Not Again !

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  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Blahblah wrote: »
    A Church of England priest, as I understand it, is validated by the state to register marriages.
    Legally a priest or a deacon provided the marriage is carried out “according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England”.
    Almost* no other religious leader in England has that right, so any church other weddings must be conducted with a state official present.
    There must be an ‘authorised person’ present. This may be a registrar, but it may also be the person officiating, or some other person. In the Baptist church of my youth it was a woman in the congregation who had particularly fine handwriting.
    I am pretty sure this state of affairs does not happen in Norway. I'm less sure, but I don't think it happens elsewhere in Scandinavia.

    I don't believe it is actually very common anywhere.

    * I think some rules are different for Jews and Quakers

  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    @Forthview as with the CoE case in point here, it's all about attitude, and as I have often replied to you, as somebody who works with Catholics internationally and at every level up to archbishops, Catholicism is a very different animal in this respect in countries in which it is the historic majority religion.

    There's nothing wrong with bureaucracy, but there's something wrong when the RCC diocese sends out a detailed questionnaire destined for an independent protestant church, sent for some reason to the RCC diocese by the French state's internal security department - and asks for it to be returned c/o the diocese.

    Twice.

    This is just one example I'm directly aware of of the much-encountered attitude that the RCC has some sort of intrinsic right to gather intelligence information about other church practices and records that have nothing to do with it.

    The church may be justifiably unhappy that its records were confiscated, but protestant persecution in France is very much within living memory and not so easily dismissed. It could acknowledge that a secular state with a plurality of religious beliefs and none is a good thing, but the archbishop I know best wants none of it.
  • It is really ludicrous of Eutychus to say that the RC Church behaves like a parallel state waiting for things to get back to 'normal'. By this I take it that it means RC dominance over everyone and everything.
    I would imagine that every Christian group, not just RCs, would hope that one day, before the great day of judgement, all of humanity would come to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, that all of humanity would follow completely the laws of love and teaching of Jesus Christ ,and that all of humanity would live in peace and harmony with one another.
    That is our pious hope and that is indeed what the RC Church would consider as 'normal'.

    Most of us realise that we haven't done too well in the last two thousand years in achieving that objective, but we do, I hope, in our own ways, continue to try.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Eutychus wrote: »
    <snip>But they added value judgements about the status of those married or partnered according to other rules.

    I’m open to persuasion that I am mistaken, but it is not clear to me that they have made such value judgement statements in the advice they issued.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    Eutychus wrote: »
    <snip>But they added value judgements about the status of those married or partnered according to other rules.

    I’m open to persuasion that I am mistaken, but it is not clear to me that they have made such value judgement statements in the advice they issued.

    Here's the sentence the Guardian quoted:
    Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purposes for human beings.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    It is really ludicrous of Eutychus to say that the RC Church behaves like a parallel state waiting for things to get back to 'normal'. By this I take it that it means RC dominance over everyone and everything.
    I would imagine that every Christian group, not just RCs, would hope that one day, before the great day of judgement, all of humanity would come to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, that all of humanity would follow completely the laws of love and teaching of Jesus Christ ,and that all of humanity would live in peace and harmony with one another.
    That is our pious hope and that is indeed what the RC Church would consider as 'normal'.

    I am not going to name names, but the prelate I'm on tutoiement (familiar "you") terms with undoubtedly sees the secular state as an enemy to be resisted and not an ally to work with.

    Where I disagree with your pious hope (sic) is in it having an institutional outworking.

    When, decades ago, I tackled a former mayor of my city on the first incarnation of civil partnerships in France (to which I was opposed at that time), his one-sentence reply was nous ne vivons pas en théocratie: we do not live in a theocracy. His answer stayed with me and over the years I have come to agree with him entirely.

  • BroJames wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    A Church of England priest, as I understand it, is validated by the state to register marriages.
    Legally a priest or a deacon provided the marriage is carried out “according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England”.
    Almost* no other religious leader in England has that right, so any church other weddings must be conducted with a state official present.
    There must be an ‘authorised person’ present. This may be a registrar, but it may also be the person officiating, or some other person. In the Baptist church of my youth it was a woman in the congregation who had particularly fine handwriting.
    I am pretty sure this state of affairs does not happen in Norway. I'm less sure, but I don't think it happens elsewhere in Scandinavia.

    I don't believe it is actually very common anywhere.

    * I think some rules are different for Jews and Quakers

    Yes. I know the procedure. Even where the church has an 'authorised person' (not always, as in the chapel where I was married) the authorisation comes from the state not the church in question. The person authorised to do the job is, in this instance, acting as an official of the state.

    That is in contrast to the Priest (or deacon, thanks for the clarification) who is acting under the authority of the state church.
  • Blahblah wrote: »

    I think most traditional Christians would reckon that Mark 10, which in Christian terms is God incarnate (Jesus) commenting on his own OT words, amounts to a rather emphatic statement of sex and marriage being a matter of male and female. And if so then male with male and female with female can't truly do 'sex' and it will always be unfitting for them to try.

    I think any religious group that wants to subdivide and define marriage in specific ways should do so. Knock yourseof out.

