Saturday, 30 April 2011


Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph about A sun within him: Thomas Traherne’s Easter and about Nazareth near Sandringham.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has just published this address that he gave on 1 March 2011: Relations between the Church and state today: what is the role of the Christian citizen?

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Why being thankful is real belief in resurrection.

Maya Shwayder writes for the Harvard University Gazette about Debunking a myth. “In medieval Christianity, dissection was often practiced.”

Simon Barrow writes at Ekklesia: Wedded to a right royal theological confusion.

James Martin writes for the Huffington Post about The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 30 April 2011 at 11:00am BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

For someone not a modernist, liberal or whatever, Simon Barrow uses a fistful of modern terms to describe his non-liberal faith. No traditionalist would have to use such a convoluted vocabulary.

Posted by: Pluralist on Saturday, 30 April 2011 at 6:02pm BST

Some postings back, I expressed my belief that GF just doesn't get it theologically - that belief in 'the resurrection' (= Jesus' and everybody else's eschatologically) is a NECESSARY Christian belief, otherwise one can't make the case for God's goodness. Neither now nor before do I claim that such belief is easy: only that it is intellectually necessary if .... Now GF has shown his hand on this issue and I maintain even more strongly than before that he just doesn't get it ...

Posted by: John on Saturday, 30 April 2011 at 8:31pm BST

"We escape from this tomb not by trusting in our own power (and certainly not in our own power to evade death), but in the promise of God. This is why a life of thanksĀ­giving is the real way of believing in the resurrection. Forget all those desiccated arguments about historical-critical certainty. We have something greater to proclaim. Alleluia, Christ is risen. Thanks be to God."

- Canon Giles Fraser -

As different from John, I believe that Giles Fraser says something rather significant here about 'resurrection faith'- which is a charism, gifted, through our experience of Baptism and the willingness to believe in the Risen, Glorified Christ, some times against overwhelming odds.

"Ask and you shall receive", says Jesus; and with the charism of our baptismal infilling by the Holy Spirit - if we are open - we will receive a Faith that stands us in good stead for the rest of our lifetime and beyond. All that is required beyond that initial faith-expression, (maybe in Confirmation) is to show our connectedness with one another, en Christo, through our continuing participation in the Eucharist - that classical act of Thanks-Giving provided for us by no less a Person than Jesus our Redeemer.
- Christ is Risen, Alleluia!
- He is Risen indeed Alleluia, Alleluia!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 1 May 2011 at 2:02am BST


You confuse me. Not only does GF believe in the Resurrection, according to what he states in the article, he nowhere maintains a position opposite to yours! Now he might differ from you as to why one might believe, but that's surely up for discussion, is it not? And he might differ as to what the resurrection is, and what it means. But such discussions have been part of Christianity from the very beginning. In what way is your comment anything more than "the shape of GF's belief is different than mine"? (And, implicitly, "mine is orthodox and his is not"?)

Posted by: Christopher (P.) on Sunday, 1 May 2011 at 2:23am BST

I appreciated Christopher Howse's article on the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham - in its 950th year - still host to more than 300,000 Anglican Pilgrims - as compared with 100,000 Roman Catholics, who have their own Shrine in the former Slipper Chapel - now enlarged to almost basilica standard.

When I last visited the Anglican Shrine, I saw that there was a R.C. chapel ensconced within the grounds of the Anglican Shrine - a juxtaposition which, I suppose, will now lend itself to use by the new R.C. Ordinariate, composed of those former Anglicans who have separated themselves from us (under the patronage of O.L.W.) because of our willingness to share the priestly and episcopal charisms with the women of our Church.

Considering the fact that Mary's role was to show forth the Body of Christ at His Incarnation - a primal enactment as 'Theotokos' (Christ-Bearer) - surely this cannot be entirely dissociated from the charism of priesthood, which is designed to *bring forth the Presence of Christ* at the Eucharist. Through Mary, Christ received his human person-hood, which covers all humanity, not only that of the male of the species.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 1 May 2011 at 2:37am BST

Absolutely right, John. GF's view of the resurrection is his own self-referencing transformation, rather than seeing his life-changing encounter with the Holy Spirit as an confirmation that the apostolic testimony is reliable, that the Messiah overcame a physical execution, and thereby conquered our mortality. You either rely on it, or you don't.

Jesus is not just alive in the sense of our invincible belief in the potential of humans for moral transformation by His message of love.

If the Christian faith relied on my invincible belief, rather than Jesus's actual and constant shoring up of my flagging resolve, we're in deep trouble.

Posted by: David Shepherd on Sunday, 1 May 2011 at 3:57am BST

G Fraser "We escape from this tomb not by trusting in our own power (and certainly not in our own power to evade death), but in the promise of God. This is why a life of thanksĀ­giving is the real way of believing in the resurrection. Forget all those desiccated arguments about historical-critical certainty. We have something greater to proclaim. Alleluia, Christ is risen. Thanks be to God."

This is the orthodox Faith: thus sayeth Patriarch JCF (OCICBW! ;-/)

Now, off to eat the One whose resurrection must necessarily be BEYOND a mere bodily resuscitation, or we are not saved...

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 1 May 2011 at 5:24pm BST

On that basis, then David Shepherd, I take it you're in deep trouble. I'm not in deep trouble. I'm not looking for any additional miracle: life itself is miracle enough. Of course, if Giles Fraser had written that it is a difficulty for him, or doesn't believe it, he might have been shortening his ministerial career. That's what makes the whole approach (not his, from the institution) bogus: few will admit that it is a myth of personal worth, of the nature of going through deaths to get to worthwhile life, and value. As far as I'm concerned, no human ever defeated their biology and even the nature of these stories suggest no one ever has.

