Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gone to the turnips?

Curmudgeon with the help of _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ is on the case. You will have to read to find out who helps his argument. (Clue: noted Roman Catholic scholar!). Quo vadis, Anglicanism in the fight for the soul of post Christendom Christianity in the West?


Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

I agree with you about the larger context for our debates about sexuality. For, while in Anglicanism it takes the form of a debate over same-sex marriage, from my observations, I see the same struggle taking place in other denominations - in different forms maybe and over different issues - but all within this wider context: namely, What is the Gospel we are called to proclaim to a modern world?

In my mind, this is the same question as, Who is the God revealed to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the question that confronts the Church in every generation and every age.

My concern is that with all our talk of human freedom and God's indiscriminate love, we are in fact attempting to shatter the trinitarian atom: the creator God split from the redeemer God; God the Son separated from God the Holy Spirit.

If the winds of culture are allowed to prevail over the work of the cross, we will have well and truly lost our head, in which case the body will die.

Yes, gone to the turnips!


Bryden Black said...

The nice touch of course is Curmudgeon’s allusion to Churchill, with Britain fighting against the odds as the Germans waited to invade across the Channel. For all the world, it fully appeared they’d be imminently marching down Whitehall and the Mall - but for those “few”.

Keep up the good fight Peter - et al!

Anonymous said...

Chesterton is a source of unending delight. He did not actually become a Roman Catholic until comparatively late in life, and like C. S. Lewis (whom he influenced enormously), he was not (formally) a scholar in theology, yet became one of the most powerful communicators of Christian orthodoxy in the 20th century. I downloaded and listened to his 'Orthodoxy' a while back, and also found his book on Aquinas online. Whether or not you think Thomism can still do the job today, Chesterton's style and his command of paradox still scintillate today. He had his blind spots, but his awareness of history and literature (as a scholar and practitioner of both) put this big man head, shoulders and stomach in front of his contemporaries. And I have a very good idea of what he would have said about contemporary 'issues'!


Father Ron Smith said...

Curmudgeon, as his chosen name implies, is just that: conservative and quarrelsome:

"How would the established church disallow what the civil law requires?" - Curmudgeon -

(n.B. the civil law doesn't require people to undertake Same-Sex Marriage, it may only 'allow' it to happen - there is no intended legal compulsion either to marry or be married)

I suppose that, living in the USA with maybe no personal contact with the U.K., he may not understand the fact that a Roman Catholic priest is under no obligation in the U.K. to marry anyone but Roman Catholics - despite the fact that R.C.s have the legal right to be married.

Not does the Roman Catholic Church have to ordain women - despite the fact that the ordination of women is legal in the U.K. (& elsewhere).

Already, the government has assured the fearful Church of England Bishops that, if the law is passed allowing Same-Sex Marriage, they cannot be forced to marry Gays. Of course, this would not stop public opinion from questioning why the Church refuses to do so.

Already, the biggest barrier to Gay Marriage is said to be that a Gay couple cannot procreate. But then, the Church is willing to marry other heterosexual couples who either cannot, or do not want to, procreate. So what is different - apart from the fact that the two people who want to remain faithful to one another happen to be Gay?

Surely, a Gay couple who want to marry is far better than having a heterosexual couple who do not want to remain faithful to one another?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
The core and key conservative argument for against same sex 'marriage' is that it does not consist of a marriage of a man and a woman. No amount of hand-wringing over divorce rates etc confronts that argument. (We could confront the divorce rate!)

I would have thought that the difficulty in England is not whether its priests will be compelled to conduct marriages they do not wish to conduct but whether their churches can opt out of being used for some marriages.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, I respectfully suggest that you may not have kept up with the conversation on this topic in the U.K. The government has assured the Church that it will not be compelled to allow a Same-Sex Marriage on any of its church premises.

There would be no prosecution of a church that refused to allow such a marriage in their churches. Is that not yet understood here? I'm quite sure that members of the Church of England - the one vitally affected here - is aware of the situation.

The murmerings of the hierarchy do not obscure the government's plain intention. The Bishops, at the moment, are protesting against Same-Sex Marriage - mainly on the pretext that it would force them to allow their churches to be used for what they consider to be illicit unions. That is plain for all to see - except those who will not.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I appreciate and understand what you say and I could be wrong in the concern I have forced about compulsion to use the local parish church etc.

However we have yet to see the actual law passed by the English parliament ... perhaps the C of E is making its position plain ahead of the actual detailed moving and amending of legislation.

Bryden Black said...

If I have followed the debate in England correctly, there are two key matters before them - and so us, by derivation.

1. The matter of principle: can we - not just should we - but can we alter/extend the institution of marriage to include same-sex couples.
2. The legal matter: even if the law might permit certain exclusions for the moment, absolutely no assurances may be given now - by definition of law - either that these exclusions might not be withdrawn in the future, or even that other forms of extension might not be legally permitted in future.

Re 1. Universally, across history and cultures, procreation has been an integral and key aspect of the institution of marriage between men and women. This is an indicative fact. Nor does the supposed argument about infertility really hold much water. Of course both Church and State permit marriages between older men and women, who are past the age of child-bearing. Just as they permit (in some cases!) couples to choose to not procreate. BUT THINGS MIGHT HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT! Please NB the subjunctive mood; the grammar is the key here. For the grammar declares the reality, as ever. [My turn to be the pedant, Ron!] This particular couple might have been younger, so that they could have had children - just as this particular couple might have chosen otherwise: to procreate. The same scenario, the same logic, the same grammar applies right across all the forms of infertility I have encountered in this supposed argument (e.g. eunuchs, diseased reproductive failures ...).

