Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 19 May 2018

Hayley Matthews ViaMedia.News Royal Weddings & Lady Bishops – Time for Change?

Harry Farley Christian Today Michael Curry: Who is the Royal wedding preacher who backs gay marriage and opposes Trump?

Lucy Winkett Church Times What is the significance of Pentecost? A test of spirit, and the challenge of bearing witness

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church Institutions defend themselves – Barrow Hospital and C/E compared

Harriet Sherwood interviews the Archbishop of Canterbury for The Guardian Justin Welby: ‘I’m nervous about dropping the rings at the royal wedding’

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Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

I think we can safely say that as of today, there is no possibility that the TEC needs to worry about what Justin Welby thinks about their inclusivity, their acceptance or indeed anything else. We just watched what could be a fundamental turning point: the Queen hosting an event at which an organisation in impaired communion with the church of which she is the official head was given a pulpit in front of two million people. Since most of the countries whose homophobia Welby panders to are Commonwealth nations, it’s absolutely huge: the Queen has thrown down a gauntlet.

stephen morgan
Guest
stephen morgan

Re: Michael Curry: Well, they got that right! If he’d paused for a moment, (which he didn’t) it would have been to the sound of well-heeled jaws hitting the floor. Quite the best wedding sermon (and it was a sermon) I’ve ever heard, delivered with passion, humour, conviction and grace, and with a clear and simple message (with a touch of John Lennon.) It (almost) re-converted me, then Welby and co. were back on, and I remembered why I left in the first place…

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

PB Michael Curry’s sermon was so powerful. “Jesus died for the well being of the world”. Absolutely brilliant! His two major references to both Dr. Martin Luther King and Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was most creative and inspiring. Civil/human rights plus science and mysticism–what a great message for the world stage. Upon hearing the sermon I had a good thought for Bernard Lonergan who noted that the major exception to the Latin tag (knowledge precedes love) nihil amatum nisi praecognitum is, “God’s gift of love flooding our hearts.Then we are in a dynamic state of being in Love.” It… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“…the Queen hosting an event at which an organisation in impaired communion with the church of which she is the official head was given a pulpit in front of two million people. Since most of the countries whose homophobia Welby panders to are Commonwealth nations, it’s absolutely huge: the Queen has thrown down a gauntlet.” Very dramatic! The Queen personally thrilled at the presence of the PB of TEC. Throwing down gauntlets. She behind it all. Leaving aside whether this is remotely true, your suggestion is that the Queen’s big agenda was putting down her ABC in favour of the… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Appreciated Lucy Winkett’s article on Pentecost. Winkett writes, “The most beautiful scriptural word-pictures…scriptural tales are signifiers: signposts pointing us towards a deep, transforming, revolutionary faith that formed new communities…” I’ve long had a hunch that the resurrection experiences were grounded in some sort of spirit filled religious experience–the various scriptural narratives being the development of the legacy to specific applications. There are tantalizing clues in John 20 for example. When one adds contemporary experiences as Winkett does or comparisons to religious experiences found in other faiths or modern psychological insight into religious experience, the gut feeling about the inseparability of… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

IO, I hope that your interpretation is correct. Between your Queen and PM, there have been a lot of signals against homophobia lately. I wish ++Michael had broken into song when he talked about the spiritual “There is a Balm in Gilead.” He normally would. And he normally walks vigorously up and down the aisle. It may be hard to believe, but he was actually incredibly restrained. I also wish that the media wouldn’t make things quite so personal, like saying ++Michael Curry “opposes Trump.” It could be a nuance, but whenever Trump says or does something dehumanizing, ++Michael preaches… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

Interested Observer, Yes, I suppose the Queen had to — officially — approve every line of the service, every reader, every flower arrangement, but this was Harry and Meghan’s show. The whole wedding had a different feel to it than William and Kate’s. Slightly less formal, no hundreds of foreign dignitaries, etc. I don’t think the newlyweds saw themselves as firing a shot across the bow of the ABC’s ship so much as wanting to acknowledge the TEC heritage of Meghan, and when you’re the royals and you want an Episcopal priest, you get the PB. And tyhe Queen simply… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

I agree with 95% of what Interested Observer wrote, just not the throwing down the gauntlet bit.

But Bishop Michael did throw down a gauntlet. That is undeniable. I doubt it was accidental. And he did so in front of an enormous television audience, at a royal event, and with the Archbishop of Canterbury presiding. How will GAFCON react? “Consequences” did not inhibit Bishop Michael one iota.

