Saturday, 5 June 2010

early June opinion

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that This is a Matthew 25 moment.

Ephraim Radner writes for Fulcrum on Ten Years and a new Anglican Congregationalism.

Guy Dammann asks in The Guardian Celibacy: whose bright idea was that? Christianity’s greatest tragedy is turning a religion founded on a genuine philosophy of love into an excuse for repression.

Sara Maitland writes in The Guardian about A very un-Anglican affair. The Walsingham pilgrimage refreshes the parts that other Anglican practices do not reach.

Peter Townley writes a Credo column in the Times: The Exile is an inspiration that can renew the Church. Will the Church of England survive? We do not know and in a way it is not important.

Christopher Howse writes a Sacred Mysteries column in the Telegraph: Under the spire of Grantham. It’s a joy to learn the language of medieval tracery.

This week’s The Question in The Guardian’s Comment is free belief is What’s wrong with missionaries? Is there a distinction between religious missionaries and people who work to spread human rights on secular grounds?
Here are the responses.
Monday: David Griffiths The free exchange of ideas. If it is done respectfully, the spreading of ideas, values and faith is good and creative
Wednesday: Ophelia Benson The limits of free preach. There is a difference between spreading beliefs and values, and forcing them on people.
Friday: Joel Edwards Missionaries are a force for good. Far from being latter-day colonialists, many missionaries today come from the global south and aren’t obsessed with conversion.
Saturday: Barbara O’Brien A self-defeating zeal. In the words of Ashoka, whoever praises his own religion and condemns others only harms his cause.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 5 June 2010 at 8:55am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

I can remember as if it were a moment ago, that feeling of my blood running cold when I first heard the lawyer John Rees ( ) recount the Lambeth Palace view of the way forward - it was to "cut off at the knees those on the extremes" - then seen as Nigeria/Uganda and their close allies & TEC with her close supporters. Archdeacon Townley gives this "official" Lambeth Palace view a fresh twist with this interestingly timely piece that has I think little to do with happenstance.
He writes:

"Some years ago Robert Cooper, in his book The Breaking of Nations, explored how the United Nations was being emasculated by the unilateralist United States. It is fascinating to reflect how this perception is mirrored in the Anglican Communion with the centre being squeezed by both the liberal unilateralist Episcopal Church of the United States of America and the conservative unilateralist Africa. All kinds of things are seemingly falling apart."

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Saturday, 5 June 2010 at 10:40am BST

"This is a Matthew 25 moment: 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these you did not do for me.' Last month, a leader in The Observer argued that: 'The church's quiet diplomacy has done nothing to help the victims of homophobic repression. Increasingly, it looks like complicity'

"The UN has shown the Church what righteous pressure can achieve. We must not be cowed by any misplaced sense of post-colonial guilt, or any sloppy relativism about always respecting the values of another culture. It must be said loudly and strongly the Church of Nigeria is wrong."

- Giles Fraser, Church Times article -

Yet again, this good Canon of Saint Paul's, Giles Fraser, puts his finger on the truth of the present situation in the Communion; where cultural cringe can still get in the way of the need for plain speaking in the Communion about manifest injustice. There is no doubt that the repressive stance of Nigeria and Uganda on the matter of justice for Gays, sets them apart from the enlightenment of Western Provinces, like TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, which have decided that LGBT people need to be recognised by the Church as bearing the Image and Likeness of the God we worship.

In the meantime, on Fulcrum, the conservatives of the ACI insist that the Churches of the West are the cause of a loss of nerve within the Communion, while the border-crossing and homophobia of the Global South Churches is somehow more righteous and holy. In blaming TEC and the A.C.of C. for the current stand-off in the Communion, as well as what Dr. Radner sees as the unwillingness of the ABC to curb their movement away from the Thirty-Nine Articles mode of religion, Dr Radner and his coterie of 'status quo' religionists at ACI seem to be hauling up their skirts in fear of a new holocaust. What they are not able to discern is that the wind of the Spirit may just be blowing in the direction of human emancipation of ALL God's children - overturning shibboleths, in favour of an honest and open Church - free from hypocrisy.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 5 June 2010 at 11:29am BST

I suggest that if Ephraim Radner would prefer a congregationalist church, there are plenty out there for him to join; he need not try to turn the Anglican and Episcopal churches into one.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Saturday, 5 June 2010 at 11:44am BST

"This, to my mind, has been Christianity's greatest single tragedy; turning a religion found on a noble and genuine philosophy of love into an excuse for repression, oppression and persecution, in which suffering was turned into a cult and hypocrisy into standard practice."

- Guy Dammann, Guardian CiF -

A brilliant summation of the situation where celibacy has been the cause of untold suffering in the Church at large - whether for adolescent Schoolboys (or girls, for that matter), or for aspirants to the priesthood or religious orders.

The old idea of any celebration of 'the flesh' as being antithetical to spirituality has been the root cause of many a promising vocation to the joyful Christian Life. There is, of course, such a thing as discipline, but to deny that God has anything to do with our inherent sexual nature is tantamount to blasphemy. Let's all grow up.

Thank you, Guy, for this honestly refreshing take on Celibacy and Sex & The Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 5 June 2010 at 11:53am BST

Radner may be learned, but he is surely among the most verbose and pretentious Anglican writers. It is almost as if he is deliberately obfuscating his real views.

Posted by: Andrew on Saturday, 5 June 2010 at 9:48pm BST

Radner may be learned, but he is surely among the most verbose and pretentious Anglican writers. It is almost as if he is deliberately obfuscating his real views.

Posted by: Andrew on Saturday, 5 June 2010 at 9:48pm BST

Whatever they may turn out to be...

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Sunday, 6 June 2010 at 5:40pm BST

"Radner may be learned, but he is surely among the most verbose and pretentious Anglican writers." A true follower of the Rev'd Simon Patrick (1626-1707), of whom Lord Macaulay wrote, "whether he was or was not qualified to make the collects better, no man that ever lived was more competent to make them longer."

Posted by: Steve Lusk on Sunday, 6 June 2010 at 6:27pm BST
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