Thinking Anglicans

opinion

Lesley Crawley writes for The Guardian’s Cif belief that Sexism runs deep in the Church of England.
“I’ve experienced prejudice working as an engineer and as a priest – only difference is, in the church it’s institutionalised.”

Anna Tims writes about the Bishop of London for The Guardian: A working life: the bishop.
“From dawn till dusk, the diocese of London fills Richard Chartres’ exhausting schedule. He’s got an Oyster card, but finds his hybrid car a convenient compromise.”

Judith Maltby writes for Cif belief about The Church of England’s shameful record on capital punishment.
“If parliament debates the death penalty, the church should speak against it with all the authority of a reformed sinner.”

British Religion in Numbers has data on this week’s A-level results in Religious Studies: Religious Studies A Levels, 2011.

Bruce Chilton in The Huffington Post asks (and answers) the question What Does The Bible Say About The Mother Of Jesus?

Also in The Huffington Post Maria Mayo writes about 5 Myths About Forgiveness in the Bible.

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Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Substitute ‘homophobia’ for ‘sexism’ in Lesley Crawley’s article and you will get some idea of what it is like to be gay in the church.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

I found the report of two part of the day spent alongside the Bishop of London of some particular interest. The first must be the breakfast meeting over “links with Nigeria” – I would have liked to hear just what “links” this early morning discussion touched on! Of course the second was his counsel of an anxious American priest so disturbed by events in the Anglican Communion that he gets the ear of the bishop of London. Somehow I don’t think this call was from someone disturbed by the way churches within the Anglican Communion have tried to attack the… Read more »

toby forward
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Good to read Judith Maltby’s article. You can see all the points she makes, and many more, in great detail in the excellent book ‘Hanging in Judgement’ by The Reverend Harry Potter. (yes, really!)

Randall Keeney
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Randall Keeney

Just a couple of questions: After taking oaths of loyalty to the crown, just how much are the Bishops in the House of Lords allowed (practically) to criticize the crown? As recent example, I am thinking of the Bishop who criticized the opulence of the last royal wedding. How long was he in office afterward?

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

Maria Mayo’s is a somewhat partial view – crucially she ignores the ‘debt’ parables. It seems impossible that somebody as well-qualified as her is unaware that the Aramaic word for debt also covers sin – and so the parables on this topic were intended, and would have been clearly understood, to refer to how we treat those who have wronged us, who ‘owe’ us, in other words, the remission of debt (or not) is forgiveness. In an earlier article on the same subject she raises the issue of these parables and then fails to confront it. Her approach seems to… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Great to see the link to Lesley Crawley’s article. She is spot on: “We need to see sexual discrimination in the same light as racial discrimination – they are both unjust and dehumanising.”

It’s not just the old C of E either. Despite major strides in thirty five years, sexism is still alive in the Canadian church. Placating conservative men still trumps the principle of gender equality.

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

Maria Mayo somehow manages to write about forgiveness and completely ignore the parable of the Prodigal Son. How is that possible?

Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

It’s this disproportionate placement of “conservatives” in all hierarchies in Christendom, be they Catholic, Anglican or Orthodox. The progressive voice always has to struggle to be heard. The so called “imperial” model of being Church (top down power), is being challenged, and rightly so. Bishops are supposed to be like shepherds watching over their flocks. Instead, many behave and live as princes and kings. This does not go down easily to the vast majority of Christians. It’s the hypocrisy of it all. I do not believe Anglican Bishops should be in The House of Lords as there is a huge… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

@Pat – In that case because she is writing about human to human forgiveness, and the father in the parable is seen as an image of God. But she ignores rather too much which does not fit her needs.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ Chris Smith ‘Resolved: this house believes organized religion to be socially servile”
What do you think?