    But what really annoys me is when groups seem to think that they (and in fact a minority of thar group) think they have some moral authority or special dibs on how other people use terms.

    We don't expect you to like it. We do expect you to respect the law which has been designed to protect people doing things, which in this instance includes things you don't agree with.

    I perhaps should have written "And if so then in Christian terms male with male and female with female can't truly do 'sex' and it will always be unfitting for them to try".

    And as far as I'm concerned non-Christian marriages are still marriages even if called 'civil partnerships'. In this case I'm not so much prescribing use of terms as trying to negotiate as clearly as I can the terms others are using.

    That's lovely. Thankfully you don't get to define terms anywhere outside of your own head.
  • I like the use of "sex", as opposed to sex. Presumably, God-fearing Christians do the latter, and non-Christians, gays, and assorted cannibals do "sex". Or is it 'sex'?
  • My daughter when she was small tended to walk on outside part of her feet. It used to annoy me no end.

    Of course the simple solution to put my mind at ease was to confirm to myself that she was just "walking".
  • Eutychus, I have never suggested that France or indeed any other country ought to be a theocracy. Nevertheless if we believe in God, if we believe in the Church (Christian community) we live in our own theocracy. We live, following what we see as the teachings of Jesus in the first instance, rather than the teachings of the neutral state.Where these clash I would expect a Christian,(Catholic,Protestant,Orthodox,Evangelical,Independent )to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ in the first instance, rather than those of the state, that is, if they clash.
    There is an obvious clash - the Christian believes in the message of Jesus Christ, the neutral state does not.
    I am glad that you are on terms of 'tutoiement' with a prelate of the Catholic Church.
    As a Catholic I would automatically owe him some respect ,particularly if he is a bishop or even an archbishop. As a Catholic I am not obliged to agree with his political views, even were I to live within his diocese.
    In every organisation there will be people with different views as to how the message of Jesus is best advanced. To my mind we have to live with that. For Catholics the message of Jesus Christ is best advanced within the Church which we see as a living organism, founded, guided and protected by Jesus. In today's society however there are surely people who have the one aim but who see different ways of achieving this. The many religious orders and charisms within the Catholic church bear witness to this.
    However I am not surprised that there will be some people who look back to what they imagine to have been a golden age where everything happened according to their principles.
    There is really little difference with yourself. Instead of the Church as the guide, you have yourself and your own understandings of the message of the Gospel which you surely consider to be worthy of investigation by others, just as I assume you would wish these others to follow. If not what is the point of being a chaplain ?. I don't know if you are a minister or a pastor or have the 'cure of souls', but if you don't believe that you should announce the Gospel, as you see it to others,(just as the Church tries to do) then what is the point of being a Christian. ?

    What I have said here I would say to everyone, particularly to people of faith.The arguments here have been about the meaning of 'marriage'. The state has a view of 'marriage' .The state is the guarantor of legality. The citizens of the state, while being exhorted to be faithful to the state are not obliged to believe in or agree with everything which the state says or does.
    We have individuals here putting forward their points of view about the meaning of marriage, as well as about the rights and wrongs of sexual conduct. Some, but not all are as narrow minded about right and wrong and just as sure that their interpretation is as correct as they might claim that medieval theologians thought that they were.
    Personally I accept their right to put forward their points of view, but I reserve the right to disagree with them at times.
  • Hi. Just resurfaced after spending a lot of time preparing and running a Bible Study in our conservative parish on what is regarded on this forum as a dead horse topic. Each section featured the arguments of Traditionalists and Revisionists side by side. It was remarkable to witness people being given ‘permission’, as it were, to think about apparently forbidden topics (forbidden in our neck of the woods anyway) and cautiously tolerated by our very conservative vicar. However, my hope is that ‘Living in Love and Faith’ will do the same job rather better: ours was purely a Bible Study.

    The bishops’ comment on civil partnerships was so galactically crass that I think they may have been thinking about something else at the time.. ‘Living in Love and Faith’, despite its typically Anglican top-down organisation, threatens to put official C of E discussion materials on marriage and sex into the hands of ordinary lay people. The materials are supposed to include relevant personal testimony and expert opinion alongside the standard authorities of Scripture and Tradition, with the hope that people will listen and learn with something approaching an open mind - and draw their own conclusions. IMHO the bishops looked in their diaries, saw that June’s coming, and panicked.
  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    Forthview wrote: »
    We have individuals here putting forward their points of view about the meaning of marriage, as well as about the rights and wrongs of sexual conduct.

    What we have here, at least in the material referenced in the OP and as argued in response to @BroJames, is senior representatives of a church propounding not only their views on marriage based on their religious convictions, but also, superfluously and unhelpfully in my view, their judgement from on high on those not living in conformity with those views - and doing so from an ambiguous standpoint as representatives of an established Church with the ability to conduct weddings that are civilly valid.

    As I said before, it's the tone that's wrong. Their imagined self-importance due to their constitutional role drips out of every pixel of the document and will be evident to everyone but themselves and their sycophants. It's as bad as the Corinthian meetings Paul decried as "doing more harm than good".

