Truthiness2
Church of England

Anglican 'truthiness' – the malign spin against Justin Welby

 

Chinese Whispers has got nothing on Anglican spin. You know how it goes: the Archbishop of Canterbury makes a statement; it is announced verbatim by Lambeth Palace; reported with variations by sundry newspapers; gossiped about on anxious blogs; tweeted with significant misinformation by an impatient tweeple, or deliberately spun by mischievous participants to ensure that what the Archbishop is reported as saying (or doing) bears little resemblance to what he actually said (or did). The propagation of disinformation by non-Christians ought to come as no surprise, but from Christians it is a malignant distortion; a misrepresentative falsehood in the pursuit of a preferred agenda; or ‘truthiness’: “We’re not talking about truth, we’re talking about something that seems like truth – the truth we want to exist,” as expounded by American television comedian Stephen Colbert.

The Rev’d Dr Christopher Craig Brittain has written an excellent piece for ABC’s Religion & Ethics blog on this precise phenomenon which merits a much wider readership. It has (at the time of writing) attracted zero comments, but it raises such important matters of communication ethics in the Anglican Communion that one is tempted to light the touch paper by reproducing the entire article and then passively watch the celestial illumination.

His subject is truth; in particular the “power struggle over the authority to adjudicate the ‘truth of the Gospel’.. within the transnational Anglican Communion”. He observes:

Fuelling this emerging stand-off is a tendency to exaggerate the shortcomings of one’s opponent, to the point of engaging in character assassination. The internet has become a powerful tool in this rhetorical battle, but with the consequence that truth is often being compromised for truthiness.

..It not so much that a great many people are lying in the media; rather, an increasing number of people are becoming unconcerned with verifying their claims or with questioning the accuracy of statements by people who seem to share their own biases. In other words, “If it sounds right, it must be correct.” Exaggeration and leaving out inconvenient detail are often the order of the day.

Brittain observes that the Church has fallen for the deception: each reported aspersion, backbiting or selective recounting is taken as read by undiscerning journalists, bloggers and tweeters, and, to adapt the maxim, the truthiness is half way round the world before the truth has got its boots on. “As leaders in the Anglican Communion have taken to accusing each other of promoting ‘false Gospels‘, a tendency to slide into truthiness has emerged in the Anglican media.” And he provides a few examples which serve to illustrate this phenomenon:

Consider, for example, their coverage of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit to the second Global Anglican Future’s Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 2103. Archbishop Justin Welby had been in his post for less than a year, and it was clear that his visit to this conference hosted by the leaders of the Anglican churches of the Global South would be complicated, possibly even contentious.

During Anglican Unscripted episode 84, Kallsen and Congar report that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s performance “was a disaster.” However, after George Congar summarised a speech delivered in the Archbishop’s hearing by then Archbishop Peter Jensen (Sydney, Australia), I became rather suspicious about the way the story was being told..

..”Peter Jensen, the General Secretary of GAFCON, gave an address to Justin Welby. In a nutshell, he said that ‘this is not a battle between political factions; This a battle between “light and dark.” We’re talking about spiritual warfare. Justin Welby, you cannot be a neutral bystander in a battle of spiritual light versus dark; either lead or get out of the way.’ And from everyone I spoke with … Justin Welby came away gobsmacked.”

When I first watched this video, I was puzzled by this account because I had previously watched a version of Peter Jensen’s speech. GAFCON had posted both the text of his comments and a video on their webpage. What struck me after again watching the video and reading the text is that it did not sound much like the account provided by Congar. There is no mention of “spiritual warfare” or the imagery of “light and dark.” Archbishop Jensen does not address Archbishop Welby directly or suggest that he might need to “get out of the way.”

While it is clear that Archbishop Jensen intended to offer a defence for the GAFCON movement – denying that it is “schismatic” and calling it a “movement for unity” – after criticising the church in North America, the most aggressive comment he makes is, “Who will stand with us?”

And so, Brittain observes, we see an example of Anglican ‘truthiness’, principally brought about by gossip and second-hand accounts conveyed as primary-source witness: it suits an agenda to present the ‘facts’ like this, and it ‘feels right’. A second example:

On 3 October 2013, Archbishop Welby was asked during an interview with the Irish Times Gazette to comment on the present relationship between the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the Anglican Communion. The ACNA had formally withdrawn from the Episcopal Church USA, and its status in the Communion remained controversial. Archbishop Welby replied, “Well, the ACNA is a separate church; it is not part of the Anglican Communion.” The interviewer, Canon Ian Ellis, then followed up by asking, “Can it be in communion with the Anglican Communion, or is that something for the future?” The Archbishop answered, “Well, it’s clearly for the future, because it’s not part of the Communion.” He did acknowledge the possibility of reconciliation in the future, but for now the ACNA was only an “ecumenical partner” in the “church of Christ,” rather than a member of the Anglican Communion.

How did Anglican Unscripted cover this story? In episode 127, after Kevin Kallsen refers to the interview as “Justin’s gaff,” George Congar picks up the story:

“Justin Welby set off a bomb on Friday … by deciding what it means to be an Anglican, burying the other Instruments of Unity, and just upending everything. His statement was such that the Principal of Moore College in Sydney [Australia] … said it was a ‘slap in the face to the GAFCON Primates’. It really was that big a gaff. And what did he do? He said the ACNA is not Anglican. Now the conversation began about the Anglican Communion, and is the ACNA a member of the Communion. Well, no, it’s not. It’s not a member of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). And that in recent years has sort of been seen as the mark of being in the Anglican Communion.”

Notice at this point that Congar’s account gives the same answer to Canon Ellis that Justin Welby did: the ACNA is not a member of the Communion. But then he continues:

“But, you know, the Church of Nigeria and some other African churches don’t pay their dues to the ACC anymore, and they don’t send their delegates to the meetings … There really is no hard and fast rule anymore about what it means to be in the Anglican Communion … This is an issue that’s in flux. But the Archbishop of Canterbury didn’t limit himself to discussing the Anglican Communion, he went on to discuss what it means to be Anglican. And he said, ‘it is being in Communion with me’.”

And so, once again, Anglican ‘truthiness’ misrepresents Archbishop Justin: “While it is accurate to highlight the contemporary tensions over the question of membership, it is quite another to suggest that Justin Welby was somehow being indiscreet or arrogant to answer the question of the basis of this official list,” Brittain suggests.

You may be annoyed with the Archbishop of Canterbury or frustrated by his words or deeds. You may be critical of his theology or exasperated by his errors and omissions. But, you know what? He’s just a man – as sinful, imperfect, limited and morally flawed as any of us. There is no joy in spiritual misrepresentation, theological caricature or character defamation, however ‘truthy’ it may be. The Blogosphere, Twittersphere and YouTube are places of darkness, spite and bile. Christians have a moral obligation to be truthful, if not loving; to be light and salt. The last word goes to the Rev’d Dr Christopher Craig Brittain (whom we must thank for highlighting this phenomenon):

If the internet is indeed to be a site of Christian “witness,” then greater attention and care must be taken, by all involved, and greater reflection devoted to discerning what such a call to “witness” entails in the blogosphere. If indeed “the medium is the message,” then how Christian witness is presented will do much to shape its content. Defending the “truth of the Gospel” is not well served by the preaching of “truthiness.”

  • Phil R

    Welby did have a disastrous start and the frustrations of the African Bishops were justified. People were dying in Africa because of the association of the Anglican Church in the West with homosexuality. Welby could have done something, spoke out against homosexuality etc. He did not listen and he should have done.

    He seems to listen more recently and has taken a few small positive steps. (Too small and too late to save the CofE?) He has appointed Rod Thomas to be Bishop for Conservative Evangelicals. Rod will now have a voice, albeit no doubt drowned by the braying of the liberals, but crucially, conservative parishes now have a Bishop to specifically cater for their needs.

    A small step forward perhaps on the long road to growth and recovery, but a step none the less and perhaps the first postive step for 20 years or more.

  • thebandthatneedsnointroduction

    Hi there,
    Thanks for highlighting this article. You’re right that it highlights a worrying trend in Anglican online media and blogosphere, especially when we’re trying to promote the truth. I’m not sure it’s fair to single out Anglican Unscripted though. A quick look at a range of blogs from evangelical and liberal (Thinking Anglicans for one!) perspectives would find similar practices. The problem is when a blog has it in for someone (be it the ABC, KJS or another leader), every statement or action has to be portrayed as a disaster, rather than presenting the full picture.

    Best wishes,
    Andrew Reid

  • Orwell Ian

    Openly or otherwise, every commentator is pursuing an agenda of some kind.
    Digital communication is instantaneous. Verification a slowcoach.
    The vultures have devoured the carcass while the cavalry are still mustering to spoil their meal.

  • bluedog

    At a guess, ++ Welby is utterly exasperated by the buffoons at Anglican Unscripted. But isn’t usually best to ignore comedians of this type on the basis they should be denied the relevance they so obviously crave? Anyway, the AU clowns were clearly impressed by the now retired ++ Jensen who was really a Calvinist wandering around the Anglican Communion. Tells you something about AU.

    • RobinHMasters

      As your comment tells volumes about you.

      • bluedog

        Tell me more. Your comment is far too cryptic to be a proper insult, if that’s what you intended.

    • Uncle Brian

      Until this moment I had never heard of either Anglican Unscripted or George Congar. I don’t suppose I’m missing very much, as I?

      • carl jacobs

        It’s actually a pretty good podcast.

        • Uncle Brian

          Thanks, Carl. I’ll give it a try then.

          • carl jacobs

            It is however suspiciously non-Calvinist.

          • carl jacobs

            Kevin Kallsen will typically interview one of four people about things Anglican:

            George Conger about general Anglican stuff
            Peter Ould about the CoE
            A S Haley, lawyer, about TEC and lawsuits
            David Ould, Peter’s older brother, about Australia.

            Typical podcast is about 18 minutes. That’s down from about an hour during the height of the Anglican wars.

    • Martin

      BD

      But the Anglican Communion is Calvinist in its foundation as the 39 Articles testify.

      • bluedog

        Oh, you mean Articles XVI and XVII? You would have to go a long way to hear any mention of those ideas within the Anglican Communion.

        • Martin

          BD

          Yet they must all assent to them.

          • bluedog

            Fingers crossed!

  • Inspector General

    Now, gather up chaps, the Inspector has something of import to say.

    We need not be concerned about the mendacious nature of the world wide whatever. In fact, we can use it to our advantage, and here’s how…

    What Welby needs is an ‘internet chaplain’. A fellow so in tune with him that he can be trusted with plenipotentiary powers of address. To scour the internet looking for mischief and squaring up to the false witness so easily transmitted these days..

    One can think of no better individual suited than our goodly Cranmer himself. He does the job anyway, on an informal basis, and what’s more, he can throw the scoundrel our way too, after chastisement, so that the loyal mob may have a go.

    It would certainly put Welby out in front on his mission, and the scurrilous will think twice about mischief making in the name of their own personal agenda.

    What say you Cranmer, if such an offer was made to you by Lambeth….

  • “Today the conditions that support thought are being destroyed, often intentionally. Calmness and steadiness of attention are constantly disrupted by electronic communications. That’s partly our own fault, since we are addicted to distraction, but partly the fault of institutions and the PR men, propagandists, advertisers, and spin doctors they employ to keep us confused and pliable. It’s also due to the setting in which public life is carried on.

    Marshall MacLuhan thought the electronic media would bring us a global village. Instead they’ve brought a global mob. A village has an informal structure and way of life that’s evolved to work for its members, so it’s capable of good sense. A mob doesn’t and isn’t. That’s why what’s called public discussion today so often resembles a lynching.”
    (James Kalb)

  • len

    If only people would ignore the’ Chinese whispers’ and to go directly to the source many problems would be eradicated.This method also works well when comparing false religions with the Word of God……

  • Martin

    Trouble is, Welby has done himself no favours. He has chosen to lie down with the dogs of liberalism and come away with fleas. He has not chosen to condemn the governments ‘gay marriage’ act in forthright, clear terms, he has chosen not to condemn the ECNA and not to seek fellowship with ACNA. It seems he has chosen to hunt with the hounds and the rabbits consider him a liberal. Why should he be surprised.

    • len

      Our brothers and sisters in Christ are being abused and executed in the most horrifying ways many parts of the World for their faith but our ‘leaders’ in the West(those who have not already sold their souls) seem unable to define clearly what the Gospel is if it means becoming ‘controversial’ or being branded a ‘fundamentalist.’

      Jesus makes quite clear His contempt for luke warm Christians…

      • IanCad

        Our Brothers and Sisters are being slaughtered and persecuted by evil forces, and we stand by.

      • Martin

        Len

        And is this not why Jesus points us to God rather than leaders?

        But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant.

        (Matthew 23:8-11 [ESV])

    • petej

      Im sorry but thats just factually incorrect. Welby led the opposition to the same sex marriage bill. Im not really sure what else you expect him to do!!

      • Inspector General

        You do realise how the Lords Spiritual voted or more accurately did not vote on that issue. Whatever the chap is about, he has immediately underneath him, renegades of the first order.

        • petej

          Hardly Welbys fault?! I don’t think any of the Bishops actually voted for the bill. As i understand it Welby is primus inter pares and not boss of the other bishops and regardless the other politicians were allowed a core of free conscious away from party lines.

          I think the cofe hierarchy and Welby in particular are doing very well at continued hostility to LGBT people

          • Inspector General

            Bah! He needs to call up his lefty bishops one by one and remind them they are Christians, and if they don’t agree, to resign. These blighters are all of the 1970s intake. Corrupted by human liberalism…

          • Martin

            IG

            The question is, are they Christians or are they thest:

            I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

            (Acts 20:29-30 [ESV])

          • petej

            Well there is only one bishop in favour of gay marriage and he isn’t in the lords. I think conservative christians in the COFE are pretty well represented in the hob!

            Like it or not about half of the CofE are in favour of gay marriages in the church…you should be happy that this proportion is not similar in the upper echelons nor is it impacting teaching or culture.

            I would hope that most priests appointed in the 1970s had gracefully retired by now lol

          • Martin

            Pete

            If there is a bishop in favour of ‘gay’ marriage he shouldn’t even be a member of the church for he is clearly not even a Christian. And if half of the CoE are in favour of ‘gay’ marriage clearly the current leadership is totally incompetent in not making it clear that such a view is unacceptable in a Christian organisation.

            BTW, since all in Christ’s Church are priests there is no office of priest in the Church.

            Seems to me that the sooner the Christians in the CoE leave and join those of us outside the sooner the unscriptural edifice will collapse.

          • petej

            Martin

            Please be aware that this is the CofE! I’m not sure where in scripture it says you must be opposed to gay marriage to be a christian?! Surely we can accept that there are different interpretations of scripture? This should be especially true in the CofE which is known as a “broad church”

          • Martin

            Pete

            The CoE is so broad it covers all sorts of religions, most not being remotely Christian.

            Scripture is as clear as it possibly could be, marriage is between one man and one woman and sex outside of that marriage is sin. If a person claims to be a Christian but is not opposed to sin they are not a Christian.

            The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

            (Romans 14:12-14 [ESV])

          • petej

            i think christianity is fundamentally about Jesus Christ not about marriage. We are a people of faith not law so we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and ressurected saviour. I’m not arguing against following the law, but our shared faith is in Jesus not in the law and there is a lot of disagreement in Christianity over what the law has to say about gay marriage (and many many other things!)

            With respect you do not take the whole bible literally, so don’t condemn others for having a different interpretation please. I am pretty sure you wear man made fibres at some point and im pretty sure you don’t always give money to homeless people when they ask for it.

          • carl jacobs

            I am pretty sure you wear man made fibres at some point

            So when I start asking you about having sex with your sister, are you going to talk to me about man-made fibers? No, you are not. But you aren’t deriving your condemnation of incest from Scripture since you just chucked the Bible out the window with that statement of “you do not take the whole bible literally.” [Editor’s note. No one takes the whole Bible ‘literally.’ That’s a straw man argument that really means “I can reject some parts according to an external standard.”] It means you are applying an unstated external standard. That standard allows you to reject incest even as you accept homosexuality.

            So what is that standard?

          • petej

            Carl you seem to be saying that opposition to gay marriage is necessary to being a Christian. I would argue that other interpretations of scripture are available.

            Most of the worlds Christians are Catholics and I would have far more theological differences with them, but I dont think they are somehow not Christians just because they interpret scripture differently to what I do. Unlike the Catholics I believe in salvation by faith alone, for example.

            Different people will have different measures of being a Christian, but I would go with something like Romans 10.9, but generally I dont go around saying “because you dont agree with the gospel according to petej you’re not a Christian”

          • petej

            The comment has been made earlier that Welby isnt a Christian, not because he isnt opposed to gay marriage, he most certainly is, but because he hasnt been anti gay enough. Perhaps if Welby started demanding gay people be shipped off to special containment camps people might be satisfied with his faith?!

          • carl jacobs

            petej

            you seem to be saying that opposition to gay marriage is necessary to being a Christian.

            I didn’t say that and don’t believe that. What I would say is that you cannot affirm homosexual behavior and remain consistent with the teaching of Scripture. There are other interpretations available, but there are no other valid interpretations available. If I can say that adultery is sinful, then I can with equal confidence say that homosexual behavior is sinful. Both imperatives are stated with equal clarity. And I don’t have to appeal to the distinction between ceremonial law and moral law because Sodom was judged for its pursuit of ‘strange flesh’ and Sodom was never bound by the Mosaic law. Canaan was judged for its sexual immorality (including homosexuality) and Canaan was not bound by the Mosaic law.

            This is why I have repeatedly asked you to give me some basis for saying that homosexual desire is good. You have by your refusal to answer conceded that you have no ability to make this claim from Scripture. The Scripture specifically asserts that general revelation condemns homosexuality. I have showed that the qualities of relationship cannot vindicate the behavior that underlies the relationship. So by what authority do you make the claim that you do?

          • petej

            I don’t think that saying that attempting gang rape of angels is the same as universally condemning gay relationships?!

            I’m sorry I misunderstood you. I thought you were saying you couldn’t be a Christian and be in favour of gay relationships. That’s what I was arguing about. With respect the bible never mentions gay relationships, only sex in negative contexts eg gang rape, orgy, idolatry. You may have the view that what isn’t affirmed by scripture is condemned, but not everyone takes that view. I think you’ll agree that there is a big gap between a marriage and gang rape therefore I hope you can at least accept that others have a different interpretation than you?

          • DanJ0

            Admittedly, I speak merely as a homosexual and liberal a-theist but shouldn’t one infer that homosexuality is disordered, in the teleological sense, from the mainstream Christian view of our reality? That is, that the Roman Catholic Church actually has it right? Whether that justifies the obsessive/compulsive attention some Christians seem to give the topic is another matter, of course.

          • petej

            Well approximately half of UK Christians are in favour of gay relationships. Scripture has very little to say about homosexuality at all. When scripture does mention gay sex it is in the context of e.g. Gang rape. Scripture doesnt mention gay sex in a positive way and so some Christians will interpret this to mean it is all bad. Some Christians see heterosexual marriage as as core to Christianity as Christ himself. Others say that love is more important than gender. There are also those who say that since the bible does not mention orientation that gay people do not exist.

            It also depends on what tradition of Christianity you are talking about because for Catholics official church teaching is more important than coming to an individual understanding of scripture.

            In any case it doesn’t really matter in the UK because gay marriage is legal. What is important is how churches and Christians treat gay people

          • petej

            Well in the latest survey about 50% (49.8%) of Christians in the UK said they agreed with gay marriage so I dont think that being against gay relationships really is “the” mainstream view. Christians believe that we are all created in the image of God and we all have inherent worth to him. He has a non-human viewpoint and so things that some people might see as negative characteristics (e.g. being gay, black, blind etc) he uses for glory.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Then you do not think that Christ’s Church is also His bride? Marriage is a picture of salvation, of God’s relationship with His Creation and hence when you interfere with marriage you interfere with that picture.

            As I have already said, there is a difference between the ceremonial law of the ancient nation of Israel and the moral law so please don’t continue to bring up “you don’t keep this law” in such a foolish way.

            And no, I don’t take the whole Bible literally, no one does, I take what it says in context and related to the form of writing it is. For example Genesis 1-11 is clearly historical narrative so I take it in that form as a description of events in the first ~1500 years of this planet.

            As to what I give, that is not a matter you have any right to ask about, it is for my conscience before God.

            I have addressed your claims and shown they are wanting, attacking me is not a solution to that problem.

          • petej

            I’m not sure why you think gay marriage breaks the picture of the church as the bride of Christ? I’m sure you are not suggesting that this will actually harm the Godhead or separate the church from her head?

