Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Ruth Gledhill is quoting the Archbishop of Canterbury in a recent interview in Oi! Magazine. Money quote:
Asked about his support for gay clergy, he replied: “I have no problem with gay clergy who aren’t in relationships, although there are savage arguments about the issue you might have heard about. Our jobs mean we have to adhere to the Bible. Gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practising homo-sexual relationships don’t. This major question doesn’t have a quick-fix solution and I imagine will be debated for many years to come.”
And if that that's not enough, here's another quote:
He told one of the interviewers, 17-year-old Georgie Gothard, who said that she was 12 weeks pregnant and did not know whether she should keep the baby, that he could never advise anyone to have an abortion and that the 24-week limit was too high.

“Personally, I believe a child is a gift from God and you wouldn’t give a gift back, would you?” he said.

Read the whole thing here. It's a wonderful interview.


RSchllnbrg said...

James Nelson, in his classic work called Embodiment wrote "Sexuality is a sign, a symbol, and a means of our call to communication and communion. The mystery of our sexuality is the mystery of our need to reach out to embrace others both physically and spiritually. Sexuality thus expresses God's intention that we find our authentic humanness in relationship ... Sexuality is also intrinsic to our relationship with God." Nelson then goes on to describe in his book what's called "personalist theology" which states that any sexual expressions, when expressed with love and commitment, are loving and embody the love of God.

Not everyone agrees though, that being born with a desire makes that desire a means of being authentically human. (Of course, if you go along with Jung and Rogers, then what's wrong is the straightjacket of traditional external mores because they keep you from expressing whatever makes you who you are ...) But let me ask you this: can you conceive of any desires you have that do not lead you closer to God? I sure can. (And not all of them are sexual in nature, folks.) Are there desires you have that make you feel less human, less spiritual, less in touch with the divine ... just plain less? If so, then you may recognize that self-discipline in your life is a necessary thing ... or as the Bible explains it, self-control is a fruit of the Spirit at work in your life.

Am I suggesting that self-control is necessary for homosexuals but not for heterosexuals? No. That would be inconsistent, wouldn't it? And here's where the "marriage for heteros" argument fails. It fails to take into consideration the many ways in which heteros may feel their desires are not fulfilled either, even given the marriage option. There's the man who's wife in institutionalized. He still has sexual desires. To be fully human is he allowed to have an affair? It would be mean spirited after all to divorce his wife while she is institutionalized. Is it mean spirited to ask him to be chaste? Perhaps someone would say that's not a very pastoral thing to tell the man. Or what about a single person who has not found the right person yet to marry. Is it inclusive and loving to ask that person to abstain from sexual relationships? Or what about a wife who's husband is impotent? Or a spouse who wants to have sex but is living in a sexless marriage for whatever reason ... or how about an older widow who does not wish to get married to her live in boyfriend because of financial reasons. (This case actually was described by Bishop Smalley of Kansas a while back as a reason why we should allow people to live together without being married ...)

No, self-control and the standards for sexual behavior in the Bible are not merely aimed at homosexuals, they're aimed at each of us.

What the Archbishop is saying here has been the teaching of the church for a very long time. Not all desires, whatever their origin, lead you closer to God. To this we could also add, not all sins separate you forever from God. But the bigger problem is not if a particular person fails to live up to the standards in the Bible for sexual purity (since, as the Bible teaches, none of us do live up to the standards of God, we all fall short of what God expects) ... For either the Bible has authority in our lives or it does not. It's hard to say you will read the Bible like a restaurant menu and pick and choose what you like. The Archbishop's comment that as clergy our job is to adhere to the Bible will probably also bring a lot of discussion too ...

But this is not just a question about sexuality, it's not even a question of justice. It's about doing justice to the authority of the Bible above all else.

No, the question is not what you or I have done wrong, but the attitude that says, what is wrong is not wrong when it helps me be fully authentic as a human.

Silly me, I always thought my goal as a Christ Follower was not to be more human, it was to be more like Christ.

Anonymous said...

Excellent comment above and one which the church really needs to "walk through" carefully. Until the orthodox church is able to articulate the concept that some degree of celibacy and sexual self-denial is God's calling for ALL people (gay, straight, married, single, widowed, etc.), it will never reach out effectively to gay people. Right now, the GLBT political lobby rules this discussion by establishing the following construct: "Either you approve everything we do - or you HATE us!" The orthodox must come up with a way to enter this dialogue more effectively. I have been praying about it, BB, but I don't know what to do. BJM3

Ohio Joe said...

If only the ABC could be as forthright with the AC we wouldn't be in the midst of such a mess!

Anonymous said...

++Williams said, "I have no problem with gay clergy who aren’t in relationships, although there are savage arguments about the issue you might have heard about."

Savage arguments? I have heard no savage arguments about gay clergy WHO ARE NOT IN RELATIONSHIPS. The arguments concern gay clergy who do not want to be celibate.

And, fantastic post #1. Thank you.


Unknown said...

Goodness indeed.

Unknown said...

Alas, Hagrid just tossed an Anon out the door. We're picking up the broken dishes.


Anonymous said...

Abortion without apology is one of the true civilized virtues. It astonishes me that this supposedly cultivated man does not see this.

Are they really going to take away a woman's right to Choose?

Unknown said...

We try to be inclusive here. Just no throwing the cream pies, that's all we ask. If you were in a Cafe hanging out talking poetry and music and headlines of the day, would we know everyone in the room? Would we know what everyone was talking about - or even who they are? Probably not - so we enjoy the company of all ya'all. We try to keep the door on and the light on. Just don't upset the doorkeeper, he's a bit sensitive, ya know. Right Hagrid?