Monday, 9 October 2006

CofE bishops feel marginalised by government

Jonathan Wynne-Jones had an exclusive in the Sunday Telegraph headlined Drive for multi-faith Britain deepens rifts, says Church.

The BBC followed up on this by interviewing the Bishop of Hulme, Stephen Lowe:

According to the Sunday Telegraph, “The Church of England has delivered an astonishing assault on ministers’ attempts to turn Britain into a multifaith society”. The criticisms are said to come from a confidential church document written by The Archbishop of Canterbury’s interfaith adviser and discussed at a House of Bishop’s meeting last week. The document is reported as saying that the drive to make minority faith communities more integrated has backfired, that the Muslim community has been given privileged attention and that the Church of England has been sidelined. Roger [Bolton] is joined by the Bishop of Hulme, Stephen Lowe, who was this week appointed as the first Church of England Bishop for Urban Life and Faith and who has seen the document.
Listen (4m 14s).

The BBC website reported this too: Bishop defends multi-faith fears

The Church of England issued this official response today: Community cohesion: a response to media coverage. More on the CofE’s Inter Faith Relations here.

Ekklesia’s report is headlined Church advisor complains of marginalisation by Government

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 9 October 2006 at 4:00pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

Shades of the Pope here. An obscure speech or meeting designed to encourage internal dialogue becomes public knowledge and causes a reaction.

This is not the first time Anglicans have gotten into trouble for how they talk about other faiths. There was furore in one diocese back in 2003 for how they were prosletysing around Jews. That Archbishop's response was that they were there to save souls, and the concerns of other's weren't their problem. I suppose when you have a utopian vision that God is going to obliterate everyone else, you don't have to worry about coexistence (we'll just ignore all the biblical passages that talk about hospitality or tolerance to boundaries with "the other" e.g. Jeremiah 35).

In these debates there are two extremisms that are a problem. One is State sponsored religions justifying the repression or limitation of the alternatives. The other is the underdog religions seeking to prosletyse with the intention of overthrowing the other. There are passive and active variants, with covert and overt agendas. The problem is not in the diversity, the problem is in an agenda to wipe out the diversity. The former is part of a stable ecosystem, the other is an overly aggressive weed that the farmer needs to manage.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 9 October 2006 at 5:36pm BST

English bishops feel marginalised ……. Ahh, I am so sorry – I know just how they must feel ..

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 9 October 2006 at 9:40pm BST

What utter rubbish!

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 10 October 2006 at 6:45am BST

Anyone who thinks the British Government's attention to its Muslim community is a form of *privilege* hasn't been paying attention (and I'd like to think that the ability to pay attention would be a necessary skill for a bishop.)

Posted by: lizw on Tuesday, 10 October 2006 at 12:48pm BST

I call this self-marginalisation! As a body they are absolutely wet, inept and supine. What is their problem ? Do they fear losing their posts or what ? They should either speak up and out as a body-- or else the liberal majority need to speak and act for liberal issues--women, role of so-called 'laity' (the majority!), lgbt people and issues of sexual understanding and relationships. As well as spirituality, Bible, social action, justice & peace in a liberal context.

And especially, pastoral care and counselling --THE shamefully neglected tool of understanding and self reflexiveness. Theye were never too keen on people thinking for themselves and owning their feelings --let alone the liberated clergy and laity this movemnet enables. We know Tom Butler drove the Director of Patoral Care & Counselling to resignation over his treatment of clergy like shit; and we know that he closed PC & C down in Southwark Diocese as soon as she had left.

Without Southwark P C & C, I should never have been able to train as an analytical psychotherapist --and leave the employment of the C of E without it !

Why are the books of John Foskett,Michael Jacobs, Peter Speck, Mary Ann Coate,Derek Blows, Christopher Perry,Ian Ainsworth-Smith and Sue Waldrond-Skinne r-- all published by SPCK --- not being read in theological courses and colleges ? And why isn't the inner world of psyche and feelings properly addressed ?

This world of feelings terrifies the bishops (and many clergy) as much as the world of having sex and falling in love and lust....

Come back pastoral realists and / or visionaries like Una Kroll, Mervyn Stockwood, John Robinson, Monica Furlong,John XX111,Don Cupitt,Malcolm Johnson, Donald Soper,Thomas Merton, Norman Pittenger,David Randle,Pat Given, Mick (Maureen) Moss, nd William Temple !

AWAY with grey and marginal areas ! Take courage ! Take heart !

Posted by: laurence roberts on Tuesday, 10 October 2006 at 12:54pm BST

laurence roberts --

Considering how bishops are chosen in the C of E, I am not sure what you propose is possible -- saying something besides platitudes (or growing shoulders) might make somebody you-pee-ess-ee-tee, and then what would happen? (Not that there's much chance that this bench of bishops will give us a chance to find out)

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Tuesday, 10 October 2006 at 4:18pm BST

I see what you mean PA.
but some of them are good individually, it seems to me, but something seems to grind them down.

Thinking of it maybe they feel unsupported themselves--that could be a great problem. If they are unhappy or stressed...

i do think disestablishment would have an amazing effect !

Posted by: laurence roberts on Tuesday, 10 October 2006 at 5:25pm BST

The CofE becomes more pathetic and deserving of contempt every day.

They are the bloody Established Church! Its not OUR fault if they can't keep up with reality.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 10 October 2006 at 5:41pm BST

I heard a joke from a church leader a while ago. "No emotions please. We're Anglican."

The appalling neglect of psychology and psychiatry in terms of theological contemplation reflects insular thinkers who think that whenever someone throws an insult their way (Freud threw a few) that they should throw out the baby, the water, and the bathtub.

Shunning the world and reality because it isn't nice to us hinders our ability to help the world. "We are in the world but not of the world and are here for the world" to quote/paraphrase a speech from a recent Christian women's conference (remember the article but not where I found it).

Christianity (and all the faiths) are at their best when they can cope with reality and seek to bring out the best and wisest lessons from whatever humanity is facing or learning at the time. For example, we have a chance to offer moral fibre to the stem cell/human cloning debates. But we can not "add value" if we hide because some scientists are sponsored to do unscrupulous things. We can not "add value" to psychology/psychiatry because we are frightened of how our institutions and priests will have to deal with our internal manifestations of human dysfunctions. We can "add value" by understanding that large numbers of people will involve the full gamet of human behaviours, and that we need to understand what humans might do and put in place systems and moral underpinnings to protect from dysfunctional behaviours. (And I am sorry but love between two monogamous souls is not dysfunctional - it is as God intended).

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 10 October 2006 at 6:50pm BST

Thanks,Cheryl--and especially when one reflects that psyche means soul, as well as butterfly. And butterfly is an apt and beautiful image for the metamorphosis of soul.

Yes, Freud issued a challenge to religion. And CG Jung challeneged the very Churches themselves !

Posted by: laurence roberts on Wednesday, 11 October 2006 at 12:32pm BST
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