Tuesday 11 August 2009

The dangerous Bishop of Durham – part 2

The Bishop of Durham claims to speak for the House of Bishops and to know the mind of the Archbishop of Canterbury better than the Archbishop knows himself. He takes it upon himself to clarify and expand upon what the Archbishop ‘really meant’.

Hidden demons
He sees demons everywhere in the Communion. He warns the Archbishop that the Covenant process is ‘far too important to be left to a small group advising the Archbishop’ (para 17). The small group criticised by the bishop was, of course, chosen by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Complexity, says the bishop, ‘simply hands power to those with time on their hands and with well-developed skills in political manipulation’ (para. 18). Complexity is woven into creation and characterises human thought and activity. The members of the group appointed to advise on the Covenant are neither people with too much time on their hands nor politically manipulative people.

Durham has a solution to the problems of complexity and manipulation. ‘The ABC himself is now the main person, if not the only person, in a position to give a clear and authoritative answer’. The bishop has spoken. The Archbishop of Canterbury must take unilateral, authoritative action now, and the action must be what Durham has decided is for the best. But as the Archbishop has made very clear, he doesn’t have any legal, canonical authority over the Communion and neither does he want it.

Abusive language
The bishop uses language in a way which abuses LGBT Anglicans. He categorises some of us as ‘non-celibate homosexuals’. This is equivalent to calling married people ‘non-celibate heterosexuals’. It is a deeply offensive way of describing people.

He refers to people’s ‘sexual preference’ as if lesbian and gay people choose to be attracted to people of the same sex rather than being innately attracted just as he is attracted to the opposite sex. He is one of a small minority of people in the UK who continue to think in this way. Sadly, a significant proportion of this minority are to be found in conservative Christian congregations.

Durham refers to ‘certain habits and styles of life’ which are left behind when people rise to new life in Christ (para. 6). LGBT people do not have ‘certain habits’ which are different from the habits of heterosexuals. Nor do we have distinctive ‘styles of life’. His language is deliberately chosen to demean LGBT people. I have met hundreds of LGBT Christians whose lives are characterised by holiness and a renewed humanity. The bishop cannot know the people of his own diocese well if he hasn’t discerned holiness in many of his partnered lesbian and gay clergy and laity. Perhaps, like other bishops I know, he is blind to their presence.

In para. 12 the bishop addresses sex and ‘rights’. He refers to ‘those with homosexual and similar instincts’. He is wearied by the need to spell out yet again the difference, for those with such instincts, between their human dignity and civil liberty and their ‘rights’ as practising let alone ordained Christians.

I am wearied by his use of the phrase ‘homosexual instincts’. Lesbian and gay people do not have ‘instincts’ that distinguish them from heterosexual people. We have exactly the same range of human physical and emotional desires, the same ability to engage in appropriate adult behaviour and relationships. In the bishop’s mind we are not human beings similar in every way to heterosexuals but deficient in some way, corrupted, perverse.

In a confusing paragraph Durham writes about the categories of chastity, celibacy and a weak or negligible sexual drive as if they are alternative choices for Christians. Chastity – fidelity in love and sexual relationships - is for all, as he rightly says - the same for lesbian and gay people and heterosexuals. It is totally distinct from the call to celibacy, a charism given to very few people, and utterly different from having a weak or negligible sex drive. I know what the bishop really wants to say – no sex for gay people – God doesn’t approve. Why can’t he be honest?

Prejudice and bigotry
The bishop distinguishes between prejudice and bigotry and a principled, thought-out moral stance. He says the Archbishop ‘clearly indicates’ that the two must be sharply separated. I don’t think the Archbishop of Canterbury splits head from heart, prejudice from moral stance, in the way Durham imagines. However, the Archbishop does seem to have lost his empathy for the LGBT minority in his attempt to maintain the unity of the Anglican Communion in the face of those driving towards schism. I can only hope and pray that this is a temporary loss.

Personal Identity
Durham states that ‘the Christian notion of personal identity has never before been supposed to be rooted in desires of whatever sort’. Durham knows perfectly well that desire is a fundamental theme in the Bible. The IVP New Bible Dictionary states that:
“in their numerous references to ‘desire’ the Old and New Testaments provide many acute and incisive psychological insights. Indeed both by the diversity of the vocabulary of ‘desire’, and the manner of handling it, the Bible makes plain an important part of its doctrine of man.” It continues: “In Hebrew psychology the whole personality was involved in desire.”

