Saturday, May 17, 2014

Teenagers in love

In the forty years or so of counselling, psychotherapy, pastoral care and teaching all of threm to p-g level, one theme was very noticeable:

                adult affairs of a sexual nature were often (almost usually!) between two people who were acting out some unresolved piece of the teenage year - going back to a teenage sweetheart, "discovering" a change of sexual orientation, joining a LGBT unit of some sort. All this was grist to the ill of the work with the client. However in today's world life is different.

We are informed that sexual orientation is genetic, inborn, and immutable; that we have no choice. The evidence for this is incomplete, to say the least! However it has produced a strange world in which sexual orientation is seen as a matter in which we have no choice It has also, to my mind, made homo-erotic behaviour fashionable and politically correct.

The danger is of our confusing genetic material with an orientation which has become fixated at an early stage of life. In the teenage years - as I experienced them myself and observed the behaviour of the adolescents with whom I worked in the parishes and cadet forces and among family and friends - the struggle of competing hormones and the apparent expectations of the world around gives rise to house and inflamed desires which seem overwhelming at times.

Where the majority of those around are of the same sex, these desires are very likely to find an outlet, naturally, with those available - i.e are lesbian or gay, "crushes" on a teacher or older, admirable fellow-pupil and so forth, not to mention groping ion the showers and explorations "behind the bike sheds" as was the wont in former days.

When members of the opposite sex become available, further opportunities arise and for the majority the sexual orientation moves into the heterosexual one necessary for the continuation of the species.

All this can seem benign, until.we take into account the homophobic bullying which takes place so appallingly on the playgrround and in schools, seemingly uncheckable.

Now we find an equally damaging feature coming into play after a gradual increase in LGBT pressure and publicity, that of what I would term "homophiliac" bullying, some of very distasteful in that I would suggest that this can take the form of pederasty and paedophilia.

So what do we make of LGBT provision for teenagers? It should be welcome as giving information. However it must be proper information not the merely fashionable, which suggests we must make the
step into our "true" orientation.

Not so! To me the evidence is that this is not good and will lead to more of the probelms faced by the confused in their thirties and forties as they try to come to terms with an affair or a sudden change in their orientation.

The evidence to my mind as to whether all sexual orientation is genetic has to be measured against the prevailing fashion Otherwise we make a quite fatal (in that it may led to suicide) error of confusing our genetic makeup with positions taken up or induced to the extent of them becoming fixated emotional standpoints - best exemplified by the paedophile.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Gatherings"? - the new Pharisees assemble!

I note that there is a new movement afoot of secularists, humanists and atheists, for holding “Gatherings”, services which stress the communal and psychological advantages of worship in church but without God.

Their exponents stress how wonderful life is and how wonderful it is to be them and belong to their group meeting.

Alas, poor Pharisees. The publicity given out for these meetings suggests to me that Jesus, whilst agreeing with the benefits of such meetings, would direct towards them the same criticism he made of the Pharisees – pompous, self-satisfied, and inordinately self-righteous.

It is a criticism I would make about so many of those claiming to not believe in God but still be spiritual. They seem unable to accept that they may be wrong, make mistakes, and from time to time participate in what is obnoxious, demeaning, and often unlawful. These are the new Pharisees They are so different, so arrogant. They epitomise the very opposite of  those whose gatherings are in church where they kneel down and say “God have mercy on me a sinner”! These are those who in the grand order of things align themselves with the vast ongoing purpose of God by acknowledging that they have stepped out of line and seek to return.

As a counsellor I met many over many years men and women well aware of something going wrong in their lives. The repairing of the fault so often involved enabling them to find their way back into the stream of life with a positive purpose.  Our new Pharisaic communities of non-believers flock to counsellors. Often they come to a point where the meaning of what is happening to them leads to a statement such as “I got it wrong then.”

Gatherings which ignore the simple fact they all of us get things wrong from time to time could well follow the path  Jesus endorses and beat their breast and say “God [or “life” if they prefer it} have mercy on me a sinner.” But then sin as such is an unfashionable concept, whilst sinning seems to be the most common preference in the lifestyle choices of these new Pharisees.

My best wishes to you all!
Fr Ted

Friday, May 10, 2013

A new facility - "Fr Ted's News" sets sail again!

Dear Friends,

After a summer and winter, and spring, of ill health and hospital visits, I have decided to use my 50th year as a priest in the Church of England to set out on a journey of newsletters commenting on the major topics of church interest.

It will be for subscribers only as was the old Fr. Ted's Newsletter sent to the members of the Medjugorje Group for whom I was a secretary over many years.

