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Source: (consider it) Thread: Hostility to Traditional Christians on the Ship
Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
I don't agree with what Svitlana says, but your analogy is not really there. Churches are voluntary associations, but Kim Davis was there as a public servant, to fulfill the legal obligations of a county clerk. Her private opinions about who should or should not be married are irrelevant to her performance of that role.

Not if she violates the obligations of her position because of her private opinions based on her church association. And if her church and similar churches backs up her claim she has the right to do so.
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Gee D
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That is what I was saying.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
The Bible is stiff with rules that we ignore daily. You keep kosher? Me neither. Lobster, crab? Yum. You are wearing a garment, yes? Have a look at the fabric content, on the tag. Is it a polyester blend? Oooh, Leviticus...

And what did Jesus (and even Paul) say about the Law?
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Doublethink.
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For some reason after reading the last two dozen or so posts I feel a need to link to this.

[ 31. July 2017, 07:17: 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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SvitlanaV2
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I believe that in a modern, pluralistic society, SSM should be legal.

It also seems reasonable that many more churches ought to be prepared to conduct such marriages, or to encourage the relationships of gay people. The question is, why don't more churches do this? If it's what people want, why isn't it happening? After all, churches are just groups of people.

The first problem, ISTM, is that churches are inherently slow-moving organisations. They're designed that way.

The other is that the most coherent congregations are strict ones, those with high expectations. They're not about making life easier. Put sex aside; these places expect you to tithe, to give up large amounts to time, to forego activities that everyone else thinks are normal, to raise your children a certain way. They make inconvenient demands, because that's what strict churches do. That's their purpose.

For all the complaints about American evangelicalism, though, there are probably far more openly gay-friendly churches in the USA than in the UK. The lack of a state church and a completely free religious market makes this possible - and perhaps a more religious culture overall.

The CofE and its sister churches have probably hampered that diversity in the UK. In England, it needs to be the CofE that makes the big PR move to conduct SSMs, because no one cares that the Unitarians or the Spiritualists, etc. have already done it. Unfortunately, the CofE isn't funded by the state, and therefore needs conservative evangelical money. Disestablishment is a possible solution.....

In the meantime, I don't know what can be done for people who insist on attending churches where they're unwelcome. Ongoing secularisation will reduce the number of 'traditional' churches, and many of the rest will become more tolerant. But I don't know how you're going to get all churches everywhere to believe exactly the same thing on matters to do with sex.

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
The Bible is stiff with rules that we ignore daily. You keep kosher? Me neither. Lobster, crab? Yum. You are wearing a garment, yes? Have a look at the fabric content, on the tag. Is it a polyester blend? Oooh, Leviticus...

And what did Jesus (and even Paul) say about the Law?
That the letter of the Law kills, but the Spirit gives life?

--------------------
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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Ongoing secularisation will reduce the number of 'traditional' churches

Cultural Christianity is being steadily eliminated by secularisation, leaving the contrast between society and 'traditional' Christianity more stark.

So I can foresee scenarios in which the numbers of 'liberal' churches are reduced much faster than 'traditional' ones.

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Get your arse to Mars

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
The Bible is stiff with rules that we ignore daily. You keep kosher? Me neither. Lobster, crab? Yum. You are wearing a garment, yes? Have a look at the fabric content, on the tag. Is it a polyester blend? Oooh, Leviticus...

And what did Jesus (and even Paul) say about the Law?
That the letter of the Law kills, but the Spirit gives life?
Yes ... so the strictures mentioned above no longer apply to Christians (although ISTM that some of them are good guidelines for healthy living!)

BTW my views on healthy relationships are very much in line with yours.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Unfortunately, the CofE isn't funded by the state, and therefore needs conservative evangelical money. Disestablishment is a possible solution.....

How would that help? They'll still need the Con-Evo money.

By the way, since moving across the Severn, I've asked several people whether the disestablishment of the CinW (now for nearly a century) has made any differences to how it functions or sees itself. And the answer I also get is "no". However this document (see "The Challenge facing the Church at large" section) suggests that will have to change, bigtime.

