Thinking Anglicans

opinion

Savitri Hensman writes in The Guardian that Inter-church alliances are not always blessed.

Dave Bookless writes on the A Rocha blog about Mission: Saving souls or saving seals?

Esther J Hamori writes in The Huffington Post about Biblical Standards for Marriage.

Bishop Peter Selby writes in the New Statesman that Money has changed – that’s the issue.

Andy Robertson writes for the Church Times about computer games in worship in Not to be consoled as to console.

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Malcolm French+Rod GillisFather Ron SmithLaurence C.Randal Oulton Recent comment authors
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Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

Any consideration of Biblical standards for marriage is sadly incomplete if it does not refer to the book of Esther, where marriage is one of the key issues in the book, and the narrative is awkward to integrate into a “Biblical view”.

peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

On the contrary, Mark Bennet, I think some proponents of the “Biblical view” of marriage would be delighted with the Book of Esther! My memory of numerous Purim plays seen over the years, and condensed retellings of the Book of Esther heard during Purim services, is that the Book of Esther opens with King Ahashuerus ordering Queen Vashti to display her beauty in public. Rather than be displayed like some bauble, Vashti refuses. For her trouble, she is summarily dismissed as queen, and a decree is sent out by Ahashuerus reminding husbands of their duty to take complete mastery over… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Savi’s article gives us food for thought – on the wisdom of ecumenical striving that might lead to the loss of our distinctive Anglican ethos of openness to the world. The Reformation took place for a reason – mainly, to free the Church from hierarchical exclusivism. Do we want to return to the domination of papal magisterial rule?

Bill Dilworth
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Peter, I believe the high-minded reason given for Vashti’s refusal is found in midrashic commentaries rather than the text itself (the midrash interprets Ahasuerus’ order that she appear wearing the crown to mean that that was *all* he wanted her to wear). Don’t forget the whole idea of Esther “auditioning” for the role of wife and queen, along with the other maidens, either – she’s not such a strong minded woman as to refuse that rather degrading procedure.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

I like the general premise of ” Saving Souls or Saving Seals”, but I contest the implications in the title. One ought also to be concerned about saving North Atlantic cod stocks, saving a way of life for Canada’s indigenous people, and the economic marginalization sealers. It is laudable to be a disciple, but a disciple, by definition, is one who is a learner.There is little value in trading one kind of smug fundamentalism for another.

Sara MacVane
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Sara MacVane

Savi’s artcle did give me some food for thought. I remember an exhibit in the Vatican museum which had been set up for a recurrence of Norwich cathedral (1000 years?) in the early 2000s (2002 or 2003 perhaps). There was also a public seminar of several days at which Eamon Duffy, Colim McCullock and Judith Maltby (in collar, by the way) were among the speakers. I noted to one of the C-of-E organizers of the exhibit that I found it strange that among all the photographs there wasn’t one of a woman priest. He countered with something like: well of… Read more »

Júlio Reis
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@Rod: The purpose of an article (book etc.) title is to say, “Read the whole article (book etc.)!” It’s not meant to point to any implications; it is just too short for that. Which implications did you find in the title? The title “Mission: Saving souls or saving seals?” presents a dichotomy (is it a true one? a false one?) that usually polarizes people—you’re either for the one or the other, seldom for both. Does one take priority over the other? Should the churches even consider these issues? Are they outdated? Should they be outsourced? The reader is supposed to… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re Julio Reis, I like the point the article eventually gets to, “It’s not just about saving souls, it’s about ‘saving wholes’ – whole people in a whole creation.” I like some of the points you raise in reply. Churches should consider environmental issues. Consideration includes an examination of an ultimately false dichotomy i.e. that salvation must be conceived of in the narrowest anthropocentric way or not at all. Unfortunately the title “Saving Souls or Saving Seals”, while a snappy piece of alliteration, tends, perhaps inadvertently, to undermine rather than point toward a consideration of complexity. What could be more… Read more »

Júlio Reis
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@Rod: Ahhhh, *that* smug fundamentalism! Seal hunting, Brigitte Bardot, OK, I get it now. Thank you for making that point clear. I don’t think the post author was thinking of seal hunting. I understand that’s a hot topic in North America; here in Europe it’s very much a fringe issue (as far as I know). The title *was* exactly a snappy piece of alliteration. It was meant to be provocative, by displaying the “either/or” dichotomy, as if environmentalism and evangelism were contending for the top spot of the churches’ agendas today. The author’s position as you could see is that… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re Julio Reis, Yep, the seal hunt is a very hot topic in North America, and especially so here on the North Atlantic coast, where, periodically we receive visits from European celebrities on a mission, the most recent one being Sir Paul. The seal hunt remains a sticking point between Canada and the EU as well. I had not thought to connect seals to Hawaii. So in this case, I guess to have to fess up that the road to hell is paved with bad assumptions. Thanks for surfacing the metaphor, so to speak. Very cool. I have checked out… Read more »

Malcolm French+
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But the catchphrase “save the seals” comes directly from the campaign against the Canadian seal hunt – a campaign conducted by flim-flam artists and celebrity bigots.

Randal Oulton
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Randal Oulton

Savitri Hensman’s Guardian article caused what was for me a “eureka” moment. I personally know many Catholics and Orthodox people who are uncomfortable with their churches’s stands on abortion, women’s rights and human rights, sexuality and women priests and bishops. “Uncomfortable” is putting it mildly — they have abandoned their churches altogether owing to these issues, and want nothing to do with them. They look enviously at Anglicanism, where despite disagreements progress is being made. Instead of us worrying about Catholic and Orthodox churches poaching the 10% of hard-right Anglicans from us, why don’t we reach out to the disaffected… Read more »

Laurence C.
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Laurence C.

“why don’t we reach out to the disaffected 90% of first world Catholic and Orthodox people” Randal Oulton

“The Church of England – not quite as homophobic as the Catholic Church” – that should pull ’em in.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“The Church of England – not quite as homophobic as the Catholic Church” – that should pull ’em in.”

Laurence; what evidence do you have for this statement? if true, one would hardly notice!

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Malcolm, that was my initial concern, and focus of my subsequent rejoinders, but Julio Reis seems to have disavowed that sense in this particular case. There appears to be two ways into developing environmental theologies (1) justice and stewardship themes and (2) a consideration of soteriology that is cosmological rather than radically anthropocentric. The article gives rise to interesting questions with regard to the latter. By extension the article would also give rise to some very interesting critical questions about celebrity driven opposition to the North Atlantic seal hunt i.e. “saving seals” has to be considered within the context of… Read more »

Malcolm French+
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Rod, I think I crossposted with you at some point. As I read the exchange up to the point where I posted the comment, I had the impression (possibly mistaken) that Julio Reis had not understood the historical connections of the “saving seals” language and meme. He appeared quite startled that the article would have been read with such a lens – a lens that would have been inevitable for anyone knowledgeable about the dishonesty and emotional manipulations of the anti-sealing movement. Like you, I’m glad he wasn’t going there deliberately. However, I hope he understands why both you and… Read more »