Los Angeles and Stuff

It’s not that I hadn’t noticed yet another TEC Bishop who’s in a sexual relationship out of marriage, it’s just that it all seems rather de rigueur these days. In some senses would you expect anything less of a church that has stuck its two fingers up at the rest of the Communion for so long? Consecrating unrepentant sinners and heretics is what they do.

What I do find interesting though is the headline on one of Colin Coward’s blog postings – “Mary Glasspool’s consecration is a moment to celebrate God’s inclusive, transforming, radical love”. Funny thing is, when you read the post you don’t really get any sense of what “transformation” has happened. Sure, Bruno’s sermon is full of the usual liberal pat nonsense:

The world’s transformed only if we turn to each and every one of our brothers and sisters and see the face of Christ superimposed on them. The ones we disagree with the most are the ones we’re obligated to share our lives and teach the most.

I might be wrong, but when I read the Gospels this isn’t the kind of transformation that Jesus brings. The transformation Jesus brings is from darkness to light, not simply to the right chair on the equality agenda. It’s from sin to a holy life; Cheating tax collectors repent, adulterers determine to sin no more, cripples walk, the blind see. Yes, Jesus saw the dignity of every human being he met, but he called them to die to self and to rise to new life.

Simply accepting what is different is not the Gospel. Rapists are different to me. Those who abuse children or murder are different to me. I can’t see Jesus saying “well you folks who maim and pillage are different to me, but that’s OK – let’s just all do what God made us to do”. What, haven’t you heard? There’s a gene for murder. That makes it OK. And if not, then why is so much of liberal theology based on a “God created us like this so it must be good” motif?

True Biblical inclusion and transformation is not about creating a liberal environment where the greatest sin is not to let people hold hands with whoever they want. True inclusion is about accepting all sinners, whatever they have done and then helping them to repent and experience forgiveness and healing that leads to transformation of the innermost being. Unfortunately, transformation is often a painful process involving the uncovering, and then healing, of wounds from the past. It involves not letting myself be in charge but rather recognising that I am not my own and that I belong to Christ, that I cannot always do that which I wish to, or that my nature inclines me towards. It’s much easier to do what I feel is right rather than what Scripture says is holy.

What’s happened this weekend in Los Angeles is just a reflection of that. It’s TEC simply walking one more step on the road away from the cross and the towards self glorification. The real question now to be asked is what the rest of us will do about it.

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97 Comments on “Los Angeles and Stuff

  1. I am surprised that none of the supposedly orthodox Bishops in the Episcopal Church attended to protest at the "asking for objections" portion of the service. Remember Bishops, you have a duty to the whole church to speak up – you were given that Shepherd's staff not only to lead the sheep but to smite the wolves. I figure any Bishop who uses the 1979 BCP has surrendered to the loony left no matter how much he protests that he is orthodox in faith and morals.

  2. I think one of the real questions for conservative evangelicals is whether you would even regard Mary Glasspool as a bishop even if she wasn't a lesbian. My understanding is that many of you would not – and don't actually regard the ordained women priests in this country as priests. So I think we'd need to press you on that one first.

    And it is good to see that Bishop Michael Perham has now provided another helpful English perspective. I hope his views will find a good deal of favour in the current English House of Bishops meeting.

  3. Peter,

    Mentioning rape, child abuse & murder is never going to work. Those sins clearly require a victim. Which is why they are still crimes as well as sins.

    You got it right with the first sentence "It’s not that I hadn’t noticed yet another TEC Bishop who’s in a sexual relationship out of marriage". Mary Glasspool needs to be asked why she continues to have sex outside of marriage.

    • Jeffrey John gave assurances that he did not continue to have sex outside of marriage – it made no difference – he was supposed to repent of ever having shared his love for his partner in an intimate way. I doubt even that betrayal of the person closest to him would have been enough. My heart bled.

      • I don't know very much about Jeffrey John's story. Based on your summary I would say he was treated very badly – but I can also see why his "lack of repentance" might prompt others to question his 'reliability' .

      • The issue with Jeffrey John was not that no one believed him about being celibate. The issue was whether he was repentant about past sin. You can't have a Bishop of the church having been very open about sinning and not saying that it was wrong.

        Christian (Church of England even) teaching is that sex outside of the marriage of a man and a woman is not what we are created to do. It says wrong things about ourselves and wrong things about God. Were Dr John to have been consecrated it would have sent a clear signal that the Church didn't care about sexual sin.

        To the best of my knowledge I believe there is at least one member of the House of Bishops who has had sex outside of marriage before being consecrated. The difference between that man and Dr John is that he was prepared to declare that such activity was sinful. Dr John was not treated in a way that others weren't.