    @wabale's choice of word is a good one: it's crass.
  • Enoch said
    Marriage was not invented by Christianity. Nor was it brought into being by the church. This can't be proved but it seems to exist and have existed, always, as one of the human universals that people like Simon Pinker talk about. In one form or another, and with a lot of variation as to its attributes, it just seems always and everywhere to be there, part of how the human species is, just as, by contrast, bull seals collect harems on the beach.

    Not disagreeing with you on that, though I might want to point out that if Christianity is true, then marriage is a universal because of God’s original creative intent. Believing in Jesus’ concept that his kingdom is ‘not of this world’, I’m not in the business of forcing others to agree with the Christian concept unless they are voluntarily Christians.

    The CofE’s view is of course basically the Christian view – but it does tend to be expressed with residual ‘established’ attitudes by a church which is in fact still legally established. I see that Forthview has also noticed this in a recent post.

    I am broadly in favour of the state of affairs where marriages are conducted ‘at the town hall’ for legal secular purposes – but have no problem with the state ‘licensing’ registry for equally legal marriages at other places, churches and also secular premises such as stately homes, museums etc.

    Robert Armin
    It was only after a long conversation with a conservative priest that I grasped that he was reading Mark 10 in a prescriptive fashion, as you describe. I'd always taken that bit as descriptive, long before there was any fuss, and genuinely couldn't see the point he was making

    I am of course aware of that ‘descriptive/prescriptive’ distinction – we often use it in UK Anabaptist circles. And as we are aware of it, we are also aware that it’s a tactic that needs care, and can be used inappropriately. In this particular case I feel that the ‘description’ is so stated as to be effectively ‘prescription’ as well. The context is that Jesus has been asked about divorce, and he answers by considering the even more fundamental question of the marriage that divorce would dissolve. And the first thing he says is “God made them male and female”. And he goes on to talk about the ‘becoming one flesh’ thing, clearly a reference to sexual union – but again, very emphatically a thing which is about the design of humans, male and female having complementary anatomy for the purpose of sex. Same-sex couples simply cannot do that, and are not designed for it. It is ‘describing’ marriage, but it is doing so in a rather emphatic way which excludes the ‘gay’ alternative.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    @Eutychus I still think you're evaluating the CofE according to whether it's French enough for you.

    Each country has peculiarities from its own history. So what you claim is a blindness to a subtlety that you regard as important really does derive from the UK not being France, not having had an ancient regime, not having had a violent revolution in the 1780s and 90s, but having had a reformation, a state church that has been largely under the control of the government rather than the pope, and a civil war in the C17, and government diffused among different people rather than one bloated autocrat in Versailles. Or to put it differently, to the important issues being different ones.

    You say,
    "Its declarations rely on its historical and constitutional role, but they are utterly alienating and out of synch with its actual sphere of influence, and thus unhelpful."
    This only makes sense as a statement if you're accepting that the CofE does have a role in stating how society ought to be, rather than how people who already specifically see themselves as CofE Christians ought to think. If you really believed in secularity, you would accept that what the archbishops say is only relevant to those who choose to follow their counsel.

    If you were to say to me that you don't think the CofE has collectively worked out what it thinks about the church's relationship with either the state or the unbelieving multitudes that makes up most of its citizens these days, or whether its function is to speak for God or to try to sanctify the public, a BBC for the spirit, I'd agree with you. But I don't think that's what you're saying, and if it is, I'd rather question how relevant French history and experience is to sharpening this one.

    Corrected quoting issue. BroJames Purgatory Host
  • Enoch wrote: »
    You say,
    "Its declarations rely on its historical and constitutional role, but they are utterly alienating and out of synch with its actual sphere of influence, and thus unhelpful."
    This only makes sense as a statement if you're accepting that the CofE does have a role in stating how society ought to be, rather than how people who already specifically see themselves as CofE Christians ought to think. If you really believed in secularity, you would accept that what the archbishops say is only relevant to those who choose to follow their counsel.

    To my mind whatever they say is inevitably addressed to more than their followers, because of the CoE's establishment status plus the fact that its clerics can celebrate civil, legally binding marriages. Can, and therefore I think have a duty to, but have been known to try, dishonestly, to worm their way out of doing so when it suits them.

    There is a pick and choose attitude to the role of officer of the civil state that I find deeply hypocritical. "We'll perform this civil function because it cements our civil role and ticks our boxes, but we won't perform that one or bless the outcome, because it doesn't". This mixture of the civil and the religious surely annoys more than just French people.

    When the Evangelical Alliance sounds off about this sort of thing, it annoys me, but at least they cannot do so under the veil of establishment legitimacy.
  • Eliab wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    It's not in the liturgy, and therefore doesn't pass the test of lex oranda, lex credenda*.

    It is, and it does.

    "Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body."

    That's paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 7 (link). 'Fornication' translates porneia which doesn't necessarily mean premarital sex.

    The context of 'continency' is that St Paul thinks it is better to be unmarried than married, but if you can't stand the single life, then you should get married. However, he tells us why the single life is better, and it isn't "no sex": it's "He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife." So the 'continency' isn't the ability to live without sex, but the ability to live without companionship - someone who is married but not having sex still careth for how he may please his wife.