It will be free and have no postage! There may be some extras from the cache of writings and the archives for which I shall charge. However, I hope to put out quite a few free extras from time to time.

The new series will be occasional. This first one, and the new venture itself was stimulated by the on-going debate over same-sex marriages. The "freebie" is a paper about human sexuality in general written out of the background of the old Clinical Theology Association, now the Bridge Pastoral Foundation.

Let me know ifd you wish to take part. I shall be delighted to have you on board and look forward to really uefukl feedback from the membership!

Best wishes,

Yours ay,

Ted Baty
(The Reverend Doctor Edward Baty)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Getting There!

Hi folks,

I have begun to get to the end of my Christmas preparation. All the posting has been done. The presents have been wrapped. Only one or two for the  family remain to see to before next Tuesday.

It has been a roller coaster. Some aftereffects, I think, of the huge bombardment with anti-biotics over the late summer and autumn.

Mid-week, Christmas Day gives a very gentle approach, and time to savour the meaning of it all.
For once I have not brought holly in from the garden as the bush is looking too neat and tidy to disfigure. Fortunately we have had an ample supply of artificial evergreens.

It's a great feeling and I wish you all every blessing as this sacred hour approaches, and every blessing in the New Year.

Yours ay,

Fr. Ted

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Established but not National

Curious the way things develop!

The Church of England came about during the Reformation as a Protestant Church keeping its Catholic shape. That seems about the best way to describe it. It is a wonderful period to study from the time of Henry VIII and his divorce, in my view one that he was theoretically entitled to, but with the Pope surrounded by armed forces loyal to his wife's family, he was not very likely to get it. Then there came Edward, a severely Protestant youth who would be thoroughly at home with our present conservative evangelicals. After him the pendulum tipped the other way with a Spanish King married to our English Queen Mary. The catholics were put back in the ascendancy. After her there was her sister, Elizabeth 1, "Gloriana", a Protestant pragmatist, well versed in Scripture and theology. As she tried to square the quarrelling adherents of a variety of theologies, the Pope cheerfully made it plain that it would be OK to assassinate her. What that did for the Catholic minority proved bloody, and unhelpful to put it mildly - centuries of persecution and revilement from the Protestants.

From time to time the problems abated, generally due to royal marriages and whatever religious persuasion happened to be accepted at court. Overall however the idea of a national Church was not, to my mind, ever contemplated except in the form  of a Church Established in Law and effectually defined by the religious preference of the monarch. There is a thread in the Church of England which has remained throughout its history from the Reformation on - it is established as the church of the monarch. In early days, Henry through to Charles II, perhaps it was wise and certainly safer to accept that.  Warring minorities in religious terms have been the metier of the Church in England throughout  from well before the Reformation.

Have we learned? Have we changed? Not much, I fear, but the idea of an Established Church which reflects "best practice" in religious matters has its appeal and would stem directly from the distinction between a National Church and an Established Church.

Of course I have simplified and jumped a whole lot of history which many might feel contradicted the above analysis. However, I would plead that to so contradict it would be to look only at selected detail rather than the overall sweep of things. As it is said, "The Devil in is in the details." Today that is merely to admit that God is probably at work in the overall processes at work around those details.

In Parliament there was a great deal of confusion over the nature of the Church of England in that many regarded establishment as equivalent to some sort of ancient nationalisation. Maybe in the past that was so. Now the role has changed. Instead the Church finds itself prolix in the statements, attitudes and beliefs of its members, and at odds with the secularised society within which it functions.

Not a bad thing, I suspect. In a free society it is a benefit that the government of the day has to hand its critics. In our country this function is met by the Law, the Press, and by having an Established Church, all separate in practice from the executive mechanics of government.

I would suggest that if the Church of England fails to provide an appropriate ministry for a minority of between a quarter and a third, then it cannot give proper comment as the Established Church on the plight of any minority at all. In other words our future bishops, male and female would be presiding over a church that had become merely a sect within society.

The oddest circumstance is, that despite the welcome ministry of so many women in our church today the number still opposed, mainly and firmly evangelical or catholic in background, has remained so high. Events in a Christian Union in the West Country remind us that it is not a conservative and elderly section that feel that way.

Even if the estimated percentage of 25 - 31% were proved untrue, and the opposition were only "a tiny minority", the stricture over failing to accommodate them within the structures of the church would remain. Surely, we should be looking towards remaining a "multi-faceted church for a multi-faceted society"?

I hope that it not too much to ask. It appears that only a slight movement of generosity on either side of the argument is needed. I hope that we can be astute enough to see that this shift takes place.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Women Bishops - A Way Forward or a Way Out?

