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Source: (consider it) Thread: Homosexuality and Christianity
Arabella Purity Winterbottom

Trumpeting hope
# 3434

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Um, have you ever been into a sex shop, fishfish? There are an awful lot more of them aimed at the straight market than there are at the gay market. And their biggest money is in videos. If our censorship office down at the end of the world is anything to go by there are some 30-40 new straight porn titles coming in every month, and maybe 1 or 2 gay porn titles.

Added to which there is next to no lesbian porn (that is, porn aimed at lesbians, as opposed to the vast number of films of two women having sex aimed at the heterosexual male market) so I guess any lesbians involved in the gay rights movement must have been there for the gay rights movement.

I think its a nasty piece of wrongful association on the part of the author. A very large number of straight men, some of them Christians, use porn - does that mean everything else they do is suspect?

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Hell is full of the talented and Heaven is full of the energetic. St Jane Frances de Chantal

Posts: 3702 | From: Aotearoa, New Zealand | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Louise
Shipmate
# 30

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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
What does everyone make of this article?

Is he right that the world is being sold a lie?

Sadly, that's the sort of attempt to smear gay people as sexually depraved I'd expect to find on Virtue online and I'd like to have back the five minutes of my life I wasted trying to wade through it.

What's really amusing is that I actually know of a book shop in Leith Walk (I've been in it with Rex) which has a window full of fossils and telescopes and the occasional innocuous publication but when you get inside you find the hard-core stuff, it's a front for a Creationist Christian group and the books and videos inside the shop are full-on Hovind, YEC, fundy publications. The whole thing is designed to look like a respectable scientific supplies shop and bookshop until you're inside and then the dreadful truth emerges!

Just think, if I wanted to write like that author, I could use it as a jumping off point for a whole ugly conspiracy rant, about how these nice so-called mainstream Christians who seem to have normal decent values are really a trojan horse, a cover for the hideous reality of fundamentalists trying to destroy our values and turn our country into a backward theocracy, and I should know and be in a great position to rubbish them as I had a conversion experience, went to an evangelical church, adopted their lifestyle and have seen the things they post on the internet, but then my eyes were opened and now I will reveal to you how depraved these people are and how they are actually a threat to our values! How the notion that most evangelicals are nice people who want their religion to be respected is lies - all lies! etc. etc.


Seriously Fish Fish, it's sad that you think stuff like this has any merit. Do you go and look on racist sites when you want info about ethnic minorities? Do you browse over to skeptic.com when you want to know about Christianity? Or consult Ian Paisley's website for info on Catholicism? No? Then why do you think Virtue online would be a useful source on gay people?

Louise

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Posts: 6918 | From: Scotland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ToujoursDan

Ship's prole
# 10578

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Even the conservatives in the US think David Virtue is an embarrassment and question whether he's lost it.

http://www.standfirminfaith.com/mt/archives/000753.html


Quoting him will seriously undermine anyone's case.

[ 08. March 2006, 21:56: Message edited by: ToujoursDan ]

Posts: 3734 | From: NYC | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Callan
Shipmate
# 525

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From the article:

quote:
This is how it works. McNeill reinterprets the story of Sodom, claiming that it does not condemn homosexuality, but gang rape. Orthodox theologians respond, in a commendable but naïve attempt to rebut him, naïve because these theologians presume that McNeill believes his own arguments, and is writing as a scholar, not as a propagandist. McNeill ignores the arguments of his critics, dismissing their objections as based on homophobia, and repeats his original position.
Ummm, I possess a copy of Richard Hays' 'The Morality of the New Testament'. Hays is a very competent evangelical New Testament scholar who, whose work is endorsed by George Carey and N.T. Wright and who holds the traditional position on homosexuality. Guess what? Hays agrees that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is of no great relevance to the argument about homosexuality. Has Hays sold out? I don't think so.

There is a sensible traditionalist case against homosexuality. I don't, myself, agree with its conclusions but I recognise the intellectual force of the arguments. I think those of us on the liberal side need to engage with voices like Hays who patently isn't a bigot and wants to take seriously the authority of scripture. And, to be fair, they generally repay the compliment.

I wouldn't, frankly, extend the same courtesy to Mr Lee or, indeed the inaptly named Mr Virtue. I think that the argument from promiscuity is based on wilful blindness about what straight people get up to and the blanket dismissal of the intellectual dishonesty of those who disagree with one, whilst using arguments of dubious merit oneself shows a degree of performative inconsistency*. The world, to answer your question Fish Fish, is not being sold a lie. The world is invariably sold lots of lies, frequently from opposing sides of an argument. Even if Hays is right and I am wrong, that article is one of them.

