Job Description 'Celibacy'...legal?

(149 Posts)
CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 04-Jan-13 18:15:26

Gay Bishops have to keep it in their pants

The sex-obsessed Anglicans can't be serious. In no other walk of life would it be legally OK to insist successful job applicants could be gay but would have to be celibate. Hope someone challenges this.

pointedlynoresolutions Fri 04-Jan-13 21:11:44

I hope so too, Cogito. Especially since heterosexual bishops are allowed sex. I find it impossible to believe that a loving God would create people who are homosexual, claim to love them, and then turn around and tell them 'But you can't have sex, ever, because it's sinful if you're gay'.

MiniTheMinx Fri 04-Jan-13 21:27:52

Leviticus 20
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

I really think people should read the bible. The bible is very clear there is nothing ambiguous about what is said about homosexuality. I think it's a strange thing that gay men should want to join the church when they know it is so hostile towards them.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 04-Jan-13 23:14:37

The bible says a great deal of things that the CofE doesn't take in the least bit seriously so that doesn't really wash. I'm just astonished that, seemingly in an effort to please everyone, they have gone for a compromise solution that is so blatantly offensive, prejudicial and intrusive Gay bishops can be in a civil partnership.. so they're married ... but must abstain from sex. Can you imagine saying that to a heterosexual bishop and expecting to be taken seriously?

TheDeadlyDonkey Fri 04-Jan-13 23:21:37

Did the bible not also condone rape (as long as the man had bought the woman and married her), and praise two girls for getting pregnant by their father?
Not sure I'd be taking the argument down the bible route tbh.

MiniTheMinx Fri 04-Jan-13 23:34:37

I'm not certain I'd want to sign up to work for an employer that was so oppressive and prejudiced. The church is in danger of losing all credibility though if they themselves no longer defer to their own book.

other Leviticus quotes:

When a woman has a discharge, if her discharge in her body is blood, she shall continue in her menstrual impurity for seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening.
Leviticus 15.19-24

You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together
Leviticus 19.19

You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard
Leviticus 19.27

Anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him.
Leviticus 24:16

So why follow one, when there are four others above that are not followed? And there are plenty of other rules in other books of the Bible which are also not followed, I have just picked four from the same book as the homosexuality quote comes from.

edam Sat 05-Jan-13 00:36:30

I wonder why people who claim to be Christians don't focus on what Christ actually said about sexuality. Which wasn't much, except for 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone' - meaning, mind your own beeswax.

It's great fun to quote Biblical restrictions at people who attempt to justify their homophobia by saying 'but the Bible says it's wrong'. I wonder why they fixate on homosexuality or women priests rather than, I dunno, avoiding shellfish, pork and pigskin, or marrying your brother's widow, or not marrying your brother's widow depending on which verse you are most worried about...

zippey Sat 05-Jan-13 00:51:28

People who follow the Bible will often operate on double standards.

janey68 Sat 05-Jan-13 07:47:05

The church of England is a huge great unholy mess frankly, and this latest debacle does nothing to help. I agree that one wonders why on earth anyone would want to work as part of such a bigoted organisation

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 09:51:09

I only posted quote from Leviticus to make the point that if gay people follow Christianity they must have to leave out quite a lot of the bible to find it compatible with WHO they are. If the church also chooses to ignore what is in the book, it either makes a mockery of the church or a mockery of this book! Plus if gay people are christians, to change christiany to the extent that it has no integrity left, would be to harm the thing they want to be part of.

ByTheWay1 Sat 05-Jan-13 10:01:50

they are not saying gay PEOPLE can be bishops are they - just gay men.....

Snorbs Sat 05-Jan-13 10:17:12

So you can be an Anglican bishop if you're a man who fancies men but you can't if you're a woman who fancies men (or other women, for that matter).

And this bunch of cretins represent the State Religion who get automatic seats in the House of Lords? These are the idiots who feel that their views on morality and ethics are sound enough that they are entitled to directly influence legislation?

For fuck's sake. I'd think twice about letting these dribbling loonies be in charge of a sodding whelk stall, let alone being allowed to vote in parliament.

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 10:25:00

Good point, so in the churches own teaching sex is about procreation (in fact most of the gumf on sodomy is in relation to sex within marriage) but women married to men are not allowed to be bishops. But gay men can be "married" but because they can't procreate, they can't have sex. It's not workable anyway, how long will it be before one is found to be sneaking a quickie! Again it's all about men and power. I'm sure if the gay lobby was not gay men but lesbians we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

Snorbs Sat 05-Jan-13 10:28:04

Mini, the point that AGlassHalfEmpty is making is that the Anglican church, and Christians in general, are already ignoring vast chunks of the Bible.

The prohibitions against homosexuality in the Bible make up only a tiny part of it and of that it's only in the Old Testament - ie, the bit that most Christians dismiss as out of date and superseded by Jesus' teachings. You could very easily ignore those bits and still keep the central message that Jesus gave, ie, love your neighbour as yourself.

Indeed, Jesus said a lot more about how, if you wish to follow him, you should sell all your possessions and give the proceeds to the poor than he did about homosexuality. So assuming you haven't sold all your possessions can we take it that your shunning of Jesus' message "...makes a mockery of the church or a mockery of this book!"?

motherinferior Sat 05-Jan-13 10:41:26

Also how errr are they actually defining celibacy, eh? A hug is OK but a snog isn't? A snog is OK but a hand job isn't? Clearly the obsession is with anal sex but presumably there are gradations of taboo...

