Comments: reports of the Clergy Consultation event

There seems to be a major problem with Fasthosts this evening. My site is out for the count.

Posted by Peter O at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 8:56pm GMT

Something which appears to be confused: the conservative statement reports that there ius a problem with offering the Eucharist to partnered gay people.

This is very definitely NOT the policy of the Church of England. I have received communion at least three times from Bishop James Jones of Liverpool. He knew well that I am in a long term gay relationship.

The Church of England does not use the Eucharist as a political weapon. Gay couples are welcome at the altar. Now, some may like it to be different, and no doubt the church they are likely to join in the future will impose such a ban - not that any gay people would be silly enough to attend!

But at present, there is no bar on receiving the Eucharist for gay people in partnerships.

Posted by Merseymike at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 9:52pm GMT

This will in fact be Rowan's second visit to the Clergy Consultation.

The first was held at the Royal Foundation of St. Katherine (Limehouse).

a celebration of mass is an integral part of these gatherings.

Perhaps, Church Society, Ruth Gledhill et al object to Catholic faith as well as queerness?

Now Ruth Gledhill is trying to stir some shit by imposing the term honey-moon on this couple --who have been together for years. Anyway who has Real honey-moons these days?! (Modern sexual arrangements are much more civilised).

Ruth, stop being snide and let this couple just be happy and leave them in peace -- will you?!

Posted by L Roberts at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 10:06pm GMT

The PDF is interesting for what it won't say.

As anyone familiar with dicatorships and political censorship knows this immediately makes the impression there was more to it, than there actually was...


Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 29 November 2007 at 10:07pm GMT

Isn't there a public interest in publishing the content of a talk given by ABC on “present realities and future possibilities for lesbians and gay men in the church.” Why keep things hushed up after the social revolution of the last few decades? Who are we afraid of now?

Ruth's comment on Gene and Mark's honeymoon was the sweetest thing she's said all week. It'd be lovely for them to receive a blessing in Canterbury Cathedral during Lambeth. Perhaps one of Gene's colleagues might oblige.

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 12:11am GMT

Yes the glee is obvious in the tone of the Ruth Gledhill piece. She certainly gives her game away.

It was an important symbol, presiding at the eucharist. I don't think anyone should be bothered about an answer not giving the location away - this was not an occasion to be disrupted but one for a pastoral relationship. Symbolically it is clearly an example where Rowan Williams has continued to do what he intended to do, and, as before on other matters, it is up to those who see this as (another) turning point to organise themselves in whatever way they want. They tell us that they already have plenty of grounds for "gathering" the Communion otherwise, or their part of it, so we await reports of their progress.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 1:10am GMT

Well I haven't even gotten around to reading Ruth G yet, but let me go out onna limb and risk predicting that she will preach that the moral sky is falling. My crystal ball of realignment clarity informs me that RG will claim this eucharist demonstrates the horrible and slightly silly fact that the CoE must have publicly flounced even farther down those famous conservative realignment slippery slopes. How ever shall we not all, unavoidably, end up wanting to marry poodles?

Sadly, I predict that RG will rely upon the loud sounding of piercing alarm, complete with stereotypes of the modern moral slippery slopes, strongly enhanced and finished off with - let's see - traditional stereotypes of queer folks as categorically immoral?

I do not know if my crystal ball is right, but it tells me to anticipate that she will seek to connote and communicate her very great anguish that her conservative Anglican sky is falling down, all around her wonderful exclusively straight holiness self, right inside Anglican church life. She will play up the alleged subterranean secrecy, betrayal, and gay agenda scheming of it all, no doubt.

Thanks to RG, well, we are there. Well RG, you see, England has quite a few same sex couples of various sorts who have availed themselves of the civil partnership laws. Ah, this includes clergy. But no bishops, at least not so far.

The same believers who thought everybody was doomed to endless, empty but highly titillating and senational orgies now preaches that believers are doomed to endless, empty and rather less easy to sensationalize committed couple life. (Oh dear, could you take out the trash barrels to the sidewalk before you leave for work, and make sure Susie and Johnny wear warm coats to school as the weather is colder now. Shocking stuff, sensationally immoral stuff, indeed.)

