Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 8 June 2024

David Monteith ViaMedia.News PRIDE: More than Sparkling Spandex

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church To Jay or not to Jay, that is the Question for C/E Safeguarding

Paul Middleton ViaMedia.News Church of Scotland Welcomes Trans Members and Ministers

Martyn Snow Church of England Newspaper LLF: unity matters – it really matters

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David Hawkins
David Hawkins
4 days ago

Language matters and although I’m sure the Bishop of Leicester is sincere and means well I find his deeply bureaucratic language profoundly alienating. I present here an inspiring and moving alternative way of addressing profound theological differences but a solution filled with love and humanity. Why oh why does the Church of England find love and humanity so difficult ? “A few us began to meet: four clergy who were opposed to the ordination of women and four newly ordained women priests. Our early meetings, as you might imagine, were profoundly uncomfortable, tense and difficult. But we committed to meeting… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
4 days ago

Bishop Snow doesn’t say anything new and his weekend in Leicester sounds painful to me. Quite why anyone would repeatedly spend time with people who hate them is beyond me. That weekend could have been better spent making love, walking in the countryside, with family or a group of friends. LLF was doomed from the start but now it’s become masochistic.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Fr Dean
4 days ago

Don’t forget that some people are into masochism. And on another recent thread we were encouraged to explore assorted kinks…

Janet Varty
Janet Varty
Reply to  Fr Dean
4 days ago

I understand why someone is driven to repeatedly spend time with people who hate them. I’m off to church tomorrow for some of that…because the haters should not be allowed to run the church.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Fr Dean
3 days ago

If ordained women hadn’t been prepared to repeatedly spend time with people who hate us, there would be far fewer priests in the C of E now.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Janet Fife
2 days ago

The queer bashers go home after their weekend’s sport feeling vindicated. The queer people on the other hand have had their identity and integrity rubbished. Black people wouldn’t be expected to spend 72 hours justifying their existence with racists.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Fr Dean
2 days ago

Yes, it’s very damaging. Ordained women – especially from the earlier years – know it well.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Janet Fife
2 days ago

And women of course only achieved patchy success. Significant chunks of the church where ordained women are not welcome or are constrained in what they can do; bolstered by elaborate legal protections and special provisions dressed up as ‘mutual flourishing’. Difficult to see the wider Anglican Communion accepting a woman as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 day ago

Of course individuals vary in what they can handle. However many people of colour have spent thousands of hours praying and worshipping alongside, and socialising with, fellow-Christians who did not accept us as fully equal on racial grounds, as well as sometimes a few who actually did hate us, while edging towards greater equality. There is still a long way to go and, in some ways, things are going backwards. And open racism still occurs, including in supposedly affirming spaces – humans are imperfect, institutions fallible. Yet, at times, persistence has paid off. Of course some of us are also… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
4 days ago

It seems to me that the Church of England could learn a lot from the Church of Scotland how to debate issues of sex and sexuality. I particularly like the bit that as both (all?) sexes are accepted into ministry that gender reassignment is essentially an irrelevance.

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
4 days ago

Martyn Snow says: ”a space for those who want to see some development of current arrangements”.
There is already space for that. That is far from understanding the proper space now needed. A space is needed where the development is a reality. We are tired of wanting to see that. Language is important. As our newly nominated bishop has said,  “the faithful, pastoral, loving and just way forward is to extend Holy Matrimony to same-sex couples”. That is what now needs to happen.

Martyn Down
Martyn Down
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
4 days ago

Or you could just shout the same thing from the sidelines and not contribute anything to the process of trying to reconcile and truly listen to anyone outside of your echo chamber.

Give the guy a break – he is trying to hold together a loose and fraying thread.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Martyn Down
3 days ago

Bishop Martyn has made one significant contribution: instead of a progressive/regressive binary he proposes recognising a sizeable group who aren’t ready to decide yet. I think that’s realistic but, perhaps more importantly, in sucking as many people as possible into that middle ground he draws the fangs somewhat of those threatening some sort of walking apart if they don’t get their way by minimising their number. Potentially it’s a very significant development.

