Thinking Anglicans

More on that Telegraph interview

This one by George Pitcher in case you missed it yesterday.

On the one hand, there is the bit about Uganda:

Andrew Brown Rowan denounces Ugandan law

There is a passage a long way down in the Daily Telegraph’s interview with Rowan Williams which deserves celebration and quotation:

“Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades,” says Dr Williams. “Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible – it seeks to turn pastors into informers.” He adds that the Anglican Church in Uganda opposes the death penalty but, tellingly, he notes that its archbishop, Henry Orombi, who boycotted the Lambeth Conference last year, “has not taken a position on this bill”.

On the other hand, there is the bit about politics:

What would he like to see from politicians in the coming general election year? He responds that we “curiously have three party leaders, all of whom have a very strong moral sense of some spiritual flavour”. David Cameron may have conceded that the Church of England is in his DNA, but Gordon Brown is a son of the manse who is notoriously secretive about his faith or lack of it, and Nick Clegg has declared his atheism. “But he takes it seriously,” replies Dr Williams. “And with all of them I think if you can get them off the record or off the platform, these convictions will come through quite strongly.”

Is the problem “we don’t do God” spin doctors? “I think it’s important for politicians not to be too protected, to be able to establish their human credentials in front of a living audience.” So our leaders need to be more open about their faith? “I don’t think it would do any harm at all. Part of establishing their human credentials is saying ‘This is where my motivation comes from … I’m in politics because this is what I believe.’ And that includes religious conviction.

“The trouble with a lot of government initiatives about faith is that they assume it is a problem, it’s an eccentricity, it’s practised by oddities, foreigners and minorities. The effect is to de-normalise faith, to intensify the perception that faith is not part of our bloodstream.”

Theo Hobson What’s Williams whinging about?

Ok, Williams is right that there is a widespread perception that religion is “a bit fishy”, but I don’t see how the government can be blamed for this. MPs who raise secularist concerns are only echoing a major sector of public opinion, and I haven’t noticed many senior ministers denouncing religion. He is fuelling a crass culture war by complaining that poor Christians are persecuted by nasty secularists. If religion is now widely mistrusted maybe he should ignore the speck in the government’s eye and consider the beam in his own.

Bishop Nick Baines has more about the interview here.

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Lapinbizarre
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Lapinbizarre

There is a widespread perception that religion is “a bit fishy”. No wonder – assume you’ve seen the report of Nicky Gumbel’s recent Downing Street antics.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1235410/Let-pray-evangelist-stuns-No10-party-guests.html

peterpi
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peterpi

“Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades,” says Dr Williams.
Overall, the legislation is bad? What’s with that qualifier? There’s provisions he likes?
And he doesn’t think there can be any kind of consensus reached between

peterpi
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peterpi

Sorry, Simon, I hit the wrong button.
So, the ABC doesn’t think any consensus can be reached between biblical traditionalists and gay bishops, but he wants unity.
Based on the fact that he’s taken forever to say anything about Uganda while denouncing LA at warp speed, and he’s condemning Uganda through third parties, like reporters, I suspect his unity will be reached by going soft on certain African positions while shoving the Americans out into the cold.

Jerry Hannon
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Jerry Hannon

peterpi wrote – “Based on the fact that he’s taken forever to say anything about Uganda while denouncing LA at warp speed, and he’s condemning Uganda through third parties, like reporters, I suspect his unity will be reached by going soft on certain African positions while shoving the Americans out into the cold.” But I wonder how much support, among Provinces of the Anglican Communion, will be left for Archbishop Williams after they compare the Gospel of Christ, to the increasingly warped sense of values of Rowan Williams. Uganda + Los Angeles just might be the straw that metaphorically breaks… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“I suspect his unity will be reached by going soft on certain African positions while shoving the Americans out into the cold. – peterpi on Sunday – peterpi, umlike you, I would doubt very much whether the ABC will achieve any sort of ‘unity’ by ‘going soft on certain African positions while shoving the Americans out into the cold’ – if only because his power to put TEC out of the Communion might prove ephemeral. The Archbishop of Canterbury, on his own, simply does not have the legal canonical authority to do such a thing. To apply such a sanction,… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

A ‘supermarkets ombudsman’ – for goodness’ sake!! Just goes to show how – with their seats in the Lords – just how wrapped up in the establishment our bishops are. You only have to visit Canterbury cathedral – as I did recently – to know that there is a huge discrepency between the worship and applied Christianity in the city. Firstly, a large garish nativity outside the south door conspires with the usurping of Advent with idolatry and commercialism. Secondly, walk through the precincts during the main Sunday Eucharist and you will only see large expensive cars, not an old… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Now, now Hugh, not all of us denizens of Rich Snobby Low Church are quite that disconnected, as I’m about to pounce on a rumor of a gay couple being politely told that they would be more comfortable at St. Across-the-streets than at the parish where I sing. Somehow the strains of Howell’s “Spotless Rose” being sung by a privileged choir of men and boys seems to break forth in it’s pathos of sweet sadness and pain of the present time of advent’s labors. But your point is well taken, as my dear friend Erika pointed out with her relaying… Read more »

sue
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Answering a question while being interviewed is not quite the same as making a public statement denouncing the Ugandan bill, is it now? What could he have said? ” I refuse to comment” would have drawn more headlines than “Overall…it is of shocking severity.”

