Mission

Church in Wales being hounded to appoint Jeffrey John the next Bishop of Llandaff

The Church in Wales is the Anglican Church in Wales, and it is disestablished. It’s appointments procedure is therefore an entirely internal matter, at some arms’ length from the kingdom of politics. Notwithstanding this, a whole odium of politicians has written to the bishops currently charged with selecting the next Bishop of Llandaff, to replace the retired Most Rev’d Dr Barry Morgan, who was also Archbishop of Wales (in Wales, one of the diocesan bishops has traditionally also held the title ‘Archbishop of Wales’ in addition to his/her own see, but this is currently under review, with a proposal to ‘fix’ the Archiepiscopal see in Llandaff. The next bishop of Llandaff could therefore also be elected Archbishop of Wales). The choice falls to the small Bench of Bishops because the 47-strong electoral college charged with choosing Dr Morgan’s successor ended in stalemate, with no candidate gaining the requisite two-thirds of the vote.

The politicians are lobbying for the Very Rev’d Dr Jeffrey John to be appointed. He is currently Dean of St Albans, and is, by all accounts, a kind, gracious, gifted, learned and compassionate Church leader. He also happens to be gay and in a celibate civil partnership. “We had heard from many quarters of concerns and allegations relating to homophobic comments made during the election process for the appointment of a Bishop of Llandaff,” the politicians wrote. Rumour and gossip, it seems.

To be gay and celibate presents no problems for Anglicans. To be gay and in a celibate relationship presents a problem to a few. But to be gay and in a civil partnership, albeit celibate, raises a few hackles, especially if it happens to be a member of the clergy. The teaching is currently evolving, but Issues in Human Sexuality (1991) is still held to be authoritative by many, and it states (5.17):

We have, therefore, to say that in our considered judgement the clergy cannot claim the liberty to enter into sexually active homophile relationships. Because of the distinctive nature of their calling, status and consecration, to allow such a claim on their part would be seen as placing that way of life in all respects on a par with heterosexual marriage as a reflection of God’s purposes in creation. The Church cannot accept such a parity and remain faithful to the insights which God has given it through Scripture, tradition and reasoned reflection on experience.

Now, of course, such blatant homophobia is no longer tolerated. Where the Church of England (and the Church in Wales) articulate anything which questions “that way of life”, it has to be expunged. Indeed, the very phrase “that way of life” has become so offensive that Issues in Human Sexuality is itself is now seen by some as a work of bigotry, unjust discrimination and homophobic hate, hence the need for a new statement of “radical new Christian inclusion“.

The Church of England’s House of Bishops “does not regard entering into a civil partnership as intrinsically incompatible with holy orders, provided the person concerned is willing to give assurances to his or her bishop that the relationship is consistent with the standards for the clergy set out in Issues in Human Sexuality.” There is (or ought to be) nothing wrong with this. To be chaste is to live sacrificially in accordance with Scripture and Church tradition. The Church in Wales is rather more liberal: clergy may not only be in a civil partnership, but their love may be sexually expressed. So you might understand Jeffrey John’s irritation to learn that his sexuality and celibate civil partnership had been raised as objections to his appointment as the next Bishop of Lllandaff, when his private life and personal conduct ought to present no hurdle at all.

But we shouldn’t know this, should we? Such discussions are confidential, aren’t they?

Well, Dr John’s irritation was so provoked that he decided to make a confidential letter public: the President of the College of Bishops, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, the Rt Rev’d John Davies, wrote to Jeffrey John (privately, of course) to assure him that, although he had been rejected for Lllandaff, “neither homosexuality nor participation in a civil partnership were a bar to any candidate being either nominated or elected”. Dr John promptly wrote back to the Bishop (cc-ing the whole world) that this was “hypocritical and untrue”; ie, he accused the Rt Rev’d John Davies of lying. He also disclosed certain confidential conversations by the Electoral College:

In the course of discussion, a number of homophobic remarks were made and were left unchecked and unreprimanded by the chair. Much more importantly, the only arguments adduced against my appointment — in particular by two of the bishops — were directly related to my homosexuality and/or civil partnership — namely that my appointment would bring unwelcome and unsettling publicity to the diocese, and that it might create difficulties for the future Archbishop in relation to the Anglican Communion.

Now, some might call this gossip: we simply have no way of knowing if ‘homophobic’ remarks were made during the course of deliberations, or, indeed, whether any such comments were actually homophobic or (more likely) reasoned objections of the sort pertaining to “that way of life”, for one man’s scripture and tradition is another man’s homophobia (and woman’s, of course, before someone yells ‘sexism’ and ‘misogyny’ [and intersex/agender, before someone.. O, forget it]). We all ought to be appalled that the Bishops said they were “just too exhausted” to deal with the faff and fallout which the appointment of Jeffrey John would bring: poor dears, there are Christians being raped, tortured, burned alive, crucified and cleansed from most of the Middle East, and the Bishops of Wales are a bit too tired to deal with correspondence relating to the appointment of clergy. That really is quite pathetic.

So the Chapter of St Albans Cathedral have written to support their Dean (without his knowledge, obvs). And so the Chapter of Ely Cathedral has joined the chorus. And, of course, there’s the Welsh politicians…

What need the Crown Nominations Commission, or an electoral college, or any college of bishops to discern and pray about future episcopal appointments? Why not henceforth just select all bishops by lobbying and social-media hounding? Why not hand mitres to those whose supporters shout loudest (or, of course, deprive mitres to those who opponents cry longest)? Jeffrey John is being elevated to the status of a homosexual martyr, and his suffering is indeed thoroughly objectionable and profoundly unjust.

But consider, just for a moment, the possibility that the Bishops of Wales really, truly did not discount Jeffrey John either for his sexuality or his civil partnership. Consider that there were other matters, such as those relating to his character and integrity. For what aspiring bishop, whose very vocation involves the keeping of grave confidences, breaches confidentiality by publishing private correspondence and disclosing the contents of private phone conversations, thereby humiliating his brothers in Christ? And just because of a personal grievance or ambition? O, you might be persuaded that he is righteously exposing hypocrisy and deception at the heart of the Church, and so his harsh words and actions are justified. But bishops shouldn’t behave like that: ‘Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established..‘ (Mt 18:15f). Why leap to public shame and rebuke? Does that not evidence a certain character impediment to episcopal office?

Nor is this Jeffrey John’s first poor judgment. When he was apparently blocked from becoming Bishop of Southwark in 2010, he threatened to sue the Church of England for breaching the Equality Act 2010. He went so far as to (very publicly) instruct an employment lawyer. As William Oddie wrote in the Catholic Herald:

..he appears to me to have been a man of unbending theological principle. Now, however, he has for the first time made a major error precisely where he has thus far been so surefooted; he has fallen into the morass of secularism which in the end is inseparable from the Anglican mind: he has, in other words become – or so it seems – the kind of Anglican he would once have recoiled from with horror. He has decided to invoke an entirely secular conception of human rights against what still claims to be part of the one, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Presumably he still believes that it is, since unlike many of us who left it and became Catholics on precisely the ground that we no longer believed that it was, he is still a member of it. So against what still he believes to be a divine entity, he now, it seems, proposes to deploy the Equality Act 2010. It is a very sad falling away, and I am sorry to see it.

To make one major error of judgment may be regarded as an uncharacteristic irregularity; to make two begins to look like representative characteristic, and to blame one’s homosexuality becomes a convenient deflection from having to confront an inconvenient truth. How could any fellow bishop (or, indeed, anyone) ever again share anything confidential with Jeffrey John if there’s a possibility, borne of a personal sense of injustice, that he might disclose your confidence to the world? Where is his sense of collegiality, accountability and mutual submission? Where is the trust? O, you might applaud him if his crusade happens to pertain to a shared grievance, but he is not only ready to leap to the secular courts (contra 1Cor 6:1-8), he will clearly embarrass, humiliate and denigrate his brothers and sisters in Christ if he sees fit to do so, and it will be foursquare to the world, thereby harming and hindering the Church’s public witness. Consider the intemperate language: he not only accuses the Welsh Bishops of “homophobia”, but of making “threats” and engaging in “ludicrous” behaviour; he calls them “foolish” and says they “insult” members of the Llandaff diocese.

It’s not very edifying, is it?

A man once seen as possessing supreme humility, sound judgment and integrity has displayed a distinct capacity to extinguish them all in the pursuit of personal justice. He really should have left it to others to fight on his behalf, for therein would lie his kenotic humility and their righteous anger. To desire the office of a bishop is a good and noble thing (1Tim 3:1), but the qualifications include being temperate, above reproach, self-controlled and not quarrelsome. And then there’s: ‘..but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire‘ (Mt 5:22). You just don’t call your fellow church leaders ‘foolish’ in front of the world’s media, unless your motive is to cause irreparable damage to their integrity, credibility and Christian ministry.