            I’m very sorry If you felt I was prying into your giving. I wasn’t intending to, I was trying to make the point that not everyone has the same interpretation of scripture (and actually scripture is very clear about some things which you don’t do. )

          • Martin

            Pete

            The picture of the Church as the Bride of Christ is for human consumption, if it is marred it hurts those who seek to understand the relation of God to the Church.

            And to teach that marriage can be for two of the same sex harms those who would otherwise be discouraged from sin.

          • petej

            Well obviously I would disagree with you that gay marriage is sinful, but I’m wondering why you think banning it will discourage gay people from forming romantic relationships. Surely gay people will either not be believers or will have thought / prayed through the issues themselves?

            Surely actively promoting celibacy and providing support for celibacy would be more effective at encouraging people not to form relationships? This would give gay people a legitimate way to thrive apart from marriage.

            I still don’t understand why gay marriage damages the picture of the bride of christ. there doesn’t seem to be an emphasis on heterosexuality in this image and it doesn’t seem to give any greater understanding to set it in that context. You may disagree with that, but a) there are plenty of other scripture passages in which we have to consider the culture into which it was given to fully understand it, and, b) the vast majority of marriages are always going to be between heterosexuals so if you tell someone to think of a marriage they will likely imagine a heterosexual one.

            It also seems to me a pretty poor reason to want to stop two people in love from marrying – that they are going to make a scriptural picture a bit harder to understand.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Why would you obviously disagree with me that ‘gay marriage is sinful’? Has God not made what marriage is clear and plain? Has God not made the limits of sex plain? Where is the difficulty?

            And, of course, making ‘gay’ marriage legal puts into the minds of plenty of people the idea that homosexual relationships are normal and encourage people, who would otherwise have avoided such relationships, into them.

            Why would Christians not read what Paul says:

            Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

            (I Corinthians 6:9-11 [ESV])

            Why would they need to pray about anything. It is quite clear that being a Christian means you cease being an idolater, a thief, greedy, drunkard, reviler, swindler, adulterer, sexually immoral or homosexual. There is no such creature as a ‘gay Christian’.

            Paul gives an answer to the question, if celibacy is not for you you get married to a woman.

            Marriage is about the joining of those who are different, gay marriage is, by definition, about the marriage of those who are the same. The Bride is clearly different from Christ, if you talk about ‘gay’ marriage you appear to want to make the Bride the same as Christ.

            It isn’t a matter of culture, it is a matter of nature. Men and women are different by nature. If you don’t understand that I’m sure there are some books that will explain it to you

            And why do you think that two homosexuals love each other? What they have is lust, not love. Love does not cause someone who is the object of your love to imperil their immortal soul. The same applies, of course, to heterosexual affairs. A love child is nothing of the sort.

          • petej

            Do you think by the word that translators have translated “homosexuals” Paul means anyone attracted to the same sex (the current common usage) anyone having sex with someone of the same sex or anyone in a gay relationship or something else?

            If gay people only experienced lust and were only interested in sex then why marry?! There are plenty of apps for obtaining anonymous sex.

            What is your evidence that gay couples never love each other?

          • Martin

            Pete

            Paul means someone having sex with a person of the same sex. And some people lusting after others have always married. It gives an air of respectability. I gave the evidence that they don’t love each other, they cause another to sin.

          • magnolia

            “I would hope that most priests appointed in the 1970s had gracefully retired by now”.

            Do you really like that attitude even as a joke? Presumably “ageist” is not a part of your vocabulary. Presumably you think anyone who formed opinions before the ultra-enlightened last twenty years is to be sidelined at best, gagged and muffled at worst.

            I find that shallow and disgraceful and deeply horribly prejudiced, verging on thought fascism.

          • petej

            Sorry that was not at all what i meant. I meant that most people (even priests) tend to retire in their mid 60s.

          • Inspector General

            Well, formative years in the 1970s. Remember the sandal wearing arses very well…

      • In a pre-enthronement interview with the BBC, Welby said that while he did not have doubts about the church’s policy in opposing same-sex marriages he remained “challenged as to how we respond to it”.

        “You see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship,” the 57-year-old said, adding that he had “particular friends where I recognise that and am deeply challenged by it.”

        “The Church of England holds very firmly, and continues to hold to the view, that marriage is a lifelong union of one man to one woman. At the same time, at the heart of our understanding of what it is to be human, is the essential dignity of the human being. And so we have to be very clear about homophobia.”

        Questioned as to whether the church could simply ignore some gay relationships, he replied: “It’s not a blind eye – it’s about loving people as they are and where they are. You’ll find that in every church and you’ll find that because it imitates the character and the practice of Jesus himself.”

        Why, oh why, don’t Christian Church leaders call active homosexual relationships – let alone faux ‘marriage’ – what scripture, tradition and reason has always known and taught? Just as the Church of England dithers around this and is divided, so too is the Catholic Church.

        • petej

          I’m not sure that scripture mentions gay relationships?! Welby is pretty clear here that he is against gay marriage. The CofE hierarchy enforces its teaching on human sexuality (you may disagree with it) and part of that is showing respect and dignity for gay people. The teaching is in a document called “issues in human sexuality” which was agreed a lifetime ago. Although I think literally everyone sees this as a flawed document there are no plans to change it

          • Inspector General

            Go over to Pink News and find out what militant gay people think of Christianity…

            Homosexuals need to abandon ‘gay’ and just get on with it without trying to re-write everything.

          • petej

            Sorry I don’t even understand what you mean!

          • DanJ0

            Gay abandon, commencing.

          • Martin

            Pete

            May I suggest you actually read the Bible:

            For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

            (Romans 1:26-27 [ESV])

            If that isn’t homosexuality, what is it.

          • petej

            Well it depends what you mean by homosexuality…I asked about gay relationships. This is specifically about a pagan idolatorous orgy. Granted you may interpret this to cover all gay sex throughout time, but it doesn’t specifically mention gay relationships only sex. I’m sorry if my comments anger you but I think we need to be honest about how much interpretation we put on scripture. This can be hard as a lot of it we just do automatically.

            There’s a couple of things that suggest to me that the people mentioned by Paul are in fact straight – 1 they are heterosexually coupled (“their women”) and 2 gay sex is a punishment for them.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Please do not be so stupid. There is no such thing as ‘gay’ people, just those who indulge in sexual sin. That is what the Bible condemns, just as it condemns stealing or murder. Unless you do it you aren’t in the category.

          • petej

            Well the vast majority (something like 95%) of people who experience same sex attraction have it as soon as puberty kicks in. Some of these are only attracted to the same sex and we call them “gay” some are attracted to both sexes and we call these “bisexual”

            About 1/2500 people born do not have a distinct gender in terms of sexual organs. It would be a bit wierd if there was such gender variation physically but not mentally.

            Indeed there are several well known evangelical priests who are gay (I think one is called Vaughan Roberts – something like that). Plenty of gay christians remain celibate throughout their lives. Somewhere between 2 and 10% of the population are gay it would be a bit wierd if they were all lying.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Who told you that then? Of course, if there is a doubt about gender you can always do a DNA test which will tell you pretty quickly, but we aren’t actually talking about that are we. I’m afraid you have been taken in by the lies.

            As to it being weird, most people in this world lie about their knowledge of God, so it’s hardly strange that they should lie about something lesser.

          • petej

            About intersex? It is a well documented fact. Often their very DNA has no distinct gender. In the past intersex individuals have kept themselves relatively quiet (probably to avoid being attacked as “unnatural”) but they are becoming more vocal in order to be better understood. I’m sure if you google it you can find information from a reputable source.

            You can try to shut yourself off from reality if it doesn’t agree with you. I believe that the same authority that grants me salvation (Jesus) also spoke the world into being so I think the created world has plenty to tell us about the creator.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Methinks you are trying to distract from what is the core question, the claim that there are ‘gay’ people who need special rights. There aren’t and their behaviour is quite clearly condemned in the Bible.

            If you think that God may grant you salvation and yet allow you disobey what he has commanded you quite clearly do not understand what that salvation is. If you want to learn about the Creator look to what He has revealed about Himself, not to the broken world around you.

          • cacheton

            Ah so THAT’s the problem. You have not got the core question! The claim is that everybody should have equal rights regardless of gender or sexual orientation, not ‘special’ rights.

          • Martin

            Cacheton

            As I have said before, there is no such thing as orientation, just those who are sexual sinners, who indulge in sex outside of marriage.

          • petej

            Well in most of the UK gay people have the same rights as everyone else,meso no I don’t think they need special rights, but they do exist. I was merely making the foray into intersex because you would be more likely to accept that they exist. But there are also plenty of people who only experience sexual attraction to members of the same sex.

          • Martin

            Pete

            There are no ‘gay’ people, just sexual sinners. That they are tempted to sin is no different to the temptation to steal.

          • petej

            I disagree. Gay is just a word we assign to people who only experience attraction to the same sex. Saying these people don’t exist is utterly ridiculous.

            It is massively different to a temptation to steal, kill, commit adultery etc in lots of ways, but I would say the two biggest ones are

            1-not acting on it means they are not able to form relationships. Temptation to steal,mill, commit adultery etc do not tend to have a massively damaging effect on your life if you don’t act on them. I’m not a psychologist, but I would think that none of these temptations are lifelong, but being gay is in most cases.

            2-merely admitting it (not acting on it) will cause rejection from some family, friends and churches

          • Martin

            Pete

            There is no difference between the temptation to steal and the temptation have sexual relations with someone of the same sex. They are precisely the same thing. Giving in to either temptation will have a damaging effect on your life. It is not true that not giving in to sexual desire will have a damaging effect on your life, quite the opposite. The idea that there are these people called ‘gays’ is simply nonsense designed to excuse sin.

            Let’s face it, psychologists who fail to acknowledge God and His image in Man will fail to understand their subject. They are just a waste of space.

            Being tempted and resisting is never sin, allowing your mind to think on sin and indulging your thoughts is.

          • petej

            It’s not just about sex though. The enforced celibacy /lack of self acceptance that some gay christians put themselves through quite often has life threatening consequences. Vicky Beeching and Jayne Ozanne have put their stories in the public domain and slightly differently Lizzie Low has been in the media too but there are many more that are kept private

          • Martin

            Pete

            There are no ‘gay’ Christians. Vicky Beeching and Jayne Ozanne are not Christians.

          • petej

            Wow that’s quite a claim. My point was their stories show the difficulties that being gay and celibate can cause. Their faith is immaterial in this context. Of course it isn’t not having sex that causes problems but celibacy is more than just not having sex.

            Why would you say they aren’t Christians…pretty sure neither have had sex and they certainly hadn’t before they came out so what exactly is your problem with them?!

          • Martin

            Pete

            If they were Christians they wouldn’t be homosexuals (1 Cor 6:9-11) and they wouldn’t be rejecting what the Bible says.

            Are you similarly concerned with the difficulties those tempted to steal have? Their problem is probably because they allow themselves to think that they are depriving themselves of something legitimate.

          • petej

            But for these ladies you’re saying that the bible says just being attracted to people of the same gender (not acting on it) is not only sinful in itself, but also stops you from being saved?

            Well stealing is an action not an orientation. Stealing doesn’t stop you having a spouse/family. If you have stolen you can repent, but how do you repent from something you didn’t choose to be and can’t change? My original point was that stealing may have a negative impact on your whole life, but being gay and not acting on it will also have a negative impact on your whole life, including leading you into other sins, so -even if you think that gay sex is wrong- it isn’t as clear cut as it may seem to you.

            There’s another difference I think – although you may correct me – sins have a victim … But in the case of gay marriage both partners have agreed in public to be married.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Even if they have not committed the physical act, they have promoted it & that is sin, but I suspect they have. And all sin is against God, God is the victim.

            Homosexuality is an action just like stealing. You can repent of both, and as Paul says of the Corinthians, “such were some of you”.

            The only reason some who call themselves ‘gay’ have a problem with being celibate or real marriage is because they allow their sinful desire a space in their life and nurture it, whereas we are warned to destroy such. It is entirely clean cut, have nothing to do with sin.

          • petej

            So condemnation by a mixture of self enforced ignorance and speculation…and VB is ignoring the teachings of Jesus?!

            These ladies both had physical health problems (because they sought to lead the sort of life your interpretation of scripture demands of gay people) before they came out. I’m not really sure that merely telling the truth about your sexuality is “promoting” it. Virtually all cases where someone’s orientation has changed it has been due to some severe trauma such as domestic abuse or rape, “promoting” homosexuality therefore has no effect. Encouraging other Christians to accept gay people with the same grace afforded them might be a better description of Ozannes activities. VB has done little except talk about her own life and be honest with people

          • Martin

            Pete

            God’s condemnation, made plain by the Bible. Romans 1:26-27 for an example.

            There is no such thing as sexuality and they clearly nurtured their sin in their heart, an act as bad as actually performing it as Matthew 5:28 points out.

          • petej

            Again I really dont understand what you mean by “theres no such thing as sexuality” … it just means how you relate to the world on a sexual level, to say that it doesnt exist is to say that sex doesnt exist.

            Well actually you’re basing the condemnation on your own presumption that they have had sex. Neither has announced that they have. In my view it is a pretty weak interpretation to take a passage about God-hating idolaters (neither lady has rejected God, at absolute best they are wrong on one area of theology) and claim it shows God’s condemnation for anyone who is gay!

            Both of them have spent most of their adult lives trying to be straight at great personal and physical cost. I simply do not understand how you can claim this is “nurturing the sin their hearts”

            It is actually a real problem for LGBTQI inclusion in the church that they are often assumed sexual deviants by default (when in reality they are far more likely to be celibate than the straight people) and are even interrogated (!) on this point, whereas straight people are assumed sexually pure by default. If you are a gay celibate it is usual that you will be given a much harder time at church than a straight person who has an affair. What is the point in remaining celibate if everyone assumes you are lying and treats you accordingly?!

          • Martin

            Pete

            The sin doesn’t require actual sex, just allowing the thought of sin, as I said nurturing it, is sufficient. And to call yourself ‘gay’ is certainly to allow the sin access.

            The idea that some people are by nature homosexual and are harmed by celibacy is akin to the idea that some people are thieves and will suffer if they don’t steal.

            As Paul said of the Corinthians, “and such were some of you”. Sexual sin and stealing were two of those sins, your idea of ‘orientation’ is sin and beyond the pale for Christians. Homosexuality was one of those things they no longer did.

          • petej

            hmmm. I dont think you understand the definition of “gay” – it is just a description of someone’s attraction. What you are writing about is lust. Some people will say there is no difference, but that kind of implies that all marriage and romantic love is sin which I dont agree with.

            It’s also not really about self-identification, because you can be gay and claim to be straight. Plenty of people do because, even in the nice countries like the UK, being gay is still culturally shameful. In some countries people are killed for admitting to being gay. Under your interpretation – which is worse? 1. having life long attraction only to the same gender and claiming to be straight (i.e. lying) 2. saying you are gay (and by your measure sinning that way) ?? [[NB I’m certainly not judging people who lie that they are straight because some/most of them will be in very difficult circumstances]]

            I cannot tell you if gay people are born like it or not. I think all that the current science will tell you is that there is probably at least some genetic component. However the vast majority of gay people experience gay attraction from age 12 (or before!) so their experience is consistent with having it since they were born. I can tell you that millions of people worldwide and in every culture claim to be gay. I cannot believe this is all a lie because many go to their deaths for it. There are also many gay people who chose to be celibate – so I cannot see how you are saying they are allowing sin access?!!

            With the ‘harmed by celibacy’ thing – I think there are really three aspects and none of them are about sex. (Plenty of gay people manage to be celibate because they dont encounter these issues) They do not need gay marriage to counter them, but other solutions are not always present. I would say in UK culture, especially in Christian culture, the other solutions are rarely present.

            1. Self shame. Believing that you are fundamentally more sinful than straight people, but knowing you have no power to change it. If you get gay married then you have someone solid who you know loves you and therefore your sexuality turns into a relationship that enhances your life rather giving you continual shame.

            2. Failing to have non-sexual (non-romantic) relationships. We are all called to be in relationship, but it is not always possible to find intimate relationships for a single person in a culture that lionises marriage. Obviously gay marriage gives you that intimacy.

            3. Being driven to the edge of, or out, of community. People know that you are gay and they dont want to know you any more…or they write a blog post about how you are satanic or something. Gay marriage gives you community with your spouse.

            Often gay Christian celibacy comes with an understanding that you should remain “in the closet” which is exactly the position you are taking, but this only enhances 1-3 further.

          • Martin

            Pete

            The term ‘gay’ is used to excuse sexual sin, rather like the term ‘white’ is used to excuse lying. Homosexual sex, like all sex outside the marriage of one man to one woman, is lust. That is all there is to it.

            Certainly I see no evidence that among the chattering classes homosexual sin is regarded as shameful, quite the opposite. But it is simply sin and self identifying as ‘gay’ is a sin in itself because you are implying that such behaviour is excusable. Of course we are all born sinners and some of us experience certain temptations more than others. That does not make us either ‘gay’ or thieves, it just means we have to fight harder against that sin. And no, resisting sin is never harmful.

            1. All sin is shameful and it is a good thing to feel that the sin you find hardest to resist is a shameful sin.

            2. Intimate relationships are not a right. Plenty of people who would love to be married live alone all their adult lives.

            3. Seems to me that being a Christian is away many are driven out of the community, not just in Islamic or Hindu nations but here in the UK also. However ‘coming out as gay’ seems to be a great way to be accepted by the PC brigade.

            For a Christian being ‘gay’ is not an option:

            Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6:9-11 (emphasis mine)

          • Martin

            Pete

            There are two sexes, no more. Male and female, complementary, in marriage making one. That is the only sexuality.

            Homosexuality is sin, nothing more. It isn’t love, it is hate, lust to indulge in homosexual sin.

            Their condemnation is their own, in their avowal of such sin. To take the name of ‘gay’ is to condemn yourself, to declare your rebellion against the God who made them male and female. Their condemnation is theirs, not my accusation.

            Romans 1 talks of the state of mankind when God takes His restraining hand away. Then men sleep with men and women with women and worship their own wills instead of the Creator God. That is the picture, those who call themselves ‘gay’ are idolaters.

            There can be no ‘gay’ Christians, there can be no LGBTQI inclusion. Those who imagine they are such are fooling themselves, just as they fool themselves into thinking they can be their own gods.

          • petej

            As I said you are not using the word “gay” in the same way as the rest of the world (or at least English speakers). It certainly isnt a different gender! It isnt a lifestyle. It is a description of someone who is only attracted to the same gender.

            If you believe that people choose to be gay or that gay people cant be in love then you are just shutting yourself off from the world. We are not called to be ignorant, particularly when our ignorance causes harm.

            Ive said it before but there are plenty of celibate gay people (e.g. Vaughn Roberts, Sam Allberry…even Kenneth Williams) If you interpret scripture as saying that all gay sex is sin then you cannot at least condemn these gay people who spent their lives not having gay sex even theough it costs/costed them.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Since they are using the word ‘gay’ as an excuse for sin, that is to be expected. I define ‘love’ as wanting the best possible for the object of that love. Causing a loved one to sin is a denial of love. In the same way, children born out of wedlock clearly are not a ‘love child’ since they were conceived by an act of lust.

            If you self-identify as ‘gay’ then you are identifying with sin, you have already sinned in your heart, as Jesus says, and so have condemned yourself.

          • petej

            Vaughn Roberts, Sam Allberry and Kenneth Williams are (or were) all gay celibates. Roberts and Allberry are famous for speaking out against gay relationships. How on earth can you condemn them since you believe the same as them? Is heaven a place with only you in it?

          • Martin

            Pete

            How would I know if they agree with me and, more importantly, with God’s word?

          • petej

            Well for Sam Allberry and Vaughn Roberts you can just google to find out what they think.

            KW is sadly no longer with us. It’s not known for definate why he killed himself, but he certainly fits the pattern of loneliness and sense of no place in the world that often goes hand in hand with being gay and celibate.

            While you are at it you can also Google Lizzie Lowe. She was a teenage Christian coming to terms with the fact she was gay. She killed herself almost certainly because she didn’t think her family and church would accept that. Eventually the church decided to make a statement simply saying that gay people were welcome there (specifically not condoning gay sex or relationships just saying that gay people would be welcome to attend the service). Several people left as a result of the leadership team stating what they thought was already implied. The people who left did not want to accept people like Lizzie into their church. When Christians hate little girls like Lizzie so much that they are willing to change church over it I wonder what the point is in sharing the gospel. When Christians don’t even accept people following a conservative interpretation of scripture because of who they are, let alone show grace to actual sinners – what is the point in sharing that with non believers?!

