Saturday, 11 August 2007

opinions of the week

Christopher Howse visited Thornham Parva and reports, in Masterpiece in a country church.

Peter Thompson, writing the Face to Faith column in the Guardian says that Religion is not a delusion but a quest for ‘home’.

Joel Edwards writes about being an Evangelical with a capital E in the Credo column of The Times, Ever heard the one about Jesus and the good news?

In the Church Times Giles Fraser thinks that Harry Potter is a true evangelist.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 11 August 2007 at 8:38am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

I'm not sure what progressive religion atheist Peter Thompson is offering that therefore functions against a supposedly Aunt Sally atheism of Dawkins and Hitchens. Dawkins ahas a place for aesthetic appreciation and will debate quite reasonably with people like Richard Harries, one time Bishop of Oxford, so I think the Aunt Sally might be a Straw Man.

Good to see some reasonableness in the Rev Joel Edwards and heading the Evangelical Alliance.

Posted by: Pluralist on Saturday, 11 August 2007 at 7:58pm BST

Goodness, Christ in Harry Potter and the devil in 'God Hates Faggots' evangelicals, per Joel Edwards. So it would seem that Christian Religion today is very far from God indeed. In Great Britain they would say 'bang on', here in the U.S., if there are any of us left to say it, it would be 'right on'.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Saturday, 11 August 2007 at 8:11pm BST


I am assuming this is a tongue in cheek posting?

Better to be Harry Potter who hates bullying, viciousness and cruelty; than an elitist puritan who thinks it is okay to hurt souls physically or otherwise. I once caused a priest to blush (God bless his soul for having righteousness) that if a parent can't trust a church to look after their child's feelings; then why would they trust them with something more important (like their soul).

Those who pronounce that God hates faggots, holds a grudge against women, despises the afflicted are not consistent with Jesus' exhortation to love both our friends and our enemies; and to seek reconciliation lest we be thrown into jail for not paying the last penny.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 12 August 2007 at 11:29am BST

I'm not exactly a Potter fan, but my friends and I were debating whether or not Harry would make it. as per the Greek tragedies, he should die, at the height of his glory - that was my take. however, this is a children's series, and so perhaps he should live - although, having many of his friends die is surely a heavy price for victory.

interesting to see that JK Rowling took the salvation theme. I honestly found the film Lion, Witch & Wardrobe (didn't read the book) to be a little cheesy, the Christian theme of salvation dressed up with special effects and militarized. however, it does go to show how deeply embedded that narrative is in our culture, and how well we respond to it.

Posted by: Weiwen on Sunday, 12 August 2007 at 12:24pm BST

Dr Who also joined Harry Potter in having a Christian theme - the Master in his wickedness defeated by a simple chant organised by his assistant walking about the earth that resurrected the Doctor via a kind of glory, who (then restored) decided to forgive the Master, and the Master unable to be contained and looked after for the rest of time decided to do away with himself rather than regenerate.

There are only so many stories to go around and come around, with variations.

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 12 August 2007 at 2:16pm BST

Cheryl: Actually I was making a (probably poorly) statement of how far organized religion is far off the mark in Christ's message. That the message of salvation, redemption and honor are found in a series of children's books, while those who obviously call themselves Christians are very far from it.

In the late 1990's, fundamentalist groups where petitioning public school and library boards across the states to ban, burn and prohibit the creations of J. K. Rowling's. In many towns they were successful, but it also instilled a thirst for the rebellious to read them anyhow. So much for the energy spent on those actions.

The same could be said for the ultra-zealous anti-gay groups, such as Fred Phelps and his flock, whose tactics turned many off and actually helped the LGBT cause, out of sympathy, in this part of the world. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, and the focusing on LGBT people got many state admendments to prohibit LGBT unions, let alone marriages in a good number of them.

