Saturday, 6 September 2014

opinion

Archdruid Eileen On Encountering a Church
and Going to Church is a Waste of Time

Laurie Brock who blogs at Dirty Sexy Ministry discusses dating and the single priest: Eat, Priest, Love.

Ian Paul asks What kind of leader is Justin Welby?

Eric Pickles The Telegraph The fight against intolerance begins at home

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 6 September 2014 at 11:00am BST | TrackBack
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One commentator on Ian Paul's piece - with which Ian Paul then agrees - states that "He [Welby] has shown an immense astuteness when dealing with the press and they are not sure how to handle him."

They must have listened to different media interviews with Justin Welby than I have. Leaving aside *what* is being said, Welby comes across, to me, as defensive and often barely coherent. His main failing in media communication is starting sentences and tailing-off midway through them. And who can forget the 'gay marriage is great' fiasco which had to be re-framed the following day by others as 'Justin thinks it's great that we live in a democracy whereby laws can be passed such that gay can people can be married', or some such. Then there was the embarassingly bad interview with BBC Radio Nottingham on equal marriage.

Whatever other excellent personal and professional qualities Justin Welby possesses (and I am certainly unqualified to comment on his theology), his handling of the media is not, in my opinion, one of them.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Saturday, 6 September 2014 at 1:03pm BST

Re. Laurie Brock's advice not to date someone in your parish - I spent the first twenty years of my ministry in small, isolated rural parishes. If I'd followed that advice, I'd have married a non-Christian. Or at least, a non-Anglican. Or, more likely, not have gotten married at all. As it is, I met my wife in my first parish, we're about to celebrate 36 years of marriage, and it's been one of the greatest blessings of my life.

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Saturday, 6 September 2014 at 9:01pm BST

Eric Pickles' little homily in the Telegraph makes me feel rather sick, especially where he warns against false prophets "who come to you in sheep's clothing." Well, as Shakespeare very nearly said, even a Conservative cabinet minister can cite scripture for his purpose.

What Pickles trots out is very little to do with either Christianity or Islam, though he dresses up his doctrine in the borrowed robes of faith. What he really has to offer is nothing but anodyne liberal civic religion. "Freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand in hand," he declares, adding "but both should operate within the law." I most certainly hope that no self-respecting Christian or Muslim would agree that the dictates of faith are contingent upon the sanction of the law. Both Christians and Muslims are taught to respect and obey secular authorities, but this obedience is contingent upon their respect for the divine law, and the duty of obedience to lawful magistrates is never unqualified. The idea that the law of the state takes precedence over the demands of faith is one to which nobody should ever accede.

I sense that Eric Pickles sees religious faith as a useful tool of social control when it is stripped of its obstreperous 'extremists': if only we could all be nice compliant middle-of-the-road Anglicans, and not like those nasty anti-Israel protesters outside Sainsburys (who appear somehow equivalent in Pickles' mind with the EDL and, Heaven help us, ISIS). If only we could return to the "Christian values" that freed the slaves and emancipated Catholics, but most certainly do not require a boycott of Israel or entail any serious criticism of the government's economic policies!

"We must all rally and support our hard-fought British values," the man pontificates, "tolerance, freedom and the rule of law." Well, no. Those are all nice things and I happen to be in favour of all of them, but they are not the values to which we owe our final allegiance. We owe our ultimate allegiance not to politically-fashionable "British values" or even to Pickles' made-up "Christian values" but to the Christian virtues: faith, hope, and charity. And it may occasionally be that the demands that these place on us will have to take precedence over the deceptive image of peace and compliance held up by liberal civic religion - even when it comes dressed in sheep's clothing.

Posted by: rjb on Sunday, 7 September 2014 at 9:28am BST

Right, Tim! And you have plenty of company.

Some years ago I did an informal survey. I went through the entire clergy list and found that I personally know 112 married Episcopal priests (males, in those days) well enough to be aware of their personal details. Of that number 80 had courted, wooed, and (in some cases, bedded) an active member of their congregation! (that's over 70%)

Each of them told me: "There just were no other options. I didn't go to bars or night-clubs or any other social settings where I could have made a contact with suitable candidates. The only people I knew well enough and had exposure to were parishioners."

Posted by: John-Julian, OJN on Sunday, 7 September 2014 at 4:55pm BST

I am reminded by the Archdruid of this morning's reading at Mattins. 'And there was silence in heaven for about half an hour'. I often think that there is just too much noise in the service and not just in the services, there is too much noise everywhere. Particularly the organist filling in to 'cover the silences'. I like the silences (and I am a former organist and generally have I nothing against them!) let's have a little more silence and not be afraid of it.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Sunday, 7 September 2014 at 6:15pm BST

'The idea that the law of the state takes precedence over the demands of faith is one to which nobody should ever accede.'

Surely that depends on the nature of 'the law of the state' and 'the demands of faith.' (?) Otherwise it is a statement every jihadist could sign up to??

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Monday, 8 September 2014 at 2:42am BST

rjb: the implication in what you say is that faith is self-justifying, or that liberal political thought is to be welcomed insofar as it happens to coincide with an individual's religious worldview. This is to seriously impoverish the liberal tradition.

While it might be that a religious individual understands their faith as a stronger and more serious personal motivation than values of liberal tolerance, their freedom so to believe and so to act entirely presupposes those structures of liberal tolerance. Where the expression of an individual's religious faith begins to curtail a like liberty for others, they do not merely undertake an ascetic rebellion against secular powers -- they act wrongly and they violate the rights that they themselves presume to enjoy.

Posted by: AndrewT on Monday, 8 September 2014 at 5:44am BST

Agh! Gasp! Not get married *at all*! How, before God, could you not get married *at all* and still be a Christian, let alone a priest? Aaaaaarrrrrrggggh! The Horror! The Horror!

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 11 September 2014 at 7:03am BST

The sense of heterosexual entitlement is strong in this thread.

Is it unconscious ?

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 at 1:08am BST
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