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29 April 2009

Comments

Holly

So sad to see so many names I recognise as signatories.

I wish I still had the capacity to be shocked

J Tatton

This makes me so sad. So many are damaged by human beings' difficulty in living in Christ-like humility. What God has created, let us cherish and honour. By demonising homosexuality in these we leave people with "all-or-nothing" choices. We leave them with the impression that God-less moral and ethical choices and lifestyles are all that is open to them. I left the same church William grew up in because of these attitudes, but I continue to pray without ceasing for healing in God's church. Healing is a deep and radical thing and we're all going to have to get brave, talk together and pray together.

Billy

So, when are they kicking out liars, divorcees, alcoholics, thiefs, people who eat shellfish etc.....?

 ryan

If people want to change the usual procedures of the C of S with what amounts to a "Stop Scott Rennie" motion - because he's gay and in a relationship - then it's somewhat dishonest to claim that this debate isn't about sexuality. And I note that, as they did with +Gene Robinson, evangelicals are slandering Rev.Rennie by claiming that he left his wife and abandoned his child for a male partner. Such accusations don't seem very "Christian" to me.

Kennedy

Assembly support for a clear endorsement of biblical sexual morality: “That this Church shall not accept for training, ordain, admit, re-admit, induct or introduce to any ministry of the Church anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside of faithful marriage between a man and a woman”.

Some questions:

1. Would they accept an openly gay celibate person for training etc?

2. Would they (do they?) accept divorced persons for training etc?

3. Do they mean ministry or 'authorised ministry' ie do we include throse making the tea after church on Sunday.

Kennedy

Kenny

So saddened that this stuff has appeared in your blog GV. I reflect that the love and acceptance of Jesus is still being crucified within the Church. When I go to hell with these people because I am not worthy of The Kingdom, I know I'll find myself in some good and loving, caring company. I hope those who will not accept an inclusive Gospel will enjoy their Alleluias.

Andrew T

Thank you for publicising this petition, GV. As we saw recently when Miss California reasonably stated her disageement with homosexual marriages, any dissent from liberal PC orthodoxy is met with a great deal of intolerance from the self-appointed guardians of tolerance!

When I first started to hear reports regarding the situation in Aberdeen I thought that it must be a belated April fools. When I read more detailed coverage including the shameful "Life and Work" editorial quoted in "The Scotsman" things did not seem such a laughing matter.

This really is a watershed moment for the Church of Scotland and I pray for those within its courts that seek to uphold the truth. An important point to note is that this case goes beyond the question of acceptable sexual orientation and involves also the question of the seventh commandment being breached.

It is deeply disappointing that those that seek to uphold this appointment argue on grounds of homosexuality being "genetic" and that "equal opportunity" regulations might be breached. Surely in any church controversy the first, middle and final basis of any position should be grounded in what is laid down in the Scriptures? Otherwise, from where do people get their authority for their opinions? I suspect that liberals of the type to be found in the "pic'n'mix" branch of Christianity are very much at work in this situation.

On a more positive note, it is heartening to see that there are still many in the CoS that are prepared to stand up to the "Year Zero" Pol Pot style attempts to turn morality on its head.

ryan

Andrew - there are plenty of Christians who aren't Sola Scriptura fundamentalists. This is not a bad thing (quite the opposite).

bibliophile

It seems strange to me that the Tron has suddenly decided to care what the CoS's position is on who may or may not be a minister. They seem to have overlooked the fact that women have been ordained by the CoS for what, 30 years now? I don't wish this to sound like picking hairs, because I think it's an important point.

It makes me very sad to have been a member of this church. It makes me very sad to see the names of so many people I love on that petition.

If this makes me a "pic'n'mix" liberal, so be it. God is love (this is my position, grounded on what is laid down in scripture, and in what I see infused through the creation around me).

Tim

Why this case, why now? Why speak of humanity and yet deny that very humanity that comes in variety, and why not act with a heart for that human at the centre of the row?

Otherwise, from where do people get their authority for their opinions?

From reality, Andrew.

Coxy

Mmm...

I hope that they would accept homosexual people who are committed to a celibate lifestyle based on their belief that homosexual practice is outside of God's intention for sexual relationships (i.e. not just becasue they happen to be single at the time of selection/ordination). There are many within our churches who have made such a choice - their voices need to be heard in this debate and we need to uphold them in our prayers.

On the issue of divorce I would hope that there would be no blanket position but prayerful consideration would be given on a case by case basis. It is the teaching of Jesus that a person whose partner commits adultery is able to divorce their partner and the common interpretation of this is that that person is then free to re-marry. I would hope that someone who has been the victim of adultery and has divorced would not be automatically barred from entering the selection process for ordained ministry although I would, of course, be even more hopeful that they did not divorce but sought reconciliation with their husband/wife.

I would also hope that the divorcee entering selection or who is to be ordained would recognise the fact that God hates divorce and that there will have been (inevitably I would have thought) failure on both sides of the marriage that led to things reaching the point where divorce appeared to be the only option. If there wasn't this recognition then I hope that the person would be advised that they needed to give more thought to this area, and if they never reached that conclusion I would hope that they wouldn't be selected for ordained ministry.

