Jerome Taylor on the Jeffrey John Story

An interesting piece in today’s Independent which includes a story that lots of us knew about but no-one had published till today.

The Church long ago decided there was essentially nothing to stop a gay man who lived a life of celibacy from becoming a bishop. Even within the orthodox wings there was acceptance it would be difficult to exclude someone who was living in an entirely celibate civil partnership – for most traditionalists the line in the sand was engaging in a physical, same-sex relationship.

But a grey area remained concerning clergy who at one time or another had a same-sex relationship but had since abandoned it in favour of celibacy. Could someone who had been physically homosexual ever become a bishop?

The Church’s legal note provided a stark answer. Only those who had “repented” their physically homosexual past could be considered for a bishop. You could be a gay bishop, but only if you vocally shunned your sexual past, a condition which is not imposed on heterosexual applicants.

Within conservative wings the caveat quickly became gleefully nicknamed “The Jeffrey John clause” – after the openly gay Dean of St Albans who was humiliatingly made to relinquish his appointment to the Bishop of Reading in 2003 following traditionalist outrage over his promotion. Dr John lives in a celibate relationship but has always said refused to apologise for his past.

In effect, the decision meant those who remained in the closet could climb the ecclesiastical pole, but those who were honest about their sexuality were disbarred. To the liberals it was a slap in the face – another clear indication that senior leaders within the Church of England had no desire to rock the boat or confront an issue that has deeply divided the Anglican Communion for much of the past 15 years.

Further on there’s the exclusive.

The Independent also understands Dr John was not even long-listed for the currently vacant post of Bishop of Edinburgh, meaning no church leader was willing to put him forward for another key diocese with liberal leanings.

I knew about this since well before Christmas but now another source tells me that Dr John was absolutely furious that even the liberal diocese of Edinburgh (which is in the Episcopal Church of Scotland and not the Church of England) wouldn’t take the risk of appointing him and didn’t even want to invite him down to interview before the drawing up of the short-list. But it appears that the correspondence between Dr John’s solicitors and Church House wasn’t prompted by this, but rather the publication in June not only of the Church House legal advice but also the leaking of Colin Slee’s memos on the Southwark appointment process.

It’s worth looking again at the so-called “Jeffrey John Clause” (wherever Jerome Taylor got that from as a title, it’s genius).

29. Relevant factors which can properly be taken into account include:

  • whether the candidate had always complied with the Church’s teachings on same-sex sexual activity;
  • whether he was in a civil partnership;
  • whether he was in a continuing civil partnership with a person with whom he had had an earlier same-sex sexual relationship;
  • whether he had expressed repentance for any previous same-sex sexual activity; and
  • whether (and to what extent) the appointment of the candidate would cause division and disunity within the diocese in question, the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion.

Read it carefully. Whoever drew up this advice realised, as John Richardson has commented before, that simply objecting to Dr John’s teaching on the subject of homosexuality would leave many other bishops regardless of sexuality or sexual history in the same position. So the legal argument doesn’t go down that road, but it does have three bullet points that raise some interesting questions.

Let’s just assume for one moment that the repetitive claims by Colin Coward of Changing Attitude that there are already plenty of gay bishops in the Church of England are true. Would there be a way that they could fall within the confines of the legal consideration outlined above and yet Jeffrey John wouldn’t? Let’s lay out some scenarios.

  1. A bishop who is gay but has never been sexually active – No problems there.
  2. A bishop who is gay, was sexually active in the past, but has repented of that, teaches publicly that sex should remain within marriage and has been celibate for well over a decade – Can’t see there would be too many problems here. The gospel is about forgiveness for sin and what’s better then a repentant sinner in the hierarchy of the Church? Indeed, the legal guidelines see almost set out to protect such a person.
  3. A bishop who is gay, who has a long term partner but has always been celibate and teaches the traditional sexual moral – This might be a challenge for some traditionalists but I can’t see a problem. We shouldn’t be afraid of helping those who want to live chaste lives but also want to have some friendship and long-term companionship in their lives to create holy patterns of life which support that. Once again, the legal guidelines would support such a person.
  4. A bishop who is gay, who has a long term partner, has not always been celibate but has repented, is now celibate and teaches the traditional sexual moral - The only difference between this person and Dr Jeffrey John is the knowledge amongst those who appointed him or work with him that he has repented of previous sexual behaviour, genuinely believes it to be sinful and has committed to the traditional position.

Let me be bold in speculation. Reflecting on the legal guidance that was published last June but existed in some form since 2010, it’s almost as though the lawyers sat down with some senior people in Church House and Lambeth Palace and said, “We can draw up some legal guidance for you, but first of all we need you to be absolutely honest about what the current state of play is in the House of Bishops”. And having got an honest answer, they then drew up the relevant legal guidance that would make sure that the Church hierarchy wasn’t being hypocritical.

Back to Jerome Taylor’s piece.

At a time when such rancour and disagreement already abounds, there are few senior leaders willing to throw another spanner in the works.

But some liberals believe now is precisely the time for them to force the issue. “We are determined to campaign for full equality right now,” says Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude, the most prolific, pro-gay lobby within the Church. “There is no sense of urgency among Church leaders. But the Church is sick, it needs to be fixed right away.”

One suspects 2012 is going to be very messy in the Church of England, especially if those who are revisionist see the argument going against them and try to embarrass the church as a response. I reckon that sadly the year won’t be out before someone will be.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/richardalanengland Richard England

    Thanks for this, Peter. Your perspective, as ever, on these complex theological, biblical, pastoral, etc. issues is insightful and most welcome.

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Thanks Richard – just trying to put 2 and 2 together and also to help conservatives think carefully and coherently about these issues.

    • Guest

      I, too, very much appreciate the wisdom of Peter+. However, there is one point that I would disagree with him. The acceptance use of the term gay but celibate is to put the conversation right where the liberals want it: in a vague, contradictory and most unhelpful quagmire.

      Suppose I am a celibate Kinsey 0.0001 (Freud would say there are no Kinsey absolute 0-ers), does that make me a celibate gay? If not, where in the Kinsey scale do I need to be to make me a gay celibate person? 1.3? 3.8? Both sides know that the notion is preposterous, but one side likes to play the game.

      One needs to delineate: I am heterosexual if only engage in heterosexual sex, I am homosexual (or gay) if I only engage in homosexual sex, I am bisexual if I engage in both. I am celibate if I do not engage in sex. If I am paraplegic, then I am celibate despite whether I would like to engage in heterosexual or homosexual sex but am not physically able. Jeffrey John is not a “celibate gay man”. He is a celibate man that was a homosexual, does not repent of that, and still advocates to others, contrary to church teaching, that homosexuality (engaging in homosexual sex) is not sinful.

      The COE’s is attempting to thread the needle between Jeffrey John and liberal but heterosexual cleric who openly teaches positions contrary to the stated position of the Church. The public, having more common sense, won’t buy it. Does anyone buy it?

