Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 8 April 2017

J Barrett Lee Hopping Hadrian’s Wall Altar Calls: Discussing Liturgical Worship with Evangelicals

Nick Baines Diocese of Leeds Bishop Nick speaks on working with the media

N T Wright ABC Religion and Ethic Palm Sunday: Jesus Rides into the Perfect Storm

Kelvin Holdsworth Thurible Trolleys are for Supermarkets (and not for funerals).

Roger Bolton Church Times The BBC and religion: bad decisions, badly timed
“The Corporation lacks a strategy, and is dangerously out of touch with faith communities.”

Madeleine Davies Church Times Why big churches aren’t led by women
“Care for their families is a key reason hardly any women are incumbents of the Church’s largest churches, a new research paper from Ministry Division has concluded.”
The paper is here: Vocational pathways: Clergy leading large churches.

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KateMelissaJames ByronJanet FifeDavid Emmott Recent comment authors
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Kate
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Kate

Pleased that Kelvin sees funerals as happy occasions – just wish the funeral rites were less mournful. But what of trolleys – the whole point is that we don’t need to respect the body so the cheapest possible coffin on a trolley is the Christian way to go.

Kate
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Kate

Professor Wright – spot on sermon in structure, length, tone and content.

Pluralist
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I just wonder how much this myth can be pushed. A perfect storm (N T Wright) is the product of chaos theory becoming systemic in weather interactions, not divine planning or outcomes. In the end, what Jesus was expecting (among such messianic figures) did not happen – the fulfilment of Israel, the ending of history as known. This is a sort of mindset of inhabiting a particular place in history, so far as history can be done, until you realised the sleight of hand involved in such time and place travel. The story told like this cannot be universal because… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

If you outsource everything (Roger Bolton) then the outsourcer loses the ability to discern whether the product is any good. Secondly, the outsourcing may happen as a result of a cheaper bid, but once the in-house has gone, the price shoots up. This has happened in education and health. It never works.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

Kevin Holdsworth’s piece was heart-warming – it’s so easy to see funerals as dreary occasions which add another pressure to an already over-full diary. They needn’t be dreary though, many families now want to celebrate a life as much as to mourn a death. I often feel much as I did when a uni chaplain at graduations: sad that I wouldn’t see these students again, but happy they’re finally going out into the world they’ve been preparing for. It’s a beginning as much as an ending. Fortunately it’s not compulsory to use the C of E’s official rite, though there… Read more »

John U.K.
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John U.K.

@Kate “But what of trolleys – the whole point is that we don’t need to respect the body so the cheapest possible coffin on a trolley is the Christian way to go.” Huh!?!? Kate, I usually find your posts thoughtful. But this? Are you being ironic or something and I’ve missed it? Jesus honoured our human bodies by taking on Himself flesh of our flesh. At Baptism our bodies become the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit. In the Eucharist Christ Himself comes into the body of the faithful Christian, as St.Paul wrote to the Corinthians. Christ’s own body was washed,… Read more »

Kelvin Holdsworth
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I think that to show any lack of respect to a body is unspeakably cruel to relatives and is both unkind and ungodly.

Funerals are places where every ounce of kindness and respect that is in us is called upon.

Whatever Kate is talking about, it isn’t the Christian way that is practised around here. Indeed, I hope it is practised nowhere.

Kate
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Kate

John I see death as something to be celebrated because Jesus has transformed death for us. And once I am gone, my body is just an empty husk with no value. I’d far rather my family spent money on a wake to celebrate than on a coffin. In another part of my life, I have written extensively on Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians viewed death as a passage but believed that physical remains travelled with us. That is why Tutankhamun’s tomb was full – he quite literally was taking it with him. Mummies were elaborate – if you could afford it… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

“They needn’t be dreary though, many families now want to celebrate a life as much as to mourn a death. I often feel much as I did when a uni chaplain at graduations: sad that I wouldn’t see these students again, but happy they’re finally going out into the world they’ve been preparing for. It’s a beginning as much as an ending.”

I find it really heartwarming to see others express that sort of sentiment.