*An expression frequently adverted to by the philosopher Jurgen Habermas. Those not as eloquent as the greatest living philosopher may consider the vernacular, 'hypocritical twat'.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9757 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
John Donne

Renaissance Man
# 220

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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
What does everyone make of this article?

Is he right that the world is being sold a lie?

No. I don't think the world is being sold a lie. Human beings are promiscuous. Happy faithful monogamous families are the exception rather than the rule. And gay ppl are no different.

quote:
The Internet offers front row seats to the circus of a disintegrating civilization.
I do agree with this though. Some of the literary pr0n (straight and gay) I read makes me despair on behalf of the whole human race. We have, as Roger Waters sings, Amused ourself to death.

[ETA: That article wasn't by Virtue, but by a celibate gay man name Lee]

[ 09. March 2006, 03:56: Message edited by: The Coot ]

Posts: 13667 | From: Perth, W.A. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
John Donne

Renaissance Man
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Time to edit elapsed: Lee is not actually celibate, but has a chaste intimate relationship.
Posts: 13667 | From: Perth, W.A. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Robert Armin

All licens'd fool
# 182

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The author of the article has clearly had a terrible time in his personal life, and I feel sorry for him. But I'm not sure that his experience is enough to conclude that:
quote:
most of them (gay men) will spend the rest of their lives (watching porn), until God or AIDS, drugs or alcohol, suicide or a lonely old age, intervenes.
I can't hep feeling there are a few more options than that around.

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Keeping fit was an obsession with Fr Moity .... He did chin ups in the vestry, calisthenics in the pulpit, and had developed a series of Tai-Chi exercises to correspond with ritual movements of the Mass. The Antipope Robert Rankin

Posts: 8927 | From: In the pack | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tabby Cat
Shipmate
# 4561

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He looks like a really messed-up guy, who wants there to be an inevitability to his bad experiences and those of the people around him. Because otherwise, why did they happen to him?

That's no excuse to write such poisonous things, although it's such a confused, nonsensical article I'm quite surprised that it's managed to poison anybody.

Posts: 1063 | From: Paddling at the edge of the sea | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Yish
Shipmate
# 11115

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I've been reading through this thread over the past several days and I'd like to contribute. This is not quite the same as we don't have the NT to deal with (!) but I'm an openly gay Rabbi in a quite conservative community and environment. I "came out" straight away as there seemed no point in hiding it. I'm a practising gay, I have a partner and my congregation know him. Initially I had a lot of problems, I was moved from here to there while the higher powers tried to find somewhere where I wouldn't offend the congregation by my very presence! In the end, I was invited by a reformative congregation to come to them when their previous Rabbi died. They were very curious I think, more than anything else. So the way I dealt with it was to hold a "Q&A" session where they could all ask me whatever they wanted. I took Paul, my partner along, and it lasted for four hours (Israelis KNOW how to hold a meeting!) Some people said they'd leave immediately as it was "wrong" and I offered to leave rather than ruin their community. Most of them said no, don't leave, stay and we'll see what happens. I've been there for fourteen years now and no one mentions my sexuality any more. If they ring me and get Paul they're friendly and inclusive of him. It wasn't a free ride, it took a bit of time but we all got there in the end. The higher powers still often use my sexuality against me every time I step out of line (which I do often, thank G-d it's not going on my driving license or I'd have been banned by now!) but my stepping out of line really has nothing to do with my sexuality, it has to do with my belief that we should all try a bit harder to get on with each other. I used to be really embarrassed by my sexuality, I'm not any more. I'm not promiscuous but, even if I was, that wouldn't affect my abilities as a Rabbi. In Israel, there are only about three Rabbi's who are openly gay, this means we are open targets for some people but most seem to just think "oh well, that's life!" I suspect my congregation originally started with the idea they could "reform" me but they've given that idea up now!

When I get the hate mail I just think to myself "more work to do then" and carry on. This thread is a testament to those of you who are Christian for having the willingness to open your minds and see beyond the box.

*I'm not putting myself forward as a perfect Rabbi, I'm crap in most ways but I do believe in what I'm doing and I think that counts for more than perfect adherence to scripture!*

So that's me out of the closet on your message board! All those who pm'ed me with supportive comments are now free to withdraw them! [Biased]

Yish.