Father Ron Smith
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I am bound to agree with Nick Smith’s (no relation) post, when he criticises the current system of episcopal appointments in the Church of England. Although I am not a member of the C.of E. – being currently part of ACANZP, in New Zealand – I have to recognise Canterbury’s influence over the rest of the Provinces, especially with regard to the prospect of a Covenant Process binding on all the Provinces willing to accede to it. The fact that the Church of England is alone among the Provinces in the selection and election of its bishops, which is based… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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” If Jesus teaches unconditional forgiveness, then God must be exempt from that teaching.” – Maria Mayo – I find this statement rather strange. In isolation it could mean that God might act in ways contrary to the teaching of Jesus. Taken more liberally, the essence of Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness could be seen to encourage his hearers to emulate the utter generosity of God who has already forgiven us – by ‘the tender mercy of our God’; who has redeemed us. Through the sacrifice of His Only-Begotten Son we are now ransomed, restored and forgiven! Of course, to be… Read more »

rjb
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rjb

“[Mary Mayo’s] approach seems to be driven more by a pastoral imperative than a desire to understand the message contained in the Synoptic gospels.”

Quite so. I think this is a priest attempting to make the Gospel palatable (or perhaps even possible) rather than trying to be true to the uncompromising demands Christ makes of us. If you want a nice, sensible, ethical, worldly religion, of the kind that Mayo appears to favour, I’d recommend Islam.

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

@Pat- Mayo is writing about human to human forgiveness. She can exempt the Prodigal Son parable as long as she considers it as being simply about God’s forgiveness. But her whole argument is predicated on a disconnect between what God can/should/will do and what humans can and should do. That makes me very very uneasy – it has serious knock-on effects for incarnational theology.

Canon Andrew Godsall
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Canon Andrew Godsall

It is amazing to see the tentative support from some of the extreme conservative bloggers (Cranmer’s curate, John Richardson, Peter Ould) for the re-introduction of Capital punishment whilst they bluster away about the evils of euthanasia and abortion.

evensongjunkie
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evensongjunkie

Canon Godsall, they’re just taking their cues from equally myopic American politicians (and their religious/corporate puppeteers), in that abortion is the ultimate evil while destroying post-birth child health care is sacred. The same logic that condemns abortion while also condemning preventing ones by birth control. Go figure.

david wilson
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david wilson

Mayo is not so much concerned about writing about the doctrines of forgiveness, but rather what she perceives as the “myths” of unconditional forgiveness – hence why so much has been left out and indeed a rather distorted view presented. Although it can be argued that forgiveness is an action of the will, surely it must also – with God’s grace be followed by the heart, otherwise one simply has a subconcious grudge. As for forgiving church members – I guess that depends on whether they are forgiving sins on behalf of God as it were – say before communion.… Read more »

Suem
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I thought Mayo’s article was a useful corrective to some of the rather glib (and damaging) pastoral approaches to forgiveness that we can see in Christian contexts. She does leave an astonishing amount out though, such as the Lord’s Prayer? She also claims that it is anachronistic to suggest that the gospels touch on the idea of forgiveness as psychologically beneficial. It is true this is a largely modern concept, but modern concepts are often found or anticipated, in some form, in myths, stories and writings throughout history, even if they are not explicitly formulated in the way we frame… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

@ CanonAG & esj: it’s all back to the Manichean Black/White worldview which dominates conservative religion. Good and Evil are easily, omnisciently discerned by the Elect—as are Good People and Evil People. Fetuses are definitively Good (“innocent human life”), and ergo inviolate under ANY&EVERY cirmcustance. But, after you’re born, you’re Fallen and, if caught breaking God’s Laws, liable to divinely-ordained authority (e.g., a Tory government!) to pay the Ultimate Penalty. Very simple.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be omniscient the way religious conservatives are? {sarcasm/Off} ;-/

peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

Evensong Junkie @ 12:12pm 22/8/2011,
Concerning the “equally myopic American politicians …”, more than two decades ago, in a Newsweek magazine article, an American liberal politician (whose name I have forgotten, mea culpa) summed it up quite succinctly. The people you speak of “believe in post-partum abortion.”

rick allen
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“It is amazing to see the tentative support from some of the extreme conservative bloggers (Cranmer’s curate, John Richardson, Peter Ould) for the re-introduction of Capital punishment whilst they bluster away about the evils of euthanasia and abortion.”