Durham wants a notion of identity which incorporates emotional and physical desires to be articulated on the basis of scripture and tradition. Those who, like the bishop, believe that the head can be split from the heart, that the self of emotions and physical desires is different from the rational, cognitive self, are dangerous. Durham introduces an attack on emotion and desire into his comments on human rights. He refers to the ‘supposed’ modern and scientific discovery of a personal ‘identity’ characterised by sexual preference.’

Head not heart
The Bishop of Durham is at his most dangerous in thinking that it is better to live predominantly or exclusively in the head rather than from the heart. People who live in extremis in the head with no emotional empathy are psychopaths. The bishop distrusts feelings and trusts only the rational intellect. Because his self is head-centred he has little or no empathy for the lesbian, gay and bisexual Christians and priests in his own diocese nor in the worldwide Communion. No wonder he is unable to appreciate the trauma suffered by so many LGBT people at the hands of the church.

The Bishop of Durham concludes by naming the main priority for the Communion as prayer. I agree 100% with his commitment to prayer and with the intentions he outlines:
‘Prayer for the church; for our beloved Communion and the many other Christians with whom we seek to deepen fellowship; for Archbishop Rowan; for wisdom, courage, clarity and vision; for God’s glory, the extension of his kingdom, and the power of the gospel and the Spirit at work in hearts, lives, communities and throughout our world’.

Changing Attitude also prays for these intentions and for the full inclusion of LGBT people in the church of which we are already full members, though disenfranchised and condemned in many parts of the Communion.


  1. Thank you for this, Colin.
    The only thing I would quibble with is describing Bishop Tom as a head person. True head people have long understood the scientific evidence about homosexuality and they don’t need to demonise, slander and misrepresent us in order to make their points. Nor do they need to misrepresent the theology, organisational structures and processes of their own faith, church and Communion, or the history of this dispute.

    This is a hugely repressed man full of rage and he’s trying to deal with his terrors by trying to rationalise them and by controlling everything around him so he can remain safe.
    If it didn’t result in imposing very real suffering on others, I’d say it’s quite pitiful to watch.

  2. Well done, Colin. This man needs clear opposition such as these two pieces.

    It is worthwile bearing the European context in mind. Nearly all the comparable Lutheran churches of Europe already authorise same-sex blessings or are in the process of doing so. Even Calvin's Swiss Reformed Church authorises them in most Swiss cantons - you might think this would weigh with the neo-Calvinists in the C of E.

    I'm posting up evidence of this at


  3. That link should be


  4. I have been worried for some time about Bishop Tom and how every word he puts into print is feted as an inerrant utterance. Thank you for this exposition of his latest pronouncement.

  5. Thank you for these articles, informative and well written and he does need to be rebuffed!

    You are absolutely right that Tom Wright does try to bind the ABC to his own agenda. He is clearly pushing for some decisive action with his call for "those on the ground (obviously he just means conservatives here, not working for LGBT inclusion...) to take "concrete and immediate steps."

    Personally, I think the chances of the ABC "moving swiftly" are very remote indeed!

    What might be more worrying ( I think) is the way Tom Wright sees the proposed covenant as a vehicle giving legitimacy to factions such as the ANCA and FCA. What do people think?

  6. That is a very cogent indictment of Tom Wright and his positions. I agree with Erika that this man is full of fear and rage. What was it that Jesus said about taking care of the beams in our own eyes before tackling the motes in others.

  7. This whole article smacks of an Orwellian desire to control our language and hence control our thoughts. It fails to address the scriptural norms which lie behind +Tom's thought. The amateur phycoanalysis of the bishop is without foundation

  8. I wish I could reply to a person rather than 'anonymous' because I believe in transparency, honesty and integrity in the Christian life and not secrecy and fear. Thanks, 'anonymous', for your comment on my amateur psychoanalysis of the bishop, which you think is without foundation. I am a trained psychotherapist and your comment may be accurate - perhaps I'm not very good at personal analysis. I invite you to describe the scriptural norms which lie behind bishop Tom's article. Do they include betrayal of those you profess to love and respect?

  9. Without in any way assessing motive albeit I think the word is 'obvious,' the cognitive dissonance between Durham's theology of justifacation and inclusion into a new Israel on the one hand and his exclusionary view of lbgt's on the other is breathtaking. He consistently refuses to see the implications of his own writing and research.


