Saturday, 14 April 2007

comment columns

In The Times Luis Rodriguez who is an Anglican priest writes that the Church will find a special place for its scapegoats — again.

In the Daily Telegraph Christopher Howse asks How did the death of Jesus save us?

In the Guardian Nicholas Buxton, an ordinand at Stephen’s House, writes the Face to Faith column.

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times about The great thanksgiving at sunrise.

There is an excellent article in The New Yorker by Jane Kramer on The Pope and Islam.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 14 April 2007 at 12:06pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion
Comments

Luis Rodriguez' beautifully written piece is a model of clear thinking and analysis.

Scape-goating is indeed the key to current Anglican events, which otherwise would be inexplicable to us.

Those who baulk at the Enlightenment and find its intellectual and spiritual demands on them personally, too painful, too traumatic should not in truth, be in charge of the whole religious enterprise. To go on believing the same thing, in a different age, is to believe something different. Alas, there can be no standing still. 'The faith once delivered' looks and is different in the 21st century, and cannot 'speak to our condition' -- quite apart from the clear signs of the ravages of time-- fraying,shrinkage, colour fading, depredations of moth.....

If we ignore the work of Julian of Norwich, Giordano Bruno, Cervantes,Galileo,Darwin,Kierkegaard,DF Strauss, Einstein, Freud, Jung and Daphne Hampson it does not mean it ceases to exist, its challenge to our culture(s) continues ...

Most of these people were Christians --even ordained and Religious, as in the case of Bruno, whom they burnt at the stake. Can we today, not learn to turn down the heat on the creative efforts of others?

And yes, Rodriguez is surely right --the ministry of Robinson will be commemorated along with Seabury, Absolom Jones and Lee Tim Oi.......

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Saturday, 14 April 2007 at 2:31pm BST

Beautiful meditation by Giles Fraser---one that very much makes me wish I could visit London again! (As I did once, long ago...)

No matter: HE IS RISEN just as much in my rustbelt town in the American Midwest, as "on the bosom of the silver Thames". Alleluia! :-D

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 14 April 2007 at 9:13pm BST

Thanks Simon, they are a nice set of articles.

I confess to the Pope article being a bit too long for me. Partly because I think that Jane is correct that it is two peas in a pod trying to be the king pea. Sibling rivalry, which is where I think some evangelicals might have gone off the rails. They are looking at strong authoritative structures and covetting it for themselves. This is a tragedy, we need to understand that peas knocking each other off (with either words or weapons) risks the all the crops not reaching fruition. The skills of being able to communicate and cooperate with people (many whom you may not personally like) within the Communion is the same skill set required to liaise with the rest of the world.

Scape goating, accusations, intimidation, censorship and violence do not build safe individuals, families, communities, societies or civilisations.

The dynamics of "black noir" attempts at suppression of evidence of the possibilities of cooperation are not confined within the Anglican Communion, as this article very effectively demonstrates http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/dancing_or_denouncing_in_the_world_wide_earthquake_muslims_christians_jews/0013740

At one point the author wrote "Slander is a quasi-military response if in fact you cannot use outright violence... Slander is intended to terrorize at the political and psychological level, to make people shut up... If the troubling folks shut up, maybe the earthquake will go away."

Similarly, using emotional blackmail and erronous assumptions is another attempt to shut people up, as this article points out http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/tony_greenstein/2007/04/an_attack_on_free_speech.html

It is not against God to expose cruelty and corruption of priests. It is not against a religion to point out that some of its priests have become abusive and collusive with violence perpetuated by themselves and/or others.

Hiding the evidence of attempts to cooperate or treat others with dignity condemns the censors as political opportunists.

Bullies often rely on their victims not talking or cooperating with each other. If you are told to behave so that your cousins do not starve, the bullies don't want you to know that they are starving anyway, nor do they want your cousins to know that you are also suffering. Unethical rulers will stir up dissension amongst the minions, because it enables them to indulge themselves without accountability for the cruelty or burdens of their taxes and systems.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Saturday, 14 April 2007 at 11:49pm BST

What the New Yorker does not say is what happens after a big figure has been in religious leadership, one who has taken authority into his person and inevitably does some shortcuts going about the leadership business.

Inevitably charsimatic authority is replaced by traditional and even rational, and this is what this Pope has done. Those (like me) who have looked at the development of the Bahai faith as a model of understanding how religions develop see how a charismatic leader called Abdul Baha (and who also travelled all over) was replaced in essence by a bureaucrat and someone who installed order. This is what this Pope is doing. Plus there is also continuity from the last days of the big man to one who invests in the office, in more rationality and order.

It does not surprise me to learn that this Pope had conversation with Jurgen Habermas. Habermas sidelines religion to tradition, and disqualifies religion from rationality. Habermas sees disinterested rationality as a means to truth, the last modernist - almost. That must appeal to Benedict, who wants to climb aboard and produce a Roman Catholic version.

And no doubt Rowan Williams finds Benedict's project immensely appealing, appealing to his own rationality and his own vision of unity. Though Williams has pursued a different view of rationality: his secular conversation partner has been Philip Pullman, to do with narrative. To some extent Williams is doing the Pope's work at communion level, trying to mould communion and produce order. All it does, though, is expose the plurality at the heart of Anglicanism, which must frustrate Rowan Williams and his view of episcopacy and real presence.

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 15 April 2007 at 1:10am BST

Yes - Fr. Rodriguez is correct about scapegoating, though the article could have done without what seems to me a naive and gratuitous introduction of the roll call of honour - Gore, Temple and Ramsey. Such a GCSE approach simply detracts from what is essentially a good and simple point.

Posted by: Neil on Sunday, 15 April 2007 at 10:59pm BST

Pluralist, I agree with you. A couple of my postings this morning parallel your thinking. I would have modified them to refer to your posting, if I had seen it first :-)

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 15 April 2007 at 11:53pm BST
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