pls pray for religious freedom to be preserved in the UK.....even our right of centre parties are terribly careful to please the politically correct lobbies.....people have lost jobs because they are not willing to carry out "gay marriages" and the courts have not helped them....in terms of biblical principles, not much difference between any of our parties in the UK - pray the new PM protects freedom of speech and conscience (no sign he will)
I'm glad you put "gay marriages" in quotation marks, in the UK there is no such thing and there are no real plans for that to happen. Civil partnerships are in place to protect gay people who choose to enter into monogamous relationships and chiefly to protect their assets. It's a social arrangement not a religious one. Your reply smacks of the typical victimisation that Christians like to paint themselves with, bawww we are being oppressed etc. Well sorry, according to the Holy Bible, it's to be expected and a challenge to Christians to act with honour, humility and unconditional love just as Christ himself did against such "oppression". Maybe if Christians acted more like our Dear Lord rather than ranting and pulling lawsuits at the drop of a hat then they would afford more respect and attract people to Christ rather than give them cause people to turn away from Him.Until churches are burnt down and Christians are taxed or beaten in the streets, I will not worry. I'd rather be concerned with other countries where these REAL atrocities against Christians happen and pray for them instead of freaking out about "moral degradation". My apologies Baby Blue for bombing in on your comment box.
"Until churches are burnt down and Christians are taxed or beaten in the streets, I will not worry." ....... might be a tad late by then, Clara? I am glad people like the former ABC George Carey and other leaders are speaking out for freedom of speech and conscience in England (the Westminster Declaration has mor than 50,000 signatures already).....freedom of speech and conscience might possibly be under attack without any church being set alight.....I hope we do not get there - but that might involve good people, like the former ABC, not remaining silent while freedom of speech and conscience are being restricted given people have lost jobs because they would not compromise their Christian principles ...principles which are in line with what Rowan Williams calls "the mind of the Communion" (so perhaps they are not at all crazed extremists!)
Performing civil-servant functions like stamping a (gay) civil union application, pursuant to the civil laws in place in a jurisdiction, is not the same as "approving" gay marriage (or agreeing to hold such a ceremony in your church). Christians need to realize the difference between the two: remain faithful to God's standards while at the same time tolerate those consenting adults with whom we do not necessarily agree. There may be real issues in the UK and elsewhere regarding religious freedom, but this is not one of them. BJM3
BJM3 - really, so people should do things in their jobs which they do not think are right? Applying your logic to another situation: a doctor should conduct an abortion as it is legal, regardless of their own views on it? The logic of what you have written above would imply you must think this!
Of course not, if you believe that abortion is the taking of a human life. Since governments exist to protect life, a Christian could legitimately refuse to perform an abortion, even if it is "legal" to do so. But that is not at all the issue with gay civil partnerships. Using your logic approach from the other end: should a Christian civil servant refuse to marry two Buddhists? After all, the Christian doesn't agree with their Buddhist beliefs. We live in a pluralistic society; that means dealing with people who do not believe as we do. BJM3
BJM3 - your logic is faulty again...don't think the bible forbids men and women of other religions marrying, does it? Your example does not work - there is no issue for a Christian registering a civil marriage for a buddhist man and woman....they would not be going against their principles in any way in doing that......
The NT talks about the need for marriage to reflect the love of Christ for his church; how could two Buddhists do that? Thus, who's to say some Christian could not in good conscience sign their marriage certificate? You and I agree that two Buddhists marrying should not pose a problem for a Christian, much as he would like to see those two souls converted - but what about my "strawman" Christian above? Is the state impinging on his rights by requiring him to sign their marriage license? Again, it comes down to two consenting adults exercising their freedom in a way that does not impinge on anyone else's right to life, liberty, etc. I have tried to explain it as best I know how; let's agree to disagree. BJM3
My point was slightly mocking I'm afraid, it was to make a point about perspective. Several Christians I know really think that they are being heavily oppressed because they are so offended by the lifestyles and habits of non-Christians. An example - It isn't oppression of Christian expression if you are a nurse fired for wearing a gold cross piece of jewelry. It's for the sake of saving lives, both your own....some elderly people with dementia grab at things and could choke the nurse leaning over them with exposed jewelry, and if a nurse is bending over the jewelry could touch an open wound during treatment, would the nurse sterilise her jewelry between patients? Not practically possible. Said nurse went on to refuse a desk job where her cross would cause no problems and therefore lost her appeal. All because she believed that wearing her cross visibly was a vital part of her Christian identity. This is just an example of the kind of "freedoms" of Christian thought and practice that people are freaking out about. Unimportant stuff.Issues such as abortion, providing support for refugees threatened with death for becoming Christians and ensuring pastoral support and care are available for the most needy in society SHOULD be the priorities. If government or any other power gets in the way here....it's an issue I'd fight for (and have done).Many people laugh at Christians (partly nowadays because of the angry atheist brigade) but also because they cannot connect the word "Christian" with "Christ". Those who care for the poor, desperate, lonely or sick, those people who get on with practical Christianity are admired and a source of inspiration. Most people tend to imagine the image of a gentle but dim country vicar, the pope or a hell and brimstone fundie TV preacher in a very expensive suit when they think of Christianity. If the balance returned to Christians being admired for being kind, selfless, compassionate people then people would start wanting to understand more and facilitate Christians rather than act as stumbling blocks.
