Chapter 1 – further thoughts…

Well, a (very) small group of us met over the lunch-hour, and had a very good conversation. Some key points:

  • Folks were saddened by the negativity that Coren experienced even before he had come out in favour of same-sex marriage. We talked about how most of us move in more liberal circles and don’t tend to experience this first hand. Even when we do, it is often done anonymously, with people not brave enough to actually own their negative response. What has your experience been?
  • We were struck by the comparison Coren makes about how Jesus actually condemns divorce, and yet many conservative church groups are more tolerant of that as a reality, versus same-sex marriage (about which Jesus says NOTHING). We talked about the way in which Jesus’ idealism about marriage and statement against divorce is seen by many feminist scholars as a way of affirming women in a culture where it was easy for men to discard wives. We also talked about how the acceptance of divorce is a relatively new development in even the Anglican church, and the irony of that in a church which formed around the request for a divorce from a monarch! (And then Megan gave a brief history lesson on why the Anglican church is not just the result of a whim by Henry VIII…)
  • We wondered – why did Coren think the Anglican church was more welcoming than the Catholic church? Is that because we focus less on doctrine? Is it because he is in the Diocese of Toronto which is quite liberal? I am not sure that either of this article or this interview helps clarify these questions, but they are interesting to read!
  • We also wondered if this change of heart around same-sex marriage has affected his other beliefs?

What do you think? What comes to mind with any of this, or with the questions posted yesterday? What did you think of the first chapter? Does it make you want to keep reading?  Got questions about our questions? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

(and note – next week is the ‘meat’ of the book, an exploration of the Biblical arguments – I will have the ‘basket of Bibles’ from the chapel at our Monday meeting and we will sit and actually look at the passages…)

Ch. 1 “So this is how it feels”

So – did you get through the first chapter of “Epiphany”? Thoughts so far? This is a fairly light introduction to the serious business of chapter 2, when Coren looks critically at the Bible. But this chapter sets the stage as Coren lays out the strong negative response that he experienced as he moved to a less conservative position about same-sex marriage.

Some questions to ponder in response to this chapter:

  1. Coren seems surprised by the vitriole that his change of heart prompted in others. Are you surprised? Can such a response be justified? What is it that prompts such anger and fear?
  2. How familiar are you with the conservative world that Coren portrays? In your own everyday world, how much of this negative response exists? Does his story seem accurate?
  3. The tipping point for Coren seems to have been learning about the new laws in Uganda (p. 15 “Those people in that nation who happen to have such a biting obsession with the gay community and such a chronic and violent homophobia brought me to my senses.”) Until then, Coren believed that he could still act in love while opposing same-sex marriages. Are there other experiences that have changed people’s minds on this issue?
  4. Coren was let go from his role as host of 100 Huntley St. Was that fair? If you are host of a show, do you need to agree with the unwritten values and asumptions of the company paying for the show? What if the position was reversed and he was promoting a conservative agenda on a liberal, left-wing show – would that be OK?
  5. When do you take a stand? When do you stay quiet?
  6. Who do you think this chapter is aimed at? Who is his intended audience?

Coming to our group tomorrow (Monday) at 12 noon in the Ministry Centre? Bring your thoughts with you – come prepared to discuss these and other questions. I will post an update after the in-person meeting, and then feel free to comment and add your own thoughts…