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

“a pulpit in front of two million people” – is this a typo for two billion? Certainly beats the average congregation.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

*The whole wedding had a different feel to it than William and Kate’s* That’s not a hugely useful comparison, because this was a marriage in Windsor Chapel of the sixth in line to the throne. It’s more important than, say, any upcoming wedding of Princess Beatrice, but only just (she’s eighth in line). There there is pretty much no imaginable world in which Harry ever becomes King. It’s possible that one of William’s children will have had a child before Charles dies, and more than possible William and Kate will have another child, so he’s unlikely to even ever be… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

*But Bishop Michael did throw down a gauntlet.* OK, I’ll settle for that. Bishop Michael was given a pulpit by the Royal Family; Windsor is a royal peculiar, so no-one else gets a say. TEC’s relationship with Canterbury will have been known to everyone involved. For all the talk about people not knowing what he was going to say or for how long he was going to say it, there is no suggestion he overran any timings; the BBC coverage came out into Football Focus for the prelude to the FA Cup Final bang on time. So even if, pace… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“So even if, pace CRS, the palace just signed off on the overall order of service, they would have known that they were giving a 14 minute slot in front of billions of people to a man on the Anglican naughty step.” What is “pace CRS”? This is exactly what I said. The palace just signed off. You said they pinned Welby’s ears back, went over his head, and threw a gauntlet down *to the commonwealth nations.* I think that is nonsense. What is more revealing is that you, a member of the CofE, would concoct this idea. It is… Read more »

NJ
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NJ

I’m a little confused by all the paeans of praise for Bishop Michael Curry, or indeed the suggestion of throwing gauntlets. I didn’t see the sermon so maybe his delivery was wonderfully passionate and exhilarating – I certainly hope so. But I’ve re-read the full text 3 times now and find it a pretty mediocre sermon. There are some lovely concepts and encouragements, mixed in with lots of inspirational verses. But it’s very generic. As a Reformed conservative evangelical, there’s not a single line I disagree with, other than citing Teilhard de Chardin approvingly, though the fire motif mentioned is… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

NJ:

Search out a video of the sermon; shouldn’t be hard to find, it’s all over the internet.

Suffice to say it is a masterful example of the style of preaching seen in predominantly Afro-American churches, something I gather is rarely if ever seen on the other side of the pond. It was both insightful and inciting. It was conversational at the same time as it was invigorating. He spoke in a tone and a manner that made you want to applaud. (I assure you, in a black church in my country there would have been shouted “Amens” from the congregation.)

Kate
Guest
Kate

There are a number of misconceptions about the workings of ‘the palace’ on this thread.

Crucially ‘the palace’ isn’t a monolith. I suspect Clarence House, not Buckingham Palace, was responsible for the strategy. Clarence House is the court-in-waiting but equally, given the age of Charles, William (who is clearly very close to Harry) represents the court-in-waiting-in-waiting (however one constructs that). It is an interesting dynamic.

Within that, the marriage of Beatrix is a non-event. I rather like the Duke and Duchess of York but it takes no real insight to appreciate that he lacks real influence these days.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“But it’s very generic”

But that’s the point. The theology behind same sex marriage is the theology of love and welcome not Leviticus and Genesis.

But you are missing another point, I think. When did you last see so many people praising a sermon, including mainstream media? That’s a colossal achievement and he did so, not on the diet of sin evangelicals have been feeding people, but on a message of love.

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

I’ve heard Michael Curry preach several times. This is his style and this is his theology. I can’t imagine that Harry and Meghan asked him to preach without having a pretty good knowledge of what he was going to say and how he was going to say it. Give them some deference — it was their wedding. If the complainers want a different theology and a different style at their wedding, fine; the complainers are free to ask somebody else. Personally, I thought it was good (if too long), much better than the treacly saccharine I’ve heard at a lot… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

Interested Observer, “William’s wedding was a state occasion, in Westminster Abbey, of the heir apparent who is, all other things being equal, likely to be the King of England for thirty or forty years …” I was acknowledging that. It was precisely my point. Saturday’s ceremony was a wedding between two people. People who are a part of the British royal family, but two people nonetheless. William and Kate’s marriage had far more State significance. So, the Queen may have been more involved. But, this wedding? Maybe the Queen cocked an eyebrow at the choice of preacher, and several royals… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

crs. Why can you just not accept that the eirenic invitation to the Presiding Bishop of TEC to preach at the Royal Wedding could have been divinely appointed – as well as an act of graciousness from both H.M. The Queen and H.G. The Archbishop of Canterbury – issuing in one of the most powerful sermons on the overcoming power of God’s Love for ALL people (one of TEC’s inspirational messages to the Anglican Communion). Yes, serendipity might just have played a hand in this arrangement. But then, the Scriptures tell us – about God – that: “My ways are… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

