Steve Chalke Dodging the Crucial Question

Steve Chalkeby Peter Ould

When I had a public conversation with Steve Chalke last month, one of the questions I asked him was how he was going to handle people like myself. Where do people who choose to be celibate fit into your model? What about those of us who see some form of sexual orientation change or who marry? Are we doing the right thing?

In the video below, Chalke attempts to answer this question, but actually avoids responding to it. Fast forward to 24 minutes and 50 seconds and see what I mean.

[…]  So here’s a summary of what Chalke says,

  • Many people, because of what they have been taught, have chosen to live a celibate life
  • Jesus said some people had a gift of celibacy (really? where?)
  • Some people choose to get married – sometimes to “prove credentials” or to “prove been healed” and sometimes that leads to “catastrophe” down the line. Note how he never affirms any of the those choices or gives examples of those who have married and are happy
  • However, truth is truth. We should be stating what we believe to be true
  • Talks about divorce (but this is irrelevant to proving whether homosexual activity is sinful or not). Raises an example of poor pastoral practice around divorce and physical abuse (but what has this to do with homosexuality?)
  • Our theological understanding of homosexuality has grown
  • Permanent, Faithful, Stable homosexual relationships are good and the church should endorse them
  • This is better then gay people “pretending” to be something they are not or “live lives of deception
  • It’s the Church’s task to call everyone to lifelong, committed relationships

Technology and sexuality: how we got where we are

by John Richardson

I posted yesterday on the question of the involvement of the law in the institution of marriage. This has prompted a couple of replies, one of which observed (as, I think, did Professor Julian Rivers in his evidence to the Committee considering the same-sex marriage bill) that the abolition of marriage was tried (and failed) in the early Soviet Union.

There are, however, a number of things that have allowed a shift in our own national sexual practices which were unknown to earlier generations, including the early Soviet Union.

One is massive technological change in the field of medicine. Prior to the advent of antibiotics, gonorrhea and syphilis were not just potential consequences of sexual promiscuity but effectively untreatable and, in the case of syphilis, fatal. By contrast, the advent of effective treatments has led to a lowering of restraint, as we have also seen recently in the case of MSM (men having sex with men) and HIV (see here).

A second technological change is, of course, in the field of contraception, which undoubtedly increased the rates of extra-marital sex, particularly with the advent of the contraceptive pill in the 1960s, by lowering the risk of an unwanted child. Actually this was precisely one of the reasons why the Church of England opposed the availability of artificial contraception and what it warned would happen, back in its debates around the 1930s.

The third technological change was the advent of legal abortion. I call this a technological change because although the technology to carry out abortions with minimal risk to the life and health of the mother was there before the 1960s, the fact that it was not normally legal kept the technology from public access. Once again, this added to people’s sense of security when engaging in intercourse without a desire for conception to occur (usually, though not always, outside marriage).

Read here

Pope did not ask Keith O’Brien to stand down, says English cardinal

By Sam Jones, Guardian

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor says no pressure was put on the former archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh to quit

The former leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales has denied that the Vatican forced Cardinal Keith O’Brien to step down early amid allegations of “inappropriate acts” against fellow priests.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor insisted that no pressure was brought to bear on the former archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh to quit ahead of schedule or to stay away from the conclave to choose the next pope.
“It was up to his own conscience that he stepped down. He wasn’t asked to; he decided to do that,” said Murphy-O’Connor. “As he said in his statement, I think he thought it would be a distraction to be in Rome. I think that was the main reason, the media attention.
“It was his decision to do so. He wasn’t forced to do so; he wasn’t asked to do so. He thought that given the publicity over the allegations, which are being contested by the cardinal, that was a better thing to do.”
Read also:  Scandal and the need for moral courage by Gillan Scott, God and Politics UK