Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Gafcon Mark 6

Livid not to have been mentioned in dispatches by the Gafcon "Name and Shane" - sorry- "Shame" list. I suppose the Beaker Folk not being members of the Anglican "Communion" might be part of the reason there.

In the midst of culture wars it's easy for those of us not of the Forlorn Hope to wring our hands and say "why can't we all just be friends?" Indeed, that's the basis of the Beaker tradition. But sometimes you've got to come off the fence, no matter how comfortable it is up there. So.

The people who put together the GafCon list have a commendable love of scripture. They believe they are acting in the love of God. And they are, in my opinion, wrong.

We don't have to believe morality is fixed. We worked out that slavery - assumed by Jesus, used as analogy by Paul - is wrong. We accepted that when someone can't pay their debts to us the answer is for them to be declared bankrupt - forgiven, if you like - not to do seven years' free work for us and then run the risk we'll stick a nail through their ear. Some of us -  against both Old and New Testament teaching - eat black pudding. We reckoned that you can apply reason to tradition, and both to Scripture, without falling outside the bounds of God's Kingdom.

And we have seen the terrible injustices that have resulted from the application of laws without love. But we have seen how the love of Jesus overcame the laws of the world. So some of us, if we have to choose between love and law, we'll go for love.

And some of us have seen that love is expressed just as much between people of the same sex as between those of different ones. And figured that maybe where people of the same sex want to express their lifelong love of each other - and to have that love expressly commited to the eternal love of God in a religious service of commitment - they should be allowed to do so.

Incidentally, our favourite lesbian transgender vicar - when not writing a brilliant response-  has gone so far as to declare the vile things that happen in her bed. And published it for all to see. She eats biscuits, apparently.

Well, what can I say? Crumbs.


  1. That's grim. What happened to stuff about love, mercy and not judging in the Bible? It is generally agreed witch hunts were a bad thing in the 17th century, so what makes some Christians think they're alright now?

  2. I'm no theologian, or philosopher, nor do I have any desire to "out" gay clergy or anyone else. But it seems to me that if you are saying that morality is not fixed, you run the risk of cherry-picking only those bits of it that you (or any individual)feels comfortable with.

    Many cultures have no problem with lying, and I don't mean "little white lies". Many cultures have not at all our concept of cruelty, particularly towards animals. I could go on, but you get my drift. So who decides? I would submit that the individual conscience is not a safe guide in this. When the late unlamented Fred West (may God have mercy on his soul) was questioned about his perverted crimes, he was genuinely bewildered. He had himself grown up in a weird household, and to him torture of women and murder were not abnormal. So he innocently said, "Doesn't everybody?"

    The People of the Book are as prone as any other religionists to cherry-picking, as you point out. I haven't got any answer to this. Maybe you have?

    1. You don't really run any risks. You sit together in a group around tea lights and spend a few years discussing the morality of whatever issue is troubling your group. And you look at who is harmed by the various options open to you. And then you choose the option that causes least harm to the least number of people.

      You cherry-pick the good bits, absolutely. That's what moral reasoning is all about.

  3. Yes, but what if the moral issue troubling your group isn't seen as a moral issue at all by other groups? Or if it is seen as a moral issue, but in a diametrically opposite way to the view taken by your group? If morality is relative, whose view decides?

  4. The idea of taking the whole Bible as mandatory, and refusing to 'cherry-pick', is okay if you haven't read it. But if you have, you know that nobody actually tries to obey all the commands in it. The Anabaptists tried for a while in the 16th century. Then they decided to settle for just the New Testament. Then they decided to settle for just the Sermon on the Mount.

  5. GAFCOn sounds like someone who lets out places they don't own to unsuspecting punters than scarper with the money.

    And the ABC was today pictured virtually necking with the Arch Bishop of Nigeria (a former General), which will go down well with his GACFCON mates?


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