Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pilling Report: a right-veering via media through sexual polarisation


The Church of England's Pilling Report on human sexuality has (finally) been published.

Whatever it says in very bold type in a very prominent foreword, the media will spin this as bigotry over progress; the triumph of dinosaur conservatism over enlightened liberalism; or simply another slap in the face for gays. In fact, it is an intelligent, sensitive and informed pastoral document which merits rather more scrutiny and contemplation than most will give it. All the proposals and recommendations it contains are not the official position of the Church of England unless and until they are endorsed by a vote of the General Synod.

But that won't stop the hysterical cries of bigotry or further anti-Anglican pronouncements of 'caving in' from the Telegraph (which will be made irrespective of Pilling's conclusions).

The full Report may be read HERE. In summary (His Grace's emphasis):
..the Archbishops commented that the report "is a substantial document proposing a process of facilitated conversations in the Church of England over a period of perhaps two years. The document offers findings and recommendations to form part of that process of facilitated conversations. It is not a new policy statement from the Church of England."

Noting that "the issues with which the Report grapples are difficult and divisive" the Archbishops recognise Sir Joseph's Pilling's comment that 'disagreements have been explored in the warmth of a shared faith'. The Archbishops continue "Our prayer is that the process of reflection that will now be needed in the Church of England, shaped by the House of Bishops and the College, will be characterised by a similar spirit."

Commissioned by the House of Bishops of the Church of England in January 2012, the working group included the bishops of Gloucester, Birkenhead, Fulham and Warwick. The group invited three advisers to join in the work. They were: Professor Robert Song, The Ven Rachel Treweek and the Revd Dr Jessica Martin.

The report considers the rapidly changing context within which the group undertook its work. It examines the available data about the views of the public in our country over time. The report considers homophobia, evidence from science, from scripture and from theologians. During their work, members of the group not only gathered evidence from many experts, groups and individuals but also met a number of gay and lesbian people, often in their homes, to listen to their experiences and insights.

The report offers 18 recommendations. The first recommendation is intended to set the context for the report as a whole. It warmly welcomes and affirms the presence and ministry within the church of gay and lesbian people both lay and ordained.

Three recommendations look at the report's proposal for 'facilitated conversations', across the Church of England and in dialogue with the Anglican Communion and other churches, so that Christians who disagree deeply about the meaning of scripture on questions of sexuality, and on the demands of living in holiness for gay and lesbian people, should understand each other's concerns more clearly and seek to hear each other as authentic Christian disciples.

Further recommendations call on the church to combat homophobia whenever and wherever it is found, and to repent of the lack of welcome and acceptance extended to homosexual people in the past.

The recommendations do not propose any change in the church's teaching on sexual conduct. They do propose that clergy, with the agreement of their Church Council, should be able to offer appropriate services to mark a faithful same sex relationship. The group does not propose an authorised liturgy for this purpose but understands the proposed provision to be a pastoral accommodation which does not entail any change to what the church teaches. No member of the clergy, or parish, would be required to offer such services and it could not extend to solemnising same sex marriages without major changes to the law.

The report notes that the church's teaching on sexuality is in tension with contemporary social attitudes, not only for gay and lesbian Christians, but for straight Christians too. In relation to candidates for ministry, it recommends that whether someone is married, single or in a civil partnership should have no bearing on the assurances sought from them that they intend to order their lives consistently with the teaching of the Church on sexual conduct.

The report includes a 'dissenting statement' from the Bishop of Birkenhead who found himself unable to support all the recommendations made by the group as a whole. The main part of the report is supported and signed by all the other members of the group, including the advisers.

The House of Bishops will discuss the report for the first time in December 2013, and it will be further debated by the College of Bishops in January 2014.
Should the House of Bishops be minded in due course to make any changes to the Church of England's official position on human sexuality, it will need to ensure that Synod is given an opportunity to debate these matters before anything is implemented. Given the Synod’s resolution of 1987, which stated unequivocally that adultery, fornication and homosexual acts are to be met with “a call to repentance”, it is not easy to see how any shift will be made unless the General Synod is going to be socially engineered by age and/or gender quotas to become "more representative".

The Pilling Report simply offers findings and recommendations for the Church of England to consider. The group is to be commended for the theological depth of its research and the sociological sensitivity of its expression.

Importantly, the Liturgical Commission is not to be charged with the development of new same-sex marriage liturgy. No concession is being made to the possibility of providing a service for gay or lesbian couples, and this will no doubt greatly offend many.

Last week, the Prime Minister praised the Church of England for its shift on women bishops, which, he said, was necessary "to ensure its place as a modern Church in touch with our society".

Today he will be decrying that same church as being otiose and out of touch. But the Body of Christ does not exist to please the Prime Minister all of the time.

419 Comments:

Blogger John Thomas said...

" 'dissenting statement' from the Bishop of Birkenhead who found himself unable to support all the recommendations " - I've read this a few times, but I'm not able easily to discover exactly what the bishop dissented about (to be truthful, I don't greatly care).
"a modern Church " - you mean, like the Modern Conservative party (ie. a wrecked one). God preserve us (please, please) from ANY kind of "modern" Church (ie. materialist-compliant Church).

28 November 2013 12:51  
Blogger David B said...

I wonder how much attention the media and politicians will pay to the report, and how much support or otherwise it will garner for either.

I suspect, though perhaps this is something driven by hope, that it will raise hardly a ripple in the media, neither praise nor blame.

I don't think many people will care what the CoE thinks about sexuality - including most of those who regard themselves as Anglicans.

Just as few practicing Catholics seem to pay much attention to the church teaching on contraception, or indeed, within the clergy, other diversions from orthodoxy, as perhaps exemplified by Cardinal O'Brien.

David

28 November 2013 12:58  
Blogger DAD said...

"....the working group included the bishops of Gloucester, Birkenhead, Fulham and Warwick. The group invited three advisers to join in the work. They were: Professor Robert Song, The Ven Rachel Treweek and the Revd Dr Jessica Martin."

I suspect that they all are "To heavenly minded to be any earthly use" to use all old expression (Perhaps Revd Martin is the exception as she has a parish and reacts with "real" people (at least I hope that she does in her parish work).

28 November 2013 12:59  
Blogger Balaams Ass said...

The church is hoisted on its own petard. If the CofE had consistently taught the orthodox Christian view of sexual relations we may of been spared this tragic situation. Homosexuality is far down the immoral road, which we as a nation embarked upon decades ago.

A new generation we have to build on the ruins of its predecessors.

28 November 2013 13:30  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Sorry but they are still deeply naive and really do not understand that very very few homosexuals are fit for ordination. it is fundamentally unhealthy for a male to find female sexuality disgusting, as many of these men do. Furthermore from bitter and repeated experience I can assure these Bishops that a great % of their gay ordained folk (about 80% of my known sample of about 20) at all levels are very interested indeed in teenagers and underaged boys. It is a horrendous situation and known gay cities and towns are appalling. The church needs urgently to stop ordaining accidents waiting to happen, and very strongly support those in key frontline areas who are responsible and courageous family men with known expertise in child protection. I think Chichester has tightened its practice a bit, but from all accounts Salisbury is pretty lax now.

28 November 2013 14:15  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack is very confused by all of this. If God has told us that sex should be between men and women and they should be
married beforehand and stay together, then how can his church have ceremonies that bless relationships outside of marriage and also bless same sex relationships?

Happy Jack asks has God changed his mind because we live in a pluralistic democracy now? Are people different today than during the time of Moses and Jesus? Or has the church been misunderstanding God all this time?

Happy Jack says this all needs sorting out otherwise everyone will be as confused as Jack.

28 November 2013 14:49  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

They do propose that clergy, with the agreement of their Church Council, should be able to offer appropriate services to mark a faithful same sex relationship. The group does not propose an authorised liturgy

Ordinary Observer: "It's a duck."

CoE: "No, it's not a duck. It's something completely different."

Observer: "But it has feathers. And wings. And webbed feet and a duck bill. It quacks and swims and..."

CoE: "It's a parrot. A Norwegian Blue."

carl

28 November 2013 15:06  
Blogger Anglican said...

John Thomas

In the official report the Bishop of Birkenhead said:

416. Why have I reached this conclusion? For a number of reasons which I try to set out in more detail in this statement:
I believe Scripture and Christian tradition offer a clearer and better vision from God for the world in his gift of our sexuality as men and women and that this is sufficient for directing the Church at this critical time of major cultural change. In particular, I am not persuaded that the biblical witness on same sex sexual behaviour is unclear.
I believe the trajectory in the Report will undermine the discipleship and pastoral care of many faithful Christians and, by leading the Church into the kind of cultural captivity which much of the prophetic writings warn against, weaken our commitment to God’s mission.
I believe in the unity of Christ’s Church and think the Report has not heeded the view of General Synod expressed in February 2007 that ‘efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion… would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978: 10; 1988: 64; 1998: 1.10)’.

28 November 2013 15:13  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Anglican
That paragraph looked faintly interesting, but was followed by a fair amount of buzzword twaddle that was hard to wade through. It seems they have been listening to peoples' stories, but the criteria upon which they decide as to which stories to listen to and in what weight and measure seems extraordinarily unclear.

Have they listened to the stories of those abused by predatory homosexual priests? Many of those are so scarred that they are drug addicts or not very articulate, so I somehow doubt it. Have they listened to the stories of those who have been battered by being in the middle of gay wars between vociferous Keith o' Brien types and open gays when they were trying to stand in the middle reasonable ground? I doubt it as if you try to talk openly about many known truths you run all kinds of risks and horrors.

It's all very well all this guff about mystery, and biology and deep magnetic attraction. Has the church forgotten that the plug goes into the socket, all neat and congruent for the primary purpose of creating the next generation? Anything else while important is secondary and in the manner in which they are talking strays well into at least the tertiary and well into the realms of the "flesh". I do not expect the Church to be doing a sympathetic dance with mere animal lust.

Jesus words are being cherrypicked and distorted. Where do we see his words "from within, out of the heart of man come evil thoughts, fornication, lust....". Conveniently forgotten while an inaccurate portrayal of the story of the woman taken in adultery is pushed in our faces with a dreary and mediocre tag that we are none of us better than the other in this field. A careless inaccurate and inept reading.

Not impressed.

28 November 2013 15:35  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Reading through the recommendations brings the realization that authority has been leveled. There are many calls to 'listen' - to traditional teaching (note the distancing of traditional teaching from Scripture), to science, to experience. But there is no sense of priority or adjudication in these calls to listen. There is no methodology specified by which each claim may be evaluated, and resolution achieved. What is the norming authority? This is a critical omission because the authorities involved are irreconcilable and the claims they make mutually exclusive. The structure of the recommendations will lead the reader to the implicit conclusion that the matter is not settled. In fact it is long since settled - given only the selection of any one of the referenced authorities. Any attempt to reconcile these contradictory claimants will inevitably result in the dominance of one authority over the others. There is no synthesis. There is only one authority acting as norm for the others.

You can see the confusion in the report in that it simultaneously tries to affirm those who resist homosexual desire as sinful and those who welcome it as holy. Why should a man resist what the church refuses to call sinful? Why should he not surrender to his desires instead? This not a parallel case to the single man who wishes to remain chaste until he is married. The man in question considers homosexual desire to be intrinsically sinful, and sin is not a matter of personal preference. He wants the church to call him to repentance to help him sustain his resolution. The church can't do that when it is blessing a homosexual relationship at 2:00 pm that afternoon.

The CoE stands poised on the blade of a sharp knife. It refuses to jump left or right, and so it remains precariously balanced. When it falls, one leg will go to the right of the blade and the other to the left. And we all know exactly what part of the body will first make contact with the blade.

carl

28 November 2013 15:45  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

There are people saying the Bp of Birkenhead is being brave in making a stand for orthodoxy. I applaud the extent to which he is brave, but am shocked at the amount he has had to bend to accomodate other ways of seeing things in his alternative report.

He speaks of living in a culture where people explore and celebrate a kaleidoscopic array of sexual enjoyment. Many people will be somewhat shocked by those words. What are they contemplating can be celebrated ? As the smorgasbord has a lot of unsavoury and stinking items on it. For instance sado-masochism, troilism, transexualism, bestiality, paedophilia, coprophilia, asphyxia. And many more. One might hope that the Church had sufficient faith in itself and proper self-esteem to have the small amount of guts requisite to discern and speak openly of what is desirable and what have over many centuries been found repeatedly to be dead ends that deaden the eyes and the character and the soul of the person and indeed the community over time.

28 November 2013 15:59  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Carl
Excellent post. The C of E must see what it often chooses to close its eyes to. Urgently, or the problems of the RCs in Scotland in the last few days will soon assuredly be ours.

28 November 2013 16:03  
Blogger wilf the bison said...

It is a source of constant amazement to me that the Church of England cannot deal with this simple issue.
The CofE has allowed Sodomy to become a 'Cause Celebre' rather than just another on a long list of human weakness and failings. Sodomy is a perversion and a sexual sin in the same way that pornography, fetishism, S&M, pedophillia are.
Some of these sins are currently deemed acceptable to our neo-Roman fallen society, some are still un-acceptable. These cultural fashions are irrelevant from a Christian perspective.
The fact that some people enjoy homosexual activity seems to have stripped the Church of it's powers of reason. Of course people enjoy sin! certainly initially, so what! Just because you like sinful activity doesn't change Gods view of it.

If you replaced the phrase 'homosexual' with some other less emotive sin such as 'shop lifting'
Who would have any difficulty deciding on these issues, for example; Would an active shop lifter be a suitable candidate to be a Bishop. ( If you think 'yes'...)
Should we welcome a shoplifter into the Church? Well of course, Jesus died for sinners no the sinless.
Should we encourage someone to continue shoplifting? no of course not. Should we lovingly talk to them about why they feel attracted to shop lifting and what need it fulfils in them?, of course.
Should we produce a liturgical service to bless shop lifting?, well you decide.

28 November 2013 16:31  
Blogger Martin said...

Seems to me that if you think your church has something to say on the matter of sexual behaviour that is not found in Scripture you have abandoned Scripture for your own wisdom.

Fundamental to it all is that no one can speak of love when the act causes another to sin. Just as adultery is not an act of love nor is a homosexual act.

28 November 2013 16:44  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ wilf
Excellent commonsense post and you didn't need 170 or so odd (and terminally dull at times) paragraphs that show you've read the trendiest latest "thinking" to get there!!

This group would have listened sympathetically to longwinded shoplifters emoting about their need and predispositions towards shoplifiting and their magnetic attraction towards that large packet of smoked salmon. They would have written several paragraphs with notes on how tasteful the smoked salmon was, and noted that it was never mentioned in the New Testament. The frightened shopkeepers would have few representatives as they feared being targeted again.

The group would have toyed with concepts concerning how shoplifting and selling goods for profit might be morally equivalent.

28 November 2013 16:45  
Blogger Flossie said...

Lucy, I think you are being a little unfair on the Bishop of Birkenhead. I don't think you understand the sheer might of the 'opposition', sadly even in the Church of England.

Apart from Bps Nazir Ali, Michael Scott-Joynt and George Carey (all retired) who in the C of E speaks out loudly and clearly on moral issues these days?

The latest survey being waved by Pink News is that the majority of Anglicans support gay marriage. Whether this is true or not, it is certainly true that the Church has for decades been neglectful in teaching of the true meaning of marriage. The C of E being a top-down organisation, the Bishops are clearly to blame for this. Clergy in parishes are often reluctant to do so because they have so many cohabiting and probably gay couples in their churches who they don't want to offend for fear of losing numbers.

