Not Again !

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  • It depends how you read it? What? Am I in a den of wimpish libtards?
  • It depends how you read it? What? Am I in a den of wimpish libtards?

    Were you not issued with your liberal hanky to squeeze when you joined? You'll find it in the box next to the pearls you should be simultaneously clutching.
  • Damn, I've been doing it wrong, squeezing my pearls, and clutching my hanky. But do real men have hankies? What does the Bible say?
  • Not sure about the hankies. Presumably ok as long as pure cotton and not mixed fibre.
    What really matters, to be a real man, though, is to pee standing up. It’s in the KJV, so it must be true
  • wabale
    I think I mostly agree with your post. My basic point on this is simply that there was never supposed to be a 'Christian state' - Christianity was meant to be in a very different relationship to the surrounding world. And so there should never have been state laws against homosexuality on a supposedly 'Christian' basis.

    On that basis the Christian view of homosexuality would have been on the one hand an internal pastoral matter for churches, and on the other hand one of various points about which Christian faith challenged the ideas and practices of the surrounding paganism, as Paul effectively does in Romans 1.

    Without the aspect of legal persecution the issue would never have carried the heat we see around it today. And indeed I see it as in itself a comparatively minor issue; but during the gradual collapse of the Christian state idea it has ended up as a major focus of argument, a bit like an unimportant in itself village called Waterloo which ended up as a major battleground in the Napoleonic War. Trouble is because it's ended up in that focal position we have to have the argument.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    edited February 2020
    Steve Langton

    I don't think it is an issue of state laws or "Christian states". Bringing "Christian states" into the discussion strikes me as a red herring. It's about differing perceptions of what constitutes natural and unnatural behaviour and how these feed into issues of sexual morality.

    The decriminalisation of homosexual acts in the UK hasn't stopped the ongoing arguments within the church re those issues. If we look at para 7 in the statement from the House of Bishops, the key argument is whether the church should now replace the phrase "between a man and a woman" by "between two people". That represents a departure from one aspect of the tradition, while preserving the (to me at any rate) much more important traditional aspects of loving, lifelong, faithfulness to one another.
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    The title of this thread is, "Not Again!" I feel like that with arguments about an established church. Especially when they intrude into a comfortable rant about homophobic Archbishops.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    I feel like that every time I read "the Christian view" when the definite article appears totally misplaced.
  • The title of this thread is, "Not Again!" I feel like that with arguments about an established church. Especially when they intrude into a comfortable rant about homophobic Archbishops.

    Trouble is they are Archbishops of "an established church" and the fact of establishment has historically played a major role in the treatment of sexuality in/by the state (wrongly in Christian terms even if homosexuality is itself wrong in Christian terms), and fairly clearly plays a role in the attitudes of the modern Archbishops and also in your perception of their stance.
  • by Colin Smith
    Oh, and you might want to reread that judge not less you are judged line because you are majorly failing to live up to it.

    I have been wary of that text since a time when I found myself opposing a pastor whose conduct was very ethically questionable indeed, and where had I gone along with him I would have had to tell serious lies to a lot of people, people in at least two churches, even the general public, even friends. Yet his attitude was
    You can't criticise us, "Judge not that ye be not judged"

    Major misuse of the text, I submit. Yes there is indeed a kind of 'judgement' we are not meant to do; but according to the rest of the NT there are also plenty of cases where we are definitely meant to 'use our judgement' if only to avoid being dragged into wrongdoing ourselves, and where we are meant to stand up for what is right. I would be pretty sure that when Jesus made that statement he cannot have intended it to be used by bad people as a way to deflect legitimate critique of their deeds.

    The same pastor on another occasion during that situation said
    "Never mind whether we're hurting you; you have to practice love and turn the other cheek or you're not a Christian anyway!!"

    Again a gross misuse of the text (and often seen among dubious cult leaders and domineering leaders - I'm told it was used by David Koresh on his followers at the Waco tragedy). In essence pretty much asserting "the text about 'turning the other cheek' means it's OK for me to hit you (or otherwise harm you) and you aren't allowed to object".

    In the end the pastor concerned essentially 'judged' himself by clearly realising that his conduct was unacceptable even to his own followers but got away with it by really outright lying. Had he told the truth about his conduct (including his misuse of those and other texts) he would, as pastor, have been out on his ear; well, maybe not if he'd changed his position earlier, but certainly after he'd been deliberately lying on one point for many months it would have been essentially impossible for him to carry on as pastor.

    Unfortunately "Judge not that ye be not judged" has in modern times tended to be used much as that man used it - as a way of avoiding questions that in fact need to be asked. It is uncomfortably easy with good intentions to slip into that misuse. Beware!
  • Barnabas
    Of course the decriminalisation (which as I've mentioned I supported) has not stopped the argument. And sorry but the established status of Anglicanism (and the slightly lesser forms of 'Christian country' view adopted by others like the USA's 'Religious Right' continues to be relevant.