        • Instead we have sent a clear signal that the Church does not care about hypocrisy. We have been happy to consecrate those who were not open about their relationships.
          And as a matter of record we don't get any bishops to make public repentance before their ordination. And we have many who teach the same as Jeffrey John does about the subject, and they have been consecrated. So your argument here simply won't work.

          • I think you are probably right about this matter, except regarding "hypocrisy."

            For example, I smoke. However, I advise others that it is not a good idea to take up smoking. This is in no way hypocritical.

            If we have bishops who engage in same-sex activity but are struggling with this matter, that is one thing. Their struggling and teaching that what they are doing (whether they reveal that they are doing it or not) is in no way hypocrisy, if done candidly.

            But we should be refraining from ordaining bishops and priests who teach heresy – a celibate bishop who teaches heresy is worse than a bishop who honestly struggles with sin and teaches fruitfully and in accordance with God's Word.

            You seem to be suggesting that we should make a habit of consecrating bishops who have in the past made public sins that they have committed, and also made public that they are unrepentant.

            • Well we ordain any many people who teach the same as Jeffrey John. And we have many bishops who simply turn a blind eye, because they realise this is a secondary issue. Bishop Michael Perham recently wrote some very wise words about that. And we are in a Covenant with the Methodist Church that has a rather different approach to the matter than we do. If you are truly ecumenical you need to face at least that reality.

              And I'm not suggesting who and who we do not ordain. I'm simply pointing out a fact – we don't ask for any public repentances from any of those to be ordained bishop.

              • Perhaps an exception then should be made in the cases of bishops who have made public announcements of their sin and also public announcements of their lack of repentance, perhaps such persons should be requested to repent?

                If we are not calling upon our bishops to repent, even when they publicly describe their lack of repentance, is it then not hypocritical of us to call upon laity to repent who have made no such public gestures?

              • That's a "no" then.

                Call it immature if you want, but where I come from allegations have to be backed up with substantive evidence. "Because I say so" isn't going to work.

                • Peter, where you come from is pretty limited. Because you say there are not any partnered gay bishops in the C of E does not make it so either. Please be a little consistent.

                  • Still a "no" then?

                    Here's the deal Andrew. Until you or I or somebody else out these Bishops OR until they publicly declare themselves, you have absolutely NO evidence to support your case that the Church has treated Dr John in a different manner to those in the same situation. I and others will simply not accept vague assertions that things are a certain way. We want hard evidence. Either you or somebody else names some names or you stop making allegations for which you are prepared to offer no evidential support whatsoever.

                    I mean, if I were to state that many members of the Exeter Cathedral chapter were actually Satanists you would want a bit more evidence then "because I say so" wouldn't you?

                    • Peter, I think your description of a Satanist would be so different to mine I wouldn't even bother to ask you for evidence!
                      The 'deal' Peter is that we have what we have. You or I wishing it were different does not change anything. The hard evidence is emerging from people like James Jones ansd Michael Perham, and emerged from David Hope a good many years ago.

                    • I find it very disturbing that you dismiss so easily the clear hard facts that there are evil Satanists in the Exeter Cathedral Chapter. I wonder whether it has anything to do with the fact that you beat your wife or that you ate a child for breakfast?

                      Am I making my point yet?

                    • Unfortunately you don't seem to have a point to make on this.
                      Do we or do we not ask Bishops to make public repentance and declaration of their sins before their ordination as bishops? I think you will find the answer is no.

                    • Intriguing question. In Common Worship, there is a question asked of those presenting the candidate:

                      "Do you believe him to be of godly life and sound learning?"

                      Now, it would seem to me that to be able to answer that question in good faith would require some discussion with the ordinand about his life.
                      My recent post Less hopeful?

                    • It appears then that the answer is actually "Yes". We ask those assembled if the candidate is of godly life and sound learning. We also admonish the candidate to "endeavour to fashion your own life and that of your household according to the way of Christ". I think that's pretty clear that we expect their house (as it were) to be in order.

                    • Please tell me when you heard any public confessions of specific sins then and how it was set up then. I have been involved in several consecrations and never was invited to the confession session before hand.

                    • Since neither HO or myself suggested that there is a public confession of sin during or around the consecration service, I'm not sure why you're asking us to demonstrate such.

                      However, I do recall someone today specifically claiming that there were bishops in sexual relationships outside of marriage. That same person however refuses to provide any evidence to support this absurd allegation.

                    • Peter where do I actually say they are in *sexual* relationships outside of marriage?

                    • So Hopeful Ordinand do you expect bishops to make PUBLIC repentance of all their sins before an ordination? To name what they are? To make amends for them? Or just sexual sins?
                      And the truth is that not all Bishops and Archbishops see living a godly life as excluding faithful same sex relationships. Many see that as a secondary issue. James Jones is just one very clear example.