Bishop Keith has this to contend with within his own Church, quite apart from militant atheists and gay activists (remember Michael Scott-Joynt being nominated for Stonewall's 'Bigot of the Year' award?) and then there is Stephen Fry and his Twitterati. No, he had to make his case absolutely watertight, which I believe he has done.

28 November 2013 17:23  
Blogger Flossie said...

By the way, far from being spun as bigotry, this report seems to be being seen as the green light for gay marriage ceremonies by some.

'PinkNews publisher Benjamin Cohen, who led the Out4Marriage campaign said: “Today’s report is welcome because it effectively recommends same-sex marriage within the Church of England in all but name. If approved, Christian gay couples will be able to pop into a registry office on the way to church where their relationship will be celebrated with their family and friends.'



28 November 2013 17:31  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Flossie
Not all of the orthodox bishops are retired; there is still hope. How about Bristol, Nottingham, Coventry Winchester for a start?

28 November 2013 17:35  
Blogger gentlemind said...

"Permanent and faithful" crops up a lot in the report. In the case of a man and a woman, it is the correct content of the relationship that allows for the possibility of a correct context (permanence and fidelity). In the case of any other combination of people, it is the incorrect content that makes a correct context impossible.

The report is the equivalent of bending down to pick up a football, only to "accidentally" kick the thing further down the road.

Actions and beliefs: Which come first? If the belief is marriage, and the action is blessing same-sex sexual partnerships, the report amounts to "don't change belief, but do change actions". Once that is done, the next recommendation is simple: change your beliefs (on marriage) to mirror your actions.

28 November 2013 17:39  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Stephen Fry will not be a force for ever. All these guys eventually are shown for what they are; not safe to say any more at present...

Just let's say that there are people who know why he copped out of a play he was in at the last minute. I refuse to watch him these days as what I know makes me want to retch if I see the scruffy scripted wiseacre on the TV.

28 November 2013 17:39  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

And Stephen Fry could have got a prize for misogynist bigot of the year after his ridiculous comment about women not enjoying ses; incidentally the furore over that was not what upset him so much, as was pretended by the media at the time. It was other.

Bigotry is a street that runs in many directions, one of which is bigotry towards female biology. Which some like to ignore whilst accusing many others of bigotry, which is sheer hypocritical cheek.

28 November 2013 17:44  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

sorry for ses read sex!!

28 November 2013 17:45  
Blogger non mouse said...

So, along with polarity, the Prime Mentalist plans to eliminate Poles?

Is that racist, or does he believe that the god of global warming has done it for him?

28 November 2013 17:48  
Blogger David B said...

From what examples do believers get their Biblical view of what marriage should be?

From Abraham? From Jacob? From David? From Solomon? From Esau? From Judah? From those who performed the Midianite genocide? From Deuteronomy 21? From Gideon? From Ammon? From Rehoboam? From Abijah?

That should be enough for readers to get my drift regarding the suitability of the Bible to serve as an example of what marriage should be, though I could go on.

David

28 November 2013 17:50  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ David b
We who are Christians believe that the New Testament supercedes the Old Testament, so look to see what Jesus says. And the Apostles, notably Paul. What Jesus says is "for this reason a man shall leave his parents and cleave to his wife"quoting the OT. Many of the relevant quotations will be found in the marriage service of the Church of England.

In Biblical belief both are necessary. You must to some extent cut the apron strings of dependency and in psychological terms the individuated person is then able to make a new interdependent relationship with a spouse. It works.

Your multifold question is not as they would say in "Hamlet" "a palpable hit".

We are not quite as unconsidered in the Church as you may imagine.

28 November 2013 18:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



Well, this IS a surprise. The CoE coming out with some good old fashioned, ‘modern’-free guidance. Bravo all who took part, though one suspects you all to be martyred by Synod. The Inspector finds it exhilarating that Anglicanism can approach sexual conduct in such a way that his own RRC cannot. His church extends sins of the flesh to its married couples who have neither the desire nor the means to fill their houses with a dozen unclad, poorly dressed, underfed, under cared for children…

Old fashioned attitudes shows us that fornication and adultery are discipline problems. Homosexuality is a disability, though obvious not as disabling as being unable to walk. But in the same way we haven’t smashed up the impressive steps to St Pauls and replaced them with ramps to suit the wheel chair bound, neither should any special consideration be given to homosexuals. However, they are making the best of a bad lot so we should show compassion to them. And indeed, a church blessing after a CP would not go amiss.

But that would be the extent of it. One cannot appreciate that a homosexual clergyman has anything positive to offer the church in much the same way that common sense tells a baby or small child needs a mother to care for it, and not two ‘clearly devoted’ gay men.





28 November 2013 18:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Interesting stats in section 157 of the report.

28 November 2013 18:09  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

David B, Happy Jack says Jesus was clear enough about marriage and so was Paul whatever all those Old Testament examples might say.

Happy Jack noticed the term
"in good conscience" being used about same sex couples who are Christian and want to stay together. Jack asks what this means? Can Christians just make up their own minds about these things even though the church says that God is clear it is wrong?

28 November 2013 18:12  
Blogger Martin said...

David B

The standard for marriage in the Bible is Genesis 2 and Mark 10:6-9.

You really haven't a clue when it comes to reading the Bible, you'd probably make a good CoE bishop.

28 November 2013 18:13  
Blogger David Hussell said...

This is stormy weather for a traditionalist Anglican.

This is, I suspect, about kicking the can down the road I think, perhaps a strategic delay ?

Carl's norming norm is Scripture of course. Classical Anglicanism recognizes God's authority through Scripture, Tradition and Reason, with Scripture holding the trump card, as tie breaker. The first two are clear on the issues, and until a same sex attraction gene is found, natural law is on the same side as well, as one would expect of course, as it's all God's universe.

The Reform Conference where I've been for two days had refreshing clarity. There are some good leaders in place. Bishop Michael Nazir Ali, was there. He is a wise and courageous man, and very funny too, in his special quiet way, a real Bishop. What surprised me was the growth in Anglican churches outside the C of E, which is where AMiE is now strategically important, offering episcopal oversight from outside the UK. Reform and AMiE are very clear on the issues. Anglicanism is changing, and shrinking for the time being, as the fuzzy faithful become even more fuzzy, but its strong Biblical core is rolling onwards.

I've ordered a copy of the Piling Report which should make "interesting" reading.

The truth will always out. We just need to defend it.

28 November 2013 18:28  
Blogger Martin said...

Having read through the prologue one has to wonder at amount of waffle & skirting around the issue of SIN!!

28 November 2013 18:31  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

What I think is glossed over is that for a Christian who has given their life as best they know it to God there is no such thing as "choice" involved. you get down on your knees and give up every area of your life to Christ to do with as He desires. If he desires celibacy, whether you are gay or straight, you have to give it.

From this position you have to wait for guidance by the Holy Spirit as to whom is the right one. if we speak in the language of choice it is really only to fit in temporarily.

This kind of marriage is "in the Lord" to fulfil His "perfect, pleasing and acceptable plan" for your lives for His Glory and its primary motive force is not lust, though clearly sexual desire must be in there.

Of course there are many degrees of commitment in between, but to compare this type of vocational commitment to passing sexual lusts for a person is ridiculous and abhorrent, but is close to what we have come down to.

28 November 2013 18:48  
Blogger David B said...

Martin, do you perhaps mean that I don't cherry pick the bits you agree with?

Why Mark 10 6-9 and not Luke 14 26?

As an aside, I was amused the other day by an image of an American who I suspect many would stereotype as a redneck.

He had the bit of Leviticus generally used to justify ill treatment of gay people tattooed on his arm.

Cherry picking much?

It does look, though, that in the Bible a lot of people supposedly favoured by God had colourful sex lives completely at odds with the one woman to one man united till death sort of idea.

God's wrath, when you look, seems more aimed at those who didn't massacre enough of their enemies than those with loads of wives and kept women. Doesn't it?

David

David

28 November 2013 18:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David B, One doesn’t mind admitting that the sight of two men kissing arouses profound and intense disgust. Now, is that natural or unnatural ?

And do you also think, for this man is far from the only one to have that reaction, that this is the reason why same sexual relationships never took off or will ever be accepted ?


28 November 2013 19:00  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ David B

If you really want to know the answers to your questions look up these headings in Wikipedia (which will do fine as it isn't complicated or controversial).
Old Testament
New Testament
Old Covenant
New Covenant
Anglican wedding service

That should cover all your questions and make it clear why we don't lie awake at night worrying about Esau and Gideon; marriages therof!

28 November 2013 19:03  
Blogger Martin said...

David B

What I mean is that men in the Bible are shown, 'warts & all'.

Indeed what we see is the sorrow and pain for generations to come produced by the forefather's sin. Can you show me where those you named are described as having done the right thing in their marriage?

28 November 2013 19:06  
Blogger Martin said...

David

BTW, when God commands an act of justice to be carried out failure to do so puts one on the side of the wicked.

28 November 2013 19:10  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


A fellow has still been unable to determine the % of sexual assault on children by gender. If as a recent video watched suggests that men on boys accounts for 50% of it, then it would not be surprising. The findings will have been supressed for the public good or similar. Because, homosexuality would then appear in a new light.

Instead of being the subliminal height of human male aspiration, it becomes a threat. Those who practice it, anti social or ill of the mind.

So, if any of Cranmer’s faithful has any idea, do publish...

pip pip !


28 November 2013 19:41  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, Happy Jack asks if you feel the same "profound and intense disgust" if you see two women kissing?

28 November 2013 19:43  
Blogger Hannah said...

Lucy Mullen,

If, in your view, people who are gay, such as myself, are akin to shoplifters, then do I take it you want to make consenting adult homosexuality illegal?

If you don't care too much for 'the old testament'- all those prophecies apparently that are there are not important, which is good news from my viewpoint - then that leaves you with a few opinions of Paul in the New Testament, so I look forward to your confirmation that women need to put something on their head in Church, shut and agree that they shouldn't be allowed to be Vicars or whatever.

I cannot remember where Jesus actually addressed 'this is my view of homosexuality', but then I guess you have already decided that gay people are beyond your loving Jesus and deserve to rot in hell?

Finally this bit :

"If he desires celibacy, whether you are gay or straight, you have to give it."

OK, let's just imagine you meet Jesus and he says " I'm Jesus and I'M TELLING YOU Lucy Mullen to go and be celibate for the rest of your life".

I look forward to your submission to his will or perhaps for you to see that it is not so easy is it now you're not on the mountain looking down on other people.

PS- Will you clarify your remarks suggesting that all gay people are automatically pedophiles. That isn't true and I take personal-as well as intellectual- offence at such a suggestion.

28 November 2013 19:49  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hannah, Happy Jack asks if same sex attraction for women is seen as unacceptable in Judaism? And if it is, what do you and others do about it? It must be difficult if you are a devote follower of God. Jack doesn't mean to be so personal and you need not answer but he is interested and you raised it.

Happy Jack also says that most Christians don't believe same sex activities should be criminal but they do believe they are sins and should not be encouraged or that such relationships should be given the same status as marriage between a man and woman.

If God was ever summoned before the Supreme Court (*chuckle*) he would be found guilty of direct and indirect discrimination against women and against homosexuals!

28 November 2013 20:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Jack. Couldn’t tell you, old chap. One doesn’t think he’s seen two women kissing passionately. Not something the gay ladies tend to do in public, one would think...

28 November 2013 20:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Hannah: "PS- Will you clarify your remarks suggesting that all gay people are automatically pedophiles."

Not all as it goes, and it includes ephebophiles. Anecdotally, it's about 80% of those who are also ordained apparently. Not sure if there's any causation in a correlation like that.

28 November 2013 20:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Hannah. You have this annoying habit of getting uppity on the subject of gays. Stop taking everything so damn personally...

Anyway, everyone here will agree that the problems with homosexuality are confined to the male. One is still out on whether lesbian ranks are stuffed full of normal women with low sex drives, or even those completely unimpressed by the standard of young men out there. For the latter, one wouldn’t blame them at all...


28 November 2013 20:23  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Hannah
I made the offer to God of being single or married when I was younger, an earnest i9 year old to be precise. My vocation to being married was made clear and confirmed many times over.

I don't know if I would have the strength to make the same offer again, but it is not being required of me and would go against my marriage vows!!

I have never said the Old Testament doesn't matter. I said it was superceded which is just straight normative Christian belief, and should not be found offensive on an Anglican blog!!

Jesus' views on women were unorthodox and challenged the status quo, as did his views on tithing mint and cumin, overstrict prohibitions of working on the Sabbath, particularly regarding healing. He also threw moneychangers out of the Temple. He changed no sexual laws, and quoted a passage about Sodom and Gomorrah without altering Jewish beliefs of the day or challenging them whatsoever.

There are 7 passages of Scripture on the subject, all pointing the same way.

I believe that there is nothing in St Paul's writings to forbid women vicars at all, and that actually his writings point the other way. I believe "lalentein" means gossip and that we are forbidden to gossip in Church.

Submission to His will is rarely easy and I don't usually find it so either. Nor although I have sometimes heard it clearly do I always hear it clearly at all.

I have not claimed all gay people are paedophiles. It is rarely so of female gays, but rather often in my experience it is all too true of many gay men, that is not at all to say ALL,

especially as they age, for whom youth is idolised; some have idolised the state of boyhood and seek to recapture it through conquest, others have other motives. Without saying too much some members of my family and their friends have come across this in all too painful and horrid ways and I have seen it too many times to be able or willing to back down on that.

I wouldn't bother with the intellectual offence, for if it is observably practically true we just have to act practically upon it, and not say "I find this intellectually objectionable".

I am not a great hellfire person but believe only that thought (when acceded to) becomes the word, becomes the action, becomes the habit, becomes the character becomes the destination. That is more an organic process than a punitive Judgement.

Orthodox Christianity believes any good we do is only though the Holy Spirit so merit and looking down are horrible and not at all apposite, but the teaching is the teaching. But it is also full of grace, forgiveness and new beginnings, for we all need them, me included.

Also GOD would address me by my real name and not this one!!

28 November 2013 20:28  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Marriage Alternatives?

I always envied Solomon, Rich, wise, 150 or so women. Then you start to think about it.......

Jacob had two wives, but it really did not work out as Leah is constantly at war with her sister. You see that everywhere in the Bible that people depart from one wife, it does not really work.

When I worked in Africa I employed a guy to work for me to dig a huge hole at the bottom of my garden as a soak away. It tool several weeks and I got to know that he had 3 wives. I asked him one day if he enjoyed having three wives and he said it was exhausting, to which I laughed which I thought was expected.

I always remember he looked at the hole and looked at me and I realised that he had 3 times the mouths to feed, three times the responsibility and here he was digging a hole for me for weeks, on top of his normal job to support his three wives.

Not quite utopia then!

Phil



28 November 2013 20:43  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Inspector, Happy Jack has seen many women kissing passionately and asks if you ever go out on a Friday night?

Happy Jack asks if you could explain this: "Anyway, everyone here will agree that the problems with homosexuality are confined to the male." Surely for a Christian there is no difference between acting on male and female same sex attraction?

28 November 2013 20:44  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Jack. Homosexuality is to be deprecated for other reasons than for being a Christian sin. Sinners are not this man’s responsibility, as he has a pile of his own probably. No, the problem with homosexuality for this man is definitely temporal, and with that, we are talking exclusively about the male of the beast...

