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» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Purgatory   » Why are churches not explicit about inclusivity, diversity and accessibility issues? (Page 2)

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Why are churches not explicit about inclusivity, diversity and accessibility issues?
L'organist
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Surely one of the biggest problems is that many - maybe most - people think that those who attend church are, ipso facto, Christians. If one takes the term "Christian" to mean someone who follows and applies the teachings of Christ in daily life it is apparent that there are regular church-attenders who are definitely not Christian.

I'm afraid I've always followed the lead of my father who rarely, if ever, described himself as "Christian" despite being a senior cleric in the CofE: he described himself as "a priest in the Church of England" - if pushed he would say he attempted to follow the teachings of Christ faithfully in every aspect of life. As some of you on the ship will know, I self-describe as a churchgoer.

The rebuttal from many church-attenders who trumpet their Christianity is that they are "saved", that Christ came into the world to save sinners, and that by virtue of their church attendance they are in a unique position to pontificate on what constitutes "sin" and just who is a sinner. Their air of certainty is what many non-churchgoers find most off-putting (sometimes offensive) and gives ammunition to the relatively small number of genuine atheists who hurl rocks at churches and Christians for their shortcomings.

And it is the institutionalised version of these attitudes and behaviours that causes such hurt, pain and anger: the rider that frequently accompanies uncharitableness and bigotry - that people/churches "love the sinner but hate the sin" frequently has the effect of turning the knife that has already been stabbed into someone.

Many people who go to church - and many churches - acknowledge the fact that they are sinners: great, but that doesn't then give them the right to accuse all-and-sundry of being the same and to think that by acknowledging their own sin they have a (literally) God-given right to behave badly towards others who are different from themselves and of whom they disapprove.

IME the more a church proclaims itself to be "inclusive" the less it is likely so to be: statements about "inclusivity" are akin to business "mission statements" and, again IMO, should be viewed purely as window-dressing.

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Bishops Finger
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Well said!

IJ

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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I go to a church that is signed up to Inclusive Church.

We did this because we wanted to be known as somewhere where people rejected by other churches would not be rejected.

We are, indeed, largely made up of rejects.

Being told it's just "window dressing" and the assumption on here that it actually means we're unwelcoming is frankly a kick in the face. Damned if you fucking do, damned if you fucking don't.

[ 27. November 2017, 14:25: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
We are, indeed, largely made up of rejects.

Our church has been described as "consisting of zebras" [Big Grin]

I first saw the Inclusive Church statement last year outside one of the many churches in Cambridge, and liked it a lot.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
They don't want the evangelicals to leave. They need their money.

Honestly, SvitlanaV2, you can be very naive at times ...

Oh, I'm well aware that they want evangelical money. It's Karl you need to tell, not me. He's the one that's desperate for these people to go!

To judge from the Ship there is a strong sense of cognitive dissonance in the CofE's liberal wing, with some liberals expressing the desire for troublesome evangelicals to leave while at the same time needing them to stay.

Myself, I think it might be good for the institution to lose some money. It would certainly improve the institution's image if the most extreme people left. Smaller and more united, etc.

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Qoheleth.

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We [urban CofE] are signed up to Inclusive Church, with the concomitant logo, posters etc. There was no disagreement on the PCC, nobody flounced, and we continue to be a haven for refugees from other flavours of the CofE.
quote:
In this part of the Church of England,
we are glad to welcome all who come,
of whatever age or gender or sexual orientation,
or whatever other wonderful variety of human God has made.

When did signposting people to a safe place become 'virtue-signalling'? [Eek!]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Qoheleth.:
When did signposting people to a safe place become 'virtue-signalling'? [Eek!]

When people wish to frame their predjudices as virtue.

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If it's not here soon, I might be done
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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
They don't want the evangelicals to leave. They need their money.

Honestly, SvitlanaV2, you can be very naive at times ...

Oh, I'm well aware that they want evangelical money. It's Karl you need to tell, not me. He's the one that's desperate for these people to go!

To judge from the Ship there is a strong sense of cognitive dissonance in the CofE's liberal wing, with some liberals expressing the desire for troublesome evangelicals to leave while at the same time needing them to stay.