This post will doubtless be read and portrayed by the usual suspects as ‘homophobia’ or ‘hate’, but it is neither, and the proof is in the public domain. If Jeffrey John really and truly is a prophet of God or a pastoral luminary and a gift to the Church, he needs no mitre to show mercy, generate compassion, or spread the good news of Jesus Christ to the world.

  • maigemu

    Have you noticed how JJ looks like Elton John?

  • Sybaseguru

    Compare that to Philip North’s hounding out of post, and his honourable response and its quite obvious who of the two should be a Bishop.

    • Rhys Morgan

      How exactly could North be a pastor to his whole diocese when he would have to appoint clergy to parishes to dispense sacraments when he has no confidence that they are real sacraments.

      • John

        How exactly could John be a pastor to his whole diocese when a large proportion of his flock would have no confidence that his private lifestyle is consistent with his office and vows?

      • Martin

        Rhys

        That is the joke the CoE has made of itself, it’s not North’s fault.

  • Anton

    I wonder how many churchmen believe his statement that, although he is in a civil partnership, he is celibate.

    Perhaps it would not be too much to ask him to affirm the scriptural line on such partnerships that are not celibate?

    • Busy Mum

      Even if churchmen gave him the benefit of the doubt, I guess very few laymen would do so.

      • James Bolivar DiGriz

        Even if the relationship is truly celibate I don’t think that it is in agreement with Christian thought and teaching (at least for c. 1,950 of the last 2,000) years, as it promotes the idea that homosexual relationships are perfectly normal.

        As such it is sticking to the letter of the law whilst flouting the spirit of the law.

        • Busy Mum

          Totally agree. Anybody who has a civil partnership looks to the state rather than to God for the authority by which they validate their lifestyle.

  • AncientBriton

    Thank you for your balanced review Cranmer.
    Media and MPs have been acting as Jeffrey John’s mouthpiece accepting everything he says as fact. The tentacles of the LGBT lobby clearly stretch far and wide but as other selectors have concluded, John shows himself to be unsuitable for the Episcopacy.

  • The Church in Wales is rather more liberal: clergy may not only be in a civil partnership, but their love may be sexually expressed

    The Church in Wales has, presumably, been added to the blacklist drawn up by the Russian Orthodox Church of ‘liberal denominations beyond the pale of Christianity.’ For the head of the Commission for Family, Protection of Motherhood and Childhood, ‘These are not Christian communities anymore. This is another community with its own distinct name of “LGBT”.’

    • Dominic Stockford

      The Church in Wales is, I think, still also full of freemasonry.

      • G Jones

        Never heard that accusation before.

  • vsscoles

    His Grace is exactly right. Someone who resorts to bullying in order to be made a bishop is ipso facto disqualified from that office. And if he were appointed, it would become a platform for his views, which are entirely unorthodox.

    • John

      Your comment is very similar to mine – we posted at exactly the same time I think.

  • John

    Anyone displaying the breathtaking levels of entitlement and personal ambition highlighted in His Grace’s article above should be automatically disqualified from senior leadership roles in any church.

    • Anton

      A very true statement, and one that has nothing to do with sexuality.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I received preferment in the small church group I was in. I cried in anticipation of the struggles that God was asking of me before accepting, (I later cried when I stepped down because of the stress involved). I do not say this to make a point about me, but about attitudes that should prevail in such situations – I know at least two others for whom the same was the case when they accepted such an overseer’s task for God.

  • Stephen Heard

    I agree that, for a candidate for the epsicopate to write publicly about the process as Dean John (let alone his Chapter and Diocese) has done, is highly unusual. But look at it from his point of view. He was barred from becoming Bishop of Reading (which position he had been formally offered and accepted) *explicitly and solely* because of his homosexuality. He was offered it because of his undoubted qualification for it; but this, in the end, counted for nothing. He has by all accounts since been considered for several other bishoprics, all of which seem to have escaped his grasp, even though his suitability for them seems not to have been in question. Given all this – and given the Electoral College leak, on the truth and circumstances of which this entire scandal turns – is it surprising that he smells a rat? He suspects, I surmise, that he is permanently barred because of his homosexuality, but that no-one will admit it.

    The CiW could easily and quickly draw the sting from his current complaint by confirming that the alleged, leaked comments concerning his homosexuality, civil partnership (to which institution, let’s not forget, the Church is but a late convert) and ensuing “bad publicity” are untrue. As far as I know, they have not done so yet.

    The probable truth of the matter is that the CiW were fearful of the “conservative” backlash that would follow an announcement that JJ was to be appointed bishop, and that that did indeed influence their decision. If so, that is reprehensible enough. But the fact that they appear to have allowed unhelpful details of their deliberations to leak puts them in an even weaker position. They have brought the furore upon themselves. Which is ironic, given how keen they were to avoid exhaustion. They’re going to need a serious lie-down before this is out of their in-tray.

    • AncientBriton

      This statement appeared on the Church in Wales web site yesterday:
      ALLEGATIONS OF HOMOPHOBIA – A RESPONSE
      The meeting of the Electoral College for the next Bishop of Llandaff was confidential and the Church in Wales will not comment on speculation about the nomination and discussion of candidates. However, we strongly deny allegations of homophobia in the process. Neither homosexuality nor participation in a civil partnership are a bar to any candidate being either nominated or elected as a Bishop in the Church in Wales. Moreover, this was made clear to members of the Electoral College by its President, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon.

      John may have been unlucky to have missed out on Reading but he has since done himself no favours by coming Out4Marriage, claiming that the Church lacks authority. His unorthodox interpretation of scripture to justify his position has been a turn off for many who previously supported him, myself included.

      • Coniston

        ‘John [is] claiming that the Church lacks authority’.
        He is absolutely right on this. The CofE and CiW have lost all authority. See:
        http://www.christiantoday.com/article/philip.north.and.jeffrey.john.a.church.that.is.more.via.muddle.than.via.media/105974.htm

      • Dominic Stockford

        The statement implies that John is passing on lies, which have (apparently) come from someone else. And such a man really thinks he is suitable?

      • Dean John says “The Church does not speak with integrity on the matter of same sex marriage and does not deserve to be listened to”.
        He says “God will bless and sustain homosexual love just as much as he blesses and sustains any other marriage.” And Dean John knows this he says.
        I think Dean John is too involved with promoting homosexuality and is confused as to what is and isn’t sin. He thinks the Church is not showing Christ’s face to the world on this subject.
        But, I didn’t think Christ condoned same sex love?

    • Anton

      They could always try quoting scripture, “the episkopos should be… a man of one woman” (1 Tim 3:2).

      • Dominic Stockford

        Fat chance of that!

    • vsscoles

      He has failed to obtain preferment as a bishop not because he is gay, but because he publicly advocates same-sex marriage, which is at odds with the teaching of scripture and of the Church. When he withdraws that teaching, he will be eligible for consideration.

    • Martin

      Stephen

      That they should even consider him is a disgrace. Biblically he should be excommunicated.

  • disqus_N9Jawtu8Uw

    Six South Wales’ MPs have written an ill-considered and ill-judged open letter to the Church in Wales demanding the Church reconsider Dr Jeffrey John. The fact that it is an open letter means that they are using political, secular influence to attempt to force the Church’s hand.

    If only they had done some real and meaningful research on the subject. Since Reading (of which you are well aware) Dr Jeffrey John has actually applied to be the Bishops of Bangor (2008), Bishop of Southwark (2010) before now applying to be Bishop of Llandaff. In all cases he was turned down as being not suitable to be a Bishop.

    In 2008 the Archbishop of Wales fully supported his application to be Bishop of Bangor and, noted in his support that Dr John was gay, and yet they have falsely claimed it was because of his being gay that he was turned down, in spite of the Archbishop of Wales supporting his application.

    Has it not occurred to them that perhaps he simply isn’t Bishop material?
    No, obviously, not. For if they were really questioning the selection on the basis of being gay as some kind of obstacle then the letter would have actually been private, but NO it was open. Being an open letter they are clearly wanting to encourage the propagandist media to whip up the public in support of him even though he may not be Bishop material. This is clearly interfering in the Church with their own personal politics, a clear form of bullying.

    Secular society has wanted the Church NOT to interfere in politics and yet they are bringing politics into clearly interfering with the Church.

    It is profoundly unconstitutional of MPs to interfere with the Church. The relationship between Church and State is at least very well documented. In England, the principle of separation of church and state can even be found in the Magna Carta. The first clause declared that the Church in England would be free from interference by the Crown. The barons, who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta, wanted to create a separation between church and state powers to keep the Crown from using the Church as a political weapon and from arbitrarily seizing its lands and property. So they should cease and desist from attempting to interfere in the Church. The state does NOT interfere with the Church ever since then and the Church in Wales, being disestablished, does not interfere with politics either..

    Dr Jeffrey John has been considered as a candidate for simply being Bishop. To be a Bishop you have to be fully in agreement with upholding Church teaching.

    The issue of selecting a bishop ought to be simply choosing the best person for the job, free from such bullying and intimidation.

