Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 3 December 2016

Martyn Percy Understanding the Ministry of the Church Today: a lecture in honour of the late Rev’d Canon Dr Ian Tomlinson

Diana Butler Bass Washington Post Forget red and green: Make it a blue holiday instead

Justin Welby New Statesman Travelling to Pakistan, fighting face-blindness and getting cross with myself
The Archbishop of Canterbury writes The Diary.

Kelvin Holdsworth Ten Key Skills for Priestly Ministry

Colin Blakely talks to Philip BaldwinChurch of England Newspaper The campaigner who can’t stop talking about his faith

Jody Stowell ViaMedia.News A Political Advent…

Church Times Leader comment Mammon’s victims

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Froghole
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Froghole

I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr Tomlinson at Shipton Bellinger and Appleshaw – a very charming man. His death is a grave loss to the diocese of Winchester, and devastating to the people of Shipton, Thruxton, Kimpton, Appleshaw and Fyfield. He was a man who did not merely confine himself to the church community (as so many clergy seem to do), but immersed himself in almost every aspect of local life. I have only encountered a tiny handful of clergy who have succeeded in making themselves the glue of the entirety of the communities they serve to such… Read more »

Paul Edelin
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Paul Edelin

Re The Provost of Glasgow: – “The theology doesn’t matter that much.” The theology does matter and in the long run improving the presentation and truthfulness of the theology is more important than growing a church, any church. Why does no CofE synod or minister refute the recitation of the Nicene creed (say AD 325) in the liturgy? Is not the function of a church simply to help us all to come to terms with the nature of existence in our own ways, which will always be different. Why the pressure for proclaiming Christ via a pseudo-human monoculture (virgin birth… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

I think pieces like that one show Kelvin at his best. Natural, practical and with a certain humour. It also shows him living what he preaches. A really nice piece.

Jo
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Jo

@ Paul Edelin: if you don’t believe in the fundamental truths of Christianity as laid out in the creeds, why do you even care what the Church does? The primary function of the Church is to preach the Gospel, and without the Resurrection there is no Good News to be found in it. Besides which you are misrepresenting Fr Kelvin’s words – he’s not saying the theology doesn’t matter in general, it’s specifically with regard to music and its impact on the life of the congregation. Most people simply don’t parse the words of what they’re singing all that carefully,… Read more »

Pam
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Pam

A blue Advent? In Australia, blue-tongued lizards can be seen in gardens, garages and various other places at this time of the year. I have been known to use blue ribbon while wrapping presents. And as a Christmas dessert blueberries on pavlova are yum. So, let’s go for it. A blue Advent.

James Byron
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James Byron

“The primary function of the Church is to preach the Gospel, and without the Resurrection there is no Good News to be found in it.”

Those who hold to liberal theology would disagree, Jo. Jesus’ life, proclamation, and the effect on his followers transcends the mythical clock wrapped around him by first century magical cosmology. Bultmann’s kerygma, dig it.

Kate
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Kate

Interesting to see the various views on the primary function of the church. For me it is encouraging worship of the Lord our God and I feel Kelvin was advancing practical ways such worship can be encouraged.

Paul Edelin
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Paul Edelin

My intention was merely to use the alluring bait of Kelvin Holdsworth’s pleasant subheading as a means to bring up the subject of the creed. Is there a way to more politely raise a topic on TA? If so, I apologise for my ignorance. Having said that, I do regard the perpetual public declaration of a very difficult creed set out in an over-confident rigmarole that I personally find awkward to justify “in toto”, as a dogmatic convention that is rather unappetising on a weekly basis. I simply wonder why no one discusses the current liturgy as a possible cause… Read more »

Jo
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Jo

A great many people seem to think that things they personally dislike or disagree with are the cause of low church attendance. Given that in many churches, such as in the Church of Scotland, the creeds are not in regular liturgical use and there seems to be no discernible resultant uptick in attendance I’m not convinced the argument holds any water. If anything, recently reported research suggests that the CofE’s LACK of certainty about anything may be more of a problem. While I have sympathy with those who aren’t convinced by the core beliefs of the Christian faith, and I… Read more »

John Bunyan
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John Bunyan

The Apostles’ Creed is used in some churches not only at Morning and Evening Prayer but also at the Holy Communion in place of the Nicene, and that is some improvement. Its poetic,mostly mythological, metaphorical character is better indicated when it is sung rather than said. Yet in that creed, the whole life and teaching and ministry of our Lord is represented only by a comma between “Mary” and “suffered”. (Nowadays, I myself usually do not join in singing or saying the Creeds while recognising how much they are valued by many.) Fortunately, some of our churches are unofficially using… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Jo, unless you believe in ancient cosmology, with heaven literally above the sky, you don’t hold to the so-called core belief of Jesus ascending into heaven. Oh sure, you can read it metaphorically, ’cause unlike the flawed men who penned it, you must. No-one has “authentic” beliefs, ’cause with the increase in knowledge, it’s impossible to hold to the ancient worldview. Choice is between different updates. That’s the point of liberalism: our paradigm is, inescapably, different from the ancients’, and it’s not arrogance to accept this, and adjust our beliefs accordingly. I see no reason why theology, alone among the… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re the creed(s), just do what Canada has done with morning and evening prayer, allow the Hear O Israel as an option to the creed.