Whether orgies or committed life partnership or parenting, these silly queer folks cannot measure up to the high standards set by all innately heterosexually oriented citizens, I guess.

Goodness, what next?

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 1:11am GMT

Well, Ruth does say that an inside source confirms that Bishop Robinson (& his partner) will definitely be at Lambeth (which makes the threat to boycott because of his absence seem rather odd) -- re: same sex couples in the C of E -- my understanding was that Issues in Sexuality regarded openly partnered lay folk as full members of the Church in every way -- eligible for parish councils, Synod, etc. -- but that there is a different morality for the clergy who are "better" than the laity -- I confess that I find this troubling -- the New Testament witness seems to be that persons of good character should be chosen for leadership positions in the church (apparently as much to impress outsiders as anything else) rather than saying that once one is in a leadership position a different morality is required (which, is, I think, getting the thing the wrong way around).

Posted by Prior Aelred at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 2:16am GMT

"T19 comments on this topic have to be submitted by email."

Unfortunately this is a regular occurrence on T19 these days -- it used to be only the liberal blogs that screened comments.

Posted by Margaret at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 2:40am GMT

For some reason I can't open the thingy about Martyn preaching at an Integrity service. I know that Integrity Virginia invited him to do so several years ago. Is this that occasion?

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 5:01am GMT

Shocked! I'm shocked that there are gay people in this establishment!


Posted by IT at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 5:36am GMT

A civilized and Christian event. The flurry over at Stand Firm brought a counter-reaction even from some of the posters there.

Posted by Joseph O'Leary at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 5:40am GMT

L Roberts: I don't think that Ms. Gledhill is particularly interested in either journalistic integrity or truthfulness.

Posted by Joseph at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 6:54am GMT

This all kind of begs an obvious question:

"So what?"

The only people who are objecting to this are the same folks who think Rowan to be a heretic, and aren't afraid to say so publicly. Ruth Gledhill has shown once again why she won't be short listed for any journalism prizes any time in the next century in trying to beat up something so entirely trivial as a sermon to a group of Christians attempting to lead their lives with integrity and seeking the grace of God in doing so. Surely the conservatives cannot be so ossified in their meanness that they would deny their fellow believers something as basic as that.

One wonders if this is the only way certain people can get their kicks...

Posted by kieran crichton at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 7:15am GMT

Ruth Gledhill's parting shot is sadly all too revelatory:

"Lambeth is looking as if it will be wonderful for the media. Even in the unlikely event that we'll be invited to any seminars, we won't actually have to attend them. We will be free to make mischief on the highways and byways of Kent University, like we did last time. And the time before that."

For shame.

Posted by Matthew Duckett at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 8:15am GMT

Rowan presides at a Eucharist where some recipients are homosexual. No surprises there, he won't be the first +Cantuar to do so, he won't be the last.

Phillips, Turnbull, Giddings and Sugden throw their toys clear of the pram. No surprise there either.

Just to save time, let's just take "Faithful to scripture, TWR, Lambeth 1.10, DWR and 'clobber verses'." as read - that should pretty well cover the next 100 posts.

Any real news today?

Posted by Stephen Roberts at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 8:23am GMT

"... it used to be only the liberal blogs that screened comments."

This is false witness, Margaret.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 10:44am GMT

"T19 comments on this topic have to be submitted by email."

Margaret: "Unfortunately this is a regular occurrence on T19 these days..."

Probably because it invariable leads to delightful posts like the following from Stand Firm, written in response to someone questioning an innuendo regarding the service:

"If homosexual men are going to present themselves as openly promiscuous and if they are going to present their open promiscuity as a positive and attractive aspect of the gay lifestyle, then you can’t very well complain when people take then at their word.
Would it shock me if a group of homosexual men took Communion, and then went into the church basement and sodomized each other like rats? Not in the least. And why should it? That is the homosexual lifestyle in all its glory. It’s not picket fences and suburban monogamy. It’s casual sex with whomever happens to be available at the moment - at least until you are too old to find a willing partner. And if promiscuity is not such a bad thing, then why should they (or you) be offended at the suggestion?"

Shortly thereafter Greg Griffiths wiped the thread and began again, because "I didn’t care for the tack this thread took the first time."

