Thinking Anglicans

opinions for Saturday

Jonathan Sacks writes about Remembrance Sunday in The Times: As guardians of our children’s future we must keep faith with the past. And Andrew Lloyd writes about it from Basra: Two minutes of silence under Abraham’s sky.

But other events also happen at this time of year. Christopher Howse explains in the Telegraph while debunking claims about Halloween being pagan, in Fenny Poppers and paganism.

A Church Times leader comments on the US elections: US voters turn against Bush.

A Guardian leader comments on religion: God’s squads:

… Individual faith is politically sensitised, to be called in aid by the Christian right trying to prevent Turkey joining the EU, as much as by those who genuinely see describing it as a problem as the first step to solving it. In this context, there is a heavy burden on Britain’s Christian tradition. To pretend there is no history of hatred between Islam and Christendom, nor any fundamental conflict in their theologies, is both absurd and dangerous. It has to be acknowledged. But it is a problem to overcome, not a legacy to be savoured. The assertion by the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, the evangelical Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, that Christianity is superior to other religions and that Britain must preserve its Christian heritage, is highly damaging. So was Frank Field’s claim at the launch of a new religious thinktank, Theos, this week, that Islam could not be English until it had been here for 1,000 years. Of course, Anglicanism is wrestling with its own internal difficulties. The evangelicals and liberals grow strident; hardliners may be reassured by Bishop Nazir-Ali’s remarks. But most Britons, whose Christianity is notional at most, are more likely to be repelled. A rising profile in the media is no guarantee of more parishioners in the pews. Church attendance, already below 10%, is predicted to fall to 2% by 2040…

Meanwhile on the Guardian’s blogsite, Comment is free Andrew Brown published two pieces:
The eternal turbulent priest which is about Lord Carey and also Rowan Williams. And Why God needs heretics.

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times about When the mask of Pastor Ted slipped off.

In connection with that, hat tip to Ruth Gledhill for digging out this excellent sermon of Sam Wells. Please note however there is a factual error in the first paragraph of the sermon, see comment below by Sarah Dylan Breuer for details.

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Cheryl CloughMartin ReynoldsJ. C. Fisherlaurencedrdanfee Recent comment authors
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laurence
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laurence

The Guardian leader makes me ashamed.

laurence
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laurence

I usually enjoy reading Giles Fraser, but this piece moved me to tears, somehow. The plight of pastor Ted? the plight of gays? of christians? of poor humanity in our crazy struggles and moments of beauty, kindness or being surprised by joy or a fallen leaf with its tender colours…. Andrew Brown on George Carey is both hilarious, wicked and insightful — I enjoyed the humour most ! I knowits wicked but I do feel Carey has asked for it ! Also, I do not think it lacked affection. Also the comments from the public beneath Brown’s piece are also… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Those who count themselves as “generous orthodox” may not welcome the self-declared arrival of Ruth Gledhill amongst their number. This journalist has been looking for a spiritual home/label to describe the twists and turns of her mind for some time, apparently confused by the visceral hatred she feels towards TEC and what she believed were her “liberal” credentials – she now seems to have settled for Sam Wells’ rather good critique of the various positions in the sexuality debate as something approaching her own view, though I can’t help thinking she will turn his balanced perspective into something approaching a… Read more »

Pluralist
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Giles Fraser is right, though: hell is being in the closet. I’d add that hell is especially nasty when you are doing so much in public to help to bung other people into the closet while you are in it yourself, and the door is flung open.

Sarah Dylan Breuer
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I appreciated the sermon to which you linked, except on one point that I find not at all minor: It repeats the lie that +Gene Robinson was “a man that had recently left his wife and family to live with a male partner” when he was elected and consecrated as bishop. +Gene and his wife, ‘Boo,’ separated in May of 1986, and the divorce was final in August of 1987 — a full 16 years before +Gene’s consecration. That’s hardly “recently.” Furthermore, and more importantly, +Gene and Boo parted by mutual consent, and neither was seeing anyone else. +Gene did… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
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The Church Times article noted that the shift in the US might not be healthy if it comes back to being focussed on self-interest. Self-interest is not necessarily the concern. It is selfish interest. There is self-interest in acknowledging interdependency with others and accountabilty to God for attending to the needs of the environment and the vulnerable. Many of the bibles most beautiful prophetic visions are those that invoke an understanding that our wellbeing both as individuals, communities, and nations comes from providing true justice, compassion and hospitality. It is selfish in that as we aspire for this vision we… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
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This article http://www.torah.org/learning/ramchal/classes/tgrrem13.html was only posted a couple of days ago. It also had me thinking about why does God hide his face? There are the obvious reasons that we have displeased God e.g. Isaiah 1:15-17 & 64:7. But then it could be argued that God did not have to allow us to sin or suffer. So why would God allow that to happen? In the last few days I contemplated that in a few short years my daughter will be learning to drive a car. I thought about how she will have matured enough to be able to undertake… Read more »