Myself, I think it might be good for the institution to lose some money. It would certainly improve the institution's image if the most extreme people left. Smaller and more united, etc.

It depends on what you mean by 'extreme'.

I've met Anglo-Catholics who are 'extreme', extreme Anglo-Papalists.

I do feel for Rome and its offers of Ordinariate entry for these people. I don't know what more Rome could have done to accommodate these people and offer them a bridge across The Tiber.

Yet some of them refuse to take it, for reasons I fail to understand.

By its very nature the CofE is fairly schizophrenic. For better or worse, that was always going to be the case following the Elizabethan Church Settlement.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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I was about to complain about the misuse of schizophrenic there, but perhaps suffering from delusions, out of touch with reality and avoided and misunderstood by most of the population's not so bad a description after all...

[ 27. November 2017, 20:37: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Qoheleth.:
When did signposting people to a safe place become 'virtue-signalling'? [Eek!]

When people wish to frame their predjudices as virtue.
Whereas of course if one expects them to be prejudiced before assessing any evidence, that is certainly not prejudice in any shape or form... [Roll Eyes]

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balaam

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Surely one of the biggest problems is that many - maybe most - people think that those who attend church are, ipso facto, Christians. If one takes the term "Christian" to mean someone who follows and applies the teachings of Christ in daily life it is apparent that there are regular church-attenders who are definitely not Christian.

It is not the problem at all, this is not even a problem. This is how it should be.

We were warned about this by Jesus himself when he told a parable about weeds being sown in a wheat field. Among the Christians (wheat) there will be non Christian weeds. It is nor our job to sort them out.

This is so important I'll repeat it, it is not our job to sort it out.

Whenever we start saying that it is apparent that there are regular church-attenders who are definitely not Christian we are trying to sort it out.

It is quite natural to do this, which is why we were warned not to. Christ's call is to everybody, Christ said that he will never reject anyone who comes to him, but we Christians like to ignore that, we like to do what Jesus would never do, reject people, and we do it in the name of Jesus. Jesus' words of condemnation were always directed towards the religious leaders who would make it difficult for people to come to God, he never condemned the ordinary people even when it was clear that they were sinners, such as a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery.

When we reject other people we are preventing these people from coming to Christ, we are trying to sort wheat from weeds - did I already say that is not our job?

So when a conservative speaks against LGBT people they are preventing them coming to Christ. Not their job; Christ's call is to all and Christ will sort it out.

When a progressive speaks against bigots they are preventing them coming to Christ. Not their job; Christ's call is to all, even bigots, and Christ will sort it out.

When someone says there are church attenders who are definitely non Christian they are preventing them coming to Christ. Not their job; Christ's call is to all and Christ will sort it out.

We do not have to sort our issues out first, we come to Christ with all our issues. You may not like the issues I still have but I am a work in progress.

Let the weeds grow with the wheat.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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What do you mean by "speaks against"? If you mean "not speak out about bigotry" then I'm not with you.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
It depends on what you mean by 'extreme'.

On this thread an 'extreme' individual means anyone who's ruining the CofE's tilt towards 'inclusivity, diversity and accessibility'.
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mr cheesy
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The other day I was listening to this remarkable conversation with Greg Boyle, a Jesuit and his work with gang-members in Los Angeles.

(I'd recommend listening, but the transcript is also at that link)

It has some really stand-out moments for me, like this:

quote:
I’m greatly privileged in my life to have known Cesar Chavez, who was an extraordinary leader of a movement but was also one of the best listeners I’d ever known. He could just — you were the only person who existed, if you were having a conversation with him. But I remember, once, a reporter had commented to him and said, “Wow, these farm workers, they sure love you.” And Cesar just shrugged and smiled. And he said, “The feeling’s mutual.”

[laughter]

And that’s what you hope for; I’m not the great healer, and that gang member over there is in need of my exquisite healing. The truth is, it’s mutual, and that as much as we are called to bridge the distance that exists between us, we have to acknowledge that there’s a distance, even in service: a service provider; you’re the service recipient. And you want to bridge even that so that you can get to this place of utter mutuality.