                    • Just because they don't see it, doesn't mean it isn't the case. You can believe that the sky is green as much as you want, but it doesn't make it true! That's why they are asked to make the declaration of assent. I can't help it if they assent to things they know they can't uphold – but we've been down this path before!
                      My recent post Less hopeful?

                    • So I repeat my questions to you:
                      Do you expect bishops to make PUBLIC repentance of all their sins before an ordination? To name what they are? To make amends for them? Or just sexual sins?

                    • Let me point you to the ordinal:

                      Deacons: Have those whose duty it is to know these ordinands and examine them found them to be of godly life and sound learning?http://bit.ly/dmbb5D

                      Priests: Have those whose duty it is to know these ordinands and examine them found them to be of godly life and sound learning?http://bit.ly/aQXUXw

                      Bishops: The archbishop asks 'Do you believe him to be of godly life and sound learning?'http://bit.ly/9ldCei

                      You might notice that immediately before that point there is the section 'Prayers of Penitence'. That's pretty public, isn't it?

                      In terms of what I expect though:

                      I expect my Bishops to be godly men whose doctrine is that of the Church of England (as per the Declaration of Assent).

                      I expect that those examining him would have made good and thorough examination of him, and would be able to make the necessary declarations. For some of those to be ordained, that might well mean public repentance of sin – depending on what the issues were, it might also mean some kind of reconciliation, again depending on what the issues were.
                      My recent post Less hopeful?

                    • HO it's a very general confession and there is clear division in the C of E about what a 'godly life' might mean. Not all bishops priest and deacons would say that excluded same sex relationships.

                    • We're going to end up in the discussion you stepped away from last time!

                      Actually, it doesn't matter what deacons/priests/bishops think or say – what matters is the doctrine of the Church of England! Which, unless I've missed a synod resolution, is that non-celibate same-sex relationship are not compatible with being ordained in the Church of England. Regardless of what individuals might think or say, that is the position of the Church of England.
                      My recent post Less hopeful?

                    • Well I put my question to you again. When have you heard PUBLIC confessions of particular sins (as opposed to general confession) before an ordination? It doesn't happen.
                      And sexuality is NOT a matter of doctrine.

                    • I believe I have answered your question. Feel free to keep asking if you wish.

                      My turn:

                      Is it the teaching (doctrine) of the Church of England that non-celibate same-sex relationships are incompatible with ordination?

                      To help, let me quote from the Church of England website (http://bit.ly/dciCrB) :

                      "Secondly, in December 1991, the House of Bishops published a statement Issues in Human Sexuality (CHP 1991). This endorsed the traditional Christian belief that the teaching of the Bible is that heterosexual marriage is the proper context for sexual activity between two people"

                      and

                      "Nevertheless, because of the 'distinctive nature of their calling, status and consecration', the clergy 'cannot claim the liberty to enter into sexually active homophile relationships' (Some Issues 1.3.19-20)."

                      and

                      "The 1987 Synod motion and Issues in Human Sexuality are the two authoritative Church of England statements on the issue of homosexuality."

                      Oh, and of course Lambeth 1998-I.10.

                      I'm sure you're aware that potential ordinands are required to submit to the disciplines in 'Issues in Human Sexuality'. Presumably, deacons, priests and bishops should, too.

                      My recent post Less hopeful?

  4. I do think this post is very limited.
    You seem to implicitly compare those in same sex relationships ( who are "different" to you?) as comparable to child abusers, murderers and rapists,
    "Rapists are different to me. Those who abuse children or murder are different to me."
    I don't see being in a same sex relationship as a sin, but, if I did, I hope I wouldn't see it as in the same category as rape, child abuse or murder. Those actions are atrocities and deeply damaging crimes against other human beings. I hope you do not support the criminalising of same sex relationships.

    .

    • Every time we do this subject someone accuses me of equating same-sex relationships with child abuse/murder/rape. Will you please put on a new record. I have been very public in the past about criticising those who explicitly do just that.

      The reason why I raise these other actions is NOT to equate them to homosexuality (like some do) but rather to ask again and again why an argument in favour of one kind of behaviour cannot be used for another. For example, if someone wants to say that a sexual relationship between a 24 yo and a 20 yo is OK because it's consensual, why not between a 20yo and 14yo on the same basis? As a pastor I'm aware of such relationships. Why not a polygamous relationship that is consensual? Why not a consensual abusive relationship (S&M)? An argument based on consent is weak and porous.

      The same goes with one based on biology. If we argue that something is OK because it's in our DNA, does that validate incest is we find an "incest gene"?

      • And I've asked you several times but you have not clearly replied – why is a consensual homosexual relationship between consenting adults acceptable in law in the UK and a consensual relationship of other sorts (you give some exapmples) not acceptable in law?