      • Cerebusboy

         Nonsense. Bisexuals are bisexuals irrespective of whether they are having sex with members of both sexes – or indeed none at all. And how long does a ‘homosexual’ or ‘heterosexual’ have to go without having sex before they lose their ‘identity’? Christians would say that nobody should be having sex out of marriage, but one hopes that those engaged in dating in hope of finding a marriage partner can be rightly assured that they, and the people they date, are  heterosexual.  Theoretically of course any straight person could choose to have gay sex tomorrow, but the idea that all self-confessingly heterosexual men aren’t really heterosexual at all (irrespective of how much sex they’re currently having) is one of the ideas of the ‘gay lobby’ that is indeed well worth challenging!  I’d also note that some liberal commentators have, very rudely, assumed that the fact that Peter+ never had gay sex (to go by his published testimony means he’s not underwent any kind of ‘post’ or ‘ex’ gay change. That’s  obviously a nonsense – someone whose sexual fantasies are exclusively same sex is clearly not heterosexual irrespective of whether or not they act on them. 

        • Guest

          “…someone whose sexual fantasies are exclusively same sex is clearly not
          heterosexual irrespective of whether or not they act on them.”

          If he is not engaging in sex, then he would be celibate. In this case, he would be celibate with same sex attractions.

          One’s sexuality is defined by one’s actions – in the present. To try to define it by one’s thoughts, then there is no heterosexual or homosexual. Everyone is bisexual.

          It is true that the definition does not define the present. If I was the victim of an uncle who molested me as a youth, so I have engaged in homosexual sex in the past, but engaged in heterosexual sex last week and have no possibility of engaging homosexual sex next week, then I am a heterosexual. Similarly, Gene Robinson did engage in heterosexual sex in the past, having fathered a daughter. But Gene Robinson is homosexual irrespective of whether he has, possibly subconscious, heterosexual thoughts.

          Peter, very wrongly, concedes the notion of “gay celibate” to the liberal side.

          • Cerebusboy

             One can be celibate and gay (or straight, or whatever; isn’t the point of celibacy that they choose not have sex irrespective of what particular acts they are geared towards? Celibates are not asesxuals)

             The idea that everyone is bisexual is a ‘liberal’ idea – pioneered by Gore Vidal for means of (one imagines) tactical seduction – whereas the idea that gay sexuality is acceptable only if celibate (the ‘gay celibate’ you object to) is not. 

             what evidence do you have that everyone has bisexual thought? Now certainly, many straight men would fantasise about otherwise straight women lezzing up, and many gay guys from Quentin Crisp down have had similar thoughts on the buff straight guys suddenly deciding to embrace homoshenanigans, but such self-serving fantasies are hardly rooted in objective studies! From a conservative perspective, the faithful have enough on their plate dealing with those people who come forward and admit to same-sex desires, without implying that everyone, even self-declared celibate heterosexuals, is really bisexual too.   

            • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

              Disturbingly, I find myself in almost complete agreement with Ryan on this.

              • Cerebusboy

                 Hey I like Doctor Who! Not as good as the Star Wars prequels tho ;-)… 

            • Just a Guest

              “Celibates are not asesxuals [sic]“.

              It depends on what you mean by asexual. I obviously never implied that celibates have no sexual thoughts. Quite the contrary, I specifically give an example of a celibate with same sex attractions. Celibacy clearly means not having sexual relations.

              ” what evidence do you have that everyone has bisexual thought?”

              I think the Kinsey scale is actually quite helpful. (This shows that utterly depraved, lying pedophiles can be right sometimes.) In the social sciences, there are only shades of gray, never any black and white, the idealized ends of the scale. Kinsey’s scale was defined for actions not thoughts or attractions. But suppose that we modify the scale to be for attractions or sexual thoughts. I would ask what does it mean to be a gay celibate? Celibate with a modified Kinsey score of greater than 3 or 4 or 4.8? It is all rubbish.

              The forced notion of gay celibate implies a permanence of sexual thoughts which is not justifiable.

              • Cerebusboy

                 I’m maintain that the Kinsey scale is largely wishful thinking. Obviously female sexuality is fluid, and lots of girls lez up in college but then switch happily to heterosexual married life, but its claims on the widespread presence of wide-spread same-sex fantasies or actions hardly accords easily with dispassionate observation of reality. Ultimately, if one is seeking acceptance of a genuine, same sex sexuality then it is problematic (or at best ill-mannered) to accuse self-identifying straight men of having secret same-sex moments. 

                 ‘Involuntary celibacy’ is a well documented phenomena (usually referring to straight guy who can’t get their “Cheryl Cole” ;0)) and someone who has exclusively same sex desires who has no kind of sex (I concede the possibility of a grey area type who has same-sex fantasies but only has sex with women.)  The problem with the kinsey scale is not necessarily that it is invalid, it is that it drastically (and unscientifically) overestimates the amount of people in each ‘grey’ middle-ground area category (and, to use your own terms, isn’t more subtle categorising still categorising and therefore problematic? “Labels are not for people” as famous queer Michael Stipe once said…) . Social Sciences would also tend to believe that gender is just a construct…

                • Guest

                  Thank you. You affirm my position that trying to define sexual orientation on thoughts not deeds is fraught with contradictions. With your rather crude allusion to “lezzing up”, you also affirm my position that sexuality must be defined in the “present” but with the “present” left undefined.

                  • Cerebusboy

                     lezzing up was deliberately chosen; a base, vulgar term to describe a base, vulgar conception of sexuality. I am of course aware that Kinsey deserves some props for liberating society in some ways (and his thanking the promiscously same-sex Gore Vidal for his “work in the the field” is amusing) but he radically and nonsensically overestimated the prevalance of bisexuality (and I’m bisexual myself so have nothing to gain from pointing this out – quite the opposite). Even if one did go with a more mental ‘definition’ of sexuality, than would in no way mean that men who claim to have an other-sex erotic mental life are kinsey middle-ground bisexualists too (and do you have any evidence for your acceptance of Kinsey’s *beliefs*?). Wishful thinking has a place in porn, in sociology (or sexology, or however you want to define this turf) in is a very silly basis for pseudo-scientific quantifiable scales. 

                    • Guest

                      Read that reply several times.  Still have no idea you are talking about. You have a Faulkner meets Kinsey writing style. If you could break things up into paragraphs and develop ideas in those paragraphs, it would be helpful.

                      One point is that you apparently are trying to make was that Kinsey’s estimate of bisexuals was too high. Kinsey’s estimate of Kinsey 5′s and 6′s to be 10% of the population was a sad commentary on his scientific integrity. But Kinsey’s poor scientific method on estimation of the Kinsey histogram, if you will, doesn’t take away from the usefulness of the scale.

                    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                      I love how you’re taking Ryan on. I have my popcorn out here as I watch.

                    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                      I love how you’re taking Ryan on. I have my popcorn out here as I watch.