These same people that wear their "Christianity" on their collective sleeves are battling today against hate crime bills (legislative acts to be put into law) that would protect LGBT people by including them against acts of violence based upon discrimination. Something about "by their acts, ye shall know them..." comes to mind. In this sense Joel Edwards hits the nail on the head.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Sunday, 12 August 2007 at 7:33pm BST


"In many towns they were successful, but it also instilled a thirst for the rebellious to read them anyhow."

Reminds me of when the gospel of Jesus was first published and the word of his teachings went out. The authorities and established priests tried to thwart, but it took on a life of its own.

Personally, I love when people use biblical imagery or parables as the structure for writing plays/movies/novels (even if they have done it unintentionally). It creates doorways where one can introduce the relevant bible book to someone who liked the story.

It's also the reason I like science fiction/fantasy: souls can look at the parable and empathise or dislike based on the character of the scenario without then extrapolating that back to someone in this world. So for example, with the Holocaust, everyone tried to say it was something peculiar to the German psyche; or some Palestinian empathisers might argue today peculiar to the Jewish psyche, or the Arab psyche or whatever.

But when you read something such as Harry Potter, Narnia, or Lord of the Rings, you relate to the role the character is fulfilling and don't ascribe it to a particular nationality or tribe.

One fallacy that some organised religions have is an assumption that because they flatter Jesus, Jesus will protect them from making the same mistakes as the Jews. History has proven that invalid and it forgets that God works through and with souls, and that things are more beautiful when souls cooperate.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 12 August 2007 at 10:55pm BST talk of Christ's message....but do you accept everything he said (eg on sin and judgment too)?

Or have you made up a Christ who says what you want to hear?

Posted by: NP on Monday, 13 August 2007 at 7:00am BST


Don't know about Choirboy but how about "“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37

Or Matthew 7:1-6 which includes "“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Which is consistent with James 2:12-13 "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!"

Or James 5:7-12 which includes " patient and stand firm... Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned."

Which is consistent with Jesus' word in Luke 12:57-57 "“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison."

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 13 August 2007 at 8:37am BST


My posting of applies here too.


Stop attacking. In your judgement, you find yourself judged.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 13 August 2007 at 8:38am BST

Cheryl....I am not sure what s"Gaia" says about this issue but you too are ignoring all the verses which say we must judge teaching and teachers must meet God's standards....why is that?

You should be familiar with verses warning us to beware of wolves looking like sheep and verses saying leave unbelieving areas, shaking dust off feet...we are told be wise and make these judgments.....this is not the same as judging someone's salvation - hope you understand that.

We are not to judge on a person's salvation - yes BUT we are all certainly told (eg 1Cor5:12) to judge whether teaching is good or false and whether leaders are worthy or unworthy....again, by God's standards (not mine or yours)

Posted by: NP on Monday, 13 August 2007 at 10:47am BST

You make the assumption that 'God' has 'standards'...which, surprise, surprise, coincide with your opinions!

We are back to the simplistic pre-modern view of Daddy God in the Sky who is some sort of big human directing the world from above.

Can't wee grow up a bit and consign this to the nursery school?

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 13 August 2007 at 12:03pm BST

" talk of Christ's message....but do you accept everything he said (eg on sin and judgment too)?"-NP

That's a very personal question. What relevance does it pertain to in this thread? I believe the subject was about Harry Potter and the morphing of evangelicals into neo-facists and not my personal acceptance or non-acceptance of Christ's teachings.

You have proven Edwards's column very well.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Monday, 13 August 2007 at 1:32pm BST

Merseymike...yes, no surprise because (like the Church of England), I am going by the standards we find in the may not know this but the CofE actually states its belief in the said book and has standards for leaders which do not aim to please non-Anglicans with a particular bent (eg you) but actually to be faithfull to God's standards as set out in his word.

Posted by: NP on Monday, 13 August 2007 at 4:38pm BST

choirboy....the pathetic thing is that when you find out that Edwards is actually very conservative on the issue which dominates round here, you will not be so keen on what he has said.

