Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 26 May 2018

Paul Bayes Bishop of Liverpool A rule of life

Theo Hobson The Spectator Will the Church’s division over women clergy re-ignite?

Ruth Wilde Inclusive Church Race, class and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon
James Woodward ViaMedia.News Royal Wedding – Finding a Voice
[There is a transcipt of Bishop Curry’s sermon here and a video here.]

Emma Ash Church Times The cost of discerning a call is too high for some
“Working-class candidates need more financial help during the discernment process”

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FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

It is nonsense for Ruth Wilde to suggest that Bishop Michael’s sermon was criticised for him not speaking like a “white person”. Had the wonderful oratory of the bishop been as flat as the tones of the Dean of Windsor, 2 billion people may have fallen asleep. It is precisely because Bishop Curry preached like an African American that he stirred the souls of countless listeners.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“Called to pray, read and learn. Sent to tell, serve and give. ” Paul Bayes

No mention of love. Seriously?

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re the James Woodward article: “The criticisms of the voices of both the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury set against an unnecessary comparison between their voices and voice of Bishop Michael Curry have been persistent, critical and at times ferocious”

Can someone shed some light on what Woodward is talking about?

David Runcorn
Guest

Kate I find the word ‘love’ four times in +Paul’s address. And I find the whole tone as loving as it is challenging.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

The advantage of the word ‘serve’ is that it is obviously about action. So was ‘love’, in the New Testament, but nowadays most people use it to describe an emotion.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Dear Kate, with Rod I did note the mention of the word ‘Love’ in Bishop Paul’s message. Further, it speaks of where that love is derived from – the very basics of the Christian life: Prayer, worship and contemplation. This is the root of Christian Love. There is none other.

“Come, Holy Spirit, re-kindle within us the fire of your Love, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

It isn’t nonsense FrDavidH. Perspective really depends on your social media “bubble.” There were a lot of negative comments about ++Michael’s homily that used words like, wasn’t dignified, lacked class, inappropriate, insulting to mention slavery, etc. Those all boil down to not speaking white. I also saw some outright racial slurs. From my perspective, Ruth Wilde is spot on. I do agree with Woodward that there’s no need to compare ++Michael with Justin or the Dean of Windsor, but I didn’t see any of those comparisons in my social “bubble,” so I don’t know what prompted the article.

Janet Fife
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Janet Fife

” “The criticisms of the voices of both the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury set against an unnecessary comparison between their voices and voice of Bishop Michael Curry have been persistent, critical and at times ferocious” Can someone shed some light on what Woodward is talking about?’ I have seen some of those criticisms of both the Dean and the Archbishop. There was also a gif of an impassioned Curry against the background of a stolid Dean. Some people are comparing Bishop Curry’s lively presentation with what they see as the dull and stuffy Dean’s and Archbishop’s.… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Not to mention the negative reactions in the Quire from some of the royals. I hardly think the Dean of Windsor would have had similar reactions, if he had preached for 13 minutes.

No, those were reactions to style and delivery and perhaps even accent. Mistaken reactions, of course–to an African-American style of preaching that was outside certain comfort zones.

They got that wrong. Ed Miliband got it right, and signaled the error to those who apparently needed a signal.

Flora Alexander
Guest
Flora Alexander

Rod Gillis. I haven’t been aware of this storm of criticism, but I only read The Guardian. My recollection of watching the wedding is that the Archbishop and the Dean both had standard Church of England voices: formal, dignified, and a bit remote. Bishop Curry preached – and a sermon is different from a marriage liturgy – in a way that was direct and passionate and powerful. I thought all three were appropriate. Although my political position is republican (in the U.K. sense) I think some journalists’ comments have been unfair to the royal family. They have written about members… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

The word love might be in the address but it is not in the slogan. Contrast that with Bishop Michael’s address which – rightly – made love the centre of everything.

Serve is most definitely not a substitute. There is no fire.

It is time we dropped all these trite and unhelpful slogans and get back to what Christ taught us about love. Love the Lord your God with all your might and your neighbours as yourself. That’s it. We don’t need modern inventions which send people off in the wrong direction.