        • We've been down this road before too. You claim that since the Church of England is a state church, that – [ I am not quite sure how I should phase this ] – what the Church teaches should be similar to what the law says, and vice versa. Even when there is a state church, it is important for citizens and clergymen to understand the difference between the secular realm and the church. John Millbank is rather fun with regards to this one, though you might not accept him.

          It may seem perfectly logical that the church and the state's laws should affirm and proscribe the same things. This is not, however, the case. Take the example of adultery. Can you not understand how it is more appropriate for the church to teach that a man should not have sex with a woman other than his wife, than it is for the state to make adultery punishable by law?

          Would you like to see customs agents swinging around thuribles and asking those whose luggage is being searched to rise for a gospel reading?

          Even in the case of England, we shouldn't confuse the sacred and the secular. We thereby do both a disservice, and maintenance of a healthy secular environment which is consciously secular is exceedingly important to both church and state.

          • So you duck the very question that you raise yourself. Bishops and Priest and Deacons have to be interested in criminal and common law – we act as registrars of it for one thing.

            • Pathetic Andrew. We were taking about the derivation of moral teaching, NOT our role as registrars. Your inability to stick to the point (or rather your ability to avoid the obvious trajectory of an argument) is amazing.

              Is it because Exeter Cathedral Chapter is full of Satanists? You know, those Satanists that I just know are there but yet I'm not prepared to offer you one name of?

              • Peter you still duck the question you raise yourself – thereby not sticking to the point – and then you resort to playground name calling tactics. Not very mature.

                • What question am I ducking? The answer to your question "why is a consensual homosexual relationship between consenting adults acceptable in law in the UK and a consensual relationship of other sorts (you give some exapmples) not acceptable in law?" is "Because Parliament voted to make one legal and one illegal".

                  I wonder whether your inability to grapple with the issue at hand (that because something is illegal or legal doesn't make it immoral or moral per se) is because of all of those Satanists in the Exeter Cathedral Chapter affecting your judgement.

                  • Canon Andrew, you have the right to ask an off-topic question, but it looks like Peter here wants to keep things on-topic. Indeed, it's good for Christians to have an interest in the law, but this seems to be the only reason you are giving for demanding that Peter go off on a siderail and possibly bring this conversation there with it.

                    You could open a thread on another forum or blog about the relation between civil law and church doctrine particularly with regard to the issue of homosexuality, make your points, and then invite response. I am sure that you have interesting things to say about this matter, and I for one would be interested in reading them. I think this would be preferable – I for one do not see the relevance here for the reasons above stated, which you also seem to be "ducking."

                    A few weeks back you demanded of me that I provide for you evidence that the Presiding Bishop of TEC has denied the resurrection and the divinity of Christ. I did indeed provide such evidence from her own quotes, but then I heard nothing from you in response.

                    Please lighten up a little bit in sideline issues if you aren't willing yourself to provide response when you demand further answers and explanations.

                    • I am sorry if I did not respond. I don't recall your answer. If you post me the link I will gladly respond.
                      The point that Peter keeps ducking is WHY there is distinction in law between the cases he puts above. We all know there IS a distinction. But why did they choose to make it so. Peter knows that if he answers that question he has to admit to moral relativism – which the C of E subscribes to anyway and has done since it allowed different rules for lay people and for clergy.

                    • I really am confused as to the point you are trying to make. We have agreed that the civil law and moral law are different. Accepting that the civil law is subjective does not in any way suggest that eternal truths are also subjective. One derives itself from human fallenness, the other from divine perfection.

                    • It sounds to me like you do have a position to argue, and that it could be very interesting, but that it is dependent on a number of separate propositions that need to be linked more explicitly, though I don't doubt that you can make an interesting case by linking them.

                      I don't mind so much your lack of answer, it was about the denial of the doctrines of the divinity of Christ and the resurrection by the Presiding Bishop of TEC, I threw that in more as an example. I think though you should write a good essay and then ask Peter for comment – I really do think this would make for interesting material, and it's a point that is on your mind, and I'm sure Peter would have interesting responses as well once your argument is a bit more fleshed out.

                      The article I referred to regarding the Presiding Bishop is athttp://anglicanecumenicalsociety.wordpress.com/20… if you care to comment on it. Unfortunately, it's very long. But it needs to be long since TEC is in the habit of making remarks which it expects to be taken one way by one audience, and another way by another audience. I think you'll agree after reading it that she denies both.

                    • I'm afraid I don't find your arguments at all clear. It seems to me you are using the same kind of approach that those who thought Bishop David Jenkins denied bodily resurrection and divinity of Christ. He did neither. I can't see her denying them either I'm afraid. I see her ascribing profound meaning to them. I take the position of your first rebuttal especially – you need a lot more than just two quotes to make your argument. You have almost no primary sources in your piece and that makes it very weak.