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 1 May 2011 at 5:53pm BST

I agree with the Pluralist that Simon Barrow's rhetoric is ambiguous, making it hard to figure out what evidence he has, if any, for his approach..

Moving in a Wittgensteinian direction by emphasizing the so-called grammar of the tradition, Barrow still ventriloquizes God. An emphasis on grammar ought to privilege the doing of justice over dissecting an object called God.

He trashes fundamentalism but still assumes monarchy is against the will of God: "...monarchy (something established against the warning and will of God in the historical biblical tradition)." His argument seems to assume the need for a paper Pope, called scripture.

He seems to want both academic respectability and the infallibility.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Posted by: Gary Paul Gilbert on Sunday, 1 May 2011 at 10:06pm BST

Used the hyperbole literally, eh?

I think you're onto something if you can convince Anglicans to ban the words, 'scripture, 'tradition' and 'apostolic' and promote Pope's poem 'Hope springs eternal in the human heart' as fully encapsulating this Big New Idea of yours.

You could call it Christ-Lite...The 'More Taste...Less Filling' campaign worked before.

Okay, your statement, 'no human ever defeated their biology' might be lost of those Christians who think that the Messiah of Nazareth is more than human and therefore the exception, but that's small beer.

If Christ is no more than human, we could also declare that no human ever defeated human nature (including the worst of it). Now that's inspiring!

It just remains to take a scalpel to all Bibles, especially 1 Corinthians 15. Best of luck!

Posted by: David Shepherd on Sunday, 1 May 2011 at 11:06pm BST

>> Relations between the Church and state today: what is the role of the Christian citizen?

How odd that ++Rowan completely skipped the point that in countries where the Queen is head of state, people are technically subjects, rather than citizens.

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Monday, 2 May 2011 at 12:38am BST

Thank you, DS, for expressing very clearly from your orthodox perspective what - mutatis mutandis - I was getting at. It is important to honour the integrity of opponents. It is also important not to applaud pap from one's own side merely because it's one's own side. Works both ways, of course.

Yesterday we went to the Cathedral because our own church's 10 o'clock wasn't on. The mass setting was Haydn's 'little organ mass'. So it's possible to combine the demotic (and the humorous) with high seriousness with results both life-affirming and spiritually uplifting (and he didn't even like the organ). Compare and contrast, as we academics say. The very thoughtful sermon, from a priest who certainly accepts WO and to the highest possible level, began with an elegant bouquet to the writings of the Bishop of Whitby. So it's possible to honour -and learn from - theological 'opponents'. I read Father T E Jones' blog and it gladdens me. Over the Easter weekend, holidaying in rural Derbyshire, we could hardly find any Anglican Easter Vigil, and the local C of E church wasn't doing one. (The RC one was, and although, being unprincipled liberals, we have no principled objection to attending RC services and sometimes do so according to circumstances, we wanted more beautiful surroundings.) In many areas - both geographical and otherwise - the C of E seems largely to have given up. We decided against a service that looked very promising (not formally FiF but SSC priest and presumably 'resolution whatever'), because it would have involved a 50-mile round trip, and ended up in intensely beautiful church (team ministry-run) with a very small congregation, largely consisting of priests and retired priests, which made even me look young, no children (though this is a service they love), except for our own five-year old, no darkness, no fire, no communion and that dispiriting combination of vaguely 'high' liturgy with Taize/John Bell pap which is so common and yet so manifestly fails to bring in the punters. The people themselves, it must be said, were very nice and welcoming, but it was a sad occasion. On Easter morning we attended local church, which was large, beautiful and packed (and they were happy to let in our sick dog, though we didn't take him to communion). Priest and curate were women - and very good they were - but actual celebrant was a young male imported from elsewhere. A gracious gesture, I thought. Neither you nor anyone else has to 'agree' with any of this, but I shall continue to fight for practical pluralism within the C of E(though not of the Pluralist variety).

Best wishes.

Posted by: john on Monday, 2 May 2011 at 6:09am BST

"It is important to honour the integrity of opponents. "

*If* the opponent is honorable, that's true.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 8:01am BST

Mark, I agree. But many of them are.

Posted by: john on Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 9:32am BST

Point taken, John.

We can all 'earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints'. As in the strenuous disputes over circumcision (Acts 15:2) and John Mark's desertion (Acts 15:39), we may indeed part company on certain issues, but we should never close the door on each other completely.

I hope that we all grow to discover in each other, as Paul did with Mark, the unmistakeable hallmarks of sacrificial commitment to the gospel. (2 Tim. 4:11)

Posted by: David Shepherd on Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 9:57am BST

"Mark, I agree. But many of them are."

Unfortunately, that has *not* been my experience! I hope you don't wind up regretting treating them as if they were honorable.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 4 May 2011 at 10:30am BST


Sorry to hear that. From this and other postings I infer that the stakes are higher for you than for me. There was one case where I did regret it -and I'm afraid I went rather overboard in criticising said person. But if you read my over-long post above, you'll see I think there is in practice rather a lot of muddling along, much of which is tolerable and some of which is better than that - and a lot of which is absolutely inevitable, because many churches are hanging on by a thread and must make what arrangements they can with retired priests, who may be very conservative but in some cases perform heroically in keeping things going (and some of these churches are treated meanly by their dioceses precisely because of their practical FiF connexions).


Posted by: john on Wednesday, 4 May 2011 at 6:02pm BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.