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Martyn Down
3 days ago

Martyn thanks for your reply. I don’t understand what you are asking for. How is providing ‘a space for those who want to see some development of current arrangements’ any different to what we currently have? And I might be on the sidelines in retirement but for several years I was a member of General Synod involved in the shared conversations, debates etc ad nauseam. I’ve contributed to the process. To be told that we can have “a space for those who want to see some development of current arrangements” feels, frankly, like another kick in the teeth. Vincent: I’m… Read more »

Vincent Van Der Weerden
Vincent Van Der Weerden
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
4 days ago

Who is your new bishop?

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Vincent Van Der Weerden
3 days ago

Exeter

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
4 days ago

I love it when Bishops start quoting scripture or in this case Paul. We all know what he thought about gay sex!

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Adrian Clarke
3 days ago

Maybe it is more accurate to suggest that you think you know what Paul thought of gay sex….( and I am presuming you don’t just mean sex which is cheerful ??)

Mark
Reply to  Adrian Clarke
3 days ago

I suppose we also all know what Paul thought about the role of women, and slavery, but possibly you don’t agree with Paul on that either nowadays?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Mark
3 days ago

Paul encouraged women in ministry (see e.g. Rom 16), and encouraged Philemon to consider his slave Onesimus a brother. Why would we disagree?

Mark
Reply to  Janet Fife
3 days ago

“Let your women keep silence in the churches,” “the head of the woman is the man,” and, if you think Ephesians was written by Paul himself, “slaves obey your masters.” Clearly Paul did not envisage women having leadership roles (even if he does mention some as fellow workers), either in churches or elsewhere; nor did he call for the abolition of slavery – his point was rather that, despite being a slave, you are still a brother in Christ. That is an acceptance of slavery. We don’t, I take it, agree with either of those positions now.

Last edited 3 days ago by Mark
David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Mark
3 days ago

The task of interpreting scripture means paying attention to its original context. To take your example from the Ephesian church. Ephesus was a city dominated by the huge temple to the goddess Artemis. This cult was led by women and hostile to men. Women were used to being dominant in society and religion. Men were routinely marginalized. Imagine the problems when converts joined the church from that cult. Firm pastoral guidance was needed. Firstly, says Paul, ‘let a woman learn …’ (1Tim 2.11). This was very new in both Jewish and Gentile society of his day. Education was only for men. Paul is being… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  David Runcorn
2 days ago

I agree with the idea of context mattering but another part of the context is that while Paul had a number of spiritual encounters with Jehovah he didn’t learn from Jesus Himself and benefit from His earthly ministry. He obviously spent some time with the Disciples but really not very long, and his relationship with them was tense at times. On the basis of context it’s hard to be confident that Paul’s teaching was fully aligned with what Jesus taught. If something Paul taught seems inconsistent with the Gospels that’s probably because it is inconsistent… and wrong.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Mark
3 days ago

You don’t consider the diaconate (Phoebe) or the apostolate (Junia) leadership roles? How do you reconcile Paul’s encouragement of Priscilla in her teaching role, with 1 Tim 2:12?

Mark
Reply to  Janet Fife
2 days ago

I don’t think it is at all controversial to say that Paul held the normal views of his time regarding the position of women, slavery, and homosexuality too. That is why the Church continued to hold them for many centuries until recently, after all. (And yes, I do have a degree in theology, before the patronising comments start…) My point is that I don’t feel bound to view any of those three issues the same way as someone 2000 years ago did, and I don’t give Paul’s particular prejudices as expressed in his Epistles – which I think were intended… Read more »

Last edited 2 days ago by Mark
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Mark
2 days ago