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 10:49:08

Didn't Jesus round up the money changers in the temple? If you look at the history of the church and it's patriarchal insistence upon marriage, private property, wife as mere chattel and breeding machine, the bible actually seems positively Roman in it's outlook. If Christians (CofE) are ignoring the old testament then why is it still there? why not just get rid of it and continue to play pick and mix over what's left.

trockodile Sat 05-Jan-13 10:52:20

Mini-I would challenge anyone to obey every prohibition in the bible-it is impossible as so much is contradictory and/or of it's time.
There are about a handful of references to homosexuality, most of which are open to interpretation and none in the context of a loving and consensual and monogomous relationship. It was not mentioned by Jesus as far as we know. He did speak about love,acceptance,not judging others and interpreting biblical laws creatively so that we can show compassion to others.
The church-any church-today is so far removed from the early church to be unrecognisable. It has evolved through the centuries both for good and for bad. There is no reason that it can not evolve further to embrace today's views on inclusivity and equality and no reason why people should not challenge the small minded bigotry in the established church.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 05-Jan-13 10:54:03

As well as the mildly thorny issue of defining celibacy... how on earth would the hope to police it? OK you'd have to assume that a bishop could keep a promise but wouldn't he have also made certain promises to his civil partner. And yes, the inconsistency that women are excluded whether gay, straight, single, married or in a civil partnership but men are included with a few ludicrous conditions does nothing but reduce the whole organisation's social credibility. Totally out of step with the society they are trying to minister to.

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 10:56:04

Oh, there was me thinking that the whole steaming pile would implode from within.

trockodile Sat 05-Jan-13 10:56:25

IMO it is not about pick and mix-it is absorbing the important themes and messages and interpreting accordingly-using the brain, compassion and empathy which God has given us.

trockodile Sat 05-Jan-13 11:01:33

The thing with the celibacy issue is that if you believe same sex attraction to be a sin(to be clear I do not) Jesus taught that sin comes from the heart. So the physical act makes no difference.

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 11:01:58

If all we need is empathy and compassion why do we need a church and a book to minister over us. Do we have so little faith in ourselves. You see left to our devices we wouldn't have had hundreds of years of female oppression and slavery, private property relations that impoverish some to the benefit of others. Read about the missionaries and how they imposed "capitalistic and patriarchal" power relations over other peoples. So we could expropriate their natural resources and their labour. The church has much more to be ashamed of than to be proud IMO

edam Sat 05-Jan-13 11:07:38

Turning from CofE to Rome, my Mother has a good friend who is a gay RC priest (he, um, what you might call 'lived a full life' before he got the call to Jesus). He's a professor and spends a lot of time in Italy at a Catholic university where senior theologians gather. He says the Vatican is, in his words, 'full of screaming queers', which isn't really a surprise. So two of the major Christian churches are hugely hypocritical on this issue (dunno much about Russian or Greek Orthodox but wouldn't surprise me if they were just as bad).

As well as cheerfully ignoring what Jesus said, particularly about 'ignore the Old Testament, I bring you new teachings from God' and 'Let him who is without sin cast the first stone'. Oh, and 'the Pharisees are bad for focusing on observance and showing off about how holy they are rather than concentrating on truly loving God'. (My phrasing, obv.!)

edam Sat 05-Jan-13 11:08:57

Mini, your question about why do we need a church and priests is pretty much what the original protestants said, and what the Quakers said, as far as I understand it.

Well I've learnt something today, I never knew polycotton is un-godly. Wonder what the bishop's robes are made of. Oh, and the sooner this farsical organisation has nothing to do with politics or state education, the better.

niminypiminy Sat 05-Jan-13 11:10:36

It's a small move in the right direction, and essentially what it does is to extend to bishops the provisions that already cover priests. The Church of England is moving by incremental steps in what I and most of the laity think in the right direction.

I agree the Church is out of step with society - but in some ways it should be. It should be out of step with a society which makes its shrine in the shopping centre, which elevates the trivial and worships gossip.

I do wonder sometimes if the people who fulminate against the sexism and homophobia of the church a) have recently (perhaps ever) been in a church, and thus have experience of what the conditions are for women and gay people in the church, or b) were the Church suddenly to turn round and do all the things they are demanding would they then say, oh fine, this Christianity thing is worth exploring?

In my experience, sexism and homophobia is often used as a convenient stick to beat the Church with by people with little actual interest in or knowledge of it.

trockodile Sat 05-Jan-13 11:13:56

You seem to be having two different arguments. 1) religion as a whole and it's relevance or otherwise and 2)whether people have the right to change the established church while still believing in the Christian God.

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 11:23:07

Actually I'm rather upset of late, the church is trying to get it's paws on my father. That's another story though. Each to their own. I just think that if you set out to make a jelly and replace the gelatine with sand, cement, gravel and then add water you end up with concrete, you end up with something that has lost all of it's character, credibility and flavour. The integrity of the thing has been altered.

trockodile Sat 05-Jan-13 11:23:48

My comment was to Mini btw.
I believe that people have a perfect right to change things from within and in many cases it is not about "joining a church who doesn't want them"-it is about people who have been brought up in a tradition and still see it's worth, even among the problems. It is about gay people who have suffered through small minded bigotry and ignorance and who want to change that for the next generation. It is about people who believe that they have as much right as anyone else to be counted as a member of the church and not take the easy option.

ChristmasFayrePhyllis Sat 05-Jan-13 11:25:09

Obviously this isn't enough but I agree that this is a tiny step in the right direction. This would have allowed Jeffrey John, for example, to become a bishop, and I hope will allow other people who have the gifts for leadership to become bishops.

I am bored rigid by all the comments about the OT - do you think this has never occurred to anyone who is a Christian? Christians consider Jesus to be the living fulfilment of the OT Law. That's why we respect the OT as a collection of documents trying to express what God is - but we don't consider ourselves to be subject to it. Are you going to have a go at Jesus now for curing someone on the Sabbath?

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 11:29:48

But did he? Why not accept all the stories in the bible to be factual? Why are some stories factual and other things within the bible can not be taken literally depending upon mood or personal opinion. If Jesus actually walked on water then Noah actually built an arc and levictus stands.

weegiemum Sat 05-Jan-13 11:36:09

In the gospels, Jesus never mentioned homosexuality.

Which I learned at an evangelical bible college which seemed to obsessed with it.

Better concentrating on what He said about money IMO!

Snorbs Sat 05-Jan-13 11:42:12

niminy, are you suggesting that the Anglican church's refusal to allow women bishops can only be criticised by people who either attend church or are likely to attend church if the sexism is abolished?

