Thinking Anglicans

weekend reading material

Updated Sunday

Keith Ward writes in the Tablet about evolution and “intelligent design”: Beyond boundaries: the infinite creator. Time also has a column about The Pope and Darwin. The New Scientist has Papal summit to debate Darwinian evolution. Earlier the Guardian had Pope prepares to embrace theory of intelligent design.

Update But see what John Allen has to say about that article, here and his earlier interview with Dominique Tassot here.

In today’s Guardian Face to Faith is by Mark Pinsky who writes about American evangelicals.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about No comfort for Betjeman.

Andrew Louth writes in The Times that There is nothing untrue in the Protevangelion’s joyful, inaccurate tales.

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Richard III
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Richard III

I’ve wondered if it has ever occurred to anyone that evolution is really God’s plan and that the creation story in the Bible was a good way to explain where we all came from, given the limited knowledge of science and the universe at the time the writers lived. I can’t recall hearing anyone speak of it that way in the debate that’s been ongoing for so many years. It seems that it has to be accepted either as the biblical literalists/fundamentalists would have it or not.

laurence roberts
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laurence roberts

I found both the Louth piece and the Pinsky very encouraging and enjoyable. I hadnt known Orthodox priests could say such things. I certainly love the feasts and legends of the BVM., and regret that sometimes they are caught between poles of rejection or overdogmatisation in the churches. I love the beautiful poetry of it all. (I loved Rosemary Houghton’s piece years ago brought out by Living Parish booklets — had a similar joy and simplicity.) The Pinsky gave me hope for the future of american evangelicalism as a real spiritual movement with real thoughtfulness and love for others. Their… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
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Richard, you would be pleased to know that a current online survey currently has two-thirds of voters believing that evolution and the bible are compatible. (Link found courtesty Melbourne Anglican website) http://www.beliefnet.com/story/198/story_19848_1.html I think evolution is the explanation of HOW God does something, it does not change that there are moments were God “tweaks” things in a certain direction e.g. Moses or Jesus. God is also an innovator and a pragmatist and works with the materials at hand: a bit like being on Apollo 13 and needing to build a carbon dioxide cleaning filter with what was on hand so… Read more »

Doug Chaplin
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Doug Chaplin

Worth noting that the journalist on whose interview the Guardian article was based, doesn’t think much of the Guardian’s interpretation: see http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/
(The link should work until Thursday 7th)

Thomas Renz
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Thomas Renz

I don’t have the book myself but apparently Benedict XVI, when he was still known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, wrote a book “Creation and Sin” in which he states: “We cannot say: creation or evolution. The exact formula is creation and evolution, because both respond to two different questions. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God does not tell us how man originated. It tells us what he is. It talks about his most profound origin, it illustrates the plan that is behind him. Vice versa, the theory of evolution attempts to specify and… Read more »

laurence roberts
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laurence roberts

Lambeth 88 came up with this on polygamy: Resolution 26 Church and Polygamy This Conference upholds monogamy as God’s plan, and as the ideal relationship of love between husband and wife; nevertheless recommends that a polygamist who responds to the Gospel and wishes to join the Anglican Church may be baptized and confirmed with his believing wives and children on the following conditions: (1) that the polygamist shall promise not to marry again as long as any of his wives at the time of his conversion are alive; (2) that the receiving of such a polygamist has the consent of… Read more »

Tim
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I think Richard III is on to something.

My own take is that it’s a matter of interpretation. The creation myth is a prime case of “what the Bible says” – or not. It doesn’t start with a statement “this is how it happened, you must legislate to promote it”, it jumps straight in with a *story*.

Attempts to take it literally will only meet with failure on cursory inspection of any real evidence, so taking it metaphorically, or for the purpose of extracting truths from it, is actually the best you *can* do.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

The two creation stories in Genesis show two aspects of how God’s creating energy has been experienced by humans and say different – but not contradictory – things about how God relates to the creation. Neither was written by an eye witness to the actual event. The one that comes first, in which God creates by speech, shows the transcendent aspect of God, and makes sure we don’t see God as a product of nature, an element of the creation. It foregrounds the structure of creation, its rationality. The second, and actually earlier tradition, shows God as immanent, intimately involved… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Three things might be profoundly alarming about these newish rightwing church and social initiatives on science/faith. The first is the Home Invasion worry. The second is the Rush To Close worry. The third is the Power worry. So often these days, new conservative believers join the discussion. Their most vigorous Modus Operandi so far is to import new traditionalistic sounding terms, lexicons, definitions, and narratives into the discussion – all of which have been dramatically redefined and closed down in their newish-oldish rightwing meanings. This new conservative wine in old traditional theological skins typically confuses, overturns, and violates some one… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
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drdanfee I’ve had experiences like yours, some particularly unpleasant earlier this year. (Not on TA, praise be to God and my thanks to the TA team, where it has happened but within reasonable bounds). The passage from Ezekiel 34 is particularly comforting when you are suffering, especially 34:18-19 “Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Must my flock feed on what you have trampled… Read more »

ruidh
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Evolution v. creation is a much more complex issue than just the scientific question. It raises the very uncomfortable and difficult question of: if creation didn’t occur the way the Bible says and if there was actually no idyllic period where carnivores did not eat other animals and humans and animals never died, then what kind of theology can we really come away with from the story of the Fall? Can we conclude that the words attributed to God as a curse on women are God’s will for women or not? Can we conclude that God’s commandment to go forth… Read more »

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Andrew Louth’s use of ‘true’ is not incorrect, but does demonstrate the poverty of the English language. Words like this which have two distinct meanings might with profit be discarded for synonyms of each of the two meanings, to avoid confusion. Either that, or use ‘literally true’ and ‘spiritually true’ (rather a subjective term).

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Thanks ruidh for recognizing the complicated theological challenge that calls to us, the moment we stop hiding in literalist-plain frames and easeful presuppositions. We need our best minds, hearts, prayers, and inquiry to address these challenges; not canned answers from the back of the puppeted apostolic bomb shelter shelves. The contradiction implicit to these claims is amusing, just so long as they are not empowered by force. One the one hand, nobody knows anything, anything at all, except some apostlic authority to which we must always run in complete inferiority as readers. On the other hand, apostlic authority is only… Read more »