Saturday, 18 August 2007

weekend columns

In the Church Times Andrew Linzey writes about animal cruelty in First hit the pets, then the people.

And last week, in the Church Times Harriet Baber wrote about gun control in How to survive in a violent world.

Andrew Clitherow writes the Guardian’s Face to Faith column about the cul-de-sac of formal religion.

Luis Rodriguez writes in The Times that We must work to discover the meaning of suffering.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 18 August 2007 at 8:30am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Linzey's article is interesting, an his insights that cruelty to animals often ripples over into cruelty to humans is valid. As are his comments that abusers will do things to animals and then threaten the human witnesses with doing similar to them unless they satisfy their whims.

The need for respect for animals is part of the fabric of Jewish mitzvah and kosher food. The ideas are well popularised in the following article, to which I referred my daughter when she decreed that she will not eat lamb as it is a baby animal that has not had a chance to grow and life an adult life.

Both Baber and Clitherows' articles were well considered.

Rodriguez article title brought to mind the idea that some priests think souls should "suffer" so that they become suitably repentant. There are some who seem to believe that this world can never be healed and it should be horrible so that we pray to God to take us away.

Personally, I think that is a symptom of major depression and apathy.

Some souls have been bemused that I have not backed down despite seemingly insurmountable odds. As I recently wrote to someone, God only need ten souls to save Sodom and Gomorrah, so how few are required to justify saving this world!
Surrendering is equivalent to falsely asserting that God lacks the ability to have God's will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.

God made an everlasting covenant that there would be an end to tyranny, and we would witness peace with diversity, sustainability and reverence. We have been given free will to choose peace or death, and so few are required for us to succeed!

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Saturday, 18 August 2007 at 1:22pm BST

Linzey's article is very fine -- it reminded me of the childhood pastime of the President of the United States of inserting firecrackers into the rectums of frogs

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Saturday, 18 August 2007 at 2:34pm BST

Presumably the boy Bush was trying to develop some sort of missile system to protect him from the nature park and its toady weapons of mass destruction, or rather he hated the zoo keeper.

One of the stances in Buddhism is that compassion for animals is part of compassion for yourself and for others. As sentient beings we should have concern for the proper treatment of all sentient beings.

Oh dear, Giles Frser has been promoted or relegated to subscription status, or a week late.

Now, what about the Church Times Leader, which says: "Nobody seriously believes that Dr Williams will withdraw their [TEC bishops] invitation, though that will not stop some from pressing him to do so." Indeed, my very point made against the weekday predictor that he will withdraw them.

My suggestion to Andrew Clitherow is that he uses some original and more up to date language and understanding everywhere he can within his formal services, and adds a touch of subversion to what he does...

Meanwhile, anyone heard of the term simulacration? If you have, let me know, because I have just invented it for an understanding of the eucharist on purely postmodern lines. A bit of subversion, and more later.

Posted by: Pluralist on Saturday, 18 August 2007 at 5:46pm BST

OK, my piece mentioned previously is written and uploaded.

There is an introduction here:

I now feel a lot happier.

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 19 August 2007 at 3:12am BST

Okay, Pluralist. I'll brush up on Baudrillard, who I thought was better off neglected, in an attempt to see through your, uh, simulation.... or was that a simulacra...

Posted by: Curtis on Sunday, 19 August 2007 at 12:05pm BST

Pluralist, glad you feel happier but the details went over my head (acadamia and details have never been amongst my strong suits). Joke Adam carefully explaining to Eve the Latin name for a Dodo bird and why it is the best name possible, Eve replying "It's dead, what does its name matter now?" Monty Python and parrot pet shop joke come to mind.

One thing that has struck me in reading the bible is yet again we have to beware of God's two sided swords.

Jesus exhorted us to eat and drink in remembrance of him. Some have taken that to say that as long as we remember Jesus, put him above all things and call on his name; then we can tyrannise all others (including females, GLBTs, non-Christians, angels and even Cherubims of the Ark).

Yet the bible contains warnings for those who fixate on the bread and wine and forget God's desires for justice and compassion e.g. Hosea 2:8-19 "She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold— which they used for Baal. “Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her nakedness. So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers…”

Or Amos 6:4-7 which includes "You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. You drink wine… and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph."

The importance of the house of Joseph is alluded to in Jeremiah 17:27 as the unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem. And (like the Daughter of Zion) God has promised to restore the house of Joseph e.g. Zechariah 10:6 or Obadiah 1:18 "The house of Jacob will be a fire and the house of Joseph a flame; the house of Esau will be stubble, and they will set it on fire and consume it. There will be no survivors from the house of Esau.” The LORD has spoken."

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 19 August 2007 at 12:14pm BST

Curtis - he is dead now, like that Dodo bird Cheryl, gone to that great simulacra in the sky. Of course my piece of writing is a simulation of an argument - what else could it be? Thanks for looking.

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 19 August 2007 at 3:05pm BST


Your work is a fine work and you spent many hours on it.

One of the frustrations of the current era is watching scrolls disappear through editorial contrivance. So in editable forums, souls delete their errors and pretend they never happened, forum administrators block and expunge writings they can't co-opt. Authors and their texts are blacklisted because part of their message is "unsuitable" and so the good and valid points are lost as well.

There needs to be the pragmatism of Jeremiah who writes the scroll as it needs to be written (much to the frustration of the king who at one point asks why Jeremiah can't say anything nice about him), who accepts that the scroll might be destroyed and might need to be replaced. All based on the assumption that someone will give you the means to write or rescue you from the well before they manage to snuff out your existence and thus prophetic messages.

Whilst both Jeremiah and Joseph might have been really annoying, they were prepared to twiddle their thumbs in the bottom of the well until souls decided they were better off pulling them out than allowing them to die there.

It puts other souls in a Cain or Esau kind of quandry: Do you allow them to die in the well or do you pull them out? Do you eliminate them so you can gain more of your father's inheritance, or do you confess to your sin and hope for redemption?

While souls might be able to scam a victory at a human level, God knows who is throwing whom into which wells and then hiding trying to the evidence of their ruthlessness and self absorption. What souls would do well to remember is in the attempt to murder or discredit other souls, they demonstrate their own selfishness and tyrannical traits.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 20 August 2007 at 11:48am BST

It would be a funny session with the Inquisition in the days of the Internet, wouldn't it?

"Do you deny that you wrote..."

"Of course not - I can give you the URL if you want."


"What about?"

Sorry folks, but the notion of orthodoxy is sectarian - only maintained by artificial boundaries. There are traditions and inheritances and guidelines, but that's about it in this world.

One of my main reactions to reading the material put out by the likes of Archbishop Akinola is something on the lines, "What are you on about?"

If you want a broad Church then it has to engage with the lifeworld as it is - including ordinary practical thinking, and diverse intellectual thinking. This is why the sectarian stuff of Akinola and chums will simply never work - it is dead stuff.

My next project is to write a piece for a speech about why there are so many liberal and radical groups that seem not to be able to get together.

Posted by: Pluralist on Monday, 20 August 2007 at 9:59pm BST
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