That's like saying it is innapropriate to criticise racism in football unless you're a team member, or that you cannot pass comment on sexism in the media unless you're a journalist.

Bollocks to that.

Sexism and homophobia are often used as sticks with which to beat the Anglican church because they're so bloody blatant about it. It is against the law for an organisation to refuse to promote someone to the top position simply because of their sex. It is against the law for an organisation to insist that some of its members cannot engage in entirely lawful sexual practises simply because of their sexuality.

Well, those things are against the law unless your organisation is a religion in which case you get to be as bigotted as you like.

That is unpleasant when it's a religion that has no real power but when we're talking about the Church of England, an organisation that has an automatic right to seats in the House of Lords, then it becomes something much more serious and damn right I'm going to criticise it even if I'm not a member of the club.

FarrahFawcettsFlick Sat 05-Jan-13 11:49:51
CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 05-Jan-13 12:06:15

@niminy... maybe we don't want to go in a church precisely because the discrimination is being played out in public for us all to see and judge? As PR for the organisation, these arguments and decisions do it no favours whatsoever. I know that there are sympathetic clergy out there... gay friends of mine got married recently and a CofE Dean attended & supported the ceremony, even though he wasn't officiating. You can't be surprised or throw your hands up in horror if we judge the CofE on its press-releases and prefer not to take the risk.

niminypiminy Sat 05-Jan-13 12:11:45

No, let's be clear. You're free to criticise the Church of England. But to suggest that somehow it could do enough to satisfy you, if only it agreed, right now, to ordain women and LGBT people as bishops, and to marry gay people in church (all of which I agree with btw), that then you would think that the Church of England was ok - that's simply disingenuous.

My point about criticising from the outside is that you simply have no idea whether the church is felt to be as bigoted by those on the inside as you think it is.

exexpat Sat 05-Jan-13 12:19:43

If the Church of England was a self-contained organisation that just made up its own rules for its members, so only applied to people who signed up for it, then yes, I think we should all butt out.

The problem is that the CofE is still the established church, with bishops in the House of Lords, influence over our law-making process, a major role in our education system etc, so it affects many people who are not members, and I think that gives the population as a whole the right to question some of its more obviously hypocritical/contradictory rulings. If it were disestablished that would be a different matter.

pot39 Sat 05-Jan-13 12:22:14

One of the things about the Cof E which keeps me as a member is that it does 'expose' itself in public.

Jesus was much more worried about the poisonous effect that money has on relationships than sex, gender and who slept with whom. And I think he was right about that too e.g. bankers, tax avoidance, the financial effects of divorce etc etc etc

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 05-Jan-13 12:33:26

If the church is only being run for the benefit of a select few 'on the inside' and wants to increasingly part company with society's moral values then should be disestablished from the state.

SchnappsDamnYou Sat 05-Jan-13 13:05:49

It is salacious and barking. What are they going to do, sniff the sheets?

Snorbs Sat 05-Jan-13 13:23:05

you simply have no idea whether the church is felt to be as bigoted by those on the inside as you think it is.

To take an admittedly extreme example, I'm sure I'd I asked a member of the English Defence League if they were bigoted they'd deny it. So what?

That members of a discriminatory organisation tacitly approve of that discrimination doesn't make it right.

NuclearStandoff Sat 05-Jan-13 13:30:07

I'm sure others have made this point too, but I am very cross that it's OK to be a Bishop if you are gay but not if you are female.

Please don't misunderstand this - I am in favour of equal rights for gay people for everything too, gay marriage etc... but I think this just makes the anti-women thing look even more absurd.

trockodile Sat 05-Jan-13 14:07:14

I don't think anyone is arguing that it is absurd-least of all the gay clergy-most of the ones I have read about/know feel a)that they will believe it when they see it and b)Still hurt and angry about their relationships and sexuality still being seen as such a major issue. They also tend to support woman bishops.
Please don't turn it into a gay clergy versus women clergy issue-at the end of the day neither of them have equal rights.

trockodile Sat 05-Jan-13 14:07:43

Not absurd!

RabidCarrot Sat 05-Jan-13 15:13:07

My priest is "camp as Christmas" and he is a fantastic bloke and a bloody good vicar, he is all for women in the church and has dragged our parish in to the 21st century.

What he and his house guest get up to in private is none of my business

BoffinMum Sat 05-Jan-13 15:51:38

Presumably if I have a sex change and become a man, that would allow me to become a bishop but only if I stopped shagging my DH. hmm

Bilbobagginstummy Sat 05-Jan-13 15:57:50

There would be a good way to make use of the nosey, interfering people that exist in every congregation, though. They could be celibacy police and peer into the Bishop's windows and check his conduct against the Book Of Common Celibacy "permitted expressions of love" checklist.

What I think about this ?

It (the C of E) will get there in the end .....

Women bishops - tick
Gay bishops (without conditions attached) - tick

But it will be too late. It's already too late.

I'm not the only one who, growing up in the C of E, has found another spiritual home.

But that's OK, I'm quite happy with that.
I probably wouldn't have stayed anyway tbf.

Just feel sad for our beautiful church buildings that they couldn't have been in the care of a much more liberal, wide-based church. And for our communities too - that the church at the physical heart of many communities has generally taken such an evangelical path that few can accept and feel able to belong to.

It's a mess, that's for sure. Trying to be as inclusive as possible, not excluding anyone male but unable to go the whole hog & embrace people who happen to be gay without placing the restriction. Something will have to give, imo. The anti-gay churches abroad won't go for it, for a start.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 05-Jan-13 17:39:23

Leviticus is full of stuff which Christians disregard. Why not the homosexual stuff? Christ had nothing to say on the subject did he not? It's called Christianity not Leviticusianity.

StuffezLaBouche Sat 05-Jan-13 17:48:32

I know this is a big ask, and extremely naive and wishful on my part... but wouldn't it be nice if the church could employ the most caring, loving men and women who genuinely wanted to help people give them direction and support, whilst bringing communities together.....
and keep their noses out of what they and other consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms?

