Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Are the Scots showing the English the 'way forward'?

The clock is running down for Western churches. It is certainly running down for ACANZP. Less than one year to go now till our next General Synod.

What are we going to do about same sex partnerships, including same sex marriages now made possible by civic authorities in some countries?

I suggest the solution showing signs of emerging is one in which we agree to live with our (severe) disagreement and diversity on the matter. When no side is budging there is an option which is not schism. That option is living with difference.

It is not rocket science to see that the CofE is heading that way (analogous to how it is holding itself together over women bishops).

Now the Church of Scotland has charted this way forward with a 309 to 183 vote:

"A spokesman for the Church of Scotland said that the current stance meant that the Church had adopted a position which "maintains a traditional view of marriage between a man and woman, but allows individual congregations to 'opt out' if they wish to appoint a minister or a deacon in a same sex civil partnership."

The Telegraph reports that the Scottish think this might be a way forward for the English,

"The Very Rev David Arnott, who coordinates the General Assembly’s business, said that although the Presbyterian structure of the Church of Scotland is different from that of Anglican churches, he hoped the plan could offer a “template” for the Church of England to consider.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme: “We are not going to change people’s minds, we have to come to a way of living together with our differences and living with our diversity and I hope that we’re able to do that."

Could ACANZP do something like that?

Oh, you might say, but we need to press for the 'truth' to win. I agree but I find there are two different versions of what is 'true' about same sex marriage and they are pushing together like two scrums with no signs of one buckling and the referee is getting impatient for the ball to come out.

And the different scrums are composed of friends of mine. I would like to not ditch one set of friends for another.

Reading about the current moment in the CofE approach, concerning facilitated conversations, I note these two reports, by Jeremy Pemberton and Richard Coles

I don't imagine that a similar conversation in our church would yield a different set of reports from two blokes committed to changing the status quo. They are not going to buckle. The conservatives who took part in the conversation are not buckling. We can be sure the conservatives who did not turn up are not buckling either.

But here is the thing: everyone wants to remain in the Anglican church.

Both scrums want to remain on the same field playing rugby union. No one wants to opt for rugby league!

I do not see how we are going to remain in the one church unless we can find a way forward something like the Scottish proposal for the Presbyterians.

It wouldn't take that much humility for Anglicans to learn something from Presbyterians. Would it?



39 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

"It wouldn't take that much humility for Anglicans to learn something from Presbyterians. Would it?" - Dr.P.C. -

Perhaps a little more humility than you might think, Peter - from both sides. After all; both sides, in this issue, claim to have the 'Whole Truth'. And while, I, personally - any maybe you, too - would like to 'agree to disagree' it may be that hard-line conservatives will fight to the last ditch for their own vision of 'through a glass, darkly'.

I pray for the Love of God to win through - over stridency in opposition to one another.

Feast of Saint Duncan, Abp of Cantab

Anonymous said...

“Oh, you might say, but we need to press for the 'truth' to win. I agree but I find there are two different versions of what is 'true' about same sex marriage and they are pushing together like two scrums with no signs of one buckling and the referee is getting impatient for the ball to come out. And the different scrums are composed of friends of mine. I would like to not ditch one set of friends for another.”

Hmm, two different truths .. 2+2 makes 4, AND 2+2 makes 5 .. both true? Both acceptable? Requiring those in the math class to learn a new set of ‘truths?’ Peter, if you have friends in both scrums, as indeed I hope we all do, then what sort of friends are they that they don’t deserve to hear your particular version of the two truths? I suppose I must ask again, where exactly is the line you draw .. or is there not one at all?

Rosemary Behan

MichaelA said...

No Fr Ron, we will just keep witnessing to God's love and truth, until the liberals repent of their sin and accept God's forgiveness.

Hear the teaching of our saviour Jesus Christ:

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:


“I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”

Therefore,

“Come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”

And,

“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty”."

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

Anonymous said...

How would opting out line up with the religious exemption in the Human Rights Act? You could hardly argue that something is core to your belief if half of your fellow believers thought it was not.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Alleluia, Christ is Risen! Alleluia

- MichaelA -

Not only Risen, but also Ascended - far above the 'truth' of frail humanity.