{This poster turned out to be a sock puppet - not who he says he is, or what he claims to be - Louise, Dead Horses Host}

[ 16. November 2007, 01:09: Message edited by: Louise ]

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http://www.reform.org.il/English/default.htm

Posts: 56 | From: Jerusalem (UK presently) | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged
leo
Shipmate
# 1458

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Excellent post, Yish.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

Posts: 23198 | From: Bristol | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Robert Armin

All licens'd fool
# 182

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Thank you for posting Yish - it's good to have you here.

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Keeping fit was an obsession with Fr Moity .... He did chin ups in the vestry, calisthenics in the pulpit, and had developed a series of Tai-Chi exercises to correspond with ritual movements of the Mass. The Antipope Robert Rankin

Posts: 8927 | From: In the pack | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Yish
Shipmate
# 11115

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Thanks. I think my congregation might be rather disturbed to hear themselves called "conservative"! I really meant the geographical area is conservative.

To add to this discussion I found that most of the points raised at that meeting were not from a theological perspective but more from a social perceptions perspective.

There was quite a bit of worry that I might not be safe around children (although they were very vague about why) I pointed out to them that paedophilia was not a sexuality-based issue but a crime-based issue and that there was no evidence supporting the fact the gay people were more likely to be paedophiles than anyone else.

There was concern that I might teach the children to "be gay" in some way, I confirmed that I wouldn't be doing that (is that even possible?!)

There was concern that my gayness might bring unwanted attention on their congregation which is a very peaceful, harmonious and supportive congregation.

What did I think about straight people getting married was another one.

Because I didn't have a wife, who would run the bridge club? (Paul offered and they accepted!)

There were one or two genuine theological objections but these were overcome by my agreeing that other people had every right to interpret the Bible in a different way to me and that I wouldn't condone any bullying of people who felt strongly against homosexuality on theological grounds (I wouldn't condone bullying any way) There are still people in my congregation who prefer it not to be mentioned and that's not a problem for me, I'm not into forcing people to change their point of view and I'm not pushing a gay cause, I'm a Rabbi. Paul discreetly removes himself when they come round.

My pledge to them was that we would take it one step at a time and see how it went. At their own pace, not mine. That nobody would be obliged to support my sexuality if they didn't want to. And that if it didn't work out I would leave without any bad feelings.

I think, these days, they're much more worried about my politics than about my sexuality! We're a community who spend a lot of time trying to forward the cause of progressive Judaism and trying to forge friendly links with Palestine. These things have become much more important than my sexual preferences.

I hope this post is in keeping with the idea of this thread and not just me talking about myself when nobody's interested!

Yish

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http://www.reform.org.il/English/default.htm

Posts: 56 | From: Jerusalem (UK presently) | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged
Amos

Shipmate
# 44

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Don't be silly. You're not boring anyone. It's great to have you here.

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At the end of the day we face our Maker alongside Jesus--ken

Posts: 7667 | From: Summerisle | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Green Tomato
Apprentice
# 11182

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I came out to myself a while ago, but haven't done much about it until now. It's not easy finding other gay Christians in SW England, and Changing Attitude and LGCM were to me useless - both suggested I join, rather than actually provide any contacts, and frankly I don't want to align myself with either. So I've come from out in the sticks to The Styx, and am dipping my toe in the waters and hoping to get to know some folks here.

I'm serving my Apprenticeship before I can join the relevant private board. Until then, constructive replies to this or personal messages welcome.

Shalom
GT

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'Wherever you go, there you are'

Posts: 9 | From: SW England | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged
Spiffy
Ship's WonderSheep
# 5267

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quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
The author of the article has clearly had a terrible time in his personal life, and I feel sorry for him. But I'm not sure that his experience is enough to conclude that:
quote:
most of them (gay men) will spend the rest of their lives (watching porn), until God or AIDS, drugs or alcohol, suicide or a lonely old age, intervenes.
I can't hep feeling there are a few more options than that around.
Oui, some of us spend a significant portion of our lives on Christian chat boards. [Big Grin]

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Looking for a simple solution to all life's problems? We are proud to present obstinate denial. Accept no substitute. Accept nothing.
--Night Vale Radio Twitter Account

Posts: 10281 | From: Beervana | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Alogon
Cabin boy emeritus
# 5513

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In Ecclesiantics: Civil Partnership Blesssing, LynnMagdalenCollege writes:

quote:
There are many people who look at human history and observe that one of the marks of a culture in rapid decline is the "normalization" of homosexuality.
Can you give us several historical examples of a culture in a rapid decline preceded or accompanied by a normalization of homosexuality?