Why are they so fervently obsessed with sex and all things sexual? The arguments already put across here indicate how willing the church is to pick and choose which bits of the bible are important and which are "allegorical."

Oh yes, sex = control.

It's a bit "We don't mind if our (male) Bishops are gay" (we never have minded really) Just so long as they (and the hetero ones too) keep quiet about anything to do with sex !

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 05-Jan-13 18:15:24

All men were born equal, except gay ones. And as for women....pah!

mummyonvalium Sat 05-Jan-13 18:48:37

niminy - it is true that people like to bait CofE with homosexuality and the women bishops. After I converted to Christianity 2 years ago DH constantly asked me what my views were as if they would suddenly change overnight.

I am convinced that most Christians actually are quite liberal on these matters. There are small pockets of proper homophobes and they definitely egg each other on with their vitriol (there are a few in my church). Most people though are just very ignorant, live very sheltered lives and would not want to hurt anyone.

Once the younger generation in the Church come up through the ranks it can only be a good thing - they are more educated, have seen a bit more and generally less bigoted. However, I hope it is not to late by then.

niminypiminy Sat 05-Jan-13 19:15:58

I'm totally with you there, MonV. Actually, of course, the Church is full of gay people and women who are holding out for progress, and it will come. But in the meantime, lots of people like to think that the CofE is full of dinosaurs, and imagine that just because you're a Christian you're bigoted and intolerant.

My brother in law is always going on about how the Church is homophobic, but when I told him that my sister's partner is pregnant you could see the whites of his eyes and he changed the subject pretty rapidly.

Viviennemary Sat 05-Jan-13 19:47:04

The C of E has got itself tied into knots about this gay bishop and female bishop business. Because really if it's OK for a vicar why not OK for a Bishop or even Archbishop.

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 20:04:54

Why have a book full of stuff you just disregard confused So as Christianity modernises is it to become a club full of nice people who just do nice things and think that Jesus was just some nice fellow. Will everyone sit around second guessing god's wishes and what Jesus may or may not have said. Sounds like it will be full of wishful thinking.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 05-Jan-13 20:06:45

But that's the point. They disregard some of the said book. Not all.

And isn't religion supposed to be about love for your fellow man and all that i.e. niceness?

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 20:07:47

smile yes of course but then we may as well just drop the bible and get on with being nice.

Yes, we may (Mini) !

And you could say it's full of wishful thinking already.

Personally I think the world would be a better place if everyone was nicer grin

MUM2BLESS Sat 05-Jan-13 21:41:21

I am a christian. What the bible states is what I am going by

King James Bible
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Romans 1 v 27

I will not compromise with what is going on in society today.

We put sin into catagories, for example a little white lie etc. We put murder perhaps in the highest catagory. With God ALL unrighteousness is sin......

Just because society says something is right that does not make it right.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 05-Jan-13 21:44:38

"unseemly"? Doesn't sound very strong to me.

I take exception to "leaving the natural use of woman" - but I suppose it is an old style translation hmm

the woman - possibly slightly worse

MUM2BLESS Sat 05-Jan-13 21:54:27

meaning

improper; in bad taste
Synonyms: cheap, coarse, crude, discreditable, disreputable, in poor taste, inappropriate, inapt, incorrect, indecent, indecorous, indelicate, inelegant, inept, malapropos, malodorous, out of keeping, out of place, poor, raffish, rough, rowdy, rude, ruffian, tawdry, unapt, unbecoming, unbefitting, undignified, ungodly, unrefined, unsuitable, untoward, vulgar, wrong

It depends on the Bible you are reading.

MUM2BLESS Sat 05-Jan-13 21:59:01

Its not saying take advantage of a woman but rather turning to the same sex.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 05-Jan-13 21:59:40

I have always thought that a religion which was open to so much interpretation and fudging of issues can't possibly have the monopoly on morals.

But that's just me.

MUM2BLESS Sat 05-Jan-13 22:00:25

I take exception to "leaving the natural use of woman" - but I suppose it is an old style translation

Answering what you commented on

Anniegetyourgun Sat 05-Jan-13 22:00:43

Well thank goodness nobody suggested we should outlaw stoning women who don't wear a hat to church. One has to maintain some standards.

I was just being generous.
It still seems an odd/ offensive thing to say.

alemci Sat 05-Jan-13 22:03:42

also your body is meant to be a temple. The bible isn't very sympathetic towards sex outside marriage in heterosexuals either and most christians struggle with that as well.

this is talked about in Romans.

Alot of christians do chose to be celibate. Some of them find it enough to follow christ and take up his cross and forget about earthly matters.

I'm not saying it is easy and it is not my personal experience

MUM2BLESS Sat 05-Jan-13 22:05:26

Being a christian is a life style (way you live) and NOT a religion.

I do what I do because I love God. You can go to chruch EVERYSunday and live by rules but still not know God as personally.

God helps me to understand the Bible. After all He is the author of the book.

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 22:05:39

ah ha "Romans 1 v 27 " but the Roman's had a thing about the natural use of women, pesky women were needed for procreation. Other than that they were so second rate within society that any Roman of any worth would take a male lover.

" Roman men were free to enjoy sex with other males without a perceived loss of masculinity or social status, as long as they took the dominant or penetrative role. Acceptable male partners were slaves, prostitutes, and entertainers, whose lifestyle placed them in the nebulous social realm of infamia"

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_ancient_Rome

This is where patriarchy was born. With the idea of Familia, being all property under the male head of household, property including the wife (breeding stock) and all other slaves.

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 22:08:51

God didn't write a book, the Roman's wrote a book after they put Jesus to death, or are we rewriting history according to wishful thinking ?

trockodile Sat 05-Jan-13 22:12:12

Mum2Bless - I am a Christian and think that the only possible way to interpret the bible is to read it with an open mind knowing that we have knowledge that the writers didn't have. (Scientific/medical/cultural) It is not possible to obey every law in the bible and nor would we want to. There are many interpretations of the bible, and many interpretations of the will of God. I may not be correct-but I would rather be wrong than believe in an afterlife that includes the haters and the bigots like Westboro Baptist Church and a God who agrees with them.

