Thinking Anglicans

Weekend opinion

The Archbishop of York writes in the Observer I ripped up my dog collar to help topple this brutal tyrant.

Mark Vernon at Comment is free asks “Is philosophy just tinkering around the edges of science, or can a meeting of the disciplines give us deeper insghts into the universe?” in God and the multiverse.

Shelina Zahra Janmohamed argues in the Guardian’s Face to faith column that Spiritual journeys like the hajj must challenge body and soul.

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph writes on Judging when you must fight a war

Also in the Telegraph Sarah Todd hears how one Christmas congregation found room at the inn in Fathers, sons and holy spirits.

Joanna Moorhead in the Times writes that in deepest Surrey, families are flocking to watch a cast of real people in a most extraordinary nativity play O little town of Wintershall.

Also in the Times Ruth Gledhill writes about a study that argues Plagues of Egypt ‘caused by nature, not God’.

In the Church Times Giles Fraser writes about US suburbs: the home of segregation.

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choirboyfromhellPeter of WestminsterCynthia GilliattLou PoulainAlan Harrison Recent comment authors
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Lois Keen
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Lois Keen

As a U.S. American, I get to say, Giles Fraser is spot on about U.S. American racism. Why do you think TEC requires all clergy and as many others as we can convince to do so, to engage in racism awareness trainings, as often as we can get people to do it, because just once is just plain not enough.

And Wintershall, shades of The Vicar of Dibley, with Alice giving actual birth in their live nativity on Owen’s farm. Maybe Dibley got their idea from Wintershall.

Happy Advent, everyone. One week, + or – , until Christmas.
Lois Keen

Cheryl Va. Clough
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Sentamu is sharing an important lesson. There are leaders who can charismatically pull former freedom fighters to create a ruling body. It’s not just Zimbabwe, there are many historical examples of military geniuses who then went on to have brutal and repressive regimes. One of Castro’s geniuses is that he managed to create a relatively safe society (pity about the GLBT intolerances) that actually cared about his peoples’ well-being. We see similar examples in the bible. It was Joshua who entrusted to take the people into the Holy Land. The generation that was comfortable with striking the earth were to… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Giles Fraser has got it right only half-way in his conclusion of the automobile being the mode to racism in the US. It is a mode to alienate one another in a private hell of selfishness, narcissism and security that has driven the country to a lifestyle that will eventually kill it. There are drive through “live nativity scenes” where for the price of a ticket, families can watch Jesus in the creche freezing in the outfield of the local Baptist or Church of God in wherever in the comfort of their own Chevrolet, SAAB or Lexus SUV, making anything… Read more »

Peter of Westminster
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Peter of Westminster

re: Giles Fraser. American modes of transportation have developed differently from those in Britain in part because the distances in the US are much greater, and also because the systems mostly developed later than those in Britain. But even in LA thses days, great effort (and lots of cash) is (are) being put into the development of public mass transit (subways and light rail). As was the case in New York and London, completion of the system will take many decades, at least. Professor Kruse notwithstanding, no mass demographic movement like that of Americans moving out to suburbs is simply… Read more »

Alan Harrison
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Alan Harrison

I write with trepidation, having only visited the USA once in my life. (Little Rock, in 1999, when I was giving a paper at UALR.) It was a culture shock, to put it mildly. Dr Fraser’s article matches my experience. The utterly crappy +urban+ transport (where distance isn’t really an issue) was the first shock. Little Rock is about the same size as my home town, but presumably rather more important as a state capital. Buses were infrequent, and in the evenings largely non-existent. Routes were few. Passengers were obviously poor and, even more obviously, almost all were black. (There’s… Read more »

Lou Poulain
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Lou Poulain

Re Giles Fraser’s article. It strikes me, a US American living in “Silicon Valley” in California, that Giles’ observations are a mixed bag of accuracies and inaccuracies. His comments about the differences in civic spaces certainly rings mostly true, drawing from my only visit to England last year. I greatly enjoyed being in the city in both London and York. The west coast equivolents to New York are San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. Los Angeles (where I was born) is a collection of suburbs with an atrophied “center”. San Jose built a strange shopping center called Santana Row that is… Read more »

Peter of Westminster
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Peter of Westminster

Alan — the Fraser piece wasn’t entirely unfair either. “Derogation of the public,” “obsession with low taxes,” “the inherent individualism of rights language” — can’t argue with that. There was the nascent development of a more adequate American social ethic in the early 20th Century (read Reinhold Neibuhr, for instance, or other so-called “Christian Realists” of the 1930s, or the earlier Social Gospel writers), but I suspect that the rise of America to global economic and military power after WWII put the development of such a social ethic on hold. Why change when everything seems to be going so well?… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“Your phrase “malled American city” pretty well captures life for many in America, too.” Sadly, I’d have to agree. A variety of causes. I have fond memories of being a child living in a near-burb of Baltimore and – with my parents – exploring the city. I have yet to find a sub to match the very first ones we bought in Little Italy, as well as the pizzas that predated the cardboard mass produced ones. We hung around the working harbor – watched banana boats unload, bought produce from the Eastern Shore that had beeen brought across the Bay… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

This is a follow up about small Amrican cities. Go to

The town has worked hard to be a livable place. A collegue of mine and her husband got very attractive loans to buy a 4 story building downtown. The groudn floor is rented to a coffee shop, the next floor is an apartment they rent out and they live on the top two floors. It’s around the corner from the Blackfriar’s and the American Shakespeare Center. To the consternation of outsiders, the town is pronounced as if it were spelled ‘STONton.’

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Thee are signs indeed that we are starting to wake up over here in the US, if not for the fact of no longer controlling the the capital for oil production in outside countries, as gasoline prices continue to rise, despite invasion efforts overseas by a mad aging bunch still (barely) in control of the US government. The seriousness of mass transit cannot be denied on the US east coast. And towns such as Staunton, Virginia, are putting increasing controls on sprawl outside their historic centers, not unlike the National Trust in England. It will take a few more spikes… Read more »

Peter of Westminster
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Peter of Westminster

On the other hand… If Europeans are shocked by the decayed city centers of some American cities, I expect the suburbs of Paris are a bit of a shock to visiting Americans. Ever played a game called “Whack-a-Mole?” That’s the poor for you — always with us, somewhere…

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Riding the RER from Charles DeGaulle was indeed a shock, as was St. Dennis when with a friend I was accompanying on an organ tour. Things were tense then three years ago.

We never learn do we?