                  • So let's put the quesyion another way. Why is it possible for the Church to employ lay people who are in partnered gay relationships, or living with partners outside of marriage? Perhaps the C of E does believe morality is relative do you think?
                    And why is it possible for the Church of England to be in a *Covenant* (note the word) with the Methodist church, which has taken a different line on the question of the ordained in stable faithful partnerships – (or did you complain about that the time and I missed it)

                    • Well, perhaps when you answer the question as to who these nebulous sexually active bishops are then perhaps I'll then answer your questions.

                    • I've answered it. Quite clearly. I don't out people. What could be a clearer answer.
                      I await your answers with interest…..

                    • If you're not prepared to back up your claims with the slightest shred of evidence then don't make such absurd allegations in the first place. Do you know how ludicrous it makes you look?

                      You really can't expect me to answer your questions if you don't have the basic gumption to back up your comments.

                    • Oh dear Peter… once again you resort to playground tactics. It seems you always do that when you can't answer a question. Then you get angry. Net you will be blocking me from posting. It is all too predictable.

                    • So you're not going to provide any evidence for your assertion that there are current Bishops who are / have been in sexual relationships outside of marriage and are not repentant of that fact?

                      If not, why make the claim in the first place?

                    • Where do I assert that anyone is in a sexual relationship?
                      You really do no to read carefully what is in front of you Peter.
                      Any chance of you answering the questions put to you?

                    • This is just so tedious. You come onto my website, make wild allegations about the House of Bishops for which you refuse to provide any evidence and then you have the audacity to say that I'm the one who's causing problems by not answering questions.

                      Do you not get it yet? I have absolutely no intention of answering any of your questions until you provide one shred of evidence that there are Bishops in similar circumstances as Jeffrey John (prior sexual relationships outside of marriage which have not been repented of) who were consecrated knowingly.

                    • Peter you clearly do not get it. We don't do personal 'outing' or discussion of individual cases in public. Did they not reach you any kind of pastoral theology at Oxford? I am asking you questions about our ecclesiology theology and you can't even answer them? If you want a discussion board, you might actually want to promote discussion on it.

      • The logic is fine but the use of it is unwarranted. Why mention rape and incest when the topic is homosexuality? The way people react to the comparison tells us that they find it degrading.

        Adultery and polyamory are better comparisons – where adults make choices in complex situations based on powerful emotions – like love.

      • I am sure I have answered this question before. It might be argued that some 15 year olds are mature enough to cope with a sexual relationship, equally some 18 year olds are not. However, we do need a law for the protection of those who, because of their age, might be vulnerable to abuse or exploitation. You have to set some cut off point for the protection of all.
        So, Peter, that is why a relationship between a 20 year old and a 14 year old is not legally consensual and a relationship between a 20 year old and a 24 year old – or even a 20 year old and a 60 year old is!

        • "The way people react to the comparison tells us that they find it degrading."
          You are right to point that out, Jay. It is also particularly painful to read such comments if one has been raped as a child. Polygamy is described without condemnation frequently in the OT. Divorce and remarriage is describe as "adultery" in the NT, but widely tolerated even by those who condemn same sex relationships.
          In short, questions of morality are complex, there are grey areas, a big problem for anyone who only feels safe with rules and legalism.

  5. Secondly, I would question whether those who rape or murder or abuse ARE that "different" to the rest of humanity – including you or me. Don't we all have the capacity to commit atrocity and evil, perhaps in other circumstances or situations? Of course, we should protest against injustice and atrocity, I am not sure that is the same as seeing any human being as in the category of "other" or "different" – it is a dangerous path, we are all tempted to go down it – whichever "side" we are on.

    I also think you are in dangerous territory if you assume that everyone who is a "liberal" or who supports same sex relationships, "always does what they wish or what their nature inclines them towards." I consider myself "liberal" ( or rather radical) but I do not live my life in this way. Again, to label me and others this way involves a blinkered view, determined to see only the things you dislke in your fellow human beings and to magnify their "errors" until all you have demonised them and you do not really see them in all their complexity.

    • Really not sure where you're coming from on this. No-one on this thread said "always does what they wish or what their nature inclines them towards".

      As for the question on difference – I'm perfectly comfortable with the idea that we all have the capacity to commit great evil. In that sense there is nothing different between me and everybody else. But the point I was making was where the limits of Bruno's argument broke down. He is a classic example of un thought out "inclusivity". How different is still OK and to be tolerated?

  6. I am saying that just as those who accept same sex relationships should not label those who differ as necessarily being "bigots", nor should those who do not accept them label those who differ as necessarily "self glorifying". There are people who have thought and prayed on this issue who take a different view to yourself ; it does not follow that we lack integrity, restraint, self sacrifce or God's transforming power!