  10. As far as I am aware +Tom has never attempted to exclude anyone from the Church. We are talking about the nature of marriage and the nature of priesthood. The point of justification is that it is the foundation of sanctification. As Paul says such you once were. NT morality at this point is one of actions. After all he is not banning you from the communion table.

  11. If it didn’t result in imposing very real suffering on others, I’d say it’s quite pitiful to watch.¨ Erika Baker

    Yes. It is painful to watch even when they are coming at others with their falsehoods, mischiefmaking, grandstanding and overbloated sense of ¨sensibilities¨...I especially notice a almost pathetic nature surrounding many of the ¨excluders¨...for example ex-Bishops Schofield, Duncan and P.B. Venables seem a particularly dangerous and desperate lot...Orombi and Akinola are simply lost in the bloat of their own inflating...can happen to anyone but none-the-less they instigate fear and hate against other Anglicans...not even showing the basics in leadership at The Body of Christ...harming others isn´t loving others no matter how they attempt to prop up their lack of REAL virtue.

  12. Kurt from Brooklyn11 August 2009 at 18:18

    Hopefully, this series of essays is just the beginning of British Anglican criticism of Bishop Wright. We may even hope that he will follow the path of Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, and resign his see for the good of the Church.

  13. Kurt from Brooklyn: Alas, a vain hope. I don't think +Tom has any interest in following +Nazir-Ali off to the Sons and Daughters of I Will Arise (or wherever he's going when he leaves Rochester). I think +Tom wants to drive +Rowan back to Oxford and succeed him at Lambeth.

    Excellent articles, Colin.

  14. Beneath all his animated ideas to justify himself, Durham is simply still fixated on two standing strong emotional beliefs, one about queer folks, one about himself.

    One, Durham is transfixed by the traditional notion that queer life is permeated and energized by cheap thrills lust, more so than straight life. Modern queer life, ah ... say Durham have you noticed? Not so much.

    If all that straight cheap thrills lust does not innately, categorically preclude straight people for all time and eternity from committed loving relationships and productive secular citizenship, maybe we can think pretty much the same thing of queer folks? Even inside church life?

    Durham's other emotional foot is also stuck fast. He cannot imagine himself not having traditional privileges to be superior and morally better than queer folks.

    Durham is stuck fast in a self-serving traditional trope: Queer folks must be sure to transform themselves by avoiding sex completely, while straight folks ought to just take care to see that their sex is loving, committed to the beloved's well-being, and ritualized on display for all of us to see and appreciate.

    How could Durham start to unstick his feet from these icky glue points?

    Well, rumor has it that a good many positive queer folks are already living and loving and working and - gasp, ministering - in his own diocese. Maybe he ought to hang out for a good long while to see if he can let the daily life goods being embodied, sink in for real. Is Durham's heart or mind that permeable? Could he correct his glue footed errors about queer stuff?

    Time and circumstance may tell.

  15. Kurt from Brooklyn11 August 2009 at 18:50

    “I think +Tom wants to drive +Rowan back to Oxford and succeed him at Lambeth.”--Bill Moorhead

    How realistic is Wright’s ambition to be ABC, Bill? Would the British government actually appoint someone who many Americans are growing to despise?

  16. Some of us, in a moment of weakness have wished that Tom Wright would resign but for quite a different reason. We are waiting for his major series of books to be completed. I think he is a true northerner who has reached his ideal position. His friendship with Rowan Williams is well known and speculation that +Tom wishes to replace him is without foundation.

  17. Thank you for this. I second particularly what Erika said.

  18. Anonymous: you must surely be either Tom Wright's mother or his wife... hardly anyone else who has come across him has such a starry-eyed view of him. It is not a sign of aa normal heterosexual British man in this day and age that he feels the need to express himself in such extreme ways about gay people. His diocese could surely better benefit from his mental acuity applied to the really pressing ethical problems of conemporary British society: endemic violence, drunkenness, teenage pregnancies and all the other dull sins that heterosexuals are prey to.

  19. Don't worry about Tom Wright......worry about the ABC and his talk of "representative functions" in the church and "the Church Catholic"...... you can bash the bishop of Durham all you like but fact is that Rowan is not dancing to the CA tune.....

  20. Kurt -- I don't think it's realistic at all. But then, I'm not sure that realism is +Tom's strong suit. I certainly hope I'm wrong about that, and it may well be that +Tom doesn't really want to be ABC, he just wants to have that level of influence in the Church. I'm sure the government is aware of the problems that a Wright episcopacy is already causing in the C of E and in the Anglican Communion.

