Thinking Anglicans

opinions for mid-September

Roderick Strange writes in The Times that Great achievements call for sacrifices and failures.

Andrew Linzey writes there about Brute creatures and the Passion.

Josh Howle writes about Yom Kippur in the Guardian.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Evensong calm ends my fidget.

Simon Barrow writes at Ekklesia about A different way of reading the world.

Last month he wrote about Abandoning the religion and politics of exclusion.

Andrew Brown wrote at Cif belief about The origins of religion.

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Rev L RobertsFord ElmsPeter of WestminsterFather Ron Smithdrdanfee Recent comment authors
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Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

I find Fr Linzey’s piece totally compelling and very moving.

‘Caritas Christi urget nos.’

Pluralist
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The problem with Andrew Linzey’s piece is not what he says about the animals and suffering, which is surely right, but that this is Christlike. Seeing as Christ could use language and rationalise, clearly Christ’s suffering (on this argument) is less than that of the animal. Andrew Linzey is trying to find a link in Christian theology that is not there, other than portraying a myth or emotion from that which John Henry Newman felt at the time. The argument stands on its own and doesn’t need this add-on.

Pluralist
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So Giles Fraser gets paid to attend Evensong, where his heart can tick to a different beat…

Religions in origin are of ritual and ritual binds tribes – that, in a sense, is their origin, and there are all sorts of rituals in life that bind us together. This relates to the imagined community and nationalism raised on Episcopal Cafe some days ago, where the institutional/ governance project gets added in.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“Likewise, says the Epistle of James, when Christian communities are bolstered with self-regard, when they bask in the approval of the rich and powerful and convince themselves that the correct belief alone will justify them, they deceive themselves. This is especially the case when they simultaneously deny justice and dignity to those on the margins, to labourers, to people living on the edge – those who present to us the tangible judgement of God on the way we arrange our lives and our world.” – Simon Barrow – Of all the articles on this thread, I find this, by Simon… Read more »

Peter of Westminster
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Peter of Westminster

Well, but ritual can also affect our conscious state, too. I took Giles’ comments as more psychological than sociological…

Peterpi
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Peterpi

Yom Kippur is like Christmas and Easter rolled into one with pancakes? I realize Josh Howie’s piece was partly tongue in cheek, but he also had some good things to say about this holiest of Jewish days, and in my humble and maybe too literal reading of that particular passage, he didn’t help anyone understand Yom Kippur at all. If he’s going to compare Yom Kippur to any Christian holy days (a very risky business: each religion has nuances the other doesn’t), I think Ash Wednesday and All Souls Day without the Christology is more apt. It is a day… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Pluralist
“So Giles Fraser gets paid to attend Evensong, where his heart can tick to a different beat…”

We know by now that you don’t get what faith is all about. That’s fine, but it really does rather mean that you keep commenting about things of which you yourself admit that you don’t understand them.

For most of us here, it’s not about theology, tribes, belonging to some earthly group. It just isn’t. And comments that continuously insist that it is are rather missing the point.

Cheryl Va.
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I agree Father Ron, both Barrow’s pieces are insightful. Another thing that is preventing some from being more welcoming and accommodating to GLBTs, or even more active involvement by women, is the issue about how to admit they got it wrong. For some, there is the belief that they worship “god”. That is, Jesus is the “complete and perfect” fulfillment of God, and that before Jesus God did not love. Apparently bouncing Satan out of office for being a tyrant or annointing Jesus to be the Prince of Peace weren’t acts of love?!? Similarly they claim that God is exlcusively… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Newman, of his genius, thus provides the christological basis for sensitivity to all innocent suffering, both human and animal.” The only problem I have with the Linzey piece is the lack of definition of “sensitivity”. There are many for whom that “sensitivity” equates with the lunacy of “meat is murder”. People who go to that extreme have shown themselves to be ruthless in their attempt to force their ideas on others. Lies, slander, propaganda, even animal torture filmed to falsely accuse the innocent are all part of their stock in trade, since their “sensitivity” to the animals is so much… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Yes, Pluralist, some us do get paid to attend (or perform, excuse me, sing) evensong. Still doesn’t make it any less powerful to us who love it and see Christ through it.

Absolutely stunningly wonderful Giles, I’ve passed this on to more than one rector and dean. I hope that your experience at St. Paul’s is stellar. Every day. If nothing else, you deserve it.

Neil
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Neil

I’m surprised, but glad that Giles Fraser has discovered (or rediscovered?) the glories of Evensong…and also our own importance (or lack of importance!) in the great scheme or things under God. The more we all continue with the important work of prayer the better.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

In a sense we are all too familiar with ritual, as it shapes and grounds nearly everything in daily life, and life in general. Yet, we still do not understand much about ritual and the powers of ritual. Typical of Bellah to see it broadly. Ditto, the hints of evolutionary framework and dynamics. Conservatives will either disagree, and wish to maintain a narrow-presuppositional slice of ritual, tagging it their true religion and dismissing all else. Or, they will grudgingly recognize ritual broadly perceived as the pale imitation of true, real conservative religion; and urge us that only in strict-closed conservative… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“The key to understanding mimetic culture is ritual. I think ritual is the phenomenological basis of all religion. Ritual, of course, is part of our lives. If you live in the university, you are hemmed in by an extremely elaborate set of rituals. We don’t call it that, we don’t remember that, but that’s what it is.” – Andrew Brown – Andrew Brown says something here that instantly connects with what Giles Fraser is talking about in his relfective piece about the Evensong experience at Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Isn’t all our liturgy a mimetic exercise which just happens to fulfil… Read more »

Peter of Westminster
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Peter of Westminster

One of my own sharp experiences of ritual has been in the practice of martial arts, which I’ve pursued for some decades now. After long work to perfect movement and countless repetitions, the dance forms of the arts, the “kata,” become veritable moving meditations, deeply centering, transporting. I’ve also taught martial arts, and when I do, I’m not “transported” a bit — teaching, as the old saw goes, is different from doing. But that effort to teach is a good sacrifice and a moral act, as it helps “transport” others. I mention all this, because I wonder if Giles Frasier’s… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“there are all sorts of rituals in life that bind us together.” Absolutely, and they are so much a part of what it is to be human that even those who scorn rituals end up inventing them. Look at how we, after rejecting the rituals of the past as patriarchal and oppressive, even stupid, invent new rituals to mark the important life milestones that we inherently, as humans, feel must be marked by ritual. Look at how we put ritual back in to our lives, having thoughtlessly deprived ourselves of something so necessary to our existence. It’s particularly noticable in… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Please don’t submit Andrew Linzey’s godly writings to this kind of denigration Ford.(It has nothing to do with terrorism).

Christians’ treatment of other sentient beings will one day be seen as the issue it is. Fr Linzey is a forerunner of that age, when the Spirit will do a new work, for those creatures.

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

PS
I am far from having worked out a personal solution to this in my own life. I am far from satisfied with my own efforts. But surely all who feel called to, must seek a solution to the sufferings we impose upon animals ?

I am sure that some future generation will look back on our time with incomprehension–just as we look back on the cruelties and injustices of past centuries.