Posted by MJ at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 10:49am GMT

"it used to be only the liberal blogs that screened comments."

Not so, Margaret. I don't believe I've ever been allowed to post anything, and I made sure my comments were quite innocent, on either T19 or Venomonline. Sorry, you can't turn this into persecution either. I even got a password on one conservative blog, it being thus protected, and was subsequently blocked without being told why. That instance, all the same, was on the lines of some of the things Simon, thankfully, doesn't post from me here, a little too over the top for the site. It would have been nice if they'd told me why, all the same.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 11:37am GMT

I'm utterly shocked by MJ's post. Maybe I need to get out more but this kind of ignorance and venom after "decades of listening" is astonishing.

And how sad to delete a whole string of comments because one is appalled by ones own supporters. The honest archives of TA are one of this blog's greatest strengths.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 11:41am GMT

Margaret,Margaret,Margaret- I would take exception to your comment about liberal blogs being less open - shall we say less inclusive? - than conservative blogs. Over the years I have seen the exact opposite.
As a corollary, I have seen the quality of "debate" on conservative blogs decline dramatically. As those with dissenting viewpoints are hounded off T19 and similar blogs, those left behind serve only to support one another in their predetermined nasty comments and thoughts - the only analogy I can make is a barnyard of hogs revelling in their mud. They may be happy but they cannot learn from us other barnyard animals.

Posted by ettu at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 12:26pm GMT

You do have to hand it to Baby Blue for pointing out on StandFirm that Martyn Minns had attended and preached at an Integrity eucharist. There's a sizable hard-core core element at SF who hold firmly to the "shoot the messenger" principal when anything is posted that they don't like or don't want to hear, and as Simon notes, they're pretty excited right now. I very occasionally post there, a little more frequently at T19, where folks are generally less strident and more friendly, but for the most part I keep it on a strictly "informational" level and don't set out to get folks backs up. In the unlikely event they want to get annoyed by what I have to say they can make the effort, which some of them do, to read posts here and at Fr. Hagger's Almost-Anything-Goes Speakeasy.

On another tack, I was recently wandering through back files of TA. Life was different - gentler, less prone to being drawn into individual obsession. I recommend checking it out and enjoying the experience.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 12:50pm GMT

"This is false witness, Margaret."

No it is not. When I hit post here or other 'liberal' blogs I get this message how my comment will be posted after the moderator reviews it. On many 'conservative' blogs I see my comment right away.

So watch making a false accusation or the guilt maybe back on you.

Now to say all blogs have the right to delete comments or ban people they deem is obnoxious is true, but on the front end there is generally a practice of review of all comments on 'liberals' and more unrestricted postings on 'conservative' blogs.

Posted by Kevin at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 12:57pm GMT

Margaret, I was banned from both Anglican Mainstream and Stand Firm. That's the way conservative blogs deal with opposition.

How do orthodox blogs cope? After all, given your move to orthodoxy, that might make an interesting comparison.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 1:02pm GMT

Kevin: "When I hit post here or other 'liberal' blogs I get this message how my comment will be posted after the moderator reviews it. On many 'conservative' blogs I see my comment right away."

It depends on how they're run. If there are plenty of 'moderators' constantly keeping an eye on postings then anything truly obnoxious can usually be caught swiftly and deleted (although sometimes it isn't and remains for quite a period of time before being removed). Other blogs are virtually 'one man' operations where postings cannot be continually checked - an obnoxious post could remain there for a long time to be read by many before being removed. In this case it makes far more sense to check postings before putting them up. But there are 'liberal' blogs where postings go straight up e.g. Fr Jake's. If Thinking Anglicans was operating a censorship of 'conservatives', then why have we been readings NP's numerous posts for months on end?

Posted by MJ at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 1:41pm GMT

The current approval process here is as much designed to prevent spam from appearing as it is to provide a means for censorship. It varies but some days I spend far more time removing spam than I do deciding whether to approve posts from humans.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 1:48pm GMT

"If Thinking Anglicans was operating a censorship of 'conservatives', then why have we been readings NP's numerous posts for months on end?"

First TA is one of the better ones to allow discussion, I don't ever remember one of my posts going into oblivion.

