Friday, May 16, 2014

Apparently we shouldn't be proud of our fudge (updated)

UPDATE: Stuff (NZ media site) offers an article on reactions to a Catholic video being endorsed here by the local hierarchy. Observe the pressure points: Catholics want to teach (perhaps a little more publicly than everyday pastoral encounters) what Catholic teaching prescribes; the gay community at large and Catholic gays protest at the unreasonableness of the teaching and the potential, circulation of the video has, for making a difficult experience (relative to the majority straight world) more painful. One point about our Anglican fudge, despite the critics and mockers from around the world, is that it gives expression to two strong but opposing convictions held within our own community. One observation to make about those critics and mockers who think we should hold out for teaching more or less in tune with Catholic teaching is that it does extremely little to foster communication and relationship with one whole community in our society. Is it 'gospel' living to be a church which can converse with all other sectors of society except one?

ORIGINAL: Around the Anglican world, not all Anglicans are happy with us folks Down Under. Why, even some of the folks Down Under are not happy.

Thus, Thinking Anglicans

Then, Titus One Nine

With, David Ould

Also, Joshua Bovis

ADDED: Some interesting comments emerging on Taonga.

ADDED: For someone so keen to expose 'Apostles of Hate' there are some words in this post which do not invoke the description 'Blogger of Love'. Put this post together with comments on Taonga (to date) and you see why we are a church of Two Integrities!

Not forgetting our blogging bishops Kelvin Wright and Jim White (actually, no comments there at the time of linking ... perhaps you could comment, but Jim's comment is worth reading).

Last but not least ('cos it is NZ's number one religious blog and regularly 6th/7th-ish most popular of all our blogs), Bosco Peters.

32 comments:

carl jacobs said...

I have read your comments in various places. I feel bad for you, Peter. I really do. You are like a man who sits in the woods by a fire, and suddenly finds himself surrounded by wolves. The wolves are afraid of the fire, but the fire grows dim. And so you say to yourself "These wolves won't hurt me. They are not American wolves. They are New Zealand wolves. Look, their tails are wagging, and they are smiling. I have nothing to fear from these wolves. We have shared the same woods for years and nothing has happened."

And yet ... as soon as that fire goes out, they will fall upon you with ravenous fury and leave not so much as one strip of flesh on your bones.

You deceive yourself if you think there is a good ending to this. Your church has opened the door, and it will not be closed again.

carl

Peter Carrell said...

There are no wolves in NZ, Carl!

Bruce Richardson said...

Hi Peter,
Perhaps the best analogy that I can think of for what has happened or may happen (although I have some hesitation in using it for obvious reasons) is of an amicable separation that can occur in a marriage when their are irreconcilable differences. Separations happen in such cases to give people the space they need. The hope of course is that sometime down the track both parties can be reconciled and come back together. If not the other option is divorce. Where are we headed long term? Only God knows. It is my hope and prayer that this motion will deliver for us who are conservative on this issue what it promises.

Bruce Richardson

tachesterton said...

Peter, reading your comments at the various blogs above, I think your point about being an Anglican family is a very strong one. Those who see Anglicanism as only defined theologically seem to be having a hard time with that. They do not appear to understand that for some of us a church family is very similar to a biological family, and the are many other reasons for belonging to it than shared belief.

I myself was strongly tempted to leave Anglicanism for another Christian body a few years ago. I think it was this sense of family ties, more than anything else, that kept me in the Anglican Church.

Oh, and Carl, I don't think Peter wants you to feel sory for him. He's doing just fine.

Tim C.

Bryden Black said...

Yes Tim; the notion of “family” is appropriate - and for a number of reasons. It’s biblical! It’s also often the nature of Anglican experience, where cradle to grave Christianity has been the norm. But NB: “has been”. In my current parish, we’ve heaps of ‘members’/‘attendees’ who have entered our doors and stayed, who have come from VERY non Anglican backgrounds, i.e. other Christian backgrounds, or none. For them the logic you use is slipping from view - if it was ever in their view. The Protestant Supermarket has seen to this crucial cultural shift. And just to finish this line of thinking: it applies I sense to both more Evangelical parishes and to more liturgical, catholic ones. Rich ritual per se is an increasing attraction in our late modern culture.