    (And even if you think the foregoing is a load of self-serving sophistry, and not at all what Archbishop Cranmer had in mind - the fact is that the Tractarians have already set a precedent for reading our foundational texts contrary to how they were doubtless intended.)
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Eutychus wrote: »
    BroJames wrote: »
    Eutychus wrote: »
    <snip>But they added value judgements about the status of those married or partnered according to other rules.

    I’m open to persuasion that I am mistaken, but it is not clear to me that they have made such value judgement statements in the advice they issued.

    Here's the sentence the Guardian quoted:
    Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purposes for human beings.

    I see what you mean. But the view that
    Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purposes for human beings.
    is a necessary logical precursor to the decision not to issue a public rite of blessing which is one of the main points of the advice. I can see how the statement comes across as condemnatory, but absent some statement of that kind there would be no reason for not issuing a public rite of blessing for civil partnerships.
  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Forthview wrote: »
    That in no way stops one of the largest Christian bodies declaring that those who claim to be members of that body ( and no one else !) are not 'married' in the eyes of God unless they have been married according to the rules of that religious body.
    That's not all they declared. They could have simply made assertions about what qualified for marriage in the eyes of God and stopped there. But they added value judgements about the status of those married or partnered according to other rules.

    Yes.

    When all this stuff comes up I always end up coming back to the Roman Catholic church's position on divorcees remarrying.

    I could be wrong, but I get the impression the RCC generally confines such remarks to "we won't marry you", and doesn't go out of its way to tell people who have remarried that there is something wrong with their status?
  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    Enoch wrote: »
    @Eutychus I still think you're evaluating the CofE according to whether it's French enough for you.

    Each country has peculiarities from its own history. So what you claim is a blindness to a subtlety that you regard as important really does derive from the UK not being France, not having had an ancient regime, not having had a violent revolution in the 1780s and 90s, but having had a reformation, a state church that has been largely under the control of the government rather than the pope, and a civil war in the C17, and government diffused among different people rather than one bloated autocrat in Versailles. Or to put it differently, to the important issues being different ones.

    If one looks around the world, though, it tends to suggest that it's the UK that has the peculiarities more than France.

    Certainly, the Church of England is a weird beast. Perhaps it considers it important to have a view on marriage because it was essentially founded as a means of manipulating those very rules.

    It's an awful and embarrassing origin story.

  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    BroJames wrote: »
    the view that
    Sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage are regarded as falling short of God’s purposes for human beings.
    is a necessary logical precursor to the decision not to issue a public rite of blessing which is one of the main points of the advice. I can see how the statement comes across as condemnatory, but absent some statement of that kind there would be no reason for not issuing a public rite of blessing for civil partnerships.

    It comes across as condemnatory because it fudges the sense in which the word "marriage" is used. It blurs the boundaries between the CoE's theological understanding of marriage in its capacity as a Church and its administration of the legal act of marriage on behalf of the civil state. Hence my charge of hypocrisy above. The CoE wants to have its cake and eat it.

    It makes matters worse by implying that marriage is just about sex and that the apogee of "God's purposes for human beings" is to have a sexual relationship within heterosexual marriage. It imposes a purity test which is impossible to police or enforce.

    When it comes to communicating my theological understanding of marriage, I've long adopted the French National Railways (SNCF) approach. Their tagline used to be C'est à nous de vous faire préférer le train: 'it's our job to get you to want to travel by train'. Legalistic pontificating is no way to persuade people to adopt one's lifestyle preferences. And if those lifestyle preferences are all one is cracking them up to be, no legalistic pontificating should be required for them to appeal to others. And if they don't appeal to others, one should be asking oneself why, not pouring on condemnation and withholding blessing from everybody else.
  • Enoch said
    Marriage was not invented by Christianity. Nor was it brought into being by the church. This can't be proved but it seems to exist and have existed, always, as one of the human universals that people like Simon Pinker talk about. In one form or another, and with a lot of variation as to its attributes, it just seems always and everywhere to be there, part of how the human species is, just as, by contrast, bull seals collect harems on the beach.

    Not disagreeing with you on that, though I might want to point out that if Christianity is true, then marriage is a universal because of God’s original creative intent. Believing in Jesus’ concept that his kingdom is ‘not of this world’, I’m not in the business of forcing others to agree with the Christian concept unless they are voluntarily Christians.

    The CofE’s view is of course basically the Christian view – but it does tend to be expressed with residual ‘established’ attitudes by a church which is in fact still legally established. I see that Forthview has also noticed this in a recent post.

    I am broadly in favour of the state of affairs where marriages are conducted ‘at the town hall’ for legal secular purposes – but have no problem with the state ‘licensing’ registry for equally legal marriages at other places, churches and also secular premises such as stately homes, museums etc.

