Thinking Anglicans

opinions to think about

I wrote recently about a Theos report on Rescuing Darwin. Andrew Brown has now written at Comment is free about Science vs superstition, not science vs religion.

Last week in the Church Times Andrew Davison wrote that The C of E should nurture theology. For more about the Returning to the Church conferences, go here.

Giles Fraser wrote about the Credit Crunch, see The crunch needs global resolution. And don’t miss the lucid explanation of the Credit Crunch by Andreas Whittam Smith in a synod paper, The Inernational Financial Crisis and the Recession.

Earlier this week, Jonathan West asked Should I worry about the church?

The Archbishop of York wrote in the Daily Mail The intolerance towards Christians in the public sector is an affront. Another copy is on the archbishop’s own website.

Jenny Taylor wrote in The Times Let us use chastity to channel the soul’s energy.

Elizabeth Gray-King wrote in the Guardian about Valentine’s Day.

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Steven Carr
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The Archbiishop of York is campaigning loudly for the rights of Christians not to have to defend their beliefs, and their rights to not have their beliefs attacked.

He is very quiet in his defense of those beliefs, but strident in his claims that those beliefs should never need to be defended.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

I’m sorry, but I think it ridiculous that anyone in a nation with a Christian denomination as its established church, and the sovereign as head of that church, and leaders of that church appointed by the government can complain of “intolerance” toward Christians.

While that is not the situation on my side of the pond, the complaint is similarly ridiculous here. Christmas is a national holiday in the US; the major holy days of no other faith have a similar status.

john
Guest
john

Very good piece by ABP John Sentamu. It argued its case without really disputing the value of a generally secular public space (which disputation gets Christians into all sorts of messes) and by putting down a practical challenge to all those nominal Christians who sort of espouse Christian beliefs and values but do little to support them. I really don’t think any other church has leaders of the calibre – in their hugely different styles and capabilities – of Williams and Sentamu. Moreover, there is a kind of goodness in Sentamu that I do not find in Wright.

Pluralist
Guest

I have a response regarding Andrew Davidson on the loss of theology: it happened in the Unitarians some time back because you cannot impose theology when there is diversity of belief. You can do theology classes; you can recover use of theology but it must draw from other disciplines.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2009/02/recruitment-problem.html

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

The furor over the suspension and disciplinary action towards the two women in Britain seems at the face of it ludicrous. It seems one had their e-mail privacy invaded and the other shouldn’t go around stating that they are going to pray for somebody else, they should just do it, and not “wear it on their sleeve”. Perhaps this is the huge elephant in the room that nobody wants to approach; not just the public testimony of “being” a Christian, but the uncomfortableness created by a person (consciously or not) using Christianity as a means of excluding themselves from others,… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Choirboyfromhell

“the other shouldn’t go around stating that they are going to pray for somebody else”

She didn’t. She asked people whether they would like to be prayed for. If they refused, she respected their wishes.

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Choirboy alluded to “…the uncomfortableness created by a person (consciously or not) using Christianity as a means of excluding themselves from others, or others from themselves in a move that is a lightly disguised effort at feigning superiority…” On the one hand, there is the question about having faith and being to legitimately manifest that faith. In civilized societies, there is not an issue, in power-hungry societies, even prayer can become a political act (e.g. the courtiers used prayer in their (failed) assassination attempt of Daniel). On the other hand, there is the question of misuse of faith, which Choirboy’s… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

‘Chaste men and single, financially viable women have historically made a huge impact as social reformers. From the prophets, to Florence Nightingale, from the suffragists to the missionaries who founded hospitals and schools worldwide, chastity has proved politically radical. They channelled “the soul’s energy” — one definition of sexuality — into great causes.’ – Jenny Taylor: Times article – One of the dangers in lionising the moral choice for chastity – over and above that of practising our God-given sexuality – is that we can substitute chastity as a charism obove charity; that ‘most excellent of gifts’ we hear of… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Erika: I realize that the nurse in question was undoubtably well-intended, but the question of her just praying for the person(s) without asking or talking about it might have been the issue that seems to have gotten the ire of her superiors. Why didn’t she just quietly address God without the other knowing about it? Would this had invaded the privacy of the other? Would the other had even known of her prayers? Surely God would have, and that is what counts isn’t it? For a while here in the USA, especially with ‘fundagelicals’ was the statement “I’ll pray for… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“This trend is replicated in the Anglican Communion as a whole. Gone is our fabled open-mindedness and confidence in the quest for truth. The issue at the heart of our current troubles — the legitimacy of homosexual relationships — has been studiously ignored as a matter for theological investigation at a global level.” -Andrew Davison – Church Times article – In the current climate of tensions within the Anglican Communion, Anmdrew Davison’s article draws overdue attention to the paucity of real engagement in the theological understanding of the current issues by both clergy and laity within the body of the… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“If the church decides that women clergy are in some fashion or other not the equal of men, then this is can only be seen as a reflection of an attitude the church has towards women in the world, and it is not pretty.” – Jonathan West – In his Guardian article, Jonathan West (an avowed atheist), in looking at the behaviour of the Church from the outside world, puts this very important point relating to the attitude of the official Church of England’s General Synod to the acceptance, or otherwise, of women as bishops and priests in the Church.… Read more »