    Now Dr Jeffrey John has joined in the bullying and intimidation. The question of how would a Bishop handle such unwanted publicity is a TOTALLY reasonable one …. being a Bishop constantly involves handling unwanted publicity – so considering such a question homophobic is utterly childish and shows that he is simply not Bishop material.

    • G Jones

      No-one applies as such for bishoprics in Wales. Individual names are put forward during the Electoral College (though usually in the knowledge that the nominee is prepared and willing to take up the post).

    • Anton

      The state does NOT interfere with the Church ever since [Magna Carta]

      Er, Henry VIII?

      I agree with you that the State SHOULD not interfere with the church, of course.

      • Coniston

        There are problems if it is a state-established church.

        • CliveM

          Im confused, is the Church of Wales still an established Church? I thought its status had changed. Maybe wrong.

          • AncientBriton

            The Church in Wales is disestablished

          • CliveM

            So being ‘established ‘ doesn’t apply to this issue.

          • AncientBriton

            Correct.

          • David

            Correct ! In 1919 under Lloyd George I think I remember.

    • G Jones

      I think you may be referring to a SECOND letter signed by nine Labour MPs (rather than the original six). They suggest a ‘cooling off’ period before a further election. Except that would be contrary to the constitution of the Church in Wales as things stand.

      • Anton

        Any MPs who sign open letters on the subject should be asked how often they attend services of the church in question.

        • G Jones

          Well, one Stephen Kinnock wouldn’t have attended many CiW services as he’s barely lived in Wales. The CiW’s latest statement points out that the suggestion of the Welsh Labour MPs to hold another election is not in the constitution.
          I think it must be some form of displacement activity in their part – anything to avoid the unholy mess the Labour Party is in!

    • Watchman

      If Yeshua’s Kingdom is not of this world why is the world trying to manipulate the Kingdom?

  • G Jones

    The Chapters of St Albans and Ely need to consider whether it’s appropriate for them to intervene/interfere in the matters of another province.

  • David

    Your Grace, you have covered this most difficult matter in a commendably well balanced way, thank you.
    Compared to England, Wales is distinctly more left leaning politically. So it is perhaps not surprising that The Anglican Church in Wales, is distinctly more leftward theologically. Across the UK Anglican Church, there are contrasts as to how clergy, who are same-sex attracted, relate to that human condition.

    Vaughan Roberts leads a major church in Oxford, as well as being Director of the Proclamation Trust, a distinctly reformed organisation. He is of my conservative, reformed end of Anglicanism. Whilst open and honest about his struggle with same-sex attraction, he advises against self-describing as “gay”. Instead he chooses to earth his identity, first and foremost, in Christ, as should all flowers of the Way. To my knowledge, Vaughan never appeals to recent, secularist conceptions such as “equal rights”, but instead lives in this fallen world, guided by Scripture. He lives a celibate life as a single man, and pours his considerable energies and skills into building the local church where he serves Christ, as well as leading the Proclamation Trust, a commendably useful preaching training organisation. He receives my respect and confidence.

    By way of distinct contrast, Jeffrey John, it seems to me, refers to political and secular ideas to try to further his career. It is his personal choice to self- describe as “gay”. By doing so, he links his identity to a political movement that opposes orthodox Christian teaching. All Christians of whatever calling, except contemplatives, are asked to live “in the world but not of the world”. To me Vaughan Roberts is in the world but not of the world, wheres Jeffrey John presents to me as, in the world and of the world. He fails to give clear witness to the authority of God, expressed through Scripture. Clergy are meant to preach God’s truth. Bishops are meant to enhance diocesan unity, in truth. Jeffrey John seems to bring division and confusion. To me this alone is sufficient to indicate his unsuitability for the role of a pastor, let alone a bishop.

    • Busy Mum

      Though I don’t see why Vaughan Roberts needs to be ‘open and honest’ about his struggle. It almost elevates this particular temptation into one more worthy of being fought than any other; surely fleeing the devil is the same for all of us, whichever form he happens to assume.

      • Sarky

        Because all other ‘temptations’ are treated with compassion by the church. If he was an alcoholic or a drug addict he would be receive all the help he needed and be held up as proof of the healing power of god.
        Seems that homosexuality is the only unforgivable sin.

        • Busy Mum

          More like homosexuality is the only sin that doesn’t need forgiving. They are not allowed to help homosexuals, or even talk about helping them, as to do so implies it is a condition in need of help. And that is the current heresy.

          • Sarky

            By help i meant acceptance and understanding.
            Are you saying homosexuality ‘is’ a condition that can be treated?

          • Anton

            Is the Bible saying that?

          • Sarky

            How would i know.

          • Anton

            Because you were in a Bible-based congregation for a considerable time, weren’t you?

          • Sarky

            Long time ago now. Sorry but i cant remember everything.

          • Anton

            Sounds like you can’t remember anything of it!

          • Sarky

            Try not to!!! Best to supress bad memories.

          • Why is it a bad memory?

            Suppression means stopping yourself from thinking or feeling something. It is ineffective as these thoughts and feelings tend to be displaced and eventually return with a vengeance and become amplified.

            It’s unhealthy.

            Researchers have shown that there are unexpected consequences when an individual actively tries to avoid certain thoughts. First, you will start thinking about the thought you are trying to avoid more. Second, if the thought is about a behaviour, you increase the likelihood of engaging in that behaviour. In short, avoidance makes you less able to control what you think and what you do.

          • Sarky

            You’ve got to love ‘cut and paste’

          • Share your bad memories, Sarky. You know it makes sense. Look how it’s helped with the trauma of Poundland.

          • Busy Mum

            No.
            Romans chapter 1 indicates that widespread homosexuality is the symptom, rather than the cause, of a Godless society.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Sounds just like heterosexuality then, doesn’t it?

          • Except that outside of marriage, between a man and woman, all sexual expression remains a sin.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            You are entitled to hold that view. But my point is that homosexuality is no more a sin that needs forgiving or a condition [sic] in need of help than heterosexuality is.

          • According to scripture, some sins are more serious than others and some cry to heaven for vengeance.

            There are particular sins that are so evil that they are said to be sins that cry to heaven for vengeance: murder (Gen 4:10), sodomy (Gen. 18:20-21), oppression of the poor (Ex 2:23), and defrauding workers of their just wages (Jas 5:4).

            Sins against the Holy Spirit are sins that harden a soul by its rejection of the Holy Spirit. Six sins are said to fall into this category. They are despair, presumption, envy, obstinacy in sin, final impenitence, and deliberate resistance to the known truth.

            There is also sin that causes spiritual death.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I don’t question that there are homosexual sins, just as there are heterosexual ones. I reject the notion that homosexuality as such is a sin.

          • So the sin of Sodom was inhospitality then? There is probably nothing more inhospitable than gang rape.

            Homosexuality was part of the reason God destroyed the city. The men of Sodom wanted to homosexually rape two angels disguised as men. Agreed, homosexuality was not the only reason why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

            Ezekiel 16:49-50: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me…” What we these detestable things? The Hebrew word translated “detestable” refers to something that is morally disgusting and is the exact same word used in Leviticus 18:22 that refers to homosexuality as an “abomination.” Jude 7: “…Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.” So, while homosexuality was not the only sin in which the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah indulged, it does appear to be a primary reason for their destruction.

            Perhaps homosexuality, sexual immorality, and, indeed immorality in general, is a natural consequence of a nation indulging whatever passion it desires and replacing God’s law with individual autonomy.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, Ezekiel 16:49-50 tells us what the sins of Sodom were. Assuming that the “abomination” of v. 50 is a separate item and that it refers specifically to a sexual crime, we have only to read the original story in Genesis 19 to discover what it was: the attempted homosexual gang rape of the angelic visitors.

            The author of Jude accuses the men of Sodom and Gomorrah of going away after “sarkos heteras”. That Greek phrase has been sloppily rendered in some modern translations as “perversion”, which could mean various things. The original Greek phrase is more specific: it means “DIFFERENT FLESH”. To use it as a euphemism for sexual activity with others of both the same sex and the same species (human) would have been absurd. The context, however, makes the writer’s meaning clear. In v. 6 he speaks of the angels of Genesis 6, who left their appointed sphere and had sexual congress with mortal women, and then in v.7 draws a kind of mirror image analogy – the mortal men of Sodom and Gomorrah, who likewise went after “different flesh”, i.e. sought sexual congress, in this case coercive, with angels.

            Ordinary, consensual gay relationships? Well, assuming for present purposes that Sodom was a real historical city, then, just as in any other city, a small minority of its population would have been homosexual, and some or many of that minority would have been in such relationships, but there is not the remotest suggestion in the original Genesis narrative that they had anything to do with the destruction of the city; in fact they don’t get so much as a look-in. Nor are they mentioned in any of the other biblical references to Sodom. Conversely, none of the few other passages in scripture that do speak of homosexual behaviour, however condemnatory they may be understood to be, make any mention of Sodom.