I'd like to suggest several counterexamples.

(1) Ancient Greece: It's no good merely to note that homosexuality coincided with the decline of a civilization if it also coincided with that civilization's rise. This seems to be the case here, to put it mildly. In Pederasty and Pedagogy in Ancient Greece, William Armstrong Percy argues that boylove was instituted deliberately and early, in order to reduce overpopulation among the aristocracy. An unintended but very fortunate side-effect was these relationships contributed powerfully to education, inspiration, and cultural continuity from one generation to the next. Far from causing the decline of Greece, he believes that it caused its rise. The uniqueness of the quick, brilliant flowering of Greek civilization has been a mystery every since. This explanation is as good as any, associating it as it does with another nearly unique feature.

(2) Elizabethan times, during which not only was the culture of England particularly brilliant, but her star was rising as a world imperial power.

(3) The United States in revolutionary war times. What would have become of George Washington and the dispirited rabble shivering with him at Valley Forge had not the openly gay Baron Von Steuben been training and molding them into a proper army?

(4) Contrariwise, Alisdair Hixson in The Poisoned Bowl describes the fairly freewheeling life of schoolboys in early Victorian England, when the British Empire was expanding. Outside of class they were essentially unsupervised and free to live as they wished. A homophobic preoccupation on the part of masters with punishing and preventing romantic liasons between students began distinctly and abruptly in mid-century (the author is able to assign this innovation to a specific year). Many ensuing changes in the organization and administration of British public schools are attributable to it. For instance, the house system, AKA divide and conquer: it became a serious offense to have even the most casual conversation with a boy from another house. Groups were marched around in lock-step to prevent eyes from wandering. As this indoctrinated generation matured, suppression of homosexuality in society at large intensified, especially after the Oscar Wilde trial. By the time sodomy laws were repealed in Britain, her imperial days were largely in fantasyland. Clearly, if the decline of this society has any relationship at all to the "normalization" of homosexuality, it is a negative one.

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Patriarchy (n.): A belief in original sin unaccompanied by a belief in God.

Posts: 7808 | From: West Chester PA | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Bullfrog.

Prophetic Amphibian
# 11014

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I don't have evidence of this, but I suspect that one sign of a society in declineis a sudden obsession with scapegoats, including (but not limited to) homosexuals.

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Some say that man is the root of all evil
Others say God's a drunkard for pain
Me, I believe that the Garden of Eden
Was burned to make way for a train. --Josh Ritter, Harrisburg

Posts: 7522 | From: Chicago | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
nerdygeek
Apprentice
# 11245

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This argument is often used but nearly always it's counter-productive as the evidence doesn't back it up.

Ancient Greece, good example. Ancient Greece was almost built on homosexual "procilivities."

The history goes on and on. Where would classical music be without Tchaikovsky etc.

I'm no great knowledge on British laws but Queen Victoria certainly did some damage by implying that "female homosexuals" didn't really exist. Or, if they did, they didn't exist in any real sense. Only certain "acts" were considered as real sexual acts at that time.

I think this is a big part of the problem.

Most of you know that I'm a good friend of Yish and he always says - the problem is, heterosexuals judge us on what they think we do in bed.

To use history in this way is to pevert history. It's not borne out by the facts.

Scripturally it might be a different matter, but I just don't see it. I'm a Catholic-Atheist (which puts me slightly lower in the scheme of things than mass murderers!!) To imply that society has taken a "down-turn" since homosexuality has been more accepted is wrong, both historically and morally.

Many civilizations were built and constructed by homosexuals. I'm not gay and I've never felt any inclination to be gay, but to try to justify hatred under the guise of history is incorrect.

Scripturally, you might have a point. Historically, it's rubbish.

Posts: 38 | From: Chicago, Illinois | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

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quote:
I'm no great knowledge on British laws but Queen Victoria certainly did some damage by implying that "female homosexuals" didn't really exist.
Interestingly, this popular myth is debunked in the most recent Fortean Times.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
nerdygeek
Apprentice
# 11245

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
I'm no great knowledge on British laws but Queen Victoria certainly did some damage by implying that "female homosexuals" didn't really exist.
Interestingly, this popular myth is debunked in the most recent Fortean Times.
I've had a look but I can't find the article you're referring to, could you please give me a link, I'd like to read it.

Thanks.