    I agree with "Anonymous" that +Tom would serve the Church much better if he would give up being Homophobe of Durham and instead finish up the "Christian Origins and the Question of God" series, which I think is really very good.

  21. Noticeable that none of the conservatives are ever willing to reveal their identity

    I think, looking at Wright's language and attitude, that here we have someone homophobic in the old sense of the word. He has a quite visceral dislike and fear of gay people, but most of all, it comes dowen to gay sex or what he imagines gat sex to be.

  22. Noticeable that none of the conservatives are ever willing to reveal their identity.¨ MM

    That´s because they´re used to smearing others and don´t want to be persecuted by the likes of THEMSELVES...at the heart of most tight as*ed bullies there is a puffed up coward with spellcheck and cookie crumbs wedged into his keyboard.

    It doesn´t take a great deal of understanding to note that Bishop W has offered nothing of value to the ¨listening¨ process other than the apparent joy he receives from ¨listening¨ to the sound of his own voice...true, some untrustworthy people listen, but they are the same old mischiefmaking/twitching mob.

  23. "How realistic is Wright’s ambition to be ABC, Bill? Would the British government actually appoint someone who many Americans are growing to despise?"

    Don't think the UK government cares a fig about the succession to Rowan in terms of its effect on other countries. You should worry that by the time it comes round, the appointment will still entirely be in the hands of the Church of England, with perhaps a nod in the direction of 'communion concerns', because there isn't time to change it.

    The Prime Minister has already committed to appointing English Diocesans the one name submitted by the Crown Nominations Commission.

    You should worry that, even though the Commission for a Vacancy in Canterbury is slightly differently constituted, it will still pretty much be controlled by the appointments process - and all of the paperwork for the commission is assembled and prepared in-house by C of E staffers.

    You should worry that on the 'turn-and-turn-about' principle that there will be a strong and expectation that the successor to Rowan will be an evangelical and you should worry that key lay positions in the C of E are held by Christians of a distinctly evangelical position.

    You should worry that there's not enough time now to bring in effective change to the systemm. Although given (say) a maximum of six or seven years before Rowan calls it a day, there's a UKL General Election between now and then so leglisative programmes are going to be squeezed. If TEC and CA and AFFCath and others of that ilk are not already planning how to bring their influence to bear on the processes and those individuals who will, before too much longer, be taking the quiet decisions, then all of this is just entertaining trans-atlantic public position-taking.

    Will the next +Cantuar be +Tom? Probably not, but only probably not and you shouldn't assume that your criticisms of him will rule him out.

    But what is overwhelmingly likely is that the next +Cantuar will probably have much more in common with him than you would like.

    [I'm not the other anonymous, btw - I'm going for a job at the moment so am staying low profile.]

  24. Merseymike,

    Is that you real name?

    Leonardo Ricardo

    What bigoted nonsense

  25. Are you staying anonymous, second anonymous BECAUSE you are going for a job?!!!

  26. I hate seeing the divisions in our communion, but I am so, so glad that the TEC are demonstrating the integrity to become a place where fear, paranoia, secrecy and "don't ask, don't tell" - in terms of view or orientation - are a thing of the past.

    We need to be ourselves within the Church, just as we can be ourselves before God.

  27. Kurt from Brooklyn12 August 2009 at 13:55

    American Episcopalians “worry” about what happens in some Old World country? (We Yankees became both politically and ecclesialy independent more than 230 years ago). I think that, like many English con evos, Anonymous has a self-inflated view of the importance of what happens in the C of E to most American Episcopalians. Actually, a good number of us on this side of the pond don’t give much of a flying fig what happens in the C of E. A right-wing evo in Canterbury would serve just fine; probably just what it will take to put the last nail in the coffin of a state church. So, don’t worry; we certainly don’t!

  28. Anonymous
    Merseymike has been known on the blogs for years, others who only use their first names are also regular posters on various blogs and stand by what they say. I expect if necessary, they would be happy for you to contact them personally to continue a conversation.
    Not quite the same as just throwing out insults under the heading Anonymous, is it.
    Or did you think your reply to Leonardo Ricardo was constructive in any meaningful way?

    No need to agree with him, but if you want yourself and your views to be taken seriously, it would help if you explained properly why you think the comment was bigotted and why it was nonsense.