Lastly, I agree “belonging” is a multifactorial thing. Friendship however I sense is even stronger than the notion of extended family. The latter has become a curious model, with multiple sequential partners, extensive mobility, job relocations, etc. in our late modern cultures. Now; we should be aspiring to a stronger sense of “OUR Father”, I agree! But that sadly is only appreciated, in my experience, when there is deeper conversion to Christ, THE Son, and away from the prevailing cultural ethos. The implications therefore of these things for our own national church case ...?

It’s true what Peter says about the size of our church and the strong friendships across multiple sorts of boundary - ethnic, social, ecclesial, even theological. But I seriously reckon many of these will become sorely tested in the days/years ahead. Our ‘unity’ will have to become (NB that word) more than a function of sheer will (as I say elsewhere on ADU). It will have to reflect “belief” in some way eventually, I believe - for we are NOT some “voluntary association”, despite the sociologists! So; back to the source of those beliefs ... I.e. the question of authority - once more! Nor, finally, may we chant Jn 17 as if that solved the problem - not least as that third section, regarding oneness and communion - and belief! - has two prior sections upon which it is predicated; and they have to do with serious matters of theological truth. This is the FG after all!

So; all in all: I still sense we are most likely on a hiding to nowhere - as a family, organization, institution, church. But we shall have to play nice for a while yet ...

carl jacobs said...

There are wolves everywhere, Peter. And they all share a common nature. It is your great misfortune that you don't understand this.

carl

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
You raise a perfectly good question below re whether Bryden has said something which could be misunderstood ... but I am omitting some further comment which I feel adds heat to the situation and not light. The key question is what Bryden meant to say; not whether a possible misreading of what he has said then leads to other deductions. (Below your comment I offer my own interpretation of Bryden's remark):

"" Now; we should be aspiring to a stronger sense of “OUR Father”, I agree! But that sadly is only appreciated, in my experience, when there is deeper conversion to Christ, THE Son, and away from the prevailing cultural ethos. The implications therefore of these things for our own national church case ...?" - Bryden Black -

Am I misreading you here, Bryden, or are you actually saying that those of us who think differently from you - on the issue of same-sex relationships - are lacking in devotion to 'Our Father', and to The Christ who has redeemed us all?

If so, I think you are operating in another universe - parallel but [].

[]
"

Ron: the important word is "OUR". I suggest that Bryden is pointing out that devotion to the Father is envisaged by our Lord as being a common devotion based on common teaching. We can scarcely say of our devotion to the Father in ACANZP that it is strong on 'common' at the moment. As for deeper devotion to Christ: mine is never deep enough!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
I appreciate your support expressed in the comment below very much but it also has some things to say about fellow commenters here which I do not consider contribute to free and wide-ranging discussion here. For the record I appreciate all the comments being made: iron sharpens iron and all that. Accordingly I am redacting a few words ... as Sir Paul Reeves once said to me, It is the adjectives that cause trouble.

"Peter, I want to support you - against the [] ethos of those on this site who seem to condemn your desire to find common ground with those you may disagree with.

The [] fear exhibited by some heresy-hunters only serves to discredit the traditional charism of sweet reason that is one of the characteristics of traditional Anglicanism.

It reminds me of G.B.Shaw's wonderful exposition of the interrogation of Saint Joan, before she was burnt at the stake. One can almost smell the sulphur.
Not much of caritas here.

Fear has always been an enemy of reason, and I find the exercise of this [] negativity among some conservative voices here to be disappointing, to say the least.

I believe you are doing ACANZP a great service by allowing an open conversation to proceed on your web-site - with minimal critical interference from you. I admire your openness to other stances than your own, on matters that some people seem to find it hard to come to terms with. However, we are a Living Church, not a mere mausoleum. Congratulations!
"

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Carl
What I am prepared to concede is that one or two leaders in our church in the few days since the resolution have written things which suggest that it is only a matter of time before their view of things prevail in our church. That is disappointing from my part because it suggests that in a 'two integrities' approach, only one side will be learning from the other as the years proceed.

Nevertheless I want to continue to challenge myself and other conservatives: if we hang in with our church with its particularities which are different to TEC etc and continue our apostolic mission then nothing need be a foregone conclusion. 2014 could be the high point of liberalism's influence on our church rather than the beginning point of a triumphal reign in the 21st century.

Bryden Black said...

G'day Ron! My entire comment is addressed to Tim C's previous comment. That is the proper context for the expression "OUR Father".