                    • Cerebusboy

                       Firstly, I do not have a Faulknerian prose style (and if I did, it would be deliberate. I’ll happily confess to a  High Church-y love of Mailer and Purple).  Faulkner’s famously said that “I’m not a literary man. I’m just a farmer” (an no, this isn’t arguing from authorial intent as will become apparent, hopefully even to you) and apparently (folksily) believed that coeval meant “evil at the same time as”. Yet his writing itself is (deceptively) complex in a way quite distinct from the simple (and boring) Hemingway-esque flat declarative sentences that might be suggested by such claims. A Faulknerian prose style therefore would be one that appeared to be simple and homespun but was actually extremely complex and semantically elaborate. That is the exact opposite of what you are (mis) characterising my style as.  
                       Although that is of course assuming, as I like to debate in good faith, that you are not just using Faulknerian as an attempted ad hom slam; if you really find my prose above similar to the trickier stream of consciousness passages from (say) The Sound and the Fury then you have either significant holes in your reading comprehension or knowledge of Faulkner’s work (or both). And of course an apparent spontaneously naturalistic “stream of consciousness” that is no such thing (instead, as with Woolf and Joyce’s alleged streams, being highly semantic, structured, pre-planned etc) is a good match for the gulf between the label you pin on piece of writing and what that writing actually is reinforces my points in the paragraph above ( Do  I have to emphasise that I’m not conflating my – no doubt rubbish, but we’re all in the gutter/arguing on the internet – prose style with Faulkner/Joyce/Woolf? Since it’s you, I probably do, so consider it done) You have offered no arguments. You have offered no evidence (unless one counts invoking Kinsey as an attempt at something nobler).  Note above that I ask what evidence you have on the prevalence on bisexuality in a way supportive of the Kinsey scale (cultural evidence pointing as it does toward the primacy of heterosexual desire with gay sexuality the largest alternative opposition to that, the burden of proof is on those who would claim bisexual tendencies – or whatever term you want to use to characterise the phenomena – in far greater levels that appears true).  You replied that you think x. Which is nice and all, but still just a statement of opinion.  See also your statement on Kinsey’s poor scientific method….not taking away the usefulness of his scale. Really? Why not? Logically speaking, it sounds like the sort of thing that very much would? What is this, Simon-Says?   And we have emotive statements like “It is all rubbish.” in lieu of actual arguments or attempted explanations of WHY something is, in your view, rubbish.  Then, hilariously, we have the “Thank you” for inadvertently reaffirming my views card! That is one of the oldest trolling tricks in the book. Rather than engage with points, or even just say that one is sticking to one’s opinion (“I don’t know why you’re wrong but you just are, so I’m sticking with my original opinion”, which is at least honest) just say that responses reaffirm one’s original views! It is the equivalent of someone responding to a list of facts and arguments on the Clinton (or Reagan ) Administration with “Thank you. You make me  remember why I’m a Republican/Democrat”. That is not serious debate. I suspect that your response to that would be “ah, but you’re not WORTH serious debate with!”. Which – even if true (although it would arguably be unfortunate iif a Christian blog started hosting chat  about other imago Dei humans as not being ‘worth’ basic considerations ) is yet another trick of bad “debating”, named here to  head it off at the pass (as farmer Faulkner might, or might not, say). Hopefully the above isn’t too “incomprehensible” to you. 

                    • Cerebusboy

                       Peter – perhaps you could reply on the Mark Driscoll advocates bumming/pegging thread? Am sure that would also lead to hours of popcorn worthy entertainment ;-) 

              • Jsromans6

                A celibate gay person would be a celibate Kinsey 5+. No it’s not all rubbish.

                But it is interesting to read such a unusual perspective on this subject. It’s a useful reminder that people have very different understandings of simple but key words in these debates.

                • Guest

                  LOL. You are not correct. If you would take a few seconds and investigate, Kinsey defined his scale on actions not thoughts. People were assigned a scale value depending on their sexual histories. Kinsey defined an “X” to those who are not sexual.

                  But your innumeracy is interesting. You seem to think that a one can, in reality, assign all people into only integral values of Kinsey’s scale – there are no Kinsey 3.4′s, only 0, 1,…, 6. As Kinsey says, “The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.” He admits the integral scale is only an approximation to the continuum. He certainly wouldn’t deny the subjectivity of trying to assign a value of two or three to a person to a person who had 5 past heterosexual experiences and 2 or 3 homosexual experiences.

                  Interestingly, Kinsey also states, the obvious but heretical, that the Kinsey scale of an individual can be a function of time or “period in his life”.

                  • jsromans6

                    I’ve taken a few seconds and investigated. I must be illiterate as well as innumerate because I was thinking of that bald actor chap who played Gandhi ;)

                    • Cerebusboy

                       lol! No worries, that still compares favorably with “Guest”‘s “knowledge” (!) of literature and psychiatry (of course, it does seem somewhat absurd to me that someone would invoke, pejoratively (!), Faulkner without being aware of the pertinent ironic significance of the “I’m a farmer” quote, so perhaps he’s just being dishonest, as trolls are wont to do)

                        

            • Guest

              The continued indentation is annoying, Peter+. I am restarting here. The narrowness of Cerebusboy’s response, together with the stream of conciousness style makes it looks less Faulknerian and more like the Mouse’s sad tale/tail from Lewis Carroll.

              Cerebusboy actually did divide the response into two paragraphs – well not really two coherent paragraphs but at least he hit the enter key in the middle of it.

              The tangential thought process is actually quite worrisome, e.g., the “coeval, it’s not co-evil, you know” remark. I have known bipolar sufferers that communicate similarly. I looked up “tangential thought” and apparently attention deficit disorder is another possible diagnosis.

              Anyway, the matter is that the notion of “gay celibate” is problematic which is perhaps why Kinsey avoided such pitfalls. In contrast, celibate with predominantly or exclusively same sex attractions avoids the difficulties. One doesn’t need to get into Jeffrey John’s head and explore his sexual fantasies.

              Another example that notion of “gay celibate” is problematic and should be rejected. A couple of years ago, we had the announcement from J.K. Rowling that “Yes. Dumbledore was ‘gay’.” How so? Dumbledore was apparently celibate but years ago he had a man-crush on some other male character whose name I forget. There is no evidence that the affection was requited. So have a man-crush in your teens, be asexual for 70 years, and you are still “gay” in the sense of the word that liberals are trying to push. That way, they can say that, of course, it is OK to be “gay” (in their sense) and be the headmaster of a school. Dumbledore becomes the role model for “gay headmasters” and that parents who have misgivings about a sending their child to a school with openly homosexual teachers are completely in the wrong. I would have no problems sending my child to Hogwarts, aside for problems of the occult! I would have real problems with sending my child to a school which has on staff Obama’s former “safe school” czar, whose name I also thankfully forget. Yes I know. What a hateful bigot.

              • Cerebusboy

                 Ah, so now I’m bipolar! Classic ad-hom. Or possibly I’m ADD. Or perhaps it’s schizophrenia? Or all of the above? Actually, I suspect you’re as misinformed on psychiatric issues as you are on Faulkner (and I have a DSM-IV TR to hand) – let me know if you want to actually discuss, y’know, facts instead of just slinging mud. Can I ask where you looked up “tangential thought”?  I do hope you’re not relying on a wikipedia for your “knowledge” (!) of psychology/psychiatry. 
                 Co-eval was specifically cited as an example of what “Faulknerian” prose style might mean (I did actually study his writing as part of an American Lit course)My apologies that you were and are too (wilfully) stupid to understand such an opaque and highfalutin’ point.  You might want to stick to Harry Potter.  Tangential? Your tactic of, once again, failing to offer any arguments, facts etc , preferring instead ad hom and the flat statement of opinion is tangential in the worst, diversionary sense. 

