Thinking Anglicans

opinions in mid-May

Both The Times and the Guardian have Quaker columnists this morning.

B.P. Dandelion writes about how Uncertainty speaks volumes in the sound of silence.

Kathryn Lum writes about the Indian caste system in Face to Faith.

Giles Fraser warned in the Church Times Beware the dark side of liberalism.

Libby Purves was interviewed in the Church Times last week by Terence Handley MacMath.

Alan Wilson wrote about Social Media, Church and Bishopping.

Oliver O’Donovan wrote in the Church Times last week, How can people obey the scriptures?

(Full text of this lecture is at Fulcrum, and a critique of it by Adrian Worsfold is titled Postmodern Authoritarianism.)

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Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold)
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In the contrast of articles between Giles Fraser and that of B.P. Dandelion, I know which I prefer. Giles Fraser ought to ask to what extent he mouths things he does not believe, and where the cut comes. Plus, a received tradition contains not only ethical values we might want to take up, but values found unethical that we might want to reject, when people of that community are pressing those values more and more. The analogy is not with a child in an empty room served through a hatch, but a child in a supermarket of foods to purchase,… Read more »

Charlotte
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Charlotte

There are interesting historical linkages between contemporary postmodernisms and early 19th century theorists of the extreme anti-Enlightenment reaction. I have in mind such theorists as Joseph de Maistre , also a patron of authoritarian political movements in the 20th century, and an influence on Foucault. Much neglected in the heyday of left postmodernism some twenty-five years ago, this linkage is now reasserting itself on the authoritarian Anglican right (pun intended).

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Giles Fraser writes: “to be a liberal in the theological sense is often understood as allow-ing human reason to stand in judge¬≠ment over revealed religion” Defined like this, it is indeed dark. But it’s generally only those who are not liberal who define it like this, almost as an insult against liberals’ perceived arrogance in claiming superiority over revealed (implied: true) religion. This liberal prefers to say that human experience and scientific discoveries and thinking have changed how we interpret religious revelation. We can still make it the centre of our lives, but unless it speaks to heart, mind and… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
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Tradition and culture are wonderful stabilizing influences. They are the threads that bind civilizations together. But they can also be straightjackets that suffocate life. God formed this planet not to be empty, but to be inhabited. When solo scripturalists announce that the only remaining legitimate manifestation for Jesus is as global mass murderer, then they contrive to bring death to this planet, and are thus in direct violation of the covenant of peace. The God of ALL Creation makes suitable provision for ALL that God creates (including Gentiles and GLBTs). Cultures of death and oppression need to be stripped bare.… Read more »

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold)
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Pity you can’t come to our next In Depth group, Erika, where I’ll tackle what your refer to thanks to those who tackled your point head on: Fred Temple, Rowland Williams (and Baron Bunsen), Baden Powell, Henry Bristow, Mark Pattison, and Ben Jowett. The failure of their book in Anglicanism was probably because a ‘pupil’ of Jowett’s, Edwin Hatch, died early in 1889 and was never able to take on the baton. It’s why 150 years on people like yourself and me are hanging on the margins of Anglicanism.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Pluralist I have often wished that I could come to your In Depth group! I must admit, I found Giles’ comment most depressing, because it’s so symptomatic of most of our theological “conversations”. We seem to have this deep seated tendency to misrepresent that which we don’t agree with, the easier to knock it down. Giles would never use half-truths as strawmen to be knocked down to score a point against homosexuals and women priests, so it was all the more shocking to see him use a similar tactic against the group of people he does not agree with. I… Read more »

orfanum
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orfanum

Call me paranoid but does anyone else see this dark thread running through quite a bit of political and social commentary recently: from these ponderings from Giles Fraser to the scathing denunciation of how the political process is running foul of venal tendencies in the Telegraph, the message seems to be that Liberalism is a Very Bad Thing. Note the examples of Thatcher and Reagan – they if anything, especially the former, were associated with the economics of self, and in an implicit way also point to Liberalism=self-interested greed. Why no mention of John Stuart Mill, rather than these neo-Liberals… Read more »

poppy tupper
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poppy tupper

Am I being way too cynical in thinking that someone has squeezed Giles Fraser’s elbow and told him quietly that this is not the time when a liberal is going to be made a bishop, and that some clear blue water would do him no harm? Watch this space.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Poppy
I’ve heard that said before.
But the question remains. Why is it not possible to support one view without caricaturing the other?

Giles Fraser
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Giles Fraser

Poppy, Rather stung by that comment. Only once has a senior member of the C of E told me it might be better for my career if I was less vocal and I told him that if I shut up for that reason I would hear the cock crow. Preferment is no exchange for your soul. No, in fact, this piece was actually prompted by Pluralist who had something on his site the other day about me not really being a liberal and I was kind of agreeing with him. The trouble is that there are several readings of liberal,… Read more »

john
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john

I think Giles Fraser’s piece was badly written and badly argued. Why not: (1) start with the etymology of ‘liberal’? (2) point out that ‘liberal’ is always a relative term; (3) distinguish between (a) ‘liberal’ in the sense of personally holding ‘liberal’ views; (b) ‘liberal’ in the sense of conceding (some – degree negotiable) legitimacy to a wide range of views. If one makes these simple moves, the discussion can proceed on more or less rigorous grounds. I concede: it is somewhat interesting that GF wants to distance himself from the tag ‘liberal’. But it’s not very interesting: far, far,… Read more »