Andrei said...

7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

arowhenua said...

Ka Pai Peter,

Now lets move on. Let's celebrate the grace of Tikanga Maori deciding to withdraw their motion and instead engage in good faith with other Tikanga. May we acknowledge the grace given.

Given the different views on homosexuality let us now turn from talking to praying and doing. Lets commit as a church and members of our church to praying to God for wisdom (whoever lacks wisdom ask) on this issue, let us pray for the conviction of the Holy Spirit in the NZ church to the extent it cannot be ignored, let us re-focus on spreading the Good News, and let us do this without malice and with regularity for the coming two years.

Ka homai e Ihowa he kana ki tana hunga
The Lord gives strength to His people
He rongo mau ta Ihowa manaaki mo tana hunga
The Lord blesses His people with peace

And the last inspiration:
http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0E02FMNU

God Bless, Jean

Peter Carrell said...

Very inspiring, Jean! And pray, seek wisdom, preach the gospel: yes!

Father Ron Smith said...

A lovely recording, Jean. reminds me of the St. Paul's Singers and their inspirational songs - in which I had a part - forty years ago!

The charismatic songs that are articulate and theologically sound have a real place in today's Church ministry. Thank you for this treat.

Michael Reddell said...

I'm puzzled by the implication you draw from the report of the Catholic video. You argue that holding to such a (long proclaimed) teaching means being "a church which can converse with all other sectors of society except one".

Surely the gospel is good news for sinners (all of us), calling us each to repentance? But it is a hard message to those who, for the time being, don't recognise their behaviours or attitudes as sinful. A gospel that confronts greed, or lust, or idolatry or....means those "sectors of society" that see no evil in such conduct have little or no basis for "converse" with the church. Whether or not the traditional teaching on homosexual practice is correct (I think it is), whatever conduct - in any area of the life - that the church teach to be at odds with the gospel will be seen by practitioners of (and advocates for) that conduct as something of an affront, unless/until the Word and Spirit bring them to a conviction of sin. And since none of us without sin, and many probably still have blind spots, behaviours/attitudes we don' really recognise as sinful, this isn't a comment about some other group ("them"), but about all of us.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael
What I am attempting is to gt to grips with the nature of the 'identity' of the LGBT (now, I see, LGBTI) community. It does not see itself as a community in need of repentance re sex-in-marriage-like-relationship (while it would agree that, say, greed or racism need repenting), by which it means (as I understand the 'identity' factor) that it sees no more need to repent of sex than (say) Samoans or Peruvians or women or men need repent of sex within marriage. Thus where churches say (as many do, beside the Catholic church) "if you want to join us as gay people you must be celibate" the message is no more likely to be received well than if, say, a church said to Samoans or Peruvians etc, "if you want to join us, you must be celibate".

Now I am probably putting this ham-fistedly and you will only have more questions; but I do think that we (conservatives) are being outflanked by the "identity" factor which we (in my view) are not exploring well, let alone understanding, and certainly not compared to the depth with which we explore and believe we understand Scripture and what it has to say about sex.

Richard said...

After hearing the full motion read out today and the positive talk about unity in difference, I must admit I am still not convinced. The current compromise seems to leave a bitter taste for just about everyone - and beneath it there is a tactical game going on. Lets be honest here - those pushing most strongly against change are using this politically as a way of slowing things up, hopefully to stop change completely, while those who want change simply view it as inevitable - in fact, the language of the second half of the statement quite clearly implies this.

The thing is for me is that I could accept peoples differences on this issue if I knew they were truly committed to the apostolic gospel yet I am still not sure this is the case. I'm not just talking about those on the radically liberal side of the church, but the whole institution (Evangelicals cannot get off lightly here either!). So many key foundations of our communion are assumed rather than clearly articulated and replaced instead with fuzzy talk of our experience rather than the reality which lies behind it.

The major task for General Synod and our diocesan structures at present should not just be working out what we think about sexuality, but working out what we think and agree upon when it comes to proclaiming and giving witness to the Gospel and building unity around it. The debate over sexuality it a symptom of a far larger problem which is and will destroy our church.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Richard
I agree with you about most of what you say, and you make a very important point re bigger issues our church is avoiding currently as it focuses on other matters.

