It must be difficult for the Rev. Martin Dudley (who took the gay couple binding service) but should not be for Rev. Colin Slee (as sympathiser with the ministry and the event). I listened to the Sunday report (23 mins in) on BBC Radio 4 and I just wonder:
Why won't people stop using weasle words and dodging around? If this form of service is right (which it was and is) then say so. Don't make it into prayers and a sort of casual (?) blessing when the wording, as read out by the interviewer, was clearly strong and clearly out to make it a sacred act of binding two loving men together.
This is why the liberal cause is so weakened; why it gets accused of duplicity.
Then along comes a chap from the other side, David Banting, who is confident and can be as clear as day about what he stands for (and illustrates the gulf between the two sides).
The point put by Colin Slee about GAFCON relating to its size was right in terms of its organisers and how it is done, though afterwards David Banting made a point about the large number it represents (wildly overstated - we know that because elected Synods in Anglican Churches keep downgrading or rejecting the Covenant that would constrain these Churches). He also said about liberals in authority: well, if they are, they have put out quite some restrictive guidelines.
Presumably when interests are at stake - property, functions, personnel - the liberals will stand up to the coming international invaders, but they do not do it very well now in terms of making a case.
There was an argument for doing things softly softly, of course, but that was before the likes of GAFCON were set up and the likes of Fulcrum play games as if they are a heartbeat away from the "orthodox" Anglican leadership.
We had a local example in Lincolnshire regarding a gay couple when the cautious route was taken and a gay blessing that would have had larger numbers involved was cut off, and this was done because it would have drawn attention. Prayers might have been offered in a bishop's chapel among only a few people. Duplicity was at the forefront then. But now this particular binding has happened, and the service liturgy paralleled the wording of sacred weddings, then those involved and sympathetic ought to make the case for what has taken place and do so with some obvious and clear conviction.
Well said, Pluralist.
It may not have been a marriage service but that's only because church and state don't call it marriage. A civil partnership is just the same thing. And to the couple in question, the blessing/prayer or whatever it is officially called, has exactly the same meaning.... it is possible, of course, that they feel saddened that "proper" marriage vows aren't possible. But they certainly won't think "thank God it's only prayers, that's really all we ever wanted".
Oh for a bit more courage all round!
You are right, Adrian: it is indeed time to stop being wooly and polite and take an assertive fight to our adversaries.
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