Clara, I think I agree with you - on balance, Christians seem to focus on the wrong stuff (not that that stuff is unimportant, but ...) BJM3
NO - a Christian priest should not perform the marriage of two Buddhists. Moreover, a Christian who believes marriage is a Christian sacrament should not perform civil marriages at all.Likewise, a Christian should not participate in abortion, euthanasia or anything that violates Scripture or his/her conscience.
Clara, There is no such thing as a homosexual orientation in Scripture. God does not recognize any special identity or orientation, nor does He grant exemptions and exclusions on the basis of our perceived identity or conditioned sexual responses, feelings and desires. There are only two orientations in Scripture, toward God and away from God. Only two sexual identities, male and female. If we are in Christ and love Him, we will keep His Commandments. In His Presence is fullness of joy...which far more satisfying and fulfilling than mere s-x.
BJM3 - your logic is faulty again....I wrote that there would be no issue registering a civil marriage for two buddhists......you answered your own different point.....Clara - I am glad George Carey and others do not take your attitude....and are willing to take more heat from society than your laissez-faire approach gets (i.e. none at all given you acquiesce with it)
Homosexuality is not just about sex....wow. Just because an issue isn't explicitly spelled out in the bible means that everything is an either/or issue? How should those born physically crossing gender lines deal with relationships? Take it as a Divine cue that they have to be celibate, since they are not one gender or the other?If anybody sees religious leaders on TV in the UK they are mocked, in our sadly super secular society any talk against the norm is seen as finger waggling old fashioned claptrap. The message is ignored by the very people who need to hear it, they usually don't get to hear people like Lord Carey at all because most of his comments are reserved for broadsheet newspapers and CoE publications! On the odd occasion where the media like to make a point of showing the gulf between the secular and church view they will indeed show a little snippet of his interviews but of course edited so the message is not in context or sensationalist. That is why I take my stance to reclaim the Christian identity and then the people who switch off the TV or get angry at just seeing a member of the clergy will bother maybe listening to their wisdom.
not sure keeping quiet is the answer Clara.......and the CofE churches full every week, with people of all ages, are not those which are keeping quiet for fear of being mocked.... on any issue.....that is the whole point - why should we? Do we have freedom of speech and conscience or not? George Carey and others are speaking out because it matters that we do retain these freedoms....it matters more than just for us, actually..........
Maybe I haven't put my point across clearly enough, firstly it is not fear of being mocked, we should be fools for Christ except that we speak the truth. It is the fact that the media who are the ones responsible for communicating messages from Lord Carey et al are so selective in what they print and broadcast that it makes Christians to look obsessed with homosexuality. Most of the time you see churches or priests mentioned in the media it's negative or scandolous, rarely anything positive, so for the church outsiders whose only understanding of church and God is a few mumbled hymns at a wedding or funeral they have lost touch with Christianity and don't equate it with a living faith. If they don't respect it, why should they care about respecting it's freedoms and rights. If Christians speak out in public, they are often seen on the same level as anyone with a complaint, nowadays everyone has something to complain about and due to political correctness it's the right thing to do to treat all complaints with the same gravity and respect. My point is that if Christians are seen by the average public as something good and worthy, then they will earn greater respect and their point of view will be then seen as worth defending. Don't underestimate the damage that the angry atheist brigade have done to the credibility of faith to those not in the church either. It's both shocked and dismayed me to such a point that I feel it's useless to speak up. I've been hurt so badly personally so my point of view is tinted with those feelings.
Clara - I agree with you re the media, but not that the answer is to no "speak up"....we have to speak up, to speak the truth, in love, to each other and the world around us .....even if it costs us jobs, as it has for some in England who have not been willing to compromise their principles (they could have resigned quietly, but I admire them for having the courage to stand up for their unfashionable principles and for the idea of freedom of speech and conscience - and I am grateful people like George Carey also put their reputations on the line). But, I agree with you that we need to engage in a way that is effective, not playing into the media's hands when we can avoid that.....but not being silenced by their often mocking attitude.
I am not qualified to speak about conditions in Britain, being only an occasional visitor there. We are fortunate to have Clara's insights here. But one of the points embedded in her comments seems equally valid on both sides of the Atlantic. That is that the one issue that seems to have fixated various factions within the Church is the issue of homosexuality, particularly as it relates to Anglican clergy. It has come to the point of cracking apart the American Anglican community and brings out less-than-admirable discourse and behavior from all sides of the debate. An outsider looking in would find this almost pathologically obsessive. I may not be accurately stating Clara's point, but I took that as one element of what she was addressing. This medium is wonderful in that the conversations can be had almost in real time even across oceans and continents.ScoutScout
so, what is the solution, Scout? It does not make sense to stay silent on an issue - we still have to speak the truth, even if it is not fashionable, right?
The positions are well understood. I am not advocating silence. I am advocating Christian unity, however. All factions should speak their truth and then come to the Lord's Table together. Scout
"Christian unity" based in biblical truth, Scout ...... or "their truth", my truth or your truth?
Post a Comment