Very true. Equally amazing are those who oppose capital punishment yet see no inconsistency in promoting euthanasia and abortion.

All life is sacred. What’s so difficult about a consistent ethic of never deliberately taking a life?

Father Ron Smith
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” Article 37 of the 39 Articles of the Church of England (1563), to which all ordained ministers of the established church assent, states that “the Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and grievous offences”. Anglicans were not alone. In 1566 the Council of Trent of the Roman Catholic Church reaffirmed the morality of the death penalty: “The just use of this power [capital punishment], far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to [the Fifth] Commandment which prohibits murder”. – Judith Maltby – In the case of the… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, is an implacable traditionalist.” – Anna Timms – This figures – but how does the good bishop accommodate the traditional Anglican accommodation of REASON in his episcopal praxis? For instance, if, as someone here has already suggested, if he has been caught giving counsel (consolation?) to, say, a cleric from ACNA, or Nigeria, on their distaste for the independent actions of TEC on the Ordination of Gay Bishops; then where might his sympathies lie? They probably are not with TEC! So, in that case, perhaps his ‘implacable traditionalism’ might just have got in the way… Read more »

Nat
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Nat

Capital punishment is a dreadful thing. We may, rightly, have little sympathy for those who commit horrific crimes. Moreover the topic of certain guilt vs innocence is deeply troubling. But one issue that has never been much discussed is the horrible effect of capital punishment on those who carry it out – from the prison chaplain to the “execution team”, to the person who inserts the needle or pulls the lever. They may be volunteers (is the chaplain a volunteer?), but I question strongly whether there are not some things for which a person should not be allowed to volunteer.… Read more »

evensongjunkie
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evensongjunkie

“Equally amazing are those who oppose capital punishment yet see no inconsistency in promoting euthanasia and abortion.” The difference is self-will in the case of euthanasia. And nobody, I repeat nobody, wants an abortion. Oh, and do you think money comes into account? The health care system that wants to soak up revenue from a long-terminally ill patient? The State of Ohio which openly argues in favor of capital punishment as a more cost-effective means of dealing with major criminals? And the poor person who realizes after losing a job that they can’t afford the baby? Give me a break.… Read more »

MarkBrunson
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“All life is sacred. What’s so difficult about a consistent ethic of never deliberately taking a life?”

No one lives that ethic, not even you. It is a false ethic.

William
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William

Why is “never deliberately taking a life” a false ethic?

rick allen
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“So answer my question-how opposition to birth control is going to help in eliminating abortions?” I don’t think I said anything about birth control. I know it seems intuitively right that making it available should reduce the number of abortions and illegitimate births. But, in fact, since contraception has become a constitutional right and available in safe and effective forms, abortion and illegitimacy have increased rather dramatically. I can’t explain it, but it seems to be a fact. “No one lives that ethic, not even you. It is a false ethic.” I guess. So far I’ve managed not to kill… Read more »

MarkBrunson
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“Why is “never deliberately taking a life” a false ethic?” Because you live. Don’t you eat? Don’t you breathe? Even vegetarians deliberately take lives. And Rick! Do you participate in a society that allows war? Do you enable a religious ethic that brings people to the point of despair and suicide? Such hypocrisy, Boys. You don’t value life nearly enough, nor do you have the humility to understand that no life – human or otherwise – is not a God-created life. You kill incessantly – as do we all – and have no ability to *create* life of any kind!… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Rick “It amazes me how, in my lifetime, suicide has become acceptable for so many.” What worries me about this kind of statement is that it doesn’t generally differentiate between matters where people generally should not be of a different opinion and matters where a different opinion is ethically possible. This makes a differentiated conversation quite difficult. Blanket statements like “all life is sacred” do not really engage with the complexities of having to chose whether a baby dies in childbirth or the mother, or whether it is acceptable to kill someone who is about to kill your child, or… Read more »

rick allen
Guest

Mark, you are quite right, I should have said that all human life is sacred. Of course we must kill to live, and, on that account, I am what some call a “speciesist,” what I call a “humanist.” Still, though we must eat, we need not be cannibals. And of course we live in a violent society. Perhaps we need not. Both of our political parties are dedicated to imperial wars. But perhaps they will not be so forever. Erika, I don’t deny that when life comes into conflict with life we are sometimes faced with impossible choices. I was… Read more »