            I hope you do not find this rude, but it concerns me that many Christians – including big names who should know better – are so quick to condemn all gay people without understanding anything of the realities of being gay.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Why is it you have not understood what I’ve been saying? Temptation is not a sin but giving in to that temptation, even in thought is. Thus thinking of yourself as ‘gay’ is giving in to temptation because you are making an idol of that temptation.

            Thus, people who encourage others to think of themselves as ‘gay’ are encouraging them to sin, and thus are adding to their pain. Indeed, those churches that advertise themselves as welcoming those who are ‘gay’ are encouraging wickedness and churches of Satan, not Christ.

            It is not a case of what they are but a case of how they react to temptation. And I am afraid that those, like you, who encourage them to think of themselves as ‘gay’ are in part responsible for their pain.

          • petej

            I’ve understood fine but you seem to have quite a bizarre understanding of being gay.

            Your level of tolerance seems to be much harsher than you would apply to any other law. You think that the bible condemns all gay sex and therefore also all gay relationships yet you go much further and condemn even celibate people.

            You claim it is just a label people have made for themselves. I’ve tried to give examples of people whose stories are in the public domain who are only attracted to their own gender yet you maintain that they don’t exist… Why is it that you think they don’t exist?

            I can no more encourage someone to be gay than I can encourage them to be straight. But i do believe that Jesus died for them regardless of their sexuality

          • Martin

            Pete

            If someone went around claiming they were a Christian thief I would be just as dismissive of their claim as those who claim to be ‘gay’ Christians. It is quite clear that allowing such a sin to fester in the heart, whether it is acted upon or not, is just as bad as the act.

            Why would the claims of such people be any different to the claims generally made? Judged by the Bible they are clearly false.

            As for encouraging sin, you are clearly doing so by propping up this preposterous notion of ‘being gay’. Homosexuality is merely sin, nothing more.

          • petej

            Well there are three things going on here

            1 we disagree over whether the bible says all gay sex is wrong or not

            2 you are saying that identification of temptation to sin is sin itself. This cannot be true because it makes Jesus a sinner. I’m pretty sure I asked you if you thought list and attraction were the same thing already?

            3 you are not using the word gay in the way I, or most of the rest of the world, am using it. You are using it as a thing about having sex with people or being tempted to have sex with people. It isn’t this at all. It is a description of someone’s direction of attraction. I have given you some examples of gay celibates who are in the public eye. You seem to be suggesting that these people (and millions of others) are lying about their experience? Logically the likes of VW and SA’s would have their messages massively boosted if being gay was just a label. Also JO and VB clearly didn’t want to come out and wouldve much rather had been straight. LL was living in a heterosexual culture with both church and parents telling her that being gay was wrong. She didn’t want to be gay. If it were just a label she’d be with us still. My point is that being gay isn’t a choice or a label. Can you tell me please what makes you think it is just a label?

            Your theology is based on a misunderstanding of what being gay is. If you’re using it to hate on people that’s really dangerous. You might be think you are using your scorn as an attempt to save souls from the fires of hell, but it is coming out as hatred against a minority. It is like thinking being black is a choice and then speaking out against black people because you think they have chosen to be like that.

          • Martin

            Pete

            1. You don’t disagree with me, you disagree with the Bible.

            2. No, I’m saying that allowing that temptation to fester in your heart is sin. Calling yourself ‘gay’ is more than admitting to temptation.

            3. You fail to understand that there is no such thing as ‘being gay’, they are just people who sin sexually, nothing more.

          • petej

            Can you give me any evidence for any of these three?!

          • Martin

            Pete

            What do you think I’ve been doing? And where is your evidence against anything I’ve said? The Bible depicts sexual activity as only acceptable within marriage and marriage is only between a man and a woman. As Jesus said in Matthew 5 looking on a woman with lust is as much a sin as the adultery so the same applies to even allowing the mind to dwell on sin. Sin is not only an action but also allowing the mind to dwell on the action.

          • petej

            You’ve given me a scant few verses that aren’t directly related to gay marriage, because as we both know full well the bible doesn’t address it and we have to make interpretations from the rest of scripture.
            I’m sorry but this argument of yours is literally calling Jesus a sinner. I agree lust is wrong, but gay people are no more constantly lusting than straight people. In fact ive given you the names of a couple of gay celibate Christians who’ve made it part of their life’s work to campaign for all gay people to be celibate. There are lots more whose lives aren’t in the public domain. Here im using “gay” to mean people who have life long attraction only to the same gender. This is the definition that is commonly used. Anyone announcing they are gay is merely saying/sometimes admitting that they have experienced lifelong same sex attraction. You seem to be suggesting that they should lie about this? And of course “gay” is not really a label, it is a description of someone who has lifelong same gender attraction so you can be gay without calling yourself gay. Can you please give me any evidence that adopting a label can be a sinful act or that merely being gay is a sin. We are agreed lust is wrong, but that is not the same thing.
            You claim that being gay is about sexual sin. You claim that actually people who have lifelong attraction only to the same gender don’t exist. I cannot comprehend how you could deny this – it is like denying birds exist – do you have any evidence or can you at least explain how you’ve come to this conclusion? Do you think people choose to be reviled and rejected their whole lives?! Ive given you the names of six individuals for whom we know that being gay isn’t about sexual sin because none have had sex. (With the proviso that Jayne Ozanne and Vicky Beeching *may* have had sex in the last year (I don’t follow them around with a video camera) but they certainly didn’t before that. I doubt that they have as both are quite conservative)

            There’s a video on YouTube by a young guy (I’ll try post a link below) that I would encourage you to watch. From about 3min in he asks his gay subscribers if being gay is a choice. You may like to watch the whole thing the first half is the motivation for the video – footage of a minor being hit and thrown out of his home by his own parents, just for admitting he was gay.

          • petej
          • Martin

            Pete

            The Bible doesn’t address ‘gay’ marriage because it plainly lays down what marriage is. Since marriage is between one man and one woman ‘gay’ marriage is a contradiction in terms, it isn’t marriage.

            No, I’m not calling Jesus a sinner, I’m not saying being tempted to sin is sin but allowing yourself to think about that sin is. Dwelling on that sin, identifying with that sin is sin so calling yourself ‘gay’ is sin.

            We all have temptation to sin, and often temptations to specific sins. That isn’t sinful, but identifying yourself with that sin is. Why should one group of people be able to claim special exemptions on the basis of the temptation they experience?

            Try swapping the sin around and see if you feel the same when another sin, instead of homosexuality, is inserted. Would you consider that those given to stealing, who identify themselves as thieves, should be treated the same way?

          • petej

            So I disagree with your understanding of the word gay. It is not identification with a sin, it is a description of a person. As I’ve previously shown many gay people are also celibate who are certainly not I identifying with sexual sin. this may well be how you understand the word but it is not what people mean when they say they are gay. Indeed if, as in the YouTube clip, as in the case of Lizzie Lowe, there are many, perhaps millions, of gay people worldwide who have never had sex and would like nothing better than to be straight so they can fit in to societal norms

            There is no equivalent to thieving because I don’t think there is anyone who experiences lifelong attraction to thieving even though they’ve never actually stolen anything and that attraction prevents them from buying for goods. I would hope that if a Christian experienced this attraction to steal they would be accepted as a brother or sister, not told they are sinning merely by admitting their experience.

            I disagree that the bible *prescribes* heterosexual marriage only. It does however suggest a need for love and spousal suitability in marriage and suggests that wanting to get married is not an unreasonable thing.

            I have never come across any gay person demanding a special exemption. However in the UK Christians in the form of the church do have special exemption in the way they treat gay people

          • Martin

            Pete

            Homosexuality is a sin, calling yourself ‘gay’ is therefore identifying with that sin. God does not just require celibacy, it requires a rejection in thought and deed of the sin. Saying that you are ‘gay’ is effectively accepting the sin.

            Of course there are those who experience a lifelong attraction to stealing, and what relevance does buying goods have? And stealing covers a pretty wide range of experiences. You raise homosexuality above other sins, putting it in a category that you will find nowhere in the Bible, that of excusable.

            Perhaps you can show me where the Bible speaks of anything other than the marriage of one man to one woman with approval. And while you’re at it, love is required from each partner after marriage, not before.

            So you don’t consider that homosexuals that turned up at the Christian guest house demanding a double room required a special exemption? And the Christians are only allowed very limited exemptions, which don’t address living our lives in a godly manner.

          • petej

            1. There is nothing in scripture to suggest homosexuality or being gay is in any way sinful. Im not saying it is excusable, I am saying it is not a sin.

            2. Scripture has the well trod ‘clobber’ verses which some people interpret as saying all *gay sex* (i.e. not being gay or homosexual, but having gay sex) is sinful.

            These verses are all framed in the context of a heterosexual male for whom gay sex is a a humiliation or pagan worship or a weapon of war.

            I can accept that you may have an interpretation of scripture that says all gay sex is wrong, many people do. I can’t accept that you can get out an interpretation that merely being gay is wrong. There is scant scriptural evidence that all gay sex is wrong; there is no evidence that being gay is wrong.

            Again, if gay sex is a sin, Im not saying it is excusable, Im saying that a large number of gay people have not commited it. I have given plenty of examples of these.

            3. Lust is sinful. This is not a homosexual problem. This is a human problem.

            4. Nowhere is there the biblical precedent that admitting a sin or temptation to sin is sinful in itself. This would make Christ sinful since he was tempted “in every way”.

            5. For Christians being in Christ dominates all other identities.

            6. The word gay is to describe someone’s sexual orientation, i.e. the direction of their attraction and nothing more than that. Therefore being gay does not mean they will act on it any more than being straight means you will commit adultery or being Christ means you will put God to the test.

            7. Being gay is difficult to measure, but it is possible. Tests usually involve questionaires or physical response to stimulae so there is a lot of noise in the results, but it is still objectively measurable and not just a label or a subjective experience. It is easier to measure in men because the physical responses are more noticeable.

            8. It is not a choice. Between 95 and 100 % of people who self-identify as gay or same-sex attracted say they have had no choice. The overwhelming majority say they have had *only* that direction of attraction their whole life (i.e. since puberty or before). Many spend decades and a lot of money on therapies trying to be straight. Many gay Christians remain celibate. Some of the celibate gay Christians campaign for other gay people to remain celibate. Many teenagers – most of whom have not had sex – get thrown out of their homes for being gay. It is the largest cause of youth homelessness in the U.S.. In many African and Asian countries people are killed because they are gay. None of this sounds like choosing to identify with sin to me.

            * The relevance to not being able to buy goods: because gay people only experience same-sex attraction then they cannot form heterosexual relationships.

            Because there is prejudice and because homosexuality occurs only in 1-5% of people, it can also cause isolation with respect to family and friends. Yet God says “it is not good for man to be alone”

            * Sorry I dont understand your example about special exceptions. I would expect a gay couple at a b&b to be treated in the same way as a straight couple…or a Christian couple to be treated in the same way as an atheist couple (In fact if it was in the UK, the law requires all businesses not to discriminate on grounds of sexuality, race or religion). A special exemption might be being allowed to break the speed limit to get there?

          • Martin

            Pete

            Scripture is quite clear that sex outside of marriage is sin and especially so when it involves two persons of the same gender. Add to that it is quite clear that marriage is only between one man and one woman. If you claim Scripture says other than that you are deceiving yourself and bringing down judgement on yourself for wilfully misinterpreting the plain text of Scripture. If you teach others what you have written you bring down on yourself not only that judgement but also the judgement on those you have sought to deceive.

            It is also quite clear from Scripture that sin does not only involve the act but also allowing our mind to think and relish the act. I’ve already demonstrated that to you. Thus pretending to be ‘gay’ when there is no such thing is to identify with the sin and condemn yourself. This addresses your #4. To remind you, this is the relevant passage:

            You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

            (Matthew 5:27-28 [ESV])

            This passage is an example of a general principle, it is not restricted to looking on a woman, either married or otherwise, but relates to all sin. Thus if someone has property that you like and want it would be just as relevant.

            There is no such thing as sexual orientation, it is a wicked attempt to excuse sin by pretending it is part of the nature of the person. By using it and encouraging others to think in that way you are encouraging them to sin and leading to their condemnation.

            It doesn’t matter how many people self-identify as whatever, or whether they say they had no choice, they are simply self-justifying their sin. It doesn’t matter what you think either because you are clearly muddle headed when it comes to thinking about such things.

          • petej

            Well if we are going to be condemned for having a wrong interpretation of Scripture then I guess almost everyone (Inc the apostles) will be in hell.

            If scripture is clearly against gay marriage then cite the verse. I don’t think that is an unreasonable request. I would also like you to explain away the evidence I’ve given that gay people are real. It is really important that our faith is real honest and trustworthy. I can understand that you might not have had any known contact with gay people in your life, but the evidence is pretty overwhelming that they do exist.

            I have said before that in the passage you’ve quoted I interpret as Jesus taking about lust (he was clearly not talking about homosexuality but I think it is a good interpretation to cover heterosexual and homosexual lust) but do you interpret all human attraction as lust? Do you find any female you are not married to attractive? If you are married did you find your wife attractive before you got married?

          • CliveM

            Pete

            You have probably picked this up by now, but let’s be clear where Martin is coming from. In his view, you cannot be Gay because homosexuality isn’t an orientation, it’s a deliberate and calculated sin against God. There is no such thing as orientation. So in this world view, if you self identify as Gay you are deliberately sinning against God, even if you don’t have gay sex. You are seen as deliberately embracing a sin. A bit like saying “I am a murderer” even if you don’t kill. By identifying yourself with the sin of murder, you are rebelling against God and are therefore sinful. Remember Martin thinks of being Gay as a deliberate choice. You are therefore proclaiming yourself to be in rebellion against God.

            Why he doesn’t believe in orientation I don’t know. There is nothing against it in the bible.

          • Martin

            Pete

            You know, that is precisely what Atheists do, they want a verse that matches exactly to their argument and if it doesn’t match exactly then it isn’t relevant.

            Scripture is not a rule book, it lays down principles and gives examples. Thus the Bible lays down what marriage is and prohibits sexual behaviour outside of marriage. It then shows what the result of such sexual misbehaviour is. You see it with David, you see it with Solomon, you see it with Romans 1:26-27. That is about any homosexual acts, because a homosexual act is an act of idolatry.

            The passage I have given you is quite sufficient to rule our ‘gay’ marriage. You may like to explain away the passage but it is quite clear. What you have given as evidence of ‘gay people’ is hearsay and claims, not anything more. That people excuse their sins by calling themselves gay is irrelevant to your claim. That we all are tempted is not evidence for homosexuality, rather the opposite.

          • petej

            So you agree that there is no verse directly condemning gay marriage and biblical condemnation (or not) is dependent on individual interpretation. I disagree with a universalist approach to Romans 1, not least because there’s an implication from the text that these are heterosexuals

            I disagree with your implication that anyone who disagrees with you is not a believer. Our shared faith is not in a particular interpretation of Scripture nor even a pain reading of it but in Jesus lordship and resurrection.

            I do think we have a responsibility as co-heirs with christ to care for the welfare of all people, not just those who are culturally respectable. We often hear that we should “love the sinner and hate the sin” but a friend has just pointed out to me that Jesus taught we should love the sinner and hate our own sin. How can we possibly pass judgement when we are ignorant of someone else’s situation? How can we pass judgement when we are all guilty of breaking the same law (this is the true meaning of Romans 1)

          • Martin

            Pete

            There is no requirement for a verse directly condemning anything in Scripture. It lays down the principle that marriage is between a man and a woman and that is sufficient to condemn ‘gay’ marriage.

            Romans 1 has the implication that these are human beings doing what God has not designed them for. There is no concept of heterosexual or homosexual in the Bible, for the reason that the separation only exists in behaviour, not nature. The passage describes deviant sexual behaviour with a person of the same gender.

            My implication is that anyone who disagrees with the Bible is showing evidence that they are not a believer, I do not come into it. If Jesus is Lord then the Bible is to be obeyed.

            It is quite clear what is sin, and if we allow our neighbour to continue in their sin without warning them we are not loving them. If we see the same sin in ourselves we should abhor it as much in ourselves as in our neighbour.

          • petej

            I was not arguing that temptation is evidence of gay people. Gay people exist and I cannot comprehend how any intelligent adult could think otherwise, especially when given evidence. I’ve given you plenty of evidence from real peoples lives that you ignore.

            I was arguing it was evidence that merely experiencing temptation is not sin itself. To take clives example, we would say that murder is a sin we would not say that calling yourself a murderer was sin in itself.

            Clive suggests that ignoring the existence of gay people is merely your world view which is fine as long as you aren’t hurting anyone

            I guess my main problem is that you continually say that “scripture clearly shows” when now you’re saying that you’ve come to your interpretation just by universalising things that are not gay marriage. I understand that is your interpretation but I think we need to be clearer because people outside the faith get a false impression of the bible and Christianity

            I think we would be agreed that marriage is mostly seen as a good thing by scripture so why is the “correct” interpretation that gay marriage is closer to gang rape or orgy than it is to heterosexual marriage?

          • Martin

            Pete

            What you’ve given me is claims. An I was not saying that being tempted is a sin, it is allowing that temptation room in your life that is sin.

            Murder is a sin, as is holding a grudge against a person, that is just the same, in principle, as calling yourself gay.

            I fail to see your difficulty in seeing that homosexuality is forbidden, the testimony of Scripture is very clear. As to ‘gay’ marriage, the only marriage that Scripture allows is between a man and a woman. There is simply no such thing as ‘gay’ marriage.

            What the good news in Jesus Christ comprises is that the condemned may be forgiven, whatever theirs sin, but that they may no longer cherish or identify with that sin, let alone commit it.

            They were once sinners but now are no longer.

          • petej

            There are lots of ways to interpret Romans 1. In the 17th century protestants played down the sexual aspect to claim it spoke against the Roman church. It is clear from reality that 12 year olds are unlikely to be idolators or sexual deviants, but this is the age that gay people start to experience attraction. Ergo it cannot be about all gay people.

            It is sad to me that this section of scripture is used to hit people over the head. Paul is actually making the point that none of us can judge since we are all guilty of the same law.

            I think for things that are not clearly condemned by scripture we need to look to Jesus interpretation of the law (and be aware that the religious leaders of Jesus time got it wrong!) “Scripture clearly says” has been used in the past to condemn Jews, catholics, women, black people, blind people, Gentiles and the disabled. I think we need to be better at being honest about what is a plain reading and what is an interpretation and perhaps stop blaming God for our own prejudice. You say that gay marriage is against the bible, but really it is against your interpretation of the bible.

            The trouble with calling gay people to repentance is how do you repent from something you have no control over? There are some gay Christians who are celibate and encourage others to be celibate, but you’ve already said that isn’t sufficient.

            Are you aware that gay marriage has been legal in most of the UK for more than a year now? It is also legal in most of Western Europe? I really struggle with your use of language, you are opposed to gay people, but then claim they don’t exist. You are opposed to gay marriage, but are now claiming that doesn’t exist too.

          • Martin

            Pete

            In the 17th century there were other issues and, since the Bible speaks to all ages as they have need, the lack of such claims as yours would have caused them to focus on what was needed then. We see the same thing in the creeds, they speak to the needs of their time.

            Children of 12 are already idolaters, for they put their will above God. They have barely begun to understand sex, so to claim they are gay and experiencing attraction is stupidity of the highest order. There are no ‘gay’ people, just sexual sinners and if you bring children up to be sexually immoral that’s how they will end up.

            Paul is also making the point that the society that abandons God will be abandoned by God and allowed to degenerate. One of the examples of that degeneracy is homosexuality, another is a failure to care for the old. We see both in our society.

            In Jesus we see the condemnation of ‘gay’ marriage for He defines marriage as between one man and one woman. He defines marriage as the joining together of what is different to make one. Neither of those can be applied to ‘gay’ marriage in any way. The Bible is clear, form Genesis 1, marriage is between a man and a woman.

            To say that they have no control over how they react to temptation is clearly nonsense. We can all do one of two things when tempted, turn our back on the temptation and resist it, or allow it a place in our lives. Calling yourself ‘gay’ is clearly allowing the temptation a place in your life.

            It doesn’t matter what human law says, marriage is only between one man and one woman, Cameron’s defiant changing of the law, against opposition from the general public, does not change the facts. I am against both the pretence that there are such as ‘gay’ persons and the propagation of their sin as normal.

          • petej

            I agree the bible says different things to different times – that was exactly my point! You were implying that Romans 1 has always been understood as being against gay relationships when I dont think that is actually true. I wonder if it is only true since the 1980s when the real anti gay movement in churches began.