Sad times for us all but at least the bill is now unlikely to be passed in its present form – but that has little to do with the intervention of Canterbury, I suspect.

Mary Clara
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Mary Clara

Hugh, I am sorely disappointed in ++Rowan these days, and I appreciate the emotion behind your post, but I feel you are painting with too broad a brush in your attack upon the witness of Canterbury Cathedral. To begin with: lots of people (probably the majority of the congregation at any given service) come to the Cathedral on foot or by bus. I used to walk down from the University or (later) from my apartment a few blocks outside the Westgate, and was on speaking terms with some of the homeless people along that route. Yes, some wealthy people arrive… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Thank you for this Mary Clara. Very inspiring and encouraging it is too :– He thought we should stop whining about the commercialisation of Christmas and appreciate that despite the downside it also has the effect, in a time when few people in Britain are at all religious, of helping to keep Christmas alive and its spiritual meaning available. Wrapping the mystery of the Nativity in a festival that incorporates ‘pagan’ elements such as decorating trees and giving parties can be a way of transmitting that mystery more and more widely. The gifts we give loved ones at Christmas are… Read more »

peterpi
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peterpi

Father Ron Smith on Monday, 14 December 2009 at 8:45am GMT, I was being mostly metaphorical in talking about shoving TEC out into the cold. I realize that, in terms of real power, the only people the ABC can literally shove out the door are those in the CofE itself, and even there, I presume there are checks on what he can do. Although +Jeffrey John comes to mind. But, the ABC does seem to have decided, in my humble opinion, that some form of enforcement of Anglican Orthodoxy with a reinforced hierarchy is the way to save Anglican unity,… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

The larger religion and citizen frame going for ‘advocacy’ …is? Maybe believers have themselves to thank for the strong hunch that religious thinking will all too predictably serve up something slightly fishy as its witness to Jesus as Lord of life in our modern era. Clues? All about us? … proposing pseudo-science as the religious answer to real science in the evolutionary controversies drummed up? Ditto, for a range of other topics which vary from climate change to sexual orientation. The sign that betrays the power of the common call for scrutiny is the religious dream that faith lies beyond… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

How entirely pat that this RW interview helps shift us from focusing on the plight of queer folks in Uganda, to fussing about whether religion can ever be fishy enough to occasion intelligent and ongoing scrutiny across its manifestations, especially as to public policy and law in the citizenship squares? Isn’t that call to switch focus just a bit, well, fishy? Also, isn’t this focus change exactly a bad and typical habit of the USA religious right, most especially among Dominionists? Those We are not yet asking for the death penalty for gays, folks? I long for the far distant… Read more »

Mary Clara
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Mary Clara

A further word to Hugh of Lincoln: You perceive a “huge discrepancy between the worship [at Canterbury Cathedral] and applied Christianity in the city”. Well, there should be a gap. Worship is meant to teach, inspire and strengthen all the baptised to go forth and address the serious social problems and personal catastrophes that will inevitably afflict the created world. The homeless folk sheltering under the roundabouts and city gates of Canterbury are I believe mostly in need of treatment for alcoholism or addiction to street drugs; some are mentally ill. They deserve help and there are local agencies and… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Actually, Jeffrey John could have refused to withdraw. In my view he should have done exactly that, but then some people have these ridiculous views about Williams having ‘authority’ , even though such a weak, spineless buffoon possesses none and could never possess it no matter how hard he tried.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Thank you, Mary Clare, for reminding us all this Advent, of the importance of worship in our realtionship to the God who saves. The answer of Jesus to his critics on this issue should always serve to remind us of our priorities: “The poor you will always have with you..” – this is a fact of human existence. However, althouh Jesus did always emphatically remind us of our duty to our neighbour (which we must never neglect), the first Commandment was: “To love God with all your heart and soul and mind and trength”, then, having done that, to concentrate… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
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Mary Clara brings a bit of realism to this site. But I don’t think one should quote “the poor you have always with you” in a defeatist sense. Rather it means, “if you want to help the poor, you have plenty of opportunities — go and do so!” And I don’t think the Gospel forbids us to aspire to a world free of poverty (or free of war). Nor should we oppose the first and second commandments of love, as if one had priority over the other.