++Michael’s sermons need to be experienced. What may seem “generic” on paper becomes the Good News in his delivery and it brings hope. And makes you want to follow Jesus and love your neighbor. As Kate pointed it out, theology is simple, love God, love your neighbor. It’s simple, but we have yet to be motivated to do it at scale. He pointed out that love may start with the couple, but it doesn’t end there. On a day that was about symbols, don’t miss the fact that a recent descendant of slaves – an institution inaugurated and perpetuated by… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“…eirenic invitation” — where was IO describing the invitation as eirenic?

I have said nothing about the invitation nor the content — (I have likely heard more Black preaching than most people here and prefer the serious character of James Forbes over this by miles… but that is not at issue).

My comments are directed at the throwing gauntlet, Queen runs the AC, view of IO.

Hardly “eirenic invitation’ oriented.

I do wish you would read more carefully. Selah.

Caelius Spinator
Guest
Caelius Spinator

Whatever the decisionmaking tree for inviting Presiding Bishop Curry to preach at the Sussexes’ wedding, I do note that Justin Welby was quite willing to leave the wedding reception early with him to go to St. Alban’s and join with 3,000-4,000 people in a prayer meeting. (See the link.) https://twitter.com/mikepilav/status/997945467794345985 It was neat that I learned about this from Mike Pilavachi’s Twitter feed. Pilavachi, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, is a major charismatic evangelical leader in the UK and chose to tweet a selfie with both of them. But like crs, I doubt that anyone from Her Majesty on down… Read more »

John Swanson
Guest
John Swanson

NJ: “In terms of preaching method, it’s missing specific application, either to the couple or to us more generally…”

Wouldn’t it be a rather limited vision of sermons if every sermon had to comform to a template, one that ends with a specific application? Isn’t there scope for different styles and structures and emphases that balance out over time?

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I didn’t see the sermon”

Yeah, you can really stop there. Is reading a libretto a substitute for actually attending the opera? O_o

DRH
Guest
DRH

“William’s wedding was a state occasion, in Westminster Abbey, of the heir apparent who is, all other things being equal, likely to be the King of England…”

I agree William is very likely to be King but I think his dad is still heir apparent.

david
Guest
david

I think the sermon is turning into a religious version of the laurel/yanny saga and neatly illustrates the conflict between ‘mean” and “non-mean” Christianity

Non mean sees a joyous proclamation of sacrificial love. Mean sees a false teacher preaching pelagianism

The conservative evangelical sites are divided on this as I have not seen before

JPM
Guest
JPM

I’ve heard some talk of this being a “New Age” sermon. Are they talking about Teilhard?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Dear crs. You injunction to us (me) to read more carefully has its parallel with the options open to people wanting to examine the content of the Gospel of Love preached by the TEC’s Presiding Bishop. One suspects – in the light of your comment – that you might only have ‘read about’ this sermon, when you could have seen and heard it and maybe understood the dynamics of it. Maybe it could have converted you to the inner conviction that ‘God is Love’.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

*I agree William is very likely to be King but I think his dad is still heir apparent.* My mistake. What I meant was “is in line to be King in the normal run of events without there being any way for that to change”. You’re correct to say that usually only applies to the first in line. Historically, “Heir Presumptive” is used of someone who is in line to the throne but could be displaced: under older rules, the now Queen Elizabeth was heir presumptive up until her accession, because in principle at least a male heir could have… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Thank you Fr Ron for your response. This will surely advance the Gospel of Love. Please do not impute to me views I do not hold. That would model a Gospel of Love. I saw the event. I find Curry two-dimensional and something like a ‘Black preacher for white folks.’ But he seems to be trying hard to enthuse up Christian disciples. God the Holy Spirit can take it from there. I do not envy him in his present post. General Convention in a month’s time could be a real challenge. Prayers for him in that. It has been interesting… Read more »

FrDavidH
Guest
FrDavidH

Is it not racist for CRS to suggest Bishop Curry is a “black preacher for white folks”? Was the young musician a “black cellist for white folks”? To me, Bishop Curry is a preacher for all folks.