"Now, we see through a glass, darkly; then we shall see Him face to face"

Father Ron Smith said...

I guess, anonymous, that the only real and basic dogmatic principle that is essential to Christianity is to know and recognise Jesus Christ as Son of God and Redeemer of ALL the world.

The rest may just be adiaphora.

I'm just reading a most interesting book by one-time Roman Catholic priest and current 'Practising Catholic', American, James Carroll, who blames the current malaise in world Christianity on the imposition of dogmatic requirements that nullify the private conscience of ordinary Christians. He also blames an inbuilt patriarchal bias that has given rise to institutional misogyny and homophobia that resists the current movement towards inclusion in the Church of Women and LGBTI Christians, who have their own understanding of God's will for them in their own lives - despite religious prejudice.

Father Ron Smith said...

" What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? - MichaelA -

Michael, you really do put your foot in it sometimes - where angels might fear to tread, in fact:

I would remind you of the 'righteous' Pharisee, whom Jesus declared not justified - simply because he judged another human being that he saw as undeserving of justification.

Thank God that He is merciful, even of some of his servants are not! "Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison" The prayer of the Church! - still valid today! Try it!

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,

I agree that living with difference is a model that can work for "disputable matters".
But why not apply this same logic to priests living in a de facto relationship? That is a widely accepted practice in today's society but it violates God's commandments to us in the same way as active homosexual relationships do.
Once you start down the road of "co-existence" or "living with difference" you need very clear guidelines about what is disputable and what is not.
To follow your analogy, are we still really a team if we're wearing the same jumper but every player plays according to their own set of rules?

williamp said...

Answering the question in your caption? "No, the Scots are not."

Obviously, choices in this life involve many possibilities, and some possibilities may clearly lack other and crucial qualities. The suggested "solution" in your post values expediency and a form of "peace" over principle and a struggle for revealed truth. I'll let you decide whether, in view of the following quotes, a possibility heavily-based on expediency is something you commend to any Christian denomination. My views is that any denomination that places a high value on expediency is due for reaping a deserved low respectability rating from the general populace together with a concomitant, nominal status the denomination will occupy in the life of that population.

"Enter by the narrow gate. Wide is the gate and broad the road that leads to destruction, and many enter that way; narrow is the gate and constricted the road that leads to life, and those who find them are few." Mt. 7:13 (REB). "'Make every effort to enter through the narrow door; for I tell you that many will try to enter but will not succeed.'" Lk. 13:24 (REB)

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Commenters
Thanks for comments coming in.
I am on a tight deadline re travel/meetings but I intend to reply to various questions (and they are good ones) directed to me ... it might even be in the form of a new post.

Anonymous: please use a name.

williamp: please confirm that 'williamp' is your name or use your name.

Thanks
Peter

williamp said...

Peter: Re: williamp post, Thanks,
William Taylor

hogsters said...

Re Ron: "Not only Risen, but also Ascended - far above the 'truth' of frail humanity".

Ah yes Ron,but of course its OK for some among "frail humanity" to say that the "truth" of this one who is "far above" is not the truth.

Tell me how does that work? It's simply inconsistent nonsense.

in My opinion its some "believers who are the biggest threat to the church being taken seriously. Thank God Jesus said I will build my church ... And as I understand the passage, that church is build on the truth of who Jesus is, not some system where man elevates man.

Blessings


MichaelA said...

"Michael, you really do put your foot in it sometimes - where angels might fear to tread, in fact"

I understand Fr Ron - to you, reading Holy Scripture is putting one's foot in it!

Very sorry, I know it is challenging and confronting to some, and I really didn't mean to disturb you.

"I would remind you of the 'righteous' Pharisee, whom Jesus declared not justified - simply because he judged another human being that he saw as undeserving of justification."

Precisely Fr Ron, and you should be very careful of making judgments about other people. We all should be careful to be like the man whom Jesus pronounced to be justified - the one who said "God be merciful to me a sinner"!

Don't you agree?

"Thank God that He is merciful, even of some of his servants are not!"

