Saturday, 23 October 2010

opinion for Bible Sunday

Susan Elkin writes in The Independent Restoring holy order: Is the King James Bible the only version we should celebrate? “It is a cornerstone of Western literature and culture. But as the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible approaches, the authors of two new studies argue that its significance may have been overstated.”

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about the Charterhouse in central London: Sacred mysteries: London’s hidden medieval priory.

Andrew Brown asks in The Guardian Do human rights exist?

Alan Wilson writes in his blog about Why new media matter in Church.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about The three options for diversity.

Nicholas Reade (the Bishop of Blackburn) writes in The Guardian that Our most vulnerable have been ‘handicapped’ by this spending review. “If the level of civilisation of our society is judged by its treatment of disabled people, we don’t seem to have got very far.”

Alex Wright writes in The Guardian about Holy faces from the past. “Early frescoes in a Norfolk village remind us of our medieval churches’ more lively past.”

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about What the Pope’s visit changed a month on from Pope Benedict’s welcome to Britain.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 23 October 2010 at 10:31am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Question from across the pond: what is Bible Sunday and who says? Thanks.

More seriously, I am mourning the devastating fire that has nearly totally destroyed the chapel at Virginia Seminary in Alexandria, VA. It started yesterday afternoon about 4 pm. See picture and video on Episcopal Cafe. TBTG, nobody was hurt. So far, no cause. The building is 129 years old - quite young by y'all's standards - but old enough to have seen generations of VTS seminarians.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Saturday, 23 October 2010 at 12:52pm BST

Giles Fraser misrepresents Angela Merkel. The German idea of multi-culturalism had been that absolutely no integration of immigrants is necessary and that they would happily live alongside Germans.
It's not a model that was ever really tried in the UK, for very good reason.
If people arrive here they need to be equipped to live as well as they possibly can and that includes speaking English, allowing their children to become part of the country they were born into if they wish and at having at least some knowledge about the country they live in.
It is not about Germany being best and right and everyone having to goosestep in line.

If I felt my choices were as black and white as Giles paints them, I would agree with him. But like all things in life, they are a lot more complex, more gray, more varied.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 23 October 2010 at 2:40pm BST

Elkin's article came coincidentally with an article from Religion News Service (visible at suggesting that so many versions, translations, and "niche" versions are diluting the clarity of Scripture. Focusing on the KJV may not be enough; but focusing to some extent may be beneficial.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Saturday, 23 October 2010 at 4:56pm BST

New Labour had fallen out with multiculturalism, and started to demand greater conformity. It was becoming illiberal across the board, and this was yet another example. For all its duffing up the poor, the Conservative 'Nasty party' and its Lib Dem wooden leg, at least there is a more of a live and let live element returning (unless on benefits).

By the way, Erika, if you want to get native, it is 'grey' not gray.

Posted by: Pluralist on Saturday, 23 October 2010 at 6:58pm BST


Bible Sunday is a day for giving thanks for the gift of the Bible, and for praying for and encouraging translators, distributors and readers. It was commonly observed on the second Sunday of Advent because of the 1662 collect for that day (Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning...). Since Advent is not a good time for this it has more recently been moved earlier. In England the Common Worship Calender appoints it as an alternative to the last Sunday after Trinity (ie this weekend). The Bible Societies in the UK, Ireland and Australia promote its observance.

Posted by: Peter Owen on Saturday, 23 October 2010 at 11:04pm BST

Andrew Brown asks in The Guardian Do human rights exist?

Very thought-provoking!

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 24 October 2010 at 12:22am BST

Some things exist not because they are innate, but because they are desired.

The concept of human rights is a vision of what could be, it doves tail into the concepts of justice.

It is a part of a bigger picture of Creation being wanted and desired by God. Not just heaven, but all of Creation. Not just Christians, but all of humanity.

We are not required to be perfect to be loved by God. Creation does not have to be perfect to be loved by God.

Evolution, life involve both good and bad; beginnings and endings, change and inertia. It is the dynamic of all the forces that hold Creation together and enable circumstances to create and sustain life.

Reformation movements that advocate such things as human rights, justice, compassion and mercy, are advocating for dynamics that enable sustainable life, God willing with some happy and good bits along the way.

Good things can come about through bad people and circumstances. Every attempt that Balaam made to thwart the Jewish people became a blessing. The Magna Carta arose out of a need to regulate tyranny.

God does not intervene in all circumstances, laisez faire is a legitimate parenting style. But there are lines that should not be crossed, and thresholds that should not be exceeded. God will intervene then, and rebuke those who were meant to regulate but failed to do their duty. That applies to Satan and his followers, and Jesus and his Christians, and all the gods and prophets of all the religions and philosophies.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Sunday, 24 October 2010 at 12:33am BST

oh I thought Advent had advented a bit early ! Why do they (have to) change everything !