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I don't understand what good faith has to do with it or why that position should be given some kind of special respect because it is held in good faith.

Because if a position is held in good faith, that would imply the possibility of being argued out of it.

If I argue for a position in bad faith, then there is no point arguing with me, because either I don't really hold it at all or the reason why I hold it isn't the reason I'm advancing as a matter of debate.

An interesting illustration of this is the case of Bob Jones University v. United States, which dealt with the question of whether a university with racially discriminatory policies could qualify as a tax-exempt educational institution, provided that their racism was based on their religious beliefs. The government was willing to agree (or at least not contest the point) that racial discrimination was a sincerely held belief of BJU's version of Christianity, but they argued that this was irrelevant to the question of the state's ability to prohibit racism in educational institutions.

After the Supreme Court sided with the IRS, BJU changed its policy to be less racist, so I guess it's arguable as to whether this belief was "sincerely held" or not. It was, at the very least, considered less critical to BJU's beliefs than their belief that they should be a tax-exempt institution under the Internal Revenue Code of the United States.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Brenda Clough
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That case was also a good example of how, once the precedent is set, it can lead to pernicious results. If I say that my religion allows me to discriminate against black people and the state allows it, what about the next group, that states it is a tenet of their faith to take razor blades to their girls' genitals? Or produces a text from the Bible, urging adulterers to be stoned?

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
The Bible is stiff with rules that we ignore daily. You keep kosher? Me neither. Lobster, crab? Yum. You are wearing a garment, yes? Have a look at the fabric content, on the tag. Is it a polyester blend? Oooh, Leviticus...

And what did Jesus (and even Paul) say about the Law?
That the letter of the Law kills, but the Spirit gives life?
Yes ... so the strictures mentioned above no longer apply to Christians (although ISTM that some of them are good guidelines for healthy living!)

BTW my views on healthy relationships are very much in line with yours.

(I'm pretty much a prude, in fact, when it comes to sex!)

So scripture cancels scripture. There are actually hierarchies of scripture which 'trump' others, it seems. This is, of course, saying so much more than many traditional Christians will admit, when they take the 'Bible says so' line.

But 'those who live in love live in God', and all those lists of Christlike/Holy Spirit inspired virtues and values don't speak to those who are same-sex orientated and who love one another unselfishly, in sexually continent, life-long committed relationships?

I had a very Bible-centred upbringing, in one sense. The Word (as in scripture) was everything. And as a young adult I believed absolutely that all gay relationships had to be intrinsically sinful. How could it be otherwise when scripture so clearly condemned homosexual acts. But when I met more and more gay folk, gay Christians, studied the Word more and more, saw it applied in different contexts, sexual orientation just didn't seem that big of a deal. Surely scripture couldn't be wrong.

Can't answer that question. But scripture might in fact be not as simplistically obvious as we think it is. Maybe the Holy Spirit hadn't finished his/her work when men decided to close the canon over 1500 years ago? Maybe God is still moving as he moved when 'laws and rules' about behaviour and sacrifices and theology in the Old Testament were - quite clearly - superseded by the contrasting experience of the New?

I don't know, to be honest. I admit that I go along the lines of 'by their fruits you shall know them'. I see people living their lives and I see the 'fruit' which evidences they love Jesus, love their neighbour, live sacrificially, generously; and sometimes the people are gay and sometimes they're not. I really have to come to the conclusion that gayness or straightness isn't the issue; but bearing fruit for Christ is.

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
I admit that I go along the lines of 'by their fruits you shall know them'. I see people living their lives and I see the 'fruit' which evidences they love Jesus, love their neighbour, live sacrificially, generously; and sometimes the people are gay and sometimes they're not. I really have to come to the conclusion that gayness or straightness isn't the issue; but bearing fruit for Christ is.

[Overused]

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My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

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Bishops Finger
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I add my own [Overused] to what Anselmina said.

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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Nick Tamen

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Throw my [Overused] in as well.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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lilBuddha
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😱 You are praying to someone else!
Jesus' father is going to be soo mad.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
😱 You are praying to someone else!
Jesus' father is going to be soo mad.

Don't tell on us, I pray thee.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Throw my [Overused] in as well.