          • Watchman

            Most of us struggle with temptation to sin, often privately and secretly knowing that to succumb to the temptation would lead us into sin. We are repentant and ashamed and pray for help in order that we can become more useful and fruitful members of His Body. What we do not do is embrace that sin and ask others to accept our sinfulness.
            Galatians 5:9 “A little yeast leavens the whole lump of dough.”
            Anyone walking deliberately in sin is introducing into the ekklesia a Trojan Horse which will eventually be the despoilment of the whole church.

        • Vaughan Roberts’ ‘temptations’ have been treated with great compassion by the Church.

          • Sarky

            Only because he has sacrificed who he truly is to conform to your rules.

          • Anton

            How do *you* know who he truly is?

          • Sarky

            Because its bloody obvious.
            You don’t have to supress your sexuality to be a member of your church, why should he!

          • Anton

            If you join a club you should abide by its rules. And I don’t agree that it’s obvious.

          • Sarky

            Which is fine if the rules are skewed in your favour!!

          • Yep. Jack supposes a golf player might find it difficult using his driving iron in a fishing club.

          • Anton

            In whose favour? He was outside the club originally, and it has rules. Don’t join unless you are willing to abide by them. Go find or start another club.

          • Sarky

            Ok then….so who’s the bouncer on the door to this club, you or god?

          • Anton

            You find the rules in the Bible and man is not free to rewrite them.

          • Sarky

            Except he has.

          • Anton

            Where?

          • Who he truly is is a man in Christ, but you wouldn’t know anything about that. ”Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in Him’ (Philippians 3:8-9).

          • David

            Quite, and well said.
            Which is why he has been allowed to earn an esteemed role within the reformed section of the C of E.
            But of course, being tempted, although very human, is not a sin, whereas acting on ones temptations is a sin.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Jesus was tempted in EVERY way that we are, but without sin.

        • David

          Any and all sins are only forgiven if first we repent, accepting Jesus as our Saviour, thereafter continuing as his true follower.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Repent and believe, Jesus tells us.

        • Not if he kept on indulging the habit and not if he commended it to others.

      • David

        Watch his videos on his website (www.vaughanwilliams). I think he says exactly what you say – that we are all tempted by sexual temptations and this one is no different. But because political movements have made it the issue of this period, it cannot be
        ignored ? I believe that he spoke to assist others like him remain faithful to God’s advice.

        • Busy Mum

          Thanks for the link – when I have a mo I may take a look.But I wonder what would happen if, say, a clergyman spoke out about his paedophilic temptations and the daily struggle against them? Or, say, his attraction to a parishioner’s wife? Would he be allowed to keep his post?

          • David

            Please one difficult subject at a time ! That “struggle” is much more difficult.

          • Interesting point. As Jack recalls, Saint Paul acknowledged he was a sinner but never mentioned his own particular weakness. There is a growing movement of “neo-homosexuals” in the Catholic Church who identify as “gay”, claiming it is a gift, but advocate celibacy. Maybe we should all wear badges to church displaying our most serious temptations.

          • John

            Paul did say that his big issue was covetousness in Romans 7.8 and he classified himself as the chief of sinner ‘because I persecuted the church’ in 1 Timothy 1.15. I think Roberts is right to speak of this particular temptation in the way he does because it is at the heart of western Christianity’s biggest cultural war and it challenges the narrative that voluntary celibacy is intolerably cruel.

          • Possibly … we each have to decide what God is calling us to.

          • Anton

            But I don’t think that was the “thorn in his flesh” of which Paul spoke, a “messenger of Satan” (2 Cor 12:7). I am heartily tired of sermons confidently pronouncing what it was, but I am willing to say that it was a temptation (Satan’s standard trick) and that it was *not* sexual, in view of 1 Cor 7:8-9.

          • Whatever his sin, he didn’t wear it as a badge. There’s a fine line between empathy with sin and sympathy. That said, our understanding of paedophilia and how to manage those trapped in it, has increased by listening to both paedophiles and to their victims.

        • Busy Mum

          p.s. Does the act of speaking out like this run the risk of making the subject negotiable, even though he wants to say it is not negotiable….?

    • Watchman

      Bravo, David!

  • Busy Mum

    If homosexuality had stayed in the closet, nobody could hold it against a clergyman, whether they would do so or not.

    • Sarky

      Stupid comment.

      • Busy Mum

        Your opinion (and default reaction to anything I say) may be that it was stupid, but that is beside the point. Is the comment true?

        • Sarky

          Soooo….as long as they hide who they are, everything would be tickety boo in your world??
          Bit like the old ‘don’t ask,dont tell’ ?

          • ChaucerChronicle

            The informal social policy of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ at least concealed homosexuality from the eyes of our children, and thereby suppressed the risk of ‘gender’ confusion.

            Pity the parents who will take their offspring to see Beauty and the Beast.

          • Sarky

            Took mine last saturday. Absolutely magical!!

          • ChaucerChronicle

            ‘magical!!’

            I thought you were an ‘atheist’?

          • Anton

            “We are now living in a world which scoffs at the devil, demons, angels, miracles and Messiah of the Bible, yet which earnestly embraces the concepts of ETs, UFOs, spirit-guides, earth mysteries, cosmic consciousness, mind-control, magic, witchcraft, self-hypnosis, spiritism, astrology, parapsychology, and a quantum leap in human ‘evolution’ leading to a golden age on earth” – Alan Morrison, flyer for his superlative book on the New Age, The Serpent and the Cross.

          • Holger

            Whether your delusions are fueled by old time religion or new age “spirituality”, they all point to the same basic psychological issue: an immature refusal to accept the limitations of reality.

            Children believe in gods and flying saucers and Harry Potter. Adults do not. The children Morrison was referring to have merely replaced one myth with another.

          • Anton

            You don’t get to define reality.

          • Holger

            And you do?

            I don’t define reality however. I base my definition of it on scientifically observed and verified fact. Not on a fairy story written down thousands of years ago by primitive tribesmen ruled by superstition and belief in the primacy of their imaginations over reality.

          • Sarky

            Is that the best you’ve got?

          • ChaucerChronicle

            The Praying Mantis: has patience.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            What the hell has ‘gender’ confusion got to do with it? Nothing really.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Tsk, tsk. You are disqualified from mentioning ‘hell’. You may yet experience it; and if you do, I shall listen.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Whether or not hell is mentioned, the answer, as I said, is “Nothing really.”

          • ChaucerChronicle

            19 `And — a certain man was rich, and was clothed in purple and fine linen, making merry sumptuously every day,
            20 and there was a certain poor man, by name Lazarus, who was laid at his porch, full of sores,
            21 and desiring to be filled from the crumbs that are falling from the table of the rich man; yea, also the dogs, coming, were licking his sores.
            22 `And it came to pass, that the poor man died, and that he was carried away by the messengers to the bosom of Abraham — and the rich man also died, and was buried;
            23 and in the hades having lifted up his eyes, being in torments, he doth see Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom,
            24 and having cried, he said, Father Abraham, deal kindly with me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and may cool my tongue, because I am distressed in this flame.
            25 `And Abraham said, Child, remember that thou did receive — thou — thy good things in thy life, and Lazarus in like manner the evil things, and now he is comforted, and thou art distressed;
            26 and besides all these things, between us and you a great chasm is fixed, so that they who are willing to go over from hence unto you are not able, nor do they from thence to us pass through.
            27 `And he said, I pray thee, then, father, that thou mayest send him to the house of my father,
            28 for I have five brothers, so that he may thoroughly testify to them, that they also may not come to this place of torment.
            29 `Abraham saith to him, They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them;
            30 and he said, No, father Abraham, but if any one from the dead may go unto them, they will reform.
            31 And he said to him, If Moses and the prophets they do not hear, neither if one may rise out of the dead will they be persuaded.’

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, I’ve both read and heard that parable many times. I find nothing in it of any relevance to claptrap about homosexuality and ‘gender’ confusion.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            I read you mentioned ‘hell’.

            Is that not so?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Purely as part of an idiom.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            That’s what the undergraduates call ‘back-tracking’.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Well, if you see more significance in my use of the word, perhaps you’d like to tell us what it is.

          • Dominic Stockford

            B&B is in fact a story of the most heterosexual nature – the character about whom all the fuss is being made is even the baddie!

          • carl jacobs

            “Who you are” is not the same as “How you behave”.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            No doubt, but knowing that someone is homosexual, like knowing that someone is heterosexual, doesn’t tell you how they behave.

          • carl jacobs

            The existence of homosexual desire does not establish an ontology that justifies acting on that desire. Which is the argument that Sarky was implicitly making.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Whether or not acting on that desire is justified is a different matter, but that is not the argument that Sarky was making.

          • Busy Mum

            I still don’t ask, but they insist on telling and then demand that one shuts up.

            And don’t forget that from a Christian perspective, this world has never been tickety-boo since a certain event in the Garden of Eden 6000-odd years ago, and never will be again. All we can do to attain the maximum amount possible of tickety-booedness in this transient world is to obey God’s moral law which He gave us to protect us all from each other and ourselves.