    My recent post Glasspool round up

  7. You ask, "How different is still OK and to be tolerated?" I think we should be accepting of all "difference" – but then I define difference as who you are and not what you do ( I thought you did as well!) So, what you really mean is "what BEHAVIOUR is still OK and to be tolerated?" That is where my answer differs from yours; I believe that if someone is gay, it is acceptable for them to enter a same sex relationship, you do not. I don't see that someone accepting same sex relationships validates the argument,
    "Ah, well then, you must accept rape/ muder" or "you just do whatever your nature inclines you to."

    • I think the point Sue makes here about defining people by behaviour is the crucial one. Nowhere have I said that we have bishops in sexual relationships outside of marriage – Peter has extrapolated that – maybe because he wants to make the definitions based on what people do – not what they are. My point is the same as Queen Elizabeth 1 = that we don't open windows into mens souls. And we don't. Bishops Priests and Deacons are not asked to make public (and so make repentance of) all their sins before they are ordained, except in the from of general confession. Here is my public confession and repentance: 'I repent of my sins'. So we simply trust people by who they are – that they are of a godly life – not by what they do.
      But I am still curious as to why it is ok for us to enter a covenant with Methodists but not with some other Anglicans…..

      • Sue, I've a couple of questions about your argument that it is ok for gay people to enter into a same-sex [sexual I assume] relationship:

        1. Does that mean you think it is wrong for straight people to enter into a same-sex sexual relationship? If so, why?

        2. Does it mean that you think it is wrong for gay people to enter into an opposite-sex sexual relationship? If not, why not?

        • Hi David,__I am always happy to answer questions! I actually once met someone who said they were "straight" who was in a same sex relationship! She was in a relationship with a woman and she said she was in it because she had fallen in love with that person and their gender didn't matter that much to her – she did say sex was not top of her list of priorities in life. Now, I thought she was probably "bisexual" and asked her that, but she said that she saw herself more as straight!____Anyhow, the answer to 1) is that I think it might be "wrong" for most straight people, but if someone feels they can be committed to that relationship and it be a source of joy and fulfilment for them both – a resounding NO, it isn't wrong.____The answer to 2) is much the same. I think for most gay people it would be the "wrong decision" , but if they fell in love with that person and felt the relationships could be a source of joy and fulfilment – same answer!__ __Don't get me wrong, most mixed orientation marriages involve a lot of misery and heartache for both partners – but ( and it is a huge but) never jump to conclusions about what suits individuals.

          • When I say I am happy to answer questions, obviously that's most of the time! I also. I wouldn't be prepared to give names of gay or actively gay bishops, it wouldn't be for me to divulge. Answering a question about my opinion is a different matter and not a problem.

          • Thanks for answering Sue.

            I think that, in summary, what you are saying is that: 1. love justifies the sexual relationship, and that 2. it would be wrong to get into a sexual relationship with someone one does not love. Is that a reasonable summary?

            • Not really, David, I think that is a bit of a paraphrase. I said what I said and, although I think love very important, I am not sure it justifies everything, nor am I willing to judge people who enter into relationships for other reasons ( ie arranged marriages in some cultures or a marriage for companionship.)
              I think maybe I am a lot less "black and white" than you about most moral issues and I am not quite sure what you are trying to get at?

              • Hi Sue, ok here's the full q and a:

                You believe that it is ok for gay people to enter into a same-sex [sexual I assume] relationship:

                1. Does that mean you think it is wrong for straight people to enter into a same-sex sexual relationship? If so, why? "… I think it might be "wrong" for most straight people, but if someone feels they can be committed to that relationship and it be a source of joy and fulfilment for them both – a resounding NO, it isn't wrong".

                2. Does it mean that you think it is wrong for gay people to enter into an opposite-sex sexual relationship? If not, why not? "… I think for most gay people it would be the "wrong decision" , but if they fell in love with that person and felt the relationships could be a source of joy and fulfilment – same answer!"

                The point I'm trying to get to is whether there is any consensual non-abusive sexual relationship that anyone could enter into that you think would be wrong? As far as I can see, you would see every choice as justifiable…. but maybe on different grounds.

                Have I misunderstood? If so, what type of consensual non-abusive relationships would you see as wrong?

  8. Answered your question Hopeful Ordinand.
    David I don't even understand your questions I'm afraid. Perhaps you could re-phrase them or tell us what you are really asking?

    And Peter there are a number of really key questions you don't seem to have answers for. Here they are again:
    1. Do you accept Mary Glasspool is actually a bishop?
    2. Why is it possible for the Church of England to employ lay people who are in partnered gay relationships, or living with partners outside of marriage? Perhaps the C of E does believe morality is relative do you think?
    3. Why is it possible for the Church of England to be in a *Covenant* (note the word) with the Methodist church, which has taken a different line on the question of the ordained in stable faithful partnerships.