28 November 2013 20:52  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Inspector

"or even those completely unimpressed by the standard of young men out there. For the latter, one wouldn’t blame them at all..."

Very funny, I agree, but I think we need to ask ourselves serious questions as a society as to why so many young men are like this.

Is it actually socially acceptable to act like a man outside of the movies?

Phil

28 November 2013 20:56  
Blogger Oliver Nicholson said...

" I believe "lalentein" means gossip and that we are forbidden to gossip in Church." In the New Testament, 'lalein' is used to mean merely 'to speak' - it is frequently used of Jesus in the Gospels, for instance. It is only in classical Greek that it means 'to babble' or 'to gossip'.

28 November 2013 20:59  
Blogger Peter den Haan said...

Read bishop Keith's dissenting statement again. It's superb, gracious but firm, thorough and perceptive. I'm afraid our dear deceased Archbishop underestimates how deeply the rest of the report undermines the church's stance on him an sexuality, its protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

28 November 2013 21:00  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

DanJo

"it's about 80% of those who are also ordained apparently"

Really, how the hell do you get such stats? Sample of 5 that responded to a survey in Pink News? That would account for the exactly 80% figure.

Who was the one that said no he didn't (presumably all of them were men)

Was he in denial?

Phil

28 November 2013 21:08  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Your most erudite and perspicacious Grace

[Bow]

[Scrape]

Looks a bit like the prediction of the media reaction for this post was written in advance of the release of the report. Understandable - pressure of work an' all, but..

The recommendations do not propose any change in the church's teaching on sexual conduct.

Pilling's crew don't even appear to know what that is, or what their recommendations mean in English. Pink news are delighted - they do.

Never mind. As they so rightly point out, Christ's return is no longer as imminent as it was when Paul was writing letters... um...

28 November 2013 21:18  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Phil: "Really, how the hell do you get such stats?"

From Lucy Mullen's personal life as described at 28 November 2013 14:15. :)

28 November 2013 21:18  
Blogger Meledor said...

The report is very weak theologically; but then I guess most reports by English bishops are these days. It comes to the surprising conclusion that Scripture is inconclusive on the issue of homosexual practice. It is worth reading Keith Sinclair’s robust disagreement with this conclusion in paragraphs 462 to 468.

Here’s 464

In relation to how to translate the words in the Bible commonly
seen as referring to homosexuality it is said we should be cautious
about concluding that we know what such words mean (Paragraphs 23
–241). Unfortunately, the example the Report chooses to illustrate its
argument – the issue of how to translate the noun arsenokoitēs in 1
Corinthians 6.9 and 1 Timothy 1.1 – does not support its case. This
is because there is an overwhelming case, well-documented in the
literature, that the word means someone who sleeps (i.e. has sex) with
other men.

To say that Scripture is inconclusive is only possible if every modern wacky idea has equal value with the weight of careful biblical interpretation over the centuries. The underlying issue is the authority of the bible. If we do not wish to accept it in a particular area we will very easily be able to invent an interpretation that rationalizes the course we have set out heart on.

To say that Scripture is inconclusive here is to spurn Jesus, embrace false teaching and fall in love with the world. It is spiritual adultery: we must know from Scripture that should the CofE adopt this report it will bear the consequences.

28 November 2013 21:18  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 November 2013 21:21  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 November 2013 21:33  
Blogger Frater minor said...

Happy Jack asks if you could explain this: "Anyway, everyone here will agree that the problems with homosexuality are confined to the male." Surely for a Christian there is no difference between acting on male and female same sex attraction?

Hi Happy Jack:

It is true that each of us is responsible for our own life, and we all have to answer to God for our decisions.

However, it is also true that our actions have ripples throughout our society, for good or for evil.

Further it is also true that men's actions do tend to have bigger ripples that women's - compare the number of male leaders, representatives, prime ministers, kings, business leaders, and a host of others with the number of female leaders. I make no comment on whether this is as it should be, just that this is as it is.

I would suggest that, other things being equal, evil deeds done by men tend to have more widespread evil consequences (in general) that evil deeds done by women.



Frater minor

28 November 2013 21:33  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 November 2013 21:34  
Blogger Martin said...

Jesus tells us that sexual relations are for a man and woman. It is quite clear.

And Paul addresses the degradation that comes upon a society when it abandons God.

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:26-32 AV)

28 November 2013 21:49  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hi Frater Minor, Happy Jack says you try telling that one to Adam!*chuckle*.

Happy Jack understands your point but suspects the Inspector was making a different one. Jack agrees sin has a social impact and the sin of men may be more visible than women.

28 November 2013 22:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Phil. Any man who lets slip his masculinity these days risks society’s wrath. No wonder then that the army has no problem recruiting infantrymen...

28 November 2013 22:17  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

So it is almost a deal then homosexuality is in. For the monogamous gays at least perhaps

So what next?

I always thought that greed was over rated as a sin. It does not harm anyone and it can be useful in providing work etc.

Anyway, if we didn't have to worry about greed I would feel a lot more comfortable.

I like money. So how about it? Next report perhaps?

Or has anyone got something better they would like abolished next?

Phil


28 November 2013 22:20  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


Jack. Forget that sin hurts our supreme creator. The very idea !

No, sin hurts those around and including the sinner. In the case of Scene Gays, the disease that crowd carry around with them is frightening...

28 November 2013 22:20  
Blogger MFH said...

Apperently the latest news from heaven is that a report has been published to see if they can change doctrine to fit in with the will of the church of England and the program of the prime minister.
The report states that God is long suffering and merciful, and that he calls on all mankind to repent. It also reminds us that there will be a day when all men are judged according to Gods righteousness.
The report concludes: As the scriptures can't be rewritten and not one jot of them will fail, it follows that hell will freeze over before God changes his mind.Gods constancy and immutablility are the basis of assurance ofmans salvation.If anybody wants to change Gods decrees they must destablize this also.
Thus the report acould have been written in a singke word no. Rather we must pray to have our will conformed to his, not his to ours.

28 November 2013 22:21  
Blogger MFH said...

Apperently the latest news from heaven is that a report has been published to see if they can change doctrine to fit in with the will of the church of England and the program of the prime minister.
The report states that God is long suffering and merciful, and that he calls on all mankind to repent. It also reminds us that there will be a day when all men are judged according to Gods righteousness.
The report concludes: As the scriptures can't be rewritten and not one jot of them will fail, it follows that hell will freeze over before God changes his mind.Gods constancy and immutablility are the basis of assurance ofmans salvation.If anybody wants to change Gods decrees they must destablize this also.
Thus the report acould have been written in a singke word no. Rather we must pray to have our will conformed to his, not his to ours.

28 November 2013 22:21  
Blogger Hannah said...

Happy Jack,

I'm sure you'll use Jeeves. Lucy Mullen reminds us this is an Anglican blog, not a Jewish one, so we need not get into any great depth there, but there is a wide variety of views, in Orthodox and conservative circles, the physical act of homosexuality is forbidden or frowned upon, reformed and other traditions take a more liberal view, but the difference with Christianity is that your religion seems to dislike homosexuals as people, not just the sexual act.

28 November 2013 22:23  
Blogger Hannah said...

Lucy Mullen,

Good for you. I'm glad you've got everything wrapped up in such a convenient fashion in a manner which suits yourself, personally and theologically, it must make it easier to lord it over the rest of us.

'it is also full of grace, forgiveness and new beginnings'

Please, please pull the other one, there is little or no 'grace' or forgiveness in most of the comments here, but a leap and a rush to jump onto the throne of judgement; it is what Christians do best it seems.

28 November 2013 22:23  
Blogger Hannah said...

Inspector,

No, I'm not taking this personally... there is more personally when I'm fighting for laptop time with my sister and flatmates.

28 November 2013 22:23  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Danjo
I would like to point out that "very interested indeed" did not necessarily indicate active paedophilia.

But just as if I allow myself to look at a handsome man for 2 seconds no one would think anything of it but if I gave them a lingering look of 5, 10 or 20 seconds that followed them across the room I would indicate something entirely different. Like great interest.

Now if a gay priest or minister does that with a handsome teenager he is an accident potentially waiting to happen, should he put thought into word, or worse, into action.

Add those together with the known convicted and the strongly suspicious and you get remarkably close to 80%, though some on here will think that that is an understatement.

28 November 2013 22:28  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Hannah

We are not at liberty to deny any part of Christ's teaching, even as and when we are judged by it unfavourably ourselves.

Nor are we in any position to lord it over people or be on a throne of judgement. For if we fail to show mercy we are told we shall find none.

There are people I really struggle to feel any mercy for, but they are probably the same people you struggle with, to be honest- the Saviles and the Ian Watkins of this world.

Male female complementarity is really special and fertile and compares with nothing else. If you find that smug, that's your problem because it has been so for millenia across the world, and alwasy will be.

28 November 2013 22:41  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hannah, Happy Jack says it is wrong to say this: "your religion seems to dislike homosexuals as people, not just the sexual act." Jack thinks the problem arises when some people define themselves by the sex act and say God permits it and so should the church.

Happy Jack understands Christian views about marriage and about homosexuality are based on Judaism as Jesus and Paul were Jews.

28 November 2013 22:42  
Blogger Frater minor said...

Hi Hannah

but the difference with Christianity is that your religion seems to dislike homosexuals as people, not just the sexual act.

I really like your comments here.

It is true that there are a number of unpleasant and bigoted Christians and people who claim to be Christians, who claim all kinds of horrible things about gays.

However, the standard Christian teaching about any kind of sinful activity is very well known: it is that we must hate the sin but love the sinner.


Frater minor

28 November 2013 22:50  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 November 2013 23:15  
Blogger Hannah said...

Lucy Mullen,

'We are not at liberty to deny any part of Christ's teaching, even as and when we are judged by it unfavourably ourselves'

Yep. As I said: no women Vicars, women being quiet in Church, women wearing hats in Church. You said you could not see any of that in the New Testament, but that is because you've chosen to interpret your holy book in way which suits your own outlook on life, so quite why you dislike other Christians doing the same with gays, gay marriage etc is beyond my ability to understand.

28 November 2013 23:18  
Blogger Nick said...

I'm not sure why the CofE needed this report in the first place. The CofE seems to care a lot about human opinion but cares little about God's opinion. Are we seeing religion-by-focus-group these days; re-interpreting the Scriptures according to the lates fad on sexuality and morality?

And what exactly does the report mean by "homophobia"? Is it homophobic to believe and / or preach the Gospel on homosexuality? Is it homophobic simply to say something that is not in accord with the professional offence-takers on Pink News?

Strangely, much of the mocking of gays has come not from the Church, but from the comedians and satirists who get away with it because they are popular already. Some of the worst mocking of homosexuals I have seen has been on channels like the BBC, which supposedly are bastions of political correctness

I can't remember the last time I saw a Christian making obscene jokes about a gay in front of an audience or beating one of them with a baseball bat, if that is what the CofE means by "homophobia".

I think the reality is that the CofE has lost its way on this issue. It is seeking a quick fix for the issue by following the sinner and ignoring God. Disapproving of someones behaviour is not the same as hate. I sometimes disapprove of my daughters behaviour but I certainly don't hate her. The problem is that "hate" has adopted it's more childish meaning of "not letting me have what I like".

I wonder if the CofE will ever realise that it is not some sort of Government faith-quango, and that it should be preaching and following the laws of God.

28 November 2013 23:26  
Blogger Hannah said...

Happy Jack,

I haven't just come to that conclusion out of no-where, but from personal experience of Christians and discussing what they believe and why they believe it (not just here)- you may not know this but I've even been on an Alpha Course, so I am not totally blind to Christianity, although I find it a far more complicated faith to follow than my own (which you might think is strange, but that is genuinely true).

I have encountered Christians - as Frater Minor notes- who take the view of 'love the person, hate the sin', but to others the sin is being gay itself, not just having same sex, sex. I think people who are like that just don't like homosexuality for 'temporal' reasons as Inspector admitted above. The other group, who like to put this into a theological way talk about the bit when Jesus said if you look at someone in a lustful way it is a sin and that argument has been told to me here on more than one occasion.

To be honest, I'm beyond really caring what Christians do and do not say about this issue and they can rant and rave all night for all I care, although smugness does irritate me to high heaven, it really does, but aside from that, it has no effect on me. I have my own view, elaborated enough times here, so there is little point in going over old ground.

28 November 2013 23:35  
Blogger Frater minor said...

Yep. As I said: no women Vicars, women being quiet in Church, women wearing hats in Church.

At the risk of sounding a bit mischievous here, can I ask just what is the big deal about women wearing hats in church?

I mean, IF God wants women to wear hats in church, then what is the problem with that?
If you wish to follow God in all your ways, and obey him in everything, and then the thing he asks you to do is to wear a hat - well, it is not really too much to ask, is it?



Frater minor

28 November 2013 23:44  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hannah, Happy Jack sees you are having a go at Lucy's views. You seem to be taking them as representative of all Christians. Jack has asked Jeeves and it seems that what you accuse Lucy of is also around in Judaism as there are a lot of different opinions too and people can chose what to follow.

Happy Jacks sees you said: "there is a wide variety of views, in Orthodox and conservative circles, the physical act of homosexuality is forbidden or frowned upon, reformed and other traditions take a more liberal view." Jack says that "forbidden" and "frowned upon" are very different and asks what a "more liberal view" is? Do you have a view of your own about all this or do you seek out a tradition that supports your situation?

Happy Jack doesn't mean to get personal but you are being very critical of Christians, are you not?

28 November 2013 23:48  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hannah, Happy Jack just read your comment and as he is new on here has never heard your views.

Happy Jack has never been taught Christianity and finds all the different opinions he's been reading on here very confusing. He's picked his faith up through singing and listening to Gospel songs, talking to different people and by reading the Gospels of Jesus. One Salvation Army man and a Methodist minister was very important too. Jack goes to all sorts of churches and listens to what ministers say. To be honest, Jack can't really understand a lot of what Paul wrote which seems to figure pretty importantly in the differences between Christians on here.

28 November 2013 23:56  
Blogger OldJim said...

It's all about divorce and contraception. There was never some hidden group of gay people pushing society to this point. Straight people were the ones who pushed this thing nine tenths of the way. The question is: which is the correct definition of "a sexual relationship"?

a sexual relationship is a lifelong one between two people who engage in the sexual act, which is an act primarily ordered, of its nature, towards the procreation of children

or

a sexual relationship is one between two people who engage in the sexual act, which is an act primarily ordered towards the mutual bonding of the couple

The point is that the permissibility of divorce unpicks the wellbeing of children from the question of why a sexual relationship ought to be sustained.
The permissibility of contraception unpicks the fact of children from the question of why a sexual relationship ought to be initiated, and from the question of what a "sexual act" actually is.

Once children are removed from the picture, all talk of "sexual complementarity" becomes relatively meaningless. Complementary for what? For each other? But how could a person to whom a gay person cannot be attracted be complementary for them?

"Sexual complementarity" only makes sense when we're talking about children. Complementary for what? For the procreation of children, and to provide the full range of gender roles required for their rearing.

In other words, there are a whole set of liberal Christians out there who cherish the second definition, but are astonished to discover that gay people point out that they can meet it equally well.

When you start watering down Christian teaching to assert the primacy of the satisfaction of adults in sexual relationships, you make the satisfaction of adults primary in evaluating those sexual relationships.

You can't have doctrinal changes by halves. They always have consequences beyond those that you intend.

In contradistinction to the liberal narrative, people today aren't less "homophobic" because there has been some great moral advance. It is very rare in human history that there is anything much in the way of moral advance at all.