Where I disagree with you is about this motion slowing things down in the hope that no change might happen. I don't read what conservatives 'achieved' by this motion being passed as a form of political ploy. Rather it is a genuine shift for this church to engage so formally with the idea of 'two integrities.' If this shift holds through the next two synods then the speed at which one of the integrities moves will not be slowed down at all. It would be naive for the other integrity to believe that, fingers crossed, nothing might change.

But back to your main argument: 'the major task' remains!

Michael Reddell said...

Peter

Thanks for your response. I understand the point you are making about the 'identity" the gay "community" feels. But is it so different from, say, the sense of identity the Ku Klux Klan might have felt, or supporters (or members) of the apartheid government of South Africa. In each case, many - perhaps even most - would have been churchgoing, and often with quite a deep and real faith. And yet the responsibility of the church surely was to name the sin, and call sinners to repentance, to putting off those practices of active racism. Appalling as perhaps they seem, those "identities" were very real to the people involved. They had no sense that repentance was required for those acts, even though they well-recognised the need for repentance in other areas of life.

Of course, making the call to repentance to Christians involved in the apartheid regime could have been costly - our Dean in Lusaka had been expelled from South Africa for just such a stand - but failure to do so had its own cost (churches now ashamed of the compromises they made in those years).

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael,
You cite two pertinent examples! The (so to speak) theologically-supported apartheid supporters got to where they went re church by having a wider support in the community: once that support started to change (aided by other parts of the church which always saw apartheid for the sin that it was, but also by global protest, including from other governments), the theological support for apartheid changed too. The Klu Klux Klan today wouldn't get much if any support if it tried an "identity" approach to being welcomed visibly into the life of the church.

By contrast the support today for the LGBT community and its identity is huge: widespread in many societies, via governments and parliaments, changes to the law on marriage. Thus the churches, like it or not, face a question about our engagement with society and the "identity" groups within it which it supports and promotes. For to forswear engagements of some kind would be, ironically, to make churches into isolated sects even as they try to publicly articulate the gospel.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Thanks for your response. I understand the point you are making about the 'identity" the gay "community" feels. But is it so different from, say, the sense of identity the Ku Klux Klan might have felt, or supporters (or members) of the apartheid government of South Africa. In each case, many - perhaps even most - would have been churchgoing, and often with quite a deep and real faith."
- commenter -

This sounds rather smug - and also mind-bogglingly inept - to compare intrinsically homosexual people with the Klu Klux Klan and the appalling upholders of Apartheid in S.A. - in terms of their group identity.

You are desperately trying to compare apples with bicycle wheels - a very common mistake made by people who understand precisely nothing of the aetiology of homosexuality. I think the remark needs to be withdrawn - or at least commented upon, critically, by our host.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
Intrinsically homosexual people are not being compared per se with the KKK or supporters of apartheid. What is at issue is the nature and status of communities with a strong sense of identity which the church is implicitly or explicitly invited to support or not, in the light of revelation through Scripture and tradition.

Supporters of apartheid, for instance, appealed to Scripture in support and found a ready hearing through some theologians and church leaders but later this was seen to be a mistake. Nevertheless for a long time we had an instance within the worldwide church of some believing that a behaviour was not sinful and others thinking it was sinful, both appealing to Scripture until, eventually, one group's view triumphed - more or less at the point where the 'identity' of the pro apartheid group gave way to a new identity in an embrace of a new and multiracial community.

I suppose we could invoke other stories. One closer to home could be the identity formed by the community around Ratana, a community the Anglican church found to 'hot to handle' (for reasons of legitimate theological concern), so that, in the end the Ratana community left and the Anglican church needed to reexamine its understanding of Maori Anglican identity with the result that a BIshop for Maori was appointed.

Bryden Black said...

"- a very common mistake made by people who understand precisely nothing of the aetiology of homosexuality." Ron Smith

I really would like to know what IS the full and proper aetiology of homosexuality Ron ...

mike greenslade said...

Kia ora Peter,

The KKK and Apartheid proponents used scripture and theology to exclude and further marginalise oppressed people. How this can compare to the move to include homosexual marriages within the community of faith is beyond me.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael R, Mike G, Ron S
I can see that attempting to explore the nature of "identity", "community" and theology in the life of the church is going to get stuck if we pursue further the questions via reference to the KKK, apartheid supporters.