Fr John Emlyn
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Fr John Emlyn

Kelvin, So glad you have raised the matter of trollies. Trollies have no place in a funeral , the caring arms of the Pall Bearers says it all. If Sir Winston Churchill in his lead lined coffin could be carried by soldiers up the steps of St Pauls, so can every other soul being brought to their church be carried in the arms of their fellow Christian. By the way it is the family who should tell the Undertakers their wishes, not the other way round. If they wish to go to their church prior to cremation, so it should… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest

I think each family has its own ways of handling the death of a loved one. My partner says (only half-jokingly) that she’d like to be laid on a boat, pushed out onto the water, and then have flaming arrows shot at it (a la ‘Game of Thrones’). Well that’s a statement I guess. At work, as a nurse, obviously I’ve laid out many bodies, and tried to get them looking nice for when their relatives come in. One thing I’ve generally found in nursing culture (which I like) is that we continue to talk to the person, calling them… Read more »

Pam
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Pam

I agree with Kelvin Holdsworth about trolleys at funerals. Funerals are occasions of emotion and a time for reflection. If there are enough able-bodied people at the funeral to carry the coffin then it is a dignified and memorable mark of respect and affection.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

N.T. Wrights’s metaphor for Palm Sunday i.e., the “perfect storm” is melodramatic and sensationalist,ironically missing the point. I live in one of Maritime Provinces referenced in Wright’s piece. The meteorological phenomena that claimed the Andrea Gail was indeed the perfect storm; but the fate of Andrea Gail and her crew is sadly common place and routine for Maritime and New England fishermen ( or “fisher folk” if you like, although women in the fishing industry don’t care for the tag). If it were not the perfect storm it would have been be some other regular gale, some routine nor’easter, some… Read more »

Jo
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Jo

Kate: while excessive veneration of mortal remains carries with it the risk of importing ancient Egyptian ideas, surely you must recognise the equal risk of excessive disrespect for the physical self importing gnostic or Buddhist ideas of the physical world being evil, which are just as contrary to Christian teaching. As far as not needing the physical body after death, I suppose I retain an open mind about precisely how the resurrection will take place. If we talk about “the earth and the sea shall give up their dead and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re: Jo, “Jesus was resurrected in the same body in which he died – wounds and all …” Something of a tendentious statement.

Jo
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Jo

@Rod: you have to torture the gospel text pretty badly to reach another conclusion, as far as I can see. If you don’t accept the gospels then of course all bets are off.

Edward Prebble
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Edward Prebble

IMHO, Kelvin and Kate are addressing different issues. Regarding trolleys, I think this is very much a matter of local custom. I well remember my surprise at the first funeral I attended in England, to see professional pallbearers supplied by the Funeral Director. I have never seen that in some 500 funerals I have taken in NZ. And at every one of those, the body has lain on a trolley. What are “proper trestles”? No parish I have been part of possesses such accoutrements – does the FD provide them? I agree with Kelvin; if at all possible I prefer… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

@ Jo, “If you don’t accept the gospels then of course all bets are off.” Accept them on what basis, I wonder? Literally? But before we even get to the gospels there are problems with the statement, “Jesus was resurrected in the same body in which he died – wounds and all …” For example, would it not be better to say simply that Jesus died, rather than say he died “in the same body”, as if it were a suit of clothes. Our bodies are biological,and require the context of a biosphere. Clearly, if one “accepts” the range of… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Beautifully put, Susannah. You do them all honor.

I agree, Rod: the resurrection accounts are clearly myth; whatever the underlying reality, the gospels tell us far more about the authors than events. It’s a shame that Wright, trapped in his doctrinal straitjacket, can’t use his formidable talents to explore this.

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

I assume that Kate doesn’t believe in sacraments either.

I was at a (RC) funeral yesterday where a trolley was wheeled in before the service and placed in front of the altar. The coffin was then carried in and out by pallbearers in the usual way. More dignified than wheeling it in but the supermarket (or rather NHS) look of cheap aluminium contrasted with the warm and dignified liturgy.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

‘ the resurrection accounts are clearly myth; whatever the underlying reality, the gospels tell us far more about the authors than events’

I’m really impressed that the disciples were willing to be imprisoned, beaten, and even face being tortured to death, to defend a story they knew not to be true (only a myth, like Mithras). The Roman sentries at the tomb could easily have been produced to verify Jesus’ non-resurrection, but strangely chose not to. People behaved very oddly in those days, human nature must have changed an awful lot.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

I made no comment on the sincerity of the disciples’ beliefs, Janet, nor the nature of Jesus’ resurrection. The style of the gospel accounts is a separate issue. Jesus could’ve bodily risen from the tomb, and the gospels, written decades later and rich with theological imagery, would still be mythic in nature. Myth doesn’t mean lie or fraud. Regarding sincerity, E.P. Sanders said it well: “That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgment, a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences I do not know.” Sincerity doesn’t, of itself, prove anything… Read more »

Melissa
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Melissa

There is a Holy Week sale on online courses from NTWright. Half off. But you still have to buy the book.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“I assume that Kate doesn’t believe in sacraments either.”

Not so. I believe in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper’.