I do, Fr Ron. Because I have said "God be merciful to me a sinner" I am justified, whereas those who do not admit they are sinners and look down on those who do, are not justified.

So taught our Lord.

Christ is Risen. Alleluia!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Father Ron Smith said...

"Precisely Fr Ron, and you should be very careful of making judgments about other people. We all should be careful to be like the man whom Jesus pronounced to be justified - the one who said "God be merciful to me a sinner"! Don't you agree?" - MichaelA -

I totally agree with you, Michael. about our need not to judge others too harshly - lest we be judged ourselves!

The real problem , as I see it, in today's hissy-fit about sexuality, is that the nay-sayers to homosexuality seem to be saying: "It's OK for me to be a sinner, but not THEM!"

We are all so far deep into the sin of hubris that it's a wonder God puts up with us. We cannot build our own righteousness upon the perceived sins of others - no matter how hard we try. There seems to be so many people ready to 'throw the first stone' that one can be blinded to one's own sins.

"If you say you have no sin, you are a liar and there is no health in you"
- The words of Scripture!

Note to host: (It appears this site is still being plagued by a joker, offering goodies that ought not to be eaten! in place of access!)

Anonymous said...

Once the pass that "marriage is for life" was surrendered, the insistance on "one man, one woman" becomes clearly about attitudes to homosexuals more than about "retaining marriage as it was". The on-this-site oft-repeated "two wrongs don't make a right" sounds extremely hollow after many years now of nothing being done about the first "wrong". The plain reading of the Bible is much clearer about the first wrong than the second, and, casuistry notwithstanding, the issue is much deeper than agreeing, as is easily done, on a God-sourced anthropology. The integrity of Christianity is at stake when those who in NT-Jesus terms bless adultery and fornication of sequentially-monogamous heterosexuals, but vociferously condemn homosexuals seeking to express God's lifelong covenant in their relationship.

Mike

Anonymous said...

Philosophers are not at all convinced that saying 2+2=4 is saying anything more than "All triangles have three sides." (See Frege's criterion on analytic truth, and read Bertrand Russell and the young Ludwig Wittgenstein). I think reducing people's desire to follow God's will in the most intimate aspect of their lives to a five-year-old's arithmetic question concerning. And what is it that makes this question so urgent? Christians cannot agree on baptism, communion, ordination, how Christ saves us, whether Adam is a historical person, divorce and remarriage, God's wrath, the roles of women, war-pacifism, ... need I go on?! What makes this issue SO different? Answer that question honestly, at least to oneself, if it's too scary to do publicly, and we may start being on the way to what is really at stake here.

Mike

Bryden Black said...

Well Peter; as I’ve said before, this scenario prompts some real soul searching, facilitated by three related questions.

1. What has brought us to this position? What has precipitated this outcome, where two opposing, contradictory, irreconcilable stances are squaring off, within the same institutional space? Answers will need to engage with the history of the last 300 years, culturally, sociologically, philosophically, and morally. We will need to get right down to root paradigms, and the reasons for paradigm shifts in society.

2. Tied in with this is a real doozy: how/why do people become genuinely mistaken? And the word “become” is paramount. It’s not just that people might be mistaken; it’s rather the history behind such error that is crucial: what dynamics bring about such a stance? And this question 2 might very well apply to both ‘sides’, to degrees large(r) and/or small(er).

3. Lastly, and vitally, given for the moment that the two stances as outlined in Motion 30, 1 (a) and (b), do have their respective “integrities”, and given a way forward can be found institutionally whereby these two might live ‘under one roof’ [both massive assumptions, I realise], nonetheless what integrity might this new entity itself possess?

Well; there we all have it ... And the outcome of such careful archaeological/genealogical work will, I suggest, only show how illogical and impossible it will be to keep these ‘good folk’ within one and the same house ... And thereafter history, especially eschatological history, will be the judge.

Father Ron Smith said...

"2. Tied in with this is a real doozy: how/why do people become genuinely mistaken?" - Dr. Bryden Black -

Why do I get the idea that everyone else but B.B. has 'become genuinely mistaken' - in this remark? If this issue is so clear to B.B., how is it that so many others feel differently?