  29. Hey Anonymous, the cowardly commenter, my name IS Leonardo Ricardo (certainly you can read blog personal descriptions)...what´s yours? Tell us about yourself, where you live, what your feardriven background is and what´s your beef with other people, our love for one another and your interest in other peoples adult sex lives. What is it that you think you know that compels you pry into the ¨affairs¨ of others at Church?

    I´ve had a lifetime of being blessed with extensive travel, working abroad (including the U.K. and the Far East) and embracing people from dozens of cultures throughout the world...the only people I don´t TOLERATE are those that would/do HARM other human beings (that would include supporting, and being of service to, Anglicans anywhere who are spiritually, physically and emotionally damned by wacked out/bloated superstituious Primates, Witch Doctors and fearfilled Priests and/or various other selfrighteous thugs)...so, cowardly anonymous, it´s ok to say NO to you and the likes of you as you instigate difference and crimes of hate...you are irresponsible and unaccountable it seems.

  30. Ricardo

    Why should I share my personal details with someone who is so determined to engage in personal insults for which you can have no basis. It is precisely because I wondered if I would receive this hostile reception that I have withheld any personal details. If this is how you treat your guests, perhaps I should stay away.

    The organisation of the website is an implicit invitation to anonymous comment - check the select profile box - so I do not see why you should be so annoyed when someone takes advantage of it.

    I just find it ironic the Mersymike when he complains of my anonymity is himself using a pseudonym.

    And Mr Ricardo, I never suggested that was not your name so I don't know what you are getting so angry about. Your latest outburst does however convince me that you are a bigot. Your hatred, directed at me and many of Christ's faithful servants is without basis and your rant borders on paranoia. This I understand is the dictionary definition of bigotry.

  31. My contribution is not anonymous and incorporates a link to my blog. I note that the anonymous contributors simply shout and run.

    I don't allow anonymous commentators there - perhaps Colin and Co could consider the same policy here

  32. Kurt from Brooklyn - I think a great many progressives in the CofE would be quite upset and disappointed to read what you wrote - we find a great deal of hope and encouragement in the Episcopal Church. If what you say is true, that

    "a good number of us on this side of the pond don’t give much of a flying fig what happens in the C of E"

    then what does that say about the future of progressives in the Anglican Communion? Somehow I think you're actually wrong, and I hope and pray that the Episcopal Church DOES care about what goes on in the CofE...

  33. Anonymous
    I think you find that the reason people don't like your posts is because you hide behind no name to attack and insult, not to engage.
    And then you're surprised at the reaction?
    Simply throwing verbal rotten eggs is not a sign of maturity. No wonder you won't reveal who you are.

    I asked you earlier, if you want to be taken seriously, tell us precisely why you think Leonardo Ricardo's comment was bigotted and nonsense and we can have a conversation.

    Merseymike, I'm quite glad for the anonymous comment function because often Google won't recognise my account and I can only post by selecting Anonymous. It doesn't stop me from signing the comment with my name.
    Nor would disabling anonymous comments stop people like Anonymous to spew their poison under any pseudonym. Although I agree that pseudonyms at least make it easier to distinguish between the many angry and inarticulate anonymouses.

  34. Erika

    Verbal rotten eggs?

    At Tom Wright

    abuse, dishonest,megalomaniacal, impose, unilateral, unprincipled, no basis in reality,the least Christ-like manner imaginable, His latest rhetoric is simply his latest means of getting his name in print, full of fear and rage, transfixed by the traditional notion, other emotional foot is also stuck fast, etc etc

  35. Actually "Anonymous" if you actually read this article and the comments properly you'd find that they're not "verbal rotten eggs" at all. None of those words or phrases could be considered insults directed at the bishop.

    Maybe you should be asking why Tom Wright feels the need to direct so much anger and abuse towards gay Christians.

  36. What anger and abuse? His article is calm and rational, the anger is in Colin Coward's piece

  37. Kurt from Brooklyn

    Yes, you're right; there was an assumption that TEC folk take a great deal of interest in the person of the Archbishop of Canterbury and of other individuals, issues and institutions of the Churh of England, and I apologise if that came over as arrogance.

    It is, though, simply my experience that TEC folk DO take a great interest in the C of E, and are constantly posting evidence of their interest in it all over sites like this. Some, like you, make the point that you're eccelsially independent and that developments here have no relevence or significance for TEC. The first is certainly true, but the second isn't. I don't think that independence means disinterest, and the main players in TEC don't seem to work that way either.