But to extend the same logic of infertility, as it is argued, to include that between same-sex couples is rubbish! IT IS NOT THE SAME LOGIC. Their infertility is of an inherently different order: it is simply an indicative fact. There is no “might” or “may be” (NO subjunctive) about it - ever!

This stark reality should make us all stand up and take notice. Not least, since the matter of historical human identity is a function of human procreation: just where did each of us come from?! [In this respect, of no small import is the emerging, disturbing factor among a number of IVF ‘created’ people that they often experience a profound sense of being an orphan ...]

Re 2. If the law desires to extend ‘marriage’ - to include all sorts of classes of people(s) - then let us be aware of and admit what is happening. The power of the state is reaching - over-reaching? - into a realm where no society has ever been before. No society has legally “recognized” such relationships as these before; no society has sought to support in law what is seemingly a social fact.

So; whatever the purported rationale (some more reasonable than others, I admit; nonetheless, all those I’ve encountered have serious draw-backs and shortcomings, IMHO), the indicative fact is the institution of marriage is being recreated via the mechanism of positive human law. And if this traditional institution, then what is to stop the law in future being applied to all sorts of so-called novel social ‘facts’ on the ground, ‘marital’ - or otherwise?

Anonymous said...

We need more conservative and quarrelsome voices in the Church like Curmudgeon, to raise a prophetic resistance to the corruption of Liberalism.

Ron presents us with a false choice. The answer to which is better, a gay "marriage" or a failed heterosexual one, is neither. Both are contrary to God's will.

The assurances given by the Liberal State and it's cheerleaders are meaningless. Liberals lie. The State lies.

When the civil unions legislation was passed on NZ we were told by the Clark government and gay rights groups that the legislation would suffice, and that marriage would not be touched.

And yet here we are less than five years later and marriage is on the table.

We were lied to.

Liberals and the promoters of sexual perversion constantly shift the goalposts. The current bill has not even been passed and already a gay rights group is demanding yet more radical changes.

And sooner or later the Church will be forced to conform, brought under the "human rights" regime.

This is already happening elsewhere in Europe. It will happen in Britian. It will happen here.

The Bishops in the C of E are right to resist this creeping sexual fascism.

Thank God at least some of our leaders care what God in Scripture says, and not what is fashionable or politically expedient.

Anonymous said...


The answer to your question is that nothing will stop the Liberal state from constantly seeking the destruction of all that is good and right, especially if it is anyway traditional.

Liberalism (cultural Marxism) is intent on erasing all forms of tradition and Christian faith and practice. By it's very nature Liberalism, being a false religion, cannot tolerate any rivals.

This is why it's tolerance and inclusiveness are a dishonest sham. Liberalism uses these words as a cover for it's war against the independence of the Church and the family, in order to bring them under State (Liberal) control.

Father Ron Smith said...

Those who look in on the 'Thinking Anglicans' site, will note my comment on this issue, as follows:

"One needs to be aware of the official rebuttal to the Church of England's fear of being persecuted or prosecuted for withholding its Blessing from any Same-Sex legal Partnership - made by no less a personage than the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, in this news-released statement:

"In his speech to the Conservative Party Conference on 5 October 2011, the Prime Minister also supported the issue of same-sex marriage:
'I once stood before a Conservative conference and said it shouldn't matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and another man. You applauded me for that. Five years on, we're consulting on legalising gay marriage.

'And to anyone who has reservations, I say: Yes, it's about equality, but it's also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don't support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I'm a Conservative.'

These are pretty reassuring words from the British Head of Government, and should help the Church of England to realise that Gay Marriage is about more than Gays obtaining the right to exercise their God-given freedom; it is also about solidarity with others within the bonds of loving monogamous relationships. 'Perfect Love casts out Fear'."

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 17 August 2012 at 2:09am BST

Anonymous said...

"These are pretty reassuring words from" a politician.

Bryden Black said...

Thanks for the repetition Ron.

While I am not in the position to rebut dear DC, whose speech I do recall, it is actually not really the point. For he could be gone by the next election ... The point is the 21st C western political culture, with the state per se, and its desire to reach ever more readily into spheres once considered only social. Just so, my form of words last time.

Thereafter two further things.
(1) Marriage does not = “commitment”. To say this is reductionist, LCD stuff. Such ideas will not ‘fix’ either heterosexual marriages or grant well-being to those who consider themselves oriented to people of the same-sex.
(2) Ah yes; ‘freedom’. The tragedy again of western culture is its wonderful dream of ‘freedom’ - when it is blind to where to find genuine human fulfilment and how to maintain the roots of civil society. Back to an earlier post on another thread re libertas.

Father Ron Smith said...

"(1) Marriage does not = “commitment”. - Bryden Black -

Well, I've got news for you, Bryden, most of my friends, and my wife and I, believe that this was our first requirement of one another in Marriage.

I'm sorry you don't feel the same way No wonder so many marriages go astray

Bryden Black said...

“... most of my friends, and my wife and I, believe that this was our first requirement of one another in Marriage.” - Ron

Thanks for the insight Ron. Much is now clearer between us.

For first and foremost marriage for me is not a “requirement”. It is “an estate”, a given description by God of what my wife and I have become - that is to say, “one flesh”. As a result of this new reality, a number of things are duly involved: our mutual faithfulness, and honouring, and caring and sharing, all of which becomes necessarily too the umbrella or tent under which and within which we may conceive and nurture children in the Lord.

Yup; I can now see how we are miles apart. One contemporary cultural thing that stresses first and foremost “commitment” (a social novelty, BTW, in terms of past centuries - if one looks at the history) versus that historical and historic institution in the sight of God and of his creation. Thanks indeed for the insight.

Anonymous said...

Well, whaddaya know - the Chesterton meme has traveled far!
Watch this little video clip on ideology by Jonah Goldberg: