Friday, 20 April 2012

Presidential Address

Here is a report from Wales Online (not entirely accurate in its detail - I hope Dr Will Strange and Anglican Mainstream can cope with being described as  'Anglo-Catholic' - do your research, journalists, please!)  with reported reactions and some background in the wake of Archbishop Barry Morgan's latest presidential address to the Church in Wales' Governing Body - on the subject of homosexuals and marriage.
The Archbishop's address is actually an excellent summing up of the liberal position - displaying the usual false dichotomy between Scripture and tradition on the one hand and the 'wider trajectory' of the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels on the other.
So, then,  we need only quarrel with its theological method and its conclusions.
Apart from that, no comment.


  1. We could quarrel with the grammar too:
    'Between my partner and I'.

  2. If "lex orandi, lex credendi" is an illegitimate "theological method" to your mind, it's hardly clear why the orthodox Anglican ought to put any stock in your opinion. You imply that you could refute his grace if you deigned to address the subject, but sidestep actually doing so. So put up or shut up: show me the part of the marriage service where a requirement is listed that a gay couple by definition cannot meet, or let it go. In my prayer book, these are exclusive fidelity, lifelong intent, mutual subjection, and openness to the gift and heritage of children, where God wills it. If you labour under the misapprehension that any of these are the exclusive preserve of heterosexual families, it would behove you to heed the bishop's advice about acquainting yourself with some actual gay families - ideally in your own cure of souls, if there are any left not driven away by your knee-jerk denial of the sacramental channels by which they daily experience God's love in the domestic church. Until them, the grammar is *all* you have grounds to quarrel withal.

  3. Thank you for your comment but please don't make assumptions about someone you don't know. You make two incorrect suggestions - that my view is based on a knee-jerk reaction and that I don't know personally or pastorally any gay couples.
    But it is really you who are side-stepping the specific question I was trying (no doubt falteringly) to ask. If it is so easy to point to an opposition between the traditional Judeao-Christian view of sexuality and the 'wider view' of Jesus in the New Testament, what does that say about two thousand years of Christian theology and the nature and authority of the Church herself? That's all. Until someone exlains that adequately to me, if it's all the same to you, I'll keep asking questions.

  4. Why does the fact that a small but significant group of Christians wants to sign on to those two thousand years of authoritative tradition have to say anything about it, other than that it has stood the test of time - if you will only let it! To put it another way, if those two millenia of teaching are not true for some people, what does that say about the universality of God's moral law? "It is better to marry than to be aflame - unless it isn't"? And no, it's not "all the same." If you cannot provide even a prima facie reason in the first place why it would even occur to us to question (selectively at least) whether it's moral for someone to enter the marriage covenant described in our liturgies, no prospective partner in argumentation is obliged to consider your "questions."

  5. (Oh, and nowhere did I assume anything: I said _if_ you think only heterosexual couples are capable of one or another of the "goods" in the marriage service, you need to get out more. If you did know an example of such a family, your question would already be answered).

  6. "I said _if_ you think only heterosexual couples are capable of one or another of the "goods" in the marriage service, you need to get out more. If you did know an example of such a family, your question would already be answered"

    It would be hard to find a better example of circularity in argument than that one!

    But, debating points aside, to address the real point at issue here: a change in the marriage law (which is what is being debated here in the U.K. at the moment) would inevitably transform our understanding of what is the purpose of marriage, reducing it exclusively to the commitment of the two people involved. Where many people take issue with the proposed change is that within it there is no recognition either of the complementarity of male and female or that marriage is intended primarily (but not exclusively) for the procreation and nurture of children. What you argue is merely an extension of a tradition embodying the universal natural law, others would view as the destruction of its primary purpose and an undermining of that very universal law you seek to extend.

    Personally? I think the battle over this in western society (and as a result of its synodical subservience to the norms of contemporary society, in Anglicanism, too) has already been lost, largely because the primary purpose of marriage is already (and mistakenly) seen as being a matter of a subjective romantic attachment rather than a societal good. So don't worry - you've already won!


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