Thinking Anglicans

Saturday roundup of columns

The Times Credo column last week had Jonathan Sacks on Religion and science are twin beacons of humanity.

This week it has Peter Selby on It’s time to stop giving credit to our culture of debt.

Guardian Face to Faith column: Fasting is not just about giving up food, but trying to be a better person for it, writes Hamza Yusuf.

Daily Telegraph Christopher Howse has The flowering of Exeter’s carvings.

Church Times Giles Fraser wrote about When the real question is: ‘Are you saved?’

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Ford ElmsJohn-Julian, OJNErika BakerPat O'NeillCheryl Va. Clough Recent comment authors
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Not so sure about salvation, but I would agree with Giles Fraser if it means a sense of fulfilment beyond the traps that hold us in. It would mean not being attached to what cannot deliver the good and worthwhile.

MRG
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MRG

“Am I saved?” seems as much (if not more) of a hopeless question to me as “does God exist?” – perhaps because I tend to associate the former with a Calvinistic kind of outlook that is concerned solely with personal salvation and utter human depravity. Neither predestination nor total depravity interest me in the slightest, so I am forced to reluctantly shrug when the whole question of individual salvation – my own or anyone else’s – is raised. ‘God knows’ is perhaps the only sane reply to Gile’s question. And for that reason, alone of the congregation perhaps, I will… Read more »

John Omani
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John Omani

Gracious me: I’d never thought of Giles Fraser as an evangelical before. A welcome reminder not to automatically associate evangelical with Reform.

Cheryl Va. Clough
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Sacks wrote “What we disagree with is not science but scientism, the belief that what we can see and measure is all there is.” “…We need to declare a truce in this war between two equally quintessential aspects of the human condition… Religion and science are like the two hemispheres of the brain, one analytical, the other integrative… Religion without science is blind to the workings of the world. Science without religion is deaf to the music of creation.” Amen. I loved Giles Fraser’s jumpstart question “Are we saved?” He refers to Paul’s imagery that sin is a form of… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

Ah, yes, “Are you saved”. For me, it just shows that the person asking the question practices a kind of Christianity so different from anything I would recognize that it is practically a different religion. We don’t ask the same questions, we don’t even recognize the same issues, we don’t see things the same way at all. I’d submit they aren’t even using it in the way they will no doubt point out it is used in the Bible. Salvation ain’t about getting away with crime, nor about being one of the chosen ones who gets to play in God’s… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ford

“Ah, yes, “Are you saved”. For me, it just shows that the person asking the question practices a kind of Christianity so different from anything I would recognize that it is practically a different religion.”

And yet, are you not one of those here who often criticise modern society for its shallowness and self-centrered, rights driven approach to life? Is it not valid to say that faith gives one a different outlook on life, a deeper meaning, and that this meaning can be “salvation”?

I didn’t think Giles Fraser used the word in the conventional “are you saved?” way at all

Cheryl Va. Clough
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Hi Ford I empathise with your concern about excessively judgmental or selfish Christianity. In Giles favour, he is a gentle soul and he was one of the first to prophetically denounce TEC’s abdication as a line of guard to protect GLBTs from the New Orlean’s meetings. When such a person asks the question, it becomes a more contemplative question of from what am I saved or how am I saved. The paper made me think about narcissm and things never being “good enough” or never “having enough”. There are souls who lack faith that Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient, so they… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

If someone asks me “are you saved?” I answer, yes.

Because Jesus died to save me…and it doesn’t require my acquiescence. Furthermore, I am baptized, by which I accepted that he acted for me…and that he “marked me as his own forever” (to use the words of the TEC prayer book).

If that’s not a sufficient answer for the person asking, then I know that person has a far different (and inferior, IMO) understanding of Christianity than my own.

Ford elms
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Ford elms

erika, Neither did I. I felt the article was taking much the same attitude to the question that I was, that it has become a mindless Fundamentalist catch phrase, really just a litmus test of whether or not one is among the Chosen. It is a far more complex question than that. It is not a badge of who’s in and who’s out. It is certainly not about whether or not God let’s us play in His sandbox after we die if we have been obedient little boys and girls in this life, scuttling around in abject terror that He… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ford
“I’m not sure what you are getting at”

I must have misunderstood your post. I thought you had suddenly put Giles Fraser in the stereotypical evangelical camp, whereas I had read his article nodding to myself all along.

I was really replying to your: “For me, it just shows that the person asking the question practices a kind of Christianity so different from anything I would recognize that it is practically a different religion”, whereas I had particularly liked the way he first put the traditional question and then gave it a less traditional but much deeper answer.

John-Julian, OJN
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John-Julian, OJN

Yes, the “Are you saved?” phrase (like so many other good ones) has seemingly been co-opted by the fundamentalists, but as Giles points out, it still has very real meaning (although I’m not sure that I would go along with his idea that it is the “first” question that should be asked…).

The Hebrew for “salvation” carries the implications of liberation, freedom, wide space, openness, unlimitedness, and that has always helped me in understanding how I am “saved”.

Who was it who always replied to the question: “Yes, I have been saved; I am being saved; and I shall be saved.”?

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

Erika,
You are hardly the first person I have confused with my verbal pomposity. My partner claims it’s deliberate! One of the problems is that I keep forgetting that a keyboard doesn’t relay tone of voice and facial expression all that well. It was more of an “Ah, yes, Giles, old boy, I know what you mean!” Sorry to be so obtuse.