They are less "homophobic" because they have understood that there is very little that they think is important in a sexual relationship that a gay person can't also seek in one. The consequences, in terms of violence and threats issued against homosexual people, have been morally good. But they haven't been effected by some "consciousness raising", they have been effected by heterosexual society accepting definitions of sexuality so morally pallid and limp that it is now obvious to them that the only reason that they would dislike homosexual acts is out of atavistic bigotry.

Whether widespread society could treat gay people with consideration and respect whilst also retaining traditional Christian understandings of the nature and purpose of sexual relationships is an experiment that has never really been tried. All we know is that when heterosexuals have historically had their relationships held to the high moral standard, they have treated gay people abusively. When they have treated gay people well, it is because society has had such small moral expectations of their relationships that they have had no cause but mere bigotry to not only treat gay people well, but to treat their relationships as equivalent entities.

Nonetheless, Christians, perhaps especially today, are quite definitely called both to treat gay people with consideration and respect, and to do all that they can to live their sexual relationships according to the high standard.

29 November 2013 00:59  
Blogger OldJim said...

This is just to say that if you have a theory of marriage in which children are viewed not as a normative end but as an optional accessory, you should not be surprised to be living in a society that takes that theory to its conclusion: that means serial monogamy, gay marriage and adoption, and abortion.

I am sure that there are many Christians that reject some or all of the latter practices, but hold to the former theory. I just think that it's worth pointing out that there is something of an inconsistency. The trends of a society do not appear from nowhere, and this instance is no exception to that rule.

29 November 2013 01:16  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I can't really argue with the content or reasonableness of Old Jim's comment at 29 November 2013 00:59. I that's basically it in a nutshell. That's not to say I don't prefer what we have now, of course, where individuals are the primary decision-makers.

29 November 2013 06:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Nick:"And what exactly does the report mean by "homophobia"? Is it homophobic to believe and / or preach the Gospel on homosexuality? Is it homophobic simply to say something that is not in accord with the professional offence-takers on Pink News?"

There's a section in the report discussing the various meanings. It was pretty good as I recall.

29 November 2013 06:20  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Our weblog host seems to have badly misjudged the reaction to this report. Liberals don't particularly find it wholly satisfying but see it as the beginning of the end anyways. They have all but declared victory for the cause. Andrew Brown says that guy marriage is now inevitable in the CoE and that conservatives will leave as a result. He could hardly contain his delight at the thought. This report isn't a triumph of dinosaur conservatism or any other sort of conservatism. It is a tacit surrender.

carl

29 November 2013 07:25  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

"Gay marriage." Not "Guy Marriage." I hate autocorrect on my tablet.

29 November 2013 07:27  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Frater Minor / Hannah

What's wrong with hats? Nothing - my wife still takes the opportunity to wear one when we visit the type of churches we grew up in. Anywhere else seems to cause friction even among people the communicants here would regard as fundamentalists.

And it was William Temple who was asked during WW2 whether such an expensive use of cloth as hats was really necessary, and he said no. The cultural context argument was then repeatedly used, and opponents ridiculed all the way through to now, past female vicars, bishops, and now this.

I think I would describe the 'theology' as flaccid and having been leached of salt over decades.

29 November 2013 07:31  
Blogger David B said...

Once again I'm impressed by the clarity of posts by Old Jim.

However

Looking back at my memories of being a young adult, looking back at literature - back to Shakespeare, Donne Fielding and Boswell, through to Huxley and writers of Whodunnits like Sayers and Christie, and even film, that predate my early memories, I can't escape the view that people who have seriously adopted his first option, but that something like his second option is much more normal.

In the past more than now it seems to me that sex and marriage had far more flavour of being for life and living happily ever after than it has now, but in practice. except perhaps when an heir to a great estate or kingdom were required, it seems to me more to do with falling in love with a person than seeking children.

And there were clearly many, including those presenting themselves as devout Christians, who had affairs, mistresses, committed adultery, perhaps more at the bottom and top ends of society than in the middle.

Contraception has made a difference, of course, including its use as a prophylactic. It is easy to forget that before antibiotics that syphilis was as much a plague as AIDS is now. And neither were sufficient to altogether prevent illicit sexual congress.

But again, perhaps, a big, perhaps the biggest, difference in how sex is regarded, could be thought of as coming from the general acceptance of the Theory of Evolution, and in particular of the origins of man.

On the one hand, I can easily picture in the past, a view that sex was, while made by God for procreation, more than somewhat bestial, and below the nobility of Man, who alone was capable of tool-making, empathy, love, reason....

On the other I can see a view that Man is one evolved animal among many, given by the mindless algorithms of evolution the carrot of great pleasure in sex, which may be used for procreation but nit exclusively so. Just as the evolved urge to eat to survive can be used by humans to enjoy fine dining, sex may be used by mankind for bonding and for pleasure without getting an inconvenient pregnancy.

A view in which sex is a natural urge, to be embraced rather than looked down on, unless it is sublimated into a method of procreation pure and simple.

This last is a view which requires, I think, a lot of development of a sexual morality within the view. A sexual morality including the words 'consenting adults' for instance. A sexual morality including concepts like 'open' and 'honesty' IMV.

But it is a view more grounded in reality than views of mankind that involve special creation.

David

29 November 2013 08:11  
Blogger The Explorer said...

I've said this before, but i'll say it again. Some people talk as if gay behaviour is a problem only for religious people.

But the nastiest jokes I've heard, the most spiteful, vindictive and personal comments against gays, were all made by people who were complete heathens. (And, for that matter, their comments about straight people they disliked, and other races, too.)

29 November 2013 08:26  
Blogger Meledor said...

Carl

“Our weblog host seems to have badly misjudged the reaction to this report.”

Agreed. Perhaps His Grace will give us a more considered view when he has had chance to read it in more detail and think through its implications.

For surely Jude was thinking of the Bishop of Gloucester and his fellow bishops when he wrote:

“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

In its querying of God’s word this report comes from the pit of hell. It is like the serpent saying “Did God actually say….?” when it says God’s word is inconclusive.

And just as Eve arrived at a point where she could see ‘virtue’ in the forbidden fruit “good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes”, so we are encouraged to see the ‘virtue’ of faithfulness and commitment in same sex relationships as somehow setting aside God’s clear teaching and the importance of obeying his word.

And on homosexual practice Jude could not have been clearer, warning that the fate of those who ‘pursued unnatural desire’ should serve as an example to us.

29 November 2013 08:56  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ David B
Just watch one episode, and make it no more for sanity's sake, of Jeremy Kyle to see where the view that sex is little more than a natural urge leads humanity.

You will see people with half their teeth knocked out look across at their best friend's spouse/ boyfriend with whom they might or might not have conceived a child and saying "it was chemistry" and then leaning back on their chairs with a smirk, argument won.

For "chemistry" read sheer animal lust usually fortified by alcohol.

These views have not helped some of the most vulnerable in society to become more civilised, or to retain much in the way of community or networks of trust. That matters.

29 November 2013 09:01  
Blogger OldJim said...

David B

You said:

" Just as the evolved urge to eat to survive can be used by humans to enjoy fine dining, sex may be used by mankind for bonding and for pleasure without getting an inconvenient pregnancy"

And this is entirely apposite. You have not been so crass as to insinuate that I am of necessity denying that sex should be pleasurable or an occasion for the bonding of spouses, but allow me to use your analogy to forestall that kind of objection.

If I were to say to a bulimic that they were ignoring to their disadvantage that the primary purpose of food was nutritive, I don't think that they would then assume that I was attacking them for enjoying eating. Rather, I would be insisting that the pleasure of eating is linked to its function: we enjoy eating that which we require for our nutrition, and we enjoy eating it in proportion and to the extent that we require nutrition. This is not true of everyone, but it is generally true, and this is good, because to divorce the two is to the detriment of both the pleasure and the function.

Likewise, with sex, I am far from denying its uniquely potent pleasures and capacities for bonding two people: I am only pointing out that these have historically been understood in the context of sex's function. Sex, like fine dining, is primarily to a man a pleasure: but it is a pleasure with a natural object and purpose, which can be expected with the highest certainty in the ordinary run of things.

The pleasure and the purpose, in this instance, too, run together: sex is most enjoyable with a biologically and temperamentally suitable partner, one with whom we can best have children and best raise children; sex bonds us to that partner, facilitating the parental relationship upon which a family is built.

It is only with Lambeth in 1930 that Christendom first imagines that contraception might be permissible, and only with the pill and abortion in the 1960s that the permanent avoidance of children despite regular sexual intercourse becomes wholly practicable.

So I don't accept that if you find a verse from the 1560s asserting the pleasures of sex, you have proved a point, any more than if you found a quote from a gourmet on the joys of food you would have demonstrated a secret love for bingeing and purging. It is not that a person seeking a partner out of love for that partner is doing wrong any more than it is that a person eating smoked salmon out of fondness for the taste of smoked salmon is doing wrong.

What is wrong is the deliberate divorce of the act from the purposes of the act.

And the purpose of my pointing that out, as you can probably see, is to lay the blame for the present pass squarely on the backs of mainstream society, including Christian society. Once sex and procreation are strangers in the night, "sex" cannot mean anything much different in the context of gay and straight relationships. And once "sex" means little different, "sexual relationships" mean little different. There is little reasonable grounds for drawing a moral difference, and so the Christian is left with a quandary: follow their prejudices, or follow their empathy on the one hand; follow scripture, or follow reason on the other.

When once they understand and follow Christian teaching on the intrinsic link between sex and procreation, however, there are no such warring factions to resolve. The quandary disintegrates, and everything is found to fit quite neatly together.

29 November 2013 09:03  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

29 November 2013 09:12  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Rasher,

Here is my logic process :

1. In this thread the argument is that to Christians homosexuality is a sin and that is the issue with things like gay marriage or gay vicars. The reason for this we are told is because the bible says so.

2. David B then asks 'what about the multiple wifes of Old Testament characters?' (a President Bartlett argument).

3. Lucy Mullen tells us that it is the New Testament which for Christians take precedence over the old, so that argument isn't valid for Christians and the New Testament has a view of homosexuality as sinful.

4. I asked, well what about women Vicars and hats in Church- all of which are there in the New Testament. Lucy replied by saying that either they weren't there or they'd been misinterpreted (for 1,992 years it seems). Lucy then suggested that as a Christian she has to follow the Bible, regardles of which bits suit her.

5. I think that this is fair enough, but the point I was making is how can you make an argument based on [The Christian] bible against homosexuality, but dismiss the references to women which people who opposed women vicars/bishops bring up in discussing that matter. I am trying to draw out the consistency or not of this reasoning.

PS- as for hats, in Judaism men are supposed to cover their heads, which is why Orthodox Jewish men wear Kippahs or in some cases,a Kippah and a hat such as a Fedora.

29 November 2013 09:13  
Blogger David Hussell said...

I recommend reading the article by Peter Ould on Anglican Mainstream, setting out the orthodox position, and linking into the excellent minority report, a dissenting voice, from the Bishop Keith (Birkenhead) who was on the Pilling Report Group but demurs from its ideas.

It's important not to jump to conclusions as this is just a report, which will be shot at, picked over and no doubt defended by others, for perhaps two years. Two groups, Anglican Mainstream and Reform although not issuing final positions until after further thought are upholding the truth of the orthodox position.

Allowing clergy who wish to, to "say prayers" with stable, committed ss couples represents, in my opinion, recognition that this is happening anyway, and "tidies" things up until some sort of conclusion is eventually reached.

This scene is now set for a long dispute. One of the many tragedies arising out of this, is that such disputes suck energy out of the Church's prime task of preaching the Gospel and inviting the world to listen, but then that's what it is "designed' to do.

29 November 2013 09:14  
Blogger Flossie said...

Carl(and Meledor)- I think our weblog host has rather more intelligence than the average newspaper hack who pick out the bits they think their readers want to read in order to sell their publications.

Though it is true that what is widely understood is very likely to become fact, just as Civil Partnerships were understood by the wider populace to be gay marriage, so they were halfway there already.

Be prepared for more vilification of Christians as we are now on the back foot over this.

29 November 2013 09:16  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! All this cufuffle about where gentlemen choose to put their private parts is detracting from the Church's raison d'etre, n'est pas? The C of E is about being a light unto the gentiles, sung evensong, the Mother's Union, Sunday School, visiting the sick, BMDs, loving thy neighbour and crowning monarchs. It's about God, and His message (the thread that runs through all of the above, albeit in practical terms). It is enriched by the words of Hooker, George Herbert and William Temple: it is part of the very soul of Albion...which is probably why it is under such vehement attack by Fabians and latter-day Chartists. The enemy has chosen the subject of the debate and the Church continues to play according to the enemy's rules...time to stand up and do a Martin Luther, I think.

29 November 2013 09:20  
Blogger Hannah said...

Happy Jack,

I wouldn't call it an 'attack' by a different exchange of viewpoints. If you think I am being uncessarily critical of Christianity, then others can pitch in saying what I'm saying about Christianity is wrong. I'd also add that when the shoe is on the other foot, Christians here have had no bones about tearing Judaism apart and or going to the point of using google to tell me what I believe about my own faith and views are wrong.

I've also been told by one Christian here that I've also had someone else in the past telling me that as a Christian they want Judaism to end as a religion (by converting us), on another occassion that I was more or less sticking Jews in gas ovens because that they thought that I can't be gay or Jewish or even have Christian friends or relatives and be Jewish. So compared to that I'm being quite mild.

As a final thought, I think it was Carl Jacobs who said to me Christianity and Judaism cannot both be right. In that sense he is correct and we both argue our views and religions as best we can, but I think we do so in a constructive and intelligent fashion.

I cannot see what is wrong with having an intelligent discussion and or a difference of opinion.

In respect of your confusion of Christianity, I think it is fair to say it is not my place to interpret or help you there, but that there are many Christians here who can inform you about that.

29 November 2013 09:23  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Happy Jack,

So you can understand the various schools and difference with Judaism, here is a link to explain that (written by me and my sister) :

http://kavskoshercurry.blogspot.co.uk/p/purpose-of-blog.html

These general trends, broadly speaking , reflect the opinions on homosexuality. Reform Judaism seems to prepared to accept same sex marriage and gay relationships. Orthodox Judaism says that gay sex acts are the sin and that is forbidden and the conservative Jews hold a middle position between these two.

As for my own view, I'm running out of time right now, but will elaborate further for you later on.

29 November 2013 09:29  
Blogger David B said...

Lucy, from what I understand of Kyle the sacrifice would be too great. I did in the past see a couple of Jerry Springers though - will that do?

I'm not sure - far from sure in fact, that the sort of behaviour you describe is particularly correlated with atheism or Christianity. The more thoughtful, and more concerned with morality of both sides would seem to me less prone to such excesses than the less. Indeed, I think I've seen data from the USA showing that the Bible Belt is more prone to divorce, porn use and stuff than the liberal North East.

No?

David

29 November 2013 09:30  
Blogger David B said...

Old Jim - Sadly I seem to have ommitted in hast a few words from my earlier post, but you seem to have caught the gist.

You say "The pleasure and the purpose, in this instance, too, run together: sex is most enjoyable with a biologically and temperamentally suitable partner, one with whom we can best have children and best raise children; sex bonds us to that partner, facilitating the parental relationship upon which a family is built."

I'm not going to argue with that, on the excellent grounds that I believe it to be true.

