Saturday, 20 July 2013


Sarah Greeks writes for Humane Pursuits: Half-time Huddle: Why I Lack Enthusiasm for the Church. She has 22 reasons.

Frank Brennan (an Australian Jesuit) writes for Eureka Street that It’s time to recognise secular same sex marriage.

Jonathan Clatworthy of Modern Church asks What is Christianity for anyway?

Nelson Jones asks in the New Statesman Does it matter that young people in Britain aren’t religious?

Michael Jensen presents an insider’s view for ABC Religion and Ethics: The church and the world: The politics of Sydney Anglicanism.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 20 July 2013 at 11:00am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Lack enthusiasm for the church? Since Sarah writes that "59 minutes later we are all out of the door" it's hardly surprising. I am tempted to suggest she should find herself a different church - but a marketplace where each of us chooses "what suits me" can be a rather un-catholic concept.

Posted by: Jamie Wood on Saturday, 20 July 2013 at 8:26pm BST

Sarah's church is mostly attended by older people even though it uses modern worship choruses and projector screens. Notably, it fails to excite her. I've said it before and I'll say it again, what was fresh and revolutionary in the 1970s is now staid and boring and formulaic.

I think she needs to pop along to a local Episcoplian conventicle with a reasonably traditional liturgy. A spot of George Herbert or John Mason Neale let her know that, yes, signing praise to God doesn't need to be as banal as that.

Posted by: The Rev'd Mervyn Noote on Sunday, 21 July 2013 at 12:04am BST

I disagree with Jonathan Clatworthy only in so far as institutions make for change, so that the Reformation was an opportunity for princes to define autonomy by their own institutions, and from these generate more diverse ideas. One religion one Church became one religion many Churches and as that diversity worked so was it easier to gain many religions and none and many institutions. The rise of the secular was long coming, and benefits from that institutional diversity, and it came about because of a new collective working class that wasn't part of middle and upper class religion. So it was institutional too. But what makes the secular work now is not the intellectual ideas as such but the trickle-down in the way of practical solutions to practical problems - the technology that follows on from secular science. People learn to think in the most basic way in a secular and this worldly sense, and that becomes the basis of knowledge all around. In contrast to this, Christianity deals in peculiar liturgical concepts that have no grip on ordinary reality. They simply don't mean anything any more, and so when they make an objection to some social change, they are very easily pushed to one side.

Posted by: Pluralist on Sunday, 21 July 2013 at 3:09am BST

In South Africa we called it Apartheid,separate development , self determination,or plural democracy!

Posted by: robert ian williams on Sunday, 21 July 2013 at 6:59am BST

I would have been more impressed by Jonathan Clatworthy's piece if it had ended with some concrete proposals rather than fizzling out into its 'somebody ought to do something' conclusion.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Sunday, 21 July 2013 at 12:54pm BST

This is a very interesting article on the history of Sydney Anglicanism from Michael Jensen.

They're even worse than I thought and supported Apartheid in South Africa and the racial separatist "Church of England in South Africa". Ironic that they are now in solidarity with so many African Primates!

Broughton Knox was Principal of Moore College from 1958-1982. Jensen writes:

"For Broughton Knox, "social justice" was itself a questionable category. In an article entitled "Social Justice or Compassion," he argued that "the teaching and actions of Jesus nowhere show a concern for 'social justice'":

"The reason is that the call for social justice springs from envy rather than from compassion ... Compassion, not social justice, is the motivation for Christian social action ... Poverty calls for compassion ... but a Christian is not called on to campaign for a closer equalisation of incomes either within our society, nor for that matter between nation and nation. Christ's gospel is not concerned with equity but with relationships."

Amazing - and now they dominate much of Anglicanism in the Global South!

Posted by: Iain Baxter on Sunday, 21 July 2013 at 3:16pm BST

There's a church in a posh part of a city that my godmother, a former member, once called "St [ ] the Comfortable".

You can just imagine Mr Principal Broughton Knox preaching from such a pulpit. "How revolting that the lower classes have become so envious! In God's Design, as we have 'compassion' upon them, dropping them a coin in their begging bowls now&then, so also should they have 'compassion' upon the fiduciary-burdened trust-fund set!"

From my godmother again: "Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable." It is unto the comfortable, that Our Lord wielded a whipping cord...

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 22 July 2013 at 8:16am BST

Michael Jensen's article need to be understood in its conservative evangeloical context - of the Sydney Anglican Diocese.

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not charity, then am i nothing worth" - Saint Paul -

Even Saint Paul recognises that the words of men - be they evangelical preachers or others who rely on the power of the pulpit rather than the power of Jesus present in the Eucharist - for the purpose of evanglism, are selling the gospel short!

What Evangelical Sydney seems to have lost sight of, is the FACT that all of us are sinners needing redemption; and the only way is to submit to the - often unspoken - Word of God-made-flesh in the only worship service Jesus himself authorised. Neglect of the Eucharist can never be excused by even the most prophetic preaching.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 at 1:13pm BST
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