Stephen morgan
Guest
Stephen morgan

Yes, I think ‘a black preacher for white folks’ is more than mildly racist of crs, leaving aside the rather patronising ‘two-dimensional’ jibe. Perhaps crs could descend from his lofty perch and explain to us mere mortals what other dimensions Michael Curry could have utilised? Only to add that the only sermon since mlk to have gained such positive praise and traction from the world outside the Anglican bubble is attracting so much criticism from within?

crs
Guest
crs

FrD — it is a comment famously made by African-Americans, admittedly many non-Episcopalian. It is a view I share. One can get a bit tired of stereotypes, now coming from all directions…especially from white folks. If one spends much time in Black Gospel churches in the US, right away the *content* presented by the TEC PB is noticeably different. That is his right of course. But to suggest he is a typical Black preacher says far more about his manner than his substance. I have hosted College of Preacher events with Will Willimon and listened to a lot of preaching… Read more »

The Rev. Randall Keeney
Guest
The Rev. Randall Keeney

Dear Friends,

I have to agree that Bishop Curry was quite wonderfully understated in his sermon. Nevertheless, his passion, integrity, joy, and hope shone through. I served under Bishop Curry throughout his episcopate in the Diocese of North Carolina. He joins heart and mind together in a way that must be experienced. Lastly, if 14 restrained minutes behind a pulpit raises an eyebrow, watch this. You (in our local parlance) “ain’t seen nothing yet.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj_N3OsHxxo

May I get an Amen!

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I’ve heard plenty of African-American preachers too, from a variety of denominations, including TEC. ++Michael has the broadest range and is the most inspiring. He can draw up all the scholarly references as needed, but his capacity to reach the heart is unparalleled, and that’s what the world needs. Of course the scholarly and intellectual have their place, but the Gospel is a movement of the heart. Radical, sacrificial, redemptive love requires a change of heart. Anyone can justify what is in their head, but one’s actions and how we structure our society is a product of heart and heartfelt… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

Having followed this thread with caution, I must confess that for me it is time to move on from the Harry, Megan, Stand By Me, Royal Millions of Pounds Wedding and Its Great Significance.

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

“I find Curry two-dimensional and something like a ‘Black preacher for white folks.'”

My congregation consists of a number of people of African descent, whose more recent heritage comes from both the United States and the Caribbean.

They are uniformly very enthusiastic about Michael Curry and most of them have heard him preach in person.

To put it mildly, they would look very unkindly as being referred to as “white folks.”

Michael Mulhern
Guest
Michael Mulhern

“William is very likely to be King but I think his dad is still heir apparent” @DRH. More is the pity, then, that he sat there with a condescending smirk throughout Bishop Curry’s sermon. Like so many English people, he deals with difference by ridiculing it. Black. Polish. Muslim. It’s all the same. Anything other than English cannot possibly be authentic. Contrast William’s reaction (and that of the Beckhams and countless other celebrities who would be very quick to flash their ‘British’ credentials) with the courtesy and attentiveness of Meghan Markle and her amazing mother.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

” If one spends much time in Black Gospel churches in the US, right away the *content* presented by the TEC PB is noticeably different.”

I should hope so. His content was firmly Anglican and Episcopalian…while most Black preachers in the States are in the Pentecostal or Baptist traditions. Many are non-denominational. Some of the most vociferous are, I regret to say, firmly in the “Prosperity Gospel” mode.

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

‘Is it not racist for CRS to suggest Bishop Curry is a “black preacher for white folks”? Was the young musician a “black cellist for white folks”? ‘ Just catching on to a common theme in conservatism? One of its basic immovable tenets, actually. Haven’t you seen it in Anglican Communion nonsense, as American conservatives take up the white man’s burden to shield those poor African churches from the horrible gays because they “aren’t like us” they “don’t have our values.” Anyone who’s lived in the southern U. S. knows these little codes for “they can’t be made civilized,” when… Read more »

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

“condescending smirk”, “ridiculing”. Perhaps His Royal Highness was simply showing his appreciation of Bishop Curry’s humour, or the points made. He has met people of all kinds everywhere and if, which I do not believe, he finds most of them ridiculous, he is much too well trained to reveal it, least of all at his brother’s wedding.

He will one day be a fine governor of the Church, and it is a pity that many services now have prayers for bishops ahead, or instead of , for him and his grandmother.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“it is a pity that many services now have prayers for bishops ahead, or instead of , for him and his grandmother.” At present the bishops seem to be much more in need of them lol The Royal Family was in serious trouble when Diana died. There was a sense that the monarchy was irrelevant, out of touch and lacking in sensitivity. The Royal Family has worked hard to modernise and largely turned that around. Last Saturday was a good example of them being much more in tune with the public mood. In contrast, the Church of England, facing almost… Read more »