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Memorial

Posts: 38 | From: Chicago, Illinois | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Spiffy da WonderSheep:
Oui, some of us spend a significant portion of our lives on Christian chat boards. [Big Grin]

But that's true of some straight people too, I've been told.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

Posts: 63536 | From: Washington | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by nerdygeek:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
I'm no great knowledge on British laws but Queen Victoria certainly did some damage by implying that "female homosexuals" didn't really exist.
Interestingly, this popular myth is debunked in the most recent Fortean Times.
I've had a look but I can't find the article you're referring to, could you please give me a link, I'd like to read it.

Thanks.

It's this month's Mythbuster. I doubt it's online yet; they don't usually stick the current issue online.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Psyduck

Ship's vacant look
# 2270

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On the "Should...allowed... adopt" thread, I posted this:
quote:
We've actually been having a very interesting debate in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland this week about homosexuality. In the run up to the Assembly, this spawned 3 groups, "Forward Together", a pretty conservative Evangelical grouping, "Affirmation Scotland", which endorses complete inclusion of glbt people, and a more centrist, but still essentially affirmative group "OneKirk". This latter have produced an interesting booklet which is available on their site as a PDF file, and which covers a lot of the ground of the recent debate on this thread, and for balance I'll mention that the "Forward Together" group also produced one available on theirs. I'm not linking to them, as I'm not clear on protocols here (no doubt a host will advise) but a quick google should turn them up.
The situation we now have is that the "Declaratory Act" allowing Ministers and Deacons to bless, or to refuse to bless, Civil Partnerships beat a motion to have us forbidden to do so by a majority of 8, and when, having come through as the surviving motion it was put in its own right, it passed by a considerably bigger motion, but was sent down under the "Barrier Act" - a procedure for supposedly innovative legislation - for the Church's Presbyteries to vote on in the coming year. (It probably passed nore substantially the second time because some of those who lost reckoned that it would fail to carry the majority it needs in the Presbyteries.)

To my amazement, there's been next to no broadcast coverage of this up here - and most of the quite scant newspaper stuff is linked to in the Forward Together site - and this has given the whole debate a rather introverted feel. I just wondered how it looks from outside the Church of Scotland.

If it's OK with the hosts, I'll provide links to all three websites later.

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The opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is certainty.
"Lle rhyfedd i falchedd fod/Yw teiau ar y tywod." (Ieuan Brydydd Hir)

Posts: 5433 | From: pOsTmOdErN dYsToPiA | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Arabella Purity Winterbottom

Trumpeting hope
# 3434

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Good luck with the next year, then - I hope it goes better than it did here.

The Barrier Act - I'd forgotten how much it sounds like a contraceptive.

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Hell is full of the talented and Heaven is full of the energetic. St Jane Frances de Chantal

Posts: 3702 | From: Aotearoa, New Zealand | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Psyduck

Ship's vacant look
# 2270

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Thanks, APW. Is this more or less what happened in A-NZ?

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The opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is certainty.
"Lle rhyfedd i falchedd fod/Yw teiau ar y tywod." (Ieuan Brydydd Hir)

Posts: 5433 | From: pOsTmOdErN dYsToPiA | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Arabella Purity Winterbottom

Trumpeting hope
# 3434

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Well, you're already a step ahead, actually. It is considered likely that GA in September will move to ban ministers from having anything to do with civil unions. They may also vote to make it something that doesn't need to be considered under the Barrier Act. The last GA, in response to my case, banned anyone who is queer from applying for ministry training without sending it down - which is the second time this has happened. This time, however, it was so badly phrased that it knocked out a handful of straight ministers as well - those in de facto relationships.

Unfortunately, the climate here is such that even if it does go down the move to ban will succeed. The last churchwide vote, about 6 years ago, came out horribly anti-gay, something like 80%. Which I guess is better than it would have been 15 years ago, but still. My feeling is that the climate has worsened, but I may have extremely personal reasons for feeling that!

Any substantive vote in GA in NZ has to reach a 60% majority, which is what has prevented things being worse than they might otherwise be. However, the vote to exclude two years ago reached that percentage. It also seems likely that there will be a push to return to a 50% vote - its been in the wind for at least the last three assemblies.

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Hell is full of the talented and Heaven is full of the energetic. St Jane Frances de Chantal

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Arabella Purity Winterbottom

Trumpeting hope
# 3434

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Psyduck, I attempted to send you a bit more information, but your PM box overfloweth.

