Thinking Anglicans

opinions this weekend

Geoffrey Rowell writes that Paul shows how faith could turn all our lives around in The Times.

Alan Wilson also writes about Saint Paul, in The Power of Love.

Stephen Smith writes about the Holocaust in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column.

Christopher Howse writes in the Daily Telegraph about a Coincidence in a Bath bookshop.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Technology: does it dispel the wonder?

And the Church Times carried a leader about Christian unity: Two ways to hold the body together.

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Robert Ian WilliamsPat O'NeillFord Elmskieran crichtonL Roberts Recent comment authors
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Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

I find myself in disagreement with Giles Fraser. Technology and the new information it delivers to us has not diminished my faith but increased it. The more I learn about how the universe works, the more I am in awe of it and its Creator.

Pluralist
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I also disagree with Giles Fraser. Nihilism, as a sort of absence, has its own potential to be religious. It is a stark other, a beyond all the beyonds and intensely dark, out of which the tiniest speck of light can be that religious faith, and yet needs the intense dark to do it. Nihilism is a kind of cleansing, and its very nothingness is religious.

Cheryl Va. Clough
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Stephen Smith opened with “It is relatively straightforward to believe in a benevolent god when things are going our way. It is more difficult when circumstances turn against us, but then maybe that is when some of us turn to our god in search of help.” Consider Proverbs 3:11-13 “My son, do not despise the LORD’S discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding…” or Proverbs 13:1 ” A wise son heeds his father’s… Read more »

Peter of Westminster
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Peter of Westminster

Giles Fraser does bite off a lot in his brief essays, but he’s thought-provoking and fun to bounce off of. He never directly answers the question he raises — does technology dispel wonder? For some, befuddled by its glitz, perhaps. But not for all. When Kant found wonder in “the starry heavens above and the moral law within,” he was using a telescope to observe the “starry heavens.” I built telescopes when I was a kid — and the experience of looking through them was that of wonder piled upon wonder (though it was a naked eye observation of the… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“Nihilism is a kind of cleansing, and its very nothingness is religious.”

It can be. But it can also simply an empty, unreligious nothingness, or an absolute denial of everything. In which case it is not religious but denying religion.

There’s the mystic, life affirming via negativa, and there is a plain lack of engagement that can lead to life denying depression.

We need to be clear what we’re talking about. I think Giles means the latter.

Giles Fraser
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Giles Fraser

‘he never directly answers the question he raises’ – Peter says. And he’s right in a way. That is because the title is always a retro-fit, mostly by the hand of another, after the column has been done. It is meant to be an eye-catching way into a piece rather than a question to be answered. I don’t know if it was right to try and do something philosophical in a 420 word space. I thought it a worthwhile challenge though it is bloody difficult, especially writing for a general readership. And it certainly leaves one exposed to objections one… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

OK Giles, GAFCON’s boat is over there near some sort of island and seems not quite so sure of its sailing into the waters, and by my looking even its supporters do not quite know where it is going. It might even be showing some damage. Some of its crew are looking at other boats but other evangelical boats are not sailing with it and they don’t even seem to be sailing in the same direction amongst themselves.

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

Giles, I enjoy your column in the CT and your thought for the days.Peter Toon has a very good article on evangelical Anglicans and their revised sexual morality on virtue online.

Cheryl Va. Clough
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Hi Giles Your insight of creating a “conception of the human self in which fragility and vulnerability have been expunged” is so pertinent to our modern debates, particularly vis a vis GAFCON. You see, the new puritans have made the same mistake as the religious leaders that Jesus was rebuking. They have both fallen into paradigms that if you create the “perfect church” that means fragility and vulnerability have been expunged. That’s why they try to expunge GLBTs and those who would advocate for them. That’s why they suppress women and white wash over their fallibilities and mistakes. They believe… Read more »

Viriato da Silva
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Viriato da Silva

“Peter Toon has a very good article on evangelical Anglicans and their revised sexual morality on virtue online.”

Robert Ian Williams — Would you be so kind as to post a link to said article? I looked for it over on VOL, but was not able to locate it, and hate to muck around too much within that site, as its peculiar spin on reality serves my blood pressure poorly.

Thanks in advance.