Jay Vos
Guest

Pat O’Neill Christmas is a national holiday in the US; the major holy days of no other faith have a similar status.

I always thought it was weird that my university (back in the 60’s), with a sizable Jewish student population, called the mid-December to post New Year break, the “Christmas holiday.”

Although the USPO issues stamps for Christmas, Eid, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, etc.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Choirboyfromhell

No, I saw an interview with her, she did ask people whether they wanted to be prayed for. She did not do it without asking or talking about it.
And I think that’s how it should be. After all, you don’t patronise those who don’t want prayers, but those who do are also greatly helped by the knowledge that you are praying for them.

This whole thing is completely ridiculous. Anyone can say “no thanks”, and that should be that.

We are so worried about “offending” people that we lose all sense of proportion.

Kennedy Fraser
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Kennedy Fraser

@choirboyfromhell From hearing the nurse in question being interviewed on the BBC, I understood that prayer had been offered as a possible means of comfort to the patient. The offer to pray with the person was made and declined. It was only after the patient mentioned (in passing) it to one of the original nurses’ colleagues that it was made an issue and escalated leading to the nurse’s suspension. This was not an attempt at evangelisation, as far as I can see. It was a health professional offering something to (perhaps) assist the well-being of a patient, in the same… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Many of us are aware of smug, aggressive Christians who bleat cries of “abuse” or “victimisation” when they are called to account for their mistreatment of others.”

Too true, Cheryl VA.

I saw a short film on anti-gay campaigner Anita Bryant last night, and she was pulling this kind of “Poor Little Abused Christian ME!” routine ***30 years*** ago.

Lord have mercy.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Having worked as a chaplain in health care settings, I have the sense that the nurse’s aims were sincere and well-meaning but that she may, may have fallen short in two ways. Firstly, her skills of approach might need to be more varied than simply the yes/no prayer offers. One of these skills sets involves actually getting to know the person first before reaching out from inside one’s own particular faith or religious frameworks. The many empathy skills almost always count for more than anything else we say or do, especially in a time of crisis illness and treatment. Such… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I think that especially the Americans commenting here seem to be influenced by right-wing bible belt evangelicals constantly praying for you, like it or not, and being generally a little too insensitive to the needs of other people. And much as I normally agree with you, Drdanfee, this seems to be a little bit of long distance psychologising too far. We don’t even know whether the nurse was a “conservative”. In this case, it really is not the nurse that got it wrong. Anyone who has seen the interview with her can be pretty sure that she is extremely sensitive… Read more »

toby forward
Guest

I have followed this story on other blogs and in the newspapers. Caroline Petrie was engaged in hard-line evangelizing, of a particular fundamentalist kind. She had prayer cards made which she distributed to patients. They read: ‘I am sorry for what I have done wrong in my life and I ask for forgiveness. Thank you for Dying on the Cross for me to set me free from my sins. Please come into my life and fill me with your Holy Spirit and be with me forever. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen.’ She had been formally reprimanded for giving these out.… Read more »

andrew holden
Guest
andrew holden

I normally agree with the Archbishop but I’m not sure he should be contributing to the Mail and its encouragement of right wing prejudice. Yes, the cases of these two women are examples of PC gone too far but both reveal our angst about fundamentalism in society and in the workplace – no-one wants the sick, or the vulnerable preached at in inappropriate ways. Generally I think our public institutions get it right. Benign, tolerant religion is accepted – intolerant faith with its own hidden agenda of evangelism and subversion, rightly, is outlawed. This is the base not just of… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Toby
if you’re right and if I haven’t got all of the information, then of course what she did was absolutely unacceptable.

