Thinking Anglicans

godslots this weekend

Guardian Tom Horwood Religious leaders should be hopeful, not defensive, in public debate.

The Times Jonathan Romain If thy scripture offend one of another faith, pluck it out.

Daily Telegraph Christopher Howse The orientalist of Letchworth.

The Church Times had this leader, Picking up the Bible’s tune.

And Giles Fraser argues that cars are a moral issue.

The Tablet has a feature article by Keith Ward Order out of chaos about Pope Benedict and evolution.

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Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

A great suggestion from Rabbi Romaine.

Some Liturgical psalters have done this for years. So a good precedent has been set

Cheryl Clough
Guest

A nice selection of articles, thanks Simon. Horwood made an excellent point that the core of all the major religions contains optimism and hope. Romain’s article does a nice job of highlighting how texts can be interpreted to justify aggression or dismissal of others’ validity. He also makes the pertinent point that passages can be taken out of context. e.g. Adam ruling over Eve is in the context of a curse being acted out. The misogynists forget that curses do not have to continue in perpetuity and that there was something better before the curse was put in place. Also,… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

There is no conflict between religion and evolution. Human sinuses are proof of God’s pragmatism and that God makes something out of nothing. As one scientist commented, if the intelligent designer had done humanity from scratch, they would have designed our sinuses to drain properly in an upright posture. Presonally, I find it more miraculous and comforting that God tweaked evolution to create humanity. It is also more humbling as you realise that we are not indispensible and are as fragile as all occupants in Gaia’s biosphere.

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Enjoyed the Telegraph piece on Fr. Fortescue. Thanks.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Cheryl Clough: “Better is to accept that aggression or sociopathy are continuums in humanity’s characteristics. Every society will have some individuals who are more aggressive than others e.g. the school bullies, violent gang members. Clever ones will read holy texts and pick out the passages to justify their lusts….No prophet (not even God) can stop souls craving aggression and using theology to justify their hate.”

How wonderfully very perceptive, with pinpoint accuracy of the problem the besets many great religions.

We need to keep this in mind, for our own humility, fallibility and perspective.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“duck shoving “

I get the gist from context but would love to know where this comes from … the ducks I know, who paddle about in the water hazards where I play golf, don’t look shovable …

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

Keith Ward: Unfortunately, however, most journalists confuse “intelligent design” with “creationism”, and then they confuse “intelligent design” with “intelligent creation”.

That rings so true…

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

To Rabbi Jonathan Romain: I agree with the bracketing suggestion. Also we need to establish that Scripture is holy only as used in the holy community of the faithful, who should not be bullied by Scripture as a dead letter. The Church establishes the meaning of Scripture and in light of this quarantines certain parts of Scripture that it has found in tension with the fundamental meaning. We have much to learn from Buddhism here, in its sense that language and religions are radically conventional, flimsy constructions to be handled skillfully and discreetly in pursuit of wisdom; wisdom that is… Read more »

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

Agree totally with Giles Fraser — why has the failed technology of motorcars not come in for far more intensive scrutiny?

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

Dissatisfied with Keith Ward — needlessly polemic I feel. If genetic mutation and natural selection do explain how the world as we know it evolved out of the initial life-forms, then indeed it is unscientific to introduce any divine tinkering with the process at any point. Perhaps the “design” or “purpose” is nothing more than the dynamism of life itself, which can be trusted to produce something marvelous, albeit blindly, and with much waste, much hit-and-miss. The Creator can be seen as confiding the creation of species to that trustworthy force of life, rather than preplanning it all (see Bp… Read more »

JayVinVermont
Guest

Thanks, Cheryl, for your comments.

Pluralist
Guest

Keith Ward’s article is unconvincing. If evolution is local and based on random mutations, then unless the environment is very tightly drawn then an outcome ahead cannot be predicted. So there is no sense in which a God intended humanity. There might be a move towards complexity and it might turn into intelligence, but it could be any intelligent creature, and then there is the business about being conscious about being conscious. Some people look at life and see how ordered it is, and then say no way could such a pack of cards have arranged itself such without intelligence.… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

A simple thought regarding Giles Fraser’s piece. If I don’t have a car, I don’t go to church. It is a ten mile return trip and even on a Wednesday morning the train is two hourly and arrives one and a half hours before the service and leaves two hours after it has finished.