Dave Williams
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The Bishop of Rochester’s opinion that Christianity is superior to Islam may not be one that the Guardian or muslims or a lot of other people believe. But should they be surprised that a Christian admits that they are a Christian because they believe it to be the best option? The Bishop after all is someone who has had more expose to both options than many. Plenty of muslims will after all believe that their religion is superior. The issue is whether the Bishop can articulate effectively as to why Christianity is the better option and why people should convert.… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

I cannot help but agree: Hell, pure hell, is being thought nothing but straight and being in the closet. (My own personal sentence served was about 26 long and difficult years.) Nothing bad that happened afterwards, and surely some bad things did still happen, was nearly so double-difficult as going through life’s inevitable ups and downs and still being invisible and living a whole additional layer of institutionalized church/world lie on top of whatever was else happening. It does some sort of extra damage, perhaps, really, to have one’s constant daily personal interpersonal lying sanctioned and rooted in those larger… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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Converts always defend their conversion. But “Stay where you are – especially if malcontent” is the official counsel (not always followed) agreed upon by the churches.

The result is a lot of perennial malcontents in the wrong places.

And no, I don’t think that should be encouraged.

Ruth Gledhill
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Interesting comments on Sam Wells. Just one clarification from me in reference to Martin Reynolds’ comment. I do not feel “visceral hatred” towards anyone or anything, never mind TEC. OK, I concede I don’t feel the passion for TEC that I feel for my husband, or the love for it that I feel for my own (liberal catholic) church in the Southwark diocese. Indeed, sometimes TEC annoys me intensely, but it is a great relief to know now that I can now let go of those feelings, as the individuals who I found a little, well, difficult have now retired… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

The dilemma of whether this or that way of following Jesus is best – among all the global varieties of life we lead as Jesus believers; and its corollary – how shall that best Jesus way worship, bear witness, and do service among all the rest of the planet – is not well served by the narrowest and most objectified and most closed minded and least willing to be a good global nieghbor – of the many competing One Way theologies. Institutional force, subtle or gross, applied to conform individual conscience and applied in the Public Square seems among the… Read more »

laurence
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laurence

Perhaps these words of Elton John are relevant to the repeated defamation of Gene Robinson , which Sarah Dylan Breuer refutes (above). And indeed, germaine to so much of reported church anti-gay, anti-something life and actions :– Organized religion fuels anti-gay discrimination and other forms of bias, pop star Elton John said in an interview published Saturday. ‘I think religion has always tried to turn hatred toward gay people,’ John said in the Observer newspaper’s Music Monthly Magazine. ‘Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays.’ ‘But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Laurence The religious leaders are having conclaves and they are coming together. There was an excellent Religious World Assembly for Peace in Kyoto only the other month. There have been some excellent developments in Iraq (and you know they mattered because the trouble makers went on a blood bath rampage to try and discredit the peace makers). Here are some articles with links to other articles http://www.wombatwonderings.org/plugins/newsfeed.cgi?rm=content&plugin_data_id=14483 http://www.wombatwonderings.org/plugins/newsfeed.cgi?rm=content&plugin_data_id=14482 http://www.wombatwonderings.org/plugins/newsfeed.cgi?rm=content&plugin_data_id=14463 There have been more developments, that don’t always hit the mainstream press. I haven’t been keeping my own site up to date for the last few weeks as my previous husband… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
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J. C. Fisher

“OK, I concede I don’t feel the passion for TEC that I feel for my husband”

I find it highly telling that someone who has expressed so much “annoyance” w/ homosexual Anglicans (support for whom is the basis for similar annoyance w/ TEC I dare say?) should feel NO SHAME whatsoever in *flaunting* an analogy of her heterosexual “passion”. Spare us, Ruth! >:-/

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Oh! Sorry Ruth! But ever since you told the story of Frank Griswold ignoring you and his aide sweeping you aside, I thought your published attitude towards TEC bilious at least – sometimes even Virtuesque!
But as you say, things can move on now.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Laurence

The United Nations Alliance Of Civilisations report was released last Monday (just started trawling news again this morning). Their website is here http://www.unaoc.org/

Kofi Annan’s comments as reported by Australia’s Catholic News http://www.cathnews.com/news/611/76.php include:

“We should start by reaffirming and demonstrating that the problem is not the Koran nor the Torah or the Bible,” Mr Annan said after receiving a report by an international group of scholars that proposes ways to overcome the rift. “The problem is never the faith; it is the faithful and how they behave toward each other.””