              • Cerebusboy

                 And here, presented Run-Jane-Run style for your convenience, we have the heart of the matter:

                  And we have emotive statements like “It is all rubbish.” in lieu of actual arguments or attempted explanations of WHY something is, in your view, rubbish. 

                 You have offered no arguments. You have offered no evidence 

                 And here we have some examples of the ‘Guest’ methodoloy:

                 LOL. You are not correct.

                Thank you. You affirm my position 

                Such an inability to even attempt the appearance of reason, analysis and argument suggests that it’s not exactly the current author that’s in need of a ritalin prescription. 

                 

              • Cerebusboy

                 Guest wrote:

                 The tangential thought process is actually quite worrisome, e.g., the “coeval, it’s not co-evil, you know” remark.

                 Unfortunately for you, I did not say anything of the kind, and putting into quotes something which someone did not only  not so but which in no way reflects what they actually said is, again, one of the worst tricks of bad ‘debating’. Are you trying to get a full house on Troll Bingo or something? 

                 And of course we’re only discussing Faulkner because you yourself cited him, despite appearing to know nothing of his writing (if you meant “stream of consciousness” then you should have typed, er, “stream of consciousness” although I suspect you are – swift corrective wikipedia-consulting aside – misinformed about that, as kind of writing, too).  Similarly, I do hope you elaborate about “tangential thought”, a phenomena supposedly broad enough to point to both bipolar derailment and the quite different ADD,  as it will be fun to compare-and-contrast your “knowledge” with the actual facts of DSM-IV-TR and the like (assuming of course that you concede that saying that I remind you of people you know who are bipolar (!) ain’t much of an argument)

              • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/LMH7GXHN6AB52C7IYJGXTGQCZY Will

                As far as I can see, the only difference in meaning between
                a “gay celibate” and a “celibate with predominantly or exclusively same sex
                attractions” might be that the latter simply gives us information about the
                celibate’s sexual attractions, whereas the former also implies that the attitude
                of the celibate in question to his predominantly or exclusively same sex
                attractions is a positive one.

                • Guest

                  Could you clarify, “the former also implies that the attitude of the celibate in question to his predominantly or exclusively same sex attractions is a positive one”? Are you saying that Peter’s use of the phrase gives a positive connotation to Jeffrey John’s same sex attractions?

                  The term also cedes the “intrinsicness” of homosexuality that is not supported by science. There is a very good survey piece that has references works that dispel some of the popular “gay science” notions promulgated by the popular press here:

                  http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/01/same-sex-science

                  In particular, there is a discussion of the “older brother” theory. We have this from the article:

                  “Recently, Bogaert analysed two nationally representative samples and
                  found only an exceptionally weak older-brother effect, but only for
                  same-sex attraction, not for same-sex behavior.”

                  Peter’s phrase blurs same sex behaviour and same sex attractions which the above quote demonstrates is very important to keep.

                  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/LMH7GXHN6AB52C7IYJGXTGQCZY Will

                    I am simply saying that I can see no real difference in meaning
                    between a “gay celibate” and a “celibate with predominantly or exclusively same
                    sex attractions” other than possibly the one that I have suggested. In his book
                    “Society and the Healthy Homosexual” (1972) the psychologist George Weinberg says
                    that to be “gay” implies not merely that one is homosexual, but also that one
                    is “free of shame, guilt, regret over the fact that one is homosexual…. To be
                    gay is to view one’s homosexuality as the healthy heterosexual views his.”

                    I possess no telepathic abilities – at least so far as I am
                    aware – so I am unable to say what Peter was implying by his use of the phrase.
                    Only he can tell you that. I do not see that the phrase says anything one way
                    or the other about the “intrinsicness” of homosexuality, which is a different
                    question. Nor do I see that it “blurs same sex behaviour and same sex
                    attractions.”

              • Cerebusboy

                 Oh, and I’d maintain that :

                 A Faulknerian prose style therefore would be one that appeared to be simple and homespun but was actually extremely complex and semantically elaborate.

                 is true. The “I’m a farmer” quote is often cited when Faulkner’s style is discussed by academics, hence my using it. If you disagree with my characterisation of Faulkner’s style – which I can happily support with reference to the primary works and secondary critical literature – then, by all means, tell me how (although cuttin’ and pastin’ from wikipedia doesn’t count).  If you’re unable to back up your characterisation of what constitutes Faulkner-style prose then perhaps you ought not to have made the comparison? 

                 NB isn’t “Guest” a bit gutless? “Dad” and “Billy” are taken but there’s always the fine-sounding “T.R. Oll” ;-)
                 

              • Cerebusboy

                 To save you some time on wikipedia, O “Guest”, this is from the Norton anthology to American Literature (Volume D), one the set texts (as I’m sure you know. Or not so much) for American Literature courses at major (not just) UK Universities:
                 “He [Faulkner] developed, beyond this ventriloquism, his own unmistakable, narrative voice, urgent, intense, highly rhetorical ” (emphasis mine).  Typing this, I realised that I actually got an A in my 20th Century American Literature exam. Why, how can that be, when my comments are not just incomprehensible (!) but indicative of mental illness (!!). I suppose that academics have magic, gnostic style powers of comprehending the otherwise incomprehensible. Or, alternatively, that you’re engaged in a self-evidently ludicrous form of gutter-ethic smearing. Let the reader decide. 

                 Similarly, please do elaborate on the symptomatology of “tangential thought”. I have the relevant page of DSM-IV TR open as we speak and find no such mention of it. So, too, with the relevant page on ADHD. Do you mean “formal thought disorder” , associated with schizophrenia, which is something quite different? I do hope you’re not doing a quick google say for http://www.google.co.uk/webhp?rlz=1C1CHMR_en-GBNL394&sourceid=chrome-instant&ix=sea&ie=UTF-8&ion=1#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&rlz=1C1CHMR_en-GBNL394&site=webhp&source=hp&q=%22tangential%20thought%22&pbx=1&oq=&aq=&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=&gs_upl=&fp=dd7bc993902da637&ix=sea&ion=1&ix=sea&ion=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=dd7bc993902da637&biw=1280&bih=610&ix=sea&ion=1  and then proceeding to “diagnose” (!) strangers on the internet (!!) who have the temerity to point out the flaws in your (let’s be kind) rhetoric? Quick hint: to diagnose, to give one example, autism, say, one must score 40 points on a variety of criteria, quite distinct from checking off some found-on-the-internet ‘criteria’ – even if one has the correct criteria, which you have not (as can be evidenced by the hilarious idea that symptoms can present as bipolar and ADHD – you might want to check out “Differential Diagnosis” when you’re getting up to speed) 

                 I’m sure that the people you know with bipolar are delighted to be affiliated with someone whose knowledge of mental illness appears to match his “knowledge” of literature and debating like a grown up (101)

              • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                I have known bipolar sufferers that communicate similarly. I looked up “tangential thought” and apparently attention deficit disorder is another possible diagnosis. 

