Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 29 July 2017

Charles Clapham pneuma Summer reading
“twelve of my favourite novels on or about religion, from the sublime to the ridiculous”

Jonathan Clatworthy Château Clâteau The Parable of the Mustard Shrub

Some responses to the Archbishops’ statement
Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of sin
Michael Sadgrove Woolgathering in North East England After the Act – 50 Years On
George Reeves Faithful Sceptic 50 years legal: what the Archbishops should have said
Ian Paul Christian Today A lot of people are upset by the Archbishops’ latest on gays: Here’s why

Robin Ward Reaction The Church and gay marriage: a complicated relationship

Henry Ratter Church Times Wanted: clergy who can lead collaboratively

This isn’t new, but I’ve only just seen it.
James Alexander Cameron Stained Glass Attitudes Top 10 wrongs about parish churches

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Rod GillisJames ByronTim ChestertonInterested ObserverRevd Dr Charles Clapham Recent comment authors
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Shamus
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Shamus

After looking at Henry Ratter’s piece in “Church Times”, I’d recommend reading Angela Tilby’s column this week, also in “Church Times”. It reads like a response, and I and many other clergy will warm to Tilby more than Ratter, I suspect.

James Byron
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James Byron

As is often the case, Ian Paul nails it with this observation: “Trying to appease both ends of the debate actually ends up alienating everyone — and fosters a deep sense of suspicion.” I disagree, however, that the archbishops committing unambiguously to church teaching would solve anything. Advocates of change would fight just as hard, if not harder. Evangelicals keep calling for a reaffirmation of orthodoxy, but even if they got their wish, it’s simply impractical. If there’s truly no compromise that all parties can live with, schism’s inevitable. If so, let’s face it head-on, and work to make it… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Thanks for giving us the link to George Reeves Peter.

Paul Swales
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Paul Swales

Predictably, Ian Paul wants everyone – including the archbishops – to think like him. Granted, that would make life neat and tidy. It would also be a travesty of truth, grace and justice. I would rather have the muddled nonsense of last Thursday (unacceptable as it was), because it provides an opportunity for debate, reflection and prayer; rather than the tribal certainties of Ian Paul, who naively believes his way of reading of Scripture provides an unambiguous revelation of the will of God.

Judith Maltby
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Judith Maltby

Summer Reading: a very good list, but I would add Anita Mason’s The Illusionist about the NT church and what must be the greatest Anglican novel of the 20th c, Rose Macaulay’s The Towers of Trebizond – both profound and funny in their distinct ways.

rjb
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rjb

Ah yes, Judith Maltby – I was just about to chip in with The Towers of Trebizond: an Anglican cult-classic if ever there was one!

Judith Maltby
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Judith Maltby

And since it is 2017, best ever novel about the early English reformation – and maybe best historical novel full stop – Man on a Donkey by HMF Prescott. This is so much more fun than church politics!

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

The idea that in 2017 the Church of England could be _starting_ a “teaching document”, due in 2020, and not look ridiculous would be amusing were it not so serious. By 2020, same-sex couples who took out civil partnerships will be celebrating their 15th anniversaries; those that waited for marriage will be deciding what to do for their sixth anniversary. It’ll be a completely dead issue, like the Schleswig-Holstein Question. And every year that goes by, elderly homophobes are dying and young people are staying away from an organisation that holds their gay friends in open contempt. The CofE is… Read more »

+Jonathan
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+Jonathan

Quite agree with Judith. Maltby about The Man on a Donkey. Essential reading.

James Byron
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James Byron

My prognosis isn’t as bleak as Interested Observer’s, ’cause I don’t believe that society’s near as affirming as it appears (just this past week, the POTUS kicked trans people out the U.S. military with a tweet), and even if it were, most people appear wholly uninterested in the church. The Catholic Church continues to bar women from her priesthood with barely a murmur: if it weren’t for the horror show of clerical abuse and cover-up, it would’ve ticked along as before. Change must come from within. That’s why the CoE’s on borrowed time, even if it’s a few years longer… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

It is many years since I read Rose Macaulay’s classic novel of 1956 “The Towers of Trebizond” with its wonderful opening line “‘Take my camel, dear’, said Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal after returning from High Mass.” Beautifully written with superb characters like Dorothea ffoulkes-Corbett and Father Hugh Chantry-Pigg. Currently Asia-Minor is very much in need of another Aunt Dot whose mission was to emancipate the women of Turkey by converting them to Anglicanism. Alas the poor long-suffering camel isn’t named in the novel but is described as an “unconcerned Moslem” it has one big hump… Read more »

Caelius Spinator
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Caelius Spinator

May I put in a word for Robertson Davies’ Salterton and Cornish trilogies?