Anniegetyourgun Sat 05-Jan-13 22:13:36

That's probably what St Paul was complaining about, then. Not homosexuality per se.

I also suspect that bit about women having to keep quiet in church was said in answer to a complaining letter. Timothy, or whoever it was, wrote about a group of women who used the church as a social meeting point, dressed in their best and having a good natter during the sermon. "You tell those women," St Paul answers, "to be quiet and to behave and dress respectfully in church, they're not at a party". So someone snips this bit out of the scroll and lo, two thousand years later, women can't preach, which is probably not what he meant at all.

Just a completely half-baked theory, you understand, but I rather like it.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Sat 05-Jan-13 22:14:42

God surely didn't write the book. People did.

Anniegetyourgun Sat 05-Jan-13 22:14:49

"That" in my previous post referring, of course, to what MinitheMinx said about the Romans.

MUM2BLESS Sat 05-Jan-13 22:15:34

You can clearly see that society is changing its views. What was considered wrong ten years ago seems to be the norm today.

God does not change His views.

Sex outside marriage is considered wrong whether woman with man or woman with woman or man with man. Also human with animals.

alemci Sat 05-Jan-13 22:16:43

The book of Romans was written by Paul to the Romans. Perhaps it was in response to the things you are talking about Minnie. Like your theory Annie.

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 22:21:48

I like your theory Annie smile

MUM2BLESS Sat 05-Jan-13 22:22:56

God surely didn't write the book. People did. Inspired by GOD.

trockodile Sat 05-Jan-13 22:23:55

Mum2Bless-what about slavery? Women being property of their husband? Children being beaten? Treatment of Prisoners? The Sabbath? Divorce? Genocide-Jericho.
Going back 10 years-we are less likely to accept bullying,domestic violence,child abuse now.
Modern society has so many pluses, the world is a huge place -your view of God seems very small. There is so much we don't understand about the world.

Anniegetyourgun Sat 05-Jan-13 22:25:55

And don't forget the shellfish.

exexpat Sat 05-Jan-13 22:27:07

Quite, trockodile - if God wrote (or inspired) everything that was in the old testament, then I have a very low opinion of him and anyone who takes the bible as a literal guide to how we should live our lives in the 21st century.

trockodile Sat 05-Jan-13 22:27:33

Also, if sex is wrong outside marriage, then why not allow Gay marriage? Paul didn't think much of marriage but said if you have to have sex, better get married!

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 22:37:55

ooh yes shellfish, don't touch the stuff personally, or pork. I actually like the old testament. God was full of wrath (he had his teeth in) when he wasn't he was given another name. Jews believe that god had two names, he was both ma and pa. I rather like the idea that god isn't just a man.

Does the King James bible include the old testament?

Snorbs Sat 05-Jan-13 22:47:45

If God doesn't change his views, what was the point of Jesus? Judaism seemed to be just fine with God for quite a while. Then he decided that, actually, rather than all the smiting and mass genocide he carried out in the Old Testament, he'd go all touchy-feely in the New and killed hardly anybody.

"An eye for an eye" turned in to "turn the other cheek". That's quite a change of view.

TiggyD Sat 05-Jan-13 22:47:46

Isn't it kind of funny how nowadays the 'people' have to teach the church about what is morally right and wrong when it used to be the other way round?

Pawan Sat 05-Jan-13 22:52:35

I read a quote from Phillip Jensen (Dean of Sydney Cathedral), in response to people saying that "the church is full of hypocrites". He says;

"The church is not full of hypocrites. There is still plenty of room for more. Anybody can join at any time."

pointedlynoresolutions Sat 05-Jan-13 22:53:11

The King James Bible does include the Old Testament, Mini. read the Book of Job - it's beautiful in the King James. Also utterly depressing, in that it shows God up as a completely amoral being who is happy to gamble with the lives of real people.

I have an enormous problem with the idea that God either wrote or inspired the Bible, and that everything in it is his will - it assumes that literally everything that has changed since He allegedly wrote the book does not meet with his approval - the abolition of slavery, modern medicine, women's suffrage, the drive for universal literacy and education, all those little things that us fallible human beings feel are a good idea.

I don't believe in God, but if I did, I would expect him to do what any good creator and author of non-fictional and instructive texts does, and write updates editions which incorporates those changes to society/technology/philosophy which make sense in the context of common sense.

The alternative is to believe that God does not care enough to update his word, and that he has no common sense.

Lastly, to the poster who mentioned poly cotton - I don't approve of poly cotton. It's a sweaty waste of time. God was right on that one.

alemci Sat 05-Jan-13 22:56:34

if you read acts Peter has a dream where all kinds of foods appear to him hence no problem with pork and shellfish. with no refrigeration and a hot climate in a desert, it probably made sense not to eat them. Jesus came to fulfill the old testament.

What morals do you mean Tiggy. I think morals tend to be subjective in 2013 GB.

an eye for an eye was about justice and making the punishment fit the crime. I do agree God seemed very harsh in the old testament.

also I think if people have a heart for jesus and want to follow him, things fall into place and serving him becomes more important than things of the flesh i.e. sex. we live in a fallen world.

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 22:56:52

Quite right snorbs. I have always found that strange. My opinion has always been (and it's just an opinion) that the Quran is probably the third instalment, if God has spoken. Which is perhaps the whole basis of my distrust towards those who follow the second instalment. Neither the Jews or the muslims lay claim to having the son of god batting for their team.

MUM2BLESS Sat 05-Jan-13 23:07:00

trockodile slavery is a topic in itself. Some people in society see woman has second class. Woman are so precious, we bring new life into this world (babies). No child should be abused (slightly different to be disciplined, some mix up the two), the list is endless.

Some things that took place 10 years ago is much better now. I am talking about things that that bible states AS NOT BEING RIGHT

I challenge your comment on my view on God being small. what do you mean? Excuse me but I consider God to be of utmost important.