And I think that’s where the place of delight is: that I’ve learned everything of value, really, in the last 25 years, from precisely the people who you think are on the receiving end of my gifts and talent and wisdom, but quite the opposite. It’s mutual.

That seems like a profound truth to me that so often churches are missing. We need the poor, the disadvantaged, the weary, the tired, the left out, the old, the vulnerable, the weak, the excluded, the forgotten. The worthless.

We need them. Not because we have something important to teach them. Not because we can tell them how to straighten their lives out. Not because (heaven forbid!) that we need them to keep the &%$£ building going. But because our lives are tied up with theirs. Because we have stuff to learn of value from them and because the feeling is mutual.

A second thing I was thinking was about how easily we slip into the mindset of purity. Such-and-such a person simply isn't good enough, can't ever be good enough. Because of their gender, their clothing, something they've done to their bodies, who their partner is and so on.

And yet one of the clearest and least ambiguous passages in the whole New Testament states that there are to be no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female in Christ.

Where is the church that looks at people and doesn't see male or female, Jew or Gentile, slave or free? Where is the church which doesn't celebrate this or that about being a woman, a mother, a father etc? Where is the church where all the normal societal differences are left at the door, where the objective is not somehow extending or promoting a particular idealised lifestyle agenda?

I'm not seeing one.

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SvitlanaV2
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It's very difficult for a random church to truly be for everyone (except in its sloganising) because churches are institutions, and institutions develop to satisfy a particular niche. They also tend towards conservatism. Not necessarily in terms of theology, but in terms of culture and attitudes.

OTOH, it's sometimes argued that (British) congregations are actually more diverse than many other environments where people gather.

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Bishops Finger
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Diversity may well depend on the demographics of a church's parish or 'catchment area'.

Our Place, on an average Sunday morning, can see people from Angola/Latvia (one family), Poland, Nigeria, Russia, the Philippines/Portugal/Trinidad (all in one family!), Hungary, Barbados, and Great Britain. Even I am of Scottish/Irish ancestry, and entitled to citizenship of the Irish Republic.

These people range in age from 3 to 94. Some are 'cradle' Christians, others are coming gradually to faith (we have some confirmations likely next year), some are gay/bisexual/not sure, some are not legally 'married', others are divorced/co-habiting. One young 8-year old proudly announced to me the other week, 'I have AUTISM!!' We don't seem to have any transgender folk yet...

We don't proclaim we're Inclusive in any way - we simply are a backstreet parish church of Anglo-Catholic character (and, sadly, that means that at present, anyway, our PCC does not recognise as valid the ordination of women, though that situation may change in time).

I'm sure we're not unique, and that SvitlanaV2 is right about British diversity, at least in urban areas.

And I can now say 'Good Morning' in at least 12 languages!
[Big Grin]

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
It's very difficult for a random church to truly be for everyone (except in its sloganising) because churches are institutions, and institutions develop to satisfy a particular niche.

I'd say because churches are communities, and every community develops a particular culture.

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SvitlanaV2
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Individual congregations are communities and they each have their own culture, yes. But congregations normally belong to larger institutions (i.e. denominations) which also have a culture that the congregations have to fit in with to some extent.
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L'organist
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posted by Gamaliel
quote:
They don't want the evangelicals to leave. They need their money.

Honestly, SvitlanaV2, you can be very naive at times ...

Not just that. There are evangelicals who are prepared to admit that the quickest, and simplest, way to get wider acceptance of their views is to stage a coup d'etat from within the CofE. When I questioned this, I was told that wearing the badge of the established church gave some of their more unpalatable views respectability and a cloak of orthodoxy.

Think about it: it makes sense, and it appears to be happening.

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SvitlanaV2
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So, with reference to the OP, the question is how to neutralise the influence of evangelicals without losing them or (more importantly) their money.
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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
posted by Gamaliel
quote:
They don't want the evangelicals to leave. They need their money.

Honestly, SvitlanaV2, you can be very naive at times ...

Not just that. There are evangelicals who are prepared to admit that the quickest, and simplest, way to get wider acceptance of their views is to stage a coup d'etat from within the CofE. When I questioned this, I was told that wearing the badge of the established church gave some of their more unpalatable views respectability and a cloak of orthodoxy.