Etiam ego/fi hefyd/moi aussi/and me. Qv. also women's ministry; same issue.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Golden Key
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
😱 You are praying to someone else!
Jesus' father is going to be soo mad.

Don't tell on us, I pray thee.
And ye olde "Jesus is coming--look busy!" [Biased]

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Ongoing secularisation will reduce the number of 'traditional' churches

Cultural Christianity is being steadily eliminated by secularisation, leaving the contrast between society and 'traditional' Christianity more stark.

So I can foresee scenarios in which the numbers of 'liberal' churches are reduced much faster than 'traditional' ones.

In one sense I agree with you. Cultural Christianity doesn't work if the mainstream churches are weak, but the liberal(ish) mainstream churches have little pulling and holding power in a secularising society. They're not distinctive enough and they don't offer enough social benefits, so they're more vulnerable.

OTOH, the long term movement towards tolerance in churches of most kinds is a strong one. I think it's part of what the sociologists see as the cycle from high tension towards low tension religion in Christian groups. Different churches are at different places in the cycle (e.g. the Methodists are at a different place from the New Wine churches), but few resist it entirely. Most conservative religious institutions don't want to remain in opposition to the wider society for decades, or for generations.

This being the case, I believe that many denominations in the UK will become more tolerant of same sex relationships. I imagine that SSM will become acceptable to most of the mainstream fairly soon. Peter Brierley, a well-respected British statistician who focuses on churches, expects homosexuality to become a non-issue among many young Christians in the next few years (see p. 22 here).

However, the cycle supposes that where there are churches that become more in tune with the society, there are Christians who deliberately reject that development. They maintain a firm grip on their own churches, or else leave low tension churches to start more conservative churches elsewhere.

Whether the UK will be fertile ground for new groups in the future is a good question. The founding of new movements seems to have slowed down among the indigenous British population.

quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Unfortunately, the CofE isn't funded by the state, and therefore needs conservative evangelical money. Disestablishment is a possible solution.....

How would that help? They'll still need the Con-Evo money.
My thinking was that the con-evos wouldn't see much point in belonging to a disestablished church, because it wouldn't provide them with the prestigious, normative, well-maintained setting that distinguishes the CofE from the Baptists, the Pentecostals, or the new churches. After their departure the CofE would then be free to develop in a more uniformly tolerant fashion.

After all, the Scottish Episcopal Church has recently agreed to conduct SSMs, probably because its conservative constituency was too small to block the move.

As for the CinW, it also has fewer conservatives than the CofE, AFAIUI, yet I presume it manages moderately well without their money....

However, as I said above, there doesn't seem to be much taste for founding new Christian movements, so I suppose the CofE's con-evos might prefer to remain after disestablishment.

And to those who want every church to affirm gay relationships, would it even be desirable for the evangelicals to be cut loose? Perhaps it's wise to keep them close, the better to influence them.

I do feel that greater freedom and diversity among churches is likely to create more churches of the kind that people want. This could include the development of more gay-friendly congregations. This congregationalist flexibility is what the British church growth modelling scholar, John Hayward, proposes. It would involve a considerable programme of de-centralisation in denominations such as the CofE and the Methodist Church.

But if the goal is to make all churches view sexuality in the same way I don't see how this can be achieved without a lot of top-down denominational interference or ecumenical mergers, thus reinforcing institutionalisation and primarily serving the purposes of secularisation.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
I do feel that greater freedom and diversity among churches is likely to create more churches of the kind that people want. This could include the development of more gay-friendly congregations. This congregationalist flexibility is what the British church growth modelling scholar, John Hayward, proposes. It would involve a considerable programme of de-centralisation in denominations such as the CofE and the Methodist Church.

As you may know, there has been quite a lot of kerfuffle about SSM in the Baptist Union over the last couple of years. The majority of churches are conservative (some very much so) but there is a minority which are much more liberal in this respect.

The BU Council tried to assert its authority by "respectfully" asking all churches and ministers to "toe the line", however this provoked something of an outcry saying that it was going way beyond its remit in a connexional denomination where each church has the liberty to run its own affairs and make its own decisions. Ultimately the Council backed down although the issue is still a live one.