Dogmatic pronouncements don't quite fit the bill nowadays. Dwelling in the past doesn't cut the mustard anymore. Perhap the upcoming Season of Pentecost might open a few closed minds bringing further enlightenment - about the reality if life, as it really is lived; not just from the history books. "Come, Holy Spirit..."

Bryden Black said...

Well Ron; all I can say by way of reply is that perhaps your very comment is itself a reflection of Q.2 in its entirety.

Anonymous said...

Peter, Mike has a point. This really is not for me to say, but do evangelicals need to repent of allowing an almost sacramental divorce. From a sola scriptura point of view, gay marriage is trivial if you allow heterosexual divorce.

Father Ron Smith said...

Hearing - before the Sung Mass at St. Michael's this morning - of the result of the referendum for Equal Marriage in Ireland (a 'Catholic' country)' and feeling that God might be in the vote somewhere; I must say that today's Pentecost Celebration was joyful.

As the Vicar and I anointed the hands of the large congregation - for service in the world in the name of Christ - I could not help feeling the 'great love of God as revealed in The Son' was equipping us to 'go out to all the world and tell the Good News' - of God's Love for ALL people!

Come, Holy Spirit; fill the hearts of your people with the fire of God's Love. Amen, Alleluia!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous at 8.07
Please use your name!

Bryden Black said...

Anon Mike @ 2:11 - “What makes this issue SO different? Answer that question honestly, at least to oneself, if it's too scary to do publicly, and we may start being on the way to what is really at stake here.”

You ask a very good series of questions, in my view. I’ve been pondering these matters in private and public for a good few years and here’s my tuppence worth.

At root it would seem to boil down to two opposing views of human being:

1. Humans viewed as autonomous self-positing personal subjects;
2. Humans viewed as creatures, “wonderfully and fearfully made” (Ps 139), “in the image and likeness of God”, ish/ishshah (Gen 1-2); and so also accountable to their Creator (“where are you, Adam?”).

Curiously, the former view is derived from the Tradition of the latter, such that we can (and should) see it as a bastard step-child of the Christian ethos and world-view. As a result too, among secular western liberal democracies, the call for same-sex marriage is totally predictable and even logical: the outcome of the Irish referendum is no surprise at all. And yet from the stance of the latter, it is a tragic irony - in the fullest senses of those two words.

Here too is another, fuller set of reasons for us to consider, from Edith Humphrey:

http://www.augustinecollege.org/papers/EH_30June03.htm

MichaelA said...

"The integrity of Christianity is at stake when those who in NT-Jesus terms bless adultery and fornication of sequentially-monogamous heterosexuals, but vociferously condemn homosexuals seeking to express God's lifelong covenant in their relationship."

No, it isn't.

Firstly, Christ allows divorce in certain circumstances. Your posts make no distinction and thus depart from His teaching.

Secondly, I can think of very few churches who permit second marriages in defiance of scripture. I am sure there are many instances where it happens, just as there are many instances of theft, oppression, slander and a multitude of other sins occurring churches. But they aren't permitted by the church.

This brings me onto the third point: The issue here is that Christian leaders are calling that which is sin in God's sight to be not sin. Specifically, they are calling a homosexual relationship "marriage" when it is not, and they are stating that homosexual acts are not sinful. That is indeed a serious matter.

God's judgment will fall most heavily on the Christian leaders who do this, and on anyone in the Church who shares in their evil work. And we who are faithful to Jesus are called upon to break fellowship with those who have apostasized in this way so that they may be warned and have some chance of repentance before it is too late.

Anonymous said...

MichaelA

Christ forbids divorce of a valid marriage - the "exception" is "unlawful sexual intercourse" in which case there was never a valid marriage, and obviously separation of this illicit union is allowed by Christ. So please don't accuse me of departing from Jesus' teaching without even listing the usual casuistry I have already mentioned.

As for churches that regularly allow remarriage of divorcees - NZ Anglicanism is one such (the focus here) all the way to bishops. All without issue or current debate.

So I repeat to you: why do you regard blessing committed homosexuals evil, but do not decry the NZ Anglican current situation?

Mike

Jean said...