    Robert Armin
    It was only after a long conversation with a conservative priest that I grasped that he was reading Mark 10 in a prescriptive fashion, as you describe. I'd always taken that bit as descriptive, long before there was any fuss, and genuinely couldn't see the point he was making

    I am of course aware of that ‘descriptive/prescriptive’ distinction – we often use it in UK Anabaptist circles. And as we are aware of it, we are also aware that it’s a tactic that needs care, and can be used inappropriately. In this particular case I feel that the ‘description’ is so stated as to be effectively ‘prescription’ as well. The context is that Jesus has been asked about divorce, and he answers by considering the even more fundamental question of the marriage that divorce would dissolve. And the first thing he says is “God made them male and female”. And he goes on to talk about the ‘becoming one flesh’ thing, clearly a reference to sexual union – but again, very emphatically a thing which is about the design of humans, male and female having complementary anatomy for the purpose of sex. Same-sex couples simply cannot do that, and are not designed for it. It is ‘describing’ marriage, but it is doing so in a rather emphatic way which excludes the ‘gay’ alternative.

    Oranges. Again.
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    @Steve Langton: "I am of course aware of that ‘descriptive/prescriptive’ distinction – we often use it in UK Anabaptist circles. And as we are aware of it, we are also aware that it’s a tactic that needs care, and can be used inappropriately. In this particular case I feel that the ‘description’ is so stated as to be effectively ‘prescription’ as well. The context is that Jesus has been asked about divorce, and he answers by considering the even more fundamental question of the marriage that divorce would dissolve. And the first thing he says is “God made them male and female”. And he goes on to talk about the ‘becoming one flesh’ thing, clearly a reference to sexual union – but again, very emphatically a thing which is about the design of humans, male and female having complementary anatomy for the purpose of sex. Same-sex couples simply cannot do that, and are not designed for it. It is ‘describing’ marriage, but it is doing so in a rather emphatic way which excludes the ‘gay’ alternative."

    Wow. There are several places where I don't follow you at all. To my mind Jesus is asked about divorce, which could be ridiculously easy for men at the time, and responds by talking about commitment, which is available to anyone of any orientation.

    Secondly, you seem to think that "one flesh" is all about what goes in what orifice. If so, it could apply to anal sex as well. However, far more straight people take part in anal then gays. I read somewhere (can't look for it on my phone without losing this page) that a third of gay men aren't interested in anal. Are we back to the "cameras in the bedroom" approach? Coming up with a list of acceptable sexual practices, and trying to force people who don't feel like US to conform?
  • @Steve Langton:
    "I am of course aware of that ‘descriptive/prescriptive’ distinction – we often use it in UK Anabaptist circles. And as we are aware of it, we are also aware that it’s a tactic that needs care, and can be used inappropriately. In this particular case I feel that the ‘description’ is so stated as to be effectively ‘prescription’ as well. The context is that Jesus has been asked about divorce, and he answers by considering the even more fundamental question of the marriage that divorce would dissolve. And the first thing he says is “God made them male and female”. And he goes on to talk about the ‘becoming one flesh’ thing, clearly a reference to sexual union – but again, very emphatically a thing which is about the design of humans, male and female having complementary anatomy for the purpose of sex. Same-sex couples simply cannot do that, and are not designed for it. It is ‘describing’ marriage, but it is doing so in a rather emphatic way which excludes the ‘gay’ alternative."

    Wow. There are several places where I don't follow you at all. To my mind Jesus is asked about divorce, which could be ridiculously easy for men at the time, and responds by talking about commitment, which is available to anyone of any orientation.

    Secondly, you seem to think that "one flesh" is all about what goes in what orifice. If so, it could apply to anal sex as well. However, far more straight people take part in anal then gays. I read somewhere (can't look for it on my phone without losing this page) that a third of gay men aren't interested in anal. Are we back to the "cameras in the bedroom" approach? Coming up with a list of acceptable sexual practices, and trying to force people who don't feel like US to conform?

    No, not in the "cameras in the bedroom" business. Just thinking that those who are voluntarily Christians would want to conduct their sexual lives according to what God has revealed in the Bible and would not want to go against God's intentions in the matter.
    To my mind Jesus is asked about divorce, which could be ridiculously easy for men at the time, and responds by talking about commitment, which is available to anyone of any orientation.

    Strange way of 'talking about commitment...available to anyone of any orientation" to actually talk only of the partners being made male and female and how those male and female partners 'become one flesh' and how that is what marriage is about. And he quotes specifically, taking the trouble to use a passage from another chapter of Genesis, how
    "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh"
    .

    It could hardly be made clearer that this is about the male-with-female. And in terms of 'orifices', surely it is rather the point that male and female here have 'complementary anatomy' one purposely designed for the other, and that is what is intended to be used in that union. Why make such a point of the creation of 'male and female' if an orifice males also have is 'just as good', equally valid? Yes, in a 'fallen' world male-with-female couples may do anal sex - but it can hardly be claimed that this is deliberately so designed by God and I think it is reasonable to think God may not approve of the 'straight' version either.

    Right now I haven't time to take this further - but actually I have noticed the point about 'gays' not necessarily being into anal sex; spectacularly, in a documentary he himself had produced and fronted Stephen Fry was seen being extremely embarrassed about anal sex. Has interesting implications for how we define 'gay'....