You could see this in terms of a denomination trying to be MORE institutional when in fact it needed to go in the opposite direction. Interestingly the URC (a generally more liberal denomination), after years of agonising, ultimately agreed at Assembly to devolve the question of SSM to individual churches and ministers.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
😱 You are praying to someone else!
Jesus' father is going to be soo mad.

Don't tell on us, I pray thee.
OK, so, that is funny.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:

However, the cycle supposes that where there are churches that become more in tune with the society, there are Christians who deliberately reject that development.

Even though it is harmful within their own orchestra, they can tune to whatever pitch they want. It is when they think they are concertmaster for everyone that we have a major issue.

quote:

And to those who want every church to affirm gay relationships, would it even be desirable for the evangelicals to be cut loose? Perhaps it's wise to keep them close, the better to influence them.

It also lends legitimacy, so...

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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SvitlanaV2
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Baptist Trainfan

Yes, I suppose the BU can be seen as a centralising, institutionalising force. But it doesn't have the power to compel individual congregations to do anything, does it?

Out of interest, do the more liberal Baptist congregations ever switch to the URC? I imagine that the two denominations share a similar structure. And the URC would be a more like-minded home, theologically speaking.

lilBuddha

In a very secularised society with a state church I'm not sure how much power strict but marginal groups can have over others. They have power over each other, but these are voluntary groups, as I said above.

The USA is different, of course. There's no state church to act as a buffer, and evangelicals are numerous enough to be able to wield some sort of influence. Yet the country is still travelling in a secularising direction. It exports its non-religious popular culture around the globe.

Going back to the CofE, do you ever wish it were a state funded institution? The outcome would be a far more liberal denomination, freed from 'traditional' theology. The Scandinavian Lutheran Churches moved in this direction as a result of state funding and control.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The USA is different, of course. There's no state church to act as a buffer, and evangelicals are numerous enough to be able to wield some sort of influence. Yet the country is still travelling in a secularising direction. It exports its non-religious popular culture around the globe.

Yes our culture is areligious. But our government is enjoying being fellated by the Evangelicals, who are the only major bloc still to support Trump and his cronies. Freedoms are being taken away from women, LGBT+ people, and so on in the name of Christianity. And our vice president is a Dominionist intent on turning the United States into a de facto theocracy. So, no, we are not traveling in a secularizing direction. In the ways that really matter to the lives of our people in traditionally marginalized subpopulations, we are very much going in the direction of increased religious intolerance.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Jengie jon

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Svitlana

I cannot recall a switch they might go to the Congregational Federation who actually have a closer structure. The URC does the following:
  • Centrally pays for ministers
  • need approval from synod to call a minister or even declare a vacancy
  • congregations need permission to sack ministers and normally end up in the URC equivalent to Special Measures.
  • actually has a declaration ministers must subscribe to
  • No congregation can refuse categorically to not baptise infants*
It is a lot more centralised than the Baptist Union.

Most of the URC structure came from the Presbyterian Church of England, although run by Congregationalists. The Congregational Church of England and Wales had grown like Topsy and had chaotic elements. However say it quietly, we do not want to disturb anyone's prejudices. There has been no formal temporary withdrawal of congregations (a feature of Congregational government) since 1972 as the cost is too great.

However, if you want to argue about boundaries of denominations you are welcome. Old orthodox dissent was not a tidy set of denominations but a plethora of congregations trying to negotiate the cultural landscape as best they could. They formed alliances, federations, and unions as suited the circumstances. The inheritance lingers in surprising ways.

Jengie


*Clergy can and congregations can refuse in specific cases but an outright ban is impossible.

[ 01. August 2017, 16:39: Message edited by: Jengie jon ]

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Walking 18 miles to help Refugees get an education.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:

lilBuddha

In a very secularised society with a state church I'm not sure how much power strict but marginal groups can have over others. They have power over each other, but these are voluntary groups, as I said above.