    As I pointed out some pages back now the Anglican Church finds itself in a conflicted situation, between on the one hand trying to uphold specifically Christian teaching against other-believing and un-believing views, and on the other hand the temptation to compromise in order to remain acceptable as a (wrongly in the first place) established/privileged religion. This latest issue which has resulted in this thread is definitely related to that conflicted situation.

    And do note that I'm actually strongly in favour of same-sex love and would want to give the fullest possible weight - consistent with the rest of scripture - to David's assessment of his relationship to Jonathan as 'greater than the love of women'. I just happen to think that the said 'rest of scripture' rules out such a relationship being sexual. And of course as an Anabaptist I believe in a plural society in which people of various non-Christian views are entitled to practice according to their beliefs.

    Can you point me to, or repeat for everyone, the post somewhere on the ship recently where if I understood rightly you essentially said you had concluded that Paul was in fact (in our terms) taking an 'anti-gay' position, and it was wrong to interpret him otherwise, and that you thought him mistaken?
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Your final para. Doesn't sound like me. I'm of the opinion that what Paul meant by natural in Romans 1 was heterosexual attraction, since he was a Jewish man of his time. I'm also clear that the meaning of the word 'natural' in its use to describe sexual attraction has been moving as our understanding of the diversity of sexual attraction has improved. Paul's writings need to be understood both in terms of what they probably meant then and how relevant they are now.
  • I have been wary of that text since a time when I found myself opposing a pastor whose conduct was very ethically questionable indeed, and where had I gone along with him I would have had to tell serious lies to a lot of people, people in at least two churches, even the general public, even friends. Yet his attitude was
    You can't criticise us, "Judge not that ye be not judged"

    Major misuse of the text, I submit. Yes there is indeed a kind of 'judgement' we are not meant to do; but according to the rest of the NT there are also plenty of cases where we are definitely meant to 'use our judgement' if only to avoid being dragged into wrongdoing ourselves, and where we are meant to stand up for what is right. I would be pretty sure that when Jesus made that statement he cannot have intended it to be used by bad people as a way to deflect legitimate critique of their deeds.

    The same pastor on another occasion during that situation said
    "Never mind whether we're hurting you; you have to practice love and turn the other cheek or you're not a Christian anyway!!"

    Again a gross misuse of the text (and often seen among dubious cult leaders and domineering leaders - I'm told it was used by David Koresh on his followers at the Waco tragedy). In essence pretty much asserting "the text about 'turning the other cheek' means it's OK for me to hit you (or otherwise harm you) and you aren't allowed to object".

    In the end the pastor concerned essentially 'judged' himself by clearly realising that his conduct was unacceptable even to his own followers but got away with it by really outright lying. Had he told the truth about his conduct (including his misuse of those and other texts) he would, as pastor, have been out on his ear; well, maybe not if he'd changed his position earlier, but certainly after he'd been deliberately lying on one point for many months it would have been essentially impossible for him to carry on as pastor.

    Unfortunately "Judge not that ye be not judged" has in modern times tended to be used much as that man used it - as a way of avoiding questions that in fact need to be asked. It is uncomfortably easy with good intentions to slip into that misuse. Beware!

    Okay, I agree Judge not can be abused. But on this matter I believe you are being judgemental without good cause and therefore fall foul of the injunction.
  • The title of this thread is, "Not Again!" I feel like that with arguments about an established church. Especially when they intrude into a comfortable rant about homophobic Archbishops.

    Why the rude intrusion of the Establishment issue? “History repeats itself because no one was listening the first time.” The bishops, of course, were not listening the first time, and many times before, and I assume that is what the OP is all about, and why we are here. The bishops are the way they are because they are Established – established in a very deep sense because they are part of the nation. They would probably go on being established in this sense even if the Church of England was disestablished!

    One of the things the bishops have not been listening to is the history of marriage and LGBT+ issues. If you look at the ‘Some issues in human sexuality’ book published in their name in 2003 you will find that the work of the historian John Boswell is simply rubbished, giving the impression that there’s nothing going on here – move on. The attitude is much the same in many outline history books that try to cover the subject of homosexuality and the church: the more recent work of historians in this area is simply ignored. The preface normally reads: ‘The teaching of the Church on homosexual behaviour has been remarkably consistent over the last two thousand years.’ One of the reasons I have become interested in this area of history is my curiosity at how so many good authors could write something so demonstrably untrue.

    I have enjoyed many of the ideas that have emerged on this thread, particularly the useful interpretation of Mark 10. But however clever and closely argued the theological arguments are they don’t get us much nearer to understanding why our bishops are so silly.
  • wabale wrote: »
    But however clever and closely argued the theological arguments are they don’t get us much nearer to understanding why our bishops are so silly.