But I don’t think Paul did hold the normal views of his time. He was radical in some ways, as David Runcorn argues above. And, while holding true to first principles, he adapted his practice to the culture of this city or province he was in. That’s in part why some of his epistles seem to disagree with each other, and/or with his actual practice as recorded in Acts or alluded to in the Epistles.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Janet Fife
2 days ago

Thanks Janet. I agree. The NT church is an emerging and evolving one. It is work and faith in progress. So are we. There is no one understanding of ecclesiology, leadership or patterns of ministry or relationships between men and women from example – or settled doctrine. The epistles thus offer the earliest examples of places and communities where the teaching is Jesus is being faithfully worked out. So I struggle separating them from the teaching of Jesus in the gospels precisely because they are the earliest attempts, in varying cultures and contexts, to faithfully apply his teaching. Clues and… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  David Runcorn
2 days ago

The problem today, therefore, is that some people view the letters not as advice or instruction to specific groups of people at specific times and places but as “legislation” to be followed by everyone forever.

“Paul said this and it’s in the Bible,” so it must be true, for all people and all time.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Pat ONeill
2 days ago

I agree. Not this not a new issue of course. There have always been varied approaches to the bible. The issue is not what ‘the bible says’ so much as how and why it says it. There are also some people who do not believe in the bible as revelation or authority at all of course.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 day ago

David, I can strongly agree with your thesis that we should see the teachings of Paul as being continuity with the teachings of Jesus, an attempt to develop and apply his teachings in a new context (or in fact, a variety of new and different contexts. But that approach asks us to be aware of what is the same, but also what is different. What has been modified or let go of in order to suit the new contexts? One thing that has not been mentioned is that Jesus was teaching in a specifically Jewish context, in Galilee and Jerusalem.… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Janet Fife
3 days ago

St Paul was happy to have women in ministry – as long as they didn’t speak in Church!

James Allport
James Allport
Reply to  FrDavid H
3 days ago

I thought it was very widely accepted, even by relatively conservative biblical scholars like N T Wright, that Paul’s injunctions on women’s silence were made into a very particular cultic context where women had been dominant to the exclusion of men?

See for example: https://youtu.be/os8M9ln2cM0?si=3CMfxkjg3YHtNkh5

Chris
Chris
Reply to  James Allport
2 days ago

I might be misremembering something here, but I thought it was thought that a), 1 Timothy isn’t held to have been written by Paul, and that b), the verse in 1 Corinthians (14:33–35) was a later interpolation inserted into the text? (As, amongst other reasons, verses 33–35 completely break up the flow of thought on prophesying in a really odd way.)

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Chris
2 days ago

Well, that will settle the matter! The church catholic has waited until a view of terribly recent vintage–itself far from settled scholarship–to now know the ‘truth.’ Chronological snobbery and (I say this as a professional biblical scholar) ‘let’s throw this into the welter of what might be so-ism.’

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Anglican Priest
2 days ago

Christopher surely it’s possible to say that more recent developments on scholarship shed greater light on the truth? If not we might still believe Hebrews was written by Paul – to name one obvious example.
Where does more recent understanding become what you call chronological snobbery?

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
2 days ago

More recent developments in biblical studies also include 1) appreciation of the canonical form of biblical texts, and movements away from historicizing hermeneutics, and 2) humble return to the history of interpretation before modernity’s occlusions. These two emphases are more “recent” developments. Reading TA, I feel I have gone backwards, not forwards. Typical of the field of biblical scholarship are conferences like this one.

https://angelicum.it/event/scripture-conference-2024/

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
2 days ago

PS. Ancient interpreters (Origen et al) did not reflexively declare Hebrews written by Paul. The letter itself does not make this clear (see the postscript). Their Greek was better than modernity’s (since it was their own language) and they knew the letter did not have the same vocabulary and syntax as the 13 letters. The Pauline letter collection is extremely stable in order. The one book that moves? Hebrews. Why? because its place in that stable collection appears to be an outlier. What is frustrating in your comment is the total unawareness of the status of Hebrews in pre-modernity. What… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 day ago