  • The moment when I heard a fellow pastor relate to me, apparently for no reason other than voyeurism, that a (heterosexual) couple in his church had come to him to ask whether oral sex was OK for Christians, was a defining moment in my thinking that any attempt to legislate, police, condemn, approve, or disapprove of what goes on in private between two consenting adults would inevitably be more harmful than beneficial for all concerned.
  • Hurrah, anal sex is back. Bottoms up!
  • Yup. Anal sex, one of the top three favourite hang-ups for the upper-middle class English male.

    The question to ask your conservative Bishop is: what is his position on masturbation - sin of Onan and all that - and watch him squirm. And is the position of the archbishops that unmarried couples can be allowed to do that? To quote Lord Gnome, I think we should be told. :grin:
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    @Steve Langton: "Has interesting implications for how we define 'gay'...."

    Really? Does anyone want to stop defining it as "attracted to your own gender"? Or would you rather define it by behaviour, and include being fabulous at interior design and loving musicals?
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    And, going back to @Steve Langton's post, but unable to quote little bits of it, was anyone other than male and female presenting themselves for marriage in Jesus' day? That sounds pretty descriptive to me.

    In addition, @Steve Langton has now told us that God disapproves of anal sex, whoever is doing it. Could he let the rest of us know what else God disapproves of so that we can be safe?
  • And, going back to @Steve Langton's post, but unable to quote little bits of it, was anyone other than male and female presenting themselves for marriage in Jesus' day? That sounds pretty descriptive to me.

    In addition, @Steve Langton has now told us that God disapproves of anal sex, whoever is doing it. Could he let the rest of us know what else God disapproves of so that we can be safe?

    I thought that was obvious: established churches.
  • I define gay as being attracted to someone of the same sex. Does it really have to be more complicated than that? It’s nothing to do with where you actually put your squishy bits relative to your lover’s squishy bits. People tend to realise their sexual orientation in adolescence, I think, generally some years before they get to translate theory into practice. Talking about defining gay in terms of practice is sexualising something that need not be sexualised. The church can be brilliant at that (see also, purity culture).

    Like @Robert Armin I interpret the Mark 10 passage as descriptive, not prescriptive, and the Genesis passage likewise. I think the author/redactor of Genesis is saying “Well, look at what the people do”. And it’s Jesus who brings God into it. Jesus is, as always, looking out for the people who could be vulnerable, in this case the women who could be divorced and left unsupported. But hey, that’s just me, perhaps.
  • @Steve Langton: "Has interesting implications for how we define 'gay'...."

    Really? Does anyone want to stop defining it as "attracted to your own gender"? Or would you rather define it by behaviour, and include being fabulous at interior design and loving musicals?

    That answer is kind of making my point, though you clearly don't yet understand how. Given the time of night now, I'll make a simple point and leave you to think about it.

    For Christianity men loving other men and women loving other women is not a problem - see as a very clear example David's lament in 2 Sam 1 for the death of his friend Jonathan. The issue is of how that love can fittingly be expressed, and the biblical answer appears to be not by sex.

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    @Steve Langton ‘loving’ and ‘being attracted to’ are not the same thing. It is possible to be attracted (whether you are male or female) to someone you hardly know, or even don’t know at all. There’s often a physical and/or sexual element to that attraction even if it doesn’t lead to sexual intercourse.
  • My mother used to complain loudly about tattoos, using biblical reasoning to say that anyone with tattoos should be excluded.

    I realise now that this was a form of spiteful classism and/or racism.

    Fortunately nobody much took notice of my mother's biblical reasoning.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    ... To my mind whatever they say is inevitably addressed to more than their followers, because of the CoE's establishment status plus the fact that its clerics can celebrate civil, legally binding marriages. Can, and therefore I think have a duty to, but have been known to try, dishonestly, to worm their way out of doing so when it suits them.

    There is a pick and choose attitude to the role of officer of the civil state that I find deeply hypocritical. "We'll perform this civil function because it cements our civil role and ticks our boxes, but we won't perform that one or bless the outcome, because it doesn't". This mixture of the civil and the religious surely annoys more than just French people.

    When the Evangelical Alliance sounds off about this sort of thing, it annoys me, but at least they cannot do so under the veil of establishment legitimacy.
    @Eutychus you're still saying a version of 'because England isn't France and neither does things nor categorises them in a French way, it must be wrong'.

    Marrying people is not performing 'the role of officer of the civil state'. If it was, then the clergy would be entitled to demand that the state paid their wages.

    As I've already explained, the state legislates as to what particular hoops people have to jump through for their marriages to be legally valid, who can carry them out, and within what parameters. But that does not make marriage something that only exists by act of state, or that if there were no state, then people could not and would not marry.

    And if you're taking the line that no church should express any views publicly on any subject of public debate, or attempt to contribute what it sees as a Christian take on the subject, and especially not one with some sort of recognised legal status because that might look as though it were piggy-backing on its recognised status to say things that either the government or some elements in society disagreed with, then I don't quite know what to say.

    Apart, I hope, that is something so bizarrely idiosyncratic that you are unlikely to find anyone who agrees with you, and I doubt you really agree with that yourself!


