Thinking Anglicans

weekend collection

In the Guardian Zaki Cooper says Some of the staunchest supporters of Christmas come from other religions.

Also, Pankaj Mishra argues that a public conversation about Islam should not be avoided, in A paranoid, abhorrent obsession.

The Times has Jonathan Sacks writing that The battle to teach moral values is won at school.

In the Daily Telegraph Christopher Howse writes about Trevor Beeson’s new book, Round the Church in Fifty Years, in an article titled Bringing life back into the parishes.

Giles Fraser asks Which party really wants a divorce? in the Church Times.

Andrew Brown argues at Comment is free that Civilisation is safe.

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LucyBrockGöran Koch-SwahneFord ElmsChristopher Shellpoppy tupper Recent comment authors
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Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Ref. G. Fraser: There are 2 ways the marriage analogy does not fit the present case: (1) You can’t be divorced from someone who was never in the marriage in the first place – ie an uninvited guest or johnny-come-lately who turned up later and refused to go away. Edward Gorey has a gory picture-book to illustrate this point. (2) There are in any case not just 2 parties, let alone two stereotyped or polarised parties, in anglicanism or in Christianity in the first place. Many of the best thinkers refuse to identify themselves along party lines, and are happy… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
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One of the themes from this weekend’s columns is around dialogue and that civilizations are founded on culture and education, nor military prowess or intellectual rigidity. Hat tip to http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/ , who have referred us to a website that compares the bible and koran content: http://www.bibleandkoran.net/ For those who are tired of the anti-intellectual, black and white impositional theology might want to the move “The Golden Compass”. Not surprisingly, there are some who purport that the movie and stories upon which it is based are anti-religious e.g. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/12/04/1196530637037.html No, but the movie does bring home the lessons of tyranny with… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
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Re C Shell posts:

You can’t have a successful marriage when the vows state for better or for worse, and your superior agenda is that you get the better and your spouse gets the for worst.

If Christianity was meant to marry humanity back to God the Christianity failed because it made humanity for the worst and sought to be above its wife’ conundrums.

JNWALL
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JNWALL

I think Giles Fraser gets it all just about right.

This isn’t about the Bible. Its about power and control. And about manipulation of people through their fears and anxieties.

Christians are always tempted by the sin of pride to turn a religion into a purity cult. Carey, Akinola, Duncan, Mimms, et al. have succumbed to that temptation.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Quote I think civilisation rests on firmer ground than the purported good sense of the BNP. Unquote Descants? Variations? I think following Jesus of Nazareth rests on firmer ground than the narrow and closed thinking of so many conservative campaign believers. ??? I think being an Anglican believer rests on more gracious and more peaceful ground than the simple Anglican realignment conservative prohibitions – of inquiry and questioning, of dialogue across our differences, of forbidding us to agree to disagree, and of forbidding us to come together in common prayer and Eucharist – will allow us to presume. ??? I… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

Christopher: I hope you don’t mean that gay people are “johnny come latelys” in the Church: we have always been there, you know.

Charlotte
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Charlotte

Meanwhile, in other news, the Diocesan Convention of San Joaquin (California) has just passed resolutions accepting ++Venables’ offer. They have declared themselves as a Diocese to be outside the Episcopal Church. They have joined the Province of the Southern Cone. According to these resolutions, all clergy in the Diocese are now clergy of the Southern Cone, even the twelve who voted against the resolutions. If they wish to remain in the Episcopal Church, the Bishop will have them removed from their churches and defrocked. It is probably just an idle wish, but I wonder whether the Archbishop of Canterbury might… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“You can’t be divorced from someone who was never in the marriage in the first place”

Funny, Christopher S: when my (Evangelical) ex was divorcing me, he presented much the same rationale. How easy (for this mindset) to say, when the going gets tough, “Well, this was never a REAL marriage!”

🙁

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“…all clergy in the Diocese are now clergy of the Southern Cone, even the twelve who voted against the resolutions. If they wish to remain in the Episcopal Church, the Bishop will have them removed from their churches and defrocked.”

By what authority?

And what of the laity who voted against it? Are they ex-communicated? Are they all now bereft of a church home? And the conservatives talk of “persecution”!

JPM
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JPM

>>>You can’t be divorced from someone who was never in the marriage in the first place – ie an uninvited guest or johnny-come-lately who turned up later and refused to go away.

I agree.

The Pentecostals and other fundamentalists who glommed onto the Episcopal Church back in the 1970s and 1980s because no other church would tolerate their bizarre and unscriptural antics, a faction that makes up the bulk of the secessionists, never were Episcopalians in any meaningful way and need to go back where they came from.