I was fully aware of that Chris, thanks.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 day ago

“…surely it’s possible to say that more recent developments on scholarship shed greater light on the truth? If not we might still believe Hebrews was written by Paul.” AG

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Anglican Priest
1 day ago

Though it was understood in the third century it might not have been written by Paul, the King James Bible still referred to it in that way and for about 1200 years that was the most common way of identifying it. But this isn’t the main point. The question remains – at what point does a movement in scholarship tip over to chronological snobbery.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 day ago

The main question remains — why is there so little historical consciousness and awareness in the mind of modernity? Where did the whiggish idea of inevitable ‘progress’ invade our thinking? David McCulloch’s fine book, The Greatest Journey, tells of Americans in the 1830 venturing across the Atlantic, and going by diligence from l’Havre to Paris. Passing by Rouen, these New World protestants fell on their faces. They acknowledged that great things *lay behind them* and not inevitably in the future. Why should we assume that modern questions (is this verse to be pulled out of an Epistle due to this… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by Anglican Priest
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
1 day ago

I agree. Until about 30-40 years ago it was widely taught that Hebrews was written by Paul; some will have been teaching it much more recently than that.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Janet Fife
7 hours ago

I confess I don’t follow the logic in all this. ‘Widely taught’ — where, and to what end? In England? In churches? Out of curiosity, how would that change anything in any material way? Seriously. Paul might likely have been quite happy to have the book attributed to him, as augmenting his thought with a more comprehensive view of Christ’s Priesthood (a theme undeveloped in his own letters). I’m puzzled as to why ‘Pauline authorship/or not’ is such a critical index in the case of Hebrews. That sounds like a sort of reverse fundamentalism. Origen’s view seems so much more… Read more »

Last edited 7 hours ago by Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
2 days ago

“In the epistle entitled To The Hebrews the diction does not exhibit the characteristic roughness of speech or phraseology admitted by the Apostle [Paul] himself, the construction of the sentences is closer to the Greek usage, as anyone capable of recognising differences of style would agree. On the other hand the matter of the epistle is wonderful, and quite equal to the Apostle’s acknowledged writings: the truth of this would be admitted by anyone who has read the Apostle carefully… If I were asked my personal opinion, I would say that the matter is the Apostle’s but the phraseology and construction are… Read more »

Last edited 2 days ago by Anglican Priest
Rod (Rory) Gillis
Rod (Rory) Gillis
Reply to  Chris
2 days ago

Good comment. Yes, 1 Cor.14:33-35 does go ‘clunk’ when you read the larger passage for continuity. Whether it is an interpolation, or whether Paul wrote the Pastorals or not ( my money is on not), the larger question is the patriarchal nature of Christianity down the ages. I’m currently reading the late John O’Donoghue. He writes about the systemic sexual neurosis of traditional catholic and fundamentalist traditions, and the fact that, for example, the (R.C.) church would probably prefer married male priests to ordained female priests any day. The former would keep women under control of the patriarchy, no? It… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Rod (Rory) Gillis
2 days ago

Thank you so much Rod. Your last paragraph expresses exactly my own sentiments. Also very good to hear an endorsement of the wonderful work of John O’ Donahue.

I watched a fascinating film at the weekend – Good luck to you, Leo Grande. Amazing performance by Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack. Its exploration of patriarchy – as just one of the themes – is quite brilliant. It should be required watching for all interested in sexual ethics.