    Well, perhaps they are silly because they recall the fall out when TEC (USA) approved same sex marriage in the church. TEC was soundly smacked, and the "silly bishops" may indeed fear the fallout.

    While the entirety of TEC is not totally on board with the decision, the majority accept it now as rather common practice. And TEC polity allows parishes wishing to exercise the option of same sex marriage in the church may request Designated Episcopal Oversight from a nearby/neighboring bishop, and that parish, still making its financial support of its home diocese, then follows the advice of that designated oversight bishop. (For example, a parish in the TEC Diocese of Albany has episcopal oversight from the Bishop of Vermont, who makes visitation and consults as necessary.). So might "silly bishops" also fear a loss of oversight of parishes heretofore under their juristician?
  • Barnabas62
    This from Epiphanies Homosexuality thread in August 2019. I have 'boldened' one section which was the bit I particularly noticed.
    Ages since I read it, and I'm trying to find an online link, but my memory tells me that Rowan Williams had quite a lot to say about the richness of meaning associated with "phusikos". (It's exactly the sort of thing he would do!)

    In the specific context of this thread, however, I think we should acknowledge that Paul, being both a Jew and a Roman, would be well aware of the licentiousness of Roman culture (particularly in its attitude to slaves) and the stark contrast with Jewish moral standards. As a man of his time, bridging both cultures, he is almost certain to have believed that men and women were perverse if they turned away from "natural" (i.e heterosexual) acts to "unnatural" (i.e homosexual) acts.

    If so (and I am almost certain it is so) I think he was wrong in this.
    But I can understand why. The evidence that same sex attraction was both a normal and a natural aspect of human behaviour for a minority of human beings lay some way in the future, and its impact on our moral understanding could not I think have been foreseen 2 millennia ago. But of course by saying so, I put myself at loggerheads with traditionalists and fundamentalists. And I feel morally impelled to disagree with them, because my inbuilt sense of what is fair, what is just, what is (agape) loving, drives me on.

    It's often the kernel of the debate, I'm afraid. A number of otherwise kindly and generous people find they cannot join me in seeing the error in Paul's thinking, as I have found from many discussions. They see me overturning a wider principle about the authority of scripture. They see me as sincere, but wrong. It is a step too far for them. An issue I have been wresting with for at least thirty years. I cannot change my mind, and it seems they cannot change their minds.
  • I think that sums up the situation perfectly. And again it raises the issue of whether we are right to give the epistles the status of The Word of God.
  • Thanks, BabyWombat, for that explanation of what goes on over the pond. Simple fear could indeed be the reason. But what the bishops did seems odd because its effect has been to undermine the process of 'Living in Love and Hope' which is designed to stop that kind of oversight scenario happening here.

    As a student of history I rather go for the simple 'cockup' explanation every time. I believe there is some evidence that this may be so.
  • @TheOrganist

    I recall Robert Capon suggesting in one of his book that at times Paul seems to have ignored the Holy Spirit's prompting to simply stop writing and go to bed, and for centuries we have dealt with the consequences!
  • I think that sums up the situation perfectly. And again it raises the issue of whether we are right to give the epistles the status of The Word of God.

    When, obviously, only Jesus has that status. The Bible says so.
  • BabyWombat wrote: »

    I recall Robert Capon suggesting in one of his book that at times Paul seems to have ignored the Holy Spirit's prompting to simply stop writing and go to bed, and for centuries we have dealt with the consequences!

    Ah...but with whom? Timothy springs to mind ...
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    Galilit wrote: »
    BabyWombat wrote: »

    I recall Robert Capon suggesting in one of his book that at times Paul seems to have ignored the Holy Spirit's prompting to simply stop writing and go to bed, and for centuries we have dealt with the consequences!

    Ah...but with whom? Timothy springs to mind ...

    @Galilit, you're not the Messiah, you're a very naughty boy!
  • Getting back to the OP, the clergy in my Diocese have had a letter saying that Sentamu has taken personal responsibility for the offending item, and apologised.

    Well, sort of. The Archbishops released a second statement talking about jeopardising trust and pre-empting discussions on Living in Love and Faith, but they didn't row back at all on the original theme that sex is only for married straight people.

    Can we now believe anything they say? Could we ever?
  • ... and now ++Justin has decided to make a statement that the CofE is institutionally racist. Maybe he should just have done with it and change his surname by Deedpoll to Woke - ah, but then he'd have to forego the privilege of being institutionally homophobic.