It is my understanding - not The Lord but I (as Paul would say) - that Jesus teachings on divorce reads along the lines of; it is not how it is 'meant to be' was not from the beginning; men/women who divorce their wives (except for unfaithfulness) in order to marry another commit adultery, and cause their ex-partner to do likewise; Moses permitted divorce because of the hardness of men's hearts but this is to be the exception, and the right of (mostly in that age men) - to divorce under the law was not a license to do as they please. The Old Testament biblical concepts of divorce as they relate to God and His people listed idolatry (unfaithfulness) as adultery but this was also extended to not following the principles of God's in relationship, such as in Malachi dealing treacherously and with violence.

Mike you are in some ways correct, there is litttle difference between the divorce statistics in churches and the general populace we are not doing well in this area. However, not all divorces or second marriages I believe come under the adultery or fornication banner.

Anonymous, it is a point on which the Anglican/Protestant and Catholic Churches disagree theologically. In my understanding, the Catholic Churches hold to once married always married because they read the scripture of only divorcing due to marital unfaithfulness as the only reason. Also Paul in Roman's (actually as an example of us no longer being under the law) states under the law that a woman who is married to a man should remain so while he lives, death frees her from such a bond. He uses it as example as once dead to the law, as we are in Christ, we are no longer bound by it. Hence, the perspectives are different from those I mention above.

Ultimately I do not think divorce in the church adds anything to the consideration of same-sex blessing. Nor do I think many in the church who face it take the action lightly.

Blessings Jean

Jean said...

I have to in all honestly say I don't know what the best way forward is but these are points that circulate for me.

a) Same-sex attraction appears to have several origins. I have known a person who having a heart defect was ridiculed at school due to his un-masculine behaviour he then grew into the identity others placed on him; some who have been abused sexually by the same-sex later develop an attraction for the same-sex; and then there is those who it appears for reasons they are aware of develop an attraction to the opposite sex.
b) Leaving aside theology and culture there are practical considerations - children as I have mentioned previously, how NZ society as a whole (not church alone) will react to instances where same-sex attracted individuals were put in places of leadership in the church such as youth leaders - here I am not questioning the integrity of the individual per se but the reaction of parents to such. Noting while on the 'outside' most kiwi's will appear accepting of homosexuality often their behaviour does not reflect this when people come face to face with the practical implications.
c) The extreme bitterness and vehemency towards others that has developed on both sides in countries such as the US and Canada and the UK within the church. Here I respect Vicky Beeching in her approach of lets ''shut up' stop talking and seek God. Having revealed her same-sex attraction to the public she abhors both the verbal abuse she receives from those who condemn her, as well as those who reject and abuse people who hold a different viewpoint as they too are her close friends, such as her parents. I was amazed to hear of diocese in Canada who will not employ ordinand's who hold to traditional marriage.
d) There are genuine cases of LGTBI orientated people who discover a sense of release sexual and emotional through christ, this can be evidenced in such ministries as a woman with AIDS who began an outreach to male prostitutes (Brooklyn).
e) Comments along the lines of the church being out of touch with society hold little sway. From its inception the Christs teaching has both been different from and often in challenge to that of society at large. Equally while not remaining silent on issues of the common good,, as CS Lewis said one does not expect a person who is not a Xtian to act as one whatever their sexuality.
e) And finally of course scripture and our interpretation of it.

You will notice the points do not relate merely to the 'blessing of same sex marriages' as to be discussed by synod. This is because I think one cannot consider such without seeing the view down the road, the ordination and participation of same-sex couples in church leadership and in regards to all that marriage implies.

Blessings
Jean

Father Ron Smith said...

" Specifically, they are calling a homosexual relationship "marriage" when it is not, and they are stating that homosexual acts are not sinful. That is indeed a serious matter." - MichaelA -

Here we go again, MichaelA - the gospel according to MichaelA - is not any sort of 'Good News' to any intrinsically homosexual Christian who simply wants to avoid the sin of sexual promiscuity, by dint of seeking a legal life-time partnership with the person they love and want to spend the rest of their life with (a situation that some heterosexuals find, seemingly impossible).