Enough power that it was not easy to pass marriage equality and even then, the CofE cannot change its position without another legislative session.
quote:

The USA is different, of course.* There's no state church to act as a buffer, and evangelicals are numerous enough to be able to wield some sort of influence. Yet the country is still travelling in a secularising direction.

ISTM, the latter is the cause of the former. As the conservative religious see an apparent threat, they increase activity. Add the xenophobia of their flocks and adjacent folk onto the general lack of voter turnout, and that is a significant power base.


*Bizarrely, a country with not official religion is more religious. This is one of the few things that give pause to my disestablishmentarianism bent.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Yes our culture is areligious.

I find it both amusing and confusing that Fox, the parent company of FoxNews, is home to some of the most salacious shows on TV, while FoxNews is the official reactionary news channel of the Religious Right.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:

lilBuddha

In a very secularised society with a state church I'm not sure how much power strict but marginal groups can have over others. They have power over each other, but these are voluntary groups, as I said above.

Enough power that it was not easy to pass marriage equality and even then, the CofE cannot change its position without another legislative session.

But these people are all Anglicans, all within the CofE. They aren't in different denominations or religions fighting against each other.

quote:

[The USA,] a country with no official religion is more religious. This is one of the few things that give pause to my disestablishmentarianism bent.

Yes, I'm aware that some atheists approve of establishment, because they see the American religious scenario as the undesirable alternative. The sociologists would agree that American religious freedom is more advantageous to religious belief and practice than European state churches, most of the time.

However, I've presented the Scandinavian scenario to you. The Lutheran Churches of Sweden and Norway were established for a long time. They've recently been disestablished, but Sweden and Norway haven't suddenly gone all American and religious as a result. That's because the cultural normativity of the Lutheran denominations remains, alongside a marked lack of religiosity. Maybe this would also be the case in England if the CofE were disestablished.

The significant difference, though, is that these Scandinavian states still ensure that their Lutheran churches are supported financially. I suggest that if this happened in England, the evangelical Anglicans would lose their financial importance. The CofE would almost certainly have to agree to SSM as the result of any deal with the government, and the evangelicals would either acquiesce or leave.

However, no British politician has ever put this proposal forward AFAIK, and I think it would be unpalatable to the English public. Perhaps they'd agree if the buildings were handed over to the state. By the middle of the century the CofE will be burdened with far too many of them anyway.


quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Freedoms are being taken away from women, LGBT+ people, and so on in the name of Christianity. And our vice president is a Dominionist intent on turning the United States into a de facto theocracy. So, no, we are not traveling in a secularizing direction. In the ways that really matter to the lives of our people in traditionally marginalized subpopulations, we are very much going in the direction of increased religious intolerance.

But the point is that you do now have SSM. Your Christian population is now also declining. Your president may be keen to butter up the Religious Right, but everyone knows that he himself is no devout prince of the Church. And though he may not like 'Muslims' the Saudis appear to be his best friends!!

Trump will be gone in 4-8 years anyway. Possibly sooner than that. His cynical 'theocracy' will be short-lived.

[ 01. August 2017, 18:41: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
But these people are all Anglicans, all within the CofE. They aren't in different denominations or religions fighting against each other.

This misses the point. That being that "traditional" Christians made a solid effort to fight equal marriage and did not fail entirely.

quote:

However, I've presented the Scandinavian scenario to you. The Lutheran Churches of Sweden and Norway were established for a long time. They've recently been disestablished, but Sweden and Norway haven't suddenly gone all American and religious as a result.

Different cultures make difficult comparisons. Given the more secular nature of the UK, I don't think the result would be as bad as the US. Doesn't completely remove the concern.
quote:

The significant difference, though, is that these Scandinavian states still ensure that their Lutheran churches are supported financially. I suggest that if this happened in England, the evangelical Anglicans would lose their financial importance.

And I see this as nothing but positive.

quote:

However, no British politician has ever put this proposal forward AFAIK, and I think it would be unpalatable to the English public. Perhaps they'd agree if the buildings were handed over to the state. By the middle of the century the CofE will be burdened with far too many of them anyway.

The buildings that are another concern for me. I do not want to see them decay or be converted.