    • You keep on asking me questions, but you won't answer any yourself. Until you name the Bishops that you were making insinuations about I'm simply not prepared to engage with you on this or any other subject. I simply will not let you make such ludicrous allegations without providing some evidence.

      It must be all those children you ate last night that is affecting you like this. And when did you last beat your wife?

      • The truth, it seems, Peter, is that you can't actually answer the questions. I've told you I am not outing anybody and I have been clear that I do not assert that anyone is in a sexual relationship and have never claimed they are. How would I know if they were? I don't have access to anyone else's bedroom. And why would i want to know? I have no interest and tt's none of my business.

        As to the Methodist Church:
        "conference recognises, affirms and celebrates the participation and ministry of lesbians and gay men in the church. Conference calls on the Methodist people to begin a pilgrimage of faith to combat repression and discrimination, to work for justice and human rights and to give dignity and worth to people whatever their sexuality.

        But what are the Church's rules?

        Conference has put before all church members (lay and ordained) the responsibility of examining their aspirations and practice in the light of these resolutions. There is no authoritative interpretation provided by the Conference of what the resolutions, taken together, add up to. There is no procedure for any group or individual to interrogate Methodist members about their adherence to these resolutions. Rather, the onus is on each member in his or her conscience to reflect on whether their behaviour fits within this cluster of resolutions.

        If it's all up to the individual, where does this leave the Church?

        The outcome is that, within the church, there is a diversity of interpretations and a range of understandings about intimate relationships. The Conference encourages Methodists to continue to discuss these differences in a spirit of openness and love. Our shared ambition is to combat repression and discrimination, to work for justice and human rights and to give dignity and worth to people whatever their sexuality.

        • You claimed that the Church had treated Jeffrey John in a different manner then to previous appointments, but when asked to give examples you can't. As far as I'm concerned challenging such a claim has nothing to do with trying to get you to out someone and everything to do with demanding evidence to back up your assertion. If you didn't intend to out anybody you shouldn't have made the claims in the first place.

          • When asked to give examples i WON'T not CAN'T. Crucial difference. Sue has also summed up well the reasons why not.

            • Then why make the claim in the first place if you won't present any supporting evidence. Do you want to get laughed out of court?

              And if you won't provide an answer, why do you insist on getting answers from other people. Do you realise how hypocritical that looks?

        • (It would have been more helpful if you'd put this in reply to my post.)

          You missed a bit:

          "The Conference reaffirms the traditional teaching of the Church on human sexuality; namely chastity for all outside marriage and fidelity within it. The Conference directs that this affirmation is made clear to all candidates for ministry, office and membership, and having established this, affirm that the existing procedures of our church are adequate to deal with all such cases." (http://bit.ly/d6EtVh)

          The Methodist Church, like the Church of England, sees a distinction between sexuality and sexual practice. Given the CofE's position in "Issues in Human Sexuality", it would seem that there's a fair bit of overlap. Notice that both the CofE and the Methodist Church go back to 'traditional church teaching'. This does not provide for non-celibate same-sex relationships for Methodist ministers.

          Now, if you wouldn't mind spending a couple of minutes answering my simple question, I'd appreciate it.
          My recent post Less hopeful?

    • Andrew, I am testing the idea that sexual orientation justifies sexual relationship…. that "if someone is gay, it is acceptable for them to enter a same sex relationship" as Sue suggested. So to be as plain as possible:

      1. If someone is gay is it acceptable for them to enter an opposite sex relationship?
      2. If someone is straight is it acceptable for them to enter a same sex relationship?

      • I think Sue answered you very well David. And like Sue I'm not quite sure what you are trying to get at.

        • Andrew, as I said, I am "getting at" whether the idea that different sexual orientations justify entering different types of sexual relationship is reasonable an, ultimately, Christian.

  9. You keep on asking me questions, but you won't answer any yourself. Until you name the Bishops that you were making insinuations about I'm simply not prepared to engage with you on this or any other subject. I simply will not let you make such ludicrous allegations without providing some evidence.

    It must be all those children you ate last night that is affecting you like this. And when did you last beat your wife?

  10. HO…the Methodist are much clearer than the C of E: There is no authoritative interpretation provided by the Conference of what the resolutions, taken together, add up to. There is no procedure for any group or individual to interrogate Methodist members about their adherence to these resolutions. Rather, the onus is on each member in his or her conscience to reflect on whether their behaviour fits within this cluster of resolutions.
    The outcome is that, within the church, there is a diversity of interpretations and a range of understandings about intimate relationships.

    The C of E does not officially permit that diversity. We now know that unofficialy it does.

    You asked whether it was a doctrinal matter for the C of E. It is much a pastoral one. James Jones and Michael Perham have been brave enough to make that clear.

    • Please… use the reply button!