David Runcorn
Guest

Kate … and Michael Curry’s sermon was criticised by some because there was ‘only’ the language of love and he gave the word no content. Hard to win I say (and no – I don’t agree with the criticism either). But here we have been copied in to a message from a warmly including and inspiring bishop to the folk in his own diocese. I have no trouble hearing the love in it and I for one trust him to know how to speak to the communities he knows – and that they will understand his message.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Thanks to Janet Fife and Flora for casting some light on the comments made in the James Woodward article. Re: Flora’a observation, “…some journalists’ comments have been unfair to the royal family. They have written about members of the family smirking and looking vacant.” Agreed. Body language is more easily misread than read. People smile. What is its meaning? Are they amused? Bemused? Condescending? Nervous, or perhaps afraid? More broadly, many post wedding comments about this or that culture were purely partisan. For folks who have a vendetta with TEC, it would not have mattered what the PB said or… Read more »

peter kettle
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peter kettle

Since we are still on the Royal Wedding, can anyone throw light on why the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London said a prayer at the service? The service was obviously carefully composed to reflect the interests of all concerned, but I can’t see the connection in this case. If it was ‘ecumenical’ then one has to point out that there was no Free Church or Roman Catholic representation.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘We don’t need modern inventions which send people off in the wrong direction’

‘Whoever wants to be first of all must be servant of all…The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’.

That’s hardly a modern invention.

Richard
Guest
Richard

Read about Coptic Bishop Anba Angaelos on Wikipedia. There is an impressive listing of his service to many interfaith organizations. The Queen awarded him an OBE for services to international religious freedom.

Kate
Guest
Kate

‘Whoever wants to be first of all must be servant of all…The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’.

But that’s an explanation not an exhortation or commandment. So by all means include that in the address but in terms of exhortations stick to the one about love and drop the slogans which mislead by directing focus away from love.

I know Bishop Paul means well but I disagree with him nonetheless.

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I think he is a friend of Prince Charles who has shown a special concern for the diminishing and persecuted ancient churches of the Middle East.

crs
Guest
crs

“So was ‘love’, in the New Testament, but nowadays most people use it to describe an emotion.”

Just as “heart” in the OT meant the seat of the will, so too it has come to be identified with emotion. Feelings.

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

Archbishop Angaelos involvement can be seen as a gesture of solidarity with the persecuted Christians of the Middle East, 80% of whom are Coptic. Through his work on these issues he has become friends with Prince Charles who is also very concerned about their plight, taking seriously the Queen’s role as Defender of the Faith. He also shares Charles’ interest in Christian-Muslim dialog. As someone born in Egypt and raised in Australia he brought an African/Australasian dimension to a service dominated by Europe and America. He has succeeded Richard Chartres as President of the Bible Society Although General Bishop of… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Bishop Paul struck a number of wrong notes.

Among them: “as we submit to Christ’s rule in our lives….”

So much for a “liberating” God. And yes, I know we are meant to find perfect freedom in service. But I get a bit worried whenever anyone, much less a bishop, tells us that we should “submit.” And submit publicly, too, apparently….

Substitutionary atonement, mentioned above, meanwhile, is an ancient concept, but hardly one that has wide credibility or broad adherence. Theological guilt-tripping gets us nowhere.

Working Class Rev
Guest
Working Class Rev

Often read this blog and fascinated to see that no one has commented on the barriers to Ordained Ministry by more ordinary folk. I thought that article was so very true.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Concerning Paul Bayes: I am glad I am in the Diocese of Lichfield not Liverpool, for the reasons Jeremy cites, and more. My pastoral experience is that talk of Jesus often repels, whereas talk of God often intrigues. I could go on, but there’s no point: individual pastoral exchanges matter – prolixity does not. And substitutionary atonement is to me as abusive as anything can be. Working Class Rev: I wrote on another TA thread about my experiences as an Asst DDO. In short: I was sympathetic to candidates without post-school qualifications, they were ALL rejected by BAP, the bishop… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

“Submit”

Perhaps, he’d be happier in Islam, for which the key-word is “submit?”

David Runcorn
Guest

I am puzzled by the negative assumptions here about the word ‘submit’. To say I am a follower of Jesus is to say I seek to live in willing submission to his will and teachings. ‘Submit’ is a key Christian word too Mark Brunson. But is there any religion, spiritual system or way of life that does not require ‘submission’ to teaching, values or practices is there? The issue is not whether I ‘submit’ – but who or what I submit to and why. I would even argue that submission is core to the understanding of the work of substitution… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

A Nigerian bishop, Felix Orji, wrote an article that said that following regarding Bishop Curry’s address at the royal wedding: “I wish he had preached penal substitutionary atonement because that is the crux of the gospel”, adding that “royalty and celebrities … desperately needed the gospel”.

David Rowett
Guest
David Rowett

I don’t get Jezebel’s Trumpet these days, but the article on class barriers to ordination did ring true – except a little care does need to be taken. ‘Working class’ – at least on my memory of being brought up most emphatically working class (parental occupations semi-skilled, council house, etc)- embraces a multitude of categories. For some, the concerns expressed in the CT apply, for others they do not. It always struck me that barriers to further education were felt most keenly by those who lived under one or more of the following constraints: poverty; poor environment for home study… Read more »

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Guest

I thought “He died to save us all” — the conclusion of the hymn Curry cited, and which he said is the manifestation of divine Love — is Atonement language. How is it so many seem to have missed that?