Please remember that God has given us all a free will. You can choose to be a christian or not. Why when something goes wrong do we blame God of turn to Him Why do we not turn to Him when things are good. I am aware that I am moving away from the topic being discussed.

Sex outside of marriage is wrong and also same sex whether married or singe is also wrong. Its the act that is being carried out between two people of the same sex. It is not natural. Lying, stealing, murder, being drunk etc etc is ALSO WRONG. Some would argue with me but these things are in the Bible I believe in. You have you free will to believe or not.

If you do things Gods way you will know in the long run its the best way.

mrsbaffled Sat 05-Jan-13 23:07:43

Jesus came to fulfil the Law, not to do away with it. He kept the Laws in the Old Testament (including Leviticus) so we don't have to.

If we try to live by the Law and work our way into God's favour, we WILL fall short and fail. This is the point of the Old Testament. It is full of accounts of people failing to live up to God's standards. It is there to teach us that we fail to live properly and demonstrates we are in a hopeless position before God and cannot be in relationship with him.

The New Testament does NOT contradict the Old. It shows how God stepped in and fixed our problem of falling short, by coming Himself (in the person of Jesus) to live the perfect live and bridging the gap between us and Him. Our status before God does NOT depend on us keeping the Law. We are made right with God only by trusting in Jesus (who has kep the Law for us).

If we try to keep all the Laws of Leviticus we are rejecting Jesus' work on the cross and we will fail. That is why Christians are no longer bound by the Laws of the Old Testament.

However, we are called to live in a righteous (not a legalistic) way, following Jesus' example and the teachings in the Bible (read through New Testament eyes).

Anniegetyourgun Sat 05-Jan-13 23:08:31

My dad was an atheist, and something of a utilitarian. He used to say that the rules in the Bible are nothing to do with gods, but a sound set of instructions for a nomadic tribe in a hot climate on how to keep healthy. The priests didn't know why you got sick after eg eating undressed pork, they didn't know about bacteria or hookworm, so they told people God was smiting them. Likewise the Ten Commandments are a great set of basic rules to run a society. (Don't notice Thou Shalt Not Commit Homosexuality in there btw. Clearly it wasn't important enough to warrant its own tablet.)

To be fair, my dad was somewhat homophobic as well, not to mention sexist, but he was at least partly a product of his era (1922 model). I think if he were alive today he'd probably have had a rethink by now. Or I'd have given him an earful until he submitted.

MUM2BLESS Sat 05-Jan-13 23:16:06

Don't notice Thou Shalt Not Commit Homosexuality in there btw. Clearly it wasn't important enough to warrant its own tablet.

If everything that is not right was on the tablet it would have been very large. For example smoking can kill you but its not in the Bible. If you want to look after your body its better if you do not smoke. Somethings you do with your body will give you an earlier exist from this life. Over eating and not eating enough will too.

I do not hate people who are homosexual; I do not agree with the act that they carry out.

Anniegetyourgun Sat 05-Jan-13 23:19:03

Well don't do it then.

MiniTheMinx Sat 05-Jan-13 23:39:10

It doesn't explicitly say do not smoke but I seem to think there is a law in the old testament about respecting your body and keeping it healthy. Something along the lines that your body is a gift from god. It should be covered somewhere in the 613 Mitzvot www.jewfaq.org/613.htm it will be in that list somewhere!

Peacocklady Sat 05-Jan-13 23:42:51

1 Timothy 1:5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

To me that says that it's not about following laws and commandments, but acting with love in everything. 'Vain jangling' is getting caught up in whether things are 'wrong' according to law, like homosexuality. Where is love there? It is because of this nonsense that I wouldn't call myself a Christian anymore, but it means I don't know where to go!

edam Sat 05-Jan-13 23:43:29

QI says if you actually look at the Bible there aren't ten commandments anyway - there between a little more than 10 and 50 or something. (I haven't bothered to check this, btw, but QI researchers don't generally make stuff up.)

trockodile Sun 06-Jan-13 00:14:41

Mum2bless- your analogy makes no sense-whether smoking is good for you or not it does not prohibit one from becoming a Bishop and not seen as a sin.
Homosexuality is not mentioned either but it seems to be so much more important to people than keeping the Sabbath holy however-which is mentioned.
If you leave out the old Testament as it was suggested Jesus fulfilled these laws for us by keeping them-he didn't btw, he healed on the Sabbath and allowed his disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath-then the only mention of Homosexuality is by Paul and his prohibition can be interpreted as against Temple Prostitutes and married men having sex with other men. It wasn't a big deal and was hardly mentioned. And not by Jesus at all.
And I said you are making God small because you are refusing to acknowledge that the world he created is huge and filled with complex and wonderful people who do not fit your view of how they should behave. Love is amazing and to be embraced. More and more people are agreeing that homosexuality/bisexualism/transvestites is not a mental illness and that people are indeed "born this way". Hermaphroditism/pansexuals/assexuals etc -people are different-and amazing and do not fit into your box. People are damaged by religious zealots (many of whom do not themselves understand the bible) who tell them they are sinful and wrong to feel the way they do. "Gay conversion" programmes do untold damage.
This is a huge topic, I am aware that I will not change your mind. But just know that there are people who are willing to try to change the status quo-just like people were willing to challenge mainstream views on inter racial marriage, slavery, suffrage, domestic violence-all sanctioned by the church at some point. The CofE was born from challenging the Roman Catholic Church!

trockodile Sun 06-Jan-13 00:16:32

Not mentioned ... In the 10 commandments

SinisterBuggyMonth Sun 06-Jan-13 01:41:48

Ofcourse celibacy in priests has worked out so well for Catholics......

seeker Sun 06-Jan-13 07:25:56

One good thing- by analogy, women could obviously be Bishops now, so long as they promise not to practice womanness.

Snorbs Sun 06-Jan-13 08:22:12

Ok, so in the Old Testament people were expected to uphold God's law directly. Then God decided that wasn't working and so, instead, sent Jesus to uphold the law for us.

