Same Sex Blessing in Scotland

Anglican Mainstream is reporting that a same-sex blessing took place on Sunday 23rd (just passed), conducted by the Provost of Glasgow. From the Provost’s own blog, the following:

Today I celebrated a Eucharist in circumstances which were new to me but which felt old and traditional all the same. A new addition to the range of things that human beings have wanted to mark with the sharing of the bread of heaven and the wine of new life. Today it was in celebration of a Civil Partnership between two people whom I have come to know through my work.

As I helped the two men through their vows and then served communion to them and their friends in thanksgiving, I knew the Eucharist of old. And I knew the Eucharist afresh. I know Christ at that meal every time. Today it was knowing him holding the beloved disciple in his arms as he shared with his friends on his last night and as he has done at every Eucharist since.

I have some questions that I think Rowan Williams should answer:

  • Has he been in contact with the House of Bishops in Scotland to inquire as to whether they were aware of this? Have same-sex blessings been authorised in Scotland? In the Provost’s Diocese?
  • Given that the Primates of the Global South are already responding to the American House of Bishop’s communiqué with a resounding voice that TEC have not agreed to halt all same-sex blessings and that therefore they have rejected the Dar Es Salaam demands, what does he think this action and the inability of the Bishops of Scotland to discipline the Provost will do for the unity of the Communion?
  • Is Lambeth 1998 1:10 dead in the water or only the parts of the resolution that don’t ask for a Listening Process?

Do you think I’ll get a reply?

Update : Kelvin (the Provost has responded in the comments below (thanks Kelvin) and Ruth G has picked up on it as well.

35 Comments on “Same Sex Blessing in Scotland

  1. Sorry Kirstin – I mixed you up Kimberly who has also been contributing – K & K – confusing…

    The point about paedophilia and homosexuality still stands – yes they are different things but we can’t make moral judgements and create ethical frameworks to handle them using different methodologies. The question still stands:

    If someone in a paedophilic relationship exhibits fruit of the spirit and claims not be abused, is that relationship moral?

    This is not a hypothetical question.

    • Peter it happens to the best of us, no worries –

      The Church is not above the law of the land, and paedophilia regardless of whether it is male/male, female/female or male/female is against the law.

      With regard to an ethical framework, any sexual relationship should be within a loving environment between consenting partners of a legal age. I would refer you back to a previous comment I made

      Jesus asked ‘…is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?’ This stands true whatever day of the week it may, or may not be. If the actions of a person destroy and harm another person then I could not and would not condone it.

      That framework, in my view stands for all relationships, regardless of age and of whether or not a sexual dimension exists.

      However I still do not think that is what you are actually asking as you say

      If someone in a paedophilic relationship exhibits fruit of the spirit and claims not be abused, is that relationship moral?

      A statement which, for me, needs some clarification before I could answer it. I suspect you are not thinking of a 5 year old child and a 47 year old adult, but I do not want to presume what you are actually trying to ask. To put it simply are you asking is under aged sex immoral, or paedophilia? I suspect you are not raising this question in relationship to a 15 year old girl and a 16 year old boy, although why would the same ethical framework not be used. Does the person claim not to be abused because they don’t know any differently, or because they are an older teenager who is still under age legally but has made a personal choice? Also I am slightly confused as to what point you are trying to make with introducing the fruit of the Spirit, why would the fruits of the Spirit not exist in someone just because they were not aware that they were being abused?

      I am not trying to duck the question I just want to know what question actually is.

      • The specific case I’m thinking of is ebophilic. The younger male is (was) 13 and the older in his 20s.

        As to your first point, can you direct me to a Biblical passage that agrees with your statement that a sexual relationship should be:

        within a loving environment between consenting partners of a legal age

        You quote Jesus, but what if someone comes back to you based on that (eg. the 13 yo above) and says “Yes – I am not being harmed. Bless this relationship”?

  2. Kirstin writes:
    ‘ ..nowhere in the Bible are we called to go and judge others.. ‘

    So 1 Cor 5 11-13, for example, is not in the Bible?

    It says there: ‘ ..I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of Christian brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater…No you must not so much as eat with such a person…Is it not those inside the church upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment?…Drive out that wicked one from among you – expel him from your church.’

    However you wriggle and squirm, this and the scriptures I have already quoted show clearly that there are situations where we are definately called as Christians you make a judgment on certain bahaviour and, far from blessing it, to stand against that behaviour and those guilty of it for so long as they persist.

    Jesus ‘judged’ the woman caught in adultery and those using the temple for pure commerce and told them (forcefully in the latter case) to stop it.

    How else is it possible to make a stand against the spread of immorality and evil within the church? To love without judging between right and wrong, and never to oppose those guilty of habitual, open, and flagrant sinning is to deprive Christianity of its moral dimension.. a dimension that clearly matters a great deal to God.