Posted by: NP on Monday, 13 August 2007 at 4:40pm BST

God does not end the narrative (e.g. Daniel 12:4), God will continue to reveal as and when there is a need. Possible demise of an entire biosphere definitely constitutes a need. Some wolves like to terrorize their victims before they kill. There is a difference between a protective mother wanting the best for ALL her children and an Esau who plunders and murders. Jesus shows a protectiveness for prophets e.g. Luke 11:47-52 or Luke 24:25 “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”

1 Corinthians 3 "…I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants... I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it… since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not… acting like mere men?... Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?... the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight...“He catches the wise in their craftiness”... "

Hebrews 5:11 to 6:1 "We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature... Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts..."

Isaiah 55:8-12 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts... my word... will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace..."

Ezekiel 20:39-44 "Go and serve your idols... But afterward you will surely listen... I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations... you will remember your conduct… and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done. You will know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name’s sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices...”

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 13 August 2007 at 10:22pm BST

well done, Cheryl....lovely verses but you have not got us to any conclusion......

-for a start, you do not address the point I made i.e. we are told to judge teaching and not accept false teachers (you misapply the "do not judge" statements)

- secondly, since you like finding verses, please find me a verse to prove Lambeth 1.10 is wrong if you want me to accept VGR et al;
(a verse from the bible, not Gaia please)

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 at 11:09am BST

" secondly, since you like finding verses, please find me a verse to prove Lambeth 1.10 is wrong if you want me to accept VGR et al;"

There isn't one that would be acceptable to a legalistic mind and a cold heart.

But then, Jesus came to free us from those approaches to God.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 at 2:26pm BST

Well NP, you can start with the gospel of Matthew and when you've finished with that you can go on with Mark...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 at 4:12pm BST

Erika says "There isn't one that would be acceptable to a legalistic mind and a cold heart" with regard to my request for any verse to contradict the interpretation of the Bible agreed on by all the Anglican bishops in 1998, found in Lambeth 1.10 would have been correct if you said "There isn't one" ....full stop.

Maybe only those who want to read a special exemption can see it....given the words are not there to justify such an exemption. know I did not write Lambeth 1.10....but it is based on the interpretation of the BIble of the bishops of the AC who voted for it!

Pls look at why most of them voted as they did in 1998 and why there would still be a majority for the same interpretation of the bible if the same question was asked today. People are not merely stating their preferences or making it up - they are striving to be faithful to their scriptures and Anglican tradition....

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 at 5:26pm BST


You and I will never agree. You consider me to be a false teacher and I you in kind.

The difference between you and I is that I welcome anyone who would come to the communion table and seek to put their lives in order. Further, I would reform the churches, the state and families so that individuals are not abused and desist from being abusive.

I would start with not throwing accusations or passing judgements, as none of us are without sin and all have fallen short of God's glory. I encourage people to make the most of their circumstances, but if they are too abusive ensure there are alternatives where souls can flee to escape the cruel and abusive. That means finding churches that nurture and protect the vulnerable, and refrain from insulting their parishioners, just in case they have come for respite from the brutality.

It is false teaching to insult or accuse people from the pulpit, it brings dishonor to God's name. That your church does not rebuke you tells me that your churh is indifferent to cruelty done to its members. The beauty of the last few years is that we see the evidence of priests colluding to ostracise and quench the holy spark on its own parishioners. The world looks on with disgust and knows this is not Jesus' teachings but a perversion.

Jeremiah 17:27 If you do not honor the Sabbath and refrain from placing burdens upon souls (including psychological or emotional guilt tripping and accusations) then God "will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume" the corrupt priests. See also Matthew 3:12 or Luke 3:17.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 14 August 2007 at 10:39pm BST

"Pls look at why most of them voted as they did in 1998 and why there would still be a majority for the same interpretation of the bible if the same question was asked today. People are not merely stating their preferences or making it up - they are striving to be faithful to their scriptures and Anglican tradition...."

Well NP, believe this if you will...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 15 August 2007 at 6:22am BST

Cheryl, Goran .... you are aware that Lambeth 1.10 is the teaching of the Church of England, right??