            I really think you need to modify your attitude. As you must know, many teen LGBT commit suicide because they know they will not be accepted by their families, churches and communities. Others are thrown out on the streets. These things happen whether you believe them or not. To just dismiss these things as the result of idolatry or imaginery is no better than actual hatred for them. These are little kids – how dare you say such things?! Im sorry, but I have a particular heart for children and your comments – where you seem happy for them to suffer and die – just make me so angry. I hope your comments are just coming out of ignorance.

            If you have zero contact with LGBT then it is fine to believe such nonesense. Otherwise you are at a minimum contributing to an evil culture that is actually harming and killing people. I dont know if you are aware, but a few months ago in California a lawyer tried to create a bill to allow people to legally kill LGBT. Do you really think this is an application of Gods love?!

            You havent explained why pretty much all people who identify as gay feel gay from age 12/puberty. As I said it is a bit unbelieveable that all idolators have begun their idolatry before age 12. You also havent explained away all the gay people who are deomonstrably not God-haters – those who dedicate their lives to following Christ, even serving in his church. Many of these will sacrifice having any sex life at all. How can you claim these people are idolators? Have you really led such a good life that you feel able to pour scorn and judgement on these people?! You also havent explained why there are straight idolators.

            Im not aware of Jesus condemning gay marriage. I think you are referring to the passage where he condemns heterosexual divorce for any reason except adultery. I think all Christians would think rape and physical abuse were reasonable grounds for divorce also. What I mean is, he is answering a particular question and it is clear he is not answering as if writing a legal bill. He is saying respect your spouse because she is made in the image of God also and is as important to you as your own body. It is perverse to use this passage to try to dehumanise a group of people.

            Again it is clear from Genesis 1 that our need for relationship is because of our nature as bearers of the image of God. The reason Eve was picked as a partner was suitability. Marriage was made for man, not man for marriage.

            Again I dont think any of the Genesis passage is intended as law! If so why do male Christians do jobs other than farming the land and why do we try to manage the pain of childbirth for women? What youve done here is to take a normative description and make it a universal law. This is exactly the same idea as the secular hate culture – “that person isnt like me therefore they are to be condemned”.

            As you well know I wasnt suggesting people didnt have control over their behaviour, but they do not have control over their orientation. It is very well documented that there is no known method to change someone’s orientation.

            Again it is not about labelling yourself gay or not. Some people use other terms, but they are still only attracted to the same sex. I doubt you would accept a definition of Christian made by someone who didnt like Christians so why is your definition of ‘gay’ valid?!

            Again you are at best being incredibly liberal with the truth (and possibly actually lying) when the government passed the gay marriage bill a majority of the public were in favour of it. I didnt vote for him, but Cameron was democratically re-elected after doing so. Two polls (a few months ago and a year ago) showed that the majority of people who call themselves Christian and regularly attend church were split 50-50 on the issue. A majority of catholics, anglicans, and methodists in favour. The URC have today decided to start hosting gay weddings. It may take them a while because of all the red tape, but the Anglicans will do so also at some point. So I do not think you can claim there was oppositon from the general public. There may have been opposition from you, but that is hardly surprising! There certainly isnt public opposition now.

            Do you care about truth or not? If so then why have you not even attempted to square actual evidence with your thinking? Your assertion that gay people dont exist against a huge weight of evidence that you simply ignore (!) is frankly a bizarre attitude for a Christian. Do you also believe the Earth is flat and the sun rotates around it?

            In May 2013 a YouGov poll found 54% of Britons in favour of gay marriage, with 37% against.

            A year later when the laws were coming in ComRes found 68% in favour and 26% opposed.

          • petej

            the link to the video on YouTube has failed but if you search for

            “Supdaily06 is being gay a choice” you will find it.

          • Martin

            Pete

            The choice is to sin, that much is quite clear from the Bible.

          • petej

            Also there’s a problem that what you are reading as the perfect holy word of God is actually a translators best efforts to translate what Paul wrote (NB I believe the original is given by God). The word you are reading as “homosexuals” is translated by some as “sexual perverts” (eg RSV) some, some “homosexuals” (as in your translation) or something like “men who have sex with men” (eg NIV). The Greek word is used by Paul twice in his writings (some translations translate it differently in the two places!) and we have no other sources as to what it specifically means. I’m pretty convinced it refers back to whatever is banned in leviticus because it is essentially an abbreviation of the Greek translation of that verse. If I am right on this he certainly isn’t condemning gay people. At best he is condemning gay people who have sex. I would argue that he is talking about sex with partners outside of your orientation, devoid of love. Since you don’t believe gay people are capable of love then we are agreed on that. What we are disagreed on is whether sex in the context of a loving relationship is sinful or not. A solution for this might be for you to just not have gay sex.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Remember, there is no such thing as orientation and hence what Paul is condemning, what Leviticus is condemning, is what we most often refer to as homosexuality, whether they call themselves ‘gay’ or not. Sex outside the marriage of one man to one woman is condemned.

          • petej

            Orientation just means the direction of your attraction. Saying it doesn’t exist is meaningless. What you mean is you think everyone is straight and gay people are all lying about their experience.

            So you think only gay sex is sinful and not merely being gay, coming out or having a celibate gay relationship? You may think these differences are inconsequential but if your ability to attend church depended on it you would understand how crucial they are. Currently in the cofe the teaching says only gay sex is wrong but in practise a variety of different teachings are practised

          • Martin

            Pete

            I’m afraid the CoE is so muddled in it’s doctrine and practice that I’d not take it as an example of anything.

            If orientation is as you describe it, there is nothing wrong in my wishing to own a car belonging to another and driving it off. But Jesus said that even going beyond that point of admiring the car to desiring it is wrong. It is just the same with sex. We all lie to ourselves about our sin, to lie to others is merely a minor extension of that.

          • petej

            I think here you are talking about the difference between lust and love. Lust is a problem for straight people too, there really isnt any difference between gay and straight on this.

            The current disagreement in the church is over whether, to take your analogy, gay people are allowed their own car or not. Since they can legally buy a car, I think the debate should really be about how gay people (especially those who have obeyed the teaching and not bought a car) are treated at church.

          • Martin

            Pete

            Homosexual sex acts can never be about love, they are only about lust. If you love someone you do not cause them to sin. There are no ‘gay’ people, just sexual sinners and they cannot be Christians for they are wilfully disobeying God by favouring sin in their hearts.

          • petej

            If that is even remotely true then why do (some/most) gay people want to get married? If it is just about lust there are apps to help you find a different partner every night should you so wish.

            Do you think celibate gay Christians are sinners?

          • Martin

            Pete

            Some campaigners want to destroy marriage, and some people have always wanted to get married because of lust. Lust does not always mean you want new ‘partners’.

            As I’ve already said, if you identify yourself as ‘gay’ there is good evidence that you have sinned in your heart.

          • petej

            I don’t know if you agree but my understanding of Jesus definition of lust is imagining sex with someone who is married to someone else. Therefore if it is within marriage it isn’t lust. Why bother marrying if your relationship is just about lust? Why adopt children? How do you identify if someone’s marriage is about lust rather than lust and do you think straight people are capable of this? A (straight) friend of mine was told once by a Christian leader that she should seek to marry someone who she wasn’t attracted to so that lust would not be part of their marriage…would you agree with that?

            If lust can be about forming lifelong partnership, supporting and caring for one another, putting each other first, and in some cases raising children then what is the difference between lust and love?

            I’m sorry but I think you are way out on the “identifying as gay” thing. I would say for almost everyone who self identifies as gay it is primarily just telling the truth about who they are attracted to. There is also the point that lots of people are gay (that is attracted only to the same gender) but do not identify as gay. And of course many gay celibates (inc Christians) who you are dismissing as sinful even though they’ve never had sex.

            Even if you believe all gay sex is sin, I can think of no biblical precident for merely identifying temptation to sin (being gay is much more than just being tempted to have sex with the same gender, but that is the part some Christians might object to). In fact it says in The letter to the Hebrews that Jesus was tempted in every way … Yet did not sin!

            Every Christian has real sins in their life. I do not think it is right therefore to be judgemental about people who are being honest about who they are attracted to, especially if they don’t act on it. In fact in the letter to the Roman Christians, they are told that they have broken the same law as those taking part in the pagan orgies and are therefore guilty of the same sin. We are all guilty of breaking the law and all need the same saviour to redeem us. Jesus can save anyone, even/especially people we don’t like very much

            It is a good job that God didn’t consider that identifying as human would mean he had sinned in his heart!

          • Martin

            Pete

            Ever wondered about those people who marry, then a bit later get divorced? Ever wondered about those who marry a number of times? Is their love so fleeting or is it rather lust?

            Of course Christians still sin, but they don’t identify with their sin, they don’t wallow in it in the way that calling yourself ‘gay’ does. Calling yourself ‘gay’ goes beyond being tempted and into the realm of nurturing that sin.

          • magnolia

            You overstate the “intersex”. And where it seems to occur there is usually one gender clearly dominant. As in the runner who beats women hands down, has a female partner, both male and the start of female outward sexual organs, no womb, no ovaries, undescended testes, shoulders 3 times the size of the head width, narrow pelvis, male musculature, and no breasts, and 3 x the normal female amount of testosterone. Now that is pretty obvious to me, but male Doctors with a view of what it is to be properly fully male tend to label any iffy case female, without questioning whether they have involved their own feelings about maleness into the equation, or whether they fully appreciate that being female is not just a lesser version of a male but something in its own right.

            And then loads of problems for everyone later on.

          • DanJ0

            “Well the vast majority (something like 95%) of people who experience same sex attraction have it as soon as puberty kicks in.”

            That describes me perfectly. I was about 9 or 10 at the time. I didn’t even know what sex really was back then. Religious people only need to talk to us with an open and enquiring mind to find out the reality.

          • petej

            I agree completely. The trouble for some Christians is that they will believe their interpretation of scripture more than reality. They will believe that all gay people are liars and therefore not worth listening to. This is, I hope, a small minority.

            In 1991 the Church of England committed itself to listening to LGB Christians and it has only just begun to do so. I think it should also be hearing from gay people outside the church and especially those who’ve been made to feel unwelcome, but at least it is something

          • petej

            Yes I agree entirely. In 1991 the church of England made a commitment to listen to LGB people, but that process has sadly only just started. Also sadly it is being boycotted by a group of priests who do not think gay people should be allowed a voice.

            I also think they should be listening to the people whove been hurt or excluded because of their sexuality, but maybe this will come next

          • carl jacobs

            Before you can make this argument, you have to establish from Scripture that the category of “people who are created to desire sex with members of the same gender” in fact exists. You can’t just create it ex nihilo to make the text say what you want it to say.

          • petej

            Hmmmm well I think we actually have to apply reality to scriptures as well and he reality is that there are people who only experience same sex attraction and in the English speaking world we call these people “gay”.

            If gay people don’t exist then theres clearly no problem that welby isn’t anti gay enough for the folks here, because there’s no such thing

          • carl jacobs

            I didn’t say that homosexuals don’t exist. I stated that you have to prove homosexual desire is part of the natural created order. Your argument suggests the Romans 1 doesn’t apply to actual homosexuals but only to heterosexuals who engage in homosexual activity. To make that argument work, you have to establish that homosexual desire is not just authentic, but good and divinely intended.

            I assume you are not attempting to make the argument that the authenticity of a desire validates the morality of the desire such that men are free to act upon it.

          • petej

            Oh ok sorry I misunderstood you.

            I’m not sure romans 1 applies directly to anyone as it is a description of activities in the (near) past for Paul. We may derive interpretations from it (actually Pauls own interpretation is that Christians shouldnt judge non Christians because we are all law breakers)

            I don’t agree that to suggest that Paul isn’t talking about modern gay marriage I somehow have to find scripture that says that being gay is natural. my original point was the bible doesn’t mention gay relationships and it doesn’t. Unless you want to suggest the centurion and his servant or david and jonathan were couples (and I don’t think the evidence is there for that)

          • carl jacobs

            We may derive interpretations from it

            Words have meaning. Meanings can be understood. If nothing may be comprehended, then we know nothing of God or man, and you have no grounds for saying …

            I believe that the same authority that grants me salvation (Jesus)

            … (as you did below) for you can only make that statement on the basis of Scripture. You know nothing of God or Christ apart from it.

            I’m not sure romans 1 applies directly to anyone as it is a description of activities in the (near) past for Paul.

            Paul’s argument in Romans 1 is an appeal to creation as testimony of God. He uses the example of homosexuality to illustrate the willful disobedience of man in refusing to worship God – the selfsame God who is plainly evident to them in the testimony of that very creation. Just as men deny the testimony of creation and lust after other men, so also they deny the testimony of creation and worship animal and rocks instead of God. The point is precisely that homosexuality is self-evidently unnatural – as in contrary to intended natural use. It is a universal argument that proceeds from the very nature of creation itself, and so it is very much applicable today.

            I don’t agree that to suggest that Paul isn’t talking about modern gay marriage

            If the underlying behavior is immoral then the relationship predicated upon that relationship is irrelevant. When Herod was accused by John the Baptist of having his brother’s wife, it did not matter to John if Herod had a loving monogamous faithful mutually nourishing relationship or not. What mattered was the the sexual behavior that attended the relationship was morally illicit. Therefore you cannot use a relationship imposed upon immoral behavior to retro-actively justify the behavior. This is why I asked you to prove the homosexual desire was not just authentic but good. I know the desire exists. All sorts of desires exist – good and evil. Tell me why I should credit homosexual desire as good.

            The Scripture doesn’t mention gay relationships because they are external to the creative will of God. Male and female together represent the divine image of God in humanity. Sexuality only makes sense in terms of male and female. You can’t create Scriptural approval from an argument from silence. You need a positive assertion.

          • petej

            Im not sure why you think a positive assertion is needed. There are plenty of indirect positive assertions, but I expect you would count these as only applying to heterosexuals.

            There are also many positive things in our modern age that are not mentioned by scripture e.g. hospitals.

            In that very passage Paul says that knowledge of God is self-evident from nature so I dont agree that all our knowledge of God and the created world must come only from scripture.

            I disagree that this passage condemns all gay sex. Here gay sex is used as a punishment (not much of a punishment if you are gay!!). A child might be made to sit on the naughty step for being bad, but it doesnt necessarily follow that sitting on the stairs is a bad act. Paul is quite clear this is a lust filled orgy … a world away from a loving monogamous relationship.

          • carl jacobs

            In that very passage Paul says that knowledge of God is self-evident from nature so I dont agree that all our knowledge of God and the created world must come only from scripture.

            So you do believe that words have meaning.

            Yes, it is true that creation testifies to the power and glory of God. But natural man reacts to this revelation by suppressing it in unrighteousness. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. General revelation cannot save. It can only condemn.

            Tell me everything you know about God that is not found in Scripture. Would you know of Christ and the cross without it?

            There are also many positive things in our modern age that are not mentioned by scripture e.g. hospitals.

            That’s true but irrelevant. God’s condemnation of homosexual behavior is clearly manifest in Scripture. You admit this when you say the Scripture doesn’t talk about homosexual relationships. You are trying to isolate those condemnations from what you are trying to defend by making an argument from silence.

            Im not sure why you think a positive assertion is needed. There are plenty of indirect positive assertions

            Because you want me to affirm what Scripture condemns. You want me to agree that 3500 years of consistent understanding should be overturned. I’m not going to do that on a subjective evaluation of the fruit of a homosexual relationship – which seems to me the only criteria you have offered.

            And I don’t know what an indirect positive assertion is. Could you give an example?

          • petej

            Carl Im sorry but I think your argument that gay relationships are condemned is incredibly flimsy – you haven’t given me a scripture that condemns anything that would not also be condemned if it were in a heterosexual context…let alone any scripture that specifically condemns gay relationships. I just don’t agree that everything is condemned unless it is specifically approved of.

            I’m not trying to argue in favour of gay relationships, Im trying to suggest that you are wrong to suggest that scripture clearly agrees with you – I certainly don’t see it! And there are a great many people who would claim a different interpretation (both for and against gay relationships ) and also claim scripture clearly agrees with them.

            The trouble with me presenting a case that deviates at all from your understanding is you will just disagree with me, which is fine, but I think we should acknowledge that there is a disagreement there and not just poo-poo it.

            If you want an example of maybe an indirect affirmation, you could maybe go with Jesus’ summary of the law – love the Lord your God with all your heart soul, mind and strength and love your neighbour as yourself – how on earth does getting gay married fall foul of either of those?!

          • petej

            I’m not trying to argue that God affirms gay relationships, Im trying to suggest that you don’t have a monopoly on interpreting scripture and there are plenty who disagree. The truth is there is no scripture condemning or approving of gay marriage and so we have to make an interpretation on whether it is closer to heterosexual marriage or closer to gang rape. You may also take the view that things are condemned unless explicitly approved of, but I dont.

            I am reluctant to put forward any arguments in favour of gay marriage as I feel you will just dismiss them as nonesense which is fine, but your views are not the only interpretation of scripture!

            Having said that we have Jesus summary of the law as love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength and your neighbour as yourself. I fail to see how banning gay people from a loving relationship can therefore be a legitimate application of that same law

          • carl jacobs

            I’m not sure that scripture mentions gay relationships?!

            That’s because an underlying relationship cannot sanctify the behavior that attends it. In other words, the nature of the relationship is morally irrelevant.

          • Martin

            Pete

            What the CoE should be doing is making clear the Bible’s teaching, sacking any clergy that cannot stand with that teaching.

            Frankly there is no dignity in sin, as I have already posted Paul makes it clear that homosexuality has no dignity, it is just unadorned lust.

        • Shadrach Fire

          HJ quoted;
          “It’s not a blind eye – it’s about loving people as they are and where they are”

          I think that you and I both know that loving someone where they are at is very different from accepting them where they. If you love someone, for their souls sake you will tell them the truth, no matter what harm may come for if we don’t, we fail God.

          • Jack agrees. The key is telling them the truth with love and in a fitting manner.

      • Martin

        Pete

        Welby’s opposition to same sex marriage was as effective as a savaging from a stuffed toy. Did he condemn the government’s position in strong terms – no. Did he strongly support the petition against it, not noticeably. Did he attack the position of David Cameron and other leading politicians – no.

        As a Christian leader Welby is a failure. Mind you I have doubts he is actually a Christian.

        • petej

          Wow! If welby isn’t a christian then who can be saved?!

          He was and still is pretty clear in his opposition to gay marriage.

          • Martin

            Pete

            What is impossible with man is possible with God.

            If Welby were clear on his opposition to ‘gay’ marriage he would be saying so, loudly, repeatedly and to the government.

          • petej

            He has!! Many times and in media interviews and in the lords

          • Martin

            Isn’t it odd how we never hear him call David Cameron a child of the Devil for his act of introducing ‘gay’ marriage.

          • magnolia

            Once you have used that kind of terminology you break off relationship. It is only the very impetuous who leave no room at all for continued dialogue.

          • Martin

            Magnolia

            Why would you want to keep a relationship with someone who treats God’s law in such a way? You can have no relationship with them until they repent of their sin. Paul, in speaking to the Corinthians makes this abundantly clear:

            It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

            (I Corinthians 5:1-2 [ESV])

            What David Cameron has done is vastly more serious for it teaches others to sin and condemns those who argue against sin. Indeed, it seems to me that the Queen should be refused Communion for singing the bill into law.

          • magnolia

            It is usually better to keep doors open.

            The Almighty, after all, “preferreth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live.”

            And that applies equally to avarice and pride as to having inappropriate lusts. If we were to condemn and avoid all who had sinned substantially we might find ourselves cutting 80 to 90% of the population. Seems unworkable to me!

          • Martin

            Magnolia

            When they repent they are welcomed back, but until then they are excluded.

          • magnolia

            And for what do we exclude? And do we exclude our own preferred sins from the exclusion?

            Is there no question of Pharisees and tax collectors in all this?

            And what if these things are done on rumours and hearsay, spin, misrepresentation and miscomprehension, things that are sadly all too frequent in the Anglican communion, and which take us back neatly to the theme being discussed?

            What the hurt then? And how do you unpick the injustice?

            Even in the case of David Cameron, many of whose words are recorded, to what extent do we blame him for believing reports and papers he has been told are objective? Is he not in one sense a victim himself? is not compassion in some sense boundless?

            To call someone a “child of the Devil” sounds pretty horrific to me.

