Thinking Anglicans

opinions for today

Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times about The Crucifixion and atrocities of the killing fields.

Christopher Rowland writes in the Guardian about Gerrard Winstanley, a 17th century religious reformer.

Earlier in the week, David Walker wrote on Cif belief about A galaxy away from Deep Thought. This was part of the Question of the Week series, see Why can’t computers think?

Alan Wilson wrote yesterday about an old Islamic folk tale, see Mercy seasons justice?

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times: Dump RE and see God as radical. (RE is an abbreviation for Religious Education.)

Last week, in the Church Times Phil Lucas wrote about the Quakers’ support of same-sex marriage. See This is one way to talk about gay partnerships.

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choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

I absolutely agree with Giles Fraser…Sunday School was a big time waster. By the time I was nine or ten, the parish decided to have me try out as an acolyte. While being a klutz at that the local parish priest could hear me singing right under the organ and shoved me into the choir. I learnt more about Christ in the anthems and Evensongs, and as far as I’m concerned, a structured class setting about God is a joke for a kid who’s more concerned about playing pranks behind the Sunday school teacher or whose was going to get… Read more »

Pluralist
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It is not the job of Religious Education to encourage children to have beliefs or faith, but to show that faith exists in the community/ communities and to be able to understand it and even express your own sense of faith or lack of faith into that understanding. Educationally it offers abstract thought in a curriculum of concrete and near rote learning (today). The problem with RE is that it is constantly misunderstood, and it should not be compulsory. It was introduced for the wrong reasons as local and compulsory, and has always been seen as something to do with… Read more »

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

I agree with all three comments above. My religious faith, such as it is, was much more fostered by singing in a church choir and playing the organ for most of my life. There is something compelling about the round of the church’s year, the music associated with the seasons and the words which mean so much more in the context of worship rather than in dry as dust anaysis of what they might or might not mean. And indeed it is the liturgy and music which has keep me hanging in there, rather than any attempt to convert me… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“In my pre-Quaker years, I regard­ed homosexuality as unbiblical and sinful. It was through getting to know same-sex couples and experiencing that there was between them the potential for the same quality of self-giving love as I have seen and experi­enced in heterosexual marriage that I overcame my prejudice.” – Phil Lucas, Church Times article – I’ve always respected the Quakers – in their capacity for silent reflection and prayer. It seems that they might be doing more of this than the mainline Christian conservatives on issues of daily life and discipline at the moment. I feel that sometimes we… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Thanks lots to Phil L. I am blessed abundantly by his simple, clear, honest Quaker witness. Like a breeze of fresh air through an open window.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Sunday School may or may not be a big boring thing – it was for me in high school. But my fanny was on the pew every Sunday – as were those of my parents. In the states, we often have parents dropping kids off for Sunday school and then picking them up after they’ve had their lattes and NYTimes … my home parish and others prevent this by having Sunday School come after the reading of the Gospel and before the sermon – the kids are back in the church in time to take part in the Eucharist. We… Read more »

BillyD
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“. my home parish and others prevent this by having Sunday School come after the reading of the Gospel and before the sermon – the kids are back in the church in time to take part in the Eucharist.” Huh? This makes it sound as if you have about a split second of Sunday School. But even if you mean that the kids leave between the Gospel and the sermon, and are then back for the Eucharist, that’s not a lot of time at all. The average sermon in an Episcopal Church can’t be much longer than 15 minutes, I… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

BillyD, I’ll go get the old small wooden processional cross (the “little cross”) from my old parish, and you can come up to the stalls and recess back during the sermon hymn and lead the little lambs across the street to the parish house and entertain (good luck with those quick minds and short attention spans) them for the next three-quarters of an hour until the service is done.

I’ll drag the conversation at the coffee hour afterwards to give you more time.

Paul
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Paul

Seems to be a fair bit of confusion here… Giles Fraser was referring to ‘Religious Education’ teaching in state schools not ‘Sunday School’ which is delivered in church. In England state schools must deliver Religious Education although in response to Pluralist it is not compulsory – parents have the right to withdraw their children from it.

In my opinion RE taught well is invaluable in equipping young people for life in a multi-cultural society. Obviously taught inappropriately it can be dangerous – but presumably the same is true of many other subjects in the curriculum.