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Hell is full of the talented and Heaven is full of the energetic. St Jane Frances de Chantal

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TonyK

Host Emeritus
# 35

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Psyduck - I can't see any problems with you posting the links you mentioned. Assuming, of course, that they do not require the 'double-click' protection of certain sites! [Smile]

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Yours aye ... TonyK

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Louise
Shipmate
# 30

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I was frustrated with the lack of news coverage too, Psyduck. Could you explain a bit more to me? I imagine that its chances in the Presbyteries are poor. I was told it was one presbytery - one vote and that there were likely to be more conservative presbyteries than liberal ones. What would really worry me, though, would be a ban on celebrating blessings which took no account of conscience. What do you think are the chances of that happening now?

Also I've never been entirely clear on where the Kirk stood with gay ministers. Do you know a bit more about it?

cheers,
Louise

PS would this be different enough for a Purgatory thread, to ask how the Kirk is handling this issue and what people know about it?

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Psyduck

Ship's vacant look
# 2270

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OK, the history to this is complex, but basically the Church of Scotland' General Assembly, received and accepted some Committee reports since WWII which were sympathetic to gay people but basically not accepting of homosexual relationships. (A "report" in this instance is just that - the report of a committee of the GA which is usually "received" - which doesn't imply acceptance in itself - then "accepted", with "deliverances" - specific findings or recommendations - voted on individually, and if passed becoming the view of the Assembly)

In the early nineties, the Assembly was asked to discipline a minister for conducting "weddings" of gay people. I'm putting this in inverted commas, because it's not quite clear what was being done. The Assembly declined to do this. The legal position since then has been that the Church has had no "mind" on this matter. In this situation, my understanding is that some ministers had been conducting religious services, and that even before, but certainly with, the arrival of Civil Partnerships, Presbytery Clerks and I think the Clerks to the General Assembly had been approached by ministers who were unsure whether they might be leaving themselves open to discipline by conducting such services.

The Legal Questions Committee was asked to consider this by the Clerks, and came up with the suggestion that the Assembly pass a Declaratory Act - an act which basically explains the Assembly's own constructuion of the law of the Church. There are several such, including one that protects our rights as Ministers not to have to accept the letter of the Westminster Confession, but only the "substance of the Christian faith" which it contains. In the end, the Church reserves its position to judge what that substance is, but I'm not, for instance, required to believe that the Pope is "the true Antichrist, that man of sin".

Sooooo. The proposal was for a Declaratory Act that allowed Ministers the freedom to decide in the light of pastoral circumstances whether or not a service of blessing for a Civil Partnership (already, of course, created by the State) was appropriate. If they did, they would not be punished. If they did not, on grounds of conscience, Biblical understanding, etc. they would not be punished.

The debate on this was last Tuesday. There was a countermotion in the name of "Forward Together", which would have forbidden Ministers and Deacons from conducting such services, and left them open to discipline if they did. All Commissioners to the General Assembly got a leaflet from FT, which you can read on their website, outlining their position.

Once this had arrived, two other groups were formed in quick succession, "Affirmation Scotland", for unequivocal affirmation of LGBT people in the Church, and "OneKirk" which was aimed more at a conciliatory approach, and holding the Church together, but is still basically very affirmative. This latter group produced a leaflet which also went out to all commissioners, and you can see it on their website.

In the debate, there was a motion to send down whichever of the two alternative motions won to the 50 or so Presbyteries of the Church, under the "Barrier Act" which would require a majority of Presbyteries to approve it before it became the law of the Church. There was a further, technical, motion that in the case of the conservative porposal winning, there would be an "Interim Act" which would provisionally make it the law of the church, so that all services of blessing would be banned for the year it took to consult all the Presbyteries. This passed.

In the event, the conservative proposal was defeated by eight votes, and when the winning Declaratory Act proposal was put to the Assembly to be approved by a straight yes or no, (if it had lost, we would have been left with the status quo, and no "mind of the Church" on the matter) the majority was much bigger. Presumably this was because a lot of conservatives now believed that the Presbyteries would kill the Declaratory Act.

My interpretation of the situation is that morally but not quite legally the Declaratory Act did indeed carry at the Assembly. More people voted for it than for the countermotion, and presumably, in this vote people would only have voted for the Declaratory Act if they had wanted to see it become the law of the Church. It is possible that say five of the conservative persuasion voted for it hoping that it would win and be defeated - but that would still be to create the fact that the committee's motion, and the Declaratory Act proposal had won its vote on the floor of the Assembly, and I'd be surprised if anyone did that.