          • Sarky

            I suggest you actually think about that. For starters, how can a perfect, innocent being be tempted??

          • Busy Mum

            ‘Tis one thing to be tempted, another to fall’….

            They were innocent, but capable of falling.

            They were not gods. Jesus was God, and therefore the only Perfect Man, who was tempted, but could not fall.

            If they were incapable of falling, God would not have needed to give them the one law which pertained in the Garden.

          • Sarky

            Right. So they were imperfect before the fall.
            Can you not see the whole thing is nonsense, its just allegorical.

          • Busy Mum

            So what is your explanation for all the misery in the world?

          • Sarky

            Human nature, pure and simple.
            Accepting that bad things happen makes more sense than a loving god who allows them to happen.

          • Busy Mum

            But why is human nature bad?

          • Sarky

            If you think of it in evolutionary terms ot makes total sense. Survival of the fittest. Combine that with mental illness etc and you can see where the bad comes from.

          • Busy Mum

            So it needs some sort of moral code (e.g. Ten Commandments) to counter it then. That’s where religion comes in handy.

          • Sarky

            Only if you believe morality comes from religion…which i dont.

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        That’s a very charitable understatement.

    • Dominic Stockford

      It is an interesting point, though I don’t think we can run far with it.

  • AncientBriton

    In response to further questions about the recent Electoral College for the Bishop of Llandaff, the Church in Wales has issued another statement:
    http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/news/2017/03/bishop-of-llandaff-appointment-statement/

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    There’s nothing complex about this. Christianity is about saving us from sin. Jeffrey John is a high-profile advocate of the most awful vice the non-Christian establishment could find. The non-Christians are demanding the churches formally abjure the teachings of their founders and promote the opposite. The rest is humbug.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      There is nothing there, that fills me with awe.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Basically, yes.

    • Inspector General

      {Ahem}. Apologies, goodly bear. Mistaken identity the other day. Wrong demon, if you must know. Won’t happen again.

  • What is this situation, if not an ideal opportunity for the C of E to roll out it’s flagship policy, Radical Inclusion?

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Yes, of course.

      If sex is irrelevant to the priesthood; then, why should the practising homosexual and the transgendered be barred?

    • carl jacobs

      Precisely. It should do so as soon as possible. Within 20 years it will “radically include” all of 50,000 people.

      This is too prefect. A mob selects Jeffery John after a mob deselects Philip North. You couldn’t script a better outcome.

      • Prefect? Is this a other Americanism?

  • The Explorer

    One is reminded of the last line of the Flintstones song: “We’ll have a gay old time”.

    Prophetic in ways that were never intended, and never more so than for the C of E.

  • “I have repeatedly found that in these matters bishops and other ecclesiastical authorities routinely abuse confidentiality as a cloak for injustice and deception.

    I admire those who have breached the confidentiality of the Electoral College because they saw that the oath of confidentiality was being abused in precisely that way.”

    Sadly, he has a point here as the Catholic Church and other churches are painfully aware. Organisations do tend to cover and protect themselves from public scrutiny. If he was debarred because of his homosexual relationship (this being celibate, of course) then the bishops should say so.

    The two bishops who were on the electoral college certainly think so. Who were they and should they not go public too?

  • saintmark

    Rather reminds me of two certain apostles demanding to sit at Jesus’ right and left side, with a threat that if they don’t they’ll get their mother involved.

  • Royinsouthwest

    One of the most influential Christians in Welsh history was Daniel Rowland. He was one of the founders of Welsh Methodism but it was not until some years after his death that the Methodists split from the CoE. Daniel Rowland had been opposed to any such split.

    Despite his enormous success as a preacher Daniel Rowland never rose higher than the position of curate. His zeal for the gospel counted against him but he did not worry about his promotion prospects. His career plan was to do the will of He who sent him.

    Jeffrey John has surely heard of Daniel Rowland. Perhaps he should copy him.

    • Dominic Stockford

      He would have to know Christ first.

  • AnglicanMisfit

    Amongst all the speculation about Jeffrey John’s non-election as Bishop of Llandaff, there was one statement made which must be untrue. The Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, was named as one of the bishops who made homophobic remarks during John’s interview.

    That can’t be right. +Gregory has been strenuously promoting the gay cause in the Church in Wales for the last two or three years. He has created the post of his LBGT+ Chaplain, he encourages Human Sexuality Days, with speakers like Jayne Ozanne, and last year supported and endorsed the Gay film, “All One in Christ”.

    If he did indeed reject JJ’s candidature if must have been, as Archbishop Cranmer has suggested, for reasons other than homosexuality.

    If I’d been asked I would also have said ‘No’ to John, and not because of his homosexuality. In a sermon in Liverpool Cathedral last May he preached about that Centurion and his servant, (Luke 7) how they were in a gay relationship and how Jesus knew this and approved. He also told the congregation that people (like me) who believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman are “inhumane and un-Christian”. Archbishop Cranmer has mentioned some of the insults John has hurled around. I can cope with unchristian, I frequently am, but I think ‘inhumane’ is as bad as it gets. At its best it means “lacking compassion, humanity and kindness”; at its worst it means “cruel; causing suffering to people and animals.” I don’t! Honestly.

    • Anton

      This is disturbing. The man sounds like a clothed volcano.

    • wisestreligion

      It sounds as though JJ is looking for advancement in the wrong church. He would be happier not in the church of Christ but rather preaching in the Labour Party, or maybe even the modernized Conservative Party along with equality zealots like Maria Miller.

    • David

      From your account of the Liverpool sermon it sounds as if he reads into verses very unlikely, strange even, meanings in support of his cause, and himself.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Not unlikely, untrue. Job 13:7 “Will you speak falsely for God and speak deceitfully for him?” – Jeffrey John’s answer is clearly ‘Yes’.

      • Some of the homosexualists claim David and Jonathan were homosexual too and even go so far as to “suggest” that Jesus’ relationship with John was “special” too. Such blasphemy is truly scandalous.

        • David

          Agreed and aware of that Jack. They project their twisted narrative into stories. But then relativism doesn’t accept anything as truth.

          • They have a new “truth”.

            Modernity has substituted God and Nature with the will of the individual as an autonomous moral universe. Active homosexuality Is part of the new post-Christian norm. Divine Law and Natural Law are no longer a guide for the modern man. The only boundary of autonomous individual is the autonomy of another. The boundary for what is and is not moral is now “consent”. Moral dialogue has been flattened to platitudes: “this isn’t hurting anyone”, “it’s my body and my choice”, “love is love”.

          • David

            Yes that’s it.

        • Holger

          As a fictional character, Jesus didn’t have a sexuality because it wasn’t written for him.

          That being the case, we’re all at liberty to think of him as we please.

          Personally I think he probably did have the hots for John, as the bible tells is he was “tempted in every way”. But given his po-faced and goody two-shoes character, it’s unlikely he would have followed through.

          Just like the pasty-faced and pudgy virgins (or so they say) who run the “Living Out” site, he would probably have made a spectacle of his sexlessness. It would have offered him one more opportunity to be holier-than-thou. One more opportunity to look down on and condemn another minority.

          Of course we can never know what went on in the shadows at night-time when he wasn’t on parade. For all we know he and John and rest of them may have indulged in wild candle-lit and frankincense-fueled orgies. That’s the thing with fictional characters: you can make it up as you go along and nobody can prove you wrong.

          • You really do need to consult a professional therapist, Linus. And that’s Jack being kind.

          • Anton

            I doubt that he believes a word of that post. He’s trying to wind us up.

          • Jack disagrees.

          • Anton

            He has his beliefs, holds them as passionately as we hold ours, and states them often enough; but not in that particular post I think. Let’s agree not to get wound up over it, anyway.

          • Holger

            A typical religious nutter response. Anyone who rejects Christianity must be mad, eh?

            Yes, the services of a therapist may well be necessary. But not for me.

            I’m told that deprogramming can be an effective treatment for the survivors of cult abuse, but maybe not for Jack. Quite frankly, those kinds of resources would be better spent on a younger person. Ploughing thousands into treating the walking dead is hardly an effective use of scarce national health funds, is it?

          • Busy Mum

            We are all walking dead unless we find God’s mercy.

            People who reject Christianity are not mad – they are the proof of its veracity.

          • Holger

            Those who reject Christianity and yet still live happy and fulfilled lives prove rather the opposite: that your imaginary god is in no way necessary.

            The brainwashed Christian zealot will then claim “Ah, but they’re going to hell, aren’t they? Then they’ll be sorry!”

            Will they? Where’s your proof? Where are all these non-Christians languishing in hell? Where’s your proof they exist and suffer eternal punishment? Where’s your proof they exist at all? And those who are supposed to be enjoying heaven – have you seen them there? Ever get a postcard saying “Total bliss, wish you were here”?

            No. It’s all just imagination and invention, isn’t it? Non-Christians prove that your imaginary god is totally unnecessary and that we can lead perfectly happy lives without any reference to Christianity or its rules, regulations and mythical characters.