JPM
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JPM

If anyone thinks that I am exaggerating by saying that most of the secessionists are actually misplaced Pentecostals, please feel free to read this account from the San Joaquin diocesan blog of a visit to their cathedral by a “prophet” who will, for the amazing sum of only $150, make you a prophet, too! http://tinyurl.com/2om7r3 For some reason, that page is no longer online, but it is available through archive.org. This is the sort of thing one used to find only in tent revivals and the most isolated hollers in Appalachia, but now it goes on in the cathedral of… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“Christopher: I hope you don’t mean that gay people are “johnny come latelys” in the Church: we have always been there, you know.”

And of course we know that Jesus has clearly spoken out against accepting johnny come latelys, whoever they may be. He was very content to only lead his chosen people to God……. is in which book of the NT?

Margaret
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Margaret

Giles really does need to consider how his piece is going to be viewed. His piece comes across as narrow-minded hate speech. I am sure that is not what he intended — but it certainly is the impression that he gives.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Margaret
I don’t understand your comments on Giles Fraser’s article.

The marriage analogy doesn’t quite fit because we’re talking about siblings squabbling over who is the parents’ favourite, not of a married relationship chosen by the two participants. And at one level what we’re doing is patently silly because it’s just impossible for siblings to shout that the others aren’t their siblings any longer. Their relationship is a given because they are all children of the same parents.

But apart from that it’s nothing but the plain truth. Liberals don’t want a divorce, conservatives do.
Where do you see hate in that?

Merseymike
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Merseymike

No, Margaret, Giles’ article was remarkably calm.

In my view, he should have added the quite justifiable grasphic descriptions of what your religion actually stands for, and should advocate a new beginning, free of affiliation with you and your ilk.

I wish people would stop being so wet! Conservative Christianity is a harmful religion which should be criticised and worked against at all times and in all situations. I celebrate each day I hear of someone walking away from it!

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Well Margaret, in the part of the U.S. that I live the food pantries are dangerously low. Meanwhile certain people of better mind want to waste charitable monies on aligning themselves with a diocese across the globe, knowing full well that it will be costly to all concerned.

It’s not hate. It’s disgust. And Mr. Fraser is right on. You all should be ashamed of yourselves.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“It is probably just an idle wish, but I wonder whether the Archbishop of Canterbury might be moved, some time or other, to take notice of these and similar events happening so very far away.”

And doesn’t the rest of the statement refer to “people we do not know?”

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

By what rationale could people in gay relationships be described as johnny-come-latelys? There were plenty of them both in ‘stable relationships’ and in dominant older-younger / master-slave arrangements, whether passing or ongoing – even at the time of Jesus. In fact, that was one of the aspects of Greek culture that the Jews and Christians of teh first century defined themselves against – e.g. naked exercise, and any association of sexual immodesty with the cult. No, the johnny-come-latelys I was referring to – whose existence I certainly was not aware of when I was confirmed, and who can by no… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“His piece comes across as narrow-minded hate speech.” Margaret, I appreciate this is how you feel, but what about the article strikes you as hate speech? On this site, you have claimed that there is “apartheid” in the Church in New Zealand. To me, it just looks like a sadly necessary step to bring about fair treatment for Maori. You have not explained how this is not the case. Now, you claim that something is “hate speech” when, to me, it looks pretty benign. And, yes, I have read it as though it were directed at me. I have an… Read more »

poppy tupper
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poppy tupper

christopher, i was confirmed on the feast of corpus christi, 1969. at that time it was clear to me that it was perfectly within the bounds of normal behaviour for a priest to be a practising homosexual. there was, to be sure, an agreement not to talk about this, but only in the same way that there had been an agreement no to talk about biblical criticism and differing christological understandings before the publication of ‘honest to god’. now that we are talking about it i am surprised that homosexuality is not seen in the same way as the biblical… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“and who can by no account be held to make up one of the two major parts of the anglican church (?!) are those who consider homosexual practice to be kosher christian behaviour.” That’s a real problem. We just have absolutely no idea what the majority of the Anglican church thinks. It may be possible to claim that most of Africa believes homosexuality to be sinful, although even there I would like to see a secret poll on the issue to obtain reliable data. For normal Anglicans in the pews in Britain, North America, Canada etc we have only our… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“As far as I’m aware San Joaquin is the first time that something akin to a proper poll was carried out.”

And even that one may have been skewed by the very real factor that, in most parishes, the youngest members are the least likely to vote in annual meetings, where delegates to diocesan conventions are chosen.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Poppy- There will always be things about which people differ. These will divide into two: (1) things where they can differ and both still remnain describable as ‘Christians’ and (2) things where they cannot differ without one or both parties relinquishing the right to be called ‘Christians’. One has to debate whether a given case is of type (1) or type (2). One could simply forego the debate and assume one or the other, but that would be dogmatic/fundamentalist. ‘Honest to God’ certainly marked a sea-change in *popular perception* of what the options are; but the questions of which… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Christopher
correct me if I’m wrong but I thought the survey highlighted the opinions of young people within the evangelical churches in the US.