There is no church endorsing MY views!
I am sticking to the stated positions of the Church of England, based on scripture!

Goran - I would love to see another vote....note that Changing Attitude et al do not campaign for this as they would lose by a large majority (again)

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 15 August 2007 at 9:01am BST

Why do you believe that the Church of England has formally adopted as part of its "teaching" that Lambeth resolution?
That would require action by the General Synod.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 15 August 2007 at 9:16am BST

Simon....simply because the the resolution was saying nothing re-stated the church's understanding of scripture and the resultant standards required of clergy......all the resolution said was in effect that the CofE was not deviating from 2000 years of Christian teaching and tradition on a particular issue. Formal adoption of a resolution which said the opposite to this would have been needed!

The ABC says that Lambeth 1.10 represents the "mind of the Commuion" so I believe the CofE has not changed its interpretation of the bible despite his past writings......

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 15 August 2007 at 9:37am BST

Lambeth 1.10 is a political machination. We have seen in the from recent Nigerian Church representative elections, Tanzania and elsewhere that some souls seem to relish organisational political manouvering in forms that would make a Stalinist proud.

Lambeth 1.10 might be some bishops' teaching, but it is not Jesus nor the oral or written tradition from the Torah in which Jesus was groomed.

As Simon pointed out earlier, Robinson was ordained BEFORE Lambeth 1.10. Robinson is human, he is honest, he does not hide what he is.

NP might be male or female, might be human, and lacks the balls to show what s/he really is.

NP = Non Person, Non Priestly, Not Principled

We were asked several months ago to drop pseudonyms. Most contributors have shown integrity in this regard.

Abusive husbands beat up their wives behind closed doors, Klu Klux Klan wore gowns to hide their identity, internet abusers use pseudonyms.

If you are not prepared to have known by your name with your postings, doesn't that tell you that you probably shouldn't be doing the postings in the first place.

The worst kind of criminal is the one who does not see that they have done wrong and is sociopathically indifferent to their victims' suffering unless it satisfies some sadistic whim.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Wednesday, 15 August 2007 at 12:22pm BST

Lambeth 1.10 is the machinations of some church officials. It does not represent the teachings of Jesus nor the Torah.

It represents the political machinery of limited bishops seeking to conserve the status quo and their "status", irregardless of its cost to humanity's ecological viability, the degradation of women or the abuse of the vulnerable (including women, the afflicted or children).

Those who cling to elitism are stating they condone abuse of the "outcaste" or "unworthy". They demostrate a fundamental lack of faith in God to redeem the righteous, irregardless of "who they know" or "what they have done".

It relies on a presumption that no woman of any capability is ever capable of teaching any male no matter their paucity. Thus in kind it dismisses the outcaste and afflicted with no respect for how they fit into God's plahs, which transcend any human's or any galaxy.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Thursday, 16 August 2007 at 11:25am BST

NP wrote: "Cheryl, Goran .... you are aware that Lambeth 1.10 is the teaching of the Church of England, right??"


Lambeth I.10 1998 is one paragraph out of 15 resolutions of the 1998 Lambeth conference.

There are dozens of resolutions and hundreds of paragraphs.

Now, Lambeth conferences are tea and cakes, not Councils of the Church Catholic. They do not issue "teachings".

Nor is the Lambeth conference the Church of England.

So sorry, there is no "stated position".

Nor does the Church of England have anything more or other than a discussion paper. It is called Some Issues in Human Sexuality. Nothing happened after its publication, so it is severely dated by now...

There is no church endorsing MY views!
I am sticking to the stated positions of the Church of England, based on scripture!

"I would love to see another vote..."

A vote would require a listening process fullfilled, as per resolution of Lambeth 1988. There is no such thing.

Hopefully the Lambeth conference has learned its lesson from past failures, and will not be issuing any more "resolutions" in the future.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 16 August 2007 at 12:08pm BST know that old liberal Rowan Williams who is the Archbishop of Canterbury?
He says Lambeth 1.10 "represents the mind of The Communion"

I trust his judgment more than yours....