          • Busy Mum

            Don’t forget about the rich man who built more and more barns…..’Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.’

          • Holger

            You’re really rolling out the fictitious concepts today, aren’t you?

            First god, then the soul.

            Can’t you even start to think logically? If I don’t believe in god, I’m hardly going to believe in that other great Christian phantasm: the soul.

            I have consciousness. I know this because I experience it and so do those I interact with. The electrical activity of my brain can be measured. But a soul? I have no idea what that even is. Neither do you, I suspect. It’s a word you use because you’ve heard those you believe to be grown-ups using it.

            When I die my consciousness will cease to exist. Nobody will “require” it because it won’t exist to be required. As my brain ceases to function, so my consciousness will fade. Nothing will survive because all it is is electrical activity in my brain. If my brain dies, so must my consciousness.

            Yours too. Everybody’s. The “soul” is just a Christian myth, the purpose of which is to allow for the survival of consciousness after death. You can’t prove that such a thing exists. It’s just another wild Christian claim.

            Honestly, don’t you get sick of making all these claims without the slightest shred of evidence to back them up?

          • It’s not your rejection of Christianity. It’s your hate and distain for others that reveals how twisted your thinking really is. Such bitterness betrays you.

          • The Explorer

            Do you do sleight of hand tricks for a living? If not, you’ve missed out on your natural profession. Two philosophical equivalents here.

            1. That Jesus was fictional is simply asserted as a given. In reality, before you can establish that you’d have to refute something like Craig Blomberg’s ‘The Historical Reliability of the Gospels’. (You will, of course, have read it, so you’ll know the sort of issues I mean.

            2. The argument from silence. To date, LInus has murdered seventy-five people. Well, there’s nothing to say you haven’t; so prove you haven’t.

          • Holger

            1. Every piece of “evidence” presented in the dubious work you cite fails the basic test of historicity, i.e. corroborating contemporaneous witness statements from multiple independent sources.

            2. In the legal system of the country I live in there is a presumption of innocence. I don’t have to prove myself innocent of any crime. My accuser has to prove me guilty. If he can’t, I can sue him for malicious accusation (aka bearing false witness).

            However, your claim that Christ existed and my claim that he didn’t are not accusations that have to be answered with pleas of guilty or not guilty. They are assertions. There is no presumption of innocence attached to assertions. Neither is there a presumption of truth.

            When it comes to assertions, the burden of proof falls upon he who asserts. The more extravagant the assertion, the greater the proof required.

            In this particular instance you assert that a magic man who could bring himself back from the dead and perform miracles once lived in Judaea. That’s an extravagant claim because no other magic man who can do these things has ever been shown to exist. Nor do you have any concrete evidence that backs up the possibility that such a man could exist, let alone that he once did.

            I assert that this man did not exist. This is not an extravagant claim because no such man exists today, nor do any of our reliable fact-based records hold any account of such a man ever existing. There is no evidence proving that such a man could exist, much less that he did. We can therefore say that my assertion is based on centuries of consistently observed phenomena, or rather the lack thereof, whereas yours is based on nothing more than the uncorroborated written word.

            This being the case, your claim is by far the most extravagant and the onus therefore falls on you to prove it. If you can’t prove the specific claim, you could at least offer proof of its feasibility. The fact that you can’t means you have to resort to false premises like “assertions benefit from a presumption of truth”.

            No, they do not. And the fact that you’re trying to make me fall for a false premise makes alarm bells go off. It means you have to resort to lies and misrepresentation to support your claim, which undermines its credibility even further.

            You just keep digging yourself in deeper and deeper. If I thought you were dubious before, now I have material proof of it. You invent premises to support your claims. You cannot be trusted.

          • The Explorer

            “Every piece of “evidence” presented in the dubious work you cite fails the basic test of historicity,” We’ve had this discussion before when you were in one of your previous Identities. The sort of evidence you demand is simply not applicable to the ancient world. You might as well demand video or photographic evidence. Remember Plato’s contention that writing kills memory. Memory was far more reliable in the ancient world than it is now.

            “In the legal system of the country I live in there is a presumption of innocence. I don’t have to prove myself innocent of any crime.” Are you right, I wonder? In the murky world of Kafka’s ‘The Trial’, K is never clear what exactly he has been accused of. Many feel that Kafka is horribly true of modernity, and with the Macpherson Report, Kafka’s world emerged from the pages of fiction and took on reality.

          • Holger

            More nonsense from the usual suspect, I see.

            There is plenty of corroborating evidence from multiple independent sources for historical figures from the Ancient World. Tombs, inscriptions, coinage, contemporaneous biographical information, portraits taken from life … the list is long and varied.

            We have precisely NONE of this for Christ.

            And by all means, make as many hyperbolic references to Kafka as you like. It’s exactly the kind of melodramatic yet vague and imprecise declaration of victimhood I’ve come to expect from Christians.

            When you have nothing specific to complain about, but feel you have to whinge about something, out come the Kafka or gulag comparisons. This need you feel to establish yourselves as victims when the average Christian in the UK suffers from no kind of victimisation at all betrays a high level of self-regard. The world’s sole purpose is to punish you for your heroism and fidelity in following Christ, isn’t it? Talk about self-sanctification! Your religion tells you that real Christians are persecuted, so persecuted you must be, and if you’re not (which is the case for any Christian living in the UK), you just make it up.

            I hate to break this to you, but you’re not Kafka. You’re just a vain and self-regarding drama queen striking a series of poses and pretending to be persecuted in order to project an image of yourself as a sainted martyr. It’s all about you, isn’t it? Christianity really is the religion par excellence for narcissists.

          • The Explorer

            Where did I say I was Kafka? I would hate to be Kafka; he had big ears.

      • Watchman

        He is a symptom of church in apostasy: being self-centred rather than God-centred.

  • wisestreligion

    What a contrast with Philip North, opposed for being an orthodox Christian, who quietly retired for prayerful reflection and then humbly withdrew from his nomination. Here we have a man, opposed for preaching in promotion of sin, who publishes an angry letter, making others’ confidential correspondence public. He draws support from a bevy of Labour MPs eager to promote LBGT rights but not so sympathetic to the gospel.

    In the hierarchy of the Church of England the meek will inherit not much.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Re: your last paragraph.

      In the Final Court of Appeal: The Last Judgement – we’ll see.

      • Dominic Stockford

        That is a Day when we shall have our vindication.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Or, ‘they’, theirs.

  • Dominic Stockford

    This is both bullying and unpleasant. What strikes me is that JJ is NOT a member of the Church of Wales, thus surely putting him way down the list anyway (regardless of *his* allegations about why he is completely off the list).

  • Guglielmo Marinaro

    Thank you for that very good and perceptive article.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      You, have misread it.

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        Have I? I doubt it. Since when have you been a mind-reader?

        • betteroffoutofit

          ? ? ? . . .

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Or, alternatively, a text reader.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            So in what way do you think that I have misread it?

  • Question: If JJ sees nothing wrong with homosexuals expressing their “love”, with homosexual “marriage” or civil partnerships, then why does he keep publicising his celibacy? Who wants to know? Seems odd to Jack.

    • The Explorer

      Very good point. If there’s nothing wrong with SSM, then there is no reason for his celibacy.

  • Your jumping to concussions. Jack was be in inclusive as he fought this is how Americans talk.

  • Inspector General

    Covered a few days ago in Pink News…
    —————
    “Cleric Jeffrey John allegedly denied promotion in the church because of sexuality”
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/03/19/cleric-jeffrey-john-allegedly-denied-promotion-in-the-church-because-of-sexuality
    ————–
    The Inspector is in no doubt that the good Anglicans of Wales are much the same as the good Anglicans in England. In the same way LGBT activists in Wales are much the same as LGBT activists similar. (Though possibly using a Welsh form of polari).

    Now, this means the Christian church continues to be considered a toxin to LGBT aspirations across the border as before it. A toxin they realise they cannot destroy for all their demonstrations from now until the end of time, but it can be neutralised to a degree. The higher up in the hierarchy the activists get, the more effective the neutralising is. Now, can we consider Jeffrey John an activist? Well, this Inspector here reckons he is, by what he has read of him. A personal opinion that, so it is.

    So let’s say we have an out gay bishop in Wales. What are the implications of that? We know that activists don’t like to hear opposing views and wish to shut them down (that’s why they are ‘active’ don’t you know and they have been damned effective to date!) so would bishop John adopt this unswerving position himself? Only one person can answer that – Jeffrey John. And the only true way of finding out that answer, short of asking the man and relying on his answer, is to appoint him a bishop in Wales.

    Curiosity is one thing. But there’s more than just a fabled cat’s life at stake here, is there not?

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Good show, General.

      • Inspector General

        Greetings CC. This John looks to be a litigious blighter, so one was extra careful today…libel, you see.

        • Afraid of speaking our mind, Inspector? Surely not.