    Perhaps we can finally have the CofE apologising for its class prejudice as well. Mind you, that's not a bandwagon people like to jump on …. we're still very keen on jokes about chavs that would get you locked up if you substitute other words in the sentence.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Steve Langton

    Pity you didn't embolden "But I can understand why". I have no quarrel with my earlier post. All scriptural interpretation requires consideration of the two questions, what did it mean then and how does that apply today?

    I'm not an inerrantist. The application of Paul's writings on sexual ethics can be criticised legitimately for a number of reasons, including both first century cultural norms and his expectation of an imminent second coming. Both criticisms are just a normal part of the assessment of Paul's writing.
  • Jemima the 9thJemima the 9th Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    ... and now ++Justin has decided to make a statement that the CofE is institutionally racist. Maybe he should just have done with it and change his surname by Deedpoll to Woke - ah, but then he'd have to forego the privilege of being institutionally homophobic.

    Perhaps we can finally have the CofE apologising for its class prejudice as well. Mind you, that's not a bandwagon people like to jump on …. we're still very keen on jokes about chavs that would get you locked up if you substitute other words in the sentence.

    I’m still working my way through the general synod proceedings, but just from what I’ve picked up via twitter, there’s a lot of exclusion- jokes being made in Latin during debates, for goodness’ sake. (Where’s an eye roll emoji when you need one?) There were heartfelt apologies and a desire to do better in the business of racism, following the Windrush scandal.

    To me, though, it’s important to look at the types of results from each type of discrimination. In the Windrush discussion, for example, mention was made of overt discrimination, being refused into church, being passed over for promotion, and police violence. Has anyone been to jail for telling a joke lately? ETA I’m not suggesting other forms of discrimination don’t matter, or trying to engage in some sort of oppression olympics, but I think disentangling the results does matter.
  • Barnabas62 wrote: »
    Steve Langton

    Pity you didn't embolden "But I can understand why". I have no quarrel with my earlier post. All scriptural interpretation requires consideration of the two questions, what did it mean then and how does that apply today?

    I'm not an inerrantist. The application of Paul's writings on sexual ethics can be criticised legitimately for a number of reasons, including both first century cultural norms and his expectation of an imminent second coming. Both criticisms are just a normal part of the assessment of Paul's writing.

    I wasn't suggesting you did have a quarrel with the earlier. My interest was that at least you in effect weren't pretending that Paul would 'then' have meant gay sex was OK. lilbuddha I seem to recall said something similar at about the same time; as far as I recall and paraphrasing rather than quoting, admitting that the Bible simply doesn't say what the gay lobby wants and that attempts to make it do so were rather strained and questionable.

    I'm not myself an 'inerrantist' as some mean it. To me that phrase, though well-meant, also implies a rather more literalist style of interpretation than I find reasonable. As I've mentioned before, I tend to go with that quote from Tyndale, which I originally found in JI Packer, about the 'literal sense' of Scripture being a specialist term, nevertheless being intended to encompass a great deal of literary variety in figures of speech, genres, etc. rather than a 'dumb wooden' literalism 1920s fundamentalist style.

    I find myself unable to accept the idea that somehow wonderful modern science has changed the situation. Partly that's because I'm taking a pretty wide view rather than a narrow focus just on the 'gay' issue, and I feel that if some of the pro-gay ideas were applied consistently they would produce some results even the 'gays' wouldn't be happy with. Also I have a separate kind of experience of 'being' something which is also a 'born that way' kind of thing, namely autism, and I and many of my autistic friends can tell you that's also not quite the same kind of simple thing as ginger hair or ethnic differences; and 'gay' is seriously even further from that simplicity, truly in a different category.
  • ... and now ++Justin has decided to make a statement that the CofE is institutionally racist. Maybe he should just have done with it and change his surname by Deedpoll to Woke - ah, but then he'd have to forego the privilege of being institutionally homophobic.

    Perhaps we can finally have the CofE apologising for its class prejudice as well. Mind you, that's not a bandwagon people like to jump on …. we're still very keen on jokes about chavs that would get you locked up if you substitute other words in the sentence.

    To me, though, it’s important to look at the types of results from each type of discrimination. In the Windrush discussion, for example, mention was made of overt discrimination, being refused into church, being passed over for promotion, and police violence. Has anyone been to jail for telling a joke lately? ETA I’m not suggesting other forms of discrimination don’t matter, or trying to engage in some sort of oppression olympics, but I think disentangling the results does matter.
    I am fully supportive of the stance that is now being taken but to deny that the self same things haven't happened or doesn't happen to other marginalised people (like Roma e.g) is being disingenuous.
  • I am fully supportive of the stance that is now being taken but to deny that the self same things haven't happened or doesn't happen to other marginalised people (like Roma e.g) is being disingenuous.

    The treatment of GRT folk in the UK is a bloody scandal, as are the attitudes towards them in settled communities.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Steve Langton

    OK. I try to avoid rationalisation of scripture, either in support of conservative or radical agenda.