However, legally, the vote took place with the Assembly already knowing that whatever happened it would be going to the Presbyteries under the Barrier Act, so it sn't really possible to tell.

Actually, there was a lot of grace in the process, and none of the nightmarish things I'd feared happening on the floor of the Assembly came about. You can get a lot of the flavour of the current debate from the three websites, and they are here:

Forward Together Affirmation Scotland
OneKirk

I have to be honest; I expect that the legislation will fall at Presbytery level - but that will bring us back to the status quo, only now a status quo that will need to be interpreted as between Presbyteries who don't want a Declaratory Act, and a General Assembly that, given the choice between that an Act forbidding blessings, apparently did. I personally thought that the vote on the floor of the Assembly would be lost by a sizable margin, and it wasn't. People who share my relief seem also to have expected this. (Another reason why I don't think it will be easy to argue that the straight vote between motion and countermotion could have been influenced by tactical voting; I think that anyone against the Declaratory Act would have scented victory and voted the other way - but that might be too simplistic.)

Anyway, this has been a long and Presbyterian post. Thanks for bearing with me...

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The opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is certainty.
"Lle rhyfedd i falchedd fod/Yw teiau ar y tywod." (Ieuan Brydydd Hir)

Posts: 5433 | From: pOsTmOdErN dYsToPiA | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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Quick query, if I would like to get involved in this thread, how many of the 63 pages (approx 3150 posts) would I be expected to read first ?

Thanks,

Doublethink

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

Posts: 19219 | From: Erehwon | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

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I would say as many as required to maintain the pretence that you've read most of it... and perhaps just forgotten the occasional post in the middle of the order.

And so it depends very much on the point you'd like to make.

I speak with all the caveats of a humble shipmate only, thinking pragmatically, of course.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Soror Magna
Shipmate
# 9881

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I found this post most helpful when I first started reading this thread:

Joan the Outlaw-Dwarf's PSA

Cheers, OliviaG

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

Posts: 5430 | From: Caprica City | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Louise
Shipmate
# 30

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Tony posted on this recently on another thread - I'll copy it for you.

quote:
We wouldn't expect you to read all 63 pages - but a reasonably careful study of the last 10 or so would give you some idea of the ground we have covered so far.

Yours aye ... TonyK
Host, Dead Horses

As an old hand, I'd suggest the first few pages are a good idea too and a bit of a browse.

If you're particularly interested in a topic, I find putting the thread into printer-friendly view allows me to use Control F in it to find keywords.

I am a sad git who's been posting on this thread since it began 4 1/2 years ago! [Big Grin]

L.

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Qoheleth.

Semi-Sagacious One
# 9265

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quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
I am a sad git who's been posting on this thread since it began 4 1/2 years ago!

TBTG that you have! [Overused]


Q.

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The Benedictine Community at Alton Abbey offers a friendly, personal service for the exclusive supply of Rosa Mystica incense.

Posts: 2532 | From: the radiator of life | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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That link was handy, 11, 12, 14 and a side order of prawn crackers please.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

Posts: 19219 | From: Erehwon | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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Oh and an 18 to follow please.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Arabella Purity Winterbottom

Trumpeting hope
# 3434

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You can also go looking for the most heated bits of it, which are like the explosions and action bits of an otherwise boring movie.

Louise should be able to tell you where they are, since she wins the perseverance medal for mixing it up regularly. [Razz] Actually, so should I, since I've been regularly thumped, but I swore off trying to bang heads on this thread last year.

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Hell is full of the talented and Heaven is full of the energetic. St Jane Frances de Chantal

Posts: 3702 | From: Aotearoa, New Zealand | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish (about 9 pages back):
Just one verse would win me over. And I'd love to be won over because we could avoid this horrible argument that is tearing apart the church.

quote:

1 Samuel 18
1And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

2And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house.

3Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.

The bible makes a really big deal about this relationship - what is the traditional interpetation ?

[ 30. May 2006, 00:14: Message edited by: Doublethink ]

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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That they were very good platonic friends.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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That, and that this was really important, given that Jonathan could have expected to inherit the throne if the Spirit hadn't lighted upon David -- his loyalty to David was key, given David's need to consolidate his power.
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Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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How do we know it was platonic ?

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Arabella Purity Winterbottom

Trumpeting hope
# 3434

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Also, friendship between men was waaay more important than marriage, given that women are barely more than chattels in many parts of David's story.

Think the Beloved Disciple (meaning John, not Mary Magdalene).