Perhaps we could more fruitfully think about what the Anglican church faced when Ratana came to the fore as prophet and the Anglican church of the 1920s felt that our accommodationism was nevertheless unable to accommodate his movement and the emerging identity of Maori belonging to it, viz a viz the identity of Maori who remained Anglicans. Or another such example.

MichaelA said...


"What I am attempting is to gt to grips with the nature of the 'identity' of the LGBT (now, I see, LGBTI) community. It does not see itself as a community in need of repentance re sex-in-marriage-like-relationship (while it would agree that, say, greed or racism need repenting)"

Of course it doesn't. Neither does a community based on greed see itself as a community in need of repentance. Neither does a community based on racism see its as a community in need of repentance. What else would you expect?

"it sees no more need to repent of sex than (say) Samoans or Peruvians or women or men need repent of sex within marriage"

So what? The blindness that you describe is simply a normal characteristic of hardened sinners who gather together to reinforce the sinful behaviour among them. The Lord's teaching is plain: those who have sex inside of marriage (including men, women, Samoans and Peruvians) have nothing of which to repent; those who call a same sex relationship "marriage" do have something of which to repent.

Truth doesn't mould to fit what we want.

"the message is no more likely to be received well than if, say, a church said to Samoans or Peruvians etc, "if you want to join us, you must be celibate"."

Firstly, who said the message had to be "received well"? Is that really what you read in the scriptures? If so, then I suggest you need to read a lot further.

Secondly, the difference between the two examples you give is that the Samoans and Peruvians would have every right to reject such a message, because it would be a Satanic one, whereas for the LGBTI, the reverse is the case.

You can dodge and tap dance and go through various intellectual and spiritual contortions, but that doesn't change the reality of what you are doing.

MichaelA said...

"What I am prepared to concede is that one or two leaders in our church in the few days since the resolution have written things which suggest that it is only a matter of time before their view of things prevail in our church."

I am only surprised it happened within a few weeks so openly.

Don't worry Peter, this is just the start. There will be many years more of this, but the end result is inevitable.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Michael
I would like to be more open to appreciating the intrinsic, intimate and integral challenges of discovering oneself to be differently oriented to the normative majority of society than I would be if I followed your logic.

Your logic may be impeccable but I don't find myself experiencing the challenges of temptations to greed etc even a tenth as challenging as engaging with what it means to be a sexual being full of desires which seem to come from the core of my being in a different way to (say) greed.

I would prefer to err logically and be found pastorally sympathetic to challenges about being homosexual in a heterosexual world than the other way around.

To be clear, I am not saying you personally are unsympathetic - I do not know you personally. But I find the logical argument you present here, were I to follow it rigorously, to stand in the way of engaging pastorally with some kind of identification with those who identify differently to me.

Father Ron Smith said...

MichaelA,

What is your recipe of preparation for the Armageddon you so direly predict?

Is God going to save you, do you think? And are all homosexuals going to Hell?

MichaelA said...

Peter, in that case you have a problem with the simple gospel message. I can't help with that.

I suggest looking at Jesus. He had no difficulty in declaring God's holiness and His love at the same time.

"I would prefer to err logically and be found pastorally sympathetic to challenges about being homosexual in a heterosexual world than the other way around."

Your words, not mine. In my respectful submission they show that you are bound to fail at both aims, since your thinking is flawed at a foundational level. Those who understand God's truth (which you interestingly refer to by the pagan word "logic") know that they don't have to be afraid that it doesn't work pastorally.

MichaelA said...

"What is your recipe of preparation for the Armageddon you so direly predict?"

Fr Ron, I was referring to the Anglican Church in New Zealand going down the same road as TEC - and you are describing that as "Armageddon"...? ;)

"Is God going to save you, do you think?"

Who else would?

"And are all homosexuals going to Hell?"

I strongly doubt it - why would you think that they are?

Father Ron Smith said...

MichaelA - Armageddon ouder here!

Smirk removed!

I'm glad you have doubt in your heart of hearts about the awful fate of homosexuals. And I do not doubt that God loves you and has saved you.

However..... Don't get too deeply depressed about the state of our ACANZP & TEC; they are both God's creation, and therefore, His concern - as long as they keep on celebrating their recognition of God, He will not abandon them nor forsake them. Have no fear on our account. "Be not faithless but believing". - And remember that:

Christ IS risen, Alleluia!