    The real issue is whether traditional sexual morality should be maintained in the light of subsequent discoveries about human sexuality. I think you have to bring in the concepts of equity and harm. Any morality which seems to contravene those concepts seems to me to be unethical. I would much rather the church spoke up more against inconsiderate and selfish sexual behaviour regardless of preferences. Such behaviour causes great distress and harm and is not legitimised whether it takes place in a traditional marriage or any other type of partnership.
  • Barnabas62 wrote: »
    Steve Langton

    OK. I try to avoid rationalisation of scripture, either in support of conservative or radical agenda.

    The real issue is whether traditional sexual morality should be maintained in the light of subsequent discoveries about human sexuality. I think you have to bring in the concepts of equity and harm. Any morality which seems to contravene those concepts seems to me to be unethical. I would much rather the church spoke up more against inconsiderate and selfish sexual behaviour regardless of preferences. Such behaviour causes great distress and harm and is not legitimised whether it takes place in a traditional marriage or any other type of partnership.

    I would phrase it slightly differently but with largely the same conclusion. There are two main ways of taking seriously the teachings of the Bible. One is to treat them as a tick-box list of eternally good or bad behaviours, to be obeyed without question. The second is to consider carefully what Christ said about the two great commandments, and look behind the commands themselves and try to discern the goal behind them, and how that goal hangs on the great commandments. If the societal context has changed markedly AND the direct application of the rule as written seems to be causing a violation of the second of the great commandments then we have to consider whether that rule fulfils the purpose for which it was written. Christ himself hinted at the second approach when challenged about the disciples violating the Sabbath.
  • by Barnabas62
    OK. I try to avoid rationalisation of scripture, either in support of conservative or radical agenda.

    Not quite sure what you mean by that. If you meant one thing I can think of, the Tyndale approach I tend to go by was not about 'rationalising' scripture, rather it was about treating scripture as normal human communication, and when interpreting, recognising that such communication is often far from 'dumb wooden' literal but includes figures of speech and other such literary devices. The major difference in Scripture interpretation is that we do see the whole as connected via the oversight activity of the Spirit so it is legitimate to use passages from different human authors to interpret one another.

    Another difference often missed in 'establishment' attitudes is to recognise that scripture is not just 'flat'; there is advance as Scripture progresses, particularly obvious where the OT shades into the NT. But of course not a carte blanche for us to adopt new ideas just because new.

    by Barnabas62
    The real issue is whether traditional sexual morality should be maintained in the light of subsequent discoveries about human sexuality.

    First off be clear I am talking about a 'plural' society in which Christians maintain Christian ideas but do so as a 'kingdom not of this world', in modern terms a 'counter-culture', and emphatically NOT as a domineering ruling body using military or police powers to enforce or impose those ideas. We maintain traditional morality among ourselves; of course we would preach it as the ideal to others too, and argue for it vigorously, but we are inviting those others to join us voluntarily, not seeking to coerce them by worldly power.

    And taking Scripture teaching as a whole, I don't believe the recent 'discoveries' actually do change the basic Christian approach. It's going to take longer than I have where I am now (using a local Christian cafe's wi-fi) to explain that in full, but the short version is that the concept of sin implies that human 'hearts' are not necessarily 'normal' but are in fact distorted by 'sin' - we are out of joint with God and as a result out of joint within ourselves too. Just because we have certain urges and desires and may perceive them as 'natural' does not mean they are also 'right'. This is perhaps most explicitly rationally worked out in Romans 1, but is implicit in much of the rest of scripture too.

    In effect, there is stuff about human sexuality which is 'natural' in the sense of that's how God created it and how therefore it should be done; but there is also stuff which is 'natural' in another sense used in scripture (and which is which is usually clear in context) of that which is 'natural' to the 'natural man', human nature distorted by sin and facing all kinds of what are in reality temptations to distrust God and follow our 'natural' in that second sense desires. Christianity is about, among other things, restoring - but I repeat, in this age voluntarily - that original divine intention in place of those errors.

    And the terms in which this is discussed, the background to the discussions, affecting perceptions and leading to misunderstandings, and pointed up by the matter which led to the OP of this thread, is that history of the wrongly established churches -among many other faults - wrongly criminalising homosexuality and creating massive real hurt and harm way beyond merely legitimate disagreement about sexual rights and wrongs. This in modern times has led to an (understandable) over-reaction which makes it difficult to properly assert the actual biblical position.
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    @Steve Langton, your post would be more relevant to this thread, and easier to follow, if you stuck to explaining your views on homosexuality and left out all the stuff about domineering and wrongly established churches.

