Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 2 January 2016

Peter Wehner New York Times The Christmas Revolution

Howard Jacobson BBC News Magazine A Point of View: Why the world needs more sermons

Archdruid Eileen Feast of Holy Innocents – Power Under Pressure

Sarah Coakley ABC Religion and Ethics Angels and Dreams: Second Naivete and the Christian Imagination

Andrew Brown The Guardian If Nicky Morgan wants Christianity to flourish, humanism should be taught in schools

Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message

Giles Fraser The Guardian Karl Barth taught us not to use religion to mask the stench of war

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Susannah Clark
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Sarah Coakley’s proposition is well-made. If we simply take bible narratives as literal, then we retreat into fundamentalist naivety. But this does not mean that those same bible narratives are ‘unreal’ and to be dismissed, in terms of their power and revelation. For example, the early Genesis narratives – of creation, of mankind, of Noah, the flood, and the new beginning… to reduce these narratives to literalism the way some fundamentalists would like to… …is to hold the telescope by the wrong end and – sadly – reduce and diminish what the Bible is communicating. But to treat those early… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Now here is a Giles Fraser column I can appreciate. Fortunately, one can appreciate his conclusion without sharing his obvious enthusiasm for Karl Barth. The maxim about preaching with a bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other is one I’ve always liked. It strikes me as kind of strange that people would come to a liturgy and never hear a critical faith reflection on the events in the world that trouble them. However, I could never get into Barth in a substantive way despite having taken an inter-disciplinary graduate seminar built around his commentary on Romans. I’m… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Thanks for the Sarah Coakley article. Always great to read items on the infancy narratives; but right-left brain theory, really? This section of her piece is pivotal: “McGilchrist’s thesis remains highly controversial …But to the religious practitioner his central thesis makes a certain sense…” I’m not sure that what some scientists refer to as “neuro-mythology ” really helps us contend with religious mythology. The better approach is an intellectual bilateral one. One can read the text from the perspective of a Raymond Brown on the one hand and the perspective of religious studies, folks like Joseph Campbell or Raimon Pannikar,… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Howard Jacobson makes a plea for more sermons and writes that 180 seconds of Thought for the Day is insufficient time to give a good account of the world’s great religions. However may I recommend Milton Jones’ books “10 Second Sermons” and “Even More Concise 10 Second Sermons”. In many of his pithy addresses this highly perceptive, enormously intelligent and extremely funny Christian Apologist gets right to the very heart of the truth of our religion in a mere 10 seconds.

Sara MacVane
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Sara MacVane

Re Peter Wehner’s article, there is a letter in today’s NY Times online pointing out that Wehner seems not to know that many of the positive characteristics he attributes to Christianity have their origin in Judaism, the faith of Jesus’ family and indeed of our Lord himself.

Re Sarah Coakley’s article (lovely by the by) it brings to mind RS Thomas’ I think that maybe I will be a little surer of being a little nearer. That’s all. Eternity is in the understanding that that little is more than enough.

peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

“Re Peter Wehner’s article, there is a letter in today’s NY Times online pointing out that Wehner seems not to know that many of the positive characteristics he attributes to Christianity have their origin in Judaism, the faith of Jesus’ family and indeed of our Lord himself.”

Thank you, Sara McVane! It’s amazing how many Christians don’t grasp that. Including, sadly, many clergy
Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t Christian. He didn’t worship himself. At least, I don’t think that’s part of any mainstream/orthodox Christian theology.

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

One of Mr. Wehner’s points is that Christianity rejects the Platonic view, in Mr. Wehner’s opinion, that the material world is evil. I’ve heard lots of conservative Christian people, lay and clergy, say that precise thing. For them, it’s a very dualistic vision, with heaven as good, and the material world as sinful and evil — until Jesus comes again to redeem and refresh everything. In fact, some conservative Christian people are apathetic about pollution, global warming, nuclear war, terrorism, etc., because hey see those ills as a sign that the End Times are coming closer, and they’ll be Raptured… Read more »

Pam
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Pam

I’m inspired to read Karl Barth’s commentary on Romans, largely due to Giles Fraser’s rousing recommendation.

On another note, always wonderful to read Archdruid Eileen. A serious sermon accompanied by a sidebar of subversive humour. A great meal, I’d say.

Kate
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Kate

Susannah, I don’t see things as “fundamentalist naivety” as you do. For me Faith means that we cannot simply dismiss Biblical claims that God made the world in 7 days or that Jesus was born of an immaculate conception. It doesn’t require us to accept that those things DID happen, but we are required to accept that those things MAY have happened in the literal way presented in the Bible. I found Sarah’s Coakley’s piece somewhat unclear but I read it entirely differently to you, For me she is saying that we must balance left brain and right brain, giving… Read more »

Peter Mullins
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Peter Mullins

No Kate. The two sides of the brain material above doesn’t add up to “the left brain says there was a Big Bang and evolution – the right brain says the world was made in 7 days”. The suggestion is that the left side is involved in the bits of objective evidence needed to weigh up whether one accepts any particular theory (in this case, whether creationist, evolutionist or any alternative) while at the same time the right side remains open to the sorts of discontinuities, feelings and poetry which might add to or disturb the left side’s necessarily simplistic… Read more »