Thinking Anglicans

opinion

Jake Wallis Simons writes in the Telegraph that I don’t believe in God, but I believe in the Church of England.

Timothy Radcliffe writes in The Guardian that Tolerance is not enough to learn the art of living with others.

Mark Vasey-Saunders retells the Christmas story: Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

Damian Thompson writes in The Spectator about Alpha male: Can Nicky Gumbel and Holy Trinity Brompton save the Church of England?

Simon Jenkins writes for The Guardian An atheist’s prayer for the churches that keep our soul.

Richard Coles writes for the Church Times about Salute the happy morn?

Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian that Jesus knows, flooding isn’t the end of the world.

Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian that Christmas shows us humanity’s hope is to be found in the crib not in the stars.

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Bill Dilworth
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Bill Dilworth

Bishop Gene Robinson has advocated much the same message as Timothy Radcliffe does, that tolerance is not enough. I think they’re both wrong, and letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. A society that is “merely” tolerant might not be utopia, but it would certainly be an improvement over our current conditions; further, insisting that there is something wrong with tolerance (after years of calling for more of it!) is simply the wrong approach.

Susannah
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Susannah

The HTB article glosses over Nicky Gumbel’s published views on homosexuality, which form part of a background of ‘sola scriptura’ theology that underpins Alpha publications and which lie in wait for people who come in from the cold. My opinion is that alpha is simply a system that might have been generated by other orgs with different theologies. HTB got on and did it, powered by its network of privilege – after all, it evolved as sort of Sloane Square and upper middle class at prayer. I have no qualms at all with the good principle, sincerity and initiative of… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

S Jenkins: “An English church is designed for a specific liturgy, in the case of 10,000 medieval parish churches ironically a Roman Catholic one.”

Sometimes it feels like an atheist like Jenkins is making common-cause w/ the Papists, in spouting their line.

No, SimonJ, English churches were designed for *English* (“Anglican”) Catholic worship. As ever they shall be, “while the Lord tarry.”

Pluralist
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Giles Fraser sees explanations in a small child, better than staring at the stars. Sounds like a Unitarian Christmas to me, where the carols are a substitute for the birth of the baby, like a universal baby but an individual one too. It is also combined with the green, the seeds in the cold ground at the turn of the year that later on we’ll see flower again (when they show themselves). But it’s not exactly riproaring doctrinal Christian belief, from him, is it? Am I missing something?

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

I must admit I found Timothy Radcliffe’s line of argument to be rather obscure.

Alastair Newman
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The uncomfortable tenor of the HTB article was summed up in this phrase for me: “It divides Christianity done well and Christianity done badly”.

That is surely not the point?! Christianity is not about doing things well, and it is not a religion “done well” in the first place. God came to earth in the form of a helpless infant and ended up being killed for His trouble. By no stretch of the imagination was that religion “done well” according to our lights. But it is the religion of our God, and that is that.

Rosie Bates
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Rosie Bates

‘That is surely not the point?! Christianity is not about doing things well, and it is not a religion “done well” in the first place. God came to earth in the form of a helpless infant and ended up being killed for His trouble. By no stretch of the imagination was that religion “done well” according to our lights. But it is the religion of our God, and that is that.’ Quite – and any course that does not have an emphasis on ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ is not one I would choose for building profound, life changing,… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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“What I call God is to be discovered in the vulnerability of a child, in the excessive openness and dependence upon something outside one’s own power or ability to explain.” – Giles Fraser – Herein, I think, lies the utter simplicity of what the Incarnation is all about. If we are not able to admit to our human vulnerability – our utter dependence on God’s mercy, forgiveness, grace and redemption – then we are merely automatons, reliant on our own ability to navigate the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ in the hope of achieving salvation by our own efforts.… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

T Radcliffe: “Many Christians oppose gay marriage not because we are homophobic or reject the equal dignity of gay people, but because “gay marriage” ultimately, we believe, demeans gay people by forcing them to conform to the straight world.”

Is this SERIOUS??? Utter hogwash.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

I agree with Craig: I must admit I found Timothy Radcliffe’s line of argument to be rather obscure.

It really is simple. There are gay couples who are deeply religious and feel called to receive the Sacrament of Marriage, the outward and visible sign of inward, invisible grace. And to have all of the equal legal rights that come with it. Equal as children of God, equal as citizens.

When the status quo says no, that is oppression. Thus far, the status quo’s reasons for this are pretty wanting. Just a long, oppressive history.

Gary Paul Gilbert
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Gary Paul Gilbert

To judge from the reader response at The Guardian to Timothy Radcliffe, nobody seems to understand his claim that he opposes marriage equality out of tolerance. He writes, “Many Christians oppose gay marriage not because we are homophobic or reject the equal dignity of gay people, but because ‘gay marriage’ ultimately, we believe, demeans gay people by forcing them to conform to the straight world.” I will leave him to his contradictions and denials. Bill Dilworth must have read only the title of the piece. Otherwise, it would be hard to understand how he can say that Timothy Radcliffe and… Read more »

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

‘Behold him now wearing the likeness of man,
weak helpless, and speechless, in measure a span.

O wonder of wonders which none can unfold:
The ancient of days is an hour or two old;
The maker of all things is made of the earth,
Man is worshipped by angels and God comes to birth.

John
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John

Happy Christmas to all here.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

I should have been clearer. Radcliffe’s claim that opposition to SSM is a form of “tolerance” based on respecting “difference” is completely obliterated in the face of the many gay couples who yearn for the Sacrament of Marriage within the church. Equal in the eyes of God, equal before the law. When a people yearn for that equality, and a status quo denies it, it is oppression. The sophistry is breathtaking, calling oppression a form of tolerance. In the old days of segregation in the American South, politicians are on record saying things like “the blacks LIKE it in the… Read more »

Bill Dilworth
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Bill Dilworth

Gary – I didn’t give it the close reading I learned in school, but I did read more than the title. Sort of. I skimmed most of it and skipped to the final paragraph. Mea culpa. (Still think both are wrong on tolerance, but understand they hold different positions on marriage.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Timothy Radcliffe’s view was shared by Stonewall until relatively recently.

JCF
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JCF

Martin, I don’t doubt that “Stonewall” (that’s a UK LGBT group?) included many who believed (some perhaps still believe) that

“‘gay marriage’ ultimately, we believe, demeans gay people by forcing them to conform to the straight world.”

I find it PAINFULLY disingenuous for a Christian to contend that “many Christians oppose gay marriage” for THAT reason!

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

Yes it’s true Stonewall supported the CP option no doubt a Realpolitik acceptance that that was all that could be got at that point. The argument behind CP’s was that they are the same as marriage (but given a more modern title and shorn of all that terrible historical – mostly religious – baggage). The big argument against CP’s as a sole option for gay people is that they are already in large part the same as marriage. The French PACS is/was an attempt to do something (a little) different. Giving people virtually identical rights including on parenting, pensions, dissolution… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Hmmm, that’s true! As I thought about what you say above there are likely rather few Christians who would share Fr Radcliffe’s view, but Fr Radccliffe probably knows them all. i cannot believe him to be disingenuous on this matter, or on any other. JCF, Stonewall is more than a UK LGBT group, but it’s difficult to describe what it is. It is more like an unofficial government department on gay affairs, and it’s official position was as described earlier. As Stonewall is the personal fief of its leader who is responsible to no democratic process, it took a grass… Read more »