[ 01. August 2017, 21:23: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
The buildings that are another concern for me. I do not want to see them decay or be converted.

If the village church is now surplus to requirements, I would far rather see a sensitive conversion that would preserve some of the architectural heritage than the building being abandoned and ignored.

Buildings should be used - not preserved in aspic.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:

Buildings should be used - not preserved in aspic.

Why? Would you travel to Rome to see the new Colosseum Shopping Centre and Office Complex?
"Have Tea Where Lions Once Had Christians!"
Obviously not every church preserved unchanged but the significant ones, surely.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:

So scripture cancels scripture. There are actually hierarchies of scripture which 'trump' others, it seems. This is, of course, saying so much more than many traditional Christians will admit, when they take the 'Bible says so' line.

I agree with most of your post but I think this part is a bit unfair, at least in the context of the argument that was being pursued.

Unless someone is specifically saying 'gay sex is bad because Leviticus', then pointing out all the other bits of Leviticus that we don't follow isn't relevant.

The Jewish view of the Torah, AIUI, is that it is not a code of ethics for all humanity, it is a code that was given specifically to the Jews to mark them as the chosen people. The laws that were given to humanity as a whole are the laws of Noah (Genesis 9). The Early Church had the task of deciding whether the Torah was binding on them too and Acts, Romans and Galatians all say they concluded that it wasn't.

IOW, Christians who disregard Leviticus are acting in accordance both with the foundational documents of their religion, and with the views of those people who still do use Leviticus. But IME Christians who oppose gay sex do so on the basis of St Paul rather than Leviticus, and since St Paul is by definition outside the Torah, you can't use anti-Torah arguments to get round him.

(That said it does seem to me that Protestants in particular have a rather odd relationship with the Torah in that the Ten Commandments, preferably written on big wooden boards on whitewashed walls, used to be extremely popular, even though they too technically lie inside the Torah.)

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Baptist Trainfan

Yes, I suppose the BU can be seen as a centralising, institutionalising force. But it doesn't have the power to compel individual congregations to do anything, does it?

No - but it sometimes seems to be trying to act as if it does. And it does have some "clout" over nationally-accredited ministers. Part of the recent discussion was about how far that should extend.

quote:
Out of interest, do the more liberal Baptist congregations ever switch to the URC? I imagine that the two denominations share a similar structure. And the URC would be a more like-minded home, theologically speaking.

Quite a few liberally-minded ministers moved to the URC (I considered doing so myself); but that wouldn't be possible if you were a convinced believers baptism person. As far as churches are concerned, there are some Baptist/URC LEPs. But (a) it's legally quite difficult for a church to change denominatons and (b) the URC has a conciliar layer of government as well as a congregational one, which would not appeal to some Baptists. (See also Jengie's post).

Good questions though.

[ 02. August 2017, 07:16: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Jengie jon

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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Quite a few liberally-minded ministers moved to the URC (I considered doing so myself); but that wouldn't be possible if you were a convinced believers baptism person.

Technically no problem as long as an individual does not choose to knowingly rebaptise or insist on the rebaptism of those who were baptised as infants before admitting to membership. A minister as a matter of conscience may refuse to baptise infants and other individuals deemed unable to make their own statement of faith. It was part of the negotiations as part of the merger with the Reformed Association of the Churches of Christ.

Jengie.

--------------------
"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Walking 18 miles to help Refugees get an education.

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mr cheesy
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Presumably there are various ways that Baptist Unions can - and do - depart from the Union. I'd bet a fair few leave and join the FIEC or the Baptist Union of Wales or simply become independent Evangelical churches.

There is an inbuilt inertia in leaving something that a congregation has been part of for a long time, but I can't see that leaving the BU is such a big deal - unless somehow membership is written into the constitution of the church. Maybe it is, I have no idea.

Of course, the TNT version is to close the church thus killing the constitution, sell the building - and then either buy back the building or set up elsewhere as a different church. From what I've heard, this has actually been considered by some churches with what looks like fairly respectable sized congregations. Not sure if it has ever happened like that exactly, but it is hard to tell what with local squabbles and splits.