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Duckshoving (one word or two) is a Down-Under expression – “duckshove” v. to disclaim responsibility or to blame others; to pass the buck.v. to disclaim responsibility or to blame others; to pass the buck. Australian National Dictionary earliest citation 1870. I like it.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I agree with Pluralist. Living in a normal small village a car is an absolute necessity: hospital (11 miles), doctors surgery (5 miles), leisure centre (4 miles), supermarket (9 miles)… Fortunately, I work from home, but my partner has a 40 minutes journey. Local public transport is extremely infrequent and unreliable and largely doesn’t go where you need to go. It’s too easy to condemn cars, especially if you live in a city. Having visited London again last week and seen mothers struggle up and down the tube escalators with pushchairs, toddlers and shopping bags, it strikes me that it’s… Read more »

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Re: Keith Ward I cite Douglas Adams: “Isn’t it wonderful how the puddle exactly fits the hole made for it?”

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

“Teilhard would say that it is the drawing force of the divinity that animates the evolutionary process (a rather Plotinian idea perhaps) rather than any anthropomorphic notion of God planning the whole affair out at a drawing board.” (Fr. O’Leary) For another take on whether or not there was a drawing board, I commend to you all that you enter into your search engines the words Mr. Deity for some truly edifying and revealing short videos on creation. “Theology is theology”. (Pluralist) So is chapter 1 of Genesis. It’s not about HOW god created everything, but, rather, a theological poem… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

There have been some fun comments on this thread 🙂 Fr Joseph, thanks for taking up the brackets suggestion from Romaine’s article. I liked it too but had to edit back to be within the 400 word count. There are passages in the bible that warn against aggressive or separtist interpretations in theology. Jesus’ warnings about reconciling with your enemies before you get to the magistrate is one (Luke 12:56-59) Jesus also exhorts us to love our enemies in Luke 6:27-36. And Jesus’ call for mercy here matches the exhortation for God’s call for true justice of mercy and compassion… Read more »

Margaret
Guest
Margaret

Don’t you love it — cars are a moral issue — when many are denying that homosexuality is.

What a laugh!!!

Fr Joseph O'Leary
Guest

Margaret, homosexual orientation is a given that is normally not changeable by human intervention (NARTH notwithstanding), whereas cars are human inventions, and thus involve the use of freedom and responsibility (as does sexual behavior of course). Perhaps you are right that “many are denying” that homosexual behavior is a moral issue, but they are wrong, just as those who deny that the construction and use of cars has a moral dimension.

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

To my mind some of you, by rubbishing “intelligent design” and suggesting that in this way you’ve made a point against Keith Ward, have just proven him right when he claims that many are unable to distinguish between the theory of “intelligent design” and the concept of “intelligent creation”. (He is committed to the latter.)

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Margaret: isn’t the point that for far too long ‘lifestyle choices’ of the consumerist sort have been seen as outside the moral sphere? Fraser (to me) seems to be enlarging the compass of moral decision making to encompass rather important issues which have previously been exempt. It always appalled me how the very conservative (ex-Brethren) type who lived round the back of us in my last parish was fiercely ‘against’ all sorts of things, but that he had a huge moral blindspot about his stewardship of creation – he took great pride in telling us about his son’s new SUV… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hear hear to Giles Fraser – would that more people could be that counter-cultural even when it is blindingly obvious that we should be. Only Anne Atkins had so far made the same point in the Christian community to my knowledge – what is it about the Putney area that leads to such insight? Maybe they all travel by boat.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Margaret: “Don’t you love it — cars are a moral issue — when many are denying that homosexuality is.” So a nation’s addiction to the automobile prods that nation’s leaders to invade and destroy a country in a thinly veiled ruse to get at the oil, and to continue their dependence on the motorcar via that ruined country’s oil isn’t a relevant moral issue. But same-sex couples in their addiction to healthy sex are a worldwide threat to society. What isn’t a laugh is that in modern western society it is simply more acceptable to turn on the television and… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Back in 1990 a once Anglo-catholic priest turned Unitarian minister, incidentally a gay man, now late of this world, was my mentor, and I stayed ten days with him in Kensington where he lived under his church. I was learning some of the ropes. Originally ordained in St. Paul’s Cathedral, he did not drive either, and London was his village throughout his life. He was simply able to go around London using the buses, and he knew where they went. It is possible to do this in London, and indeed public transport has its spokes out of London too. He… Read more »