However, I'm not going to censor those for whom procreation is not feasible, on grounds of age or sexual orientation, or people having learning experiences before finding someone they are happy to settle down with, and to raise a family with.

Or, indeed, those who have relationships which sadly break down, and necessitate either starting again or a life trapped in an unhappy relationship.

David


29 November 2013 09:36  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ David
I rather like those Texans. Even sound English when they sing ;) so I hope not.

I don't know about those statistics, but like to scrutinise statistics anyway before I use them as so many dodgy ones seem to be out there. I know that for many years we were told that light drinkers were very much healthier than teetotallers, but more recently we were told the differences had been overstated due to the fact that the teetotal group had a large number of ex alcoholics within its ranks.

I think the USA is quite different in many ways from here; certainly American Evangelicalism and UK Evangelicalism are really quite different animals. Our lot are usually very non gungho, not into political lobbying, rather quiet, and not into guns at all!!

29 November 2013 09:42  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Hannah
There are good reasons why you do not see all women covering their hair in Church. And the vast majority of women are not being members of the awkward squad by not wearing them. It is normal within the churches to distinguish between those parts of St Paul's letters which are culturally contextual on internal church affairs of the time and those which are more universal. Women were- and still are- expected to dress in ways in which prostitutes and women of easy virtue did not dress. These have changed, but the main purposes of the verse are rock like and unchanged.

I have temporarily forgotten the right theological words, but that is the ghist, and everyone except tiny groups like the Amish, believe that.

29 November 2013 09:55  
Blogger ardenjm said...

The Anglican Communion started getting this all wrong at the Lambeth Conference in 1930 - as OldJim explains and as Rowan Williams openly acknowledged a few years ago. Only Williams didn't think that the change in teaching on contraception was a bad thing - he was just sufficiently intelligent to trace the roots back to that shift in understanding.

Do homosexually conditioned people choose to have same-sex attraction?
Most of them say that they don't. They might choose to do something about that in terms of starting relationships and having sex but of their orientation itself I've not heard much anecdotal evidence to say that it's a choice.
I've never met someone who has said, for example, "I remember well the moment I chose to be straight, but perhaps in a few years time I'll choose to be gay".
Sexuality just doesn't seem to work like that.

Now, the Church can and must still preach the Gospel - Good News folks! - that Christ comes to save us from sin and warn us against falling back in to ways that are contrary to grace and charity and truth. But that, is about our behaviour. What we do.

What we "are" is another question. And "how" we are what we are is yet another question.

WHAT I am is a human person.
HOW I am what I am - is to be a white, male, english-speaking, balding human person. I could be a black, arabic speaking woman and still be a human person.
What I DO - is, clearly, the actions we perform.

Now, when it comes to homosexuality, some people - the Gay Lobby included - want to include their sexuality in WHAT they are: "I'm gay." I think this is a mistake.
I suggest that it's probably better to include sexuality on the level of how we are, not what we are. Our sexuality is part of us, for sure, but there's something amiss in defining yourself in those terms or indeed, allowing yourself to be defined in those terms.
What we DO however is the area of our good actions and our sins. Some Evangelicals, Puritans and Moralisers do tend to reduce people to what they DO and still persist in thinking that homosexual conditioning is a matter of free choice. It almost certainly isn't. Sure - how a homosexual expresses sexually their conditioning certainly is, but the conditioning itself? I don't buy it. Not in most cases, anyhow.

Can a homosexual repent of their conditioning?
Could a person who has red hair?
It seems odd to suggest as much.

Part two to follow!

29 November 2013 10:09  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Hannah

Entirely logical. I have been boring people rigid with that for years. Wait for Chris Bryant to finish the job.

I can only say that I love my fellow Christians, and wouldn't put their failings as worse than mine. That doesn't mean I can't retain a clear view of what's wrong & where it will lead. I'm no Daniel, but he's meant to be an example - he identified himself with your people's exile and sin at a time when they were receiving the consequences of their idolatry - taking the practices of those around them.

These things have an end.

29 November 2013 10:09  
Blogger ardenjm said...

Part Two:

However, does the Gospel hold homosexuals to enforced celibacy when it comes to sexual expression - even towards those they love?

It looks as if the Gospel does indeed do that. For the salvation of their souls, let us not forget.
Just as heterosexually conditioned persons are held to sexual relationship within marriage - for the salvation of their souls.

Does anyone (in the West) manage to live up to those standards?
We no longer even want to.... We even find the idea impossible and no longer want to make the effort. But even in times when people did make the effort - or were coerced in to it because of social mores - it was still much the case that people failed.
Jesus, being Jesus certainly knew that. He knows what is in man. So He both maintains the ideal, the vision of the calling, of a human sexuality that has a lofty and noble vocation, that enriches the life of the person and is a remarkable and unique co-operation with the Creator in the bringing into being of a new (and eternal) soul - whilst, at the same time recognising in mercy that in this area of our lives we fall short. And the consequences are grim.

It seems to me that it's not hypocritical for the Church to do both:
Not change the teaching of the Gospel - neither when it comes to naming the sin, nor when it comes to being ready with mercy.
This isn't hypocrisy. Nor is it moral schizophrenia. It's realism coupled with fidelity to Christ's teaching.

Who gives a damn if some people find it repugnant to see two men kissing. Get over yourself already. Who gives a damn to see Act Up waving placards in front of Westminster Cathedral?
We're all sinners. We're all in need of God's mercy. But let's not redefine sin and try and turn it in to a good that we can bless. Let's not hector people for not being able to change what they can't change.
Let's tell the truth and thus show mercy.

It shouldn't be so complicated.
If militant gays don't want to listen, they don't want to listen. If the Government doesn't want to listen, they won't listen. That doesn't mean that you go and change your message to try and suit those who disagree with it.
It's like St Bernadette said when she simply relayed the messages of Our Lady to the prelates and the authorities of her day:
"I'm not meant to make you believe. I'm just meant to tell you."

"Will you, also, leave me?"
"To whom else can we go...."

29 November 2013 10:09  
Blogger Hannah said...

Lucy,

I think you have entirely lost my point here. Now you can correct me here, but I am simply trying to get to grips with what you are saying and to me that is "I don't like homosexuality and goodie for me there are verses about that in my book which I can use to justify that. But wait, there are bits about women in the Church I don't like, but I'll just forget about them or rumble on about 'context of the times'".

I thought it was the dastardly liberals in the church who did such things?

29 November 2013 10:53  
Blogger David B said...

ardenjm, your posts above contain much common sense, and, while I do not share your Christianity, I can recognise that you propound an unusually decent and humane version of it.

David

29 November 2013 11:13  
Blogger John Thomas said...

The problem for the C of E surely goes way, way back to the time that it instituted marriage for those of "riper years" (ie. post-childbearing). By agreeing a non-celibate form of marriage where children was not going to be involved (ie. by considering that sex could be just part of a relationship) the Church laid itself open to the idea that there could be sexual practice within other kinds of non-procreative unions. Did the RCC allow marriage of post-procreative couples in former centuries? In the Middle Ages? I'd love to know ...

29 November 2013 11:58  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Hannah

No that is not what we are doing, and I am in line with the majority of Evangelical Anglicans within the C of E if you look into it.

I am far from an expert at biblical exegesis, but I do know that it is "the whole counsel of God" we are looking at, which weighs up biblical verses, and understands them both in historical context and in relation to each other. Thus when we are weighing up whether the prohibition is against speaking or gossiping we weigh it with reason, with consideration to context, and in relation to phrases such as "Priscilla and Aquilla", with "in Christ there is neither male nor female, gentile nor jew, slave nor free, for all are one in Christ Jesus", and with the Lydia story, and with women being the first witnesses to the Resurrection, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

29 November 2013 12:03  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ John Thomas

I think the outlawing of post-procreative marriage has never been on the cards. Who is to say when someone is post-procreative?

Are you suggesting that people should have medical tests to show that they are both fully functioning and fertile? Don't you think that particularly the men would find this extraordinarily embarrassing?

And when can you definitively state that a woman has gone beyond childbearing years? There have been surprise babies born- one to a woman in Guernsey who was 58. What do we make of the Abraham and Sarah story?

Are you suggesting a compulsorily single life for widows over a certain age? Or are they free to cohabit? And should they be free to have two sets of benefits while cohabiting?

Quite a lot of interesting, and to me amusing questions!!

29 November 2013 12:16  
Blogger David Hussell said...

The popular media, from Guardian to Telegraph, looking for exciting copy, are reading into this report things that I certainly don't see in it. It's for discussion, essentially.

Giving plenty of time for everyone within the Church to have their say, although the very opposite of firm top down leadership, is for better or worse the C of E way, maddening though it is.

The broad based Church of England Evangelical Council, an umbrella group, are standing with the Bishop of Birkenhead, which is good news from the traditionalist point of view, but not unexpected.



29 November 2013 12:40  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hello again Old Jim, Happy Jack thinks you have made contraception sound like the "forbidden fruit" just like Meledor has written! Those teachings about sex, marriage and children will be very hard to follow in this day and age with the contraception pill, divorce and abortion all so accepted and easily available. Is there any way back now?

Hello ardenjm. Happy Jack was very interested in your opinions. When you write about mercy Jack understands this to mean people are let off the deserved punishment for their actions, not acceptance of those actions as being okay. Just like God showed mercy to Adam and Eve and then to us all when Jesus came.

Jack asks how does the church accept people sin all the time and also make available God's mercy? Should the church allow contraception, divorce, abortion and homosexuality? If no, then how should it treat people who reject its teachings on these issues or find them just too difficult to follow?

Happy Jack knows people make mistakes all the time. They can chose the wrong person to marry. Should they be allowed a second marriage? People cannot afford to have lots of children. Should they be allowed to plan their family by using contraception? And sometimes a woman just cannot face having another baby. Should she be able to have an abortion? Does mercy mean people saying sorry and then drawing a line under the past and starting again? Or does it mean accepting the above things are okay because people are in such difficult situations?

And what of those who are attracted to others of the same sex? If you are right about how this happens and it is not a choice then what is there to do? Should the church accept this and say being with one person for life is better than just going around sleeping with lots of people? Or should it say this is sin and you should not have sex at all?

29 November 2013 13:35  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

29 November 2013 14:01  
Blogger Hannah said...

Lucy,

If that's your view I cannot change it. Best of luck with converting those gay atheists to your faith.

29 November 2013 14:03  
Blogger David B said...

Slightly off topic, but I thought that some people here might appreciate being told about a BBC radio documentary on Ex-Muslims.

I don't like to post links but searching for Sarfraz Manzoor on the BBC website should find it.

I will quote from the BBC blurb, though.

"Sarfraz Manzoor talks to people who have decided to leave Islam and become ex-Muslims.

In a London pub a group are getting together to plan a stand up comedy night. All of them describe themselves as being an 'ex-Muslim'. But is there really anything funny about leaving the faith?

Sarfraz Manzoor meets the group and hears the stories, which on the face of it don't sound like comedy material. Some of the members say they have been threatened with violence and others have been disowned by their families, losing all contact with them. Some haven't actually told their families and live a difficult double life, going to the mosque one day whilst quietly attending the ex-Muslims club the next."

As some of you may recall, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is something I've mentioned here before, as an institution that IMV deserves support.

As a veteran of secular and ex-cultist websites, I have frequently come across cases of people who have suffered the reality of ostracism from their families as a result of leaving some branches of Christianity, or at least groups who self identify as Christian even if the fact of their Christianity might be in some doubt.

Groups like Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses and their ilk, though I have also come across other cases in more mainstream evangelist sects. And of course Westboro. Groups like the CoE and mainstream Catholics, Methodists and the like seem much more tolerant of dissent.

However even in these extreme cases of dis-fellowship and ostracism, one doesn't come across the death threats, sometimes, in theocracies, with official support, that one comes across within the more extreme Muslim groups, as someone who struck me as a moderate Muslim teacher makes clear in the programme.

There also is a link to the programme in a Spectator article called 'Ex-Muslims are living the British dream – Britain should support them' which I found in todays NSS media feed.

I think it's worth a listen, and would appreciate any comments.

David

29 November 2013 14:24  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Seems like this report is a Rohrschach blot with everyone seeing in it what they want to see. But the recommendation to celebrate same sex bonds in a sanctuary is a clear call for a gradual introduction to same sex marriage in the C of E. As others pointed out here, it would be a marriage vow in all but name...the Phase One of a process...and when the Church is ready to concede the name, the best of the informal gobbledygook used in the celebration will be easily turned into a new liturgy.

This process is no different from the process employed in securing civil SSM. First came the recognition of "partnerships," followed by legislative compulsions regarding insurance, employment law and new anti-discrimination codes, then came the official thing. The pressure will not stop until all religious institutions are compelled to provide full, "equal" SSM service. This will be easy; government threats of loss of tax-free status, well-funded private law suits, judgments by human rights tribunals and other kangaroo court entities and sustained lambasting by media and academia as the stick, with promises of continued tax-free status and a bauble or two as the carrot. We all know how this will play out, so why not just get this silly farce over with and give in?

29 November 2013 14:26  
Blogger Hannah said...

Happy Jack,

To be honest I don't know why you are asking so many new questions, when you didn't bother to respond to my replies to you this morning, which leads me to the conclusion, you are not really interested in taking the discussion further; you might also want to note I am deliberately selective as to who I respond to, which is based upon whether or not the discussion with that other person is going to be worthwhile (in the past I have spent too much time here responding to all and sundry and getting wound up about it).

In respect of your latest batch of queries, what do you think? Care to share that with us?

29 November 2013 14:32  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Avi,

Good to see you posting.

"seems like this report is a Rohrschach blot with everyone seeing in it what they want to see"

And that is the C of E to a tea, rightly or wrongly.

29 November 2013 14:33  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hello Hannah. Happy Jack says he does read answers to his questions all the time and if he doesn't understand or agree, he replies. After thinking things over for a bit he also gives his opinion. Jack just likes to take his time over these things.

And if Happy Jack knew the answers to these big questions they wouldn't be questions would they? Jack doesn't know what the answers "should" be. That's why he asked them, silly.

29 November 2013 14:42  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Hannah

"Happy Jack,

To be honest I don't know why you are asking so many new questions, when you didn't bother to respond to my replies to you this morning, which leads me to the conclusion, you are not really interested in taking the discussion further; you might also want to note I am deliberately selective as to who I respond to, which is based upon whether or not the discussion with that other person is going to be worthwhile (in the past I have spent too much time here responding to all and sundry and getting wound up about it).

In respect of your latest batch of queries, what do you think? Care to share that with us?"

BUT

"Jack asks how does the church accept people sin all the time and also make available God's mercy? Should the church allow contraception, divorce, abortion and homosexuality? If no, then how should it treat people who reject its teachings on these issues or find them just too difficult to follow?

Happy Jack knows people make mistakes all the time. They can chose the wrong person to marry. Should they be allowed a second marriage? People cannot afford to have lots of children. Should they be allowed to plan their family by using contraception? And sometimes a woman just cannot face having another baby. Should she be able to have an abortion? Does mercy mean people saying sorry and then drawing a line under the past and starting again? Or does it mean accepting the above things are okay because people are in such difficult situations?