Kate
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Kate

The greatest risk in Christianity is if believers come to revere either the crucifixion or the cross, ie to revere torture inflicted upon our Lord. The Nicene Creed spends a lot of time emphasising Jesus as God from God etc, Our salvation route was entire the moment Jesus was conceived (arguably sooner) and Jesus taught us we access that route by following him. Nothing in His teaching suggested his crucifixion or resurrection matters to that salvation: it is His creation which is the greatest miracle of all. His death at the hands of Pilate was evil’s failed attempt to discredit… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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“For Ian, this analogy was pertinent. Metastatic Cancer feeds off testosterone; and when it can’t find it, it makes its own. So the illness that claimed Ian was a perfect fit for Newbigin’s analogy. Obsessed with growth, the church produces compensatory hormones and then continues to feeds off itself, until it is finally self-consumed.” – Professor Martyn Percy – This reflection on the life of a pastor-priest reflects what might be the reality of a ministry of outstanding pastoral care. ‘Obsession with growth’ in an organism like the Church could be fatal – like cancer. This is a preoccupation for… Read more »

Jo
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Jo

I accept a physical ascension. I don’t believe that requires a particular conception of the physical location of heaven. In the same way I believe in a physical resurrection while not subscribing to a particular mechanism for how it happened. Indeed, while you can impute a particular cosmology from the ascension, there is nothing about a physical ascension that requires such a cosmology. Neither does one have to consider the description of the ascension as metaphorical – it simply represents what the witnesses of the event saw, necessarily coloured by their understanding of reality.

Susannah Clark
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The death of Jesus – the stripping bare and the stigma and the surrendered giving of himself, to God and human beings and the world – is in my view absolutely fundamental. ‘Unless you die…’ Jesus said “I have a baptism to undergo” by which he meant his death and resurrection. And he told his disciples that they, too must undergo that baptism. Death to self is a fundamental spiritual principle, the gateway to life, to love, to service. I don’t think we can ‘shortcut’ that journey. It is something we follow, day by day by day. It’s a spiritual… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

For me, saying the Nicene Creed together at a Sunday Eucharist is mostly a song of unity. We all (more or less!) say—yes, singing it would be preferable—these ancient words together, while at the same time, we can be sure that each and every one of us believes/disbelieves them in their own unique way.

The intellectual content of the Creed? There will NOT be a test! Accept what you like, leave the rest…

cseitz
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cseitz

“Accept what you like, leave the rest…”

Reading the comments above, it sounds like Anglicanism is becoming the newest consumeristic religious ‘organisation/enterprise.’ Individuals gather and each one as an individual confects what is happening, as they prefer/choose/click on. Liturgy is the ephemera of consumers’ exercise of choice and purchase. Cyber conceptuality the over-arcing framework — all being OK because ‘liturgy has always been such’ — a further assertion of choice-ism.

John U.K.
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John U.K.

“The absolute central importance of the Nicene Creed is the emphasis it puts on the creation of Jesus” – Kate (5 December 2016 at 8:31am)

Errr. Kate, is not the whole point of Jesus that He is uncreated? Did you mean the Incarnation of Jesus?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I once questioned the credal statement; “I believe in the resurrection of the body” – until I came to realise, along with Saint Paul, that there is a spiritual as well as a physical body. What is of the flesh is flesh, and what is of the spirit is spiritual. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15, verses 35ff gives a pretty good description of the evolution involved. As (also) for the rest of the Creed: “I’m a believer!”

John Roch
Guest
John Roch

Feast of St Nicolas today: Santa helped prepare the Nicene Creed.

GavnaB
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GavnaB

But what if these last few hundred years have seen us lock-stepped in to a myopic literalism, its iron hands gouging our eyes, kicking and screaming out of us each word of its heartless faith-blinded screed “Can’t be measured, can’t exist”? What if that faithless, fearful, ill logicality we now serve unfeeling has its poisoned roots in all-too-really repressed trauma, the cruel trick of a broken mind that suffered, incapable of knowing, the pain of conception, birth and growth, soaking from the start a human misery of inveterate sin and inconsolable shame? What if our proudly-worn quirks and paste-jewelled identities… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

That is gorgeous use of language, and overspill of feeling – visceral, tangible, present. Loved it.

What I’d appreciate, from you or someone else, is what you are trying to say… about literalism for example… in simple terms.

Obviously that’s me being a bit literal myself, trying to tie down, to extract from the beauty and flow, and maybe I’m bad for wanting to pin down meaning with logic as well as receiving it imaginatively with feeling.

For the rest, the poetry breaks upon the shores of my consciousness, churns, draws back, returns again, and touches me with a physicality.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“Errr. Kate, is not the whole point of Jesus that He is uncreated? Did you mean the Incarnation of Jesus?”

John, I probably did … until you made me think about it. Now I am not sure.

GavnaB
Guest
GavnaB

Thanks Susannah. Had to think to reply; the ‘poetry’ was gush in response to the exchanges above. Some people seem to think that science literally disproves Jesus’ miracles and resurrection (it can’t), or that science will explain everything (it won’t) or that scientists spend all their time doubting everything (they don’t) and therefore we should doubt everything too, including, consciously or unconsciously, anything vaguely supernatural (so far unexplained) in regard to Christian Faith. We shouldn’t – because we miss out on so much. Questions, exploring, thinking, learning and growing over time is all fine, essential, even; but cultivating unbelief – especially… Read more »