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Thomas; I think most of us can discriminate between the ‘C’ word and ‘intelligant Creation’ – but we can still be suspicious of some of the reasoning we have heard behind it. The anthropic principle tries to run the film backwards, ‘because we have won the lottery, we were MEANT to win the lottery’. It is not like (say) Fred Hoyle’s assertion that the electron value of a (was it?) carbon isotope had to be ‘x’ because he was here – ie, the nuclear process which led from C to O required certain parameters to be met, and had they… Read more »

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

David – you are still talking about the theory of “intelligent design” rather than the concept of “intelligent creation” as far as I can tell. I am with Keith Ward: it is possible to believe in an intelligent Creator and the purposefulness of creation without committing onself to the theory of “intelligent design”. If someone gets killed in a car accident, it will always be possible to give a “purely scientific” account of what happened (talking about speed of movement, force of impact and the rest of it – and some will claim that this is the whole story, a… Read more »

JBE
Guest
JBE

Christopher Shell – for sure, let’s be counter-cultural. In North Cornwall, where house prices outstrip average income by upwards of sixteen times; where salaries are the lowest in the country; where seasonal work is higher than anywhere else and where unemployment rates are similarly high, vibrant communities are bieng destroyed by people buying houses and then not living in them very much – while local couples and families cannot find a house to buy or rent. When can I expect to see the Church – or even Giles Fraser – coming out and saying second home ownership is a moral… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“What isn’t a laugh is that in modern western society it is simply more acceptable to turn on the television and blithely accept two men killing one another and recoil at two men kissing one another.” As we say here, ’tis just so well to laugh about it as cry about it! And we don’t blithely accept two men killing each other, we accept that there is nothing wrong with our children watching, on average, 5 simulated murders a night on TV, and are now so blase that we see nothing wrong with showing real murders on TV. Violence is… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

JBE
Second home ownership or irresponsible home ownership?

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

In some countries they make the journey to church on foot if neccessary.

Is the nearest church really meeting that far away?

Have you considered a church plant?

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

JBE: mercifully, I don’t own a home anyway….

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Thomas: I’m not too sure of your analogy, which reminds me of one about existentialism in one of David Cook’s books on ethics. Are you saying that science cannot reconstruct from its own parameters purpose – which seems unexceptionable. But in that case, why are the waters being muddied with the IC concept at all? It seems you’re saying it’s a purely philosophical concept, akin to Anselm’s proofs, and may no more be demonstrated from the observable universe than any other theological or philosophical proposition. So what’s its point? ‘Creation has a purpose”? Stop the presses! Hold the front page!… Read more »

JBE
Guest
JBE

If you have two houses, one in a part of the world away from where you normally live, you destroy community and contribute to the impoverishment of the poor. If second homes are not good news for the poor – and they aren’t – doesnt that make them sinful? There’s huge theological work to be done on home ownership. Someone – preferably a bishop in the South West of England – should do some. Pretty soon, service provision down here is going to be cut dramatically, because nurses, teachers and the like simply can’t afford to live here. If all… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

The thing that I don’t like about some forms of intelligent creationism is that there is a childish self-absorption in their paradigms. There is a mistaken belief that the whole universe was created so that God could create “man” so that “man” could be God’s best friend. Rippling from this pat-on-the-back comes the blind spots that if the universe was created so that God had “man” as a companion, then God would not allow “man” to become extinct. Therefore, we don’t have to worry about greenhouse gases, gas-guzzling SUVs, sustainability. Further God only likes “perfect men”, so it is okay… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

Mynsterpreost: “anthropic principle: ‘because we have won the lottery, we were MEANT to win the lottery’.” I like that. Evolutionary biologists say “We won the lottery because we were lucky”. Keith Ward: “some identifiable processes cannot be explained on neo-Darwinian principles, and require reference to some intelligent designer…It has not been well-received by biologists in general, and so one would not be well advised to accept it too readily” You can say that again. Darwin may not explain everything there is to know about evolution, just as Einstein eventually updated Newton. I doubt if there are many biologists who would… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

JBE
I agree there is huge theological and practical work to be done in the South West, I live there too!. But abolishing “second home ownership” is nothing but a buzz word. It smacks of people buying only to have a holiday base. What about responsible buying to let? Many people don’t want to buy: students, people moving about a lot, people on short term working contracts. It’s not irresponsible to have a house/flat they can rent.