Being retired, the invitation to the meetings called following the debacle of the vote in Synod had meant I seem to be ineligible to attend. My present health would preclude it in any case. I was diagnosed as having a rather alarming lung abscess in the summer from which I am recovering gradually under the respiratory team at Frimley Park Hospital.

However, I would wish to add my voice, for what it is worth, to the disquiet resulting from this.  Before the vote it was very clear that we were betwixt two difficult outcomes. Passing the measure would have meant much internal wrangling over the Code (Codes?) of practice. Losing it would be the PR disaster it has become.
The latter case prevailed and the chattering classes and media have had a field day in which the appalling ignorance of most of them on church matters has been revealed and shown toxic. The point of the “No” vote regarding how to protect a sizeable minority seems to have been missed.

Unfortunately it is how to provide for that minority which worries me deeply.  If the recent opinion research is accurate, then the votes cast in the House of Laity reflected almost exactly the views of the laity, those sitting in the pews Sunday by Sunday.
I am still puzzled by the strength of the opposition so reflected. It has been remarkably steady despite the successful ministry of so many women priests. How to keep them on board under the ministry of a woman bishop looks impossible given their views on headship Knowing so many conservative evangelicals over the years I have been very aware of the cheerful way in which they depart to Free Churches, frequently Pentecostal, when problems arise.

My own position is still, much simplified, that as a “Catholic and Reformed” Church, the Reformed element is well expressed through women’s ministry.  I cannot accept, however, that making provision for the dissenting groups would make a woman bishop “second class” as some aver. It seems to me that they would be bishops, full stop, even though their territory could be circumscribed.  Besides which, there is the on-going problem of where a woman bishop would find a man bishop acceptable to the dissenters.

As to the theology, I feel that the New Testament is not the best place in which to start.
Many reputable theologians would argue with Tom Wright’s article in “The Times” this week. There were several pieces in it which some would regard as unsustainable.
In regard to bishops and presbyters, I am inclined to the view that for the most part these refer to the same office, the titles differing to fit with local civil administration.
As for “Apostles” and Deacons” the usage is not uniform to my mind.

Things gradually ossified into the three-fold separate orders after most of the New Testament had been written, or so it seems.
The gender of “Junian” – who knows?
Phoebe could have been a helper or servant rather than in holy orders. 
In terms of the theology of our orders we should perhaps remember that the Holy Spirit leads us into new truths as they are needed. “The other disciple”, presumably St. John, was the first to realise that a new theology of resurrection was to hand when he entered the empty tomb and “believed.” St. Mary Magdalene’s great gift followed.
An appeal based mainly on Old Testament examples of headship seems odd given the new dispensation with Christ as the (sole) head of the Church.
I hope that the meetings held up and down the country will be not too fractious or emotional. We need to get that kind of behaviour out of our system as soon as possible.

If we don’t then progress will be almost impossible. I fear that many of those in that substantial and solid minority of dissenters will simply find the matter an excuse and, assuming that they have not done so already, leave.

My best wishes to all,

Ted Baty

(The Reverend Doctor Edward Baty)




Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Women Bishops - Not Yet - The Reason Why!

Shot in the Foot

Gras, Watch and the rest of them have a lot to answer for, including the defeat of their own cause.

Radical, intransigent, vocal, and "gimme-all" they have prevented the logical development of the ordination of women to the priesthood.

They need not blame the so-called "traditionalists." The latter put forward sensible arrangements which they refused. The suggestions of the archbishops were rejected with much rejoicing by the feminist lobby.


I cannot think why. I only know that they failed.

All that I realise is that if earlier suggestions, to cater for the one-third to a quarter of the membership in the pews which is uneasy about or opposed to women as bishops, had been accepted then we would have everything in place for women to be consecrated as bishops in our church.

Bluntly, GRAS, WATCH and all the rest of them have shot themselves in the foot, leaving the rest of us with the burden of finding a way through again.

The nation will take note. Unfortunately the chattering classes and the media of our nation will blame the wrong people. It was a small caucus of militants in favour of the measure who brought about its downfall. They over-stepped the mark ... and paid for it, having combined arrogance with hubris in large measure.

The phrase "see how these Christians love one another" can only be said with huge irony in the Church of England now. Maybe as aspirants to the bench of bishops, these ladies should consider why they chose not to follow the earlier advice of the archbishops under whom they serve .

Let's hope that they will realise this and get together with those whom they seem to despise so strongly and work out how we can all live and work in peace together once more. A little humble pie all round I think!

Yours ay,


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