Despite your insistence that 'marriage- is not a state for homosexuals; the law of Aotearoa/New Zealand (where I live) this is simply not true!!! You cannot pin your own conservative values upon other people!

As Mike says here, why does the Church insist on refusing the security of legal marriage to faithful, consenting monogamous Same-Sex couples, when they actually allow serial monogamists who happen to be heterosexual to enter into further sexual relationships with the blessing of the Church?

Father Ron Smith said...

"a) Same-sex attraction appears to have several origins. I have known a person who having a heart defect was ridiculed at school due to his un-masculine behaviour he then grew into the identity others placed on him; some who have been abused sexually by the same-sex later develop an attraction for the same-sex; and then there is those who it appears for reasons they are aware of develop an attraction to the opposite sex." - Jean -

Dear Jean. You'll have to do better than this is you ever hope to understand the etiology of homosexuality.

I suggest you try to speak with a few more gay people, who may be able to help you to better understand what makes a person 'lesbian' or 'gay' - or even bi-sexual, a much more difficult, but maybe more common factor in sexual differentiation.

If one is gay, one knows it instinctively. You don't need any excuse for it. It just happens. A child, even from a very young age - whatever his social situation of family or social class - may become aware of the gender he is drawn to, sexually; not in the immediate family circle, but in interaction with others outside of that group.

As the child grows, and certain characteristics become visible - of this attraction to same-gender persons - it becomes obvious to the child that s/he is most comfortable interacting (not sexually, in the earliest stages) with people of the same gender. At this time, it may also become obvious to parents and maybe siblings, who often try to re-orient the affections and behaviour of the same-sex attracted child/youth. This can cause emotional conflict with the parson concerned, which may lead to self-doubt and lack of communication - even to the point of questioning the purpose for one's life.

From this very basic sketch of early-childhood self-recognition of one's 'difference' from one's peers, it may be seen how difficult it might be for a gay or lesbian child to confide in their parents - let alone siblings. There are toise in this situation who will struggle all of their lives to conform to the hetersexual expectations of other people for their lives. The prospect of possible exposure - for who and what they really are, in terms of their innate sexual attraction - can be a constant threat leading; for some, to thoughts of suicide or self-harm; for others a desperate attempt to seek security in heterosexual marriage, or others, maybe life in a religious community - all of which can tend to lead to unsatisfactory life fulfilment and certainly, happiness for them and for the other significant people involved.

So please, Jean, and others who speak lightly of homosexuality - as though it is something pathologically disastrous, unnatural or merely self-willed; do try speaking in depth, and without a prior disposition to criticise or moralise, to gay people who, because of their deep Christian Faith have come to terms with their intrinsic sexuality and are bale to live creatively with its consequences for them, personally.

Jean said...

Hi Father Ron

My apologies I incorrectly spelt a word in the paragraph you quoted that alters its meaning significantly. Rather than 'for reasons they are aware of" I was intending to write "for reasons they are unaware of". In this regard I am referring to those who as you extrapolate in your post recognise they are attracted to the same sex as they grow up.

From my own observations and interactions there are people who are homosexual who have had one of the three life experiences I mentioned. There is no doubt all or most experience pain or heartache as they grapple at points with their own inner turmoil or others attitudes. While the stories of those who recognise they are attracted to the opposite sex as they grow up appear most frequently, their are other reasons same-sex attraction develops and those who have such experiences are no less scarred by them albeit they may not have been 'born gay'.

While I have met bi-sexual people I do not know enough of or about their personal experiences to comment.

Blessings
Jean

Father Ron Smith said...

Erratum:

In my last post (May 26, 1.40pm) in the last line of my penultimate paragraph I meant to say the word 'unhappiness" - not 'happiness', which nulliifes the impact of what I was trying to say.

Bryden Black said...

Dear Ron,
Thank you for your attempt to describe so eloquently a form of human brokenness. While your description does indeed begin to show some of the multifactorial process that leads/might lead to what we term “homosexuality”, it is with regards to both the interpretation of this complex human brokenness, and in how the Courteous Good Lord would seek to address this poverty that many of us part company with you. And many of us have an abundance of experience which seems so often to trump any reasoned theological argument for you. It’s just that this experience too is rather differently interpreted and finally understood; for the manner in which our Gracious Physician addresses these particular wounds is far, far more complex - and beautiful - than the present Zeitgeist can ever imagine ...