    By now I think we all understand that, for you, an established church is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit which can never be forgiven. Can we take that as read and move on?
  • ArethosemyfeetArethosemyfeet Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    I'd settle for an explanation of how not having state backing suddenly makes homophobia acceptable. I'm pretty sure conservative anabaptist communities are not fun places to grow up gay. Likewise being sent to Jesus camp to pray away the gay may be better than being locked up by the state but not by a lot and it still drives young gay folk to suicide.
  • Robert Armin, as regards relevance this post is about stuff done recently by the Archbishops of an established church with attitudes very much derived from that establishment, even if these days the rags of it rather than the full Monty of some centuries back and even to some extent back in my own youth in the middle of last century. The modern discussion of these issues is very badly skewed by both the attitudes of back then and the arguably over-reaction in the other direction. I'm trying to deal with that context, both ways. The establishment is a key part of this issue.
  • I'm not myself an 'inerrantist' as some mean it. To me that phrase, though well-meant, also implies a rather more literalist style of interpretation than I find reasonable. As I've mentioned before, I tend to go with that quote from Tyndale, which I originally found in JI Packer, about the 'literal sense' of Scripture being a specialist term, nevertheless being intended to encompass a great deal of literary variety in figures of speech, genres, etc. rather than a 'dumb wooden' literalism 1920s fundamentalist style

    No one is accusing you of being a literalist, wooden or otherwise. You've taken a passage that forbids divorce and says that humans have gender and interpreted as forbidding same-sex marriage, something not mentioned at all. There's a lot of ways to describe such an argument, but "literalism" isn't one of them.
    I find myself unable to accept the idea that somehow wonderful modern science has changed the situation. Partly that's because I'm taking a pretty wide view rather than a narrow focus just on the 'gay' issue, and I feel that if some of the pro-gay ideas were applied consistently they would produce some results even the 'gays' wouldn't be happy with.

    I'm not sure that's right. You seem willing to accept "wonderful modern science" in other areas. For example, the Biblical minimum age of marriage for women seems to be around the start of menses. This is never explicitly stated but there are enough child brides in the Bible that the general principle seems to hold. Yet most of us would feel a bit squicked out by a forty year old man marrying a girl of twelve, believing "wonderful modern science" when it tells us that a girl of that age isn't mentally or physically ready for the burdens of marriage. Likewise we've abandoned the Biblical principle of a woman's male head of household picking her husband, allowing women to make that decision for themselves, once again going with "wonderful modern science" that shows women aren't any more likely to be idiots than their fathers. I'm going to assume that you're okay with both these positions (correct me if I'm wrong) which indicates that you actually do have "a narrow focus just on the 'gay' issue" (and possibly one or two other hobbyhorses). In other words, your rejection of science in favor of supposedly Biblical teachings seems highly selective.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    The only thing that establishment adds to the situation is that the media pay attention to what they say. Even if the CofE was not established, the archbishops would probably still have issued a statement explaining the rationale for not providing an authorised form of blessing for civil partnerships (even between couples of the opposite sex). I can’t see that establishment makes a blind bit of difference to that question.
  • i am staggered that you (Steve Langton) find developments in modern science to be irrelevant. There are all sorts of examples in the bible of attitudes which are seen to be of their time, 2000+ years ago, but that we in our age understand differently. Why do you single out sexuality as being so different that it has to be fixed for all time, regardless of modern medical understanding?
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    Robert Armin, as regards relevance this post is about stuff done recently by the Archbishops of an established church with attitudes very much derived from that establishment, even if these days the rags of it rather than the full Monty of some centuries back and even to some extent back in my own youth in the middle of last century. The modern discussion of these issues is very badly skewed by both the attitudes of back then and the arguably over-reaction in the other direction. I'm trying to deal with that context, both ways. The establishment is a key part of this issue.

    Sorry, I can't see that establishment is key to this issue, or indeed part of it at all. There are members of the established church who are pro gay marriage, but members who are anti. The same can be said of any of the non established churches. This issue seems to be a King Charles' head for you (if you know your Copperfield).
  • BroJames wrote: »
    The only thing that establishment adds to the situation is that the media pay attention to what they say. Even if the CofE was not established, the archbishops would probably still have issued a statement explaining the rationale for not providing an authorised form of blessing for civil partnerships (even between couples of the opposite sex). I can’t see that establishment makes a blind bit of difference to that question.

    It's a bit more than that. The thing is that the basic biblical message is not affected by establishment. But the fact that these are the leaders of an established church affects their attitudes quite a bit and also has quite an effect on how their statement is perceived/received in various quarters. There is also the issue that as established church their relationship to marriage law in general is a bit skewed.

    by Robert Armin
    Sorry, I can't see that establishment is key to this issue, or indeed part of it at all. There are members of the established church who are pro gay marriage, but members who are anti. The same can be said of any of the non established churches. This issue seems to be a King Charles' head for you (if you know your Copperfield).