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Summer reading? Q, by ‘Luther Blissett’. Sweeping novel of the reformation. The authors are an anonymous Italian anarchist collective who borrowed the name from a Watford footballer! The story told is amazing, centering on the conflict between a Protestant intriguer and a Papist spy and takes the reader from the battle fields of the German wars, through the siege of Munster to the heart of Rome and ends in exile in Turkey drinking coffee, the new social drink.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“just this past week, the POTUS”

Once you start using Donald Trump as a litmus paper for the centre of gravity of British thinking, you are on pretty sketchy ground.

RevDave
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RevDave

James Byron – for once we agree 🙂

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Auberon Waugh’s Consider the Lilies is great fun.

James Byron
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James Byron

Interested Observer: I’m using Trump’s order as evidence that Western society’s not near as enlightened on this matter as some may think. The President stripped away rights from trans people with a few taps of a smartphone, and it’s already slid down the news cycle. There was close to zero public pressure in Britain to introduce legal equality, let alone social acceptance: it came first ’cause the British government lost a series of court rulings in Europe, then ’cause it proved politically useful for Labour to brand the Conservative Party as bigots. Did a majority of British citizens suddenly develop… Read more »

rjb
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rjb

How about Iris Murdoch’s “The Bell”?

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Re “Summer Reading”, I’m up to Chapter two of Sarah Coakley’s, The New Asceticism which I picked up thanks to TA. The book is formidable in its erudition and yet refreshing as a summer breeze. Hopefully before summer ends I will be able to tackle responses to Coakley’s work in, Sarah Coakley and the Future of Systematic Theology.

http://readingreligion.org/books/sarah-coakley-and-future-systematic-theology

Laurie Roberts
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Laurie Roberts

I think there is a lot in what James Byron says.

Revd Dr Charles Clapham
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On comments by James Byron and Interested Observer, I think it’s true to say that at least on trans people (which was the example James Byron gave) there is a lack of widespread concern or pressure. Most of you will know that a few weeks ago the General Synod vote on conversion therapy was changed during the debate to focus only on therapies which sought to change sexual orientation, and not on therapies which pathologise those who identify as trans, intersex, or non-binary. The effect of this change was to exclude the well-being of trans people from the final motion.… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“The President stripped away rights from trans people with a few taps of a smartphone…Just ask those trans soldiers awaiting their discharge papers” This is slightly besides the point, but no he didn’t, and no they aren’t. This is as much about the utter chaos of Trump as reality, and the military themselves are essentially ignoring it: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/27/trump-transgender-military-ban-no-modification-241029 More detail here: https://thinkprogress.org/trump-trans-military-ban-everyone-hates-it-18e1916722b and as McCain is currently the most powerful man in American politics, having killed one of Trump’s key policies stone dead to applause from both sides of the divide, his condemnation of this is pretty much a death… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

The pertinent thing, Interested Observer, was that Trump felt able to send the tweets, and the relatively muted reception they received. Society will accept it, however grudgingly. Since the military obeys the chain of command, it’ll await orders through the correct channels: they’re not ignoring the commander in chief, who they’ve sworn to obey. If they don’t discharge trans personnel (and I of course hope they don’t), it’ll be down to a change in policy or a court order. Well said, Rev. Dr. Clapham: personally, I hadn’t read the change in detail, and should’ve done so more closely. I certainly… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘The pertinent thing, Interested Observer, was that Trump felt able to send the tweets’

Trump feels able to send all kinds of tweets that turn out to be manifest nonsense.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Trump tweets should not be dismissed as mere nonsense. Trump openly practices the politics of scapegoating. Even if the ban on transgender people in the U.S. military does not eventually become policy and come down the chain of command, and there is no safe bet that it will not, serious damage has already been done. Anyone concerned about civil and human rights should be very concerned.

http://theconversation.com/the-dirty-politics-of-scapegoating-and-why-victims-are-always-the-harmless-easy-targets-66963

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Exactly, Rod. Complacency got Trump into 1600 Pennsylvania. It’s not really about the Don. He’s just the figurehead for millions thrown on the scrapheap by neoliberalism, who’re being duped into scapegoating minorities for the crimes of robber barons. We underestimate regressive populism at our peril. Britain, where millions voted to endanger the national economy out of hatred for immigrants, where millions voted for a party that drives disabled people to suicide, is as vulnerable to these forces as anywhere. To assume that the majority are too decent and empathetic to fall under these dark spells is dangerous beyond the telling… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re James Byron,”Britain, where millions voted to endanger the national economy….” etc.

Yep, chaos in the White house, and Chaos in the UK where Tories shot themselves and the country in both feet. Problem is, with dysfunction in two major democracies that appear to be in decline, leaves the rest of us with a real bad powder burn as well.