Father Ron Smith said...

"Dear Ron,
Thank you for your attempt to describe so eloquently a form of human brokenness." - Dr. Bryden Black -

Dear Bryden; firstly, your description of homosexuals as 'broken' people is correct only insofar as the term also describes heterosexual as also 'broken'. Gays are no more broken than the rest of humanity!

Secondly, you seem to infer that my experience of interaction with homosexual people is inferior to your own, but on what premise can you assert that?

It would be kind of you to think that other people, who have a particular interest in Gospel outreach to Gay people, might conceivably have conferred with as many LGBT people as your good self. Mind you, one has to want to avoid projection of one's own hidden prejudices against such people in order to communicate on a basis of familiarity that encourages, rather than resist,s truth in communication.

Father Ron Smith said...

"God's judgment will fall most heavily on the Christian leaders who do this, and on anyone in the Church who shares in their evil work. And we who are faithful to Jesus are called upon to break fellowship with those who have apostasized in this way so that they may be warned and have some chance of repentance before it is too late." - MichaelA: 25 May -

This sounds very much like a self-anointed O.T. prophetic judgement.

And as for "we who are faithful to Jesus"! Where does that epithet come from? Are you not aware that there are LGBT people who are also 'faithful to Jesus'?
Your 'us and them' philosophy, sadly, seems far from Gospel Tradition.

MichaelA said...

"If one is gay, one knows it instinctively"

That would logically follow, if you assume that people are born gay. But there is no rational reason to believe that. Science doesn't support the idea.

Some people probably have more of a propensity to indulge in homosexual behaviour, just as everyone has more of a propensity to commit some sins than others - some of us are more predisposed to slander, commit adultery etc. But a propensity is not the same thing as saying that anyone is "born gay". We are all born heterosexual.

"You don't need any excuse for it. It just happens."

So does any type of sinful behaviour if we do not take care to avoid it.

"Gays are no more broken than the rest of humanity!"

That is true, because they are human, and all human beings are sinners. However, that does not affect the truth that heterosexual behaviour within marriage is not sinful, whereas homosexual behaviour in any context is sinful.

MichaelA said...

"Christ forbids divorce of a valid marriage - the "exception" is "unlawful sexual intercourse" in which case there was never a valid marriage"

That is a peculiar doctrine of the medieval church, but it is not Christ's teaching. Marriage is marriage. There is no provision in scripture for annulments.

Christ permitted Christians to divorce because of adultery by the other partner, or because the other partner abandoned the marriage. He did not suggest that there was never a marriage in the first place.

"So I repeat to you: why do you regard blessing committed homosexuals evil, but do not decry the NZ Anglican current situation?"

How do you know what I do or do not decry? Sorry, but this argument is as old as the hills: "That man over there slanders people, so don't criticize me when I steal", or "You can't say I am sinning by losing my temper unless you first go and sort out that other brother's tax evasion".

I have never commented on the situation in New Zealand because I do not live there and I am not a member of its Anglican Church. But I can assure you that here in Sydney Diocese we decry divorce that is not sanctioned by scripture. So don't go making accusations of bias that you can't back up.

Christ permits divorce in some circumstances but not in most. He does not permit homosexual practice in any circumstances (at least that I can think of). The person who commits either sin will be called to account for it. If you are in either situation, then repent now before it is too late.

Bryden Black said...

Only three things Ron re your reply of this morning: (1) when I wrote "we"/"us", this is not as per some royalty; I mean simply the plural. Therefore half your comment is "genuinely mistaken"; (2) Likewise, "a form of human brokenness" implies just that - there are many, many forms of brokenness; (3) It's a pity you did not engage with the real substance of the comment re "interpretation and understanding of experience" ... For this is the crux.

Anonymous said...

Peter, May 27 at 8.07pm was me. Thousand apologies, though I suspect my style was clear. Jean knew who I was. The omission of my name was an error. Nick

Anonymous said...

May 24!