Think about it: it makes sense, and it appears to be happening.

Happens in politics too, like the Militant Tendency in the 1980's Labour Party and the Monday Club of the Conservative Party.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
There are evangelicals who are prepared to admit that the quickest, and simplest, way to get wider acceptance of their views is to stage a coup d'etat from within the CofE. When I questioned this, I was told that wearing the badge of the established church gave some of their more unpalatable views respectability and a cloak of orthodoxy.

Whether that's true or not, I can't say. But certainly said Evangelicals d believe that it is their God-given task to draw the Church back to its Purity and Truth, hence they'll stay within it.

Again their are political parallels.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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To put it another way, admitting you don't think God hates queers (and that's what it boils down to; if you believe that God will send people to Hell because their partner is the same sex, then you believe that God hates queers, even if you don't), attracts homophobes like a picnic attracts wasps.

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
posted by Gamaliel
quote:
They don't want the evangelicals to leave. They need their money.

Honestly, SvitlanaV2, you can be very naive at times ...

Not just that. There are evangelicals who are prepared to admit that the quickest, and simplest, way to get wider acceptance of their views is to stage a coup d'etat from within the CofE. When I questioned this, I was told that wearing the badge of the established church gave some of their more unpalatable views respectability and a cloak of orthodoxy.

Think about it: it makes sense, and it appears to be happening.

That's also true of those supporting or promoting a revisionist agenda on sexuality. Nothing then, to see here -- move along please!
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SvitlanaV2
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Going back to religion, in the English context it's only the CofE that seems to suffer from this evangelical entryism. One doesn't hear of Pentecostals joining the URC in order to cleanse it of heresies....

As I've said before, it's the CofE's status, normativity and influence that's the attraction. This is why I think it would help the CofE's liberal faction if the denomination were less normative and dominant in its position alongside the other churches. To me, of course, disestablishment would be one way of getting to that point.

Disestablishment (by the end of the century) isn't the most 'naive' option I could suggest. As things stand there's hardly going to be a flush of liberal (or Anglo-Catholic) entryists attempting to make the CofE less homophobic, and neither is the CofE going to become like the Church of Denmark, which receives financial support from the state, and therefore has no need of evangelicals or their money.

Perhaps if the Anglican Communion splits first the disestablishment of the CofE will become more likely. I don't know.

The least 'naive' possibility, of course, is that everything will continue in the same way, with mutual distaste remaining the name of the game.

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Enoch
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L'Organist and others I don't see any evidence of entryism in the CofE. The people who try to move the CofE in more enthusiastic directions are usually already CofE.

I can see that those who already regard the CofE as more like a denomination, might take the line 'would those who don't hold the same view of what they see as the true CofE as I do, please go somewhere else'. But if the CofE is comprehensively 'Christianity for the English', I don't think one can object in principle to the presence in it of people who would rather express their faith in a different way from oneself.

Unless 'those who think like me' utterly eschew any aspiration and all attempts to make the CofE more like themselves, they can't really complain that other groups are subversive or wicked when they have similar aspirations in a different direction.

It's unfortunate. It would be better if that wasn't the tradition. However, since the Oxford Movement, one has to acknowledge that take on church polity has alas a characteristic of the Anglican tradition.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
L'Organist and others I don't see any evidence of entryism in the CofE. The people who try to move the CofE in more enthusiastic directions are usually already CofE.


Yet L'organist said this:

quote:

There are evangelicals who are prepared to admit that the quickest, and simplest, way to get wider acceptance of their views is to stage a coup d'etat from within the CofE. When I questioned this, I was told that wearing the badge of the established church gave some of their more unpalatable views respectability and a cloak of orthodoxy.

There's certainly an implication here that being in the CofE is a deliberate choice for these people, not just somewhere that they happen to find themselves.

quote:

I can see that those who already regard the CofE as more like a denomination, might take the line 'would those who don't hold the same view of what they see as the true CofE as I do, please go somewhere else'. But if the CofE is comprehensively 'Christianity for the English', I don't think one can object in principle to the presence in it of people who would rather express their faith in a different way from oneself.