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Hell is full of the talented and Heaven is full of the energetic. St Jane Frances de Chantal

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mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
How do we know it was platonic ?

I think that's an unreasonable question. (Sorry, I mean that politely). In the sense that being a sexual relationship would require some evidence or argumentation - and being platonic would be the default state.

It would be difficult to prove that sex did not take place, for instance - one could only ever prove that sex did take place.

I accept, were it a sexual relationship, it would be unlikely to make it into the pages of contemporary Hebrew historical record. But that doesn't allow us to freely speculate without some other impetus to do so.

So the question should be "Why do we think it's wasn't platonic?"

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Amy the Undecided
Shipmate
# 11412

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I think that's an unreasonable question. (Sorry, I mean that politely). In the sense that being a sexual relationship would require some evidence or argumentation - and being platonic would be the default state.

Do you think so? If the passage were about a man and a woman, wouldn't sex spring to your mind? Became one in spirit . . . loved him as herself . . . made a covenant . . .

When two people wander off into a meadow hand in hand, and return looking rumpled and happy, you might well assume that all they did was lie on their backs and talk, but I wouldn't call that the "default state."

quote:
It would be difficult to prove that sex did not take place, for instance - one could only ever prove that sex did take place.

I accept, were it a sexual relationship, it would be unlikely to make it into the pages of contemporary Hebrew historical record. But that doesn't allow us to freely speculate without some other impetus to do so.

So the question should be "Why do we think it's wasn't platonic?"

Three possible reasons:

David described it as "surpassing the love of women."
The Bible describes it with the word "love."
David resisted marrying Michal (and when he consented, the implication is he still didn't love her--she loved him).

All perfectly consistent with an intense friendship, I agree. But it is definitely suggestive. And people hang more argument on slighter passages than this. There's certainly a lot more evidence that David was bisexual than that SpongeBob is gay, but look at the uproar over SpongeBob! [Biased]

[tangent] I love this passage not because it is an example of homosexuality--I agree with you that it's ambiguous at best, and frankly I don't care whether the Bible gives such an example or not--but because it is a rare instance of the Bible taking any time to portray the beauty of close friendship. Another is the one between David's great-great-grandma Ruth and her mother-in-law. [/tangent]

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The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love. ~William Sloane Coffin

Posts: 263 | From: Northern California | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
How do we know it was platonic ?

We don't know anything about anything in the Bible; we surmise. I was asked what the traditional interpretation was; I gave it. I happen to agree with it, but that's neither here nor there.

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Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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I recognise that MT, and I forgot to thank you for your quick response - my bad, so thank you.

I guess where I'm going with this is, there are many male friendships mentioned in the bible - and 'you are like a son to me' moments etc. But the characterisation of David and Jonathan's relationship seems fairly unique.

If I were looking for an positive OT take on a same-sex homosexual relationship - in the light of what is written in the Torah and the lack of the need to record a line of lineage for blood descendants, this is what I would expect it to look like.

That is not, of course, scriptural evidence that they had a sexual relationship. (As I have said on other threads, my ideas about scriptural authority are not such that I feel I need biblical warrant for my views on homosexuality).

So in Fish Fish's terms, this is what I would expect to find - what would you expect to find if there existed a scriptural pattern or warrant for homosexual relationships ? What would you expect it to look like ?

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by Amy the Undecided:
... If the passage were about a man and a woman, wouldn't sex spring to your mind? ...

Only if you think that the only (or, the primary, or, the best) expression of love is sex.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Amy the Undecided
Shipmate
# 11412

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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
Only if you think that the only (or, the primary, or, the best) expression of love is sex.

I beg to differ--I don't think anything of the kind. Nevertheless, when people who are not related to each other describe their relationship in such intimate terms, sex is definitely one of the possibilities in my mind. So is romance (with or without sex).

[ 30. May 2006, 17:57: Message edited by: Amy the Undecided ]

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The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love. ~William Sloane Coffin

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Robert Armin

All licens'd fool
# 182

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quote:
Originally posted by OliviaG:
I found this post most helpful when I first started reading this thread:

Joan the Outlaw-Dwarf's PSA

Cheers, OliviaG

Agreed. I lift my glass to toast the great Joan, and to hope that she returns to grace these pages one day.

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Keeping fit was an obsession with Fr Moity .... He did chin ups in the vestry, calisthenics in the pulpit, and had developed a series of Tai-Chi exercises to correspond with ritual movements of the Mass. The Antipope Robert Rankin

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