    Paul insisted that the church do its job of judging those within the community of faith who have deviated from Biblical norms. Anything less would be unloving. You, in contrast seem to think it loving to let them just carry on – even if, as in the case of homosex, this could lead to their eternal separation from God. That’s a funny idea of what loving is!

    I am sorry, but a position like yours is just what is making the C of E a laughing stock in the eyes of so many who are looking to it to give a clear moral lead in society.

    • David – I am not wriggling and squirming, I am sitting quite comfortably with God. We are not called to judge others, Jesus did, can and will judge others. To assume that because I refuse to judge others means that I condone behaviour that is un-Christian is laughable as those who know me will attest to. Love sometimes has to be tough, but that does not mean we judge others, as Jesus said when dealing with the woman caught in adultery, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” and he neither threw a stone himself nor condemned her.

      I stand by what I said we are called to love not to judge, to do otherwise would be putting ourselves above our Lord.

      You ask how else it is possible? Galatians 5:19-26
      Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.

      And by the way who said I had anything to do with, or would want to have anything to do with the Church of England?

  3. Peter – An ethical framework is just that a framework, and like it or not is not made up of a series of Biblical texts. So I am not going to point you to a text but simply remind you of the facts, Biblical and otherwise. We are called to love, we live in a society were there is a legal age and our relationships, all our relationships, should be Christ’s like.

    The gender of the people concerned doesn’t matter, at 13 a crime is being committed, end of story. Or are you suggesting that if it was a 13 year old girl, there is no ethical or moral dilemia?

      • You are now talking hypothetically again and you know I wont answer such questions. I notice that you answer none!

        • Kirstin, that’s a cop-out (oh, and “good morning” by the way). Your response to the ethical framework I asked for was to give three key factors:

          i) We are called to love
          ii) we live in a society were there is a legal age
          iii) our relationships, all our relationships, should be Christ’s like

          Now, all I’m doing is inquiring whether all three of those criteria are robust reasons to make a judgement. It seems to me that if you use (ii) as a reason to object to paedophilic relationships (that they are below the societal age of consent) then surely if the societal age of consent changes to 12 the relationship becomes moral?

          Let me put this very clearly. Let’s say, using your criteria you analyse a relationship between a 14yo and an 18yo to be loving and Christ like (your 1st and 3rd criteria) but to fail on criteria 2. If society were of a different mind (that the age of consent should be 12) would you then say the relationship was moral?

          What about the same question but the ages concerned are now 13 and 30?

          You see, I think the reason why you refuse to answer this question is because you realise your second criteria doesn’t work. You only hold to it (ii – legal age on consent) as long as in your conscience it still fits criteria i and iii. And that’s OK, because that’s exactly the stance I also take, but this does mean that we shouldn’t use the age of consent as an argument in our construction of an ethical framework on this issue.

          Do you see my point?

          As for whether hypothetical questions shouldn’t be answered, well, any ethics exam for a university degree in Biblical Theology is going to do exactly that – ask hypothetical questions. It’s how we test people’s understanding and reasononing – hypotheticals are the way we thrash out whether our ethical frameworks are any good. If you don’t want to argue hypotheticals then you’re actually saying you simply don’t want to discuss ethics.

          • It is not a cop out it is a fact, a fact you may not like but one never the less. I will not answer hypothetical questions on the web. This is not a theological exam when the subject matter would be clearly spelt out and the set question would not change. Different questions need different answers, no question, or situation even one that may seem the same from the outside can be answered with the same answer; our answers, yours and mine are always given from our ethical framework, not as some rubber stamp prepared before hand and brought out of the drawer when a particualr set of circumstances present themselves. For example in the past I have declined to conduct a marriage rite; although both individuals fell inside that framework I previously eluded to. The thing with ethics and morals is there is no one answer, maybe life would be simpler if there was but there isn’t.

            If you are asking would I vote in favour of the lowering of the age of consent I would say no, but that isn’t what you are asking.

            So let me see if I have this right, you take the same veiw as me with regard to age of consent, yet say that it shouldn’t be used in an ethical and moral framework. That would seem to imply that age should not be considered in morals and ethics. Now up to a point I might be able to agree, but not when it comes to a sexual relationship. Surely you aren’t suggesting that then with regard to age and sex their is no moral or ethical framework?

            To suggest, as you seem to be, that an ethical framework is set in stone is a nonsense, you yourself are an example of how such frameworks change during our lifetimes, mine certainly has; and I for one am open to God revealing more to me and maybe changing them again, are you, or do you think you have all the answers and now see clearly and that Paul was wrong when he wrote about in this life that we only see in a mirror dimly?

  4. Oh – off-topic, but if contributors to this thread (and others) would like their picture (or any picture) next to their name (like i have), then click the link just above the comment box. The advantage with this system is that you get an icon not just on this website but also any other that uses the gravatar system that is active here and elsewhere.

    Or just keep your automatic comment icon….

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