This is the major difference as I understand it between divorce and homosexual practice. Many engaged in a same-sex partnership will not recognise the fact that it is outside of God's desire for human sexual relations and will therefore not feel the need to repent. With divorce on the other hand one would hope that even for someone who has gone through it there is the chance that they will recognise it for what it is - i.e. outside of God's ideal - and will have repented.

God is gracious, forgives our sin and opens doors we may never have believed possible. But repentance requires conviction and recognition of sin. That, for me at least, is why I could see a divorcee (although not every divorcee - as I've attempted to show above) being permitted to pursue ordination whereas I couldn't see this as being the case for someone in a same-sex partnership.

I will be praying that the C of S assembly affirm what I believe to be the biblical position on sex - that it is reserved for a marriage between a man and a woman - and that those who minister within the church will be held to this standard. At the same time I hope that they will find a way to communicate the fact that the orthodox position is not a homophobic one.

I am not homophobic but I affirm the orthodox position in relation to human sexuality. Unfortunately it is too commonly believed that orthodoxy and homophobia go hand in hand - which they don't. But that's something for another day...

Billy

Andrew,

"It is deeply disappointing that those that seek to uphold this appointment argue on grounds of homosexuality being "genetic" and that "equal opportunity" regulations might be breached"

What if it is genetic?

"Otherwise, from where do people get their authority for their opinions?"

How about looking at the evidence? Submitting to "authority" removes the need to form your own opininion. Should we have just accepted papal authority on the morality of garrotting heretics, condoms or the crusades? What about the authority of Imans or Stalin? Sounds like you adhere to a potentially dangerous form of dogmatism. Should we go back to keeping slaves and stoning gays and non virgins?

m0ok

"I am not homophobic but I affirm the orthodox position in relation to human sexuality. Unfortunately it is too commonly believed that orthodoxy and homophobia go hand in hand - which they don't. But that's something for another day..."

By any normal understanding of the word the position to which you refer to as orthodoxy is homophobic. i.e. it discriminates against homosexuals. There's no getting away from it, really.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homophobic

m0ok

"...stand up to the "Year Zero" Pol Pot style attempts to turn morality on its head."

Honestly, this sounds like the sort of stuff you hear on FOX News.

This is not a good thing.

Coxy

According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary 'homophobia' is, "an intense aversion to homosexuality and homosexuals." In the same dictionary 'aversion' is defined as "a strong dislike or disinclination".

I stand by my statement, based on these definitions, that I am not homophobic and I would also suggest that neither are many within the church who would adopt an orthodox/conservative (whatever you want to call it) position.

This whole issue, from my perspective at least (and I believe many other people who may run the risk of being described as homophobic due to their stance on it), has nothing to do with disliking those who are homosexual. I don't even think it has to do with a dislike of the acts involved in homosexual practice. Rather it has to do with a belief that homosexual practice is outside of God's intention for human sexual relations and as such for the church to support or condone it would be wrong - as it would be wrong for it to support or condone any sinful practice.

 ryan

Language evolves; antisemitism was coined *by* an antisemite to give the prejudice a more scientific ring, and pendants would say it's not very accurate (aren't arabs "semites" too?). I think it's more important to fight discrimination than to fret over the best term to call it. Although I would certainly agree that neither C (nor David incidently) is homophobic in the sense of holding an irrational fear/hatred of gays, I don't see why the word can't be used to refer to (e.g.) laws or beliefs rather than just psychological motivations.

 ryan

does anyone else find it depressing that there are so many books on "homosexual practice" and so few on homosexual perfection? ;-)

Coxy, conservative/evangelicals might not "dislike" said acts but their arguments (e.g. even Gagnon utilises Paul Cameron's infamously dodgy statistics) often are founded on the alleged harm of said acts. Cameron was kicked out of the APA for research abuse, suggested concentration camps for people with HIV etc. See :
http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,020.htm

I do think that Gagnon's "embodied existence" interpretation of scripture would - if true - mean that there existed scientific evidence of the unnatural/dangerous evidence of same-sex relationships (per se). That this evidence doesn't exist is one sign that his interpretation of scripture is wrong.

m0ok

"According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary....I stand by my statement, based on these definitions, that I am not homophobic and I would also suggest that neither are many within the church who would adopt an orthodox/conservative (whatever you want to call it) position."

...and..

"Rather it has to do with a belief that homosexual practice is outside of God's intention for human sexual relations and as such for the church to support or condone it would be wrong - as it would be wrong for it to support or condone any sinful practice."

This belief represents a strong dislike (stronger words could probably be used for 'sinful practice') for homosexuality and is therefore homophobic by the OED definitions you presented in your comment.

Also, there's very little point in attempting to disconnect 'homosexual practice' (as if it's a martial art or something) from 'homosexuality'. The term 'homosexual practice' is used because it is derogatory.

Nobody talks about 'heterosexual practice' and to do so would be foolishness. Our physical expressions of love for our wives and husbands are not 'heterosexual practice'.

Who would take seriously anyone who said that they weren't against artists, they were just against the practice of producing art? Or that they weren't against musicians, they were just against the practice of producing music?

