Saturday, 27 April 2013


Jonathan Chaplin writes for Fulcrum about The Church of England and the Funeral of Baroness Thatcher.

Christopher Howse writes about Thomas Traherne in The music made by grains of sand in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph.

Jonathan Brown reports for The Independent that single Christians feel unsupported by family-focused churches.

David Cloake (the Vernacular Vicar) blogs about The ‘Hit and Miss’ of Funeral Ministry.

Theo Hobson writes in The Spectator that The Church of England needs a compromise on gay marriage. Here it is.

Premier Radio has interviewed Rowan Wiliams about Love, Liberty and Life after Canterbury.

Scott Stephens for ABC Religion and Ethics asks Can a religious believer be a serious journalist? Richard Dawkins and the unbearable smugness of tweeting.
On the same topic The Heresiarch blogs about Dawkins and the Flying Horse and Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian that Richard Dawkins’ latest anti-Muslim Twitter spat lays bare his hypocrisy.

And here’s one that I missed from a few weeks ago.
Paul Goodman in The Telegraph asks Does religion still have a place in today’s politics?

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 27 April 2013 at 11:00am BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Opinion

Interesting article by Jonathan Chaplin on the Thatcher obsequies, but more interesting still was the piece by Giles Fraser in The Guardian. His recollection in the article of the tension between Archbishop Runcie and Thatcher is poignant.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 27 April 2013 at 2:35pm BST

I actually find the Hobson article more offensive than the bigots. He would do well to reread MLK's Letter from the Birmingham jail. He says that he's convinced that "moderates" were the worst obstacle to justice. Here's a link to it:

Either we're created in the image of God, equally loved, or we're not. There's no humiliating middle way. Just like there's no middle way on WB's, because any so-called middle way is discriminatory, humiliating, undermining, and says "there's something fundamentally wrong with you." I agree with pastoral possibilities for those who can't open their minds and their hearts that wide. In TEC we "call" rectors and a conservative parish isn't going to call a gay priest. Problem solved.

Hobson's way is a great solution for those who've never suffered discrimination, i.e. it's a feel good solution for the status quo.

Is my position too radical? I think Jesus was pretty radical.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 27 April 2013 at 3:16pm BST

Richard Dawkins' sneering dismissal of a reporter because the reporter "believes in a flying horse" merely shows that, despite certain atheists' claims to relying exclusively on reason anbd logic, they can be as smug, self-righteous and condescending as anyone else.
I see it often in a local newspaper's blogs: "You believe a snake talked to a woman, why should I pay any attention to you?"
Mr. Dawkins would resent anyone who questioned his academic and scholarly credentials merely because he didn't believe in God. Why does he do the same to believers?
Thank you, Mr. Chaplin, for your acknowledgement of the horrendous sacrifice of the Soviet people in WWII. I feel it gets all-too-often overlooked in the West's memory of that event.

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Saturday, 27 April 2013 at 6:10pm BST

You've got to admire Theo Hobson's rather fanciful rewriting of history like none of it ever happened like any of us remembered it, going through it at the time.

Apparently the blame is down to (unnamed) liberals who didn't accept a compromise (or rather didn't propose it).

Just a few reminders are in order. Firstly at the time and even now such a compromise would be embraced because nothing better is coming.

Secondly George Carey was the Archbishop of Canterbury for the whole time after Issues in Human Sexuality and notably at the woeful 1998 Lambeth Conference (where a compromise was available but vetoed by Carey et al).

Well it is a pity that Theo Hobson's insights weren't available at the time.

Any way, in the same time frame that liberals were shunning compromise, the Church of England entered formal positions in favour of retaining section 28 and against the equalisation of the age of consent for gay men. It is worth remembering that during this time there was no mention of civil partnerships or same sex marriage.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Saturday, 27 April 2013 at 6:32pm BST

Theo Hobson has come up with a scheme which has something of the Animal Farm stench to it.. "some animals are more equal than others."

If we talk about marriage as a vocation the sort of problems he is struggling with just evaporate.

I do not recognise his historical analysis as remotely close to any version of reality that I recognise, still it's a great myth to start spreading abroad. It's another version of the old favourite, where the abuser blames the abused.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Saturday, 27 April 2013 at 11:13pm BST

Further thoughts on Hobson. The premise of his "moderate-liberal" compromise is that English LGBT persons will have more tolerance for 2nd class membership than Americans, Canadians, and New Zealanders. I find that unlikely. It's more likely that more people, LGBT and otherwise, will stay away from the church in droves because the "moderate-liberal" solution looks increasingly Neanderthal in the developed world. It might have been progressive in the 80's or early 90's, but that train left the station.

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 28 April 2013 at 12:22am BST

Re Theo Hobson's "Compromise"? "The good news, the surgery was a success. The bad news, the patient died".

Either ALL the Imago Dei, and their spousal relationships in Christ, are EQUAL, or else we're talking about "a different gospel". Shame, Theo, shame.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 28 April 2013 at 3:21am BST

S Stephens: "What Dawkins cannot grasp is that reference to the supernatural in Judaism, Christianity and Islam suggests neither a kind of infantile credulity (of the sort that professes belief in fairies or unicorns or Santa Claus) nor an unhealthy fixation with the miraculous per se. Rather, the supernatural points to the origin of the natural in divine love and the orientation of the natural beyond itself, and toward goodness, beauty, justice and peace."

YES! Yes.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 28 April 2013 at 3:35am BST

Theo Hobson’s “compromise” is nonsensical. His solution to the impasse is this: “The middle way consists in affirming gay priests, and stable gay relationships, but balancing this with another affirmation: of heterosexual marriage as the norm, the ideal.”

This “compromise” makes sense only if one accepts one of two propositions: (1) Homosexuality is a choice, so a person can choose to embrace the ideal of heterosexual marriage or a less-than-ideal, second-rate homosexual relationship; or (2) homosexuals, being a minority, will (or should) graciously trade the legitimizing of their relationships for the simultaneous demeaning of them.

Hobson is right to call his proposal a compromise. It requires compromising truth or dignity or both. The first proposition is particularly irksome, as it assumes an interchangeability of persons that is unrealistic. It is like saying that the ideal occupation is that of philosopher and asserting that a plumber fails to achieve that ideal. Well, not everyone is cut out to be a philosopher, and not every person is a heterosexual who wants to marry. Conventional marriage may be a “norm” in a statistical sense, but that isn’t saying much. Moreover, with the increasing popularity of cohabitation, it is in danger of losing even that minor distinction.

I could write a good deal more about why neither proposition is acceptable, but, for brevity, I will assume that, for most Thinking Anglican readers, their unacceptability is self-evident.

Posted by: Lionel Deimel on Sunday, 28 April 2013 at 2:10pm BST

The Heresiarch post and comments are worth a read.

I remember the atheists of my grandfather's generation to be aggressively anti religion. Dawkins seems mild mannered in comparison.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 1 May 2013 at 7:08am BST

And perhaps, on second thoughts, what Theo is saying is that this compromise is the best we can expect from a Church that is so conflicted, so lost.

What has struck me in the past about CofE documents on this subject is their fundamental duplicity. So, perhaps what Hobson is telling us is we can only expect more of the same to come and that this sort of gold plated fudge will be the best outcome we can expect in the next few years.

Perhaps he is right, it's just too much to expect anything else!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 3 May 2013 at 6:28pm 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.