I know it’s an emotive issue down here, but I am every so wary of quick and ready answers.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

JBE’s comments about second homes are part of a wider debate which should be happening within the churches, but seems far too muted – what is the responsible use of wealth? As long as Christian values are seen as being largely those of the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph (in UK), where a shock headline is that someone who has accumulated vast amounts of unearned wealth through ludicrous rises in the value of their property should in any way be required to use some of that wealth to support themselves in later life, we’re stuffed. Sexual morality has for… Read more »

JBE
Guest
JBE

People don’t buy to let in Cornwall to benefit students. It’s about funding a holiday home. Rents down here are becoming out of reach of ordinary people anyway – I’m often involved in helping young families find somewhere to live, so it’s something I have some experience of. Rents of buy-to-let properties are habitually levied at at least the monthly mortgage – impossible to meet for couples in the poorest part of the country. Somebody quoted the deregulation of buses and the privatisation of rail as contributing to the collapse of transport infrastructure everywhere but London: in fact the worst… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

JBE
If you’re only talking about holiday homes in pretty villages that stand empty most of the time, then yes, I couldn’t agree more!

All I was saying is that we must be careful not to destroy our case by making sweeping statements about ALL ownership of more than one properties being neccessarily morally wrong.

JBE
Guest
JBE

All ownership of more than one house is wrong. It contributes, as I said, to the destruction of community and impoverishment of the poor. It drives young people away from their families. It is undertaken for the sole purpose of making money, and is inspired by nothing but greed. There’s a housing crisis in this country. It’s not been caused by a population boom, or by immigration, despite what the Press would have you believe. It’s been caused by a massive rise in second home ownership and the destruction of local authority housing stock. If you own a second home,… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Isn’t amazing how authoritarian the left becomes so naturally!

It is becoming illegal to hold certain views in the UK – very tolerant, left-wing government!

Now some people want to restrict the freedom of others, who have paid their taxes, when they come to choose how they spend their own income!

Tolerant, liberal democracy ?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

NP,
Where did we say that it is illegal to hold any views in the UK?

All we said is that, as Christians, we have to consider the moral implications of our economic choices.

And if my holiday home is purchased at the cost of a local family unable to remain living there, I certainly have to make a better moral case than to say “I’ve paid my taxes so I choose how to spend them”.

Surely, as a Scripture abdiding economic leftie you would agree with that?

JBE
Guest
JBE

Thank you, Norris McWhirter. Of course, your freedom to spend your own income is already curtailed. You may not buy all sorts of things which are damaging to society. I argue that a second home is one of those things which damages society. By the way, I have never claimed tolerance as a virtue. I am simply more concerned about human behaviour which affects thousands of people, than human behaviour which affects only the indiviuals concerned. Your economic choices affect other people – you thus have a moral duty to exercise them with care. Love one another is still in… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

NP

Erika got in first, but I was also going to ask you to give us an instance of UK legislation that limits the holding of views?

Perhaps you meant that you think some laws limit the free expression of views?

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘..very tolerant, left-wing government!…’

The Governement is hardly left-wing (ask homeless people, nurses, prisoners, and the parents of children with a wide range of speical needs);

or tolerant (ask the people of Iraq)

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

I am so glad that housing is being addressed here. And so thoughtfully and with knowledge.

It is a serious matter of great concern. I worry about young couples and those with children–as well as single people young and old and all who need a place to live in their own district or village.

At root a profoundly political & spiritual issue.

Perhaps, we need another Faith in the City style in depth investigation, drawing on the strengths of the Church

Pluralist
Guest

…Is the nearest church really meeting that far away? …Have you considered a church plant?_ dave williams_

The nearest is 30 seconds away, but I prefer somewhere with comparative breadth and brains.

In another setting I used to suggest church plants. Now I think I am my own church plant, and I just sow myself in other pots with soil variations and different effect growing chemicals.

NP
Guest
NP

Simon – does not SORS limit the room for freedom of conscience and effectively make some views illegal in preventing people from acting in line with their views?

(eg a printer who might not want to print invitations to certain types of “weddings” will face a legal penalty for his religious view, right?)

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

NP I have just linked to an article about this point from today’s Times newspaper. Let’s take this discussion to that article, OK?
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002371.html

But “acting” is not the same as “thinking”.