Rod (Rory) Gillis
Rod (Rory) Gillis
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
2 days ago

I have been reading John Donahue as part of my reclamation of Celtic heritage and spirituality. He is suitably complex as both an academic and a mystic. I will have to look for the film. Story and theology go together. I came across a book I wished to read titled, Beyond Bultmann [Bruce Longenecker & Mikeal Parsons, eds. Baylor University Press, 2014.] However, I had not read Rudolf Bultmann since divinity school in the seventies. So as prep I gave myself a refresher and read Bultmann’s essays from 1941 to 1961 [ selected, edited and translated by Schubert Ogden. Fortress… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Rod (Rory) Gillis
1 day ago

I agree…and this
‘tended to focus almost entirely on Bultmann’s solutions while sidestepping his diagnosis leaving it the elephant in the room.’
is spot on.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Rod (Rory) Gillis
2 days ago

I think that the RC Church definitely prefers married male priests to ordained female priests because of course it already has a number of married male priests in the Eastern Catholic Churches and married ex Anglican priests who have converted to Rome. I think it has always been clear that Priestley celibacy is a discipline not a theological requirement.

Rod (Rory) Gillis
Rod (Rory) Gillis
Reply to  David Hawkins
2 days ago

All three stances, enforced celibacy, some married priests ( eastern rite, ex-Anglicans and the like), and the opposition to female priests all share a common ground, what Donohue and others refer to as the complete sexual neuroses in the church. I think that extends horizontally to large swaths of Anglicanism and includes homophobia as well.

Chris
Chris
Reply to  Rod (Rory) Gillis
2 days ago

I agree with you; for academic studies I’d posit questions of authorship and translation issues, but academia is not faith, and for faith studies, it’s more important to question whether certain interpretations honour and value other people (in this case women) or not. In short, for faith, it’s a big “it doesn’t matter; I won’t stand on the letter of the law to disenfranchise women”, and that wins over what various texts from the ancient Mediterranean may or may not have said. If we can look through Jesus’ ministry and see a repeated valuing people above legalistic interpretations of the… Read more »

Rod (Rory) Gillis
Rod (Rory) Gillis
Reply to  Chris
2 days ago

Indeed academia is not faith. Interestingly current academic debate is populated by variously skilled academics located across the spectrum from believing progressives to neo-fundamentalists to highly accomplished people who do not, or do not any longer, profess to be people of faith. Texts have historical and cultural and religious contexts, and so too do scholars.

Rod (Rory) Gillis
Rod (Rory) Gillis
Reply to  Chris
2 days ago

follow up, you may get a kick out of this, I’m not a fan; but for what it is worth. lol

https://youtu.be/eRjfDWvGuVQ

Mitch McLean
Mitch McLean
Reply to  Mark
2 days ago

I agree with Paul’s letters on everything, because they’re God’s authoritative revelation. I wasn’t aware that Christians were allowed to disagree with the Bible.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Mitch McLean
1 day ago

So you agree with baptism on behalf of the dead (1Cor 15:29); keeping a list of widows over 60 (1 Tim. 5:9-10); and drinking wine with your water (1 Tim 5:23)? How do you apply those in your life, or the church’s life, today?

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Janet Fife
2 hours ago

For an interesting take on this may I recommend Sarah Pascoe reading on Letters Live on Utube (I think it’s title is ‘Should I smite them?’)

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Mitch McLean
1 day ago

What then to do when the Bible disagrees with itself, as in the two very different creation stories in Genesis?

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 day ago

Then there’s the weighty issue of whether people of faith are supposed to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks (Isaiah 2.4; Micah 4.3).

Or are people of faith supposed to beat their plowshares into swords and their pruning hooks into spears (Joel 3.10)?

Decisions, decisions, decisions. What is one supposed to do?

Jane Charman
Jane Charman
2 days ago

It was a relief to read Martyn Snow’s article. For some time now those steering the LLF process seem to have believed that everyone in the Church of England is ready to opt for either a ‘conservative’ or a ‘liberal’ position on this. Those of us who lead non-aligned churches, especially rural churches, know it isn’t so but it’s usually only those with strong views either way who are invited to speak into the ‘conversations’. A ‘large space for those who are undecided, or confused by the whole debate, and see no need to make such a choice at this time’… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Jane Charman
2 days ago

Jane do you think you could share a little more about how you believe the goalposts have moved and what have become the issues that have caused you to want to discern more than you had previously discerned? I’m not altogether sure I understand what you are saying unless you are specific.