And what of those who are attracted to others of the same sex? If you are right about how this happens and it is not a choice then what is there to do? Should the church accept this and say being with one person for life is better than just going around sleeping with lots of people? Or should it say this is sin and you should not have sex at all? "

Dear Girl...How was any of that directed at you. Church goer are you? *Chortles*

Blofeld

29 November 2013 14:47  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Happy Jack,

The Church can't "allow" such things - it's not within her remit to change the Moral Law.
However, whilst the Church can and must announce the truth, she must do so with mercy.
If individuals find the Church's teachings too difficult to follow the Church should encourage and admonish and be ready with the sacramental grace of forgiveness that comes in Confession.
That firm purpose of amendment means people take seriously their sins and desire to do better - but, likewise, we know that God forgives abundantly. The Church has never encouraged presumption: Simply saying sorry in the confessional and then going out and showing no change in one's life makes a mockery of God's mercy - but any discerning priest is able to tell when that's occurring and will counsel and admonish accordingly.
But, no, the Church must not change her teaching - because she does not have the right to. And to pretend otherwise is to allow the gates of hell to prevail against her.
If people reject these teachings - be they on moral questions or any area of doctrine for that matter - well, then they'll vote with their feet.
We can have two attitudes at this point:
"Good riddance to bad rubbish - you were never "saved" anyway" - you sometimes get a sense of that in a certain Evangelical pharisaism.
Or the Church can continue teaching what she has always taught - but with patience and gentleness. Who knows, in time, if the last glance of the Church they see is a face of love-in-truth rather than repudiation and criticism - then they might come back to the Church when they are ready to hear what she has to say.
It's certainly NOT by changing your teaching that you will guide people to their heavenly home. Because you'll only end up being the blind leading the blind.

In so far as the Anglican Communion has retained Catholic teaching she leads people to the truth. In so far as be it in morality or in doctrine she jettisons Catholic teaching the Anglican Communion can no longer guide people towards the truth but becomes complicit with their sin.

29 November 2013 14:58  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hannah, what happened there! Happy Jack answered your questions to him and now they've gone.

Happy Jack looked at your blog and could see nothing at all the different views in Judaism about sex between same sex couples. And all you said to Jack was: "I'm running out of time right now, but will elaborate further for you later on."

As for Happy Jack's opinions he thinks there cannot be so many different answers to life's big questions within the Christian or Jewish religions if they all base their answers on the same written material. Someone, somewhere, must be misunderstanding something for this to happen. Or, Jack guesses, God may have left things unclear so we could all make up our own minds. Jack isn't sure God would do that.

29 November 2013 15:00  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Ardenjm

I'd answer your series of [very valid] questions with just one more, on which I hope we're in agreement:

Can a man rise from the dead?

Porcus Porcus

29 November 2013 15:03  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello Blowers,

Happy Jack was asking me specific questions on Judaism last night and I replied to them. I can see that I did promise him my own personal view, so he can have that in a minute.

I didn't think for a moment that his latest set of queries were directed at me, nor will I attempt to answer them, I am surprised that he can come out with so many questions.

My 'policy' now, is to be selective as to who I respond to and for how many replies, so if I do respond it is a positive thing. If I feel I'm getting ignored by people, then I don't bother if they want to come back at me later on; the reason for this is because I don't want to get into 400 comments threads as happened before and it is easier to have decent discussions and debates that way.

29 November 2013 15:03  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

29 November 2013 15:06  
Blogger Hannah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

29 November 2013 15:09  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

ardenjm, Happy Jack thanks you for answering his questions so directly. Jack agrees with you that a church's teachings should not change to accommodate sin or to become popular with people. Jack needs to think a lot more about what Old Jim said about contraception leading to an acceptance of same sex marriage.

Hello Blowers, hope you're well and in good spirits you old rogue. Jack never thought of that answer to Hannah. She does seem to be a bit annoyed and impatient with Happy Jack.

29 November 2013 15:13  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hi Hannah,

Happy Hanukkah! Things have been busy again for me. More than usual.

Lest our Anglican friends think that I'm picking on them and mocking them, the situation is just as dismal, if not worse, with the Jewish liberal congregations, and even with some of the more left-leaning Modern Orthodox ones. However, mainstream Orthodoxy is mostly safe, thanks to clear doctrinal principles and because a change like this would be too fundamental and would require a majority of rabbonim and poskim who would have to agree on the absurd and abominable, dismiss and rewrite scripture and liturgy and come up with halakhically impossible explanations. Of course, once the C of E folds on this one the pressure will crank-up on the Catholics and Orthodox Jews. Not so much, if at all on the Muslims, as everyone's afraid of them.

29 November 2013 15:49  
Blogger Hannah said...

Happy Jack,

Christians have a 'new testament', which isn't in the Jewish Bible. We also have an 'oral law', which Christians reject.

As for my link, it was to explain to you the different traditions of my faith, to understand where they come from and you understand the differences of opinions with regards to sexuality. I believed you would have been able to ascertain my viewpoint because of this :

"[As Sephardi Jews]...we maintain that Jewish law and our Torah is G-d's final revelation to us Jews and is unchanging and unchangeable, which will clearly influence our writings here. We are, however, mindful of all of the other traditions above and are respectful of them."

I don't think there is much to be gained with me elaborating further here on my particular views or the views of Orthodox Jewry in general. As said to Blowers, I'm not playing the game of answer, question, answer, question, answer question. Someone used to do that around here with myself and my brother. Those threads were not nice and it didn't end well. So I'm not going to repeat that mistake again with someone else.

Anywats, I've got to go now as it is the start of our Shabbat, so no writing allowed I'm afraid.

Shabbat Shalom!

29 November 2013 16:04  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Shabbat shalom and chag sameach, Hannah. I got hours to go til candlelighting here. Weird, this spherical Earth thing. Would have been easier flat as a billiard table, but no one asked my opinion....

29 November 2013 16:13  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Avi,

Happy Hanukkah to you as well and a Shabbat Shalom too! I think most of the religious Jews who want same sex marriage are already encamped in the reform/liberal synagogues, which are not growing as fast as the Orthodox side.

I know no-one likes splits, but the more I look at the C of E, the most plausible result is for it to split into its 3 traditions, rather than trying to constantly create uber compromises which satisfy nobody; it makes sense and I think it would happen if it wasn't the 'established' church.

29 November 2013 16:22  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

....reform/liberal synagogues, which are not growing as fast as the Orthodox side. A mild understatement, Hannah. Majority of Jews in North America are Reform and Conservative, with big shuls and they are in trouble. Seventy percent intermarriage rates among them and huge, fancy synagogues folding like cheap cards all over the place. Of course the secular Jewish service clubs and institutions are panicking...especially as they see us Orthodox grow in numbers and influence. I feel it on a personal level, as many secular friends are becoming more and more hostile to Orthodoxy, conflating all groups into one scary, bearded monster. Even our kids are feeling it, with secular Jewish kids openly mocking them over kashruth and tzniut and one is stuck between sending one's kid either to a mixed denomination Jewish school where the frum kids are now ostracized by the assimilated ones or with the ulra-Orthodox crazies who are trying to recreate the "good times" of 1930s ghettos in Poland and Hungary. Everyone, everywhere seems to be going bonkers lately.

29 November 2013 16:39  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

On this subject, if Your Grace is still deeply pondering, can I suggest looking at this website that's just been launched http://www.livingout.org/
where people have actually lived out their Christian lives as new creations.

I'm still pondering it meself, but the testimonies are worth reading. St. Ebbes is well worth a visit if you're in Oxford.

29 November 2013 17:08  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hannah, Happy Jack respects your
wishes and now he knows you are an Orthodox Jew he can always ask Jeeves about your beliefs. From what your friend Avi has said your views on acting on same sex attraction are in line with traditional Christians.

Happy Jack is interested in asking so many questions about Christianity because he has a decision to make when he is ready. He doesn't think he's been baptised as he has had no contact with his mum since he was very little and no one can tell him. Jack has enough on his plate figuring all this out without trying to get his head around another religion!

Hello again Avi, Happy Jack is pleased to see you back as he wondered what had happened to you. Did you get all that important work finished that you had to do?

29 November 2013 17:21  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hi Happy Jack, thanks for asking; yes, the craziness is over but the work goes on. Still, took Friday off to loaf around a bit before shopping and cooking Shabbat dinner. Wife teaches on Fridays, so I always get this part...and, shhh, I'm the expert cook in this house and I prefer it this way. Gives me head start on the single malt.

29 November 2013 17:30  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Your Grace, your loyalty to the C of E and the Conservative Party is admirable, but the situation is hopeless and you've done your best. Time to swing to UKIP and convert to Orthodox Judaism. I'll get you a good mohel with hands that don't shake too much and will share an old bottle of single malt I've been keeping for a special occasion to cheer you through the experience. It could be worse, you know, like joining our Evangelicals, Len and Mr Blofeld...or my dour, fire-and-brimstone Calvinist friend, Carl. Go with the crowd that's got the better food and the two hundred dollar scotches. Shabbat shalom!

29 November 2013 17:45  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi. Capital post at 14:26, that man !

The Inspector yesterday suggested that each CP couple be given a church blessing if they so wanted it. But to expand, one should have said the individuals be blessed and not the unity they are trying to bring to the world. It is the best way to pre-empt the usual militants from ramming the CoEs doors with the threat of European courts. Show the courts the doors are already open, and there will be no case to answer…

Having said that, wouldn’t need to extend this to the RCC. Holy Mother church is made of stern stuff, the CoE is not…





29 November 2013 18:20  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...



Chaps, this subject was also aired by Pink News yesterday. But surprise, it doesn’t even appear in the numerous topics listed 24 hours later. So much for militant gay interest in what the CoE thinks, then !

Makes a fellow wonder if the only people concerned about the tiny percentage of the population who live a non standard lifestyle, yet want the world (…and God…) to applaud them for it are the CoE hierarchy themselves. The whole thing is concern over a ghost fart, as they say…

By the way, on todays news…“German policeman 'kills and eats lover'” – Another aspect of gay behaviour that is not unknown…

Yum !



29 November 2013 18:21  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Oh Lord !

Here, gentlemen, is a recent judgment by Satan’s court…

“The European Court of Human Rights has ruled the whole life tariff given to Peter Moore, the man who murdered four gay men for his sexual gratification in 1995, breaches his human rights.”



29 November 2013 18:42  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Wow, Inspector, you couldn't make that one up, could you? These Judges are crazy. To what extent is this Peter Moore still recognisable as a human being I wonder, to have human rights?

I wonder how much he considered their human rights as he killed them?

29 November 2013 18:50  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Lucy, no doubt the fellow breathed a sigh of relief as he despatched the last one. One suspects one’s own human rights, rather like unsecured debts against you, lapse upon your albeit untimely death. So no comeback on Moore in that respect then, what !

29 November 2013 18:55  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Greetings, Inspector, good to see you at full steam ahead, with your snazzy old avatar.

You're on the right track with your recommendation, but it won't be enough. The endgame for the New Rome is the total dissolution of the dinosaurs, the restrictive, uncool olde tyme religions like ours which still keep people from becoming wards of the ever-growing Leviathan, from meekly submitting to proper speech and behavior, surrendering the children they'll be permitted to have under stricter environmental regulations, the future mass of social media-addled tax serfs. What could be so bad? Hooked up to computer goggles, buzzed on designer drugs and humping anything that says "yes" we could all keep warm and happy in the subway tunnels eating soylent green while our betters live nicely above, under God's blue skies, working hard on being "stewarts" of Mother Nature. Don't think we'll be around to see that, but one never knows.

Anyway, look how the time flies, Chicken's roasting and time to pick up a few more victuals. A good weekend to you and all!

29 November 2013 19:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Chaps, this subject was also aired by Pink News yesterday."

Most amused to go over there to check this out only to find today's top story instead. Heh.

29 November 2013 20:20  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack had to have a look too and how he chuckled to see your dear friend Julia G. in the headlines.

29 November 2013 20:39  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Nonsense DanJ0, the top story there is “Nick Clegg: 30 years since the first HIV cases, too many myths still persist”.

Facing parliamentary extinction next election, the blighter is cottaging for gay votes by the looks of things...

Second story down is our beloved Julia. “Former UKIP candidate Julia Gasper questions whether the only gay Holocaust victims were Jews”

She may well be onto something. The NAZIs may have considered homosexuality per se an ‘antisocial’ crime. A mere misdemeanour. If this is true, then the gay beginnings of the movement take on a particular significance...

29 November 2013 20:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Very mischievious, Inpector, to deliberately send us all over there to find that.

29 November 2013 20:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Pip Pip Avi !

Lord Charles is in toy hospital, being treated for worm, no less. But one is confident the cheeky chappie will be well enough to reappear sometime next year...

29 November 2013 20:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0, my dear fruit. Not sure you fully realise the implications of what Julia may have unearthed. It would mean the whole militant homosexual lobby of today is the direct spiritual descendant of the early NAZI stormtroopers. What a revelation. And it damn well fits too...

29 November 2013 20:56  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Odd question by Ms Gasper. The Nazis picked up non-Jewish Gays as well, unless they were well-connected Party people and kept under the radar. If they were Gay Jews, they'd wear the Yellow Star together with the Pink Triangle. And let's not forget that they already killed most of the disabled and the mentally ill well before the Wannsee conference and the War with the first test of the racial purity and euthananasia laws.

29 November 2013 21:03  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Pip, pip, Inspector, all the best to Lord Charles. Sure he's having a jolly good time with the twenty-something nursing staff. May the worms keep off his woodie.

Back to the chicken....

29 November 2013 21:08  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"May the worms keep off his woodie."

Happy Jack laughed at that one.
Jack thinks it must be a boring life being a woodworm.

29 November 2013 21:15  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Glad to make you laugh, HJ. I'd say Lord Charles has nothing to worry about as he's got a...wood-pecker...to take care of the worms. Tra-dah-boom. I'm outta here...

29 November 2013 21:29  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Inspector/Avi

Greetings again, Avi.

Aa I understand this dark topic, Rosenberg was the chief Nazi sexual theorist: his aim, the selective breeding of the Aryan race.

Promiscuity was to be discouraged for Germans because it made eugenic control of reproduction difficult. Homosexuality was also to be discouraged because it twisted sex away from its biological reproductive function of producing more Aryans. Hence the Night of the Long Knives, and the symbolic murder of Rohm: a big no to the ideological 'mannerbund' homosexuality of the brown shirts.

The same mind set made abortion compulsory for captive Slav or Polish women, but forbidden for German women.

29 November 2013 21:34  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Avi, did you miss Happy Jack's little joke: "... it must be a boring life being a woodworm"?

29 November 2013 21:50  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Salutations Explorer. One has always dismissed the gay part of the Night of the Long Knives as purely co-incidental. This because Hitler is known to have agonised long and hard before condemning Rhoem. It is true that his homosexual entourage were slain, but only because they were in mid orgy. Had he not been of the anal persuasion, and consorted with prostitutes instead, one imagines these ladies would have been free to flee into the night, wrapped in hotel curtains to conceal their nakedness...





29 November 2013 22:01  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Avi

Dour? Me?? Inconceivable. I'm a comedic genius. And anyways. You can't make turpentine drinkable even at $200 a fifth.

carl

29 November 2013 22:40  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Explorer

Hitler would have killed Roehm had he been the most aggressive heterosexual in Germany. And for the same reason that Stalin killed Kirov. He was a threat to Hitler's control of the Party. The SA was too big and had too many ambitions of replacing the Wehrmacht. The Night of the Long Knives was really quite an ordinary exercise in old-fashioned power consolidation.

carl

29 November 2013 22:49  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl,

Yes, I'm sure you're right about the power struggle.

