Allow orthodox churchgoers a view

4th July 2008 at 01:00
It's sad that Anthony Seldon ("Why some bishops' lack of inner peace saddens me", TES, June 27), after rightly pointing out Richard Dawkins' habit of setting up religious straw men, feels that he has to do exactly the same in the way that he parodies the beliefs of "traditionalist" (I prefer, "orthodox") bishops in the Church of England

It's sad that Anthony Seldon ("Why some bishops' lack of inner peace saddens me", TES, June 27), after rightly pointing out Richard Dawkins' habit of setting up religious straw men, feels that he has to do exactly the same in the way that he parodies the beliefs of "traditionalist" (I prefer, "orthodox") bishops in the Church of England.

Sexuality forms a key part of our humanity, and so it is no surprise that those who wrestle with questions of humanity and our relationship with God should spend time discussing the issue. Some of us in the Church believe that the model of one man-one woman marriage best fits the message of the biblical text. We prefer to see our message as pro-wholeness rather than anti-anything. We understand that the world is a messy place where things don't work out the way we might think best or which have worked for us. Anyone who doesn't heed Jesus's warnings about being the one to cast the first stone (the context being a case of sexual malpractice!) is on a very sticky wicket.

Neither do many of us who adopt an orthodox stance believe that everyone who disagrees with us is going to hell. The Church is working through some difficult issues - fair enough, all faith communities do. Dr Seldon says that we need a new Reformation to reconnect the Church with love, service and peace but, unless there is some truth at the foundation, we'll only be in the psychobabble business. You can disagree with us if you want, but please don't tell us we're not allowed to think.

David Gale, secondary teacher and CofE lay preacher, Woking, Surrey.

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