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Tobias, to the extent we are parsing “There Is a Balm in Gilead” as an authoritative statement of atonement theology, you are misquoting it.

The last two lines of the refrain are:
“You can tell the love of Jesus,
And say He died for all.”

Which is not quite as atonement-y as your “died to save us” rewrite.

Besides, “save” begs the question, don’t you think? Atonement–dividing God into bloodthirsty Judge and innocent Victim–is not necessary to the concept of salvation.

Jesus saves us because he shows us–the crucifixion being the ultimate example–what love really is.

Kate
Guest
Kate

The shift work point is a good one, I think.

I think the threshold for ordination is set too high. We should lower it, ordain people and grant people PTOs with little or no training – selecting on personality and spiritual gifts not education. Those who want a permanent office / tenure etc can train for that *after* ordination. I don’t see why ordination requires much training, although I understand that offices do.

Marc S
Guest
Marc S

I met the Dean of Windsor many times when he was Bishop of Lynn. He is a delightful, amusing and unstuffy person – and was a loss to the diocese of Norwich when he went to Windsor. Had he preached, his personality would doubtless have shone through. His role in the royal wedding was confined to the introductory part of the wedding service and the final blessing; why he should be criticised for not making this as ‘exciting’ as a sermon is beyond me.

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

Marc, some of the criticism of the Dean was on his passive demeanour as Curry preached. I pointed out (on another forum) that when the preacher is situated behind you you can’t watch them, and if you move you run the risk of distracting people from the sermon.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

It’s possible to “submit” to love. Not a word choice I would use, but if submitting to love means practicing sacrificial, redemptive love, then great. In a pinch, I’m more likely to submit to the darker angels of my nature; it takes an act of faith to reverse that, and it doesn’t seem to me like “submitting.” Falling in love, however, can be submitting. It could be different in British-English. We (Brits and Americans) are, after all, two peoples separated by a common language. I find that especially true of theological speak. When Justin Welby gave a sermon here in… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Surely, the Dean of Windsor is one of the finest preachers in the Church of England – both theologically sound and spiritually uplifting. We should thank God for such a great proclaimer of the Good News of the Gospel.

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Guest

Jeremy, you are correct and I misremembered the verse. However, I think it still describes the Atonement — which does not require the substitutionary model (only one of many, including the Exemplary that you reference.) In all of these models, the cross is prominent, and the death of Christ as central to salvation — however it “works”; as you say, showing us what love really is. And that was Curry’s point. I understand salvation in the sense of healing — which is the point of the “balm in Gilead” hymn: anointing the primal wound of human separation from God, made… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Tobias – thanks. I think we agree on Curry’s point.

I also agree with Janet about the Dean’s dilemma. He was in the frame but facing another direction. That is a real pickle.

Like Janet I think he did right by being impassive and not moving–thus minimizing distraction. It was the responsible and indeed courteous approach.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Substitutionary atonement doesn’t have to be penal. ‘Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures’ doesn’t necessarily need to mean ‘Christ took the punishment for our sins according to the scriptures’. Joel Green and Mark Baker examine this and many other New Testament images of atonement in their very fine book ‘Recovering the Scandal of the Cross’ which I highly recommend.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“Jesus saves us because he shows us–the crucifixion being the ultimate example–what love really is.” I readily agree with this. I see no reason to invoke substitutionary atonement. During WWII, Chemin de la Liberté offered an escape route from occupied France over the Pyrenees. Like all high mountain passes it is dangerous if you don’t know the way, particularly in the dark. What you needed was a guide. Someone with exceptional survival skills who had pioneered the route and could show the way, either by guidiing escapees in person or by describing the route to them. Isn’t that what Jesus… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

No, David Runcorn, it isn’t. Sorry. “Love” is. “Follow” is. “Submission” is used most often in relation to civil authority. Slaves submit. Children love and follow. If you wish to use the actual word from the Scripture, hupotasso indicates a sort of military support, ordered under, or the idea of being in support of. Submission is mindless, unquestioning, and external. To support indicates, as Christ said, that the law is written on our hearts. “Obedience” can be said to be key to Christianity, but enforced obedience through mere submission is false obedience. We are enjoined to submit to events, to… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“Atonement–dividing God into bloodthirsty Judge and innocent Victim–is not necessary to the concept of salvation. Jesus saves us because he shows us–the crucifixion being the ultimate example–what love really is.” This account of the work of the Cross succeeds in being terribly inaccurate and also vapid. When Jesus himself says he comes to give his life as a ransom he doesn’t mean the Love Boat. A self-giving death on a Cross isn’t an “example” of anything. All great minds at work on grasping this fact — including even Abelard — avoided this error. Your complaint may be on extrapolations in… Read more »