It's just that the Nazis were into symbolism: the red (field of blood) background to the swastika etc. That's why I still think there may have been a symbolic intent about the nature of Roehm's death: enough of the fun, get on with serious business of breeding. Rosenberg, I believe, argued that German males of the right sort should be allowed two wives. Males of the wrong sort...

29 November 2013 23:06  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack has been doing some reading and came across a website called 'The Jewish Virtual Library'. Jack does not know if all what it says is true it makes chilling reading.

Inspector, Hitler admired some homosexuals and was a very close friend with Rohm. Rudolf Diels said Hitler told him: “Once rife, it extended its contagious effects like an ineluctable law of nature to the best and most manly of characters, eliminating from the reproductive process precisely those men on whose offspring a nation depended.” He saw it as an unnatural vice that threatened to stop the best men breeding future children.

Himmler, on the other hand, talking about 'The Night of the Long Knives' said: “Two years ago...when it became necessary, we did not scruple to strike this plague with death, even within our own ranks. Just as we today have gone back to the ancient Germanic view on the question of marriage mixing different races, so too in our judgment of homosexuality ­­a symptom of degeneracy which could destroy our race ­­ we must return to the guiding Nordic principle: extermination of degenerates.”

And the famous Nazi judge, Rudolf Klare, wrote: “Since the Masonic notion of humanitarianism arose from the ecclesiastical/Christian feeling of charity, it is sharply opposed to our National Socialist worldview and is eliminated a priori as a justification for not penalizing homosexuality.”

What an evil ideology that separated itself from Christian values.

30 November 2013 00:00  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Explorer

You should investigate Salon Kitty - a Berlin Brothel operated by the SD. Its purpose was to keep tabs on High level Gov't personnel and foreign dignitaries. Goebbels was one of its patrons. He evidently was much taken with Lesbian displays.

carl

30 November 2013 00:05  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Carl, Happy Jack sees it was a brothel with 20 specially chosen women trained to get men to talk.

This made Happy Jack chuckle when he read it: "SS commander Sepp Dietrich, wanted all the 20 girls for an all-night orgy but he revealed no secrets." Jack suspects he had very little time to talk.

30 November 2013 00:37  
Blogger OldJim said...

David B

"However, I'm not going to censor those for whom procreation is not feasible, on grounds of age or sexual orientation,

Of course, a Christian would tend to distinguish the two cases. The former really is the procreative act, in a way that contracepted or gay sex is not. If I eat a burger knowing that I am so ill that I am likely not to be able to keep it down, I nonetheless eat the burger. It's not the same as eating the burger and then making myself ill so that I shall not keep it down, or failing to correctly eat the burger.

or people having learning experiences before finding someone they are happy to settle down with, and to raise a family with.

But again, it's only since the 1960s that these "learning experiences" have been practicable, and only since then that they have been increasingly been considered necessary. And it seems to me that the question of whether anyone is happier as a result, whether relationships have greater longevity, whether partners are better suited to one another, or whatever measure of the thing you would most prefer, is still very much up in the air. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the evidence base I have, both anecdotal and empirical, makes it seem to me highly dubious. I must admit that I think that people are in general making themselves more unhappy.

Or, indeed, those who have relationships which sadly break down, and necessitate either starting again or a life trapped in an unhappy relationship."

Sure, but here we come to another crux: it is certain that in a society in which marriage is made lifelong by force of law, there will be unhappy marriages. But it also seems very likely to me that when once you allow those unhappily married to remarry, you encourage those who are not yet married to enter marriage more carelessly, safe in the knowledge that they will be given the second attempt.

In other words, I think that in both instances, you trap a certain number of people in misery. The miseries just differ on several points.

In the first, people are unhappy when they make a bad match and are unable to extricate themselves. They might have legal means of separating themselves from financial and legal ties -- I certainly don't oppose that -- but they will be unable to remarry so long as their spouse lives, and that might prove a great burden.

30 November 2013 01:08  
Blogger OldJim said...

In the second, people are encouraged to think less seriously about the quality of their match, and so they are prima facie likely to make more initial bad matches. People are then encouraged to work less hard at making relationships work, and being selfless within them, because they can always have another go -- this causes more needless failures. Additionally, those who wish to abuse marriage and divorce, for wealth and social status, as a means of "climbing a ladder" of increasingly desirable partners, or simply because they are flighty and irresponsible, may do so. And they leave their partners broken hearted. Again, the ease with which marriages can be contracted and severed reduces their distinction from sexual relationships outside marriage, causing a rise in those. That means a greater number of split-ups, a greater number of relationships where there are uneven levels of affection, and one partner uses the other. And in every instance I have outlined, the problem is compounded by the collateral misery of any children born in these relationships, often children who are either then raised by a single parent or, perhaps worse, witness a divorce in early life. That is, if the children are in fact born. Because this system encourages finding a way to get out of that, too.

Broadly, I think that the latter system has a greater number of miseries and evils, and that whilst attempts can be made to ameliorate the heartache of those in difficulty in the former system, some misery must remain, lest it will turn into the latter system, with even greater and more widespread misery as a consequence.

But that is merely the utilitarian argument -- the truth is, if morally, marriage ought to be lifelong, it doesn't much matter which system causes greater misery or happiness; the first system is the only one that can morally be countenanced. It just so happens that I think that the morality and the utility coincide.

But all of this is fairly moot. My chief point with this set of posts wasn't to evangelise to you, it was to set gay relationships in the correct context for my fellow Christians.

I think that to blame gay marriage and assorted problems on "the gays, the atheists, the secularists, the feminists and the left" is an altogether too convenient manoeuvre. Of course, there's some truth to it. Of course, for example, the feminist denial of gender roles partly underlies the thing. All sorts of radical ideas do.

But the position systematically ignores and minimises the extent to which attempts by heterosexuals to render sex an activity wholly decontextualised from long-term relationships, families and children, have served in large part to render gay relationships indistinguishable from the great mass of straight ones. If you're complicit in that, and you share Christian concerns, then you should really think about it before attacking the low-hanging fruit of people who cannot help their orientation discovering the strength of the parallel between the two sets of relationships. The parallel is there because that is the way that you are living. It's the old motes and beams stuff, basically.

30 November 2013 01:08  
Blogger OldJim said...

Explorer

Earlier, you said:

"I've said this before, but i'll say it again. Some people talk as if gay behaviour is a problem only for religious people.

But the nastiest jokes I've heard, the most spiteful, vindictive and personal comments against gays, were all made by people who were complete heathens. (And, for that matter, their comments about straight people they disliked, and other races, too.)"


Which is a fine point, well taken. However, throughout the day, I couldn't help wondering whether you were thinking in part of my comment, just a little earlier. Perhaps you weren't, but in any case, if I may, I should like to make some clarifications:


"Whether widespread society could treat gay people with consideration and respect whilst also retaining traditional Christian understandings of the nature and purpose of sexual relationships is an experiment that has never really been tried. All we know is that when heterosexuals have historically had their relationships held to the high moral standard, they have treated gay people abusively. When they have treated gay people well, it is because society has had such small moral expectations of their relationships that they have had no cause but mere bigotry to not only treat gay people well, but to treat their relationships as equivalent entities."

I was careful to distinguish between Christians and those people who might behave cruelly towards gay people in a society where relationships are more closely expected to adhere to Christian principles. I don't mean to deny that Christians can be horrible to gay people, but I had something of what you were saying in mind, and I was getting at the fact that:

It seems that some people have historically had, and some continue to have, a violent and instinctual disgust towards gay people. It is considered in some circles of the secular left that this is a hangover from Christian ideas about gender norms. I don't subscribe to that, but I don't know how one would gather a large enough evidence base to challenge the conclusion, or provide an alternative explanation. It's one of those pervasive things that seems to me to "just exist" for now. In any case, I think it clear that the emotional interior life of Christianity would inoculate against it, and it is also clear, as you say, that those who exhibit it most clearly today are often themselves utterly irreligious (I will not call them atheists, because that might be taken to indicate that I imagine that they have dwelt for any length of time on the question of religion).

What I was pointing out, I suppose, was that whilst I think that this tendency is at odds with Christianity, it is clear to me that modern society is having the successes it is having against it by virtue of the ever-closer parallel between gay and straight relationships because of the way that those relationships are now conducted. Whether a society could be run on more Christian lines, without these stronger sexual norms being taken to be a vindication for these violent people, was the dilemma I was outlining.

Of course, I want relationships to be conducted in a fashion compatible with Christianity. And I want gay people treated with basic compassion, understanding, and respect. The problem is that society historically only ever seems to properly address the one by letting the other slide, if you see what I mean.

30 November 2013 01:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jim:"I think it clear that the emotional interior life of Christianity would inoculate against it, and it is also clear, as you say, that those who exhibit it most clearly today are often themselves utterly irreligious [...]"

It's been apparent to me many times here and elsewhere, and especially in the comments sections of newspapers like the Telegraph, that some Christians are using Scripture to justify and channel their baser apetites, emotions, and instincts regarding homosexuality. The sexual paradigm of Christianity is rational and coherent if one accepts the basic religious premises. Coupled with the Christian ideal of love towards one's fellow man, this ought to come across well. There's nothing inherently homophobic about it. Yet there are lots of Christian people clearly displaying very homophobic behaviour, and with a self-righteous passion too. Similarly with many Muslims too of course, though with less restrictions and counter-balances from religiius ideals.

30 November 2013 04:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

When I say here, I mean down here..

30 November 2013 04:08  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Old Jim:

Be at peace: it was nothing you said at all.

Speaking as a Protestant, I think all your posts are wonderful: reflecting the best both in Catholicism and Christianity as a whole.

30 November 2013 07:15  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl:

I think the Nazis were a good example of "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Nazi theories about sexuality ran into all the back-to-nature problems of what to choose as the model.

I have a short essay on my Blog which makes exactly that point.

30 November 2013 07:21  
Blogger Len said...

Mankind is creating a problem which is rapidly becoming evident.The desire of man to break free of all Godly restraint sexually and morally is only part of that problem which is inherent within all of mankind.Fallen man is at heart a rebel and wants no restriction put on him by anyone!.
Up until fairly recently (relatively speaking)God put restraints upon the limits man could descend to in the pursuit of selfish pleasure.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that restraint is being gradually lifted.Eventually all restraint will be gone and the fallen nature of man will be revealed with no veneer of 'respectability'.
The only way to measure the 'fall of man' is by the Word of God'which is probably why the Bible has been under such constant attack ever since it was put into print.
We are not awaiting Gods Judgement on our Society we are already under it.
There will be those who are horrified at the descent of man and will turn to the the only solution which is Jesus Christ before the others descend into inner darkness .

30 November 2013 09:48  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Old Jim @ 01:57

To address some specifics of your post, my own perception is that the same-sex marriage issue has been largely driven by heterosexual libertarians seeking to justify their own attitudes. Once you make child-free pleasure the purpose of the sex act, the case against homosexuality - and much else - is much diminished.

Your point about the secular left and residual Christian attitudes is a huge one. One thing I'd say is that the issue clearly troubled the ancients. On the one hand, you have Plato of 'The Symposium'; on the other, Plato of the 'Laws'. You have Aristotle's blunt prohibitions.
You have Tacitus' comments about Nero, and the satire on same-sex marriage by Martial. And in none of those instances was Christianity a factor.

30 November 2013 10:50  
Blogger David B said...

@ Explorer, who said

"Once you make child-free pleasure the purpose of the sex act, the case against homosexuality - and much else - is much diminished."

I would prefer 'a' purpose to 'the' purpose, but yes, the case - such as it is - against homosexuality and masturbation, for instance, is indeed diminished.

As also is an understanding that homosexuality is no more a choice than is heterosexuality, which is to say that except perhaps for people with bisexual inclinations it is not a choice.

And also my point made earlier, that viewing mankind as an evolved mammal, with a degree of diversity within it, rather than a special creation also, in my judgement, diminishes any case against homosexuality as well.

To my mind, though - and I speak as a heterosexual - the acceptance of people on their merits despite their sexual orientation, and, for that matter, their skin colour, is a good thing, as also is embracing sexuality as a healthy and enjoyable facet of human existence.

As I said above, though, this is not an 'anything goes' position. A sexual morality taking on board the existence of contraception, the acceptance of diversity in orientation, and the regarding of sex as healthy needs to develop, as I think it is doing.

Based on a number of good moral rules of thumb, rather than an absolute position, like 'consenting adults', openness and truth, and not being exploitative.

David

30 November 2013 11:09  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B:

I should have said, "primary purpose" or "a purpose".

Agreed; a very fair point.

Regards.

30 November 2013 11:12  
Blogger Derek said...

As a lurker and rare commenter here, I'd also like to add my thanks to OldJim for his outstanding contribution to this thread.

30 November 2013 12:56  
Blogger Derek said...

As a lurker and rare commenter here, I'd also like to add my thanks to OldJim for his outstanding contribution to this thread.

30 November 2013 12:56  
Blogger John Thomas said...

OK, I'll come clean, I'll admit it: My comment relating to the Bp of Birkenhead was unfair (see first Comment, above); he turns out to be eminently worthy of respect for choosing to decline full support for the report, viz. for its apparent suggestion that there is not a clear Biblical injunction against homosexuality (which there certainly is). But the reason for my assumption is itself telling: I was guessing that he might have been objecting to the report/parts of the report from a strongly pro-homosexualist/revisionist standpoint (ie. finding the report "conservative") - the ubiquity of episcopal views of this kind is what led to my (false) assumption. I can think of a few bishops whose revisionist views really are boring to me (and many others).

30 November 2013 13:03  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Len, Happy Jack thinks you are right and that mankind is ignoring God and just doing what it wants regardless of what will happen.

Happy Jack thinks Old Jim and Ardenjm are right about the marriage being there so men and women stay together and have children and bring them up properly. That's the promise they make and they should stick to it. If this is right and we are ignoring God, then it looks like there's big trouble ahead for us all.

Happy Jack also believes the Church should hold its nerve, stand its ground and go back to basics. It should let people know God's reasons for marriage and stop making people feel good about the sins they get up to or giving them easy ways out of problems they face. This is hard for the individual but do something for one person and you have to do it for everyone and then it spirals out of control. Jack says this means all people and not just homosexuals.

30 November 2013 13:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0 at 04:01 “It's been apparent to me many times here and elsewhere, and especially in the comments sections of newspapers like the Telegraph, that some Christians are using Scripture to justify and channel their baser apetites, emotions, and instincts regarding homosexuality.”

What you are witnessing is not pro-action, but reaction to a seemingly unstoppable dash to a gay society. A very human emotion of ‘watch out, we are heading to the cliff edge"’. The nearer we get to that edge, the louder and more intense the protest. Parents do not want to lose their children or grandchildren to the gay movement, is what it’s all about...

30 November 2013 14:43  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B @ 11:09

Your point about choice. I agree with whoever said that we discover, rather, than choose, our sexual orientation. One of my good friends at university was homosexual: great company, very funny, very intelligent. And much tormented: both by others and by himself. We lost touch, but I heard later from his (heterosexual) brother that he had died from an Aids-related illness. I don't think it was a lifestyle he had chosen.

We may not choose heterosexuality; but there are choices within it. Sex with an underage girl, one's neighbour's wife, a nanny goat, incest of various forms, or with a female corpse would not be regarded by Christianity as good ol' boy heterosexuality. They would all be condemned as sin: a defiling of God's purposes for the Temple of the Spirit.

Yours is not an 'anything goes' position either. What would be the basis for your choice as to what is, and is not acceptable?

30 November 2013 15:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...


For those who are interested, there is an article on BBC news about the part of the homosexual lifestyle rarely published these days...

