Saturday, 21 January 2017

Opinion - 21 January 2017

Kelvin Holdsworth marked Winnie the Pooh day with Prayer for the Day – Script 2.

Lynn Wray National Museums Liverpool LGBT artwork marks Saint Sebastian Feast day

Justin Welby Archbishop of Canterbury ‘It defies description’: Archbishop Justin on visiting Auschwitz

David Ison ViaMedia.News An Old Dirty Candle to Transform the Darkness…

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 21 January 2017 at 11:00am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Between where I live and my daughter's house in Canberra are a range of mountains: the Great Dividing Range (NSW Australia). On a particularly challenging corner, sits Pooh Corner, where there are toy bears and a little cave. I know I'm about halfway there when I reach Pooh Corner. Thanks Kelvin Holdsworth.

Posted by: Pam on Saturday, 21 January 2017 at 8:28pm GMT

Kelvin is best at pieces like the Pooh Corner one. Nice.

Posted by: Kate on Saturday, 21 January 2017 at 11:27pm GMT

The piece by Archbishop Welby on his third visit to Auschwitz/Birkenau is of great interest. In the article Welby asks, "Having seen this terrible place could we still speak of God? Could we still pray, and if so in what way? Could we hear the tunes of evil in such a way that we recognise their modern variations?

Very poignant questions indeed. One wonders if the issue of anti-Judaism in the Christian New Testament and the long history of Christian antisemitism were recognized and confronted? The use of Book of Revelation in bible study is mentioned in the article--a part of Christian scripture that is problematic in that regard.

The matter is timely. There was a failed attempt, at the most recent Canadian General synod, to remove an antisemitic occasional collect from the BCP. The resolution to do so passed with the requisite two-thirds majority in the two orders of clergy and laity; but it failed in the order of bishops by one vote. Several bishops were not in the house at the time unfortunately, otherwise getting the prayer struck from the BCP likely would have passed. Next time in Jerusalem one can only hope.

Antisemitism is alive and well in the wider society and in the church. Something that needs to be confronted and dealt with decisively.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 22 January 2017 at 3:47am GMT

Might help if you let us know the collect under scrutiny. No question that we have had a sorry history with Jews in significant respects. But I don't know that "Antisemitism is alive and well the church." It doesn't seem that way to me.

And a ruthlessly interrogative theologian like Donald MacKinnon thought the New Testament, or John's gospel anyhow, could be exonerated from the charge of anti-Semitism (and I happen to agree) though the use, or misuse of it, could be acknowledged." Good to remember that the early Christian were the little guys on the block and booted from the synagogue when John most likely was written (or when its core was formed if not finally edited then) so that community was trying to cope with a division, it might have been, not of its own doing, and without anything like the power of later Christendom.

Posted by: Wm (Bill) Paul III on Monday, 23 January 2017 at 7:23pm GMT

(Following Bill Pall III) And by extension many OT texts have a similar history of misuse as the oppressed minority produce texts which are wheeled out as binding and authoritative when that group's descendants have become the empowered majority. It's why the hurling of proof-texts is so damnably dangerous.

Anti-semitism is indeed alive and well, though I don't think the Church is too grubby-handed - but it's surely historically incoherent to say that passages in (say) John were written as anti-semitic: better, is it not, to say that anti-semitism can quarry scripture and find things there which it can turn to its advantage.

Question: was Marcion anti-semitic, or did he simply detest aspects of Judaism's theology? When does anti-semitism become an established phenomenon? Thoughts and patristic references, anyone?

Posted by: David Rowett on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 at 5:17pm GMT

Re:Bill Paul, happy to oblige. The collect reads: "O God who did choose Israel to be thine inheritance:Look, we beseech thee, upon thine ancient people; open their hearts that they may see and confess the Lord Jesus to be thy son and the true Messiah and, believing, they may have life through his name.Take away all pride and prejudice in us that may hinder their understanding of the Gospel, and hasten the time when all Israel shall be saved..."

The phrasing of the collect is deliberately designed to touch every nerve in Judaism while championing Christian chauvinism and exceptionalism. The "humble brag" near the end simply compounds matters in a perversely unctuous manner.

The collect is a combination of passive aggressive liturgy and supersessionism. As Rosemary Radford Reuther wrote ( see Davis, ed. below), "The anger with which the church looks at the synagogue remains a jealous anger that believes the Church itself cannot be whole until the synagogue repents and accepts the one whom they rejected."

The views expressed in your second paragraph are themselves open to rigorous critique. It is just not that simple.

See, just for example, Antisemitism and the Foundations of Christianity edited by Alan T. Davis, or, Jews and Ant-Judaism in the New Testament by Terence L. Donaldson (SPCK 2010) A good, though perhaps overly irenic, primer on the subject with an extensive bibliography.

See also the recent Roman Catholic elucidation, The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 at 5:22pm GMT
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