      Yes, that is the case, however the 1993 conference resolutions make it clear that 'all candidates to the ministry, office and membership' need to understand that the Methodist church 'reaffirms the traditional teaching of the Church on human sexuality; namely chastity for all outside marriage and fidelity within it' (resolution 4, still in effect). There is no provision for non-celibate same-sex relationships for Methodist ministers – or for those in office or membership.

      Even the 'Pilgrimage of Faith' document recommends that the Derby resolutions should not be revisited (Recommendation 32, http://bit.ly/9s4rIN).

      I have taken plenty of time over answering your questions, even when you change them part-way through. Is there some reason you do not feel you can answer my question to you? It sits in its own thread, very thin and very unanswered.
      My recent post Less hopeful?

  11. HO… I can't find any questions of yours I have not answered I am afraid. Feel free to re-post any you can find.
    It is well known that the Methodist Church takes a liberal line and leaves it to individual conscience. It makes it clear does not have any disciplinary procedure for those who choose to be in partnerships.
    This is a church we are happy to be in Covenant with….so.. why not TEC one wonders.

    • (Copied from above, so loses some context.)

      I believe I have answered your question. Feel free to keep asking if you wish.

      My turn:

      Is it the teaching (doctrine) of the Church of England that non-celibate same-sex relationships are incompatible with ordination?

      To help, let me quote from the Church of England website (http://bit.ly/dciCrB) :

      "Secondly, in December 1991, the House of Bishops published a statement Issues in Human Sexuality (CHP 1991). This endorsed the traditional Christian belief that the teaching of the Bible is that heterosexual marriage is the proper context for sexual activity between two people"

      and

      "Nevertheless, because of the 'distinctive nature of their calling, status and consecration', the clergy 'cannot claim the liberty to enter into sexually active homophile relationships' (Some Issues 1.3.19-20)."

      and

      "The 1987 Synod motion and Issues in Human Sexuality are the two authoritative Church of England statements on the issue of homosexuality."

      Oh, and of course Lambeth 1998-I.10.

      I'm sure you're aware that potential ordinands are required to submit to the disciplines in 'Issues in Human Sexuality'. Presumably, deacons, priests and bishops should, too.
      My recent post Less hopeful?

      • Yep I answered that one.
        You asked whether it was a doctrinal matter for the C of E. It is, rather, a pastoral one. James Jones and Michael Perham have been brave enough to make that clear.
        It is a secondary issue. It is not a matter of belief or doctrine. You won't find it in the creeds.

          • Hi HO, yes it is the teaching of the House of Bishops. Whether it is pastoral or doctrinal issue is a bit of a smoke screen… it is a disciplinary issue. If any ordained person has sex with someone of the same sex they can loose their licence (ie job).

            To me this should be enforced rigorously. Jesus told us that leaders who sin and teach others to do so too would be most seriously punished!!

            • I was hoping the good Canon might answer as well, but he seems to be ducking the question (again).

              It is a bit of a smoke screen as it's both a doctrinal issue and a pastoral one. However, it is still the case that the Church of England has said that it is incompatible for ordained clergy to be in non-celibate same-sex relationships – which is why I (and every other potential ordinand) have to agree to live according to the disciplines in 'Issues in Human Sexuality'.

              If an ordinand agrees to that, but has no intention of doing so, that would seem to be acting in bad faith and a breach of church discipline. If a DDO sanctions their candidates doing so, is that not also a breach?

              You may elect to read the Bible in such a way as to say that non-celibate, same-sex relationships are acceptable, but as it stands, if you do, you are at odds with the Church of England.
              My recent post Less hopeful?

              • I did notice that Andrew seems to not be interested in engaging with that type pf question! I think he's just trying to buid a case for accepting SSM without engaging with the questions that defeat what he wants..

                Regarding reading the Bible in different ways: I think that the only way to read accept and of SS sex in the Bible is either by rejecting sections that don't fit your beliefs, or by huge special pleading (ie using arguments that you wouldn't accept when interpreting other parts).

  12. I've been following this debate but haven't intervened, as I can't believe that it is going over the same old ground all over again! The last time I joined in this particular debate, I posted to argue that theological liberals cannot be consistent in this area because they don't really believe in an absolute biblical moral framework: essentially that God means what he says in the Bible when he states homosexual behaviour is a sin. I didn't get much joy in response to this assertion, and it seems to be happening all over again and (tediously) around the same issue of the 'Incest Challenge'!

    As an aside, does anyone else think that (looking at the left of the ECUSA conservation photo at the top) that James Brown was resurrected specially to join in? Or is it Whoopi Goldberg from 'Sister Act II'?

    • My point is slightly different, this time! Church of England policy and doctrine is very clear. If Canon Andrew takes a different position, I would say that he is entitled to do so in private, but that maybe the Church of England is not the right place for him, if he can't publicly hold to its doctrine.
      My recent post Less hopeful?

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