Saturday, 10 May 2014


Archdruid Eileen blogs about The Only Good Pharisee…..?

Matthew Bell has interviewed John Bickersteth for The Spectator: Guns, gays and the Queen - a former bishop reminisces.

Andrew Goddard writes for Fulcrum about Same-sex marriage, clergy and the canons.

Molly Lynch writes for The Yorkshire Post about Fears for Yorkshire’s oldest churches.

The Huffington Post has photos of The Most Stunning Stained Glass Windows In The World.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 11:00am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

"Change canon B30 so that marriage is not defined, is re-defined to include same-sex marriage, or is defined without reference to “our Lord’s teaching”

- Andrew Goddard -

The substance of this possibility seems the best choice - except for the fact that 'Our Lord's teaching may be a wee bit different from Andrew Goddard's exegesis.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 12:42pm BST

The Huffington Post does't seem to know that Chartres cathedral must contain the most stunning stained glass in all the world.
If it's modern stunning stained glass that you are after then try the Benjamin Britten memorial window in Aldeburgh parish church which contains three amazing lights - The Return of the Prodigal, Curlew River and The Burning Fiery Furnace.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 1:05pm BST

What a lovely piece about John Bickersteth. He ordained me deacon 43 years ago. It was in Speke Parish Church on one of the most horrible housing estates on Merseyside. No heading for the white highlands for him. Opposite the church all the shops were boarded up and many of the church windows were parents were quite concerned about the safety of their car....justifiably as during the ordination many people's tyres were slashed. I can still hear his "text" in that lovely posh, plummy voice he has "those who have ears to hear, let him hear". He was a very good suffragan bishop and he was always there for us. I am grateful for him....and should you read this "Thank you John."

Posted by: Robert Ellis on Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 2:31pm BST

Fr David - I too was flabbergasted by the omission of Chartres, and there are Spanish places like Leon that might have been up there too.

Posted by: Neil on Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 7:09pm BST

Those were the days when a bishop could be offered the honour of becoming Clerk of the Closet simply because he impressed Prince Philip with his ability to shoot geese.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Duke of Edinburgh shoots them all.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 8:42pm BST

Re Chartres Cathedral, Agreed. The first time I saw the article I wondered, how could they have not included Chartres?

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 9:02pm BST

Father David, awesome. But, I always thought that was part of being a royal.

Archdruid Eileen's remarks about the Pharisees is spot on! Thank you, ma'am!
Generations of Gospel-reading Christians have turned the Pharisees, and, by extension, Orthodox Jews, into a caricature.
Like she said, forget about mystic trips to India, magic mushrooms, or the rest of that nonsense. Jesus, in his Earthly ministry, the ministry I believe in, was a Pharisee. His dispute was about how to reconcile the rules, the Law, with mercy, and kindness.
Modern rabbinical Judaism arose directly out of the Pharisee movement. After the destruction of the Temple, the Saducees lost the very core of their theology. After the Romans defeated the Jewish revolt, the Essenes seem to have vanished. The Pharisees, with their synagogues, the Law and questions of how to interpret it,and their belief that God could be worshiped anywhere, survived.

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 10:33pm BST

Father David: the last, worst, James Herriot book? :)

Posted by: John Wirenius on Sunday, 11 May 2014 at 3:12am BST

Peter, you said " forget about mystic trips to India, magic mushrooms, or the rest of that nonsense. Jesus, in his Earthly ministry, the ministry I believe in, was a Pharisee."

But surely it is "both/and" not "either/or". Jesus being a Pharisee (which I believe is an entirely sustainable argument) does not exclude the influence of Eastern religion. But he did not go to the East, the East came to him.

Many people under-estimate the amount of travel and cultural mixing in those ancient times. We forget that Sephoris, a major Greco-Roman city was being built 5 km from Nazareth during Jesus' childhood.

And in Capernaum, the "Road by the Sea" (Matthew 4.12) was a major trade route linking Egypt with Europe and the East. Imagine the people who passed through the town where Jesus chose to base his ministry. Elaine Pagels puts Buddhist scholars in Alexandria at this time, and they would probably have followed the Trade Route through Capernaum to get there.

The interest for me is not to argue whether Jesus was a Pharisaic Jew or a product of outside (and mainly Eastern) religious influence. The interest is to realise that in Galilee in 30 AD it was entirely possible to be both.

Best wishes

Posted by: Simon Dawson on Sunday, 11 May 2014 at 9:57am BST

This from the Bickersteth article was an eye-brow raiser:

"...vetting all the monarch’s reading material. This dates back to the Reformation, when the church was keen to prevent the Queen being exposed to Roman Catholic propaganda. "

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Sunday, 11 May 2014 at 11:12am BST

Randal, when it comes to vetting or examination, I think it would be preferable to be Clerk of the Closet (the duties of which carry an annual salary of £7) to being Groom of the Stool. The latter post would certainly be an eyebrow raiser.

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 12 May 2014 at 5:59am BST

Simon Dawson,
Thank you for your commentary. That the East might have come to Jesus is entirely plausible. We don't know a thing between the time he came of age and the time he was called to his ministry. But, if he worked as a carpenter's apprentice, or in some other trade, I could easily see him engaging in conversation and dialogue with the people he met on his journey towards that call.
I may be being myopic, but I feel that everything Jesus was teaching during his ministry could have been influenced by, and an attempt to influence, the Pharisaism of the time.
I wonder if anyone has, for example, ever written a paper or a book comparing Jesus' teachings to Rabbi Hillel, a great Jewish sage and teacher who lived roughly contemporaneously with Jesus.

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Monday, 12 May 2014 at 8:34pm BST

Peter, I can enthusiastically endorse Harvey Falk's _Jesus the Pharisee_ (Paulist Press, 1985). He offers some splendid argument in support of the notion, which I have ever since supported, and found helpful in contextualizing the teaching of Jesus in a Hillelite matrix.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Tuesday, 13 May 2014 at 3:04pm BST
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