          • Martin

            Magnolia

            Teaching others that sin is of no consequence is to destroy their spiritual life. To proclaim that marriage between two persons of the same sex is valid is to destroy marriage. This is incredibly evil, more evil than allowing a man to live with his fathers wife. There is no misrepresentation of what the government has done, they have behaved in an evil fashion, in a way that is likely to bring God’s judgement upon this nation.

            it doesn’t matter what David Cameron believes, he is perfectly capable of reading what the Bible says and has been told what it says. He has wilfully rejected the Bible’s teaching to his own destruction. He has chosen his path and no one should pretend that the path is good.

            And perhaps you should consider what Jesus said in John 8:39ff, for the government is as wicked as those men. We are already seeing persecution of Christians for standing out for what is right. The courts are giving judgement against them, not because they have done what is wrong, but because they have done what is right. John the Baptist challenged wicked Herod and died, we shall see Christians imprisoned by unjust laws soon. Sadly, the bishops of the CoE have made themselves complicit in this.

          • Well I’ve only heard him once and that was his awkward rather skirting around the edges speech in the House of Lords which didn’t attract much media attention as it was rather ambiguous.

        • Absolutely right.
          His campaign against same-sex ‘marriage’ was about as effective as the French army’s onslaught against Hitler. Fire off a couple of pop-guns and surrender forthwith.

  • Andrew Carey

    Is Brittain discussing George Conger or another entirely different person, George Congar? Putting this error to one side, Brittain doesn’t distinguish between expressing opinion and reporting facts. George and Kevin express strong opinions on Anglican TV – not all of which I agree with. Brittain makes a category error.

  • carl jacobs

    Interesting …

    Here is the Rev’d Dr Christopher Craig Brittain’s description from the above referenced article.

    George Congar (an Episcopal priest from Florida)

    Yes, that is a true statement. But it ignores the salient fact George Conger is not only an Episcopal priest from Florida. He is a professional journalist. That is why he is one of the bloggers at GetReligion.org.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/george-conger/

    Said website is specifically devoted to the intersection of Journalism and Religion. Several years back, I posted there quite frequently. But it really wasn’t a good fit for me since I tend to see journalism as a profession that is scraped off the bottom of one’s shoe. Even, so I thought this failure to mention Geo Conger’s professional standing a curious omission. Did the Rev’d Dr Christopher Craig Brittain not check his facts? Did he not comprehend that Geo Conger’s professional status as a journalist is why he participates in AU? After all the Rev’d Dr Christopher Craig Brittain made the following accusation on the basis of nothing more that his own reading …

    This being the case, I am not questioning the honesty of George Congar; I am simply highlighting that he did not check his facts, which were available to be checked.

    That is a serious allegation to make against a journalist. It requires a basis of evidence slightly more substantial than reading a transcript two years after the fact. You know, as opposed to conducting contemporaneous interviews with people who were actually there at the time the event took place. Which is what professional journalists do. Whose description should I credit?

    One begins to wonder if perhaps the Rev’d Dr Christopher Craig Brittain doesn’t have a “truthiness” agenda of his own. I’m going to do some investigating of the Rev’d Dr Christopher Craig Brittain. We’ll see what I turn up. But I might as well admit my bias against him since he has put me in the disagreeable position of defending journalism. And that is almost an unforgivable sin.

    • carl jacobs

      Hrmmm ….

      An interfaith prayer service was held on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday afternoon to mark the third weekend of the Occupy London protest. … Speakers included: Revd Paul Nicolson, Church of England; Revd Dr Chris Craig Brittain, University of Aberdeen http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=19206

      • “Godself”?????
        Good grief! Pass the sick bag, Alice.

      • grutchyngfysch

        I often think we need a new word to distinguish these sort of distinguished publications from the kind of theology which just set out to try and comprehend the Saviour a bit better a find ways to explain complex things in Scripture clearly to the broader church. I am settling on Deology since it better captures the extent to which the discipline is involves in creating (or ’emerging’) a god and it’s one letter short of ideology.

  • RobinHMasters

    It is obvious when listening that George Conger did not intend to repeat verbatim comments by the ABC, but to give his own interpretation of them. Now we may criticize his interpretation, of course, but no where did Conger indicate that he was quoting either the ABC or Jensen.

  • petej

    I think a major problem is that senior leaders inc Welby are now scared to voice their opinion on controversial topics so we get “no comment” or the party line. I have sympathy with this but when a bishop says that she or he indicates they arent allowed an opinion you kind of wonder what the point of a bishop actually is (if not to lead).

    At the same time as this shutdown of information we are the most informed generation ever with more expectation of our leaders ever. Into this vacuum pour half-truths and misunderstandings.

    • cacheton

      I find it disconcerting that nobody seems to understand the reason for this.

      The point of a bishop is to be a spiritual leader. We are indeed the most informed generation about facts etc but that has nothing to do with spiritual growth. Unfortunately ABC finds himself at the head of an organisation which confuses the two, not being able to discern which verses of its book of words promote spiritual growth and which do the opposite.

      Why should a spiritual leader have an opinion on a controversial issue? On the contrary this shows that they have understood that having opinions, especially ones that can only be justified by referring to a 2000 year old book, does not promote spiritual growth.

      If your expectation of your spiritual leader is to tell you what to think or which ‘side’ to be on, maybe this expectation is what needs looking at.

      • petej

        This is a good point and I both agree and disagree with you.

        I disagree with you because the bishop presides over a great many mundane functions of the church and has a vote at synod and may also have a vote in parliament and I disagree because actually everything is spiritual

        • cacheton

          Everything is spiritual …. which is why, if in doubt, one should ask ‘what would Jesus say?’, and take the position of love.

          • petej

            Amen!

          • cacheton

            So can you really imagine him saying ‘You two cannot get married because your love for each other is not as valid as the love those other two people have for each other.’ ??

  • not a machine

    your grace posts a convoluted thing which perhaps is about miss representation , and there is nothing new in that whether deliberate or incompetence, The archbishop has a media centre ? Then it would seem to be his/her job to er correct errors of what he says where ?
    However I perhaps understand concern at misrepresentation to enable more hot fractional infighting , some of which is played out on YG blog . I don’t know it is possible such infighting isn’t helping the church , which may be what some would like to see.
    Today I have been to a small church for a service and it had a very elderly congregation , the love I saw was quite profound , as some had little time left on the earth and so small affections were a sign of support .Of course it isn’t so much the loss of churches it is the loss of people like I saw , following a way of being centuries if not millennia old .
    Whilst I think our traditional church has much to offer , none the less people who see the church as ministering , still need that work of love that seasons so many conversations and if enough faith onward into other aspects of life .Quite if niceness can replace the words of the Eucharist or indeed if my church has forgotten that the two things are different .

  • Don Benson

    It hardly needs saying that no one who visits this blog was born yesterday. We are fully aware of the nature of the Blogosphere. But most of us know a rat when we smell one and we don’t need someone to hold our hand when we read something or listen to someone else’s opinion.

    This piece, dressed up as having noble intentions, has all the wiff of a partisan point. We can all make those, and most of us do – possibly even Your Grace? Anglican Unscripted has a point of view which may happen to be inconvenient to Lambeth Palace. Very well, let Justin Welby respond to the longstanding invitation of AU to do an interview with them; he could give them the verbal thrashing that perhaps he thinks they deserve. We’d all love to see it and then we could make up our own minds. Isn’t that what open debate is about, and it would be far more productive than innuendo and lectures about “truthiness”.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Notwithstanding that it is a sin to give false witness, I find two things going through my mind

    (1) If the ABC has been misrepresented in any way, isn’t he big enough and old enough to stand up for himself? His after all head of the Anglican Church and if any criticism of him is unfair, shouldn’t he provide a robust response?

    (2) The ABC probably has, orshould have, much biigger things to be concerned about. Membership of the CofE is plummeting. Today I also read inthe DT that there are moves to re-educate God in gender equality by re-writing the liturgy referring to God as “She”. The lunatics have taken over the asylum already. If I were him, these would the issues that would get my attention.

    • But “He” and “She” is sooo binary and divisive. There are now no less than 58 genders and it is discriminatory to omit any.

      Man and woman is now “earth creature” in some translations. How about God being “Spiritual Being”?

      Doesn’t quite work though for a personal God who loves us individually, does it?

      • Politically__Incorrect

        So “binary” is out? That’s the entire world of computers up the spout then

        • Good point …

          Maybe God is a genderist … In this binary model, “sex”, “gender” and “sexuality” align, for example a biological male would be assumed masculine in appearance, character traits and behaviour, including a heterosexual attraction to the “opposite” sex.[4]

          • Politically__Incorrect

            Attracted to the opposite sex? That doesn’t sound very progressive, unless you don’t mean the same species of course.

          • Dear man/woman/ (… insert self identification …), that’s why binarism and genderism have to go. They are sooo old fashioned. Science and scholars have shown us the light. Male and female are mere social constructs – physically, psychologically and socially.

          • carl jacobs

            Good point …

            Meh. You just haven’t come to terms with the idea of an SR LGBTQ Flip Flop, yet.

          • If Jack knew what you were referring to, he might be able to respond.
            Queen’s English, please Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            You have never heard of an SR Flip Flop?

            http://www.daenotes.com/electronics/digital-electronics/flip-flops-types-applications-woking#axzz3blZvA8UZ

            Now you will be able to appreciate the true extent of my comedic genius.

          • Hmmm … Jack got as far as the “bistable multivibrator” and decided to have a rest. As for “cross coupling two inverting gates”, well ….

          • Dude

            I’m utterly confused with trying to understand Christianity. I read in the daily mail that some Anglican women priestesses are now referring to God as she in normal conversation and in the prayer book. Whist this wouldn’t be a massive intellectual leap for me in a monotheistic setting and whilst I get Christians have 1 God , you split her (?) into 3 . But what’s weird is Jesus was definitely a man (I am right on that ?). But if God the father is really God the mother and a female, then that’s to imply Jesus was born out of some kind of “celestial lesbianism”, or it God is both male and female, he’d be transgender? That’s the logic I’ve come up with, but the liberal type Christians I know think I’m stupid for suggesting such thoughts.

            Note : the dude ain’t trying to be a blasphemous Jew, he’s just working things out logically when you have a trinity God that the priesthood suggest is female, but, which one is definitely male (you couldn’t change Jesus’s sex after 2,000 years?).

          • magnolia

            All fair question! Some people make it all appear in their own image, I think is the fair assessment. Some are very hung up on gender and it makes up most of what they talk about, not realising how many get that glazed look as they go on, and on, and on. God the Father, having created both male and female, while traditionally spoken of as male, is clearly neither male nor female, but far superior, both Father and Mother but above both also. We speak of him as personal, but as he is above, and beyond, and not confined to a body, whilst he is personal he is also super-personal!

            Jesus was a man, no question, though having said that someone somewhere will be striving to be original and suggesting something beyond senseless as they always are.

            The Holy Spirit, if I have understood properly, can be understood as either, according to which word and its gender we are speaking of. But once we are talking Holiness gender fades into the background rather, for many!

          • Thanks for this.

            Sadly and disappointingly, the article I read didn’t try to engage with the theology or the languages used in the bible. The bottom line was purely about combating sexism and making women feel included. I was surprised as I’ve read before that more women go to church than men(?), so men need to be included somewhere to have a fulfilled community.

          • CliveM

            Some people base this on claims that the Holy Spirit is sometimes refferred to in a female gender. I’m not a biblical scholar so can’t comment.

            To be mildly heretical, to think of God in gender terms is deceptive anyway, as it can only limit your understanding of him.

          • Dude

            The article didn’t mention theology*. It says the rationale was to combat sexism etc. I have no problem with God as genderless or as a she. I think Christians would have a problem for the reasons I’ve tried to articulate above.

            *See here : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3104672/Women-priests-want-rewrite-Church-England-religious-services-God-called-SHE.html

          • grutchyngfysch

            Grammatical gender. Some people also make reference to the concept of shekhinah which is fine but my experience has been that most Christians are not aware that that term (helpful as an analogy it may be) is not actually in Scripture and, like most Talmudic material, postdates the New Testament. I used to think there might be something in the idea of a complementary feminity of God but I don’t put much stock in it now because it doesn’t really hold up without adducing non Christian sources.

          • He had His reasons for giving us the prayed – Our Father.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            Been away. Yes I understand that, I was just giving Sam some of background.

          • bluedog

            You’re not along in scratching your head about the progressive re-interpretation of the Almighty now being promoted by the Anglican female episcopate. If one starts with the premise that all men are rapists, re-assigning the gender of God may have benefits.

            Any Catholics able to comment on that thought? Virgin Mary?

          • Dude

            Exactly : the article, which I shall link into my reply to Clive monetarily, says the reason is to do with “combating sexism”.

          • The Explorer

            Makes a change from all men are bastards.

          • bluedog

            Same thing really, Mr Explorer, although slightly less threatening.
            Even though Anglicans don’t have much to do with the Virgin Mary, one does envisage a loss of relevance for the Mother of God if God becomes female. Two female icons may lead to division and loss of focus as well inferring that one party or the other could be destined for redundancy. One imagines that as virginity is something to be dispensed with as soon as possible in progressive feminist circles, preferably in a lesbian relationship (don’t ask), the Virgin Mary is something of an anachronism. Which of course leads to a further question, does the Goddess achieve perfection through her virginity, abstinence and chastity or is she both sexually active and fecund? If the latter pertains, so much for the Virgin Birth.
            One fears that Bishop Libby has opened a can of worms.

          • sarky

            Seems to me they are going full circle back to the goddess worship of pre christian times.

          • bluedog

            Well that’s a development which could indeed stimulate a resurgence in worship, Sarky. Some of the Greek priestesses were famously accommodating in the course of their ministry.

          • sarky

            Met a couple of greek goddesses in my time and you are right 😉

          • The Explorer

            Dan Brown will be pleased.

          • sarky

            Who would of thought, Dan Brown the prophet.

          • The Explorer

            Probably both, Some will take Diana as their model, and some will take Venus. There was room for both in the old Pantheon (to which we are returning).

          • The Explorer

            The status of the Virgin Mary is a very good point. What need for a Queen of Heaven when there’s a Queen of Heaven there already?

          • The feminist attacks on the Virgin Mary are twofold.

            One, Jesus, Mary,Joseph and the child Jesus represent what Catholics call the “The Holy Family” – a traditional patriarchal arrangement. This is not what feminists desire.

            Second, she willingly and unquestionably accepted God’s invitation and yet was not an Apostle. If not Mary, the Mother of the Christ, then who?

          • bluedog

            ‘ If not Mary, the Mother of the Christ, then who?’
            Precisely my point. If God is not male he could not have fathered Christ. If God is female, Mary could not have conceived. Anyway you slice and dice it, the birth of Christ is dependant on the masculinity of God. Bishop Libby is inventing a new and pagan religion but is unable to realise that. See the DT for a ridiculously shallow piece by another Anglican woman priest.

          • sarky

            I think that you have stop thinking of god in terms of gender. god is god with qualities of both. Jesus wasnt ‘born’ of god, he was god made flesh on earth. The fact that he was male was probably because he was born into a patriarchal society. To be listened to he had to be male (some christians still think the same).
            all pretty confusing but logical if you stop thinking of god in human terms.

          • Dude,

            I personally don’t have a problem with [describing] God as a female or a male or both. It is certainly a useful shorthand to refer to God as a s/ he.

            Plus being a monotheistic religion , Judaism sees God as incorporal, without male/female ‘bits’ as it where, so to see God as literally a man is heresy . The Shekinah or divine presence of God, is referred to as a she, as the Hebrew is feminine.

            I was trying to point out, though, that precisely because Christianity claims God had a particular sex in the form of a man i.e. Jesus and having a trinity that describing God as purely masculine makes sense. Otherwise we see (or at least by the logic I’ve used above), Christianity getting into some strange waters .

          • sarky

            I just dont see the strange waters. Why does god coming to earth as a man lead to god being male? god using a male form made sense at that point. If god had come now god could have come as a female (without changing the essence of who god is). It’s seems god came in a form that made sense in the cultural context.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24 (I can still remember singing those words as a choirboy; I can’t remember the composer.)

            A pure spirit does not have a sex or gender.

            I am afraid, however, that your commonsensical and theologically sound observation is simply too much for some people to stomach.

          • Dude

            It’s not about being able to stomach anything, I don’t believe in the claims of Christianity . I simply cannot understand why if Christian theology says Jesus a,man, was and is God (not a God), why God suddenly has to become female.

            If you read my earlier remarks , on my actual views, I commented that in Jewish thought God , other than descriptive, doesn’t have a gender and some descriptions are in the feminine. I’d add that some of my family believe the personal name of God , is apparently gender neutral.

          • sarky

            I dont think it was you he was alluding to. I think we actually agree.

          • Ah dude,

            I forgot that you’re an atheist Christian. I’m a religious Jew, but I do like to be ecumenical…..

          • sarky

            😉

          • Dude

            I did say I was confused in my first remarks. I have to say , I’m even more confused now, as a result of my ecumenical probing. I mean Jesus was God and Jesus was a man. So to Christians God must be male ??

            It’d make more sense to me if you had 3 Gods ( male, female, transgender) and not one in three, like those Russian doll things.

            Thankfully I don’t have to worry about these matters as I don’t believe in any of it anyway, but I think it’ll upset a few of the devout. And it’d seem even more outlandish to me to have a God who comes to earth as a bloke, but who was really a woman beforehand.

          • sarky

            I’m with you in the not believing. I think your right though that as chritianity is basically patriarchal it makes sense that they see god as male.
            However, I think it makes sense to see god as a sexless being that took on a particular form to enable communication at a certain point in time.

          • DanJ0

            Presumably you know your god is male as it spoke to Moses as a burning bush and it seems likely Moses would have reported that the disembodied voice was quite girly if god is female. Well, unless she spoke like that Lancashire bird who’s a famous gardener on BBC1, and that seems a bit unlikely even though parts of Lancashire are god’s own country to some people.

          • Dude,

            I imagine God to sound like Lord farquard from shrek for some reason…..I think that some Jewish sources suggests that God spoke to Moses via a burning bush, rather than becoming a literal bush (this is used as an example by messianic Jews as a proof text that the idea of incarnation of Jesus is kosher for Jews ) . Bottom line thought though , is the tradtion and custom of masculine usage in prayer carries a lot of weight and I don’t think we’ll be moving from Avinu Malkeinu, but the c of e is a different matter…. But it is a topic that’ll keep us going on Shabbat for the night, so might get off my ass and do some reading around.

          • God is spirit, so neither male or female. Our Creator, Christians believe is Triune i.e. 3 Persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) yet, still – 1 God.

            God has, through Jesus, taught us to refer to Him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and Jack isn’t going to argue with Him.

            Feminists claim scripture (Jewish Testament and New Testament) reflects a patriarchal power structure and was written by men who were culturally conditioned. God should be called “She” so women don’t feel excluded. As you say, next it’ll be a homosexual or transgendered Being.

            Louise should be able to explain this …..

          • Dude,

            Good point. What am I doing asking the opinion of a grapefruit online when I could ask my Catholic cousin? Indeed I haven’t seen Lubo for a while and as we are both competitive in sports, I have a cunning plan . I know she wanted me to play “hard cop” to her latest man to see if he was kosher or not…. so we could get together and I could ask her about this theology over a game of squash. Watch the balls and the theology fly….!

          • Be kind, Sam; be kind, Sam.

          • I’m a gentle lamb really. And Damian Thompson has explained matters in the daily mail, so I get it.

          • alternative_perspective

            I think the point is both men and women are made in God’s image. Therefore as reflections of the Almighty, the Almighty must possess both the fullness of both masculinity and femininity. Our natures being mere reflections of these. God is not gendered.
            Now be careful, you’re on the verge of committing heresy (splitting God up): you must not divide the nature of God, for God is one, nor must you confuse the persons of God. Most confusion enters the debate by failing to abide by these twin rules.
            In terms of Trinitarian thinking we can, over simplistically, consider God being one being with three centres of consciousness.
            In terms of the incarnation one way of thinking about it is: God already possess the fundamental characteristics of our humanity as we are made in His image. The principle differences being our finitude and materiality. Thus, as scriptures infers: God’s incarnation is the clothing in flesh and emptying of his faculties – making himself low a slave in fact. Thus in this emptying God puts aside or limits (however God accomplished it) those aspects of his nature incompatible with humanity, for a male this would include those aspects of femininity incommensurate with his embodiment in the person of Jesus.
            I believe the language of Father is used to convey relationships in means humanity, especially ancient Israel, could understand. It speaks to our concepts of authority, familial leadership, strength and love, it does not preclude those ideas of maternal nurturing, sacrifice and intimacy for instance.
            I presume, perhaps others can comment, the masculine, plural word for God: Elohim, encapsulates this meaning in both its gender and plurality.
            Personally, given the models I’ve (probably poorly) described above I don’t see any problem with invoking the femininity of God but I am fairly certain God chose to reveal himself in the masculine for a pretty good reason and thus to feminise that which God self-proclaimed to be masculine is not a good route to go down and likely diminishes meaning He chose to convey.

