An Open Question to Changing Attitude

Dear Changing Attitude,

When Colin Coward writes,

Living OutWe expect the House of Bishops to invite LGB&T people to participate in their December meeting when they discuss the Pilling Report.

We expect the College of Bishops to invite LGB&T people to participate in their meeting on 27 January 2014 when they discuss the Pilling Report.

We expect LGB&T people to be present at every national and diocesan conversation.

do you expect such invitations to include representatives from Living Out as a portion of the Church of England LGB&T community that should be present in these meetings? Yes or no?

9 Comments on “An Open Question to Changing Attitude

  1. Given that CA assert that there are about 12 Bishops that are gay, what is CC really saying….. ‘we want to be there’?

  2. If I was advising Colin (and to make this clear The Reverend Coward resents my contacting him) I would prompt him to answer

    But representation would be on a generously proportional basis.

    Say, one half of a Living Out lad or lass per 100 gay representatives
    That should give their voice a greater hearing than it qualifies for.

      • But does that mean the TFT members who go but are still having gay encounters in any case?
        The reason I make that point is that I know a couple of people who were involved and both continued to have partners despite attending TFT. Eventuially they both left, but what they had to say was interesting – for example, how small the groups actually are.
        I think all voices should be heard, but really, its not as if those who are absolutely committed to one or the other point of view are going to change their minds. In the medium to long term this is going to be about far more practical issues.

  3. I can’t speak for Changing Attitude, but as someone who stands in the affirming camp, I’d say that, at a minimum, if a non-affirming member is appointed, they should be joined by an affirming member. To do otherwise would be to undermine the whole point of the thing.

    Personally, I don’t think that it’s the most important issue, as endless reports can’t get us any further. We all know what each other think, know the arguments, know the back-of-a-postcard “clobber verses,” along with the dissertation-length “God’s theology of marriage from Eden onwards” narrative. What’s left to say?

    The time has come to revisit and overturn Synod’s 1987 decision that “homosexual genital acts … are … to be met by a call to repentance and the exercise of compassion.” A vote to repent of ever passing the homophobic motion wouldn’t go amiss.

    The Church of England appears to be terrified of facing this head-on, but it can’t put it off forever.

    • I found myself agreeing with you all the way up to your conclusion. Since the church has listened – indeed, to quote Colin Coward, is ‘listened out’ – and even the liberal minded bishops on the Pilling commission find the arguments for revising church teaching unconvincing, it’s time to move on from this issue and accept that the church’s longstanding doctrine has been tested and holds firm, and that any departure from that would be a betrayal of the transformative gospel of Jesus that while accepting and welcoming to everyone does not leave them as they are in sin, but rather regenerates them into godliness.

      You’re right to argue that you’re never going to convince the wider church, but your conclusion that the church should stop seeking to be convinced and just make the changes you’re seeking anyway is frankly bizarre.

      • Pilling, for all its many, many flaws, is testament that the church’s “longstanding doctrine” is unsustainable. It’s shifted from 1991’s & 2003’s, “Our policy is God’s will,” to, “This is a debate with good points on both sides.” It’s progress on its own terms.

        Pilling featured an appendix that affirmed gay relationships from an evangelical POV. (By doing for the “clobber verses” what’s already been done for divorce and male headship, blatant eisegesis.) The Church of England is in an untenable position: selective biblical authority. It’s saying, in effect, “OK, we’ll ignore what the Bible says about divorce and gender roles, but obey what it says about homosexuality.” It’s theologically incoherent and morally repugnant.

        The doctrine hasn’t been “tested,” ever. The 1987 vote was a nasty, amoral compromise rushed through to head-off an even worse motion, Lambeth ’98 was likened to a Nuremberg rally by one of its participants, Richard Holloway, and the CofE’s response ever since has been to fudge and evade.

        It can’t run forever.

  4. I also wish the CofE would stop fighting proxy-wars over biblical authority, but if it addressed it directly, a spectrum of opinion would be dismayed at a clear teaching. A waffling fudge would be the most likely outcome, rendering the exercise pointless. It’s also hard to get worked up about an abstract.

    I too agree that the Pilling appendix is a mess, but it’s no more of a mess than the popular “biblical” justification for ordaining women, which is, roughly, “Cherry-pick a line from Galatians, ignore its context, and ignore or misapply all the awkward stuff about headship and silence.” The refreshingly honest Holloway again pops up: he admitted that this was a strategy in ‘Leaving Alexandria,’ and it’s a strategy that’s worked.

    I guess that the Pilling appendix is there to get open evangelicals onside. They’re where the power lies. Once they affirm gay relationships, it’s all over, and as they already take a flexible line on biblical interpretation (the Bible conveniently allows them to be in-line with culture on women and divorce) there’s nothing much to stop them. Once the social costs become too high for them, they’ll switch. That day is fast approaching.

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