Posted by: NP on Friday, 17 August 2007 at 9:00am BST

Sorry NP, but "the mind of the communion" (= the bishops assembled at Lambeth conf.) does not mean either "law", "teaching" or any of the things you like to say.

There is something seriously wrong with your reading abilities.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 17 August 2007 at 4:55pm BST

Goran..amusing to have my comprehension challenged by you....anyway, have you noticed that the ABC's ACTIONS have not been to contradict "the mind of the Communion" in the last few years????

Posted by: NP on Monday, 20 August 2007 at 2:39pm BST

Actio? Contradiction!

I haven't noticed him doing very much in the last years, Lambeth 2008 invitations apart...

Not very pleasing to the minds of the Communion, it seems ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 21 August 2007 at 6:21am BST

NP - it is "general mind of the communion" plus:

_But there are nonetheless two things that I believe will be relevant and helpful to bear in mind. First, in response to Resolution 1.10 of Lambeth 1998, and with the encouragement of ACC 2005, a process has begun of collecting and co-ordinating work done in the Provinces about the issue, reflecting the experience and discernment of Anglicans around the world._

In other words, diverse experience as it is around the world.

It is all rather optimistic, given the expected boycott, and then there might be minds of communions.

Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 22 August 2007 at 1:08am BST

I look forward to seeing the Goran spin on things when TEC(USA) says it cannot meet the demands of the Primates and Rowan Williams has to finally aknowledge that his great efforts to keep TEC(USA) in the AC have failed......we will see in the months following September how things pan out but I think the ABC who gave us TWR and the Tanzania Communique will not let the AC shrink to a small, left-wing sect and he will preserve unity amongst the greatest number possible in the AC

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 28 August 2007 at 4:09pm BST

"will not let the AC shrink to a small, left-wing sect"

He might not be too keen on it turning into a large group of right wing heretics either.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 29 August 2007 at 2:06pm BST

Well NP, as I will in Germany visiting the cradle of my family, the grave of the signator to the un-changed CA 1530 and the 1580 Book of Concord, his brother our fore father, and our second cousin Elisabeth of Thuringia, and so on, I'll most probably will be off line...

I wish you and Surbiton good luck, you'll be needing it ;=)

But remember, the Church is at the same time much worse and much blessed, than you (the sect) can ever imagine.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 29 August 2007 at 7:07pm BST

Ford and Goran.....please note I am not calling for the AC to change to suit me!

I am calling for the AC to honour its creeds and stick to its agreed positions including Lambeth 1.10 - this position has the support of all the Primates of the AC (including the double-minded KJS), you are calling the majority of the AC a sect and you still must ignore TWR and Tanzania to make such a silly point!

Anyway, you made me laugh out loud - thanks for that!

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 30 August 2007 at 9:05am BST

I've never disagreed with the facts that you have spun into the Battle of the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness. It's just that you take specific points and turn them into a morality play. The majority of Anglicans are as appalled by the Americans being so open minded their brains appear to have fallen out as they are by the Evangelicals who seem to have had their brains beaten out by a steel plated Bible. Most people in this diocese do not know the New New Testament you keep quoting, the Book of Lambeth chapter 1 and verse 10 is unknown to them. Gay isn't even on the radar. Essentials has, nevertheless, been sneaking around behind the bishop's back, and turning off by their underhandedness people who might have supported them if they had behaved in a more Christian fashion. I think many are in the same boat. Just because a bunch of politically savvy hypocrites in high positions of power can manage a political situation so they can get their agenda put forward doesn't mean they speak for the majority, NP, that's the fallacy of democracy. Everything you hope for may well come true, no argument here. It will still not be the great victory for righteousness you think it will. It will merely be the playing out of some very nasty politics. The sad part is that your sincere, if horribly mutilated, faith has been so cynically manipulated. You remain oblivious to this, despite the number of people here trying to make you understand. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 30 August 2007 at 5:45pm BST
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