Second is NP tend to merely disagree with the majority of the folks on TA but seems civil in language. I've seem witty discourse of opposing sides on the others blog, I've also seen where folks get banned (often, but not always, I sympathize with the blog owner), one thing NP has that most do not is a persistence to continue without letter emotions degrade etiquette. I certainly do not have that quality.

Back to Margaret's complaint, I do not think it's a false witness for her to complain that T19 has been moving to screened comments, which is probably uncommon for the blogs she choses to follow.

Posted by Kevin at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 1:58pm GMT

"Kevin: "When I hit post here or other 'liberal' blogs I get this message how my comment will be posted after the moderator reviews it. On many 'conservative' blogs I see my comment right away."

And have you ever found that any of your posts were being censored?

The few occasions where mine weren't published were when I was exceeding the word limit, when an electronic error had occured and the post was published on 2nd submission, or when I had to admit that I had been rather rude and it was rightly felt better to ignore this particular post.

There certainly are no opinions that you cannot voice here.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 2:26pm GMT

This is the type of blog entry that can be seen at Stand Firm:

"The question one might have is does revealed truth have anything to do with anything in the established hierarchy--or is it just time for a complete reformation complete with heads on fence posts." (

It is from a poster named Don Armstrong, presumably Armstrong+ of the Diocese of Colorado fame. While I am not shocked or surprised that a comment including "heads on fence posts" would appear on that site, I am speechless that it could come from clergy.

Posted by Andy at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 2:53pm GMT

"To offer this to those in gay partnered relationships went contrary to biblical teaching and to the teaching by the bishops themselves in their document Issues in Human Sexuality, they said."

In the Eucharist, we come into the Real Presence of Jesus. When His Real Presence walked the earth, He ate with sinners. Now the Anglican Church brings the Real presence to sinners. (No argument about whether or not being gay is a sin for the purpose of this comment). When He was here in the flesh, He was roundly ciritized for associating with said sinners, and His critics were the ones He was most harsh to. Now, the "Holy Ones" are cricizing the AbpofC for bringing Jesus to eat with sinners. Again, their Fishtianity is showing.

And I am getting a bit peeved at conservatives claiming to be silenced here. I have posted on conservative blogs, well attempted to, in ways that are far less hostile than anything Margaret has posted here, and not ever made it to the screen. I was prevented from logging on to one of those oh so open conservative blogs, so open it required that potential contributers request a password from the moderator, and was never told why. Venomonline doesn't allow just anyone to post either. I have tried to post things here that didn't make it, and I have always been relieved, because after posting I have regretted my wording, and thank Simon for protecting the worst of my hypocrisy from the public gaze. If one is solidly in thrall to the conservative persecution myth, I suppose any restriction at all on one's ability to go on the attack seems like oppression, but that's, as we say, pure childishness. Given the topic of this thread, it would seem some conservatives even find evangelism oppressive if they don't get to control it.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 3:37pm GMT

Having now glossed the RG pieces, I see that their tone is a bit less smug and a bit less breathlessly self-righteous than I might have expected. So good thing that the faithful folks at StandFirm are busy filling in all the negative false witness blanks. Have you read your due quota of trash talk, today?

Yet, RG does get in her little bit of smug, superior comments - right at the end in her bit about running the highways and byways to make as much mischief as she can, come the next Lambeth. Like a papparazzi? RG will stalk VGR and his life partner if they dare to come to England?

Her innate sense of the moral economy of things reminds me somehow of the USA white supremacy narratives. If somebody is categorically good (saved), somebody else must be categorically lesser or outright bad. Sexual orientation replaces race or ethnicity. The supply of moral substance is limited, not abundantly given in Jesus as God. We should be shocked if the sheer goodness of God ever spilled over, onto anybody who was not deemed saved. The ConEvo folks own the copyright to the gospel, and thus, God.

Rg's penchant for mischief along our highways and byways will continue to include her two typical rightwing journalistic liberties, even while she pretends that she is just neutrally reporting outrageous and alarming facts of modern life and sexuality.

