Saturday, 18 August 2012


Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times about The danger of being respectable.

Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph about Puddleglum and the quest for the Grail, inspired by this interview by Sameer Rahim: Rowan Williams: ‘Aslan is on the knife-edge of the erotic’.

In something I missed earlier, Norman Ivison gives us 8 ways to keep young adults out of your church.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 18 August 2012 at 11:00am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

I seriously disagree with Ivison's recommendation that the Church prioritize speed in order to attract young people because they view it as "normative." Even if sweeping generalizations can legitimately be made for whole generations ("Young people like X") its not at all clear to me that continuing to speed things up in general is healthy. Rather than speed the Church up, I'd rather slow it and the rest of society down.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Saturday, 18 August 2012 at 4:26pm BST

It is too late for Rowan Williams to start making creative links between spirituality and the erotic - way too late,now irrelevant and inappropriately tantalising.

He has had his chance to make a real difference to the lives of millions around the world and declined.

I hope he will be silent after he retires as far as we the public go.

Or will he and Carey do a double-act of olde conservatives ?

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Saturday, 18 August 2012 at 5:17pm BST

I hope that Dr Williams will continue to serve Christ in ways he can, as he did before he was ABC, and that certainly includes speaking and writing on spirituality and literature, but that he avoids (and I think he will) big policy issues. There is always forgiveness and a chance to do what one can do well.

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Saturday, 18 August 2012 at 11:10pm BST

Rosemary Hannah writes that she hopes that Rowan Williams "avoids (and I think he will) big policy issues."

If only Lord Carey had done the same!

Posted by: Old Father William on Sunday, 19 August 2012 at 1:04am BST

I think that Rowan as Archbishop of Canterbury will not be too sorry to shed this particular mitre. He has been subjected to conservative forces in the Church that have dulled the edges of his normally-acute perception of the Pilgrims' Way. The goal of 'Unity at any Price' has been the watchword of his Primacy. However, it is Christ who is the Unifier; not the Church nor any prelate.

Perhaps, with his return to academe, Rowan will be restored to his primary self - as Reconciler and Bearer of the Good News of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, a role he exercised most fully in his eirenic publication 'The Body's Grace'. May that means of grace be resurrected, to serve the Church outside of the hierarchical role of Primus-inter-pares. My prayers go with him to Cambridge.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 19 August 2012 at 1:39am BST

@ Bill: Rather than speed the Church up, I'd rather slow it and the rest of society down.

Me too. I forget who it was that wrote "Lettres de mon moulin." We had to study that in French, it was lovely.

But my experience is, the slowing down can only happen for the privileged. It ain't gonna happy for those of us that work for a living.


@ Ron Smith:

For those of us who only know 9 languages, what does "eirenic" mean?

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 at 7:44am BST

The problem with Norman Ivison's 'advice' is that you can argue almost everything the other way. For example:

-Be all things to all people. Don't try to attain excellence in the tradition you know best; instead aspire to mediocrity in a wide range of worship-styles. For example, why not liven up your High Mass with a congregational conga-line? This will undoubtedly win the respect of young people. In no way can you ever look like you're trying too hard.

- Be a reed in the wind. Knowing what you stand for is far too rigid and inflexible for today's rapidly changing world. And a 2000-year-old tradition? Mega-yawn! Get with the programme, granddad!

- Rigorously police the private lives of your congregation to ensure that they are practicing what you preach. You may wish to invest in a public stocks to humiliate fornicators. This will be a great hit at the parish fete/acid-house rave party.

-Make decisions as fast as possible, and with minimal consultation. People want results, and they want them now! Don't worry you can always change your mind later. And then change it back again. Or not. It's probably not that important anyway.

-Don't be so serious! It's only religion, after all. It's not as though it's a matter of life and death.

Posted by: rjb on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 at 1:52pm BST

Eirenic -- peace-making or peaceful -- related to the name Irene. Not to be confused with ironic.
Columba Gilliss

Posted by: Columba Gilliss on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 at 3:39pm BST

One way to drive people of all ages out of church is the obligation on PCCs to trace and register chancel repair liability on pain of becoming personally liable as charity trustees. The recent Broadway case shows even when a PCC tries to get exemptions it destroys local goodwill. This will turn the CofE into the Spanish Inquisition ("Our chief weapon is surprise - surprise and fear - our two chief weapons etc"). Tithes have gone so why this stupid unChristian archaic nonsense. The bishops shouild be fighting this.

Posted by: Marianne on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 at 4:05pm BST

Mr. Oulton

from Greek eirēnikos, from eirēnē peace, used in English frequently as with thousands of words from Latin, Greek, and a multitude of other languages.

Fr. Donald

Posted by: Father Donald on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 at 4:44pm BST

"Eirenic" is the British misspelling of "irenic." They keep forgetting that we won the war . . .

Posted by: Steve Lusk on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 at 6:15pm BST

'Slow' in what way? Slow in the sense of silence, calm? Or slow to react to people, emergencies, needs around us?

Keep remembering that people argue that women bishops and equal marriage are 'too fast' and no professional is going to wait o the back burner for ever waiting for their talents to be used...

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 at 7:16pm BST

"For those of us who only know 9 languages, what does "eirenic" mean?" - Randall Oulton -

Oh dear. That's the problem with 'higher education' in today's world. We can learn foreign languages without even a familiarity with the contents of an English dictionary.

From the 'Concise Oxford English dictionary':

'eirenic (also irenic)(adj.)aiming, or aimed at peace'

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 at 11:55pm BST

Christopher Howse's article concludes:

"Anyone would think that Malory, or the sources for his story, had set out to construct a fable exposing the fallacy of consequentialism, the error of thinking it is ever right to do wrong to obtain a desirable end."


Posted by: Susannah on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 at 9:24am BST

Rosemary, "slow" as in calm, deliberate, mindful - the opposite of hasty, panicky, precipitate. Both in the political and the religious realms we see more and more demands that if we do not do X *right this very minute* then all is lost. I remember people complaining about the pace of life before 2001, but it's only after that point that I've noticed the sort of frantic demands for instant action I'm talking about.

In general, I've grown very suspicious of these sorts of demands for immediate change. They seem to be, in the main, attempts to manipulate public action by short-circuiting discussion, and are backed up by appealing to fears for the very existence of the entity dealt with, be it nation or Church..

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Thursday, 23 August 2012 at 12:15am BST

It seems to me that "slow" describes those who, during the American civil rights movement of the 50's and 60's, insisted that the country wasn't "ready yet" for the kinds of changes the activists demanded. That sounded reasonable if you weren't black.

Posted by: Old Father William on Friday, 24 August 2012 at 11:29pm BST

Old Father William, not every decision the Church (or society at large) is urged to make rises to the level of importance and need of ending racial segregation. Nor is everyone who resists calls for immediate change the moral equivalent of Southern Gradualists.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Sunday, 26 August 2012 at 2:13pm BST

Chancel Repair Liability. Is there no Bishop who will have the courage to stand up and say this is an iniquity and will not happen in my Diocese? The recent shambles at Broadway demonstrates the damage to the C of E which may have beautifully repaired chancels but no congregation to put in them.

Posted by: Brian Walton on Friday, 21 September 2012 at 10:19am BST
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