William
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William

I undertsand “life” here to mean “human life” and its unquestionable dignity as defined by numerous Church documents. Why do plants and animals not share in that dignity? Because it is the human person alone who is created in the image and likeness of God.

We could also talk of innocent human life which would refer to people who are particualrly vulnerable and need protection. What is more innocent than the baby in the womb? And yet our society continues to turn a blind eye.

evensongjunkie
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evensongjunkie

So Rick you’re telling me that I have no right to end my own life when it’s been kept going much beyond it’s usual or natural means by modern technology. So perhaps we have no right to interfere in the natural aging process via medicine as well?

david wilson
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david wilson

JCF I am not sure what you mean by “Good People and Evil People” – we are all fallen people – and all of us capable of evil – even great evil. That is why Jesus came and died on the cross – and also why God in His goodness sent His Holy Spirit to start the process of santification – indeed it is not just us that lives, but Christ in us – to help us live a life worthy of Christ’s sacrifice. I find it impossible not to see the truth of our fallen nature – the viciousness… Read more »

David Shepherd
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Of course, ‘Thou shalt do no murder’ is vastly better rendering of the sixth commandment and differs from the broader meaning suggested by the alternative, ‘Thou shalt not kill’. Even St. Peter, described strange voices in his head commanding him again and again, ‘Rise, Peter, kill and eat’… (Acts 10:13) Of course, in this case, the intended victims of these destructive thoughts were animals (the classic initial symptoms of psychopathology, do you say?). I guess we can take comfort in knowing that ‘no animals were actually harmed during the making of St.Peter’s dream’ (Phew!). Apparently, it was a challenge to… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Rick, you said earlier that you have managed so far not to kill anyone, yet we all live in countries in which our safety is guaranteed by people who are, indeed, trained to kill on our behalf. We can’t avoid being implicated here, even the most pacifist one among us, unless they actively fight the system and try to change it, are implicated. I’ve been thinking about what you say about our self will, and I really struggle to get a handle on my own thinking here. I absolutely agree that the starting point has to be the sacredness of… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

All life is created by God, and all was proclaimed “very good” in the end. You, William, make a false – absolutely false – distinction to excuse yourself. What’s more helpless than a baby in the womb? A lamb to the slaughter, perhaps? In any case, you cannot absolve yourself from murder of humans when you participate in a society which breeds murder. You are responsible, a willing, wanton follower. No better than the rest, and less honest with yourself. You are in no position to declare others out of bounds. You just do your killing a little differently. When… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

What is forgotten, David, is that the Scripture, for what it’s worth as historical document, presents the eating of meat as a result of the Fall. Killing is killing. Life is created by One, and only One. What I find telling, even amusing, is that the moral absolutists here (I’m not including you, btw), are absolute only insofar as it doesn’t inconvenience them. This is just one of the less heated areas in which the incredible mental gymnastics played to excuse self while declaiming the “clear, unalterable truth” is a glaringly obvious trait if observed with detachment, especially from self.… Read more »

rick allen
Guest

“But isn’t it also possible that people of faith genuinely believe in a God who will not condemn them for taking their own lives?”

I think that’s quite certain. But I also think that, when we look back in history on how we have so often rationalized our various departures from the sanctity of human life, we need to become even more careful about the slack we cut ourselves.

And of course morality is always to be distinguished from culpability.