          • Dude

            Thanks for this post….. I’m already a heretic as I’m not a Christian, but a Jew. And Christians are the chaps who, to my mind , split God up into 3 . No offence intended.

          • dannybhoy

            ” 1 God , you split her (?) into 3 .’

            We are ineluctably drawn to the conclusion from Torah and the sayings of Yeshua ha Meshiach that God is one. That He is a unitary ‘one’ i.e. God manifests as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

            The Torah and Tenakh are littered with examples of this diversity in unity. In fact one of my favourite ( ‘cos I can at least follow most of what he says..) theologians, Francis Schaeffer of L’Abri fame, said,

            “Every once in a while in my discussions someone asks how I can believe in the Trinity. My answer is always the same. I would still be an agnostic if there was no Trinity, because there would be no answers. Without the high order of personal unity and diversity as given in the Trinity, there are no answers.
            (Francis A. Schaeffer, He Is There and He Is Not Silent, Ch. 1)

            Schaeffer said that communication was at the heart of reality. God did not create anything because He was bored or lonely. Within the Godhead there has always been communication, and God is complete within Himself.
            A mystery?
            Sure.
            But then would God be God if we understood Him??

            Christians believe in the authority of Torah for the Jews, the Covenant relationship of the Jews with God, that Messiah comes from the Jews. We also recognise that in what we call the Old Testament the evidence is there that there is God (whom we call the Father) there is the God as the Holy Spirit, and there is the Messiah who is also God.
            Finally, because God is the Creator and Originator, He incorporates in Himself both the male and female qualities.
            Which (to me at least) makes sense, and shows that as creatures with the God given ability to procreate, we are nevertheless individually more than male or female.

          • Dude

            Thanks, but how does this counter the gal priestess who wants to say God is mother etc? Surely if that is true, God is well and truly 3 different bits? In fact what’s wrong with you guys just saying you’ve got 3 Gods as it would be clear and make sense to me. The whole trinity thing does my head in. I’ve only got one God to shit my pants over, but you dudes have three. Sorry, I just can’t grasp this trinity concept on a good day and definitely not when it’s God the mother, Jessica the daughter and I have no idea how you’d genderise the holy ghost. As much as I tey to be ecumenical
            I don’t understand these concepts. How do you guys cope with all of this, I honestly couldn’t .

          • dannybhoy

            “Thanks, but how does this counter the gal priestess who wants to say God is mother etc?”
            That is a side issue. There is no Scriptural backing for calling God ‘Mother.’ Do you or your rabbi know of any Scriptures that back that up?
            This what happens when the church or even some sects of Judaism depart from the authority of Scripture.

          • Dude

            “Do you or your rabbi know of any Scriptures that back that up?”

            Of course not ! But this isn’t a side issue as this is what provoked my query in the first place. Come over to the new thread as that is relevant to this discussion.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            A biological male with a homosexual attraction to the same sex fits quite nicely and neatly into the binary model.

          • So long as you accept male and female, it does. However, it contradicts complementarity.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            “However, it contradicts complementarity.”

            You mean that it isn’t mixed-sex? No, of course it isn’t; we all know that; just as we all know that heterosexuality isn’t same-sex.

          • Jack has decided to no longer recognise the terms “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality”. These are recent innovations and socially constructed terms to give status to same sex acts.
            There is sexual desire – properly directed towards a person of the opposite sex; and there is sexual desire – wrongly directed towards a person of the same sex.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, of course the terms “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” are recent innovations; all technical terms are initially, but technical terms are generally constructed to describe realities, as “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” undoubtedly were. If you prefer to discard the terms because they are too objective for you – in other words they don’t have your personal value judgements attached to them – no-one can stop you. You won’t thereby alter reality.

          • Not “too objective”, Guglielmo. The words define a ‘reality’ Jack simply doesn’t believe exists – nor has it been proven to exist.

          • DanJ0

            The Roman Catholic Church seems to think homosexuality as an orientation exists. Have you gone off-message on this, to suit your own desires? :O

          • The Catholic Church accepts the misdirected same sex sexual desire exists and that people have been encouraged to form an identity around this.

          • DanJ0

            It accepts homosexuality as a sexual orientation. Have you gone off-message on this, to suit your own desires?

          • It’s recognises homosexual desire as an intrinsic moral disorder and that a minority experience this inclination.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Sexual attraction, heterosexual or homosexual, is in that respect a bit like a headache. I always know when I’ve got one, but I have absolutely no means of proving its objective reality to anyone else. Other people sometimes tell me that they’ve got one, but if I refused to believe them they couldn’t prove me wrong. You could say, especially if you are one of those exceptionally fortunate people who have never had a headache in their lives, that headaches are a “reality” which has not been proven to exist. Despite that, it is not realistic to deny their reality. I would say the same of heterosexuality and homosexuality.

      • magnolia

        Well if there be 57 genders I guess God has 58!!

        Something gives me a niggling suspicion that those researchers have not heard of Occam’s razor.

        • magnolia

          It has just occurred to me that 58 genders assures their research faculty and funding and jobs and careers into perpetuity, spinning theses like so much candyfloss, whereas with 2 it is much more doubtful.

          Maybe they are not so stupid after all!

  • cacheton

    ‘And so, … we see an example of … ‘truthiness’, principally brought about by gossip and second-hand accounts conveyed as primary-source witness’

    Like the Bible, you mean?

    • magnolia

      Which atheist guru told you that? If you paid for the dud info I would ask for your money back.

      • sarky

        We don’t do refunds.

        • The Explorer

          A shop to avoid, then.

  • Linus

    As support for the Church boils away, what’s left is rendered down into an ever thicker and more concentrated brew at the bottom of the pot. It consists mainly of extreme and pathological personalities, most of whom have an axe to grind, and are only too willing to sacrifice the truth and any semblance of fairness to the agenda that obsesses their every waking moment.

    It’s hardly surprising that Welby and other Anglican churchmen who don’t support a fundamentalist agenda are routinely attacked and misrepresented by ultra-doctrinaire and extreme right-wing Christian Internet commentators. It can only get worse as the liberal Church evaporates away into vague cloud of New Age Spiritualism, from where the journey to Atheism is only a matter of time.

    The remnant of the Church currently oozing about in the bottom of the pot resembles nothing so much as caramel. It’s getting browner and darker and more burned with every moment that passes, and as it bubbles and seethes and reduces down and down, it continues to spit little droplets of burning napalm over anything or anyone who comes too near.

    Just imagine what it will be like in a decade or two! Not caramel any more, but thick tar, turning to lava, which by a process of outgassing can only boil away to nothing…

    • bluedog

      Spot on, Linus. Your first paragraph perfectly describes the mildly sinister in-jokes that litter the Anglican Unscripted vids. The dynamic duo probably ride Harley-Davidsons between each other’s man caves too.

      • carl jacobs

        Why are you behaving like this, dog? It’s not like you. I don’t know if you watch AU or not. I do. And I don’t recognize this caricature you are presenting.

        • bluedog

          Never heard of AU before this blog, Carl. Watched #84 and reached some conclusions.

    • The Explorer

      Marvellous description, Linus. I hope you include me among your extreme and pathological personalities.

      • Linus

        Are you pathological or just extreme?

        I’d say the latter tending in some instances (for example, your attitude towards Muslims) towards the former, but that’s just an amateur opinion based on your input here. Who knows what you’re like in real life? I just hope you don’t have any Muslim neighbours, that’s all…

        • The Explorer

          They’ve just converted, and agreed to pay the jizya.

    • Owl

      “It consists mainly of extreme and pathological personalities, most of whom have an axe to grind”
      Sound like a good summing up of those chaps (chapesses) over at Pink News!

  • CliveM

    What is it the saying, in war the first casualty is truth? Just a pity that too many people in the Church ape Alistair Campbell, not Jesus of Nazareth.

    There are too many dodgy dossiers.

  • Dudes,

    My understanding that the Anglicans contain the Catholic, Evangelist and Liberal. There are also the outlier charisma types, who dress in Jesus Sandals, play the guitar and fall on the in a mystical way and the speaking in the tongues , wherein the place of worship is like a disco, rather than the praise to God . You’ve also got the conservative orthodox Anglicans , who mix all of the above and are middle of the road, middle-class types , like Mrs Hubbard off postman pat.

    With these different fractions all thinking they’ve got the correct version of the Anglican faith, it’s no wonder it is basically split. I think the bishops and this is probably true of welby see themselves as being managers who are trying to keep things together by being everything to everyone. When and if they come out (so to speak) with a view, the other fractions get upset.

    e.g. : imagine the furore if Welby said he’s for or against gay marriage in church. Half would be delighted, the other half would be fuming , so they have to fudge to keep the show on the road. The c of e will probably trundle on, until it gets disetablished , but that’s highly unlikely as the religious politicians see that they have a liberal Christianity which they like and the church seems to prize it’s own status as the official established faith. For the rest of the church of England (the communion part) , which isn’t attached to England and its culture, or the established part, the splits are already happening and won’t stop because it’s like putting round pegs into square holes. I can imagine

    I personally can’t see why this cannot happen in graceful fashion, as it’d be more straightforward than the facade of unity they give us and tredding on eggshells. If Jews tried to put together the Hasidic, Haredi, Masorti, Modern Orthodox,Reform and Sephardic into a single denomination, it’d be an utterly futile exercise and would probably cause bitterness and worse division, as these disagreements don’t come out of the thin air . At least having different denominations on the menu means one can call each other heretical and get on with things , coming together for the matters which effect my community as a whole.

    Lance the boil c of e, go your own ways and it’ll work out ok. Those that are kosher will keep on going and survive, perhaps flourish. The ones who just play politics, the role of the village squire or those that like to be on this General synod for the show of it, but who’ve got congregations of 3 and don’t believe in any of their Schick anyways… we shall see.I remember watching the synod on parliament channel. The place was full when they were debating the same thing of women priests. The next day they were discussing poverty /Africa. Barely a dozen in the room.

    • magnolia

      In some ways it is a lot better than that , in some ways worse. I don’t think half would be delighted by gay marriage. More like an extremely vocal 5%. You need to remember that many who are against speak under the breath, for fear of the gay Stasi reporting them. It IS that bad.

      On the other hand people can also be regarded as dubious if they so much as treat gay people as people and with normal politeness by some of the hardliners in the Church, and then be ostracised, even though Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners, and that being gay is never the most important part of anyone, even if they think it is.

      Gay “marriage” has made social cohesion worse, and not better. I am not sure that a minority did not know that would happen.

      Your last three sentences should leave us repenting in sackcloth and ashes. I doubt if it will. We put our own sense of affirmation before the most basic needs of others and we sin mightily.

      Thank God for the dozen.

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        “…many who are against speak under the breath, for fear of the gay Stasi reporting them.”

        Who exactly are these “gay Stasi”? Where is their HQ located? Reporting them to whom, and with what expected consequences?

        • bluedog

          Stonewall, Pink News, The Terence Higgins Trust: the usual suspects.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Are Stonewall, Pink News and the Terence Higgins Trust the gay Stasi, or are they the organizations to which the alleged gay Stasi report people? You haven’t made that clear. And, either way, what are the consequences for people who are reported?

          • bluedog

            Collectively these intimidating bodies represent a sort of Gaystapo in the popular mind. The populace rightly fears that operatives clad in black leather singing YMCA will emerge from so many black glass facaded Lubyankas to carry them away to suffer, anally, a fate worse than death. All this for questioning same sex marriage and homosexual adoption of the innocents.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            In other words, when people start saying that they don’t agree with same sex marriage, other people start disagreeing with them – and not always even politely either – behaviour which is as old as humanity. I can quite understand how intimidating that is. The prospect is enough to make anyone quake with terror, isn’t it?

          • Phil R

            You don’t need to quake with fear.

            You just need to be offended.

            Take this from a website stating that these statements in themselves could be offensive and potential be cause for investigation by the police

            Offensive: “homosexual” (n. or adj.)
            Correct: “gay” (adj.); “gay man” or “lesbian” (n.); “gay person/people”

            Offensive: “homosexual relations/relationship,” “homosexual couple,” “homosexual sex,” etc.
            Correct: “relationship,” “couple” (or, if necessary, “gay couple”), “sex,” etc.

            Offensive: “gay agenda” or “homosexual agenda”
            Correct: Accurate descriptions of the issues (e.g., “inclusion in existing non-discrimination and hate crimes laws,” “ending the ban on transgender service members”)

            Offensive: “avowed homosexual”
            Correct: “openly lesbian,” “openly gay,” “openly bisexual,” or simply “out”

            Offensive: “sexual preference”
            Correct: “sexual orientation” or “orientation”

            Offensive: “gay lifestyle” or “homosexual lifestyle”
            Correct: “gay lives,” “gay and lesbian lives”

            Offensive: “special rights”
            Correct: “equal rights” or “equal protection”

            Offensive:Associating gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people with pedophilia, child abuse, sexual abuse, bestiality, bigamy, polygamy, adultery and/or incest.

            You are trying hard and succeeding to get to the point where any criticism of your lifestyle, no matter how mild, could potentially meet with police action.

            Creating a climate of fear does not begin to describe it. Orwell understood it all too well it seems.

            BTW, in the longer term I am not sure that fear and punishment for saying the “wrong” words, works very well.

          • DanJ0

            I much prefer “homosexual” to “gay”, as it goes.

          • Phil R

            Are you absolutely sure that you are allowed a preference?

          • DanJ0

            That’s the difference between your stereotype and my reality, irony aside.

          • Phil R

            I think that you are risking sanction by voicing a contrary opinion on matters already decided.

          • DanJ0

            Again, you (perhaps jokingly, though I’m not sure) assume that there exists some sort of authority there. We’re diverse individuals for the most past, not the “community” some people like to imagine.

          • Phil R

            Right… Two votes up, both by gays.

            Just like Eurovision

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I would make a distinction here. Homosexual is a technical, purely descriptive word. Any person whose natural sexual attractions are to people of their own sex is homosexual. By calling myself gay I am implying more than that: I am implying that my attitude to my sexuality is a positive one – as, of course, it should be.

            To quote the American psychotherapist George Weinberg, “To be gay is to view one’s sexuality as the healthy heterosexual views his.”

          • Inspector General

            You are so right Gug. You people cannot control those of the generic ‘homosexual’ variety, but ‘gay’, that’s a different proposition altogether. A brand name, even franchise, don’t you think? And of course, by identifying as gay, you can keep out homosexuals you don’t like, such as the quite marvellous David Starkey, for example. A fellow who can see through your type’s malevolent intentions.

            As for your quote, it is difficult to bring together ‘gay’ and ‘healthy’ in the same sentence, one would think. How did you DO that?

            Be seeing you…

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            What are these malevolent intentions? I’m not aware of having any.

            “…it is difficult to bring together ‘gay’ and ‘healthy’ in the same sentence, one would think. How did you DO that?”

            I didn’t really have to DO anything at all, just as heterosexual people don’t have to do anything to bring together ‘straight’ and ‘healthy’. All that I needed was to STOP doing something: to stop paying any attention to pernicious, anti-gay claptrap.

          • Inspector General

            The malevolent intentions includes Big Gay’s desire to inflict ‘diversity’, whatever that is, on school children who the previous year or two only learned to walk.

            Let’s just be honest with each other on ‘gay health’ shall we. Any gay man that has not visited the pox clinic isn’t trying, is that not the case?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I have no such malevolent intentions. I do not support those who want to burden young children’s minds with matters which they are too young to understand and have no need to know about – and, by the way, that does include people who want to indoctrinate them with anti-homosexual nonsense. I am, of course, aware that there are homosexual nutcases whose demands should be ignored – being a nutcase isn’t a special heterosexual privilege from which homosexual people are disenfranchised – but they don’t speak for me. Similarly it is comforting to know that anti-homosexual cranks who run outfits like, for example, “Anglican Mainstream [sic]”, “Christian Voice” and “Watchmen on the Walls” don’t speak for most straight people.

            It’s not completely clear what you mean by your reference to the “pox clinic”. Do you mean that pox clinics exist solely for gay men? That gay men who have contracted, or have reason to suspect that they have contracted, an STI shouldn’t get it diagnosed/treated? That straight men don’t contract STIs? That a straight man who has not visited the pox clinic isn’t trying either? That gay men who don’t engage in risky sexual behaviour and contract STIs have no right to behave in that way? Or were you not really sure what you meant by it? Were you, as I suspect, concerned merely to deliver an anti-homosexual sound bite?

          • Inspector General

            A reassuring post from you, Gug. Do you know, in the four years since this man has been inspecting the male homosexual condition, he cannot remember any other correspondent admitting to the existence of the impossibly extreme elements therein. Well done you, and one hopes you don’t get into trouble for it from your own kind.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Well, I have used most of those expressions myself more than once on various blogs, in fact some of them many times, and to date no police office or “gay Stasi” agent has turned up on my doorstep or otherwise contacted me.

          • Read this article:

            http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/anti-christian-bullies-target-jewish-group-helping-gay-men

            “The Southern Poverty Law Center and others are spending millions of dollars to see that you will never get the professional help you want. They are campaigning across the country to shut down any avenue of help you seek. Anyone offering professional help for unwanted sexual desires is in the cross hairs of this once-respected group that now targets Christians and others who oppose the same-sex agenda. What’s more, they are sitting on a treasure trove of $340 million with which to pay legions of lawyers to come after you.”

            Read this:

            http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/same-sex-marriage-and-the-persecution-of-christians-in-Canada

            “The view that Christians are no longer fit for certain jobs is spreading out beyond the legal profession. In March, Toronto’s city council voted to remove the nomination of a Catholic school trustee to the city’s Board of Health. The trustee had not shown any wrongdoing or incompetence, and city councillors didn’t even try to argue this. Their stated concern was that the trustee had a history of voting in line with Catholic teaching.”

            And this:

            http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/ireland-will-surprise-everyone-on-gay-marriage-but-not-me

            “In 2005 there was a little organization called the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) that “was essentially a voluntary organization with a single-funded post working on gay HIV strategies.” Starting in that year, little GLEN started getting donations from Atlantic Philanthropies and by 2011 had received $4.7 million.

            Now they are “a full-time, highly professional lobbying machine. It works ‘inside’ the machinery of government where it uses a ‘principled pragmatist’ model in which it consolidates support, wins over the doubtful and pacifies those who are opposed.” According to Breda O’Brien, writing in the Irish Times, in 2009 alone GLEN made 348 media appearances, this in a country where there are few media outlets.

            According to O’Brien over 3 months in 2009 GLEN met with “40 politicians, including three [government] ministers one-to-one.”

            GLEN is not the only recipient of lavish Gay American largesse. Marriage Equality got $475,000, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties got a whopping $11 million.”

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I haven’t time to do a detailed commentary on those articles. Speaking for myself, I would merely say this:

            (1) I am opposed to anyone being discriminated against in employment (as in any other context) on account of their religious beliefs – and yes, that certainly includes religious beliefs on sexual matters with which I disagree – UNLESS those religious beliefs are preventing them from doing the job efficiently, leading them to do things which negate the purpose of the job, interfering with the work of colleagues, or otherwise causing them to behave unprofessionally. In such cases they are clearly unsuitable for the job and should never have applied for or accepted it in the first place.

            (2) Homosexual adults who, for whatever reason, cannot or will not accept their sexual orientation should be allowed, as long as it is entirely of their own free will, to waste their time – maybe years or even decades of their lives which they will never get back, as some have done – on “therapies” that aim to change it (just as we all have the right to go to a Christian Science practitioner or a spiritualist healer or to spend our savings on flying to Brazil or the Philippines for “psychic surgery”). I would not hesitate to advise them against it, but adults must have the freedom to make their own decisions, and that must include the freedom to make foolish ones. It should NOT be legal, however, for those who offer such “help”, i.e. quackery, to do so under the pretence that it is accredited medical/psychotherapeutic treatment, nor should it be legal to inflict it on minors.

          • Jack isn’t denying the reality of same sex desire – he just doesn’t accept it should be given the status of a separate identity that then acquires protected status and uses this to assert demands for equivalence to separate sex relationships and complementarity. This is a ‘game changer’ for society, with negative consequences.

            Everybody should be treated humanely and decently and afforded a life free from harassment and mistreatment. Jack cannot agree same sex acts are morally proper and believes the Church has a duty to preach and teach this. However, if men and women want to exercise free will and engage in such behaviours privately and consensually, that is their affair. Similarly, if they want spiritual support in overcoming these desires, they must be welcomed. It’s the same with any other behaviour that is outwith the morally acceptable or the norm. Should this behaviour harm the vulnerable or impact in other ways on societies common good, then it becomes different and is a matter for the state.

