Saturday, 15 September 2007

for the weekend...

Thinking about the meaning of Ramadan has made me a better Christian, says Chris Chivers in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column.

Reconciliation offers greater rewards than revenge writes Roderick Strange in the Credo column of The Times.

Christopher Howse says Jews fast, Muslims fast, so should Christians in the Daily Telegraph.

Giles Fraser writes about New York, where all our compulsions meet in the Church Times.

In the Washington Post Mary Jordan writes that In Europe and U.S., Nonbelievers Are Increasingly Vocal. (The article is in fact mostly about Europe and in particular the UK.)

In today’s Guardian there is a book review, under the headline Holy Order, by Jonathan Bartley of Stephen Bates’ latest work, God’s Own Country: Tales from the Bible Belt.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 15 September 2007 at 8:31am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

_we were encouraged to have breakfast on Sunday only after communion. How many Christians nowadays break fast in this way?_ in The Guardian.

I do. It allows me to get up slightly later.

Posted by: Pluralist on Saturday, 15 September 2007 at 6:14pm BST

Thanks for adding Bartley's review. I would comment there are traits that are not a peculiarly US e.g. "…the idea held by some Evangelicals that the world must get progressively worse until apocalyptic disaster strikes and Jesus returns in terrible judgment helps to explain the US's previous unwillingness to address climate change."

On of my frustrations from the 1990s was that there was an apathy about caring for the environment, solving massive poverty in Africa, resolving conflicts and ending tyranny. Whenever I raised questions or concerns, I was given spiel along such lines. There was a paradigm that everything is in God's hands and that healing would only happen when Jesus came and removed all sin from this world. (It was several years before I twigged the small print was remove all sinners from this world).

Secularist and atheists who argue that a robust secular society will see the demise of religion do not understand that souls need God and like being a relationship with God.

The transformation will come not through either religion or secularism winning over the other, but in the recognition that collaboration can bring out the best in each other, protect each other from our worst and thus create a new thing that is greater than the sum of the individual contributions. Similarly with interfaith and multicultural dynamics.

Imagine how much better things would have been if souls had listened with humility to indigenous peoples cautions that ecosystems can be overloaded and collapse, leading to death for both the ecosystem but also deprivation for the humans who relied upon it. Far better than a presumption that "God will provide" so it is okay to breed with no regard to carrying capacity, and if there is not enough kill off some competitors so your own can have enough. The problem with this paradigm is even if you eliminate all your competitors in this generation, if you do not change the presumption on provision, your grandchildren will be killing each other off for exactly the same reasons.

It was good to see souls recognizing the merits of others' traditions and contemplating how they could improve their own e.g. Jewish and Islamic fasting traditions. As one author noted, the act of fasting and restraint is the antithesis of consumerism, a great leveling act to put things back into perspective.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Saturday, 15 September 2007 at 10:21pm BST

Isn't this so much more important that Anglican machinations:,,2170244,00.html

It is the Archbishop of York telling the British government to get on with it regarding Zimbabwe. Quite so, and South Africa has been a dismal, pathetic failure in this sheer unfolding misery.

(By the way my earlier comment wasn't about The Guardian piece but the Telegraph)

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 16 September 2007 at 10:53am BST

Hi Pluralist

I liked both the Telegraph and Guardian pieces, and your breakfast comment made me smile :-)

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 16 September 2007 at 9:41pm BST

we were encouraged to have breakfast on Sunday only after communion. How many Christians nowadays break fast in this way? Very few, I suspect.'s hard enough to keep two small children under control through mass without doing it on an empty stomach! Indeed, a supply of raisins, fruit sticks and cereal bars in my wife's bag is normally called on during the Eucharistic Prayer itself (with the kids having returned to the main congregation during the Peace).

Posted by: Graham Ward on Monday, 17 September 2007 at 5:08pm BST

Mr. Ward,
Even during Ramadan there are allowances made for the ill and infirm, young children, and pregnant women. I suppose the bag of snacks would easily be seen as a pastoral necessity for the greater peace.

Posted by: Kevin Montgomery on Monday, 17 September 2007 at 10:27pm BST

Talking about those on the edge (well not quite secularist and non-believers) I am giving a talk to Sea of Faith Yorkshire in Bradford on Saturday and its probably not final draft can be viewed - best to go via the blog and its summary, and links there to the big one -

This time the cartoon is of me.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 18 September 2007 at 2:33pm BST

Hi Pluralist

Ekklesia reports that the liberal democrats are also trying to tease these things out

The stereotyping and arbitrariness of stating that if you believe in Jesus you must then be "..." or you are "..." are falling over. There's been enough discussion for souls to realise that they are alike in some ways and yet profoundly different in others, and yet all function as whole human beings. There's also a realisation that autocratic imposition and organisational structures are creating some of our worst problems, but souls are grappling with how do we do things so that we are organised but are not bullies nor being bullied.

By George, looks like we are heading into a rennaisance...! Yeah, God loves it when humanity is being creative.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 18 September 2007 at 10:31pm BST
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