    'Key' - well certainly key to this specific point about the Archbishops' message. Key to the main issue of sexuality, no. That people in the established church are variously pro and anti probably does have quite a bit to do with the point I've made above of how in the modern world a church wanting to retain its established privilege is conflicted between loyalty to the Bible and popularity with the nation of which they are still nominally the national church.

    I think I said above that given what I see on the news day by day which is related to the 'state religion' issue(not just the Christian version), it's not that I'm unhealthily concerned but that others are unhealthily unconcerned.
  • You might want to rethink the false claim that those who disagree with your homophobic, contrary to the Gospel nonsense are merely courting "popularity with the nation".
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    No, you haven't convinced me that establishment has anything to do with this topic. The ABs' statement has had very little attention from the media at large; had it been made by the Baptist Union or the Pope I suspect there would have been a similar response.

    The problem here is that the structures of the CoE said they wanted to take the experience of the gay community seriously. They conducted a widespread listening exercise, which impressed me for one. Then the official conclusion (with which you agree) was cack handed and tone deaf. Any other church could have done the same thing, and would have generated the same disappointment.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    BroJames wrote: »
    The only thing that establishment adds to the situation is that the media pay attention to what they say. Even if the CofE was not established, the archbishops would probably still have issued a statement explaining the rationale for not providing an authorised form of blessing for civil partnerships (even between couples of the opposite sex). I can’t see that establishment makes a blind bit of difference to that question.

    It's a bit more than that. The thing is that the basic biblical message is not affected by establishment. But the fact that these are the leaders of an established church affects their attitudes quite a bit and also has quite an effect on how their statement is perceived/received in various quarters. There is also the issue that as established church their relationship to marriage law in general is a bit skewed.

    by Robert Armin
    Sorry, I can't see that establishment is key to this issue, or indeed part of it at all. There are members of the established church who are pro gay marriage, but members who are anti. The same can be said of any of the non established churches. This issue seems to be a King Charles' head for you (if you know your Copperfield).


    'Key' - well certainly key to this specific point about the Archbishops' message. Key to the main issue of sexuality, no. That people in the established church are variously pro and anti probably does have quite a bit to do with the point I've made above of how in the modern world a church wanting to retain its established privilege is conflicted between loyalty to the Bible and popularity with the nation of which they are still nominally the national church.

    I think I said above that given what I see on the news day by day which is related to the 'state religion' issue(not just the Christian version), it's not that I'm unhealthily concerned but that others are unhealthily unconcerned.
    I think the only thing I agree with in your post, @Steve Langton is the line about it having “quite an effect on how their statement is perceived/received in various quarters” - which is basically what I said anyway. I can’t see anything in the archbishops’ statement which suggests that establishment has had any effect on their attitude. What part of the statement did you have in mind?

    Also, I think you are wrong about, “their relationship to marriage law in general is a bit skewed.” Or at least, if it is, it is skewed in a very similar way to the (non-established) Evangelical Alliance. As it stands it’s a bit of a generalisation and therefore hard to engage with.

    You say, “That people in the established church are variously pro and anti probably does have quite a bit to do with the point I've made above of how in the modern world a church wanting to retain its established privilege is conflicted between loyalty to the Bible and popularity with the nation of which they are still nominally the national church.”

    But that difference of opinion exists across a whole spectrum of churches and is not unique to (nor specially prominent in) established churches.

    And all churches whether independent local congregations or nationally present denominations wrestle with engaging with the Bible and contemporary culture. The main difference is that if my local Baptist church makes a pronouncement on marriage it has to make quite an effort to get it noticed whereas the reverse applies to the Church of England.
  • by BroJames
    Also, I think you are wrong about, “their relationship to marriage law in general is a bit skewed.” Or at least, if it is, it is skewed in a very similar way to the (non-established) Evangelical Alliance. As it stands it’s a bit of a generalisation and therefore hard to engage with.

    As I understand it the CofE still has a special position in terms of actually conducting marriages, back from the day when they were the only act in town. That is what I was referring to rather than their beliefs about marriage.

    As was particularly obvious in the case of Northern Ireland there are a lot of churches which aren't established and even might object to any specific established church, but still hold to a general idea that the land ought to be a "Christian country" - somewhat similar to the USA 'Religious Right' with their idea of 'godly government' even in a land which constitutionally forbids an established church. The Evangelical Alliance is broadly in that line of thought, as are some of the non-conformist denominations.

    by BroJames (initially quoting me)
    "....conflicted between loyalty to the Bible and popularity with the nation of which they are still nominally the national church.”

    But that difference of opinion exists across a whole spectrum of churches and is not unique to (nor specially prominent in) established churches.