ISTM that the CofE is caught between two stools, being a denomination to which one can choose to belong and engage with, while also claiming to be 'Christianity for the English' in a very vague, inclusive but noncommittal sense.

This interstitial quality might once have been OK, but it seems rather impossible to manage today. Commentators note that the gap between the two groups is growing ever wider, not least because the attenders and the actively engaged are increasingly likely to be evangelicals, while the general public is predominantly secular and largely indifferent to the CofE.

As a result, some might argue that the only way for the CofE to offer 'Christianity for the English' is for the CofE to cease to be attractive to evangelicals. The English public and English evangelicals have too little in common with each other for any one religious institution to be able satisfy both groups.

[ 02. December 2017, 20:05: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Enoch
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If that is a sanitised version with no enthusiasm and nothing that might challenge anyone's complacency, the CofE isn't - or shouldn't be - offering Christianity for the English. That isn't it's mission. Nor is it its mission - nor that of any other ecclesial household - to keep one faction of its existing members happy, be they evangelicals, anglo-catholics, Professor Woodhead, the Prayer Book Society or the Royal School of Church Music.

If we go to core theology, the church is the body of Christ. It is about God, not community or nation. The priesthood of all believers means the church's role collectively is to represent God to the people and the people to God. There is quite a lot of scope for alternative views as to how to do this. The divided nature of Christendom, including Christendom in this country means that different ecclesial households may see this differently. I've no idea how other denominations interpret this. The CofE, though, has to do that in a way that people round about it can best hear and respond to.

It is, though, a fool's game, to design one's church polity so as to squeeze out the people in it who have the most energy and dynamism. The medieval church nearly made that mistake with the Franciscans, but didn't quite. The CofE did make that mistake at the end of the C18. However uncomfortable some of the odder evangelicals might be to live with and however much they may disturb our self-satisfaction, it should not make that mistake again.

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Baptist Trainfan
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Great comment, thanks.

As an outsider, ISTM that it's wrong for any individual church in the CofE to take a "party line", whether that be Evangelical, Charismatic, Liberal or High Church. We Baptists and other gathered churches can do that - but surely Anglican churches ought (somehow!) to offer home for all churchmanships.

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Bishops Finger
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Indeed, and that is often the case in many churches, especially (but not exclusively) in rural areas, where congregations are often composed of peeps from various backgrounds.

In towns with numerous churches/parishes, it's not unusual to find, for example, the High Church parish referring newcomers (who indicate they prefer the evangelical sort of thing) to the local char-evo church, and vice versa.

IYSWIM.

IJ

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
ISTM that it's wrong for any individual church in the CofE to take a "party line", whether that be Evangelical, Charismatic, Liberal or High Church.

But the reality seems to be that individual CofE churches often do have a 'party line', if by that you mean a distinct identity. More so than any other denomination in the country! And these groups don't only have their own churches, but apparently some of them (in particular the evangelicals) take their own interests to denominational meetings and try to impose them on other members, which is what Karl and others complain about on the Ship repeatedly.

The status quo works for the CofE in some ways and places, but I'm not really sure what it now means to say that the CofE today represents what Enoch calls 'Christianity for the English'. The CofE's not particularly successful at relating to people who don't engage with it. Fewer than half of English and Welsh people even identify as Christians, and that that figure is likely to increase. Fewer and fewer require the CofE for hatching, matching and dispatching.

More positively, the Church's social provision and its schools are widely admired. Maybe this kind of thing could be expanded. Like the Salvation Army the CofE could gather all its social and charity work under a single brand. This could then be its public face, rather than its noisy army of disputatious evangelicals, campaigning gay vicars and intellectual archbishops, none of whom are particularly admired by the public at large!

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Actually, what I complain about is people having bigoted and hateful attitudes and beliefs in the first place, I don't give a monkey's what denomination they're in. I don't want them to leave the CofE, I want them to stop being bigoted and telling me they have to be homophobes because God is.

[ 03. December 2017, 15:46: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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SvitlanaV2
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But if these bigots aren't in the same denomination as the non-bigots then where's the problem? A plurality of churches should mean that no one need be subjected to bigotry in church unless that's what he or she wants. Of course, some people do find themselves in the wrong churches. I don't know what can be done to prevent that.