How is that not God changing his mind?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 06-Jan-13 09:22:38

"God does not change His views. "

But the people - because this is ultimately about people - interpreting god have had no trouble in the past updating those views in order to keep step with society. In fact, the CofE has made a speciality of it in the past and was only created in order to provide an alternative to rigid Catholicism. They're missing a golden opportunity to continue the tradition of being the original 'broad church'.

Any branch of religion that insists on upholding views & practices that no-one else agrees with either ends up becoming irrelevant or resorting to extremist or bullying tactics. As I can't see the CofE becoming extreme or bullying it is simply on a road to obsolescence.

Liking the posts upthread a bit by Pawan and pointedly.

Pawan quoting the Bish of Sydney that the church is not full of hypocrites, there's plenty of room for more - anyone can join at anytime smile

And pointedly that polycotton is all wrong - God was right on that one !

Pawan around 22.52 for your reference, and pointedly follows.

mrsbaffled Sun 06-Jan-13 10:01:59

No he did not change his mind. People were always able to be included in god's family my faith alone. Look at David. He broke lots of commandments, but is still described as being a man after God's own heart. The Law simply highlights our sin. Right from the beginning people were called to repent and put their trust in God and His promises.

On another tangent now.....just because the whole world acts one way doesn't make it right. Yes, the church might look irrelevant, but it doesn't make everyone else right.

Snorbs Sun 06-Jan-13 10:23:57

So if people were always able to be included in God's family by faith alone then you seem to be implying that Jesus' sacrifice was pointless.

mrsbaffled Sun 06-Jan-13 10:26:59

Faith and trust in Jesus sacrifice. It wouldn't work without Jesus. The sacrifice was for all sins over all time, so works backwards too.

mrsbaffled Sun 06-Jan-13 10:28:01

People in the Old Testament trusted in god's promises to fix the problem of sin....he achieved this through the cross x

Snorbs Sun 06-Jan-13 10:34:16

Faith and trust in Jesus sacrifice. It wouldn't work without Jesus. The sacrifice was for all sins over all time, so works backwards too.

Thank you for clarifying. So, the people in the Old Testament - David, for example - had faith and trust in Jesus' sacrifice even though that wasn't to happen until quite a long way in their future. But that's ok because Jesus's sacrifice travelled back in time too.

Makes perfect sense. I'm struggling to understand why I find all this so hard to believe.

mrsbaffled Sun 06-Jan-13 13:07:10

Snorbs, please read my clarification at 10:28.

mummyonvalium Sun 06-Jan-13 13:23:50

mum2bless - just out of curiosity how would you feel if your vicar was homosexual and had a partner, and you did not know whether he was having relations with him? Would you assume he was unGodly because of this?

This is my problem - there are a few gay people who work in the Church and have a romantic relationship, with one person. The Bible says the act is sinful but it is the act that is sinful not the person. So, if a person has romantic feelings for another person, gay or straight this is not in itself a sin.

The Church of England should stop assuming that all gay people are at it like rabbits - which they do, because the literature is very biased towards assuming that all gay people are promiscuous and incapable of having a seriously relationship.

Being a Christian means putting God at the centre of your life (even if they have a romantic partner), and for everyone, this should be accepted without the need for justification.

Lastly, on the issue of sin - it is a private matter between God and the individual. No-one should have to trail through their past private lives to get the job - the only question that should asked is whether they live out their lives in a Godly way now.

Viviennemary Sun 06-Jan-13 13:32:36

Years ago I thought Celibacy and Chastity were two different things. Celibacy meant not being married and Chastity meant complete abstinence from sex.

alemci Sun 06-Jan-13 14:23:51

also Abraham was faithful and lived by God's law. He trusted God and even would have sacrificed his son which does seem pretty harsh. also Joseph (Jesus's son) was a direct descendent of David which is quite interesting.

In the old testament it constantly refers to the coming of christ.

trockodile Sun 06-Jan-13 15:11:54

Not really going to start a debate on theology-but don't you think it is possible to accept that people can interpret scripture differently to you? That we are all fallible, inc the original authors of the bible? That while not suggesting you give up your own faith accept that other people can be right and that God is powerful enough to see it out if we believe him to be a just and loving God?

alemci Sun 06-Jan-13 15:23:43

yes definitely Trocodile. None of us understand God and shouldn't claim to.

OOH I will try to defend the christian faith and point out why certain views are being voiced, especially when certain posters tend to ridicule it (not on this thread particularly and then insult people who do hold those views which I have seen alot on Mumsnet)

I think I hold the belief that scripture was inspired by God and is his word. However as I get older I realise life isn't always black and white and there is so much grey. I still maintain that if you do follow christ and walk close to him he will convict you of your 'sinful' behaviour and you will want to give it up.

I am very backslidden myself but I do think there is so much positivity in christ's message and the fact that he was prepared to die for me and all humanity sums it up.

MUM2BLESS Sun 06-Jan-13 15:59:18

trockodile
I mentioned about smoking because it was mentioned about certain things not being within the 10 commandments. Smoking is not good and is not mentioned.

You can become a bishop and be gay, you can be a Bishop and lie or smoke but does that make it right in the eyes of God. I think not.

I do put sin into categorise, society does.

Yes there was probably temple prostitutes and married men having sex with other men. You mentioned it not being a big deal, then how do you know? It may not have been mentioned but we do not know what took place with those involved.

And I said you are making God small because you are refusing to acknowledge that the world he created is huge and filled with complex and wonderful people who do not fit your view of how they should behave

Excuse me, but that has nothing to do with how I see my God.

I know that the world is filled with complex and wonderful people who do not all see my view and behave the way I do. I am not expecting them all to. I know people have varying views that is their privilegde. We all have a will and can choose what we want to believed in. God Himself will not take that choose away from them. It is also my right to have my own personal view. I am not forcing anyone to see it how I do, I am just viewing my own option. Even if its not yours.

MUM2BLESS Sun 06-Jan-13 16:09:29

mummyonvalium

mum2bless - just out of curiosity how would you feel if your vicar was homosexual and had a partner, and you did not know whether he was having relations with him? Would you assume he was unGodly because of this?