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Well, if evangelical anglicans have a ‘revised’ sexual morality, presumably the culturally conforming revisionist view is the traditional Christian morality: the majority position in Christian doctrine and practice since the day of Pentecost. Timothy Radcliffe is right to call for 100 years (plus?) of disagreement. The only alternative is to lie, or to water down, & one would be amazed if anyone thought either of these valid options. Options are only eliminated by being proven to be self-contradictory or non-Christian, and that is easier done if there is debate than if there is a dishonest charade of agreement. For the… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Well ChristopherS we have had a few centuries of rather seriously trying out this or that essential aspect of the claim which contemporary Anglican traditionalists will still try to assert – and the evidence is pretty clear, though still open to further inquiry, discussion, and investigation. Rule bound celibacy – i.e., avoid homosexual acts because they are innately this or that bad thing. We know and have tested at least some key few of the various negative claims. Consider the accusation of being innately disordered – which is Vatican-Speak for,They do not make babies. Consider the familiar accusations that homosexual… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
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My goodness, sometimes vehemence based on assumptions can be quite fun to observe. For example, the idea that Christianity’s sexual morality has been consistent since the Pentecost. A quick trawl of google disproves this, the bible is full of polygamists, and apparently even Jewish Kings shared the pleasures of temple prostitutes (e.g. Judah). http://wiki.answers.com/Q/When_did_polygamy_end_in_the_Bible The answer on this website really pleased me: Polygamy is shown in the Old Testament as a custom among the Jews, at least for those who could afford more than one wife. The Bible does not really provide an end to polygamy… The early Christians adopted… Read more »

Simon Dawson
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Simon Dawson

Cheryl.

I agree with your comments about the biblical examples or marriage and sexual morality.

It always seemed to me that most of the biblical “heroes” were either polygamous or adulterous. And many biblical examples of true love were within same gender relationships. Yet we end up with marriage between one man and one woman being the only possible acceptable arrangement within orthodox Christianity. I am still not sure which biblical texts are used to justify that.

Simon

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

Viriato…I’m sorry but a computer illiterate like myself does not know how to create a loink..go to vol and make inquirie. I like the allusion to a GAFCON BOAT….remember in the hold there is the lay presidency time bomb ticking, and Captian Jensen holds the detonator behind his back….”come on board dear friends”, he says as the Anglo-Catholic bishops scramble up the gang way. Meanwhile back in Port Sydney the poor Anglo-Catholic remanant cannot wear eucharistic vestments..theres is an Anglican Anglo-Catholic church in Sydney where the eucharistic vestments , never used are in a glass case…I kid you not. GAFCON… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

I agree that there is nothing in the bible to support the tightly defined sexual purity rules so often claimed to be Christian. But… the Christian ideal has to be to love your neighbour as yourself. That does mean that you don’t use people for your pleasure and that you don’t enter into unequal relationships. To my mind, that rules out polygamy and adultery fair and square and leaves room only for committed one to one relationships. Whether marriage comes into it is a matter of choice, and whether those relationships end up being life long or find an honest… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

If you go on Youtube and type “Heath Ledger in Hell”, you’ll see the most unpleasant video of Pastor Fred Phelps explaining why his church is picketing the actor’s funeral in the name of “traditional” Christian sexual ethics (i.e. vile homophobia).

kieran crichton
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kieran crichton

Meanwhile back in Port Sydney the poor Anglo-Catholic remanant cannot wear eucharistic vestments..theres is an Anglican Anglo-Catholic church in Sydney where the eucharistic vestments , never used are in a glass case…I kid you not. GAFCON Anglo-catholics insist these are let out!…come out of the closet has another meaning in Sydney. Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 29 January 2008 If I am not mistaken les freres Jensen had to engineer a certain loosening of the vestment rules in Sydney to enable the Dean to lead services in a business suit and preaching gown. The practice across the diocese… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Kieran
this stuff actually MATTERS to people?

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Stephen Smith’s writing on the Holocaust is very moving.

Goes to the heart of things.
(unlike the writings on Saul / Paul.

How far did his writings help to lead to the Holocaust at the end of the day, I wonder ?

Questions the good bishops of the Churches are far too nice to admit of for one moment. As they bandied about words like Chirst, love and grace.

They would rather about a safe Feast and leave Holocaust commemoration to others ….

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

Erika – believe it or not, yes, vestment controversies matter. Especially in Sydney, where the historical position has been to try and limit the use of vestments to an acceptable minimum. It’s all to do with something called evangelical identity, I believe….

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“…believe it or not, yes, vestment controversies matter…”

As if God gave a hoot what we wear when we worship him.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“As if God gave a hoot what we wear when we worship him.”

I believe the idea in Sydney is that such things make us look like Papists, and God cetainly does not want to be worshipped by Papists. Seriously. Their diocesan leadership has proudly announced they will never attend a Mass. I’m given to understand the poor Anglo-Catholics struggling along in Sydney used to have a Corpus Cristi procession in which, in a lovely act of spiritual defiance, they gaveBenediction in the direction of the Cathedral!

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“I believe the idea in Sydney is that such things make us look like Papists, and God cetainly does not want to be worshipped by Papists. Seriously. Their diocesan leadership has proudly announced they will never attend a Mass.”

And, once more, we see the con evo hubris in presuming to completely understand the mind of God.

I don’t think God particularly cares whether we “worship” him or not. We do it because it allows us to be closer to him. All God wants is summed up in the two great commandments. If we do that, he’s satisfied.

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

God does care …what about the first commandment?