Jane Charman
Jane Charman
Reply to  Andrew Godsall
2 days ago

Andrew, I will try and put this succinctly. I have long held the view that the privileges of ministry and the goods of marriage should be open to gay Christians and that this is not just permitted but required by the gospel. However, that’s no longer, it seems to me, the main objective of many gay Christians who now see it not as a step forward but as a succumbing to what they would call ‘heteronormativity’. Their goal instead is the ‘queering’ of the church. Trying to pin down what that means is not straightforward but here are two aspects… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Andrew Godsall
Reply to  Jane Charman
2 days ago

Jane thank you. Some of what you say makes sense to me. But to push back a little, part of your thinking reminds me of those who, during the debates about the ordination of women, said that whilst they wanted to support the idea of women being ordained, they were worried it would lead to the ‘feminisation of the Church’ – whatever they meant by that.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Jane Charman
2 days ago

Jane, thanks for clarifying here. I can understand your concerns about such issues. Challenges to the idea of objective truth, and body dysmorphia, are both major issues of concern, inside and outside the church. But whilst queer theorists may be involved in the debate around these two issues, they are not the cause of them. These issues would still be there if queer theory had never come into being, and the church would still need to find a response. Whilst I don’t think it is intentional, your response does bring up concerns for me about slippery slope arguments. https://effectiviology.com/slippery-slope/ How… Read more »

Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 day ago

If you were to identify the cause of this surge in dysphoria among the young, Simon, what would it then be? This issue would not be there if queer theory had not come into being. It was not born by miracle. It was pushed into teacher training colleges by activists who made no mystery of their tactics. Denton, the largest legal firm in the world, published them. Stonewall (and their ecclesial satellites, like Inclusive Church) have also pushed gender theory into schools and sympathetic parishes, ruthlessly silencing concerns and dissent. The CofE’s board of education initially denied that Stonewall were… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
1 day ago

Thanks for the question Lorenzo. I will answer in two parts. Firstly body dysmorphia is a longstanding and widespread issue, although perhaps turbocharged by recent developments in social media use among young people. Whilst one issue here may be related to people struggling with issues of gender identity, this is one vary small part of the overall problem. It is swamped numerically by other dysmorphia issues, such as cis-gendered young women (and men) struggling with modern ideals of beauty, or problems around skin lightening and hair straightening faced by non-white people. Let us please be aware of the total issue,… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
1 day ago

There are many of the TA readership who are in a much better place to comment on this than I am, but I’m surprised at the power you are ascribing to teachers over this. I have 4 adult children, 2 daughters and 2 sons . One of my sons is gay . When he was growing up he had ( and still has) a wide circle of female friends but it became clear to me when he was a young teenager that he was not sexually attracted to them as his older brother had been to some of his female… Read more »

Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
1 day ago

Dear Susanna and Simon. Of course it’s not just teachers, it’s churches, social media, peer pressure etc. I am quite aware that a tiny proportion of people have always transitioned, both now and of old. I’m gay and have never claimed that this arose because someone suggested to me ‘that being gay was a fun thing to do.’ This is a straw man. I used to raise awareness for ActUp among transsexuals during the Aids crisis and still know trans adults who share my concern. What I am questioning is the stratospheric increase in children and teenagers who think they… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
1 day ago

Thanks Lorenzo. I agree that there is an increase in numbers presenting with gender related questions. But correlation is not causation. Is the activity you describe the root cause of the increased numbers of children presenting, or a reaction to it? I don’t have the evidence to back it up, but if I was a gambling man I would suggest that one major cause is the vastly increased prevalence of organic chemical pollution in the modern environment. Many of these chemicals are known to have androgenic (hormone disrupting) effects even in low doses. Are we poisoning our children? The world-wide… Read more »

Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 day ago

Simon, this may very well be true, I really do not know. But this does not even begin to explain why this extraordinary increase is happening in a single, young demographic and not across all age groups. And it truly cannot explain the extraordinary efflorescence of ‘gender identities’ that accompanies it. Chemicals do not cause one to become ‘non-binary,’ genderqueer, demiboy or demigirl, nor the mania for identity flags or perfectly heterosexual kids now calling themselves queer just because they have a kink. If may link to what one of our (gay) teachers wrote at LGBChristians: https://lgbchristians.org.uk/2024/05/18/a-scandal-for-schools/ This is happening… Read more »

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
22 hours ago

God bless you. If I may say it.

Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
1 day ago

Then again, your use of ‘cis-gendered’ betrays that I’m talking to a convert. I don’t believe there is such a thing as gender identity, let alone that it can be at variance from our sexed bodies.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
1 day ago

And what do you mean by sexed bodies? It’s not straightforward. The doctor wrote F as my sex at birth, then changed his mind, crossed it out, and wrote M instead. Had he not done so, would I really have been different – and yet the gender critical crowd insist that such “on balance” decisions are final and determinative. Karyotype is complicated. People aren’t simply XX or XY. There is a lot of other alternatives. Then the SRY gene can be attached to chromosomes other than the Y, and is easily damaged because it is a particularly puny gene that… Read more »

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
Reply to  Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
22 hours ago

There really is gender identity, wich may be at variance with sexed bodies. I know a lot of cases – starting with my son’s daughter. That’s not something “to believe” (what a strange verb). Just observe … and put aside your prejugements.

Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
Reply to  José Ribeiro
8 hours ago

I won’t, I don’t think. Could you describe a female gender identity vs a male one, please?

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Lorenzo Fernandez-Smal
1 day ago

Have you read what the outgoing Equality Minister, Kemi Badenoch, said? She said that the gender critical cause had been advanced because they got GC people into leadership positions, including health. https://x.com/KemiBadenoch/status/1799509912143151611?t=1gcCFTYVRbe5Vyw53XkU6w&s=19 Cass was already disputed by international medical experts. That it was clearly politically inspired by gender critical politics really undermines any remaining credibility the report had. Trans children exist. I was one. I have spoken with many others. Like many, I didn’t know that anyone in the world felt like I did. I definitely didn’t know anything of queer theory, transition or anything else. If you bother to… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by Kate Keates
Jane Charman
Jane Charman
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 day ago

Simon, I agree that queer theorists are not the sole authors of the issues of concern we are naming. But they are enthusiastic fellow travellers. Postmodernism, however we construe it, is widely held to be incompatible with Christianity in a number of ways. Current attitudes to bodily identity and integrity in our culture are also at odds with what Christianity teaches. Another red flag for me is the way some queer Christians seem to be attracted to ‘gnostic’ texts’ which are at best sub Christian and at worst heretical. I am, I hope, first and foremost an orthodox Christian and… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Jane Charman
1 day ago

Thank you Jane, that honest answer is incredibly helpful. Perhaps, as so often, queerness or homosexuality is simply the presenting issue, but the fundamental questions go way beyond that to deeper questions of Scriptural authority and how Christianity reacts to post modernism. Now you have explained where you are coming from I can understand that and respect it, although not perhaps agree with it.

The difficult question is how can we work through these deeper issues of scriptural authority etc. within the church in a way that is not toxic or damaging to LGBTQIA people.