If it's a question of destroying religious bigotry entirely then the CofE has clearly failed in this task if you believe it's currently harbouring bigotry in its ranks. But since the institution prioritises its 'broad church' image it can't really go after its own bigots. And it can't do much about bigots who belong to other denominations.

Barring radical (and 'naive') suggestions that no one here seems to like, there's not much of a solution. Over time evangelicals do generally become less strict and assertive, which presumably works against bigotry, but the CofE's evangelicals haven't uniformly reached the most compliant stage, and might not do so for some time. And there will always be strict Christian movements outside the CofE.

[ 03. December 2017, 20:07: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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balaam

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You seem to think that having different opinions within a denomination is a bad thing.

It is not as been mooted on these boards a sign that the CofE is about to self destruct. In fact it is nothing of the kind and a sign of strength.

The differences are not some minority group carping from the sidelines, you will see the contentious subjects (quick sidestep to avoid a dying dobbin) not avoided but deliberately included as discussion criteria in synod.

The CofE is strong enough to face up to to its disagreements. The death of the CofE has been prophesied, wrongly, for a long time, and it has been shown to be a false prophesy.

I'd be more worried about denominations that do not have the strength to face their disagreements head in.

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SvitlanaV2
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Internal diversity isn't a problem for me personally, but the Ship regularly brings up the ever-present awfulness of conservative evangelicalism, which is why I talk about it. That the CofE's members are willing to live with this constant state of mutual distrust and disapproval fascinates me.

But maybe this ongoing condition of 'Christian unrest' is simply the CofE's way of being. Its members are used to feeling cross about other people in the denomination, and would be uncomfortable with any serious attempt to 'deal' with the fractious divisions.

It's very different from the denominational setting I'm accustomed to, and I'm still trying to understand it.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Internal diversity isn't a problem for me personally, but the Ship regularly brings up the ever-present awfulness of conservative evangelicalism, which is why I talk about it. That the CofE's members are willing to live with this constant state of mutual distrust and disapproval fascinates me.

It's more prosaic than fascinating, people tend to ignore each other for the most part and get on with whatever they were doing anyway.
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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
But if these bigots aren't in the same denomination as the non-bigots then where's the problem?

Bigotry is always and inherently a problem. Bigots have acquaintances and family their bigotry can harm. They have votes they can use to enforce their bigotry. That's the problem with bigotry; they don't keep it to themselves.

Having a problem with teh gayz is not the problem. Going out and insisting government not let them marry or adopt, fot example, is, regardless of the denomination of the person doing it.

Try replacing "bigot" with "racist" and see how your "what's the problem?" reads then.

[ 04. December 2017, 06:06: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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mr cheesy
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I'm probably repeating myself again, but to me the major problem is that Conservatives (particularly Evangelicals) don't seem to recognise the disconnect when they campaign for their moral position to be the legal norm for everyone.

One thing to state confidently one's own moral qualms and weird religious behaviours. Another thing to try to enforce them onto others via the secular law.

Somehow they want both the right to be religious rebels, non-conformists and to follow a higher authority - but at the same time they want to determine legally how others behave.

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wabale
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The questions raised in the OP first struck me very forcibly when churches, along with everybody else, were told to make provision for the disabled and to introduce protocols to protect children. Why did it take developments in secular thinking on the subject before churches suddenly realised it was the right thing to do? My own church, including me, had clearly lost the plot.

I personally think that getting people to sign up for a detailed set of beliefs or principles has had its day. If the words help unite people all well and good. But in an increasingly diverse society getting people to sign up to a detailed document can divide. My own parish church split twice over a period of thirty years when vicars tried to set out in writing what ‘our’ Church believed in. Among the many problems in doing this is that it’s not ‘our church’, is it?

Because our present vicar is a particularly nice chap, the gay community has been represented in Messy Church, and his ‘Traditional’ views about them are not an issue. Having heard sad stories about one Conservative Evangelical church in London, and its vicar’s campaign to ‘define’ the church in all sorts of ways, I’m all in favour of ‘fudge’, and despite my own understanding of the faith based on approaching it from a Conservative Evangelical perspective, I like the Anglican mixture of flavours, which work well together when they’re not being tribal.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
That's the problem with bigotry; they don't keep it to themselves.