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

I appreciate your comments Mary. While there, I heard the life stories of some of the men I met sleeping rough during the cold, wet nights in Canterbury. Lee: normally to be found under Westgate Towers or on the High St next to the River Stour; evicted from his parents’ home as a teenager; never held down a full time job; never completed his education; now aged 28, abandoned by the system; on a waiting list for Porchlight – a local charity for the homeless. Barry: separated from his wife and forced onto the streets Kevin: just been given a… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“Nor should we oppose the first and second commandments of love, as if one had priority over the other.”

Indeed, it has often been said that if we do not follow the second (to love our neighbors as ourselves) then we cannot truly be following the first.

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“Nor should we oppose the first and second commandments of love, as if one had priority over the other.”

Indeed, it has often been said that if we do not follow the second (to love our neighbors as ourselves) then we cannot truly be following the first.

john
Guest
john

I’m with Hugh. Our cathedrals, magnificent as they are and much as I sincerely love them, are shrines to authoritarianism, pomposity, bossiness, careerism, snobbery, etc. etc. (OK, I live in Durham). Many of our bishops are fools or knaves (OK, I live in Durham). There is a dreadful, shocking, gaping gap between such structures and their environments (Durham is pretty rough). There is a dreadful, shocking failure of love. As someone said, ‘We protest.’

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

‘Far from being alcoholics, drug addicts or mentally ill as you suggest, these are just ordinary guys down on their luck. Could happen to any of us.’ (Quote)

I guess we mustnt forget that ‘alcoholics, drug addicts or mentally ill’people are also ‘ordinary guys* down on their luck’.

Could happen to any of us …

* of all genders

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

Actually, Jeffrey John could have refused to withdraw. In my view he should have done exactly that, but then some people have these ridiculous views about Williams having ‘authority’ , even though such a weak, spineless buffoon possesses none and could never possess it no matter how hard he tried.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 14 December 2009 at 11:50pm

I agree. Having received the Royal Assent no-one could have prevented him from taking his post.

If only he had …

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

” Nor should we oppose the first and second commandments of love, as if one had priority over the other.” – Spirit of Vatican II – At the risk of splitting hairs, VII, I would venture to suggest that, in suggesting that the first part of the Law involved the duty of loving God; Jesus was making a subtle distinction. I think he was possibly saying that; to love God first was the right and proper way of enablement to properly love our neighbour. I don’t know whether you would agree, but I proffer this for your (and others’) consideration… Read more »

Ren Aguila
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Ren Aguila

Mary Clara and Spirit:

Yes, worship (and indeed praise) ought to be the source and summit of the Christian life–where even our action for peace and justice originate. It is never useless, and it is actually central to our faith. This is an argument that has been made by the Westminster Catechism, Ignatius of Loyola (in the Spiritual Exercises), David Ford and Daniel Hardy, and yes, Rick Warren.

I often flip the Johannine question around: How can you love the neighbor whom you do see unless you love the God whom you do not see?

toby forward
Guest

It’s a little illogical to critcise cathedrals because there happen to be homeless people in the same town. Cathedrals aren’t there to care for the homeless. BUT they must be part of a wider structure which does care for the homeless. So, criticise the church at large, or the diocese in general, rather than the cathedral in particular. Otherwise it’s the same as saying that the British Museum or the National Gallery or the National Theatre or The University of London shouldn’t exist while there are homeless people in London. Cathedrals do what cathedrals do. It’s not realistic to ask… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“Could happen to any of us …

* of all genders”

Perhaps Advent reading should include Orwell’s “Down and Out in Paris and London”
[think that title’s right – I’m inclined to muddle titles]

For something more recent about those in need of our charity, try “Take This Bread” by Sara Miles. How open commmunion [gasp!] turned a 40+ year old atheist single mom into a Christian. And oh yes, she’s gay.

Mary Clara
Guest
Mary Clara

Hugh, I appreciate hearing about some of the men you encountered in Canterbury’s streets. I wasn’t by the way putting addicts and alcoholics in a different category from the rest of us, or writing them off, but noting that the homeless usually have multiple problems and need more than one kind of help. Spirit — yes, I agree that we should not interpret Jesus’ comment “the poor you have always with you” in a defeatist sense; I hear it rather as realism, pointing to the fact that there is never a complete humanly-devised fix to the world’s problems. We may… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

I’ve argued elsewhere that our cathedrals should be funded by the state so that they can remain centres of pilgrimage, worship and heritage for future generations, in return – of course – for an end to discriminatory practices.

At the moment cathedral fundraising is dominated by the need to keep the building going with huge capital appeals and shops selling tat, when congregations are excellent opportunities to raise money for local causes.

It’s no good charging people to enter the House of God – especially on Sundays – when there should be no barriers to worship.

Mary Clara
Guest
Mary Clara

Interesting idea, Hugh — having the Cathedrals funded by the state in return for an end to discriminatory practices. Do any of them already receive public funding? In any case the maintenance costs are massive, and I should think the cultural and historic value of the cathedrals warrants public support.

At Canterbury Cathedral there is no admission charge for daily or Sunday services. I would assume the same applies elsewhere, but I may be wrong.