With best wishes

Last edited 1 day ago by Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Jane Charman
2 days ago

Jane, Could I please add my voice to Andrew Godsall’s request for greater clarification about this “wider queer agenda”. I am very sympathetic to the idea that we should pay much greater attention to the views of the vast centre ground within the church. I would argue, however, that this centre ground is not undecided or confused about these issues, but is in fact very sympathetic to moving forward, at speed, with equality in marriage and other more inclusive agendas. It is important that such voices are heard. I submitted this paper to my own diocesan debate making that very… Read more »

Last edited 2 days ago by Simon Dawson
Paul Richardson
Paul Richardson
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 day ago

Part of the problem is that the Church has been reluctant to explore a theological understanding of a covenant in same sex relationships that might be equivalent to that in Holy Matrimony between a man and a woman. What is required is an open and honest exploration of Biblical examples and themes of same sex relationships, from David and Jonathan through to “the disciple that Jesus loved”; a deeper understanding of the concept of desire, and erotic love at the heart of God’s purposes in creation, and a better exploration of the tradition of same sex relationships and partnerships through… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Paul Richardson
1 day ago

In considering inter-personal Biblical covenants, Deuteronomy 15 and Exodus 21 are often overlooked. I do not think they were even mentioned in LLF. A temporary servant wishing to become a permanent slave to his master, entered a covenant through a Biblical rite with legal recognition. The ceremony involved being pinned by the ear to the door of the master’s house. It is a Biblical way in which one man is literally attached to another man’s house, and so figuratively and truly becomes a permanent member of his household. The BCP Marriage service is between two people, husband and wife. Based… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by T Pott
Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Paul Richardson
1 day ago

I fully agree Paul, For heterosexual marriage is possible to argue that such a marriage can be described as “Loving Companionship”. It consists of a complex inter play of spiritual, sexual and companionship elements. Each different element reinforces the other, and the Christian marriage service refers to all three elements Sadly for same-sex relationships the official church has been so focused on the sex that it cannot bring itself to see same-sex marriage in the same holistic way. The only acceptable same-sex love has been the celibate companionship taught by various monastics. However at the grass roots I would argue… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by Simon Dawson
Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Paul Richardson
1 day ago

People talk about queer theory, and have done so on this thread, but seem blind to the assumption they are making in the opposite direction that sex matters. Why? Why does it matter more what sex our immortal being is incarnated into than it does our race, for example? Why is one something which classifies how we are supposed to behave according to Christian orthodoxy, but the other doesn’t? Why is sex more than simply clothes we put on when we incarnate? It can only matter if our intrinsic spiritual being (or soul) is sexed and there is no Biblical… Read more »

Mitch McLean
Mitch McLean
2 days ago

Martyn Snow keeps talking about unity, but I think the only unity we have is institutional. We all believe we should have access to this institution, and that our churches should be governed by our interpretation of the Anglican tradition.

I think we should give up talking about unity and go for gracious separation.

Paul
Paul
2 days ago

I find Martyn Snow’s article quite bizarre. Athanasius Contra Mundum and Cyril of Alexandria are not famous for their ability to find a consensus with their opponents. If they had been at Bishop Snow’s weekend in Leicester, then I don’t think Martyn would have found it so pleasant.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
1 day ago

Bishop Snow speaks of a space for the undecided as he outlines step number 85,452 of the LLF process. How about a space for the many who have zoned out and stopped paying attention to this long running (and very expensive) saga?

Susannah Clark
10 hours ago

Please do remember the bishops today as they gather to discern the way forward over Prayers of Love and Faith, and what to present to Synod next month. Holy God please send your Spirit, and help them, and open their hearts to grace.

Rod (Rory) Gillis
Rod (Rory) Gillis
1 hour ago

The thread contains a lengthy conversation about gender. Rather than reply to any one comment, I thought folks at large may be interested in this article from Commonweal. It is one of several pieces on the site regarding Dignitas Infinita. Rights Clashes | Commonweal Magazine “The text of Dignitas Infinita gives no indication that transgender people were consulted during its drafting. In that respect, it is similar to many official Church documents that tell women about their bodies, and about the meaning of their bodies, without having done much listening to them first. It doesn’t surprise me that Church leaders will comfortably opine… Read more »

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