    You don't agree with establishment. I accept that. But I think the strength of your disagreement and the resentment within it, is distorting your thinking.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    @Eutychus you're still saying a version of 'because England isn't France and neither does things nor categorises them in a French way, it must be wrong'.
    I don't think I've said it's "wrong" anywhere; I'm pointing out what I see as the defects. And I'm not the only one arguing that the role performed by CoE officiants in marriages is the exception rather than the rule worldwide. The French system is far from perfect but I do think it has a lot to recommend it.
    Marrying people is not performing 'the role of officer of the civil state'. If it was, then the clergy would be entitled to demand that the state paid their wages.
    AIUI if the premises are licensed to perform weddings, the weddings performed there with the legally required wording and paperwork are legally, civilly valid. That is a civil function. What are clergy doing performing a civil function?
    But that does not make marriage something that only exists by act of state, or that if there were no state, then people could not and would not marry.
    I think this is the nub of our disagreement. Many Christians seem to assume that marriage is a divine institution; I don't believe it is.

    At the most, I'd say it's a human institution that translates, varyingly, a divine archetype. Hebrews says "let marriage be honoured by all", and I take that to mean that performing a civilly valid marriage is not the prerogative of the Church and well within the remit of the state where one exists.
    And if you're taking the line that no church should express any views publicly on any subject of public debate, or attempt to contribute what it sees as a Christian take on the subject, and especially not one with some sort of recognised legal status because that might look as though it were piggy-backing on its recognised status to say things that either the government or some elements in society disagreed with, then I don't quite know what to say.
    What I'm saying, and have said several times, is that it's the tone of the statement that is wrong, and it is made worse by the CoE's establishment position. It appears to be making a lot of its members feel disenfranchised, let alone the great British public.
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    @Steve Langton: "Has interesting implications for how we define 'gay'...."

    Really? Does anyone want to stop defining it as "attracted to your own gender"? Or would you rather define it by behaviour, and include being fabulous at interior design and loving musicals?

    That answer is kind of making my point, though you clearly don't yet understand how. Given the time of night now, I'll make a simple point and leave you to think about it.

    For Christianity men loving other men and women loving other women is not a problem - see as a very clear example David's lament in 2 Sam 1 for the death of his friend Jonathan. The issue is of how that love can fittingly be expressed, and the biblical answer appears to be not by sex.

    Dear @Steve Langton, you're right. I don't understand. Clearly your "simple point" is beyond me, or maybe I lack your hotline to the Almighty. Could you explain as clearly as you can what your point is? I'm particularly interested in your interpretation of what it means to be gay. My suspicion is that I would fail whatever definition you are using, but I can assure you I am 100% gay. (Tangent. It has taken me decades to reach the point where I can say that proudly, but it feels good!)
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    FWIW France is far from the only country in Europe that separates civil and religious marriage. Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg and I believe Portugal all do the same, as in most circumstances does Germany. Those are the ones I know off the top of my head; there may be others.

    I got married in France. I’ve mentioned before that prior to our wedding we rather enjoyed teasing pious individuals who asked us who was going to officiate at our marriage. (Bemused look) “The Mayor”. Many good little evangelicals of my acquaintance tend to regard the bit at the Town Hall as a boring formality and the religious service as the real thing and I think they’re quite wrong. (Possibly people of other religions do the same but I have less experience of such.) I have no problem with taking the religious vows seriously, but AFAIC many religious believers don’t take the civil ceremony anywhere near seriously enough. I don’t consider that God wasn’t paying attention at the Town Hall.
  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    I define gay as being attracted to someone of the same sex. Does it really have to be more complicated than that? It’s nothing to do with where you actually put your squishy bits relative to your lover’s squishy bits.

    A great many conservative Christians, though, apparently believe it is to do with that. I can't remember the source but I do remember a survey in the USA revealed this. Actual gay people define it in terms of attraction, but lots of conservative Christians hear "sexuality" and think "sex".

    Exactly why they think that, I've no idea.

  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    edited February 2020
    @Steve Langton I note that you've rolled out how clear it is that Genesis says
    "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh"

    But you, like almost everyone else I've ever witnessed who trots outs this argument, starts off as if "For this reason" is the start of the idea.

    Which is utter nonsense. For WHAT reason?

    It's not procreation. It's relationship. It's utterly amazing just how many people don't scroll up a few verses to actually pay attention to what "this reason" is referring to. Seriously, every single person who starts the quote at "For this reason" loses my respect because doing so shows a basic lack of understanding of construction of the English language.

    So tell me again why gender is so important to 2 people becoming one flesh? Tell me why a man can't leave his father and mother and cling to his husband for the exact same reason?

    Or don't tell me. Because God knows I've heard it all before and it's inevitably wrong. It's inevitably based on arguing from the conclusion rather than genuinely examining and considering the text and the theology.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    I define gay as being attracted to someone of the same sex. Does it really have to be more complicated than that? It’s nothing to do with where you actually put your squishy bits relative to your lover’s squishy bits.

    A great many conservative Christians, though, apparently believe it is to do with that. I can't remember the source but I do remember a survey in the USA revealed this. Actual gay people define it in terms of attraction, but lots of conservative Christians hear "sexuality" and think "sex".