It does all start to sound a bit like those who would say "I'm not racist, but...". If I said that I don't mind foreigners as such, as long as they don't perform their 'foreign practices' in my country, would you consider that view to be racist? I hope you would, despite any of my protests to the contrary.

It's no surprise that those who hold homophobic views do not wish those views to be considered homophobic.

Mark

At least we're talking about it now, right? It's about time the church tackled these issues properly rather than ignoring them until we find ourselves in a situation with no other choice but to talk and about 20 years behind an up to date understanding culturally or theologically. I wish that the gay Christian community had been listened to and engaged with intelligently and openly a long time ago. I'm not claiming to be on one side or the other, just hoping that this will bring good discussion and thus a positive and good step in the church even if it does cause a divide.

Let's keep our dialogue intelligent, gracious and true to scripture.

Kelvin Holdsworth

There is a (serious) online quiz to help people to try to work out how homophobic they are here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/assault/etc/quiz.html

I'm don't see a question there which says, "I quite like gay people so am not homophobic myself, but unfortunately, my God is homophobic".

But perhaps there should be.

 ryan


Excellent quiz Kelvin. I hope David and others on this thread take it.

Beat Attitude

"my God is homophobic...". The use of the term homophobic is unhelpful in this discussion and it is usually no more than a political bludgeon which chooses to skirt around the evangelical position of "hate the sin, love the sinner". It is immature to suggest that all evangelicals, in taking this position on homosexuality, are motivated by a desire to ostricize, to judge, to feel self-righteous. This is not to say that no-one in the evangelical camp acts out of these motives, but to lump us all together as self-deluding, angry, self-righteous homophobes is to demonstrate an intolerance that you accuse us of.

If evangelicals believe the bible is to be trusted as God's revealed Word, and they believe the bible calls homosexual practise a sin, and that sin is to be repented of and avoided in favour of seeking and delighting in Christ, then this is the framework in which you ought to engage if you believe they are in error. Challenge whether the bible is to be trusted; challenge whether it is an ultimate authority; challenge the interpretation of this scripture; challenge whether sin requires repentance; challenge whether Christ's Agape love offers immeasurably more than the fleeting satisfaction of Eros love.

But don't bother addressing whether their attitude is "homophobic". It's a woolly term and reeks of intolerance.

 ryan


" The use of the term homophobic is unhelpful in this discussion and it is usually no more than a political bludgeon which chooses to skirt around the evangelical position of "hate the sin, love the sinner". It is immature to suggest that all evangelicals, in taking this position on homosexuality, are motivated by a desire to ostricize, to judge, to feel self-righteous"

Conversely, there are many evangelicals who know fine well that they are not being accused of being "phobic" in the sense of an irrational hatred, yet still feel they are achieving something by whipping out the dictionary. People are not necessarily skirting around the "hate the sin, love the sinner" issue, merely treating it with the contempt it deserves. Saying that you accept gay people if they live like straight ones is not remotely loving. Again : homophobia can not only be applied to *motivations* but to actual actions (do you concede that when people talk about "homophobic laws" they are taking usually about the *effects* of such legislation, not implying that those who drafted them necessarily did so on the basis of hatred?).
And evangelicals can believe whatever they want, but opposing gay equality (for example, in same-sex marriage) is an attack on human rights, and therefore not something that (as we don't live in a theocracy) can be justified on a "God says, and I agree with him" basis. And liberals do engage with evangelicals. Gagnon , in his allegedly definitive book on the Bible's position on homosexuality (The Bible and Homosexual Practise), used (as you'll see above) Paul Cameron's discredited anti-gay statistics.
"The fleeting satisfaction of eros love" is horrendously patronising too, as I don't think many in evangelical churches would take kindly to the idea that their love for (say) there spouse is "mere" anything despite their most important relationship being with God. Gay sexuality need not be "fleeting satisfaction" , and it's ironic that you display evidence of anti-gay assumptions, whilst criticising liberals use of a word which can denote them.

Billy

Beat,

How can you actually love the "sinner" when you are actively discriminating against them?

I took Kelvin's test* and I am a high grade non homophobe. Then I answered it as I would have done so in my christian days - turns out I was homophobic (but I knew that anyway). My only "justification" was the bible. So religion definately made me homophobic.

I agree with Ryan that playing about with definitions does not make you non homophobic.

*Someone has pointed out to me that the scoring for question 20 is the wrong way round.

Beat Attitude

Ryan, I think you (either intentionally or unintentionally) misunderstand the evangelical position.

"Saying that you accept gay people if they live like straight ones is not remotely loving."

Do we accept sinners only if they agree to live like non-sinners? Don't be stupid. But we're not prepared to welcome the teaching or ideas of someone who refuses to acknowledge sin as sin. That's effectively saying "Christ died for my sins, but he didn't need to, because what the bible calls sin, isn't".

I'm sorry you are horrendously patronised by my treatment of eros love. I don't mean to belittle it, but until you understand and experience the depths of Agape love then you have no way of seeing the limitations of eros. God's gifts to mankind can never replace the gift of Himself.

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