      • For clarification , the gay marriage issue was just an example. What’s the underlying issue, but authority. By what authority does a religion change its mind over these things? It’s a question btw, that I ask of my own religion and why I couldn’t change from orthodoxy.

        Like the sub discussion below on the gender of God, the authority by which the lady vicars say they want to change the gender of God isn’t an appeal to tradition or to the book, but to “combat sexism”. That might be a good thing in itself, but is that enough authority to change 2,000 years of Christianity?

    • dannybhoy

      “…I remember watching the synod on parliament channel.”

      That’s a SIN!
      Schmear yourself with gefilte fish, get the shtreimel you promised your goy friend, and go confess to your rabbi…

      • Dude

        Didn’t realise watching what was in effect political theatre was a sin. As for the confession : Wrong religion. I don’t need a rabbi to confess my sins to or be forgiven by him.

        • dannybhoy

          Keep working on that sense of humour Dude… :0)

          • Pffft! I deliberately moderate myself here, so I don’t offend too many people.

          • dannybhoy

            You can say a lot of potentially offensive things if you wrap ’em up in humour, doncha know.
            “זה גם ברכה ושירות לומר את האמת באהבת, שמוליק”

            It is both a blessing and a service to speak the truth in love Shmu’lik. The input from our Jewish brethren is always welcome, providing it comes in the same spirit you would wish from us to you.

          • Hi

            It was definitely better than watching that Jeremy Kyle show.

      • LOL!

  • The Explorer

    So where are we at? Is God Gender Fluid, Gender Nonconforming, Gender Questioning, Gender Variant, Intersex, Non-Binary, Other, Pangender, or Transgender?
    Or Two-Spirit? While we’re pondering the sex of God, let’s address the number issue as well and settle that outdated question of the Trinity.

    • IanCad

      It’s pretty clear – Matthew 22:30, and elsewhere – that there will be no sexes in Heaven. We will be as the angels.
      Now, the lord had purpose at Creation; and, in that, we have particular functions and duties according to our sexes. It is not for us to amend the created order of things. Men should be men and work for their bread, Gals are to be mothers and nurturers.
      I’m not saying women shouldn’t participate in any particular field, but they should be mindful or their designed roles.

      • The Explorer

        No, no , no, it’s not for God to dictate the created order of things. Who does God think s/he is? God? God should read Judith Butler. S/he could put him/her straight. No, not straight: right. (With apologies to the left handed).

        • Dude

          Hopefully angels are as hot as the ones in the lynx ad 🙂

          • The Explorer

            Hopefully better. The Lynx ad ones are just fallen angels.

          • sarky

            The devil has the hottest angels and the best tunes!

          • The Explorer

            They certainly will be the hottest, but not in the sense you mean.

          • That reminded me of a Tom Jones song that they play around the time of Hanukkah ? It’s not sex bomb, what’s it called? The one with the fit Welsh gal in it ?

          • sarky

            If your thinking of ‘Cerys Matthews’ its called ‘baby its cold outside’

          • Not as hot (naturally) as my Beshert…

          • Lol … Sam needs to learn about purity.

          • I’m as pure as the driven snow … well actually I’m not. But Hashem has helped me in following his Torah more seriously than when I was younger.

      • sarky

        Mindful of their designed roles? Comments like this are precisely why these women bishops have got the hump.
        It’s also why the church is dying, it is totally at odds with how the real world thinks.

        • Phil R

          Women Priests and Bishops have have resulted in Church attendance in free fall.

          (Would you go to Church to be moaned at by a woman?)

          I thought not

          The best model for Women’s Ministry is Joyce Meyer.

          Real women love her ministry and priestesses hate her it seems.

          • sarky

            ‘Would you go to church to be moaned at by a woman’

            And the comments just keep coming! !!!!!!

          • Phil R

            I have listened to Joyce.

            However,

            She speaks under the the authority of her husband. She makes that clear and said that her ministry was going nowhere until she submitted to him. Joyce puts it much more colourfully.

          • sarky

            I would want no woman to submit to me. I’m sorry but I find it degrading (to me and to them)

          • Phil R

            What is your sex life like?

          • sarky

            Well, considering we love and respect each other on equal terms, alot better than yours I should imagine.
            P.s. I prefer to call it love life. Better describes what we have.

          • I’m trying to work out why Phil is so interested in your love life….

          • sarky

            Probably because his is crap 😉

          • You are really scraping the barrels there.

          • Phil R

            Not at all. My comment simply referred to Sarky’s apparent unwillingness to step up to his responsibilities as a man.

            Taking the leadership role in the husband wife relationship is not optional.

            If we shirk it we risk our family, our marriage and relationship with God.

          • Phil

            Surprised you didn’t suggest “real men” eat nuts & snails , climb mountains with their bare hands and go commando, so to speak. But I could also see you as writing an “agony aunt “column for your community, for young evangelical Christian men…. heck you’d probably do well out of that.

            Just a thought.

          • Phil R

            Real men need to do men things with other Christian men

            Absolutely

            Even eating the odd snail

          • magnolia

            Ah the gospel of the mega-affluent…Nothing like preaching a prosperity gospel to the poor perched on a throne-like chair done up to the nines, and given heaps by your listeners who wonder why they stay pretty poor whilst Joyce has a several million $ private jet. Clearly it hits the spot for some. Count me out.

          • Phil R

            She also gives a lot away.

            Money is not the issue here.

            She preaches and women (and men) listen.

            The CofE priestesses could learn a thing or two.

            BTW. I don’t beleive it is the main point of her message but……

            She certainly preaches God’s blessing says my wife, but she also states that you don’t follow God for material blessings and also that blessings may not be material.

            (More like realising your blessings — like the woman in the film I mentioned above)

            Do you know they stay poor?

            Joyce is out there preaching the Gospel, rescuing people from slavery, feeding the poor.

            Don’t people love to criticise Christians who are successful says my wife. Especially successful women.

          • magnolia

            “Especially successful women”.

            Well, no that’s not the case. I just would warn against slavishly following the outwardly pious who preach a prosperity gospel, are paid heaps, have the IRS following them up, spend a small fortune on outward adorning, collect houses and private jets, and avoid any hint of suffering.

            Not exactly Christ-like.

            If you prefer me to talk about men I will say what I think about the actions of Creflo Dollar, the man who likes dollars being thrown at him, which brings the gospel into disrepute.

            There are others too, all in it for a fast buck and to whom the words “wilderness experience” mean nothing more than an adventure holiday.

          • Phil R

            Hi Magnolia

            I really think we need to forget about money and concentrate on the message

            She is hugely successful. The message my wife tells me is not about give me money and I will make you rich. More about getting women to behave a less bitchy more forgiving and more Christ like manner.

            would you prefer her to be poor and not successful?

            The money does not bother me. I am not sure we should compare her with men because she is not the same and her message is different.

            If you don’t think that women have anything to learn from the most successful female evangelist of all time. It is worrying.

          • magnolia

            The Beatitudes are not meaningless. LUKE Ch 6., esp. 26

          • Phil R

            I get your point. It may or may not be true

            However, I do cannot and will not Judge Joyce’s heart, purely on the basis that she is rich.

            Whatever it is God is certainly using her as I can personally see from my wife and my wife’s friends.

          • CliveM

            Belatedly agree!

          • Jack goes for a bit of peace and quiet – amongst other things. Apart from time in his shed, there’s ample moaning available at home from his nearest and dearest.

          • sarky

            Right. So woman = moaning does it?

          • Dude

            I’m with you on the need for a man to have his shed..

          • The answer is you Christian chaps need an equivalent of Rebbetzin.

          • dannybhoy

            We got enough problems already..

          • dannybhoy

            This lady was recommended to me recently by a very close friend of my wife.

            One of my ‘faves’on the differences between men and women is an American pastor called Mark Gungor . Great fun and very perceptive.. Here he is on the differences between men and women brains…

            (Redirect hate mail to Clive please..)

          • Phil R

            Yes I listened to his talk and have heard it before.

            He has got it exactly right.

            Someone else suggested that women’s brains are like spaghetti and men’s are like waffles. Women’s brains are always connected to everything and are never still. Men focus on one task at a time and occasionally can indeed be thinking of nothing. Something women find incomprehensible.

          • dannybhoy

            As I get older I find myself behaving just like the guy in his ‘nothing box’….

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I have been a regular churchgoer practically all my life, and I have never gone to church to be moaned at by anyone.

          • “and I have never gone to church to be moaned at by anyone.”

            Except by Phil 🙂

          • Phil R

            I must warn you that I might need to report this offensive statement. As a member of a protected group you ought to know the consequences of such a hurtful and degrading comment on my self esteem and refrain from derogatory remarks.

            I might be very upset….Might even self harm as a consequence.

          • Phil R

            Good for you Guglielmo

            How are you getting on with loving God and keeping his commandments?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            What’s that got to do with it? Is it one of God’s commandments that I must go to a church where I’ll be moaned at – by a man, of course? Is that a way of loving God?

          • Phil R

            I was assuming that you are homosexual, (sorry gay)

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Your assumption is correct. What of it?

          • Phil R

            I am assuming again that you not just gay but proud to be gay and assume from your comments that you consider that your lifestyle is affirmed by the Church you attend?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            What lifestyle would that be?

          • Phil R

            I am not playing anymore games what do you think?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            What do I think about what?

          • Jack likes your style, Guglielmo. We disagree but you are always polite and well considered in your comments.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Think about what?

        • IanCad

          How the church is supposed to act is not contingent upon how the world thinks.

          • Indeed, and it would be good if, while on earth, men were men and women were women.

      • DanJ0

        “It’s pretty clear – Matthew 22:30, and elsewhere – that there will be no sexes in Heaven. We will be as the angels.”

        That begs the question whether your eternal life is actually yours, identity-wise, if you’re stripped of your sex/gender and of your corporeal shell. My personality is heavily bound up in how I interact with the world. I’m sure I’d be quite different if I were disabled from birth, and I expect I am a better person for being homosexual.

        • Phil R

          Eternal life is not yours identity wise

          That is the whole point!

        • IanCad

          Well, first of all, it depends as to whether we are granted the gift of eternal life.

          When things are good down here, they’re very good, and it would seem nothing could be better.

          We are promised more though:

          “— Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

          Also we are told, we will be changed.

          • DanJ0

            Most Christians talk as though they, i.e their personality, will persist after they die but that seems a bit odd if such fundamental changes occur.

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          What I find strange is people who cite Matthew 22:30 in support of the idea that there will be no sexes in heaven – although it doesn’t actually say that – and also claim at the same time to believe in the “resurrection of the body”. One of the characteristics of human bodies is that they are NOT sexless, they are sexed.

          Perhaps the Swedish visionary Emanuel Swedenborg was right when he said that the angels in heaven were formerly men and women in this world and that not only are there male and female angels but there is sexual love in heaven, or at least something corresponding to it.

          • Doubtful there will be sexual desire in Heaven. Why would there be?

          • Ivan M

            Yeah they have the Muslim one for that. I mean 72 virgins with their hymens magically restored every time, a wet dream to beat the Sirens and Succubi. Hopefully a kind of United Nations

          • The Explorer

            You know the modern theory that the ‘virgins’ are actually grapes, and there was scribal error? Grapes – rivers of wine: thematic consistency.
            Controversial of course: that there could be error, I mean. Even scribal.

          • sarky

            Ha ha you would be gutted if you blew yourself up only to find 72 grapes.

          • The Explorer

            It hinges on the word ‘hur’ (white-eyed, I think) and whether this is the same as ‘houri’ virgin.

            What the original sense may have been is Paradise (garden) like an oasis in the desert where there are bunches of grapes for refreshment. From the grapes flow rivers of wine (no longer forbidden for the blessed). It makes a lot of sense if you think of it as a blend of ‘Genesis’ and ‘Revelation’, heard about second hand and reinterpreted into a new version.

            The houris came in later to give warriors the incentive to die in battle. Originally, it says the blessed will enter with their wives.

          • Ivan M

            Explorer,there is that that possibility. But what happens if there are indeed virgins in heaven, but ready with welcome like this:

            https://youtu.be/–ek68m6Ew4

            or even punk nuns

            http://photobucket.com/images/nuns%20with%20guns

          • The Explorer

            Funny! Why I think the grapes/raisins theory has plausibility is the sura that says the blessed will enter Paradise with their wives. What would the wives be doing, while the blessed cavorted with the houris?

          • Ivan M

            Cooking food and looking after the children. What could be better for a pious woman. Surely you are not suggesting some version of polyandry? That would be Himalayan or at least Tibetan.

          • The Explorer

            Pass. I’ll let the Muslims puzzle it out.

          • dannybhoy

            Who’s going to blow themselves up on order to gain 72 raisins?
            If it was a typo error, there must be an awful lot of disappointed men wandering around Paradise.

          • The Explorer

            Put it this way, read Muhammad’s descriptions of Hell, and it’s a place to avoid at all costs. It’s worth blowing yourself up to ensure Paradise, whatever sorts of sultanas, human or grape, there may be up there.

          • Ivan M

            You have to feel sorry for some of these guys. When I heard of the punishments meted out in Hell to those damned by Allah, at primary school, from my Malay teacher, I could not sleep for days on end. Some would say Revelations match it, but in Revelations, once you think about the business is not about punishment, but the Lamb fulfilling His purpose. I mean eating scrolls, the Four Horsemen and stuff like that. The greatest vision of the Apocalypse ever given to man. St John at Patmos was worthy of it.

            But the Muslim one is literal as you say.

          • Dude

            No sex ? It’d be boring. …What’s heaven like in Christianity? In my tradition it’s likened to the feeling after having made love or to feel the warmth on your back…. the Shabbat meal is another analogy , but it’s just but a fraction of what’s it’s like in Gan Eden.

          • dannybhoy

            “What’s heaven like in Christianity?”
            Well,
            First off we’ll be giving an account of ourselves and what we did in our lives; perhaps hearing and meeting people who got there because of – or in spite of us…
            Then we’ll spend a long time marvelling at the Almighty..
            No more time as He dwells outside of time.
            (You really have to think about that one!)
            Personally I’m hoping there’ll be an epic movie on the real history of the world..
            and it’s all be going to be far more wonderful than we could ever imagine.
            But not exhaustive, because as I understand it we will never know everything about Him, and most certainly we will never be bored!

          • magnolia

            What about those descriptions in the Book of Enoch? Where are you at on those?

          • Hello,

            The Book of Enoch isn’t Jewish “Canon” so to speak….. so I can’t comment. But generally there’s a big scope in Judaism for speculation on the afterlife [Olam Ha-Ba] , which isn’t massively detailed in the written Torah or Hebrew bible as such. My own belief is that we go to a place of spiritual cleansing and judgment for a period of 12 months,Gehinnom or Sheol, but that wicked are utterly destroyed after this period . The rest go to gan eden, including Christians and other faiths, or none who’ve lived “good” lives.

          • CliveM

            Well Dude, there is a good reason for all this speculation, no one knows!!

            Spending eternity is some sort of post orgasm bliss doesn’t personally appeal. But I’m sure we will find out.

        • The Explorer

          Good points. (As so often.) The actual wording is no marriage in Heaven. There is no need for procreation because there is no more death. Whether that means no sex, who knows? Assume for a moment the truth of the after life. Would we retain our Britishness? As for the corporeal shell, Paul says we are disembodied souls only until the Last Judgment. Thereafter, we will have resurrection bodies, like Christ’s.

          Christ’s risen body was unlike his earthly body. He could appear and disappear at will. On the other hand, he ate fish. His new body bore the scars of crucifixion.

          So do we eat in the New Heaven and New Earth? (After the old of both have passed away). And what do we eat, if there is no more death? If Christ still had his scars, would I still have my operation scars?

          What age would we be outside time? A kid who dies at ten, or someone who struggles on to ninety. Who would want the resurrection body of a ninety year old?

          There are two legitimate responses, I think.
          1. It’s all nonsense.
          2. It’s true, but unimaginable. That is why we have so little detail about it. (If it was simply invented, there would be more explanation and fewer loose ends.)

          • Linus

            It’s clearly all nonsense.

          • Ivan M

            You are at your sweetest when brief like this. Continue in this fashion.

          • Linus

            This isn’t the first time I’ve been called sweet briefs, although at the age of 50 and recently married as I am, the compliment is perhaps as undeserved as it is inappropriate.

            Who’d-a-thunk I’d get wolf-whistled on a conservative Christian blog, eh? Very naughty of you! Ten Hail Marys and a Glory Be To The Father, tighten that cilice until it draws blood, and remember that if thine eye should cause thee to sin, thou shouldst pluck it out and cast it from thee.

            Interesting that I’ve never met a Christian cyclops before. Go on! Admit it! You don’t believe any of it, do you? At least not enough to follow the self-mutilating recommendations of your own messiah.

          • Ivan M

            Didn’t I tell you to keep it short stupid runt?

          • dannybhoy

            Linus loves to bait Christians, which is absolutely fine, because that’s where he’s at.
            We continue to love him and pray for him, because that’s where we’re at..

          • Ivan M

            Linus may be saved in spite of himself, because of good men like you.

          • dannybhoy

            Ha Ha! I probably have more character faults than Linus, and I certainly wouldn’t want to share the failings I struggle with!
            I like Linus. He is intelligent, witty and informative.
            (When he’s not being waspish. ..)

          • Linus

            Right back at you, with the exception of the first letter of the last word, which needs to be replaced with something quite different in order to convey the depth of contempt that bigots such as yourself deserve.

          • The Explorer

            You have a 50% chance of being right.

          • Linus

            Putting forward an either/or scenario doesn’t create even odds. You have to look at evidence for both arguments before you can estimate the likelihood that one or the other is correct.

            If you weigh the theory of a universe of random chance and purposeless natural processes, for which there is a huge and ever-growing body of evidence, against the theory of an intelligent creator, for which not a single shred of verifiable evidence exists, you soon see that the odds are not evenly balanced at all. In fact they’re so heavily weighted in the direction of randomness that the likelihood there being a God is infinitessimally small, if not statistically negligible.

            So when you say that I have a 50% chance of being right, you’re not correct. I actually have a 99.x% chance of being right, with x representing an unknowable margin of error, probably over-generous, but taking into account wild Christian stories of an invisible God who conceals himself from us on purpose and then punishes us with eternal torture for failing to discern his presence.

            The likelihood of an omniscient and omnipotent being proceeding in such an illogical manner is, of course, virtually zero. It would be like a politician who campaigns by refusing to visit his constituency altogether, by declining to meet even his campaign staff, and by relying solely on one wordy leaflet written not by himself, nor by anyone who’s ever met him, but only by those who’ve talked to his advisors, preferably several decades after his death.

            I mean, not even the English would elect a posthumous MP whom nobody but a few geriatric old men had ever claimed to have met, and whose program contained such absurdities as “bow down and worship me”, “hound all the gays into abstinence” and “put a sock in your wife’s mouth and only let her blab in the privacy of your own home”.

          • dannybhoy

            Linus,
            “If you weigh the theory of a universe of random chance and purposeless
            natural processes, for which there is a huge and ever-growing body of
            evidence, against the theory of an intelligent creator, for which not a
            single shred of verifiable evidence exists, you soon see that the odds
            are not evenly balanced at all.”
            Surely you are pinning your faith on it being a random universe,when we all know we live in an incredibly complex and complicated world, right down to the cellular level.
            The faith manifests itself as ‘elastic time.’
            That whatever new level of complexity is discovered, you allow more time for it to have happened in a random universe.
            You know of course that the theory of evolution continues to be modified as each new challenge to the current theory arises?
            Darwin would not recognise thge theory as it now stands with what he himself postulated.
            Elastic time, Linus, elastic time.

          • Linus

            Of course theories are perfected as more knowledge becomes available to us. Much of what we believe today may be proven to be a false trail in the future. But only because research and experimentation will have revealed truth that can’t be denied by faith, assumptions and guesswork.

            What I believe today may not be the whole truth, but it’s a damned sight closer to it than anything in the Bible, if only because so much of it rests on verifiable evidence. Show me independent evidence that ANYTHING in the New Testament happened as it’s recounted and then I might believe it. But you can’t, because no such evidence exists.

            In the absence of evidence you have nothing more than a hypothesis. And the Christian hypothesis is a wild one indeed. In the absence of all evidence that the events it talks of actually happened or even could happen, all any scientific mind can do is treat it as unsubstantiated rumour.

