Saturday, 1 April 2006

columns of comment

Apologies to anyone who noticed this weekly feature was omitted last Saturday when I was on holiday. The most significant article it would have contained was the Guardian Face to Faith written by Marilyn McCord Adams that carried this strap Liberal Anglicans should not sacrifice their beliefs in order to hold on to church unity at all costs.

During the week Madeleine Bunting wrote a Guardian column Why the intelligent design lobby thanks God for Richard Dawkins. Today, the Face to Faith column is written by Colin Sedgwick and is about why Trying to be hilarious by being hurtful to other people or by being crude is really no laughing matter.

Over at The Times Jonathan Romain wonders how Moses would have coped with the duplicity of the internet age in Electronic false prophets tell lies in His name. Geoffrey Rowell writes that Christian Communion celebrates love in the midst of Man’s betrayal.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about An elephant in the Tower.

The BBC Sunday radio programme had a splendid 5 minute piece by Diarmaid MacCulloch on the 450th anniversary of the death of Thomas Cranmer. Listen here (Real audio).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 1 April 2006 at 12:40pm BST | TrackBack
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The Revd Professor appears to be making the case for liberal purity in the CofE !

But "equality=sameness" and "do what you want as long as it doesn't hurt anyone" are recent humanist inventions; they are not built on Christian foundations, and the CofE is supposed to be a Christian church....

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 1 April 2006 at 3:15pm BST

I thought McCord Adams' article was excellent. It really is about time that liberals stopped being in the least apologetic and defended the very necessary revisions needed given the inadequacy and limitations of many 'traditional' or conservative positions.

After all, there are plenty of other denominations willing to defend conservative orthodoxy. We should be prepared to say exactly what we think or it and why.

Posted by: Merseymike on Saturday, 1 April 2006 at 5:58pm BST

I am becoming more and more intrigued by this reasserting business, reasserting the same talking points year in and year out, without ever appearing to listen or taking any notice of what others might have to say or contribute.

How is it that modern “recent humanist inventions” are not built on Christian foundations?

How can they not be built on 2000 years of Christian Tradition and the Gospel of God’s Righteousness in Christ?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 1 April 2006 at 6:16pm BST

McCord's article was excellent.

I also agree with the comments about Richard Dawkins and those of his camp being some of ID's best tools. I've read "River out of Eden" and at one level it is scientifically valid - it also leads on to feeling as depressed as if one had just read a nihilistic Camus novel.

One debate strategy I'm seeing develop (and it's probably been there all along and I was just too slow to see it) is the if you say "X" that means you think "Y & Z". That is, there are people with sloppy thinking who try to categorise everyone into simple chunks and then dismiss by association. In the evolution debate they use Dawkins and then state "if you accept evolution" that means "you agree with Dawkins that there is no God". They then rely on controlling the means of communication (e.g. internet sites, journals, parish flyers) so that you never have a chance to clarify your opinion. (I know, I was shut down from one conservative website because I wouldn't play their games and they couldn't win the debates. After I was shut down, they then had a round of "intellectual victories" to which I had posted no answers, so they could tell their peers and parishioners that they had "dusted me off". When in actual fact they were throwing darts at a cardboard cutout with no means to respond or defend themself. Reminds me of Habbakuk 1:4 "Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.")

Liberals need to understand there are these duplicitous and underhanded debating techiques, train people to recognise them, and refuse to allow others to stereotype us. I was thinking about this overnight and thinking it's a bit like a violent misogymist (you know, the kind of man who dates a girl and when she does something wrong that proves "she's just like all the others" goes on to attack her because she (and all women) "deserve it"). There is a layer of power hungry ultra-puritans who if you substitute the word "unrepentant sinner" you would find a remarkable parallel in how they handle differences and fail to demonstrate basic respect.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Saturday, 1 April 2006 at 10:04pm BST

"Liberal beliefs - that conservative positions on gender and sexuality evidence the grip of oppressive taboos - are also conscientious. Sacrificing such beliefs in order to hang on to already impaired communion with those who will remain only if you do what they tell you sends the message that dividing the church is more sinful than misogyny and homophobia, and more important than first-class ecclesial citizenship for women and for homosexual Christians. Conservatives thereby win a double victory: not only do they co-opt the church's institutional structures; they confirm the widespread suspicion that liberals do not have enough backbone to be conscientious at all."

*So* well put. Brava, Marilyn McCord Adams!

Conservatives are always mandating "Tough Love" on liberals (esp. when they are LGBT). I think it's time to see if conservatives can *take it*, as well as they dish it out!

"Love your neighbor (even if LGBT) as yourself" and "Honor your mother (in the Church)" aren't suggestions: they're COMMANDMENTS. To compromise these essentials of The Faith isn't a road to unity, but to apostasy. If any Anglican isn't willing to follow them, they need to find another religion. Go in peace, and God speed!

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Sunday, 2 April 2006 at 5:51am BST

While waiting for evening service to start I happened to open the hard cover service booklet to the articles of the communion and article XX caught my attention. For those who haven't read them recently here is a useful link: http://anglicansonline.org/basics/thirty-nine_articles.html

What particularly interested me was article XX is on the the Authority of the Church and concludes with : "Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation."

So according to the original articles the church should NOT ENFORCE ANY THING to be believed for the necessity of Salvation. This would be consistent with the argument that Grace is unilaterally granted by God, and not earnt by our works or beliefs, for either ourselves nor as imposed on others.

Could it not be said that telling homosexuals they must either be celibate and/or should be denied the opportunity for the possibility of life-long monogamous relationships is actually enforcing something to be accepted (and thus by implication believed)? Is that not in direct contradiction with article XX? Especially when the church classifies such people as "unrepentant sinners" who are thus denied access to heaven because they have rebelled against God's authority (there is a corollary by those who demand submissive stereotyped women).

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 2 April 2006 at 1:46pm BST

Cheryl Clough asserts:
"So according to the original articles the church should NOT ENFORCE ANY THING to be believed for the necessity of Salvation."

Errr, no, not quite. Read the sentence you cited, Cheryl:
"Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation."
Note those three words "beside the same". "The same" is Holy Writ, and the article is simply saying that nothing can be enforced as necessary to salvation unless it can be found in Scripture. The classic example would be the Assumption of the BVM, which "moderate catholic" Anglicans would argue is a legitimate pious opinion, but should not be enforced as a dogma.

Posted by: Alan Harrison on Monday, 3 April 2006 at 5:17pm BST
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