Also I think it is possible that leaders of churches aren't necessarily in step with their congregation. So a leader leaving doesn't mean that the congregation is going to follow.

I remember a baptist minister leaving a large baptist church in Reading around 20 years ago, I think because of issues regarding inclusion of gay people. As far as I know - which isn't a whole lot - he left the baptist union and has not been heard of again.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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SvitlanaV2
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lilBuddha

So, in brief, you'd prefer the CofE to remain established to prevent a 'traditional' Christian free-for-all, US-style. You'd also like the CofE to lose its evangelical wing. This would mean the state stepping in to fill the cash-flow gap.

Be aware that the CofE is already facing a demographic time-bomb, and the departure of its traditional members would bring the tipping point forward. And even if the state agreed to fund some of the denomination's buildings it'd probably have to restrict the numbers involved. Some would just have to be abandoned, and others would have to earn their keep, rather than be maintained as beautiful, empty mementos of a quaint religious past.

The biggest challenge would be selling the idea to the English people. A so-called church tax simply wouldn't be acceptable, IMO. Maybe there could be a heritage lottery, or perhaps some kind of crowdfunded property investment programme for churches....

True, at the end of all this the church would be less traditional. In more ways than one.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

I remember a baptist minister leaving a large baptist church in Reading around 20 years ago, I think because of issues regarding inclusion of gay people. As far as I know - which isn't a whole lot - he left the baptist union and has not been heard of again.

Not quite true - we've found a few more details. He left the pastorship of the church, then left the country and then AFAIU joined a different denomination when he came out as gay.

I don't know the whole story, but the breadcrumbs suggest he left the British baptist scene behind.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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leo
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I have an hostility towards 'traditionALIST' Christians because they don't know how broad and inclusive the tradition actually is.

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

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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:

(That said it does seem to me that Protestants in particular have a rather odd relationship with the Torah in that the Ten Commandments, preferably written on big wooden boards on whitewashed walls, used to be extremely popular, even though they too technically lie inside the Torah.)

I do try not to be unfair because I really appreciate that many traditional Christians strive hard to be true to their understanding of scripture AND not to exclude gay people or be unloving towards them. I would like to honour that intention.

However, I suppose the point I'm making is that the traditionalist view is usually 'so says scripture' which clearly is a seriously - and dangerously - misleading apologetic.

It doesn't get up my nose when someone says, 'I know there are parts of scripture that no longer apply to how Christians may follow Christ, and that culture and context formerly dictated many of those now defunct behaviours which are no longer required for Christ's people; but I still believe that a prohibition against same sex love is contained within those scriptures which DO continue to apply to Christians, because for various reasons they transcend culture and context.' I would understand that, even if I couldn't agree with it.

But it does get up my nose when I see, so often and so predictably, the simplistic spiel of 'we're only standing up for the clear word of scripture over the liberal machinations of those who pick and choose the bits of the Bible that suit them'.

If we could only agree that, in fact, various parts of the Bible are treated unequally according to theology, experience etc by all sides of the argument, we'd at least have a place to start with honest disagreement. There is too much baggage clouding the issue: the moral high-ground of 'we're being true to the Bible, you're not' and 'we're being persecuted because we're not giving into modern liberal agendas'.

And on the non-traditional side, maybe too much baggage of 'you're all homophobics' and 'you're just not loving or compassionate enough to get it'.

If it's a scriptural issue; then let's be honest about how we use scripture, without the baggage (if possible!).

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Golden Key
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mt--

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Yes our culture is areligious.

I find it both amusing and confusing that Fox, the parent company of FoxNews, is home to some of the most salacious shows on TV, while FoxNews is the official reactionary news channel of the Religious Right.
Plus the excellent "Lucifer". Thought-provoking, poignant, and very witty. It seems that he is capable of growth, change, love, and prayer. Seriously.
[Cool]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
mt--

quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Yes our culture is areligious.