          The letter read to Jack as a rather bitchy outpouring of narcissistic, self-indulgent, self-pity and spite. Of course, like scripture, interpretation is often in the mind of the reader, so Jack’s personal opinion could well be wrong and should, perhaps, be kept to himself.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Aye!

          You know the difference between the spoken and the written.

    • Dominic Stockford

      You’re not that keen on Wales then, to propose such a thing?!

      • Inspector General

        No one is proposing his elevation to bishop. Anywhere. From what Cranmer has provided as a character reference, we’ll call it, any wishful thinking that way is clearly unrealistic expectation on his part. Once again, as one has observed and noted before, the male homosexual is fortunate indeed if he is free of any hint of narcissism. In one’s opinion, John has not been so blessed.

  • Peasant Farmer

    On a related note, I see from his Twitter that Gavin Ashenden has posted a video shedding some light on his departure from the C of E:

    https://youtu.be/zMWi6A8q9LM

    It makes a lot of sense to me, though having no Catholic influence in my life I don’t think I follow all of his trains of logic ref women bishops.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      It’s a ‘pity’ he juxtaposes Revelation v. Revolution. It may have been better to frame it as: Revelation v. Rebellion (against the Word).

      The difficulty for Ashenden is this: he’s mastered his subject, too well.

      http://www.episcopalnet.org/TRACTS/priestesses.html

      • Peasant Farmer

        I thought he had it right with that claim, in terms of memorable wordplay, truth and provoking thought without unnecessarily antagonising his more sceptical viewer.

      • Revolting seems an apt adjective for those who rebel so brazenly.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Superb!

    • Mike Stallard

      Women Bishops: it is all right if you are LGBT.

      • Sarky

        Or a woman?????

    • ChaucerChronicle

      PF: watched video carefully, now (and not just the first five minutes).

      This bloke, Ashenden, could be England’s answer: to the Russian Orthodox Church’s Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

      • Peasant Farmer

        *quickly googles Solzhenitsyn*

        “But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

        Yes at a brief glance you may be onto something.

        • Here’s the astonishingly insightful address by Solzhenitsyn on good and evil and the causes of Revolution:

          http://www.roca.org/OA/36/36h.htm

          • Anton

            During the Cold War, Western Europe was indefensible from Soviet aggression by conventional force of arms. Declassified material makes it clear that the Soviets would have invaded but for NATO’s nuclear deterrent. I am not inclined to thank Solzhenitsyn for pontificating about the evils of something which is responsible for my having grown up in freedom rather than under Stalin.

          • Didn’t read the address then.

          • Anton

            The same kind of defect, the flaw of a consciousness lacking all divine dimension, was manifested after World War II when the West yielded to the satanic temptation of the “nuclear umbrella.”

            Thanks a lot, Solz.

          • Did you read the rest?

      • He should have his own TV program, it would be a refreshing balance to all the brainwashing rubbish that’s on now.

  • David

    I suspect that the Anglican Church in Wales will seek to appoint a Welsh speaker.
    That opinion is offered without comment.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I didn’t know whether or not he speaks Welsh but he is from Tonyrefail.

    • What’s going on is all welsh to Jack.

      • David

        What are you on tonight Jack – Chocolate eggs smuggled in from the last debate ?

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      And I gather that Jeffrey John is a Welsh speaker – mae e’n siarad Cymraeg.

    • G Jones

      Why? To both statements.

      • David

        Please address your questions “why” to those who decide these things. I am merely pointing to what I believe to be the case, and am neither defending nor attacking any such policies.

  • So, anyway, what does prefect mean in America?

    • Anton

      And “solicitor”?

  • Mike Stallard

    The cost:
    My Aunt lived with another woman for years. They both went to Church regularly. No problem. That was half a century ago.
    At the end of our road live two men. Together. Of course they are pooftahs! Nobody is at ease when they are around. They go out of their way to help and be nice. They work for the NHS too.
    But the days when you could just be a “confirmed bachelor” have gone ages ago. Shame on the LGBT community!

    • betteroffoutofit

      Misery loves company?

    • Sarky

      “Nobody is at ease when they are around”

      Think that says more about your insecurities than anything else.

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        Indeed. I suspect that “Nobody is at ease when they are around” is a coded way of saying “I and a few other people are screwed up about the possibility that they may be a gay couple.”

    • Holger

      What, you mean two closet cases don’t like the fact that people know how to put two and two together nowadays?

      They’re living in the wrong time, aren’t they? In the 50s and 60s two men living together could just about get away with making people believe they were just “flatmates”. But gay couples are so commonplace now, everyone just assumes that two men who share the same house are a couple.

      If that bothers your two men, tell them to stop provoking public scandal by living their lives in such a compromising fashion. It’s their responsibility as Christians not to make tongues wag. It says so in the bible.

  • Martin

    It’s very sad that anyone in the CoE should worry about being called homophobic, since it is an entirely meaningless term. It is also very sad that anyone should consider appointing a person who calls themself ‘gay’, since to do so is clearly espousing the sin. But since the CoE happily ignores the teaching of the Bible with respect to women in leadership positions I suppose we cannot be surprised that it ignores the Bible on sexual morals. If you appoint women as bishops what stops you appointing queers.

    • Redrose82

      To my mnd he seems to be queer in more than one meaning of the word.

      • Martin

        RR

        Someone has compared him to another of similar disposition.

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      And what stops you from appointing obsessive anti-gay nutcases?

      • Watchman

        By that do you simply mean bible-believing Christians?

        • Sarky

          If the cap fits…..

          • Watchman

            I was curious about GM’s perception, Sarky

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          If by that you mean anti-gay nutcases who believe that calling themselves Christians and quoting bits of the Bible makes their obsession a righteous one, then yes.

          • Watchman

            Thank you for enlightening me. I’ll pray for you.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Thank you very much.

      • Martin

        GM

        The only obsession I see is that emanating from the queer folk. In any case, the Bible lays down the rules for the appointment of elders/overseers:

        Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
        (I Timothy 3:2-7 [ESV])

        if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
        (Titus 1:6-9 [ESV])

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          Martin

          Well, if an elder/overseer HAD to be the husband of one wife, that disqualified St Paul for starters, didn’t it?

          It is encouraging to find nothing in those passages that recommends or approves the appointment of obsessive anti-gay nutcases.

          I agree, however, with your previous point that it’s time to get rid of the words “homophobic” and “homophobia”. Quite apart from the fact that they are philologically unsound, usage has given them such elasticity of meaning as to render them, for all practical purposes, meaningless. If and when what we are dealing with is anti-homosexual hatred, we should call it simply that.

          • Martin

            GM

            Paul wasn’t an elder/overseer, and the reference is usually accepted to mean that they should have no more than one wife.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Martin

            No, Paul held a more exalted position than elder/overseer: he was an apostle. I wonder why it was considered necessary to state that they should have no more than one wife. Was it quite the thing at that time for ordinary Christian men to have more than one?

          • Martin

            GM

            It was not uncommon for pagans, from whom the churches to whom Paul was sending Timothy and Titus were drawn.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Martin

            I see. Ah well, that would explain it. I am intrigued, though, that the authors of those epistles should actually have thought it necessary to spell out that it wasn’t allowed for an elder/overseer.

          • Martin

            GM

            How else would the churches have known?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Martin

            Do you mean to say that, until those epistles were written, the churches could have no idea that it wasn’t on for an elder/overseer to have more than one wife at a time?

          • Martin

            GM

            Do you know what Paul was saying to the churches when he was there, guiding them in the appointment of their leaders?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Martin

            I have no idea what he was saying. I wasn’t there.

          • Martin

            GM

            So your previous comment was simply silly.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Martin

            Well, you may consider it simply silly to wonder why it was thought necessary at that developed stage in the Church’s history to point out that monogamy was an essential qualification for appointment as an elder/overseer. I don’t.

          • Martin

            GM

            What is silly is that you’ve clearly failed to think about it. You use broken logic and expect it to work.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Martin

            I wasn’t trying to present an argument. I simply quoted what Fr Grollenberg wrote, quite correctly, about the way “what the Bible says” has been used to “justify” iniquitous treatment of others. That it has been done both by Roman Catholics and by Protestants is beside the point.

          • Martin

            GM

            One has to wonder why you bothered to post it if you weren’t presenting an argument.

    • Anton

      If you believe there is no such thing as ‘gay’ and refuse to use the word then shouldn’t you likewise abstain from using the word ‘queer’? That’s never going to convert anybody who identifies as such.

      • Martin

        Anton

        Why would you imagine anyone could be so converted?

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,
    Purge the Church of perverts and the ungodly.

    • Sarky

      Crikey!! That’ll thin it out a bit!

      • IrishNeanderthal

        And remember the parable of the Wheat and the Tares.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Or at least discern Biblically and throw out those who are such.

  • Holger

    This is stirring stuff!

    Not only do we have conservative bishops being hounded out of dioceses, but now we have liberal bishops (or wannabes) forcing their way into others.