That is: (1) spin - the eucharist was not gay, the people apparently were to various degrees; the eucharist was not at risk, the people in all the varieties of British church life closets were definitely at risk in several different ways; quotes from all the usual rightwing ConEvo suspects encourage us in the curious thinking that an archbishop should strictly split helping queer folks listen to God (eucharist) from his own listening to their human experiences in church or society; plus (2) little glimmers of just where her own exclusionary and punitive sympathies lie - in all the usual quotes from the usual suspects - I think we do get it by now, the usual suspects do not under any circumstances wish to rub shoulders with gay folks in church life unless those gay folks are properly apologetic and sorry for being different. Submissive, like women were supposed to be, categorically, once upon a past time.

Repeat: Queers to the back of the bus.

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 4:08pm GMT

"I'm utterly shocked by MJ's post. Maybe I need to get out more but this kind of ignorance and venom after "decades of listening" is astonishing."

Why, Erika? Certain posters on this site obviously have the same views, they just aren't quite as overt and hateful about them. How many times have you or I or someone else been forced to point out that what is being asked for by gay people is NOT blessing of promiscuity? The language I don't mind, that's just getting all flowery in one's indignation. I do the same. But I get the feeling that this idea is the default one among conservatives. What's more, any protestations on our part are simply ignored. Not only that, but this isn't just the individual in the pew. Bishops talk this way. Don't forget that Gagnon was one of the references used in the Windsor Report. Look at the kind of arguments I have had with Christopher Schell. To him, we are more likely to be child molestors, to die thrity years before everyone else, and a good number of us can change if we would only try. He won't even acknowledge that his "evidence" for these kinds of statements is nothing but propaganda. Granted he's not hateful and venomous like this, all the same, but that just makes it more insidious. Just recently, one of the Episcopal ICBMs being made in Africa made the claim that "many homosexuals can change". This is the kind of thing I am referring to when I talk about conservatives lying about us. Watch to see how many conservatives on this site will respond to this and what they say.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 4:20pm GMT

Margaret and Kevin,

I think the term "false witness" was quite a gentle description of Margaret's original charge. I'd have called it a damnable lie.

I see no evidence here that Margaret's half-truths, occasional untruths and arguably racist comments have been prevented from appearing. And NP himself is prima facie evidence that Margaret's accusation is pure and utter tripe.

As opposed to the practice on some conservative blogs were dissenting comments either do not appear at all or are occasionally removed soon after appearing.

My most curious experience in this regard was when it took me a week to get a comment posted on the Ruth Gledhill's blog. In fairness, Ruth was away and someone else was covering.

Oddly, my comment was not even about the current controversies. I was challenging the claim that James II and VII had sought to impose Roman Catholicism on England, when in fact his religious policy was toleration and indulgence - both for Roman Catholics and dissenting Protestants. In three attempts, the post was rejected - presumably because it implied that I thought tolerating the Romans was rather a decent policy.

The person covering? Why none other than the daughter of that nice "conservative" evangelical Chris Sugden - doubtless soon to become the first Nigerian missionary bishop in England.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 5:14pm GMT

"Why, Erika? "
Because, actually, I don't have such a big problem with promiscuity if it means having successive relationships that one is deeply serious about at the time, although I accept that many Christians do find this abhorrent.

But "went into the church basement and sodomized each other like rats" is a totally different catoegory of imagination and insult.

Even among the lies there are degrees.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 5:18pm GMT

"Thank you Mark and Gene, and congratulations."

Gee, isn't being civil nice, even when you are being obviously facetious. Just like the "old" Episcopal Church. Now keep that face rigid, turn around and go to your proper place were you belong.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 5:22pm GMT

If I understand what I'm reading correctly, the issue is "OMG the ABC was near GAY PEOPLE and may now have the GAY COOTIES!"

Posted by Mary Sue at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 6:08pm GMT

Getting back to the point about whether +Rowan should have celebrated the Eucharist for this group of people. I think Cramner had it right in his Book of Common Prayer. AFTER the Confession and Absolution but before the Consecration he inserts the Prayer of Humble Access: 'We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much.....' This makes a very powerful theological point that NONE of us can approach Jesus in the Holy Sacrament through our own merits (not even conservatives however pure and uncontaminated - a truth that seems conveniently to have been forgotten by them). As far as I am aware the BCP is still a standard of doctrinal authority in the Anglican Church?

