Thinking Anglicans

opinions to consider

Terry Philpot wrote for the Guardian about the RC adoption societies, see Face to Faith.

Sara Maitland wrote in The Times about Why the Via Dolorosa can be a powerful experience.

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times about Grounding ideology in people. See New England – Kirsty MacColl at the Church Times blog for background material.

Alexandru Popescu wrote at Comment is free about An iconic power.

James W. Jones wrote in the Church Times last week about Churches talking past each other. Many in the C of E misunderstand the Episcopal Church in the US, he says.

Robert Pigott at the BBC has written another Faith Diary.

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Ford ElmsRev L RobertsFather Ron SmithdrdanfeeErika Baker Recent comment authors
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Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Terry Philpott has not noticed that so-called ‘secular society’ is often far more humane and indeed godly than the offical policy of the RC denomination -and indeed other denominations. And pray what society does Mr Philpott himself inhabit ? Whom does he have to thank for his education, health care and advantages, including career as an outhor and journalist – if not ‘secular society’ ?! Gratitude to the given is not misplaced in a Christian person –even one’s benefactor is something as large and impersonal as society — a society SO secular that bishops sit in the legislature as of… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

James W. Jones wrote of his experience of Synod: “As far as I remember (I did not take notes), one speaker said that the American Church was “preaching a new gospel”; another said Americans were “tearing the fabric of the Com munion apart”. I got the impression that some of the speakers felt that the schismatics (as I think of them) were being persecuted by lawsuits, and needed to be protected from the American Church. “I wanted to stand up and defend my Church. I have been a priest for 40 years, and I regularly read the church Fathers and… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

” I perceived the smell of the candles and of the wax and of the incense which is “encrypted” in these icons. I inhaled deeply and I smelt the icon in front of me, before kissing it: it was not an olfactory hallucination. I found myself, as if in church, praying. My aesthetic awe and theological reflection had been transcended.” – Alexandru Popescu – What a wonderful, and truly Orthodox, description of what is going on in the use of iconography in worship. No need here for church edifice – only an attention to detail and a willingness to enter… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“Differences over specific issues (such as the full inclusion of devout gays and lesbians in the life of the Church) reflect breakdowns in un­der­standing of more fundamental theological concerns, such as the nature and distribution of power, and the place of experience and context in theological reflection. – Art. James W. Jones – Dr. Jones, of the American Episcopal Church, has put his finger on one of the problems of the lack of communication between TEC and the C.of E. One of these problems is the perceived difference bewteen respective views of episcopal authority, which seems to have been taken… Read more »

Brant-in-LA
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Brant-in-LA

Exactly right, Father Ron Smith. Exactly right and wonderfully said.

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

What James Jones doesn’t mention, though, is that it suits a lot of people in the C of E leadership to make it sound as if the struggle for gay people to find acceptance in churches is principally an American “problem”. In other words, there is a sense in which the C of E’s leaders are content to view the TEC situation as a vicarious row which could then avoid the need for any similar rows nearer to home: C of E bishops never want any fuss and upset in England if it can be avoided.

David Walker
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David Walker

Fr Ron Smith, as ever, makes some important observations. Concepts such as mutual respect and episcopal ministry as service are important to hear. There is a proper challenge to monarchical models. but then what is the parallel challenge to democracy? It isn’t enough to defend it with Churchill’s “least worst” adage, as though that justified it in every place and context. In Britain, governance theory has moved well away from the heavily representational (committee bound) structures of the 1960s and 70s towards more meritocratic models that focus primarily on the skills, experiences and attributes required to govern, so that decisions… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

David W: the C of E is governed currently, though, not on a monarchical so much as an oligarchical principle, isn’t it? The problem with that is that it is the based on the officer class/old boy net/ old school tie approach to the Establishment, which most values committee men, safe pairs of hands, time-servers and non-rockers of boats… none of which could be said to be based on Our Lord’s way of leadership, could it?

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“But the Church of England has been fed a steady diet of misinformation about the Episcopal Church by the extremist right, and as a result, they don’t know this.” Dr. Williams spent his sabbatical writing his book about Dostoevsky while holed up with the Jesuits in DC. During that time, he could have visited as wide a variety of TEC churches as possible and not had to be driven more than 20 miles from where he stayed. I suspect that during that time there might have been a diocesan council or an episcopal election to observe – for that, he… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“Democracy remains very poor at respecting the interests and wellbeing of minority viewpoints, of the external environment and of the future. All of these problems are writ large in the church, not least where it most follows a democratic polity.”

Really? It is in the most democratic polities of this Communion where one of society’s most despised minorities–homosexuals–have made the greatest advances in acceptance.

Mary Clara
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Mary Clara

David Walker opines that “Democracy remains very poor at respecting the interests and wellbeing of minority viewpoints, of the external environment and of the future. All of these problems are writ large in the church, not least where it most follows a democratic polity.” I think it might be more accurate to say, “Human beings in general remain, individually and collectively, very poor at respecting the interests and wellbeing of minority viewpoints, of the external environment and of the future. All of these problems are writ large in the church, regardless of polity.” There are ‘checks and balances’ in the… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“There are ‘checks and balances’ in the Church of England and different ones in the Episcopal Church (USA) that are meant to correct for those human failings.” And this is the problem when it comes to the Church. Surely our decision making processes are based on seeking to discern the will of God. Of course, our human failings will make this process difficult, and we will make mistakes. But, are the “checks and balances” dealing with this, or with the usual problems that arise in any democratic process? Where did we get this idea that it is not actually the… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ford, I don’t understand your argument. Every Christian tries to discern God’s will at all times, not just in church. One hopes that the church is made up only of Christians, so that this discernment is easier, because everyone is motivated by the same desire. But the form this discernment of God’s will takes is a completely different matter. For some churches a democratic principle may work, for others a more hierarchical one. I would not wish to limit the Spirit by claiming that he can only act through one system of governance. After all, taking the other line to… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Discernment is where we face our human condition, together, using the best available tools we can apply. I would not trade in the modern best practice tool kit for any of the alleged alternatives to using it, most often claimed to be safer than using it. Being fallible and thus able to be corrected as falsehoods or missteps are revealed over time, is really a tremendous, deep blessing. Those who may believe they are infallible are suffering a terrible, painful curse. Such folks not only bear that burden, but frequently take it out on everybody around them. The categorical searches… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“Those who may believe they are infallible are suffering a terrible, painful curse. Such folks not only bear that burden, but frequently take it out on everybody around them.” – drdanfee on Wed – As witness the latest ‘infallible’ statement made by Benedict 14 during his African Safari – on the fallibility of condoms in the HIV/Aids battle. How can we condone such fallible statements when they purport to come from a Christian Leader? The same sort of infallibility is claimed by such as His Grace the Archbishop of Nigeria in his pogrom against the LGBT community in his own… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Is infallibility a useful term at all I wonder ?

Jesus, in fact, seems to have got some crucial things wrong- and perhaps that’s not such a bad thing after all.

Maybe it gives us permission and our struggles and cock-ups a certain grace

Listening to ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue'(radio 4) is a good antidote, it suddenly strikes me, to infallibility phantasies, as well as being ‘the antidote to panel games’.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Jesus, in fact, seems to have got some crucial things wrong”

What things?