William
Guest
William

Mark, I am living by the principles that I believe in – I admit I am not perfect – but I do try to live life as a Christian. I take scripture and tradition and the teachings of the Church as my guide. Tradition asserts that the human person is created in the image and likeness of God. I have not made this up myself, it is what the Church has handed on as being the teaching of Christ. Therefore, the killing of a baby in the womb is a horrendous act. I’m not entirely sure why you condemn me… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Rick “But I also think that, when we look back in history on how we have so often rationalized our various departures from the sanctity of human life, we need to become even more careful about the slack we cut ourselves.” Yes, but when I look at the cutting edge of medicine and the suffering it brings to people – babies who would once have died in the womb being kept alive and then facing a short life of pain, old and sick people who would have died long ago kept in a living hell for years…. I don’t think… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

You’re still rationalizing, William. This “image of God” is also the image of that which created all life, not simply human life. You feel you HAVE to participate in society. You feel you HAVE to “live,” as you put it. Yet there have been those, most honored in the same tradition you claim, who have withdrawn from society. What you do is not really the concern, but your blind insistence that it is, somehow, more holy and more orthodox than what others do. You are NOT aware of the extent of your fallenness. “You end by saying that I have… Read more »

William
Guest
William

“This “image of God” is also the image of that which created all life, not simply human life.” I don’t disagree with this statement but I’m not sure how it refutes my argument. What I am saying is that plants and animals are created by God but are not made in his image and likeness. They lack intellect and will – what philosphers call the divine faculties of the soul. As this is the definition I accept of being made in the likeness of God then I think my argument is perfectly rational. You claim that there is no authority… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

Mark, I get part of your point that we make human distinctions over what we loosely call ‘sanctity of life’, while participating in the survival tactics and a society that condemn other forms of life. However, you say you now eat meat. Even if you’re partial to ‘some hava beans and a red chianti’, I’m hoping that you make the distinction between the consumption of animal and human flesh. On what basis is that? Is that a false dichotomy based on societal norms? Does an aversion towards cannibalism involve a mere subjective revulsion, the fear of social retribution, or is… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

At risk of a ‘me too’ post – ‘The murder of another human being represents the fullest possible contempt for that potential for divine incarnation.’

It does – and we do not need to lower ourselves to the level of licensed murder because others have sunk to the level of unlicensed murder.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Rosemary
“It does – and we do not need to lower ourselves to the level of licensed murder because others have sunk to the level of unlicensed murder”

As it stands, every single person I know would agree.
The difficulty comes when we have to define “murder” and at that point, absolutes are no longer very helpful.

David Shepherd
Guest

It’s a pity that there’s not nearly as much hand-wringing over the phrase ‘dignity of life’ as there is about what we mean by the ‘sanctity of life’. Is ‘dignity of life’ our intrinsic human worth, or can it vary? Can it be diminished by incapacity, immaturity (including pre- natal), age, the commision of crime, terminal illness, or our own feelings of being purposeless to ourselves and others. If a confessed and convicted child murderer calmly and sanely completes an affidavit requesting for a lethal dose of barbiturate in order to end his/her life, does our understanding of human dignity… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

Erica, are you arguing that some kinds of killing justify a death penalty? I am simply arguing that we NEVER need to sink to the level of taking a second life because a first has been taken. That we have no need of a death penalty under any circumstances

MarkBrunson
Guest

My point is, David, that you can no more create a sparrow than you can a human being. The rest of what you’re saying is – I regret to inform you – self-justification for considering one form of life more expendable than another. That’s fine, but let’s not deceive ourselves about what we’re doing here! Self-deception in that small level leads to the great self-deceptions – for instance: We can say that God imposes a high penalty for taking human life, yet . . . the same God sends Samuel to “hew” Agag after Saul’s having shown him clemency; the… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Rosemary,
sorry, no! I misunderstood, I thought you were referring to the general “sanctity of life” debate that here includes euthanasia and abortion etc.

No, I’m 100% with you as regards the death penalty!