“He is part of a growing group of around 19,000 adults aged over 50 receiving care for human immunodeficiency virus in the UK, many of them kept alive thanks to improvements in drug treatments.”

19,000 people over 50 suffering for their lifestyle choice !

That’s going to cost us...


30 November 2013 15:16  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B:

'Lifestyle' at the end of the first paragraph in the above post should have read 'orientation'.

30 November 2013 15:41  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

David B, Happy Jack is interested in your answer to Explorer. Jack thinks your 'rule of thumb' needs a bit more work as its easy to say: "'consenting adults',
openness and truth, and not being exploitative". But what does this mean? And what about the overall good of our society?

Children as young as 16 can now decide what they want to do. What about them being drawn into trying unnatural sexual practices by older people? Should these things be taught at school now as part of sex education? There are many strange practices that Jack will not list but he is thinking about the horrible acts of 'BDSM'. Jack is shocked when he sees all sorts of things nowadays in the windows of sex shops. The line between male and female is becoming mixed up. This is not healthy and people should not have to see or hear about it. Are people drawn to all these things just born that way too or does the way they grow up make them vulnerable to exposure to them?

Jack believes giving the go-ahead to all sorts of sexual behaviours and saying they are okay because its all about consent, just exposes more and more people to them and will harm society. Heroin is very addictive and Jack suggests so too is sex, natural and unnatural.

30 November 2013 15:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "Jack believes giving the go-ahead to all sorts of sexual behaviours and saying they are okay because its all about consent, just exposes more and more people to them and will harm society."

It's pesky libertarian-leaning liberals like me who start from the premise that we can do what we wish as individuals other than what is prohibited, rather than from the premise that we need to be "given the go-ahead" to do stuff before we carry on. It's a fundamental difference in thinking, where the latter is about freedom of the individual.

30 November 2013 16:11  
Blogger David B said...

@Explorer, who said -

"Yours is not an 'anything goes' position either. What would be the basis for your choice as to what is, and is not acceptable?"

That raises the whole can of worms concerning a basis for morality in general, does it not? Which in turn, or perhaps accompanies, depends on a view on the nature of morality in general, including but not confined to sexual morality.

I do not subscribe to the view that there is an absolute morality, either God given or Platonic.

That is not to say that there are not some moral situations in which the arguments against something compared to any arguments for it are so overwhelming that it can appear like an absolute.

I take the view that morality is a complex and somewhat fuzzy concept, one which emerges in complex social beings, and which develops within it, and is often somewhat situational.

Rather than being just the domain of the philosopher, leave alone the theologian (of which sect? which religion?), I see it as also, and perhaps more, in the domain of psychology, of child development, of anthropology.

And I see moral decisions in general - there are some cases as I say, which seem so clear cut as to be undeniable - are the result of some sort of developing and largely subconscious heuristic which seeks out some sort of linear programming maximum, or to put it another way, some sort of cost benefit analysis.

I think this happens within everyone more or less- there is the odd psychopath. And while I think religion - for good or ill - can often be an input into human moral decision making, the decision making generally remains not absolute.

My example there is one of the most short, succinct, and clear cut and unequivocal of the biblical injunctions - 'Thou shalt not kill!'

Followers of the Book almost universally manage to find - perhaps in other biblical quotes, perhaps through their prejudices, right or wrong, perhaps through their culture, perhaps from personal contemplation, ways around that to allow some or even all of the following. Killing in war, killing in self defense,killing through a judicial process, and in some cases, to allow for putting people out of their misery, for ending the development what some might consider a pre-human, others as a human being, in the interests of the life or best interests of the potential mother.

So as far as sexual morality goes, I think it continues to develop, slowly and with hiccups along the way, as humanity comes to terms with such changes in circumstances as reliable contraception, changing views on the humanity and ethics of homosexuality, the place of man within life on earth, population pressures....and rules of thumb develop over time which sometimes have to be weighed up one against the other, sometimes are clear cut good - or bad.

I don't think most people need a religion to view rape as bad, or that kiddies should not be fiddled. In the latter case I can't help wondering whether some Christian doctrines, like absolution through confession, have added to the problem, but that is by the by.

But I would suggest that good rules of thumb - and I don't see this as an exhaustive list - regarding sexual morality is that compulsion should be forbidden, that kiddies should not be taken advantage of (though I wouldn't like to see 13 year olds put on life long sex offenders registers for getting caught experimenting behind the bike sheds), that conception should be avoided unless both partners want to bring a child into the world (and I think this is best done when both want to be joint parents), that people should take care of their sexual health, so as not to infect partners, that people should tell the truth at the start of potential relationships, and within relationships, That sexual fidelity should be adhered to except when acceptable to all parties, that the drunk, drugged or otherwise mentally handicapped should not be taken advantage of and things of that ilk.

David







30 November 2013 16:49  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hi Danjo, Happy Jack understands your "libertarian leaning liberal" opinions. You do not believe in God but Jack is not saying you must be given the go-ahead to do stuff based on the bible. He thinks it would be better for you and everyone if you chose to do so and he believes the bible code works for the best.

Jack is saying some stuff should be stopped for the good of everybody else and some stuff should be tolerated but not become proclaimed as acceptable and then start popping up everywhere and exposing vulnerable people to it.

Have you followed the row in France about prostitution? Do you think women should be able to sell their bodies for sex as a right and that men should be able to buy them as a right? That's freedom. And what about drugs? Should these be made legal with everybody being able to chose to use them or not? That's freedom too. Jack respects your views but thinks they are based on a more hopeful opinion of human nature than Jack's and neither of us can prove we are right.

Old Jim has painted a picture of what has happened since sex became more and more about pleasure and detached from life long marriage and having children. If he is right, and Jack thinks he is, this has harmed society. Jack agrees nobody can be forced to marry and behave in ways Christians want. Jack is just saying that some things should not become widely proclaimed as natural and healthy when they might have unintended consequences that harm others. Surely you agree that individual actions have wider results?

30 November 2013 17:09  
Blogger Nick said...

Danj0 said:

"...It's pesky libertarian-leaning liberals like me who start from the premise that we can do what we wish as individuals other than what is prohibited,"

And who exactly decides what is "prohibited", and by what authority do they prohibit? There is also the vexing question of the same authority prohibiting the very questioning of that authority. In that situation, the results for society are usually not good.

The typical answer from liberals is to talk about common values and democracy. But as we know, most of the common values that have been around for centuries are rooted in our Christian heritage. Common values now exist within clearly-defined groups but are radically different between those groups.

Happy Jack is absolutely right when he says that if we are left to be our own judge it will harm society. It is a utopian idea peddled by liberals that happiness = freedom to do whatever we want. Not true. One mans freedom will inevitably be anothers loss of freedom.

30 November 2013 17:27  
Blogger David B said...

@ Happy Jack who said -

"but Jack is not saying you must be given the go-ahead to do stuff based on the bible. He thinks it would be better for you and everyone if you chose to do so and he believes the bible code works for the best. "

I think you have to do some pretty serious cherry picking to adopt anything like that view.

I refer you to the extract from His Grace's piece on Tuesday last

"The TV presenter: “I don’t say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does”.

President Bartlet: “Yes it does. Leviticus 18:22. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here. I’m interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She’s a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?”. While thinking about that, can I ask you another question? My Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here’s one that’s really important because we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you?”."

I don't say that there is nothing that makes moral sense in the Bible.

But I do say that there is helluva lot in it that doesn't.

You might also look a back to my post above, where I list some of the Biblical characters who did not - to put it mildly - live up to the example that many proponents of what they think a good sexual morality based on the Bible should be.

David

30 November 2013 17:34  
Blogger David B said...

@Nick, who said

" But as we know, most of the common values that have been around for centuries are rooted in our Christian heritage."

I don't know that. What specific common values can you think of that come from Christianity that couldn't have come from other religious traditions or none?

And is there not much in the Christian tradition that has been dropped from our common values, largely on the grounds that some Biblical precepts are silly and unworkable?

Giving no heed to the morrow, and things like that? Lots more!

David

30 November 2013 17:43  
Blogger Nick said...

David B

Christianity has been the dominant religion in Britain for a long time, so it has obviously had more influence than say, Islam.

As to not worrying about the morrow, if you want to be in constant state of convcern or worry about the future, that is your decision. Personally, I find such a state of mind burdensome and often futile.

30 November 2013 17:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "He thinks it would be better for you and everyone if you chose to do so and he believes the bible code works for the best."

Muslims say the same thing about the Qur'an and Sharia, you know.

"Have you followed the row in France about prostitution? Do you think women should be able to sell their bodies for sex as a right and that men should be able to buy them as a right?"

If women want to charge men money for sex with them then I think that's their prerogative. However, the underlying basis of that is that the women are truly free to choose. If we're to restrict the activity then I think that's the area we we should be looking at for justifications.

"Jack respects your views but thinks they are based on a more hopeful opinion of human nature than Jack's and neither of us can prove we are right."

Well, my notion of human nature allows for a diversity of interests whereas yours assumes a teleological structure. Think of it in terms of distributed control versus central control, or liberty versus paternalism.

30 November 2013 17:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Nick: "is a utopian idea peddled by liberals that happiness = freedom to do whatever we want. Not true. One mans freedom will inevitably be anothers loss of freedom."

It think it's more that individuals ought to decide for themselves what makes them happy and have the freedom to pursue those things. As for one man's freedom inevitably restricting another's, well of course it does. That's the consequence of living in society versus living in a state of nature. We gain in some areas, such as security and complexity, and lose in others.

30 November 2013 18:01  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Happy Jack 13:38 you're a wise little fella indeed.
Humans need something bigger than themselves to look to for guidance, inspiration and aspiration. This is provided by the Bible which is also a survival guide for humanity.
We can either let the reins come off and the foolish people destroy themselves with their rotten selfish destructive behaviour only in time to come running back like a child to its mother to the sanctity of the Church and the Bible's teachings again when it's all gone bad.

Or we can look back on history and stop ourselves repeating the same mistakes of the others in the past and progress to the next level upwards on our path of enlightened development. The Church needs to stand firm on all of its basic principles. Blessing that behaviour which destroys society is not the way forward. That's like the Church saying it is on the same lower level as everybody else. That's why the numbers attending have dropped because we feel we don't need to go any longer except for special occasions.

30 November 2013 18:01  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Danjo, Happy Jack says his view of human nature is that man is
inclined to harm himself and
others either deliberately or through ignorance. Jack thinks your view sees people as more reasonable and inclined towards getting along together by respecting each others "interests". And history tends to support Jack's view rather than yours.

Jack also notes you didn't answer his bigger question about the overall good of a society where men and women can buy and sell their bodies or where people are free to become addicted to dangerous drugs. Or where peculiar and horrible sexual practices become more and more mainstream. And just look around at what's happened since marriage and parenting became a matter of "choice".

30 November 2013 18:18  
Blogger Jesuestomihi said...

Oh so Anglican functionaries will "bless" homosexual relationships. What crass stupidity. The only blessing with any value is that from God Himself.If He does not initiate the blessing then what is offered is fraudulent. So then will God bless that which is so clearly and frequently condemned by any plain and simple reading of His Word?I think not!

30 November 2013 18:20  
Blogger David B said...

Back at Nick

So, nothing specific then?

"Christianity has been the dominant religion in Britain for a long time, so it has obviously had more influence than say, Islam."

But I don't see anything about Parliamentary Democracy in either. Is there not a lot more in our institutions from classical studies of Greece and Rome than from Christianity?

"As to not worrying about the morrow, if you want to be in constant state of convcern or worry about the future, that is your decision. Personally, I find such a state of mind burdensome and often futile."

Successive governments, on the other hand, rather encourage us to save for retirement, and for unexpected bills that arise, to keep us out of the clutches of loan sharks.

Some sort of sensible compromise between the Biblical injunction and the Boy Scouts Motto seems better to me.

Mind you, there is a lot that is contradictory in the Bible - on the one hand giving no heed to the morrow, on the other the parable of the virgins.

David

David

30 November 2013 18:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Jack: "And history tends to support Jack's view rather than yours."

There have been all sorts of political systems attempted, according to what the world is like at the time. Look at the history of Western Europe and the time when Christianity was in its ascendency, politically speaking. Not so great, I'd say.

"Jack also notes you didn't answer his bigger question about the overall good of a society where men and women can buy and sell their bodies or where people are free to become addicted to dangerous drugs."

Note it all you like but I'm just using bits of what you write to make my own points. If you want to evangelise about a particular way of living then feel free. Luckily, we liberals argue for a space for you to do that, and to try to live to it as best you can if you want.

30 November 2013 18:31  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B @ 16:49

Lots there. I'll make just three points.

1. "Kill" is another of those translation problems. Should be "murder", which changes the emphasis. eg if you kill a fish to eat it are you murdering it? And powers are legitimately allocated to authority that are denied to the individual.

2. Your last paragraph is thoroughly decent. Don't infect your partner. Yet Foucault, dying of AIDS, infected his male partners. On purpose? Who knows, but he could have done so quite consistently with his philosophy. If all relationships are based on power, what greater power over your partners than a death sentence for them? You and I might say he's wrong; he might cite our bourgeois prejudice. Who decides?

3. Honour among thieves. A successful raid requires trust. Without co-operation, thieves can't can't function. Societies that found they could co-operate thrived. Those that couldn't died out.

You would say it's evolutionary trial and error. I would say it's because of the way God made us. Some things work for us, and some don't. (I don't rule out a guided evolution). There are valid cultural variations. A roof in Greece may be flat, but steeply arched in Sweden. But we all need a roof.

Point 3 needs honing, I know. I'll work on it for next time.

Regards, and keep thinking! In a case of human need I think you and I would probably respond in much the same way. Our explanations for why that might be would differ, but I find the thought encouraging.

30 November 2013 19:08  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hello Marie, Happy Jack says you are very kind but he takes no credit for what he wrote. Jack read Old Jim and Ardenjm and others then asked lot of questions. He then slept on the answers and then put what he agreed with into his own words. Blowers in a thread a long way below also helped Jack see these some of these things more clearly too.

David B, Happy Jack sees you know the bible well. Were you once a Christian? What made you decide to turn your back on God and to argue against him? Jack has been reading your comments and really he cannot see how your arguments about man's 'development' stack up. We really are no different to people 3,000 years ago, are we?

Danjo, Happy Jack did not mean to be rude when he said he noted what you said and he hopes you did not take offence. Jack is not "evangelising" he is trying to explore your liberalism.

Surely even liberals have to ask themselves questions: "about the overall good of a society where men and women can buy and sell their bodies or where people are free to become addicted to dangerous drugs. Or where peculiar and horrible sexual practices become more and more mainstream. And just look around at what's happened since marriage and parenting became a matter of "choice".

Jack agrees that in the past Christianity didn't do such a great job. This just underlines Jack's point about human nature. Being a Christian doesn't mean you are a perfect person and some people claiming to follow Jesus may not be genuine or may misunderstand him.

Happy Jack was thinking about the remarks of Rudolf Klare: "Since the Masonic notion of humanitarianism arose from the ecclesiastical/Christian feeling of charity, it is sharply opposed to our National Socialist worldview and is eliminated a priori as a justification for not penalizing homosexuality."

Jack says your argument about liberalism and his about Christian values, even if you don't believe in God, are "a priori". Jack bases his on something that has been shown to work and thinks yours is showing that it does not work.

30 November 2013 19:28  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

30 November 2013 19:28  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

30 November 2013 19:48  

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