                We really don’t need to be attempting to diagnose mental disorders in fellow commenters. Perhaps an apology and we can move on.

                • Cerebusboy

                   Ah, over 24 hours and still no apology from the troll. Doubtless we’ll be in for a new iteration of “Guest” or “Billy” or “Dad” in a few weeks or so.  If he’s incapable of behaving like a decent human being then perhaps he could stop invoking things like literature and psychiatry that he has neither understanding nor knowledge of?  It’s a shame he ran off like a coward instead of exposing the depths of his (willful)  ignorance (still waiting for some elaboration on the apparently Bipolar *and* ADHD denoting (!) “tangential thought”, curiously lacking from, you know, proper psychiatric textbooks, and hopefully some wikipedia/Googing will show that my Faulkner points were commonsensical, oft-made and pertinent even if, like most allusions, they went a-sailing over his selectively vacous head..The co-eval example is lest frequently made than the “I’m just a farmer” ironic juxtaposition, but I think someone feigning ignorance of Faulkner would have at least heard of the latter, suggesting that he is being willfully obtuse as trolls tend to be..) Of course, we’re all just sinners, but you’ll recall that any time I’ve been told I’m out of line I’ve immediately held my hands up… (good going for a supposedly reality-divorced bipolar poster, eh? ;-))

                  • Guest

                    troll, indecent, coward, ignorance, obtuse, vacous [sic], gutless,…and I am audaciously accused of ad hominem.

                    But I withdraw my observation and speculative diagnoses.

                    • Cerebusboy

                       Actually, I justified all those comments based on what you wrote. They are not judgments necessarily on you as a person (contrast with your Troll, M.D. (or not so much) “diagnosis” of a mental illness in another commentator). For all I know you’re a lovely human being when not making cowardly, dishonest, anonymous comments on the internet.

                        For example, I referred to your tactic of putting into quotation marks a comment that not only I did not say but which also does not reflect my views. Do you deny that such a tactic is a trolling one, irrespective of the ideology team served by the person who happens to be doing it?

                       And apologies for the “vacous” typo! Guess that must be indicative of a mental disorder too. But which one? Perhaps Pica? Or Intermittent Explosive Disorder? Or Schizotypal Disorder (Schizotypal *Personality* Disorder in Europe’s ICD-10 but I’m sure you knew that)? All the above combined? I note that withdrawing a comment is not the same thing as an apology. Please do not feel like you have to “withdraw” the comments made on your hilarious ‘understanding’ of psychiatry (some – hopefully in a form you’ll understand – hints: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADHD#Differential
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_disorder )

                       And do you stand by your Faulkner points? Please do also elaborate on them too. You’ll see that I cited relevant critical literature above. No doubt you’ll have googled enough by now (or are perhaps just making up crap on the fly and hoping nobody notices. Neither would surprise me) to see the prevalence of the “I’m just a farmer” quote as an ironic counterpoint to the highly structured rhetorical complexity that Faulkner’s writing – even, or perhaps especially, the “stream of consciousness” style perhaps best exemplified in The Sound and the Fury that you presumably trying to cite  pejoratively – entails. The coeval line is less common, admittedly, (although I note that, in English Literature exams, finding pertinent quotations that deviate from the beaten track is held as a good thing, perhaps because exam scripts tend not to be marked by trolls) , but it was judiciously cited by Gore Vidal and remains an excellent summary of a style of writing that can be popularly misunderstood as apparently dumb, non-scholarly naturalistic and folksy that is in reality highly structured and referential (note also that the comment serves to flag up the fallacy of authorial intent, again emphasizing its usefulness, said fallacy regarded as one of the most common heresies to avoid in (not just) modern American literature) . I’m guessing that your depth of trolling still would not extent to pretending to have not heard of Vidal nor be unaware of his significance in 20th century American Literature (albeit primarily as an essayist expounding on other writers; although,like Mailer, his absence from the Norton Anthologies of American Literature – generally regarded as reflective of the American Lit. Canon – owes much to copyright/competing publishing issues). 

                      Of course Vidal’s radicalism means that many of his literary judgments are contrary to said canon (c.f. his famous evisceration of the works of John Updike) but that doesn’t negate the accuracy of his characterizations of the style of particular writers, irrespective of the fact that, in interpreting a particular style, it becomes obvious that some things that Vidal regards as literary vices are regarded by academia and the canon as virtues (and vice/versa)

                       Communication is a two-way process, so perhaps next time a common, pertinent allusion goes flying over your head you could abstain from accusing the author of manifesting mental illness (!) as a cover for your own, deliberate, pernicious ignorance and misunderstanding? 

              • Jill

                Let me refresh your memory, Guest.  It was Kevin Jennings, and you can read about him here:

                http://www.onenewsnow.com/Perspectives/Default.aspx?id=848580

  • Cerebusboy

     Are there *any* C of E clergy being put forward for the Bishop of Edinburgh job? Here in Scotland we had a gay bishop in Glasgow ages ago, so am not sure that John not being long-listed is a snub (calculated or otherwise) 

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Nope. We’re all snubbing you in response to this independence nonsense.

      • Cerebusboy

         As a monarchy loving Rangers fan a distaste for scotch independence is another point of agreement between us, Peter! (it’s a miracle! ;-))

         More seriously, I do think any objections to a C of E candidate – Jeffrey John or anyone else – becoming Bishop of Edinburgh are more to do with local clergy or laity (and let me stress that I’m only speculating here) not wanting ‘carpetbaggers’ to get the cushy SEC jobs.  A priest coming from the C of E to do the same job in Scotland is one thing, swooping in to be the head of diocese -or even country – they’ve never actually served in quite another. Any ‘controversy’ on John not being short/long listed for Edinburgh is therefore an artificially created non-story. 

         +Gene Robinson for Bishop of Edinburgh might be cool tho… ;-) 

        • Bishop Alan Wilson

          May I just say from the outside but with some knowledge that I agree entirely with your analysis of the needs of the city of my birth, and your conclusion that “any ‘controversy’ on John not being short/long listed for Edinburgh is therefore an artificially created non-story.” You can find out who the short listed candidates are in the diocesan website, and there is a purely English candidate, who is entirely entitled to stand and see how the electors to the see understand their own needs in these terms. We’ll see. But the Independent seems to have been under the misapprehension that there is any parallel between Scottish and English systems in these matters – which there ain’t.

          • Cerebusboy

             Thanks, +Alan (not sure if it’s still ‘Your Grace’ or not for bishops south of the border!)

            • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

              It really depends how sycophantic you want to be. I remember one person once floating around the current Bishop of London calling him “Your Grace” with every sentence he spoke. Eventually Chartres gave him a “you really DON’T need to do that” kind of stare that only Chartres can do.

              • Cerebusboy

                lol! In fairness, I suppose the “+” is hard to communicate in verbal communication, and there’s a difference between a person in authority preferring an informal approach (As with Prime Minister “Call me Tony” Blair) and others merely assuming that everyone should call everyone else by their first names (one wonder how ++Richard would react to being called “Dick”, Fr.Dougal to “Len” style!)

                 Personally I’d find it hard to avoid “what is thy bidding, my master?” type quotations ;-)…

                • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                  I don’t think +Richard is ++Richard yet. Wait for Rowan to resign first…

                  • Cerebusboy

                     Mea culpa. The world of clerical titles (and dress!) is confusing ;-) 

                  • Cerebusboy

                     Although I see that, according to wikipedia, it’s  “The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres KCVO” [shouldn't it be Professor?] which, if anything, makes “Your Grace” seem like small beer!

  • Sue

    What about a bishop who is heterosexual, has had only his wife as a sexual partner but had sex with her outside marriage but is not prepared to “repent” of that - perhaps feels it was right for them at that time or simply that such a requirement is demeaning and intrusive?

     What about a bishop who is heterosexual but campaigns for change in the Church’s current position on homosexuality?

     What about a bishop who is gay, has always been celibate and will conform his sexual practice to that of the church, but will also campaign for that position to change?

    I think the list will go on. All who will be left are straight conservatives and  the closeted gay bishops!

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Are those serious questions Sue? If so, these are the answers, if not, why ask them?

      i) I think such a bishop is in a place of rebellion against God. The Scriptures clearly teach to “keep pure the marriage bed” and his refusal to acknowledge his failure to do that is detrimental.
      ii) That was kind of covered in the John Richardson piece – no problems
      iii) Once again, not a problem with that. Such bishops might already exist.

      • Sue

        Yes, they are serious questions! People are at different places at different times in their lives. It is quite possible for someone to have begun a sexual relationship outside of marriage and look back on it and realise that, although it might not be what they would do now, they learnt and grew from it- and it was still a part of their relationship with the lovely person they are now married to! They might feel their thoughts on this were a matter for private reflection and between them and God, not for “public confession” and “repentance before men”. And I would totally agree with them! But then I value the spirit of the law and you are a “rules” person!

        • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

          Don’t make this a “grace vs law” thing. That’s a cheap way of tarring me with a particular brush. Remember, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments”. That’s a pretty clear instruction that being a disciple does not mean that you can just do what you want.

          Let’s return to your hypothetical couple. If they are just ordinary members of the congregation, then yes you’re absolutely right – they made a mistake, it was sinful (because remember sin is about offending God, not out sensibilities), they regret it but they older and wiser. If someone was to ask them what their opinion of it now was, they would say that it was wrong, but they have realised that. Of course, if they refuse to recognise it was sinful then they are in a place of defiance against God, but if it’s not a current wilful sin then I’m not sure their pastor can do much about it.

          And yes you’re right, the sex between them may have been part of their growth in intimacy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not sinful.

          Now, imagine this couple is one where the man is a Bishop. Now we are into different territory. This isn’t just a matter of private interpretation, this is about representing the church. The pastorals tell us

          The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
          (1 Timothy 3:1-3 ESV)

          So a bishop who was unrepentant about previous sin is not in any way “above reproach”. Far from it – he can constantly be challenged that his approach to sin is not in order and that he must recognise his prior sinful behaviour.

          • Cerebusboy

             would it be unhelpful to say that amount of time conservative superstar +NT Wrong spends jetting about on lucrative speaking tours (rather than attending to his diocese) arguably suggests a “lover of money”, and that, more broadly speaking, sexual issues are given a degree of scrutiny in prospective bishops in a way the other aspects are not (and of course, I quite agree that the correct response might be a tightening of the other points, not a loosening of the sexual one) ?

             I’m sure that there’s plenty of bishops – from the See of Peter down – who might be known (albeit anecdotally) for losing their temper (say) but (given that nobody’s perfect) that is hardly proof of them not possessing “self-control” or a nature more gentle than violent.  As for ‘drunkard’ – of course not everyone who drinks too much fits the picture of someone falling about in the street (plainly not behaviour becoming of a clergyperson), but the clergy, are like doctors, not exactly characterised by an avoidance of excessive alcohol intake. And ‘respectable’, in the C of E at least, has historically surely been interpreted in the most classist of senses (i.e. oxbridge educated, affluent, from a ‘good backround’) , and the implication that ‘biblical’ values are the same ones that get one into Whites or the MCC is surely highly problematic. And, wouldn’t many an evangelical say that, due to our politically correct society, that they are not ‘respected’ by the wider world in a way they should? Does Timothy just mean ‘respected’ by a particular kind of people, or a number or both? Those in the church or out? Doesn’t that raise the  problem of a populist candidate winning out over the candidate who, biblically, speaks uncomfortable truth that people might not want to hear? And so forth.  

            • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

              One might suggest that it was for that very reason NT Wright (there really is no reason for you to use a derogatory name for him) stepped down as Bishop of Durham, though I think it was less to do with being a lover of money and more to do with him wanting to think, speak and share.

              • Cerebusboy

                 
                 Is there not a problem in the fact that, as none of us are privy to +NT Wright’s conscience, we have no way of knowing whether your interpretation of his motives or the one I invoked is true? The polite thing to do would be to go with the most charitable interpretation of course, but that surely becomes problematic when Timothy is spelling out a list of episcopal no-nos (suggesting that we should er very much on the side of caution).

                  Tangentially, the sign in the picture above is hilarious. Jesus never ordained non-Jews or brits either, so that’s the C of E rubber ducked! ;-) 

                • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                  It is a rather amusing picture isn’t it?

                  Tell you what, go through the list and tell me which criteria you think N T Wright doesn’t fit, and why. We can work from there.

                  • Cerebusboy

                    If he’s stepped down it doesn’t really matter, does it? My point is on the difficulty – if not impossibility – of giving a proof texted list of criteria when (you can’t prove a negative…) in practice sexual issues are the only ones that appear to be taken literally.  Don’t you have to be a priest to be a bishop? As such, haven’t you already demonstrated an ability to preach? Are candidates asked how many dinner posted (say) they’ve hosted recently to tick off the “hospitable” criteria? Not having any objections to celibate (as opposed to married) bishops is already a move away from the most literal interpretation of the passage. What of the listed criteria does Jeffrey John fail? You could say that he has (in your view) taught things contrary to church teaching but (as with ++Rowan) that hardly means he lacks the ability “to teach” orthodoxy (Paris is worth a mass!). And the passage says “above reproach” – i.e. referring to the hear and now – not “has never been beneath reproach” 

                    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                      Oh, you’re just dodging the issue on Tom Wright. Either tell us where you think he failed on the criteria of overseer, or drop the matter and admit you were wrong.

                      As for the number of wives, the Greek is couched in such a term as to make singleness perfectly acceptable. It is the multiplicity of wives that is the issue, not whether you do or don’t have one. Ryan, it’s rather silly to raise those kind of straw men because they don’t last five minutes.

                      As for “above reproach”, I think that easily applies not just to current actions but current thoughts with respect to previous actions.