Having a problem with teh gayz is not the problem. Going out and insisting government not let them marry or adopt, fot example, is, regardless of the denomination of the person doing it.

Try replacing "bigot" with "racist" and see how your "what's the problem?" reads then.

Racists are sometimes quite circumspect about admitting to their racism. But if they generally keep their racism to themselves why should I have a problem with that? The contents of other people's heads are only a problem if they try to impose their beliefs on everyone else.

Nevertheless, within certain boundaries we're all entitled to try and convince others of our views. So, taking your perspective, how can all churches in the land be convinced to drop their bigotry?

From what I've read, Protestant nations that keep their state churches under the close control of tolerant, secular authorities tend to have the most tolerant religious groups. Their established churches get state money and state attention, which reduces any inclination to reject the state's tolerant morality; and stricter Christian groups are disadvantaged in terms of finances, planning permission and/or what they can preach. This means that these alternative groups remain small, weak and relatively toothless.

Denmark is a very good example. Sweden too (although the Church of Sweden was disestablished over a decade ago). Churchgoing rates in both countries are very low, but at least the churches there are forced to be tolerant.

England would be the same if the state paid for CofE clergy salaries and covered church maintenance costs, and also if we had a stronger culture of social conformity. Neither is likely to happen, but social change is a reality in our society as well as theirs, and very few young evangelicals can be cocooned from it.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
That's the problem with bigotry; they don't keep it to themselves.

Having a problem with teh gayz is not the problem. Going out and insisting government not let them marry or adopt, fot example, is, regardless of the denomination of the person doing it.

Try replacing "bigot" with "racist" and see how your "what's the problem?" reads then.

Racists are sometimes quite circumspect about admitting to their racism. But if they generally keep their racism to themselves why should I have a problem with that? The contents of other people's heads are only a problem if they try to impose their beliefs on everyone else.


Well, to try to get the force of my analogy, imagine a kind of racist who's fond of telling you how apostate the church is for having black people there, and actively campaigns for white supremacy to be politically maintained.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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SvitlanaV2
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If they're applying political influence to control me then I have to apply political force back. I will, of course, need an army of people who think the same as I do to support the cause. In Britain today that's not a problem; most people are formally on the side of racial justice.

But you write as if evangelicals wield massive political power. In England this simply isn't the case, and certainly not at the national level.

AFAICS the only English evangelicals who have any chance at successfully imposing any political pressure are in the CofE. That being so, why worry about evangelicals in other churches? Just get people of that ilk out of the CofE then they'd be practically powerless!

As for whether or not any random Christian or dusty old congregation thinks I'm apostate, who cares? My salvation is my own concern.

[ 05. December 2017, 01:36: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Gamaliel
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If evangelicals within the CofE were ever to try to wield or apply political pressure then they would do so by drawing on support from evangelicals in other churches.

Yes, there is a strong evangelical tradition within Anglicanism but by and large these days, the more 'successful' evangelical Anglican parishes tend to cater for people of an evangelical persuasion who may sit very lightly by any sense of 'Anglican identity'.

I've heard it said that the reason that there are more noticeable tensions between the evangelicals and others within the CofE is because numbers have declined to such an extent and the internet / social media etc has grown to the point that they are now more aware of what each other are doing.

Time was when an evangelical parish on Bloggs Street would have been blissfully unaware - and unconcerned - about what went on down at St Sepulchre's - and vice-versa.

Now they have to rub up against each other and that can cause friction.

In some respects, though, some evangelicals and some High Church Anglicans find common cause and common ground - against the MoTR and lib'ruls ...

But by and large they tend to co-exist on parallel tracks and do their own thing.

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quantpole
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quote:
I came to believe that being explicit about stuff (one way or the other) actually causes more divisions than just trying to rub along together. In my experience anyway. YMMV.
(Apologies for going back somewhat.) I used to think similarly but then realised it wasn't good enough. There has been massive harm to children and young people who haven't explicitly been told that there is nothing wrong with being gay.
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