having a different view to our own does not mean they should be kicked out of the Church. Especially as the Church of England – in the context of sex – is approximately divided… 45%-55% in support of gay sexuality? I think the grown up thing we maybe ought to do is not… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Susannah Clark
Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Certain people commenting here are keen to identify divergence of opinion with bigotry and prejudice, refuse to respect any opinion other than their own, and happy to advocate for those of differing views to be excluded from the church. I am of course happy to read Revd Colin Coward’s assurance that he is not in that category.

Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

Susannah, you argue in your always clear and reasonable way: Why don’t we all just agree that we should respect people’s right of conscience on issues with diverse theological understandings… without having to believe all those views ourselves? I agree that would be a very good position to reach, but we are not there. We will only reach that position when all the obstacles to the full and equal inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in ministry and relationships, lay and ordained, has been legally achieved – removing the quadruple lock, etc. Only then will generous respect for people’s diverse theological positions… Read more »

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