                      What things on the list does JJ “fail”? You mis-state the idea that the list has an issue with his teaching on this matter – it doesn’t raise the issue and as I and John Richardson have both pointed out that is not a good line of argument in opposition to JJ – straw man again. But if you want specifics as to what I think are the reasons others in a position of authority might object, I would suggest they would go for attitude towards previous sexual behaviour and focus of unity. Pointing that out is not the same as saying I think those are the points he should be opposed on, rather it’s observing where I think the debate will go.

                    • Cerebusboy

                       It’s not a straw man. The point about Wright is that someone could, at the very least, mount an argument that he *is* a lover of money, but you know and I know that most of that Timothy passage is not interpreted with the same level of literal strictness as the sexual parts supposedly are. And see also my point about losing of temper.  Yourself and John Richard are hardly (no offence) the Voice of the Conservative Movement, and if you deny that at least some of the objections against John becoming a bishop are related to his sexual orientation then you are I think deluding yourself. 

                       And the multiplicity of wives is still someone one could cite in relation to all those polygamous, conservative african bishops. 

          • Sue

            Why do you say it is cheap? It is not my intention to use cheap tactics, simply to say what I think and feel on this issue. I think for the Church to go down the road of requiring the disclosure, confession and repentance for specific acts within the sexual histories of all bishops would be ungracious and humiliating and very far from showing the love of Christ. It would also be a new requirement (brought in why exactly…) and very difficult to police. What would count as a sexual sin? Is fornication just penetration or do other acts of sexual or intimate expression count? What about the use of pornography? What about  lustful thoughts about people other than your spouse -seeing as Christ says this IS adultery? It also gives the impression that the Church sees sexual sin as existing in a special category to be judged and “policed” above our many other, less visible, but often more grievious sins. I think the idea is utterly barking !

            • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

              But if you’re a bishop AND you have been public about previous sin, is it not in the remit of those appointing you to assess your attitude towards that sin nowadays?

              So the issue isn’t necessarily specifically to do with sexual sin but rather any sin. For example, if a Bishop-nominee had been a serial gambler, you would expect some evidence not only of reformation of character but also acceptance of guilt? Or do you not agree? Would you be happy to have someone as a Bishop who was an unrepentant sinner? 

              • Sue

                I am sure there are many sins that we commit that we don’t repent of, perhaps because we are oblivous to the planks in our own eyes! So I guess I do have priests and bishops who are “unrepentant sinnners”. I would think there were more important things about my priest or bishop than whether he or she had been a serial gambler, an alcholic, whatever.I’d hate to see them have to publicly “repent” of anything like that. I’d consider it very much a matter between them and God and I would not consider their sin a primary concern of mine. My concern should be my own relationship with God and my own sinfulness.

          • Sue

            1 Timothy 3 I believe should be seen as offering us very wise ideas about the general good standing and integrity (which incidentally I believe Jeffrey John has in plenty) that someone in a position of responsibility should have. I would suggest however that none of us are entirely “above reproach”.  I know that I am not and I have never met any human being who was!

            • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

              I think some of us are above reproach, or at least can attempt to be. This is the whole purpose of mutual accountability. And this is not the same as demanding perfection, rather it is demanding honesty, transparency AND taking responsibility.

              Either 1 Tim 3 means what it means OR it means nothing.

              • Sue

                Well, I think all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Peter:) Attempting (but necessarily failing) to live our lives with the utmost integrity is a different matter – but I think Jeffrey John does try to live his life with integrity. He is not an “unrepentant sinnner” in that, whether you agree with him or not, he is not knowingly sinning – he does not believe a loving relationship with someone of the same sex to be sinful – I agree with him.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/LMH7GXHN6AB52C7IYJGXTGQCZY Will
    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      No it’s not. It’s terribly naive and just goes over the old accusation that this is only about homophobia and the fact JJ is gay and nothing else.

  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

    It’s not a straw man. The point about Wright is that someone could, at the very least, mount an argument that he *is* a lover of money, but you know and I know that most of that Timothy passage is not interpreted with the same level of literal strictness as the sexual parts supposedly are. And see also my point about losing of temper.  Yourself and John Richard are hardly (no offence) the Voice of the Conservative Movement, and if you deny that at least some of the objections against John becoming a bishop are related to his sexual orientation then you are I think deluding yourself. 

     And the multiplicity of wives is still someone one could cite in relation to all those polygamous, conservative african bishops.

    Carrying on here as we’re running out of space above Ryan.

    I don’t deny for the moment some objections in some quarters against JJ are simply down to the fact he is gay. Yes, those responses are homophobic.

    Whilst John Richardson and myself are not the voice of the Conservative Movement, we are trying to influence where appropriate and help people have a constructive and coherent approach to the issue.

    Would love to know who these polygamous african bishops are! Don’t know of a single one myself. You’ll have to provide a modicum of evidence.

  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

    It’s not a straw man. The point about Wright is that someone could, at the very least, mount an argument that he *is* a lover of money, but you know and I know that most of that Timothy passage is not interpreted with the same level of literal strictness as the sexual parts supposedly are. And see also my point about losing of temper.  Yourself and John Richard are hardly (no offence) the Voice of the Conservative Movement, and if you deny that at least some of the objections against John becoming a bishop are related to his sexual orientation then you are I think deluding yourself. 

     And the multiplicity of wives is still someone one could cite in relation to all those polygamous, conservative african bishops.

    Carrying on here as we’re running out of space above Ryan.

    I don’t deny for the moment some objections in some quarters against JJ are simply down to the fact he is gay. Yes, those responses are homophobic.

    Whilst John Richardson and myself are not the voice of the Conservative Movement, we are trying to influence where appropriate and help people have a constructive and coherent approach to the issue.

    Would love to know who these polygamous african bishops are! Don’t know of a single one myself. You’ll have to provide a modicum of evidence.

  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

    It’s not a straw man. The point about Wright is that someone could, at the very least, mount an argument that he *is* a lover of money, but you know and I know that most of that Timothy passage is not interpreted with the same level of literal strictness as the sexual parts supposedly are. And see also my point about losing of temper.  Yourself and John Richard are hardly (no offence) the Voice of the Conservative Movement, and if you deny that at least some of the objections against John becoming a bishop are related to his sexual orientation then you are I think deluding yourself. 

     And the multiplicity of wives is still someone one could cite in relation to all those polygamous, conservative african bishops.

    Carrying on here as we’re running out of space above Ryan.

    I don’t deny for the moment some objections in some quarters against JJ are simply down to the fact he is gay. Yes, those responses are homophobic.

    Whilst John Richardson and myself are not the voice of the Conservative Movement, we are trying to influence where appropriate and help people have a constructive and coherent approach to the issue.

    Would love to know who these polygamous african bishops are! Don’t know of a single one myself. You’ll have to provide a modicum of evidence.

  • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

    It’s not a straw man. The point about Wright is that someone could, at the very least, mount an argument that he *is* a lover of money, but you know and I know that most of that Timothy passage is not interpreted with the same level of literal strictness as the sexual parts supposedly are. And see also my point about losing of temper.  Yourself and John Richard are hardly (no offence) the Voice of the Conservative Movement, and if you deny that at least some of the objections against John becoming a bishop are related to his sexual orientation then you are I think deluding yourself. 