          • dannybhoy

            There are many books showing evidence of the existence of Christ,
            “Seldom have recent scholars questioned or denied the historical
            existence of Jesus. Of the very few who have done so, G.A. Wells is
            probably the best known. In this article, I will outline and then
            respond to some of his major tenets.”

            http://www.bethinking.org/jesus/did-jesus-exist

            many books showing evidence of the Jews in Canaan and Egypt..,

            “The Exodus Controversy”

            http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/08/09/The-Exodus-Controversy.aspx

            But also Linus one has to consider that the Bible is not about evidence in the forensic sense of the word, but about man’s relationship to God.
            As knowledge has increased the discussion has moved into the scientific realm. For example those excerpts I gave you are pointing out the sheer incredible complexity of even a simple cell, and I used non Christian sources to make the point that non Christians recognise the wonder of how it all works.
            Christian scientists will major on the fact that not only does the information in DNA need to to be decoded and read, it also has to have a delivery system that ensures the instructions are carried out in the correct sequence and that there are even little ‘mechanisms’ that check and correct these packets of instructions.
            The point being made is that these systems are all interdependent on each other, and could not have randomly developed independent of the other.
            So the idea of randomness becomes ever more difficult to sustain.

          • The Explorer

            Very eloquent response, Linus, to what was meant as a passing reference to Pascal’s Wager about the after life.
            The origin of the Universe is really not my field and I am not competent to comment. As I understand it, however, science throws up startling anomalies, and the evidence is not nearly as one-sided as you suggest. I am mindful of Arno Penzias’ comment about the Universe: “the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the right conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say ‘supernatural’) plan.”
            As for God concealing himself, that is untrue if the Incarnation is a reality. I think the evidence for the Resurrection is good, and I disagree with your analysis of decades after his death. ‘I Corinthians’ was written within twenty years or so of Christ’s death, and Paul refers there to an earlier meeting with Peter, James and John to discuss the Resurrection. So the concept dates from the start of Christianity, rather than being a late invention.
            Your last paragraph is a piece of splendid polemic. Loved it.

          • magnolia

            No one has ever come back from beyond death backing up his “nonsense” theory, though, have they?

            Which empirically could be said to prove he is 100% wrong!

        • dannybhoy

          As things stand you won’t be there, so don’t worry about it. ;0)

          • DanJ0

            You won’t be either. That’s the point!

          • dannybhoy

            :0)

          • DanJ0

            But at least something of you might be there, unlike any part of what it means to be me. 🙂

        • CliveM

          I’ve always found the wider implication of this question a bit troubling. However no one knows. Perhaps our current personality is so warped (viewed through a glass darkly) that we ourselves fully revealed in heaven, will be almost unrecognisable, even to ourself.

      • Hmmm … we are given perfected, risen bodies. Christ remained and remains male in His resurrected body.

        • dannybhoy

          Good point Jack.
          Never thought about that before.

    • Dude

      I think Hindus have male and female gods and some have faces of animals, such as elephants (albeit they all seem to have at least 2 more arms). I wonder if they have any gay, lesbian or transgender deities?

      • The Explorer

        The elephant head is Ganesha. Shive beheaded him and gave him the elephant head in place of the original.
        Krishna certainly took the form of the enchantress Mohini. So yes, they do.

        • Dude

          Much to my scholarly interest I’ve found this from Wikipedia:

          en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_themes_in_Hindu_mythology

          Hindus have got great entrepreneurial skills, go into professions , place a big importance on the family and to my knowledge they’ve never harassed Jews. Also several of our “lost tribes”, such as the Bnei Menashe and Bene Ephraim as well as Sephardic Jews from Europe and Iraq – such as the Sassoons- lived in India and created businesses for centuries without pogroms etc .

          Plus India and Israel enjoy incredibly amicable relations and a delegation of Hindu and rabbinical scholars prayed together at the kotel (the wailing wall or the remains of the Temple), the holiest site in Judaism, where the Shekinah herself still uses as an earthly resting place . As it is written in the Tanakh:

          “Likewise when gentiles, who are not of your people Yisrael, come from a distant land because of your great name, and your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm, when they come and pray toward this house, may you hear from heaven your dwelling place, and do whatever the gentile ask of you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Yisrael, and that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.”

          [2 Chronicles chapter 6 vs 32-33]

          And

          “these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

          Isaiah[ 56 vs 7]

          Moses Maimonides, one of our great Sephardi Rabbis, once said :

          “Any person from any nation of the world who is moved to dedicate his life to God…he is considered holy of the holies and God will be his portion forever”

          Also my sister in law’s family , who like my family fled to Britain following Islamic fascism, in our case the ethnic cleansing of Iraq’s Jewry, in her case ethnic cleansing of the Indian population of Uganda by the tyrant Idi Amin because “Allah told him to “….

          • COOL stuff!

          • dannybhoy

            You’re biased..

          • …anyone would think they were related or something.

          • dannybhoy

            Interesting though.
            The only ‘double act’ on this blog happen to be family and Jewish..
            I have always been impressed (and slightly envious) of this Jewish trait, the strength of family ties. Not just Jewish people but other communities too.
            It contrasts starkly with the increasing alienation seen within our own lifestyles.

          • Phil R
          • I merely pointed out that India didn’t engage in vicious pogroms, like Christian or Islamic types.

          • Ivan M

            If you look back at the Bombay incident

            http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2008/news/mumbai.attacks/

            you will find that the Jews in Bombay live mostly among Muslims as they are comfortable with that lifestyle.

          • I was referring to the places where either religion was predominant and therefore more prone to flex its muscles, e.g. Europe/ middle east, rather than the religions as a whole.

          • Ivan M

            And what is wrong if I indicated that the Muslims in India lived in peace with Jews? Didn’t have any hangups about them.

            http://tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/188925/mumbai-tombstone-engraver

            That Chabad House, the focus of Jewish concern during the Bombay raid of 2008, was in a Muslim district. Now why would that be? Perhaps I had overreacted, but it seemed a good place to disabuse anyone here of the notion being spread by the Narendra Modi type of parvenu Hindus, the Modiots, that somehow the Muslim is making life difficult for Jews by virtue of his mere existence.

          • well there’s nothing wrobg with thst and in any case I wasn’t initially arguing with you. I’m fully aware that there’s been times where Islam has been kinder to Jews that Christianity has…. when the Catholics expelled Jews from Spain , we were welcomed into the Islamic world. When the rambam wrote his apologetic for Judaism and against Islam , the epistles to the Yemen , he did so as with the support of and he was also the court physician to Saladin.

            In all honesty I hadn’t got India Muslims in my thoughts when I referred to pogroms etc . For a start I’m all in favour of Kurdish independence and it was Kurdish Islamic people who helped My family way back in the faraud of 1941. I gather from reading that Asian Islam seem a more mystical and moderate than that venomous poisons of the Saudi peninsula and the wider Arab world , where Jews -not Israelis or Zionists- are routinely demonized as sub human apes, pigs and animals (the grand mufti was a Nazi stooge, after all)..

            To get back to one of the previous points about “getting on “. Indeed. I’m not a Jew who is wallowing in self pity. Far from it. My family (my grandparents weren’t political Zionist, but changed via the Arab backlash) rebuilt itself here in Britain and Israel. We’re great, we’re a success story and this time when people hurt us we are able fight back. No self pity shite from me. Anti-Semities , Jew haters and Israel bashers can eat my dust.

          • Ivan M

            Look I live in Singapore. The worst thing that happened in my lifetime was the Khmer Rouge’s bloodbath in then Kampuchea in 1975-78, estimated death toll between 1.5 to 3.0 millions in 3/4 years out of a population of 9 millions.. Do you say a kadish for them? Do I say a rosary for them? Does the world remember them in a Bamboo Gulag Day? Your family’s extended travails is nothing but the story of mankind. No big deal. Oh and another thing don’t go boasting about the Sassoons and Keduries and their money to the Chinese, they have long memories of the opium trade between India and China during the Raj when about half of that dastardly trade was in their hands. As usual the British being good sports took all the blame on themselves.

          • Singapore being the play ground for the rich and wealthy is NOT Cambodia. So just feck off.

          • Ivan M

            This is an adult blog. I saved others the trouble of guessing who was richer than the Rothschilds. Deal with it.

          • Yes this is an adult blog and ergo I’m telling you not to bother trying to pluck out arguments with me from thin air. You deal with yourself first and stop picking fights , which is exactly what you’ve done here. You don’t give a dam about Indian Muslims or Cambodia people or Jews. You simply use these examples as a vehicle to fight I , for no good reason. There is little point in bothering with you. Enjoy the luxury of Singapore whilst you gloat about Cambodia, Jews and wax lyrical about the british empire . You are entitled to a view, but there’s no way I’m reading your balls as gospel.

          • dannybhoy

            I was taught at school that the British supplied opium to help pay for the goods we bought from the Chinese? We deliberately encouraged addiction amongst the Chinese population.
            And Shmu’el wasn’t boasting, he was matter of fact telling it like it was..

          • Ivan M

            Who is this we? Your number Lord Palmerston among your ancestors? They are dead and gone. Like I said mighty generous of the British to shoulder all the blame

          • dannybhoy

            I am English through and through and in my younger years I also went to skool witch has stud me in good sted I might ad.
            I don’t need to be related to Lord Palmerston to know something of what he did.

            “It is perhaps in its attempt to provide a strong intellectual rationale for the Opium Wars that Leslie Marchant’s 2002 article most clearly shows its age. It begins with a discussion of the ideological
            differences between the two sides: the British attachment to free trade and progress jibing with the traditional Confucian bias against merchants and commerce. Many earlier western commentators tried to play down opium as the casus belli, asserting instead that a clash of
            economic and political cultures lay behind the conflicts. They sought a moral justification for wars that were essentially about protecting an illegal, profitable drugs trade. –
            See more at:
            http://www.historytoday.com/julia-lovell/opium-wars-both-sides-now

            You seem to be quite angry.

          • Hi danny

            Ivan isn’t concerned about opium wars or Islamic Indians (as a Christian he’s been quick to defend the crusades here, so he’s just using Islam for his own rhetoric) or having a discussion about these topics….. that became obvious with ivans clutching at straws response to Sam’s surprisingly measured post when he said “well there’s nothing wrong with that and in any case I wasn’t initially arguing with you. I’m fully aware that there’s been times where Islam has been kinder to Jews that Christianity has…. ” after that we got some diatribe about opium wars and Cambodia.

          • dannybhoy

            You know of him already?
            I thought he was new here.

          • Hi Danny

            Oh he was a regular on the previous blog and occasional here. Avi gives him a thorough drubbing when he tries to argue about Israel. His performance today doesn’t surprise at all .

          • dannybhoy

            Seems like an angry person.

          • Ivan M

            That hysterical female is right about me being a regular here.

          • Ivan M

            Why angry? Just factual. You didn’t make any money off the drug trade. I doubt if most people did, so why feel guilty about it. The dude got shafted because, he without any sense of irony spoke of an anglo-irak giant among men. I deflated his balloon by showing him how that baghdad thief made his money.

          • dannybhoy

            I am always intrigued by people who present as angry or aggressive or with an axe to grind.
            What is the point of coming on a blog wherein dwell many kindly intelligent and well meaning Christian people and taking a pop at someone?
            Seriously.

          • Dude

            Don’t bother corresponding, as it’d be an utter waste of time.

          • dannybhoy

            True Sam, and I think because the eastern religions don’t do monotheism or absolutes.

          • Dude

            Having absolutist views isn’t a worry. It’s when those beliefs turn one into attacking the other than is not like you that is the worry . I’d say this of extremist communists, Jews or whoever Ivan wants to pluck up out thin air. I think I don’t agree with your theological view, but you should be free to explain that on the street corner. Likewise a Jew should be free to practice our religion.

            Theological debates- which we’ll never agree with this side of gan Eden- are okay and we need to do so. Let’s just make sure we don’t go back to the olden days of “your with us or against us …so we’ll beat the crap out of you”* (unless done in a non violent debating oxford union type way ).

            *okay Ivan I’m being the “whining Jew” who had to get on with it. But tough titty.

          • dannybhoy

            ” Let’s just make sure we don’t go back to the olden days of “your with
            us or against us …so we’ll beat the crap out of you”* (unless done in
            a non violent debating oxford union type way).”
            Absolutely.

          • Jolly good. As my uncle used to say.

          • Ivan M

            That was long ago. This is now.

            http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/06/indias-daughter-delhi-rape

            Oh wait things haven’t changed a bit.

            The dude carrying on about Hindoo India better put his females in the purdah before taking them there.

          • Ivan M

            Everybody had it bad in India. Not just your lost tribes, but the other guys just pick themselves and go with the flow instead of bleating ‘why me’?

          • Dude

            Do you actually read people’s posts before posting comment? I wasn’t moaning about India or bleating on, but actually complementing the place and her people, actually so I don’t know what you are on about…?

            Nb : My only bleat was about an African dictatorship which threw out people of Indian descent from his country…. and a Iraqi one which did the same to Jews. But neither were in India.

          • dannybhoy

            I told you didn’t I that I had a friend in Israel who was a Sassoon? His brother was the sitar player in the Israeli group “Natural Choice.”

          • Ah, I was referring to the particular Jewish Anglo- Iraqi -Indian business dynasty who were at one point richer than the Rothschild family.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, why didn’t you saaaaaaaaaaay so?!
            Wasn’t one of them a famous hairdresser?
            Or was that the other Sassoons?

        • Hi explorer

          How do you know so much about other religions? I’ve got my plate full with like doing my Jewish stuff. And no, I’m not taking any notice of the rabbis who say women shouldn’t drive : no one is going to stop me driving my car or remove my pink fluffy , furry, well cool dice …in fact they’ve been temporarily put on the window screen of my sister’s MGF, whilst my car gets a clutch replacement.

          • The Explorer

            I read stuff, and I have a couple of books on comparative religion.

          • Learning stuff is Cool.

          • sarky

            Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

            Mahatma Gandhi

          • Hi

            Or as us Jews would put it :

            “If you are not a better person tomorrow than you are today, what need have you for a tomorrow?”
            – Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

            . “If I am not for me, who is for me; and if I am (only) for myself, what am I. And if not now, when?” – Rabbi Hillel, Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14

          • sarky

            I was with you until the pink fluffy dice
            🙂

          • Dude

            We were ALL with Hannah until the fluffy dice. .

          • carl jacobs

            There is nothing cool about pink fluffy dice, Hannah. Nothing at all.

          • On the plus side it was the deciding factor in my brother’s decision to let me borrow his Bentley, petrol head or pink dice. Petrol head won !

  • len

    Quite amazing reading through some of the comments here?.
    There are those who sensing that Christianity is on the way out have paused in their passing by’ to stick the boot in’.
    Well perhaps some forms of Christianity deserve only that.

    Salt and Light

    “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can
    it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be
    thrown out and trampled underfoot. (Matthew 5;13-16)

  • The Explorer

    We are either in possession of a revelation, or we are not.

    If we are, then we are at liberty to interpret it, but not to alter it.

    If we are not, then that is not an argument for modifying what was once thought of as revelation. That is an argument for abandoning it altogether.

  • The Explorer

    Why “Our Father who art in Heaven”?

    1. Because that is how God wanted to be represented in relation to humanity.

    2. Because the prayer is the product of a patriarchal society.

    These are two profoundly different explanations. In the second, God need not even have actual existence provided male dominance is secured.

    • Mike Stallard

      If the Bible and the Holy Spirit disagree – who wins?

      • The Explorer

        Difficult, given ‘John’ 16:13 that the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth. Can you give a specific instance of disagreement to consider?

        • Mike Stallard

          As I understand it, several ladies, guided by the Holy Spirit, feel that “Our Mother who art in Heaven ” etc are the way forward. They also feel that St Paul’s teachings about the position and function of women in the church are misunderstood and completely out of date.
          Obviously, the Bible teaching and the work of the Holy Spirit appear to be at variance here. of course, hovering in the background is the issue of Gay Priests…

          • dannybhoy

            Our mother who art in heaven??
            “This title referred to Ishtar, an Assyrian and
            Babylonian goddess also called Ashtoreth and Astarte by various other
            groups. She was thought to be the wife of the false god Baal, also known
            as Molech.”

            Sounds about right.

          • steroflex

            I went to a relative’s funeral last month – not a close relative.
            The woman priest who took the service went for sympathy and motherliness. It came over as completely false. She had no idea who anyone was. The dead person never came near a church and never lived in her parish. Instead of a few thoughts on heaven and God, we got a surprisingly witty and terribly – oh so terribly – moving tribute from her daughter which came over a sort of best man’s speech at a wedding. Apart from the pall bearers and the undertaker, all the people officiating were female. When closer relatives were buried in the same church, with a male priest, it was much more dignified, sincere, uplifting and helpful.

          • dannybhoy

            But without wishing to get into the ‘should women be vicars/bishops’ controversy, not all vicars/priests are ‘good’ at funerals.
            It may sound funny but I do believe Christian people have different gifts and abilities. Not every vicar is able to pastor. Some are teachers rather than pastors.
            I think the CofE needs to re-evaluate what it does, and frankly if a person never went near a church, never professed a faith, then why are we as the church giving them a Christian burial?
            It’s almost like voodoo.

          • Mike Stallard

            It all depends really on what the CofE is for. If it is the national church under Her Majesty the Queen, then everyone ought to get baptised, buried and married on demand by virtue of their being English citizens.
            If, on the other hand, the CofE is seen as an exclusive group of Christians, like, say, the Catholics or the Baptists, then membership and sacraments and ceremonies and vows ought to be exclusive.
            At the moment, I suspect the Cof E is doing neither very well – hence the empty pews.

          • The Explorer

            Good example. Raises lots of issue. Christ washed the disciples’ feet. Should we still do that, given tarmac instead of dust roads, and closed shoes instead of sandals? Or should we simply extract the principle of service to others and apply it as appropriate to modern conditions?
            In Victorian times, the best way to get round London was by horse-drawn cab. That was true of then, but doesn’t apply now. On the other hand, murder was wrong in Victorian London, and is still wrong now. So some things have changed, and some haven’t.
            So is our view of God a cultural condition that needs to change, like the nature of the cab, with changed circumstances, or is it immutable? My view is that if Christ had intended “Our Parent who art in Heaven” he would have said so.
            I have no doubt that the ladies in question are being guided by a spirit. About whether it’s the Holy Spirit, or simply the Spirit of the Age, I am far less certain.

      • dannybhoy

        The only way we know anything about the true Creator God (and this goes for Jews as well as Christians) is through the Scriptures.
        The only way we know anything about the Lord Jesus is through the Scriptures.
        The only way we know anything about the apostles and the early Church is through the Scriptures.
        The only way we know anything about Christian doctrine is through the Scriptures.
        However difficult to understand, whatever copying errors there may be, the Scriptures remain the sole source of revelation, and contain all we need to know as pertaining to salvation.
        The holy Spirit dwells with the pure in heart, the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth, pricks our conscience, prompts us to act and the Holy Spirit can be grieved,

  • Phil R

    That why the committee decided it the word to use was gay most likely

    • Hi

      Umm… what committee is that ?!

      • Phil R

        Hi

        “Ministry of Truth” ?

        We have “Newspeak” it seems

        • Well I’m not in the Phil r alternative reality universe today…

    • magnolia

      Ahhh…. well perhaps Hannah will offer you a virtual cuddle, Phil!!

      Virtual duck!

      • Phil R

        Miss Trunchbull lookalikes (Matilda) are the ones mostly I have the misfortune to know

  • DanJ0

    As I’m sure people here well know, I’m lovely and I have great taste in soft furnishings. So, I don’t feel the need to describe my sexuality in such warm terms. It’s just same-sex attraction.

  • dannybhoy

    I’m being nice to him.
    I want a shtreimel.

  • dannybhoy

    We used to describe girls as gay Hannah. That they were warm, bright, full of fun, full of life.

    Now look at ’em.

    • “warm, bright, full of fun, full of life.”

      Me!!!!!!!!!!

      • dannybhoy

        You’re lovely anyway Hannah. I’m sure your parents would be very proud of you. I like and admire that you don’t make an issue of your sexual orientation.
        Of course it is an essential part of you, but you are more than your sexuality, as I am of mine.
        I think we both recognise that it is more important what our Creator thinks of us, and how we seek to reconcile who we are with what He requires of us according to our understanding.
        But if you ever watch that quaint old English film ‘Genevieve’ you’ll see how old fogeys like myself understood ‘Gay.’

  • Mike Stallard

    Well of course there are bile, lies and half truths on the internet!
    What we Christians can do is to make sure that we are loving and that, as St Paul says, “Your speech should be always pleasant and interesting, and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone.” (Col 4)