I would not embrace this as it goes against what I believe to be right. I am being honest. Why am I compromising with what the bible states.

If someone does not see anything wrong with being homosexual then it would not be a problem to them.

I would expect someone who is a christian to be an example to me.

beyondcrazy Sun 06-Jan-13 16:15:17

I don't agree with the CofE discriminating against women and gay people, but this latest move did make me chuckle. Given my own experience since getting hitched two years ago, is there anyone in a marriage/civil partnership who ISN'T effectively celibate? (I don't belive it's just me and Mr Crazy who find an early night far more tempting nowadays...)

trockodile Sun 06-Jan-13 17:12:34

Getting the thread back on topic I thought this was an interesting story-
m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/06/why-gay-bishops-have-to-lie
Giles Fraser agrees with you BeyondCrazy-that if people made less hoo ha about what goes on in the bedroom that homosexual sex would be considerably more boring and vanilla!
Mum2bless-of course you can have an opinion. I just cannot agree that smoking is in any way comparable to homosexuality. Homosexual love is no more harmful than heterosexual. Conversely hatred,injustice,bullying-which IMO includes telling people that the way they love and who they love is unnatural and wrong-that is harmful to people leading to psychological trauma, suicide and ruined lives.
Interestingly of course 100 years ago, smoking was normal,natural and everyone did it-as we evolve, things change!

mummyonvalium Sun 06-Jan-13 18:50:34

mum2bless - how would you know though whether he was celibate or not? Gay or not? He may have made a decision to love someone but not to have relations because he believed wholeheartedly in the scripture, as you do? There are plenty of people who are like this.

I take your point that someone who is Christian should be an example to others, but there are bigger and more important ways of telling if this is the case than whether or not he has feelings towards men.

LaCiccolina Sun 06-Jan-13 20:09:39

The thing I really don't get, on top of all mentioned above, is that you could now be gay in the church, but please really don't be a woman????? How come this one gets through but the other doesn't? I really don't understand.... sad

It pains me to say this but the c of e church is becoming in recent months somewhat of a laughing stock to me. Im finding it harder to say I'm associated to it. I'd rather just be Christian I think. Sad sad sad......

DizzyHoneyBee Sun 06-Jan-13 20:10:33

In what way does the C of E decision differ to the requirement for Catholic priests to be celibate, or from the situation with regard to homosexual C of E clergy?

LaCiccolina Sun 06-Jan-13 20:18:08

Dizzy, I don't know specifics but every film and parish I've been in has a vicar with a vicars wife. (Or a very old man on his own) Never occurred to me that cofe were supposed to be single/celibate/chaste.

alemci Sun 06-Jan-13 20:26:24

They are not celibate if they are married or you hope not. but is this any different any other long term married couple Christians are very pro- marriage in my experience.

It is only the catholics who have single men as priests as Christ was not married so they follow him. I don't think this is a good idea - think of Thornbirds and Maeve Binchey novels.

DizzyHoneyBee Sun 06-Jan-13 20:30:18

LaCiccolina, maybe I should ask our vicar where her wife is then?! smile

I'm not convinced that it's necessary to ask bishops to remain celibate. We don't know that Jesus did after all.

Would God mind if they weren't?

MiniTheMinx Sun 06-Jan-13 20:51:25

I don't think it's only catholic priests, what about Greek Orthodox, I thought they were mostly celibate.

KayHarker Mon 07-Jan-13 11:28:45

Orthodox priests can be married - it's their bishops who must be unmarried.

Can they get divorced if a promotion is in the offing - I guess not ?!

KayHarker Mon 07-Jan-13 17:48:49

Um no, I wouldn't have thought so grin

niminypiminy Mon 07-Jan-13 17:59:16

Orthodox bishops are normally monks (and therefore celibate), while priests are seen as 'secular' clergy, that is, they are out in the world, and are therefore able to marry.

OK, I should be more generous perhaps ...

BoffinMum Mon 07-Jan-13 23:00:17

Informed DS1 (15) that I am planning gender reassignment in order to become a bishop, but that I plan to stay with his dad but just enjoying a celibate relationship. The lad ran out of the room so fast you couldn't see him for dust! grin

niminypiminy Tue 08-Jan-13 10:27:06

It would probably help Boffinmum, if you were to start going to church .... Oh! <head palm> it was a joke! What rapier sharp wit you have!

Well I enjoyed it niminy !

(no need to get all niminypiminy about it ? )

BoffinMum Tue 08-Jan-13 11:33:51

How do you know I don't go to church? I might be an ex chorister communicant member of the C of E with high level engagement in church matters at Church House <taps nose>

Ooh, intriguing ....

BoffinMum Tue 08-Jan-13 15:32:39

niminy thinks Christians never laff.

niminypiminy Tue 08-Jan-13 17:34:40

Apologies Boffinmum if you are indeed a churchgoer - though it still wasn't hugely funny.

seeker Tue 08-Jan-13 20:02:59

As I said, I'm sure it's be ok if you were a woman so long as you're not practising........

Puts one in mind of the infamous papal chair (with a hole in seat) where they apparently used to test to make sure Pope-to-be had balls and all appropriate bits.
Also I heard it didn't stop at least one female Pope slipping through the net and even going on to have a child (shock horror !) whilst in the job.

hackmum Tue 08-Jan-13 20:26:27

Juggling: you're thinking of Pope Joan who, to be fair, probably didn't exist. The papal chair with a hole was supposedly introduced after Pope Joan was discovered to be female.

OK Off to google Pope Joan.

I love history that is so long ago that no-one really knows the facts.

But then people appreciated story in those days. Not like now when everything has to be so boringly cut and dried.

We need a new movement - kind of post modernism - anyone with me ?

merrymouse Tue 08-Jan-13 21:22:13

I think they are just trying to slowly delay the inevitable.

If the C of E want to maintain any shred of relevance to modern life they will have to completely update their views on women and gay people in the next decade. I think most of them realise this. Its just they are going with the slowly dip your toe in the water approach.

This is resulting in some rather humorous proposals, as above.

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