I find it both amusing and confusing that Fox, the parent company of FoxNews, is home to some of the most salacious shows on TV, while FoxNews is the official reactionary news channel of the Religious Right.
Plus the excellent "Lucifer". Thought-provoking, poignant, and very witty. It seems that he is capable of growth, change, love, and prayer. Seriously.
[Cool]

Ultimately the Murdoch's care more about money than anything. However, the money that the salacious shows produce go to fund their conservative agenda.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Presumably there are various ways that Baptist Unions can - and do - depart from the Union. I'd bet a fair few leave and join the FIEC or the Baptist Union of Wales or simply become independent Evangelical churches.

There is an inbuilt inertia in leaving something that a congregation has been part of for a long time, but I can't see that leaving the BU is such a big deal - unless somehow membership is written into the constitution of the church. Maybe it is, I have no idea.

Of course, the TNT version is to close the church thus killing the constitution, sell the building - and then either buy back the building or set up elsewhere as a different church. From what I've heard, this has actually been considered by some churches with what looks like fairly respectable sized congregations. Not sure if it has ever happened like that exactly, but it is hard to tell what with local squabbles and splits.

Also I think it is possible that leaders of churches aren't necessarily in step with their congregation. So a leader leaving doesn't mean that the congregation is going to follow.

Churches can and do leave the BU. These days it's a very very slow trickle - more join now than leave or close.

I don't know of any "liberal" churches which have left. It's mostly those on the more reformed end of the scale who leave and either join FIEC or become independent. The fact that liberal churches seem to be able to stay suggests a broader trajectory of theology IMHO.

It's a process which is both easy and difficult. Easy because any church can decide at any time to leave BUGB (which is not a denomination but an association with churches linked by Covenant). A vote at a duly constituted members' meeting is enough.

It's made harder by certain legal issues, namely trust law. Most church buildings are held in trust by a central oversight. Whilst the trust will not necessarily determine the practice of the church, it will affect the legal operations of the church. It is hard to see how a church (worshipping community) can remain in a building owned by a group that has become one step away from anathema to them.

Where a constitution stipulates that a church will be part of a local association and/or BUGB, it's simple to overcome. You close the church one day and reopen with a new (in practice revised) constitution the next. Simples.

IME, few churches have much to do with association or central life beyond sending funds to our two linked Mission causes each year. In fact you can do as much or as little as you like. Churches tend to call on the bigger picture in time of need and that's often it. Most churches work alongside other local churches from other denominations - very different from say 20 years ago when there was a much closer relationship with other Baptist churches.

Our independence can make BUGB churches very skittish. The one key challenge to moving out is a massive one - a financial not a spiritual one. Independence has spawned a monster in the shape of our Pension scheme - for a church to duck out will cost tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of pounds to buy out their share of the scheme's deficit.

Inertia is not then driven by congregations but by economics.

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ExclamationMark
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It's not so much hostility to traditional Christians that I perceive, as the propagation
and acceptance of views that lean on a very post modern understanding of faith and belief.

To do that is to say it's all about me and my needs which inevitably shoves God into the background.

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Baptist Trainfan
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I know it's a bit late in the day - but can I congratulate Anselmina for what I think is an excellent and well thought out post, especially in her references to "baggage" (on both 'sides' of the debate).

Or perhaps it just reflects my own position!

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mr cheesy
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Thanks ExclamationMark, I'd forgotten about Trust Law and how that might be different from the membership of the church.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
It's not so much hostility to traditional Christians that I perceive, as the propagation
and acceptance of views that lean on a very post modern understanding of faith and belief.

To do that is to say it's all about me and my needs which inevitably shoves God into the background.

Bollocks.

--------------------
Love wins

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Martin60
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Anselmina.

(That stands alone.)

As Steve Chalke is demonstrating.

(That follows.)

The conservative interpretation of Paul is wrong. Paul is saying nothing about non-heterosexual four love pair bonding and everything about contextual, cultural power abuse and licentiousness.

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Love wins

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
It's not so much hostility to traditional Christians that I perceive, as the propagation
and acceptance of views that lean on a very post modern understanding of faith and belief.

To do that is to say it's all about me and my needs which inevitably shoves God into the background.

Bollocks.
If it's all about me, then it can't be about God.
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Martin60
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Why not? And how is postmodernism unenlightenedly all about me in the first place?

--------------------
Love wins

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