Sunday, 26 May 2013

Chelmsford Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Conference on Gospel, Sex and Marriage

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  1. These matters are so important in today's world.
    I pray (from the antipodes) for blessings upon the conference.

  2. With this sort of thing, 99.9% of the time you’re preaching to the converted and in a very real sense such occasions tend to be ‘Little Jack Horner’ gatherings (to borrow from +David Hawkins) – a chance for likeminded souls to tell each other just how ‘right-minded’ they are... at its worst such an event can be nought more than a subtle species of narcissism and sortie into self-rightouesness...

    In my view – as one half of a same-sex couple – I think Cameron’s decision to press on with SSM is foolish, to my mind civil partnerships are ample legal and political recognition of the commitment and love that is commonplace in same-sex relationships (despite the efforts of hate-sites like Anglicanmainstream to use a 75% of its posts to malign homosexuals in some shape or form in a self-satisfied and often misleading manner – it may pretend to delight in Anglican orthodoxy but its authors seem fixated on Lev 18:22 at the expense of Ex 20:16 or Luke 18:9-14...).

    Sitting around in a gaggle of self-righteousness – pulling out plums and saying ‘What a good boy am I...’ is yet another example of missing the point. There has been policies enacted by various governments over the past forty years or so that have had massive impacts on the family and family life. The foolishness of economic policy that created two housing bubbles (one Tory, one Labour led) and reliance on massive consumer credit has had a far greater impact upon family life and marriage than two poufs wanting to skip down the aisle. But many within our congregations have done rather well out of errant financial policies and perhaps self-interest caused them to turn a blind eye. If only we had seen such militant Christian opposition to government policy or social trends that impacted upon the family unit long before SSM (or even Civil Partnerships) were ever mentioned. But no... this rarely happened and so what moral foundation have many of these belligerent Christians got to offer the wider world? If we had seen ‘radical’ as opposed to ‘reactionary’ Christianity in the recent past, wider society might just be able to swallow their ‘lead’ on the topic of marriage - but it is too little, too late.

    I am sure the above conference will be well attended and there will be much that attendees can agree on (indeed on one level, Christians from varying traditions and denominations should give thanks for the fact that at least on this occasion many agree – whereas for centuries Christians have been at each others’ throats on many a doctrinal issue!) . It is just a pity there haven’t been other topics (particularly those that tend to be personally costly and challenging) that have raised the same level of interest and social and political action on the part of our fellow parishioners.

    P.D. NW7

  3. PD, the problem I have is that you only seem to get wound up about the same-sex stuff on this blog. What about the CDEA meeting with Michael Green on evangelism? What about the CABC which I've been helping run for over 12 years, teaching the Bible to hundreds from across the diocese? What about last week's celebration of faith with Bishop Norman Banks? It's like you're just on the lookout for stuff to disagree with.

  4. PS PD, you could try my regular posts about usury and interest - not popular in church circles, I know, but give a little 'credit' there.

  5. PD has a fair point!

    The gay marriage thing hasn't come about overnight, but is the end (or near the end) of a line of thinking where marriage, family & gender have all got confused. So true, if Evangelicals are so concerned about, say gay marriage, there are things that they should be concerned about closer to home. E.g. is Evangelicalisms fascination with youth groups in fact an indictment on Father's failure to do their job? If Evangelicals don't do their jobs as Fathers/husbands, then we need to be cautious about how we speak of gay marriage.

    But yeah, there are a number of PDs who zero in on any talk about homosexuality. When someone said to me I always preach on it and quick computer search showed that in all content, it was about 1%. Besides, it's an issue that keeps coming up, Christians have to be sure that they know what they're talking about. But I'm sure evangelicals talk about it less than the cabinet.

    Darren Moore

  6. I wish I could come to this, it sounds a hoot, and worth every penny of £5 even if you have to bring your own lunch (but not a bring and share lunch? No perhaps not .... rather like 'bring your own interpretation of civil marriage' - not exactly a bring and share message....)
    By Thursday 13 June, won't the Lords have had their vote?
    Not a foregone conclusion I know, so all the same - have fun!

  7. Revd John

    Many thanks - I have posted elsewhere on Blogs and linked to your excellent posts on usury and credit! At present my 'light' reading is Stephen King's (the economist not the horror writer) 'When the Money Runs Out...' which makes sobering reading for us all (particularly folks like me - on the wrong side of the Baby Boom - i.e. I can just remember pre-decimalisation but can't really remember the heyday of the Beatles). Economics is a side issue to my academic and professional interests (social care and social policy - with a theology and religious studies angle) - yet it does have major implications for social 'wholesomeness'.

    I attended (and for a while was on the staff) of a well known conservative Evangelical Anglican church for four years in the late 80s/early 90s when the financial possibilities of Thatcher’s/Lawson’s/Parkinson’s ‘Big Bang’ of deregulation began to be felt/ There was a palpable scramble for its goodies even ‘among the elect’. It shocked me then, as it does now, how there was much straining of gnats and swallowing of camels when it came to financial and material propriety. Even after ‘house group’ coffee and biscuits could end up being a rather boring discussion concerning house prices and share values.

    The issue of gay-marriage as something that will threaten traditional marriage and/or the family is something many – particularly within the reactionary Christian camp – have commented upon: often with little data and research. Whereas there is considerable evidence to suggest there is a link between financial booms and divorce rates (e.g. The very fact that for your average family in the UK both parents have to work full time to keep a roof over their heads suggests that somewhere along the line there is going to be an effect on family life. Therefore I hope in the above conference that there is at least one presentation on the need to lobby government to ensure that never again do we experience housing and credit bubbles which are detrimental to family and married life.

    I suspect there will be no such presentation and instead there will be a good deal of finger pointing and blaming ‘liberals’ and ‘homosexualists’ (what is a homosexualist??!!) and the mythical ‘gaystapo’ for problems affecting marriage and the family. The very fact that many of these problems peaked several years ago and many (e.g. a falling divorce rate) are now in decline will just be glibly forgotten. Alas, most social problems are complex in nature and usually have their roots in social, political and economical factors that can’t be neatly packaged into ‘blame’ bundles that lie conveniently outside of mainstream or even church life. ‘Our life and death is with our neighbour...’ – I think St Anthony of Egypt said (of if he didn’t someone else did...) – it is just less costly and less challenging to believe otherwise.

    P.D. NW7

  8. PD, I suspect there may be a good deal less finger-pointing than you are expecting, given Sean Doherty's own issues with same sex attraction.

  9. I'm interested in attending this. Is it possible to confirm information about location and provide info about nearby parking? The first st Thomas in Brentwood that I found on google doesn't appear to be the right one.
    Many thanks
    Anne, Cambridge