In principle and because you always set such store by scientific data, would you not support a proper analysis of what people actually believe, especially when so much is done by bishops in their name right now?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Do you think anyone can claim to be a Christian without justifying their claim, or do you think that there are things which would justifiably force people out of ‘communion’ whether they liked it or not?” The problem is that we’re not talking about the true things that divide Christians from non-Christians, like our belief in the nature of God, Christ etc. What we are talking about is whether one aspect of human behaviour can be called moral or not. This is a fascinating point but it hardly separates Christians from non-Christians. It just makes us disagreeing Christians. The other… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“What we should pay attention to is the views of those who can think outside the box of their own culture, and be self-critical.” But Christopher, you don’t do this yourself. You argue for a set of beliefs that define the Christian, for instance, but then you make it pretty obvious that, for you, the definition is very narrow and rooted in your particular subcultural beliefs. You not uncommonly begin statements with “For the Christian….” followed by some particular conservative belief about family, or abortion, or divorce, when such beliefs are patently NOT held by the entire the Christian community.… Read more »

poppy tupper
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poppy tupper

christopher, you, it seems, have decided that there are type 1 and type 2 issues. on what grounds do you do this? and if you think there has not been debate about homosexuality for decades then you need to do some homework. i don’t think it is for you to decide what the content of the term ‘christian’ is. i see nothing in the creeds which suggests that it is impossible to be a practising homosexual and a christian. however, there is plenty of stuff in the creeds which would make it impossible for john robinson to be one, if… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Ford and Erika- Yes, I do very much support a statistical basis for all claims. That means I stand by all claims which are statistically supported, and these will (obviously) as a whole not match up precisely with the mores or culture of any one period or any one society. Sorry, I didn’t realise that it was the views of evangelical youth that you were quoting. But we have seen from other stats how influenced american evangelicalism can be by the surrounding culture. Hi Poppy- There must be two types of issues: (1) those where Christians (with imperfect knowledge)… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Yes, I do very much support a statistical basis for all claims.” But, Christopher, among your statistics, you also quote as “science” the propagandistic ravings of a homophobe with an axe to grind (Cameron). When speaking of teen pregnancy and abortion and a link to sex education in schools, you ignore statistics that show the problem to be much greater in those states of the US where children do NOT receive sex ed in schools. You have made assertions of a moral decline in Western society with an accompanying massive increase in violent crime, yet ignore reputable statistics that indicate… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

Christopher: “[A]lthough we agree that there are primary and secondary issues with respect to unity, we cannot assume without argument which ones are primary and which ones are secondary.” Agreed. However, I fail to see how this present issue can be seen as primary, espcially when matters such as baptismal regeneration, the ordination of women, the real presence, the indissolubility of marriage and cetera are not. Indeed, usury appears to be a secondary issue, despite the clear and unambiguous direction of scripture. (Actually not even secondary since nobody actually defends the scriptural view – what comes after tertiary?) Yet sexuality,… Read more »

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

ok christopher. you now say a person in a loving stable sexual relationship with a same sex partner raises the same problems for a christian as a child-sacrificing, openly Jesus-hating satan worshipper, and they ought not to have their claim to be a christian taken seriously. do you see any problems with your argument? try hard. as i said before, this is all much more subtle and complex than you seem able to begin to understand. read malcolm’s post and see if you can follow that.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Malcolm- I too see uisury as often an evil thing. But you can’t say the bible is unambiguous on it, because (on the contrary) it is famously ambiguous. What about the parable of the talents? Hi Poppy- I certainly didn’t say that. I was using the satanist who called themselves a Christian as an example to illustrate the point that different people draw the line in different places. That is, your line is different from my line. Your line presumably excludes the satanist but not the practising homosexual. Mine, in accordance with my study of the thrust of foundational… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“What about the parable of the talents?” The parable of the Talents is not about usury, as you well know, but about using our abilities for the furthering of the Kingdom. Neither is it ambiguous. “I don’t know about the US.” Yes you do. A couple of months ago, in response to your claim about the massive rise in violent crime, I posted links to two different sites that gave statistical evidence for the exact opposite. You did not respond. You also ignored citations with statistics that indicate teen pregnancy is a bigger problem in those areas where kids do… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, this website certainly seems to show that the situation WRT crime in England is far more complex than you seem to realize, and also address the issue of differences in reporting of crime that may affect statistics.

http://www.crimestatistics.org.uk/output/Page1.asp

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“… to illustrate the point that different people draw the line in different places. That is, your line is different from my line. Your line presumably excludes the satanist but not the practising homosexual. Mine, in accordance with my study of the thrust of foundational Christianity, excludes both.”

The point, dear Christopher, is n o t that “different people draw the line at different places”, but that they a l l draw the line beyond t h e m s e l v e s…

LucyBrock
Guest

Some time before, I needed to buy a house for my firm but I did not have enough money and could not buy anything. Thank God my friend adviced to take the home loans at trustworthy bank. Thence, I did so and used to be satisfied with my small business loan.