    I can only look on and smirk. It’s all going exactly to plan. In a few years the CofE will be a conservative-free zone sparsely populated by nutty but harmless organic vegan corn dolly makers with names like Skychild and Lovewarrior.

    The conservatives will have decamped, either to the Ordinariate, or to their own grim little made-up churchiscules with uplifting names like The Church of Self-Denial and Suffering, or Christ’s Assembly of Humourless Gits and Frustrated Virgins. There’ll be scores of these evangelical sects, all claiming to be the One True Faith, each dividing the aging and dwindling population of evangelicals amongst them. Poor attendance and lack of funds will dictate the choice of extremely modest places of worship. And there they’ll sit, all 5 True Believers, under harsh strip lighting in a mouldering Portakabin, spitting venom at the rest of the human race. Until one by one, they die off.

    The choice is before you, o unfortunate followers of the fake archbishop and his fake god. Either you flounce off to Walsingham and put up with all that lace and popery and hi-jinks in the vestry, or you slink off to the nearest derelict industrial estate to experience a form of asceticism in which the chief design elements are polystyrene ceiling tiles, mildew and American Gothic.

    And I’ll be here, laughing at you all the way. Even when the outcome is known, disaster movies are still strangely compelling. Especially when the actors ham it up like you people.

    • William Lewis

      It’s invariably reassuring when you express knowledge of a future outcome.

      • Holger

        Like the Irish equal marriage referendum, you mean?

        • William Lewis

          Great. You can probably predict that the sun will come up tomorrow too.

          • Holger

            If I do, you’ll be convinced it won’t. That’s how your mind operates, based as it is upon likes and dislikes rather than solid facts.

            I’ve been predicting this moment in the CofE for a long time. The trend is clear for anyone with eyes to see.

            Deny it all you like. Denial won’t get Philip North his job offer back. Nor will it stop Jeffrey John becoming a bishop sooner or later. Play the ostrich by all means. The end will be all the more bitter when it inevitably comes.

          • William Lewis

            I do not deny that it may happen. I merely expressed reassurance at your particular conviction that it will happen. Your track record aside, you are particularly ignorant of the spiritual dimension to what is going on, preoccupied, as you are, with the facades of “design elements” and feeding your schadenfreude. Sad – as the Donald would have it.

          • Holger

            The spiritual dimension is simple enough. One group of deluded fantasists is fighting to wrest control of an organization from another group of deluded fantasists. The issue is that they can’t agree about specific yet totally irrelevant and meaningless details of their deluded fantasy, so they want to destroy each other to ensure that their own point of view prevails.

            One faction has gained the upper hand over the other and is now pushing it slowly but inexorably towards the exit door. The losing faction is weeping and wailing and cursing the victors, and the gays, and women, and the entire world, while vowing revenge and retribution. Despite all the theatrics however, they’re still being pushed out into the cold.

            As the losing faction is so deeply attached to tradition and its pretty places of worship, it’s going to have a hard time adjusting to the harsh new realities of exclusion. Living on the edge is not what these people are good at, so the prospect fills them with horror, which of course fuels their hatred of everyone they deem responsible for their plight.

            That’s about the size of what’s happening in the CofE at the moment. All this guff about spiritual dimensions is just hot air designed to justify feelings of anger, spite and revenge. Delusions have no spiritual dimension. They’re all about ego-satisfaction, dominance and control. That’s what religion is when you boil it down to essentials. All the rest is just flim-flam.

          • The Explorer

            ‘They’re all about ego-satisfaction, dominance and control.’

            ‘And I’ll be here, laughing at you all the way.’ Ego-satisfaction, dominance and control? Seems as if your hatred of Christianity fits your definition of a religion.

          • Holger

            Humour satisfaction more like: there’s no deluded fool like a Christian fool. Pigeons learn faster. Children are capable of more complex abstract thinking. It makes for some very entertaining situations. Stupidity can be very amusing.

            And as for dominance and control, how exactly do I dominate and control you? The secular state allows us all to live our lives as we see fit, whereas when you lot were in control, we weren’t allowed to do anything. Seems to me that you’re complaining about the loss of control rather than others having gained control over you.

            Poor little Christian with your entitlement syndrome the size of a planet. Hard to bear when you lose the right to make decisions for others, isn’t it?

          • The Explorer

            You seek to prevent Christians from having social influence. (Dominance). You would prefer your own world view to prevail. (Control).

          • Holger

            I seek to stop Christians imposing their views on others. That’s not dominance. It’s the thwarting of dominance.

            And I absolutely refute the accusation of wanting to take control. I have no interest in forcing others to think like me. But I do have an interest in making sure that whatever they do think, they don’t impose it on anyone else. That’s not taking control. It’s preventing others from doing so.

    • The Explorer

      “It’s all going exactly to plan.” You’re fond of this expression; you’ve used it several times. Who’s masterminding the plan? You? The chap with horns who controls you?

    • IanCad

      Quite why you think a Portakabin would become a place of worship for the disaffected is beyond me. There is plenty of time during Sunday for the separate wings to conduct their own services.
      Heaven Knows!! Some true bible believers may even elect to worship on Saturday. Certainly a right step in the direction of completing the Reformation.

      • Holger

        Don’t make me larff!

        You think the fundies will worship in churches where gays get married?

        I don’t think so. All it will take is a Westboro style picket of a gay wedding and you’ll be out on your ears.

        No, you’re heading for separation. And the liberals who control the power structures will keep the real estate, just as they did in TEC.

        Conservatives will be out on their ears. All that lovely old architecture, lost to you forever. You’ll be praising de Lawd neath polystyrene and plastic.

        Fitting really. Man-made materials for a man-made faith.

    • Anton

      The informal arrangements that you call churchiscules are how the church grew throughout the Roman empire despite persecution, and is growing similarly in China today. They met in private homes and operated as a grassroots movement and defeated the might of ancient pagan Rome. The bloodshed involved was theirs, not that of their opponents, and they shed it gladly for love of Christ who shed his blood for them. THIS is the most powerful force in the universe (and even beyond it). It has become diluted in the churches of our culture, but that dilution is gradually coming to an end in a process which you misinterpret. You can either be allied with this force or against it, but there is no neutrality.

      • Holger

        To be allied with or to be against something, one first has to be convinced it exists.

        That’s your god’s great weakness. He can’t even muster up enough proof to convince his own creations he exists. Those who do believe in him demonstrate such credulity and lack of discernment that their faith serves rather as confirmation of his non-existence. “I believe because I just know, even though I have no palpable evidence” is a child’s (or a simpleton’s) argument. When it doesn’t work, he’ll then resort to idle threat. “Believe or you’ll be sorry!”

        You live up to the stereotype and argue like a child. But the threats of infants and simpletons don’t have any effect on me. Give me some adult reasons to believe rather than “if you don’t he’s gonna be sooo mad and then you’ll be sorry!”

        Who is this god of yours? A 5 year old child? And who are you? Grow up and argue like an adult and then you may be listened to.

        • Anton

          Trying the old wind-up again, I see.

  • It’s a pity that there isn’t an old big book somewhere from which Anglicans could get moral guidance on the subject of homosexual activity. Ideally, it should give its opinion half a dozen times in different places, so that we could be really sure whether being in a homosexual relationship was appropriate for a Christian.

    • Dominic Stockford

      What a jolly good idea. I’ll get Josiah to go look for one.

  • David Baker
    • G Jones

      Jeffrey John was not ‘nearly nominated’, he was nearly elected. He has now used the peculiarities of the Electoral College/secret ballot method (such as the required confidentiality) to make allegations of homophobic comments which the Church in Wales faces difficulty in countering without breaching the rules of the College.
      I believe he has also taken advantage of Anglicanism in Britain’s inability, as you note, “to assert with confidence whether some things are clearly ‘right’ or ‘wrong’”. To the wider public, homophobic comments would mean a prosecutable hate crime whereas the comments he alleges that were made may well refer to a different interpretation of the scriptures from the one he favours. He seems to be appealing to the wider, secular ‘court of public opinion’. We now have the bizarre sight of Welsh Labour MPs suggesting to the Welsh bench that they deal with accusations of a lack of due process by breaching the constitution of the Church in Wales. (Or …by, er, breaching the constitution…, as no doubt Private Eye would say!)

      • David Baker

        Thanks G Jones!
        Your points are good ones; thank you.
        Re the “nearly nominated” vs “nearly elected” I think I what I meant was that his name was nearly the one in the frame for it but wasn’t – technically he wouldn’t have become a bishop until his enthronement service so I was thinking of what he would be in the period in the lead-up to that, but you may well be right about the terminology! Thanks.

  • David Waters

    Bishops. Who gives a damn?

    • Paul Greenwood

      Too many, too expensive. Only need 10 Bishops in UK

  • Steve

    Have you seen? The Church in Wales’ lawyers have rejected the petition to have the Electoral College declared invalid, and have upheld the right of the Bench of Bishops (to whom the appointment now demits) to exclude from their consideration any persons who were candidates at the Electoral College. Jeffrey John will not be the next Bishop of Llandaff.