David Runcorn
Guest

Mark Brunson. Thanks – but I wonder how you read Eph 5.21 then … ‘ ‘submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ’. This is a call to a mutual submission in community that imitates Christ (vs1 sets the context for this passage). A military or civil authority concept of submission is clearly not in mind here. In my posts I deliberately used words like loving, freely chosen, mutual, self giving to make clear I am distinguishing Christian submission to God and each other from something enforced or coercive. There are good and there are very bad forms… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

“Just as “heart” in the OT meant the seat of the will, so too it has come to be identified with emotion. Feelings.”

Christopher I think you must be reading a rather different Old Testament to the one I’ve been reading these last 59 years. Is there any other collection of books more descriptive of emotion and feelings?

crs
Guest
crs

Hi AG.

The seat of the emotions in Hebrew is the bowels.
KJV retains a lot of this in its literalistic psalter translation.

A good primer is HW Wolff’s Anthropology of the OT.

Hebrew leb (heart) is the seat of decision making. Will.

The point has nothing to do with emotionalism in the OT but following on from Tim Chesterton, how words like ‘love’ and ‘heart’ get morphed by readerships.

Let your reins rejoice.

Rowland Wateridge
Guest
Rowland Wateridge

My experience in various English cathedrals (and, for that matter, most churches) is that clergy remain impassive during a sermon by a visiting preacher. That seems totally appropriate. Isn’t all the fuss about the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Windsor just modern ‘hype’ – ignorant, disrespectful and unnecessary? This was a ‘Solemnisation of Holy Matrimony’ in contemporary form with the solemn parts (including, of course, the final blessing) properly solemn. Overall, the service was a joyful occasion and, surely, the two elements were complementary to each other.

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

“The point has nothing to do with emotionalism in the OT but following on from Tim Chesterton, how words like ‘love’ and ‘heart’ get morphed by readerships”

Pull the other one Christopher. I knew exactly what point you were making, and it wasn’t that.

All kinds of words get morphed – not just words like ‘love’ and ‘heart’ that you seem so petrified of. Haven’t you noticed? Read some Shakespeare.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Andrew, I’m rather surprised at your reaction. Neither CRS nor I are downplaying the importance or role of emotion (I’m a folk musician, how could I???). We’re simply saying that the biblical authors tended not to use the word ‘heart’ to symbolize it. As CRS says, they used the bowels instead (hence the KJV ‘bowels of mercy’ – or, to use the contemporary N. American phrase, ‘scared s__tless’!).

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

David Runcorn, the word ‘submit’ has come to have negative associations because of its use by various sects and branches of the. Church to enforce inequality and abuse of power by leaders and others. For instance, some insist on the submission of women, and especially of wives to their husbands. This scenario has arguably fed into domestic violence and abuse. Others enforce submission to pastor, priest, elders, or other leaders, often leading to spiritual abuse. House churches, networks like the North Circuit, Abundant Life & Coastlands, and various cults have done this. And iota course it has negative and frightening… Read more »

John Roch
Guest
John Roch

Blest is the man whose bowels move,
And melt with pity to the poor,
Whose soul by sympathizing love,
Feels what his fellow saints endure.

His heart contrives for their relief
More good than his own hands can do;
He in the time of general grief,
Shall find the Lord has bowels, too.

His soul shall live secure on earth,
With secret blessings on his head,
When drought, and pestilence and death
Around him multiply their dead.

Or if he languish on his couch,
God will pronounce his sins forgiv’n;
Will save him with a healing touch,
Or take his willing soul to Heav’n.

Isaac Watts

David Runcorn
Guest

Janet Fife I completely agree with you and only use this word with great care. I joined this discussion to respond to the idea the word ‘submit’ was not a Christian one at all. It is – but it is not the only word traditionally used to express Christian life and following that is not fraught with difficulty – obedience, sin and repentance, service, Father, Lord, authority, self denial etc. But whilst there may be times we feel we cannot use some of them at all, we are not at liberty to set aside the challenge of their content. I’m… Read more »

crs
Guest
crs

“…not just words like ‘love’ and ‘heart’ that you seem so petrified of” — quoi?

You do seem to get worked up.

One lovely Hebraism is rehem (for compassion). Derived from “womb.”

I do recommend Wolff’s fine book. All emotions in Hebrew are psychosomatic, not abstractions.

Blessings on your day in Exeter!