    In general, C of E folk don't warm to preachy language; they don't respond to 'the fabric of our communion is torn at its very deepest level' rhetoric any more than TEC folk do; but neither have they yet respond to the 'It's obvious matter of justice' either.

    Most c of e folk have not advanced an opinion on any of these issues, which is why +Tom ought to be worried; he's not convincing. Those who speak here on either side - including +Tom - might represent their committed % of the churches' memership but the centre ground hasn't really given voice yet, for all the activity of CA, TA AffCath Reform, Gafcon, FoCA and others. Synod doesn't like to be forced into any kind of corner and won't be bullied by stridency. CA is having the greatest effect of any organisation, but that's not due to the position it takes half as much as the considered and careful way it approaches friends and critics alike.

    For me - I greatly like and admire the faith of the TEC folk I've come to know over the years. Your ecclesiology is very different to mine, and I wonder sometimes whether you ought to invest so much into the General Convention as you do, but it's not my system, it's yours, and it doesn't mask deep gospel concerns that we ought to be listneing to.

    The point of my post was that, for all of this, and the balance that Rowan is seeking to hold, our system is likely to throw up a successor to Rowan who is more like +Tom than not and, like it or not, that is going to impact on TEC folk, leastways, the ones I know.

    Anonymous II

  38. Kurt from Brooklyn13 August 2009 at 12:38

    Nick Lincoln, have no fear. Don’t misunderstand me; American Episcopalians certainly support the efforts of progressive British Anglicans, and you can count on that. However, most Episcopalians I know don’t lay awake at night worrying about what conservative British evos might or might not do in the foreseeable future in the C of E, or who might be appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. Here, in America, “Evangelical Christian” is almost synonymous with “Right-wing Yahoo.” If anything, we Americans find it startling that a backward looking evangelicalism has made so much headway cross the pond in the past half century.

    Anonymous: OK, now we are having more of a dialogue. Look, you British will elect/appoint/designate the Archbishop of Canterbury that you believe will best lead the C of E. Now, I might think that appointing an evangelical bishop with a right-wing agenda will significantly erode public support for your Church. But, this is your decision to make. And you must live with the consequences. For our part, TEC has affirmed its support for the Anglican Communion, and the only way con evos are going to get rid of us is to kick us out. We won’t be “walking away” voluntarily.

  39. I am very new to reading or following blogs, and really just started since this recent General Convention in the Episcopal Church this summer. Having been Ordained a Priest in TEC over forty years ago and having served as a deputy to General Conventions, I am now retired and will observe my 68th birthday this week. I served as a Curate for three years, Rector of two parishes 10 and 19 years, and Interim rector of two parishes 8 years. During that time of parish ministry I had the honor and responsibility of being elected Clergy Deputy to the General Convention six times (only four clergy and four lay people are deputies from a diocese).

    My first time was 1976, when we first adopted the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and approved the Ordination of women as Priests. There was also a proposal at that 1976 convention to allow the full inclusion of LG people into the path to Ordination. That resolution was defeated, but I joined a sizeable minorty in signing a public statement of support for such a change. Thirty three years later we have what was begun at that General Convention.

    I care very much about what goes on in the C of E. I have considered myself as serving Christ through TEC as a member of the Anglican Communion all these years. It matters who is or will be appointed the ABC, about which none of us in TEC will have a say.

    What creates anger and dismay here is when we meet that scornfully superior attitude that I met in clergy of the CE. It is exactly because we do care that anger arises. I am proud and find it heartening that the American revolution spilled over into the founding of a loyal American version of the CE that included a governing body that had a balanced number of clergy and lay deputies, itself a balance to the power of the House of Bishops. We pray for and have to trust that the Spirit guides that group of people to make decisions that are as faithful as the decisions made by the governing bodies of the other provinces. I confess that I find myself thinking that actually it may be more faithful because the presence of lay people from the beginning has made it so.

    I appreciate what Luke from Brooklyn has written, and I agree.

    I had the privilege of a Summer program at Oxford in 1992. Tom Wright filled in for a lecturer who couldn't come. I listened enthralled for 10 days. I began to read most everything he had written or was writing. But then I had the nagging feeling that it bothered me that he was so convinced of his own rightness. Then I ran into a book in which I first saw his attitude and judgment of Gay and Lesbian people. That ended it for me. I was unable to read any more of Tom Wright's writings. I am not surprised to read what he has been writing recently and to read your reports of his attitude. I appreciate being able to read this dialogue here, and apologize for being unable to express myself more briefly.