Posted by AlaninLondon at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 6:11pm GMT

Erika, I think the biggest problem with serial monogamy is lack of stability, and that's only a real issue when kids are concerned. It's also accepted after a fashion by the Church. The Real Orthodox allow for remarriage at least once, and I think twice, in recognition that humans are fallible and things don't always work out. As to the language, well, we get excited and some of us, and I acknowledge myself among that number, love indulging in turgid prose (see?), so I'm not too fussed up by that. But don't think that these ideas, that we are looking for blessing for one night stands for instance, are anomalous. They are, it seems to me, pretty general, and I would be surprised if most conservatives DIDN'T think this way. Like I said, some of the ones who post here think like that about us, and don't seem to have been swayed in the least by what they have, I presume, read here. This is the worst part, they are judging their stereotype of me, which they make as bad as they can, justify it with trumped up "science", then claim that their judgement of that stereotype is actually God's judgement of me. And they call that Christianity.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 6:11pm GMT

Ford Elms is spot on:

"This is the worst part, they are judging their stereotype of me, which they make as bad as they can, justify it with trumped up 'science, then claim that their judgement of that stereotype is actually God's judgement of me. And they call that Christianity."

Have gay-hating Evos never read in Holy Writ that "pride comes before the fall"?

An observant Jew, philosopher and theologian, who taught at Columbia and the University of Chicago during WW II, once remarked in jest: "To be an observant Jew one has to be an 'atheist'; or else one falls into the sin of creating God in one's own image and likeness. Jews after all are supposed to take the second commandment very seriously, with its probition of images also applying to mental images and human concepts of God."

The Evos attending his lecture, "Your Image of God is Too Small", walked out in disgust, calling him, as they exited, a "Marxist and Communist."

Posted by John Henry at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 6:54pm GMT

Ford, you said: "How many times have you or I or someone else been forced to point out that what is being asked for by gay people is NOT blessing of promiscuity?"

I have come to the conclusion that certain people simply CAN'T hear, or CAN'T understand, any communication that falls outside their preconceived notions. Hence the utter failure of the "listening process." I think we can say, til we are blue in the face, that we are talking about committed relationships. Certain people can't get past their stereotypes.

But it's so damned disheartening to see those sterotypes expressed in such crude ways!


Posted by Lou Poulain at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 6:56pm GMT


My you seemed very exercised by Margaret's complaint against T19 policy on that one thread. I'm not sure it's quite "a damnable lie" as I've listed, but amused/confused by your response (though I'm sure the actual object of Margaret's complaint may be honored by your defense). Her disagreement was at Kendall Harmon and expressed on TA, so your reply is quite interesting. However, all this is far too silly and off-topic, so I bid you a wonderful day.

Posted by Kevin at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 7:07pm GMT

Thanks to RG and other rightwing believer campaigning, we are asked to strain at gnats and swallow realignment camels whole.

The subtext of alarm and worry beneath the controversy of Rowan Williams at a carefully located/timed eucharist for extremely closeted and at-risk queer believers in CoE should mainly be around the closet, with careful scrutiny attached to the ways in which traditional views inevitably help create and mandate those closets (along with the closet dangers to body and mind and spirit); NOT around the fact that a sizeable minority of believers turns out to be, in fact, not straight, not straight at all.

One immense rightwing believer camel we swallow is this flat earth, premodern hoo-ha that bears all manner of false witness about who queer folks as modern citizens are, about what ethical and other capacities for competencies they may innately have as individuals and in various groupings, and about how the sky will fall in upon straight people if queer citizens are not mistreated and/or viewed badly.

Rowan Williams sniffily cautioned us all that traditional negatives are not primary evidence of undue and likely uncivil, prejudice. But one wonders just exactly where he hangs out in church life, since everything else published by most of the leading and/or loudest conservative realignment voices is so extreme and prejudiced that it constantly bears false witness.

The burden is really on the ConEvo foot, to show sufficiently by empirically hypothesis tested data and by best practices of critical thinking discernment - that any, any, any of their basic claim is true, that being different innately causes all manner of bad things. So far the only way it holds true is that we engage, closed-mindedly in a curiously closed circle of categorical and presuppositional hermeneutics.