    I wasn't so much talking about 'courting popularity' in a crass sense, just the proposition that in the modern world you're not going to get to be/continue to be the national church if you're out of tune with the nation. An increasingly 'liberal' church was already well on its way to that kind of compromise long ago.

    Yes the difference of opinion on gay sex is found 'across a whole spectrum of churches'; doesn't really affect my point that the CofE's particular position is in all kinds of ways affected by being established.

    Can we get back to the 'gay issues' themselves, please? You're making far more of the establishment issue here than I am!!!
  • Can we get back to the 'gay issues' themselves, please? You're making far more of the establishment issue here than I am!!!
    Sorry, Steve, but it’s pretty near impossible for anyone to make more of the establishment issue than you do.

  • If the CofE is liberal because of establishment why is it less liberal than the non-established Anglican churches in the US, Canada, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand?
  • ....your homophobic, contrary to the Gospel nonsense ...".

    As far as 'contrary to the Gospel' is concerned, the admission needs to be made that the Gospel, and indeed the whole Bible, simply does not contain a positively 'pro-gay' argument. The best anyone can do in those terms is a mega 'argument from silence' - and even then it has to be admitted that most forms of same-sex activity are in fact forbidden, what is attempted is to show support for a very narrow and limited gay relationship. And one really has to wonder why God didn't just clearly say that one was OK....

    Run out of time in terms of getting to church; back later,
  • ....your homophobic, contrary to the Gospel nonsense ...".

    As far as 'contrary to the Gospel' is concerned, the admission needs to be made that the Gospel, and indeed the whole Bible, simply does not contain a positively 'pro-gay' argument. The best anyone can do in those terms is a mega 'argument from silence' - and even then it has to be admitted that most forms of same-sex activity are in fact forbidden, what is attempted is to show support for a very narrow and limited gay relationship. And one really has to wonder why God didn't just clearly say that one was OK....

    Run out of time in terms of getting to church; back later,

    This is nonsense on stilts for starters. Even the handful of "clobber" passages are not at all specific about what they're forbidding.

    As for why the Bible doesn't explicitly bless the types of same-sex relationships we see today, I would suggest it's for roughly the same reason it doesn't commend anti-biotics - they weren't widely known and the question wasn't asked. You have to remember that most of the New Testament is responses to issues that arose, not God's check list of things that are Halal or Haram.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    The trouble is, @Steve Langton, I think your take on the effect of establishment is mistaken and that ends up infecting your whole argument. I think the attempt to use Mark 10 as grounds for rules about gender and marriage tries to force it to do something that it was not intended to. I think when it’s clear that Christians can and do disagree about what it says about marriage, your attempt to ground ‘the Christian view of marriage’™ on it is fundamentally misconceived.

    IMO in this case the establishment question is entirely irrelevant, but if you will bring it into the argument you can’t expect people who feel you’re mistaken just to ignore it.
  • For purposes of this discussion my take on establishment is mostly pretty much the same as the rest of you - stuff like that because it's the established church it's getting noticed. And also misperceived. And it does show up the problems of being biblically loyal when the outside world is taking a different view.

    by Arethosemyfeet
    If the CofE is liberal because of establishment why is it less liberal than the non-established Anglican churches in the US, Canada, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand?

    And in many ways more liberal than the also non-established churches of some African countries? The trouble with this is that being anyway wrong in itself, establishment leads to further confusion and contradiction.

    Arethosemyfeet
    despite some bluster it looks as if you are still not in fact coming up with positive biblical support for gay sex.

    by Arethosemyfeet
    As for why the Bible doesn't explicitly bless the types of same-sex relationships we see today, I would suggest it's for roughly the same reason it doesn't commend anti-biotics - they weren't widely known and the question wasn't asked. You have to remember that most of the New Testament is responses to issues that arose, not God's check list of things that are Halal or Haram.

    Agreed the NT is not just a simple 'halal/haram' list, it does deal pretty well with the issues that are raised. And in Mark and its Matthew parallel, the issue is the nature of marriage, even if the entry point to the statement is the question of divorce. And I don't think it really does the statement justice to say, as Croesos does
    You've taken a passage that forbids divorce and says that humans have gender and interpreted as forbidding same-sex marriage, something not mentioned at all.

    The passage doesn't just mention in passing that "humans have gender", Croesos. Jesus centres the whole of his answer on the proposition that God created humans male and female and that that is what marriage is about. It is the joining of male and female - in a purpose-designed way literally impossible for a same-sex couple - which is given as the reason marriage shouldn't be dissolved. It's not merely that same-sex marriage is 'not mentioned' - more a case of marriage is so thoroughly and emphatically described as heterosexual that there is no room for the same-sex version.

    I look forward to watching Croesos arrive at the pearly gates and try to persuade Jesus that he "can't have meant" that marriage is a male-female thing.
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