     And the multiplicity of wives is still someone one could cite in relation to all those polygamous, conservative african bishops.

    Carrying on here as we’re running out of space above Ryan.

    I don’t deny for the moment some objections in some quarters against JJ are simply down to the fact he is gay. Yes, those responses are homophobic.

    Whilst John Richardson and myself are not the voice of the Conservative Movement, we are trying to influence where appropriate and help people have a constructive and coherent approach to the issue.

    Would love to know who these polygamous african bishops are! Don’t know of a single one myself. You’ll have to provide a modicum of evidence.

  • Pingback: Gay rights v church rites: Get Religion, January 17, 2012 « Conger

  • http://sammymorse.livejournal.com/ Gerry Lynch

    You’re divi

  • http://sammymorse.livejournal.com/ Gerry Lynch

    You’re dividing the categories up the wrong way. The Church of England position is actually the following.

    Teaches homosexuality is wrong: in this case, no-one much cares what you
    get up to between the bedclothes. You could be shacking up with a
    different partner every night of the week thanks to Gaydar or its
    heterosexual equivalents, but no-one is going to poke around to closely
    as long as are you are discreet and pay obesience to Issues in Human
    Sexuality in public.

    Takes the liberal line on homosexuality and is straight: you are a lucky
    man – you get to be on the side of the angels in public and have a
    happy family life. You have won the Church of England episcopal jackpot.
    Congratulations!

    Takes the liberal line on homosexuality and is gay: we’re really
    interested in what goes on in this person’s bedroom. Even if he has been
    a lifelong celibate, we’re not sure we want him about the place unless
    he’s willing to impose that on other people, and if he’s ever at any
    point in the past had sex with his partner and won’t disown that, he’s
    out the window.

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of the gay issue, it’s the inequality in
    treatment between the latter two categories that will form the basis of
    any halfway competent lawyer’s case. Given the liberal bent of the
    courts on equality issues, they’ll probably win as well. And do
    remember, unlike our blooming old C of I, the Church of England is an
    established church. Kind of hard to work out what basis they sustain
    permanent breaches of the law.

    The only get out for conservatives is if they also start to bar liberal
    heterosexuals from becoming Bishops, and we all know that will split the
    Church of England in such a way that they definitely end up outside it -
    with no property and no pensions – so that isn’t going to happen.
    Thanks to the courts, ‘we’ will ‘win’ and ‘conservatives’ will ‘lose’
    and the soggy middle of the House of Bishops will probably be delighted
    that the courts have helped them out of actually having to take a stand
    for what they believe in.

    If conservatives can see a way out of that conundrum for themselves, I’m all ears!

  • Robert Marshall

    I’m puzzled, you say

    Would there be a way that they (the Changing Attitude hypothetical bishops) could fall within the confines of the
    legal consideration outlined above and yet Jeffrey John wouldn’t? Let’s
    lay out some scenarios.

    and then address the points in the legal advice in the abstract, I don’t see how you know if any of those clauses apply to any of the current bishops!

    • (We are all) Guest(s)

      I agree.

      Cleric 1 (Rowan Williams): Heterosexual (having never engaged in homosexual sex) who says to his parishioners, “YOU don’t need to repent of YOUR homosexuality, it is natural, and that ‘gay
      relationships can reflect the love of God in the same manner as Christian
      marriage’.”

      Cleric 2 (Jeffrey John): Celibate, not engaging in any sexual relations, but having had homosexual sex in the past who says to his gay parishioners, “WE don’t need to repent of OUR homosexuality, it is natural, and that ‘gay
      relationships reflect the love of God in the same manner as Christian
      marriage’.”

      So one can be the ABp of Canterbury and the other can’t be bishop of some small, dying liberal diocese? If this is the position that conservatives in the COE are trying to defend, it is time to pack it up and go home. You have already lost.

      • Cerebusboy

         Surely the greater significance of ++Rowan is that he *was* a liberal but he sacrificed that to get/as a consequence of The Big Chair? I’ve read more than one wag describe it as “The Palpatine Manoeuvre” and it still seems very strange that people genuinely view his leadership (such as it is) of the Anglican Communion as befitting the liberal agenda. From a liberal perspective ++Rowan is surely, at best, a Clinton-style triangulator who arguably got some liberal votes under false pretences! 

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Either I have no idea what I’m talking about or I have every idea what I’m talking about. You decide what you think.

      • Robert Marshall

        So for your comment on this point

        whether he had expressed repentance for any previous same-sex sexual activity;

        you are saying that for every current serving bishop you know that those who appointed them know whether there had been any previous same-sex sexual activity (whatever that means) and that they – those bishops – have expressed repentance for it.
        I’ve decided!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/LMH7GXHN6AB52C7IYJGXTGQCZY Will

    Sorry for the typo. The last sentence of my penultimate paragraph should, of course, have read:

    “To be gay is to view one’s SEXUALITY as the healthy heterosexual views his.” 

    • Guest

      Thanks, for the clarification. I had not heard that definition of “gay”. When using the term as you do, you certainly need to ignore the entire weight of medical science. I suppose that Peter, when using the term, does not feel that the term carries the implication that you do, but perhaps he is aware that there are many(?) people that do – a good reason to use the use more neutral terms.

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/LMH7GXHN6AB52C7IYJGXTGQCZY Will

        “When using the term [gay] as you do, you certainly need to ignore the entire weight of medical science.”

        Do I? I think not.

        • Cerebusboy

           Don’t be surprised, Will. Guest’s “understanding” of “medical science” is encapsulated by his “knowledge” (!) of psychiatry/clinical psychology (am still waiting for an elaboration on the symptomatology of “tangential thought”, which can apparently denote both ADHD and bipolar (!). This certainly doesn’t accord with any pre-existing textbooks such as the DSM-IV TR. Perhaps “Guest” has received advanced knowledge of what will be in the DSM V. Or he’s simply making up crap and hoping nobody calls him on it. I report, you decide). 

           Of course, dishonesty is, from a Christian perspective, worse than the telling of truth-as-I-perceive-it-to-the-best-of-my-ability. It’s certainly probablle that someone wanting to highfalutingly’ refer to stream of consciousness in the pejorative sense would google, and then opt for Faulkner instead of #1 and #2 (Joyce and Woolf) on a list of authors who used the technique. Yet such “research” would also have required glancing at summaries of what Faulkner’s writing involves and responses to it, which certainly (on any level of research other than the “five minute  google”) would have led to discovering the “I am a farmer” quote and its usefulness as an ironic juxtaposition to the high rhetorical complexity that Faulkner’s writing actually involves. The co-eval example is easily understandable in that context. Guest’s “ignorance” on this point is a bit like someone citing Wilde, and not only claiming to not having heard of Wilde’s “All art is quite useless” quotation, but accusing someone citing it of irrelevancy to the point of mental illness (!).

            Looks like this thread has died down, consistent with ‘Guest’s’ chap-door-and-run-away trollish MO. No doubt another variation on “Dad” “Billy” “Guest” “(Obnoxious) Guest (Who Just Wont Leave)” will be around in a week or so (there’s nothing like something to look forward to, and that is, indeed, nothing like something to….;-))

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