Even the Great Gagnon finally cannot argue any of his negative accusations against queer folks, except to allege that they are somehow committing crimes of nature against traditional, categorical views of what human gender empirically is. Never mind our available data at all levels - biological, psychological, social - suggests continuums, not closed and mutually exclusive categories. Beneath all the negative detail Gagnon piles on, all he can repeat is, in effect, gay men are too womanish (yuck, gasp, horrors) and lesbian women are too masculine (yuck, gasp, horrors).

Hence: Flat Earth Stuff.

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 7:18pm GMT

"sodomized each other like rats"

I though part of the anti-gay narrative was that there is no "sodomy" among animals.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 8:51pm GMT

One day some people may understand that listening involves getting close to people and engaging with their ideas - challenging, yes, but teasing out explanations and clarifications too.

Rowan Williams seems to me to be leading by example in engaging in listening - you may disagree with me, but many of the disagreements are from people who simply want him to get up and declare ex cathedra that they are right. Forget making God in your own image, start with the Archbishop.

Too many people at the moment are too fond of their own voices. What room is there for the sound of silence, when we welcome so avidly the earthquake, wind and fire?

Posted by Mark Bennet at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 9:39pm GMT

The conservatives have been doing censorship for a long time; people who throw stones usually find their glasshouses very drafty. I don't need to share my own experiences here as others have already jumped to seal the breach. Well done.

The holding of comments is fantastic. I had to close down my own forum as my website host did not have a solution at the time for the "bots" that were posting links onto the forum. Since TA has been run with such integrity and has, as Erika commented, an excellent archival system I have not felt the need to resume my own forum.

It is also pleasing to recognize that some journalists are simply trying to stir the pot referring to "inside sources". Once again, we are watching a political machine using its spin monkeys to try and score some cheap shots and stir up dissension.

There are some souls who just love to bicker, they are the sought who when things are too quiet, sneak off to throw pot shots at a neighboring village to stir up some excitement. Village elders do well to know who the trouble-makers are and keep an eye on them so that they can't frame others for the consequences of their own sins. Nor does it hurt to know who the players are so that when something happens witnesses can comment that their sticky fingers were part of hatching the plot. God does not allow such souls to use cobwebs of deceit to cover themselves or dissemble their own culpability.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 10:00pm GMT

Fr Mark
"Rowan Williams seems to me to be leading by example in engaging in listening - you may disagree with me, but many of the disagreements are from people who simply want him to get up and declare ex cathedra that they are right."

One of the things I remember most about a lecture he gave once was his insistence that we have to take the startling otherness of the other as a starting point for any conversation. Even those we feel close to are "other" and cannot be fully known.
There was such a tenderness about this, such a respect for others.
He may not be good at speaking out and guiding a whole community, but he is outstanding at listening.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 30 November 2007 at 10:43pm GMT

"When I hit post here or other 'liberal' blogs I get this message how my comment will be posted after the moderator reviews it. On many 'conservative' blogs I see my comment right away."

Most conservative blogs, as far as I can see, BAN those whose views they disagree with. That is why you see so little variety of opinion or real debate on them.

Posted by Joseph O'Leary at Saturday, 1 December 2007 at 6:12am GMT

Erika: re yr 10.43 post. I think we are two different Marks - it's a pain having such a common name!

Posted by Fr Mark at Saturday, 1 December 2007 at 8:28am GMT

Kevin, do be serious.

My issue is not with Margaret's dislike of Fr. Kendall's moderation of T19, but rather her lie that liberal sites routinely eliminate conservative (or "conservative") voices.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Saturday, 1 December 2007 at 9:49pm GMT

Fr Mark

Thanks for your comment - in our case the persons do need to be divided - for my sanity and for yours, if not for any other reason! Though I would assert that our uniqueness is God-given and significant for that reason.

But the name is not so common as it was. When I went to register our daughter's birth I looked up the names in our family - Mark, Peter, John and David were not in the top 20. I guess it is a generational thing. In my day it was definitely confusing at school.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Sunday, 2 December 2007 at 9:39pm GMT

Mark B: yes, you're right. There were 3 of us in my class at school!

Posted by Fr Mark at Monday, 3 December 2007 at 8:34am GMT
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