BillyD
Guest

Toby, thanks for the additional information. I wouldn’t want her near vulnerable patients, either. When my late father was dying of cancer, a “friend” of the family decided that it was an opportune time to start sending him similar literature; evidently she found his low-key Methodism too lukewarm to suit Jesus or herself.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Again, the question that is not being answered here is why didn’t the nurse just pray for the individual and not say anything to anybody about it? Yes, Erika, some of us Americans are quite admittedly “influenced” by [our reaction] to right-winged bible belt evangelicals due to the fact of the widespread abuse of Christianity we’ve witnessed firsthand. A part of me wants to say it began here, and I’d like it to bring it to an end here as well. And again I’ll state that the woman was probably truly compassionate in her intentions, and didn’t mean it to… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Choirboyfromhell
“Again, the question that is not being answered here is why didn’t the nurse just pray for the individual and not say anything to anybody about it?”

Apart from the fact that I find it very disrespectful to pray for people who might resent it, I also think that a huge part of being prayed for is the comfort it gives you to know that people pray for you.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I do not think it is appropriate for professional staff to actively bring their religious beliefs into the service delivery of their work. I really don’t understand why they cannot simply do their work which has no place for this sort of intrusive and inappropriate behaviour

BillyD
Guest

“Apart from the fact that I find it very disrespectful to pray for people who might resent it…”

Good Heavens, Erika – do you have some sort of informed consent form that you distribute to people you want to pray for? 😉

I honestly don’t see that bringing up anything or anyone at all in a conversation with God is disrespectful, or anybody else’s business.

toby forward
Guest

I think it’s worth remembering that the rather conservative Michael Ramsey would say no more about intercessory prayer and its effectiveness than that it was ‘being with God, with the people on your mind’. No promises, no bargains, no deals, no demands either way. Just that. If Caroline Petrie goes to God daily in prayer, and if she bears her patients in her hearts, then I would expect that she does what Michael Ramsey describes. In fact, if she prays, and if she cares about her patients, she can’t do otherwise. Why tell them? Why ask them? Just do it.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

“I honestly don’t see that bringing up anything or anyone at all in a conversation with God is disrespectful, or anybody else’s business.”

It depends on the motivations of the individual wanting to do the praying, BillyD.

Erika, You and I would probably derive great comfort in our time of trial to have somebody offer to pray for us, but there are those who might not.

All of this over-reacting originates from the abuses of over-zealous evangelism. Keeping our house in order dictates that we are aware of our own agenda when promoting Christ’s.

andrew holden
Guest
andrew holden

“…. no place for this sort of intrusive and inappropriate behaviour.” Of course it’s only intrusive and inappropriate if you find it to be so – and many people actually value being prayed for. Nursing and teaching are not usually undertaken in highly controlled environments where people leave themselves at home – the key, surely, is finding out what is appropriate. Of course some people will choose to be offended just for the sake of it. Personally I think a polite ‘no thank you’ sorts most things without giving offence in return – of course if that was ignored then… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

Re the nurse: Once all *medical* responsibilities to the patient have been taken care of, I don’t think a quick “I’ll pray for you” is any more intrusive than a quick “Good luck”. It’s where it becomes a question (“Do you *want* me to pray for you?”), that it may become a BURDEN to the patient—the last person who should be burdened, in their condition! I think this situation has been overblown (AFAIK): probably by those who wanted to make the nurse a cause-celebre victim. A simple caution to the nurse (“you may inform quickly, but don’t interrogate” re prayer),… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Erika, You and I would probably derive great comfort in our time of trial to have somebody offer to pray for us, but there are those who might not. “

Quite. That’s why you ask!

BillyD
Guest

“It depends on the motivations of the individual wanting to do the praying, BillyD.” I suppose that it really boils down to a question of “who’s to know?” If I pray for a student – without getting their consent or letting them or anyone else know about it – how is that disrespectful? Is I see a natural disaster or terrorist attack taking place via TV, do I have to wait until I receive a proper request from someone directly involved before I ask God to have mercy on the victims? If all this *is* the business of someone besides… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I do not think it is appropriate for professional staff to actively bring their religious beliefs into the service delivery of their work.”

Do you think it’s appropriate for people to bring their left wing political beliefs into the service delivery of their work? I can think of lots of examples. I wonder what your response would be if a nurse got into a row with a family over whether their dying son’s partner of 20 years was allowed to be at the bedside.

Grants
Guest

While that is not the situation on my side of the pond, the complaint is similarly ridiculous here. Christmas is a national holiday in the US; the major holy days of no other faith have a similar status.