    Exactly why they think that, I've no idea.

    Having once been part of that camp, - no longer, and so much better off out! - I think they think that because they’re preoccupied, sometimes to an unhealthy degree, with sex. It’s why purity culture, which I alluded to earlier, is a thing.

    Those conservative Christians, and perhaps Steve Langton, if he’s got time, might wish to consider this scenario. A gay couple get married (not in church*, obv) and live together for many decades, with an active sex life. As they age, and collect some long term conditions, as many of us do, sex life cannot happen any longer.

    Are they still gay? If not, at what exact point (since a high degree of accuracy seems to be important) did they stop being so?

    —————————-

    *One day. And one day soon, I pray.
  • (not in church*, obv)

    Why obviously? Do TEC and SEC weddings not count?
  • by Eutychus
    I think this is the nub of our disagreement. Many Christians seem to assume that marriage is a divine institution; I don't believe it is.

    Given that God created, like, everything, yes, marriage is a divine institution right back to the passages in Genesis that Jesus quoted.

    However we live in a situation in which God allows people to disbelieve in him and to take other views in all kinds of areas, and that means that believing that Christian version of things is voluntary and people do have other views based not on the 'Judeo/Christian' tradition but on other underlying philosophies/world views/religions. In the resultant 'plural' society the state needs to put together reasonable structures to meet the needs of these different views as far as possible to mutual convenience of state and people. We all need to respect those legal structures and their secular consequences - we don't necessarily have to agree with everything about them, and all are free to try to persuade others to believe and adopt their views. But not to exclusively impose those views on society at large.

  • by Orfeo
    I note that you've rolled out how clear it is that Genesis says
    "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh"

    But you, like almost everyone else I've ever witnessed who trots outs this argument, starts off as if "For this reason" is the start of the idea.

    Which is utter nonsense. For WHAT reason?

    Context, mate, context. In the original text 'for this reason' follows from the description of the creation of 'woman' as THE fitting and appropriate partner for 'man' - that is, it is because of God's intention in creating humans 'male and female'. That is "the start of the idea". Jesus makes that connection himself when he quotes Genesis but chooses to omit the longer and , more detailed account of the creation of woman in that chapter and simply connect directly to the shorter statement of that in the preceding chapter.

    by Orfeo
    So tell me again why gender is so important to 2 people becoming one flesh? Tell me why a man can't leave his father and mother and cling to his husband for the exact same reason?

    Precisely because male and female are physically different and complementary in nature, designed to become one flesh in a sexual way. Two men really can't do that because they don't have between them those complementary parts. They can in that area only do a rather questionable parody, not 'the exact same reason'. Likewise two women.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    @Steve Langton ‘loving’ and ‘being attracted to’ are not the same thing. It is possible to be attracted (whether you are male or female) to someone you hardly know, or even don’t know at all. There’s often a physical and/or sexual element to that attraction even if it doesn’t lead to sexual intercourse.

    Actually this is kind of the point I'm making. That people are meant to love and be attracted to people generally, and yes because we are physical beings there will be physical attraction. In Christian terms - even among Christians who do accept same-sex sex - I think there is agreement that promiscuous sex with people you hardly know is not really appropriate.

    It is also possible in a world affected by sin for our feelings/emotions/urges/etc to be confused and inappropriate - just because you may have certain feelings/urges doesn't automatically make them right and appropriate to be acted on.
  • Gay sex is a questionable parody? Objection, hate speech, and poisoning the well.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    I thought that some people in civil partnerships object to the patriarchal nature of marriage, whereby I suppose women were exchanged almost as currency or barter, (described by Levi-Strauss). This seems a long way from contemporary marriage, but I get the objection. Presumably, religious marriages are subject to the same critique.

    This makes sense.

    I viscerally reacted to this* statement, simply because it feels like women were in marriages simply to provide sex for their husbands to keep those husbands from sin. So not just property but warm scarves too. :cry:
    * "Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body."



  • Yes, woman as sperm bucket.
  • Gay sex is a questionable parody? Objection, hate speech, and poisoning the well.

    Yes, from a Christian viewpoint if sex is designed for male with female, what two men can do together is a questionable parody. From other viewpoints that is not so, so in a plural society we discuss it. We don't try to close the discussion down by just declaring that something we disagree with is 'hate speech'.
  • Boogie wrote: »
    I thought that some people in civil partnerships object to the patriarchal nature of marriage, whereby I suppose women were exchanged almost as currency or barter, (described by Levi-Strauss). This seems a long way from contemporary marriage, but I get the objection. Presumably, religious marriages are subject to the same critique.

    This makes sense.

    I viscerally reacted to this* statement, simply because it feels like women were in marriages simply to provide sex for their husbands to keep those husbands from sin. So not just property but warm scarves too. :cry:
    * "Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body."



    It does specify persons rather than men. I wouldn't be surprised if it was as much about taming female sexuality - certainly the portrayal of widowed women in media of the period displayed a paranoia about the effects of these female temptresses who, having been exposed to sex and now denied it, were a risk to the chastity of every man of good repute.
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