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Sunday, 24 October 2010 at 12:49am BST

Peter Owen:
Thanks for info.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Sunday, 24 October 2010 at 3:12am BST

No doubt Andrew Brown’s satirical column “Do human rights exist?” will provoke sequels of glee from many Anglicans. After all we belong to an institution that, with a few notable exceptions, gives only qualified support to notions of human and civil rights and equality of persons. Churches tend to provide a safe intellectual haven for gender bias under the subterfuge of “theology”. The Anglican Church of Canada, for example, ordains women and priests and bishops, but allows some systemic gender discrimination to go quietly forward. Apparently its not that those who cannot accept a woman hosting at the table of the lord are simply biased. No, they are merely thinking theologically. Isn’t it so much better when it’s thoughtful people who qualify another’s equality as a person? Thankfully some Christians understand that organized religion can be both a beneficiary of and an advocate for human rights. “It is no secret that the demand for the free exercise of religious freedom in modern times was in large part made outside the Catholic Church and against her status as the one legally permitted religion in many countries, and that the Church reacted to this demand with deep skepticism when not with outright hostility. But today the Declaration on Religious Freedom informs us; ‘ This Vatican Council takes careful note of these desires in the minds of men [sic]. It proposes to declare them to be greatly in accord with truth and justice. To this end it searches into the sacred tradition and doctrine of the church—the treasury out of which the Church continually brings forth new things that are in harmony with the things that are old.’” [John Courtney Murray SJ in Religious Liberty: An end and a Beginning 1966] Murray was an American Jesuit whose work had a profound impact on “The Declaration on Religious Freedom” of Vatican II. Christians in many denominations still have a long way to go in moving the notion of human rights forward. For contemporary Anglicans, including Canadian Anglicans, our ecclesial social reality is still trying to play catch up with our stated theology to “Respect the Dignity of Every human Being”.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 24 October 2010 at 5:18pm BST

"the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilisation".

- Pope Benedict, from Telegraph art. -

This, from the Pope's own mouth in the U.K., should free people (especially Roman Catholics and Conservative Anglicans around the world) from
the fear of entering into reasonable dialogue with supporters of women and gays in the Church.

Where, hitherto, conservative Christians have often clung exclusively to former doctrinal certainties, and the tenets of Scripture and Tradition, they are now urged by no less a figure than the Bishop of Rome, to realise that 'secular rationality' (Reason) and religion need not be afraid to dialogue - without backing away from scientific or social realism, on any issue, not just gender and sexuality.

Hurrah for Pope Benedict! Would that the Anglican Primates of Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Southern Cone and the Abp. of Sydney would become disposed to listen to 'what the Spirit is saying to the Church' - through the Bishop of Rome.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 24 October 2010 at 10:15pm BST

The present Calendar, Lectionary and Collects came into force on Advent Sunday 1997. So the new date for Bible Sunday was first used in 1998. Hardly a recent change.

Cranmer's "read, mark, learn' collect was moved to the Last Sunday after Trinity at that time.

In the Commentary at the back of the book ---

Use of the RCL does not accord well with the Second Sunday of Advent as Bible Sunday. Even without following the RCL, there is a strong case for moving that observation to the Last Sunday after Trinity or another date of the minister's choice. The Church in Wales has made a similar move

Do keep up -- shades of Ed Tomlinson bemoaning a "recent introduction" that many of us had been using for 50 years. :-)

Posted by: John Roch on Monday, 25 October 2010 at 10:12am BST

"We in The National Realist Association do not want to outlaw the belief in human rights. That would be absurd. But it is just as absurd, and surely more dangerous, for the rightists to have a specially privileged position. They are allowed to teach in schools, and even protected against discrimination laws and allowed to sack anyone who doesn't believe in Human Rights."

- Andrew Brown -

Methinks, perhaps, Andrew Brown here has his tongue so far thrust into his cheek that it is in grave danger of disappearing up his nostril. His argument is so whimsical that one wonders whether to employ one's critial faculties in countering it

Perhaps Andrew dosen't realise, that if the concept of 'human rights' didn't exist, he might not ever have been able to label himself as a 'realist' - let alone dare to become a member of such a sodality as National realist Association.

However, 'it takes all sorts'! as they say. So, like many a journalist, Andrew should be free to express his opinions - however daft. Mind you, what he says about the 'Rightists' is not bad.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 at 12:34am BST

I read the Brown piece as parody.

It sounds like an amalgamation of every type of radical extremist, from the militant atheism of Dawkins (the "rightists" having a "privileged position") to con-evo homophobes ("rightists" being given the right to teach, being protected by laws), Anglo-Catholic "fascist" moaning (". . allowed to sack anyone who doesn't believe in Human Rights"), to Roman Catholic "moralists" (questioning whether such teachings should be "allowed" to be taught to young children, and arguing from "natural law").

What Brown has done is funny, to me, taking the same arguments that all the anti-progressives (and I include Dawkins as anti-progressive) make that liberal or progressive stances are "mere belief" and applies it to something these same groups absolutely depend on for existence - if there were no rights of religion and expression guaranteed in the UK, how many Broadhursts would there be, or Dawkinses? How likely is it that the RCC would be allowed to express a public opinion?

On a different note, I wonder if he meant to give the initials he did to his organization - N.R.A.? Here in the U. S., the N.R.A. is well-known for topsy-turvy arguments about rights - for them - and sound-bite "logic" - e. g. "Guns don't kill people; people kill people."

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 at 10:36am BST

Never crossed my mind that it could be read as anything other than parody

Posted by: John Roch on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 at 7:09pm BST
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