Linda Woodhead Church Times The challenges that the new C of E reports duck
Meri-Anna Hintsala Westminster Faith Faiths blog Putting a Church Online – Lessons from Finland
Church Times leader Right sort of growth
Michael Paulson New York Times Inequality as a Religious Issue: A Conversation With the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech at ‘Creating the Common Good’ conference in New York
Ben Irwin blogs How Newsweek Got the Bible Right — and Still Got it Wrong in response to the Newsweek article that I linked to three weeks ago.
The Economist Go forth and multiply
Mark Clavier blogs Fragmented formation: training clergy.
Father Richard Peers SCP ‘Liberals in vestments’: What is the Society of Catholic Priests for?
The Guardian Epiphany around the world – in pictures
Paul Handley Church Times leader Fundamentalism
Christopher Howse writes about St Hilary in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph Troglodytes, topazes and the spring term.
Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message
Church Times leader Disorganised religion
For Epiphany Archdruid Eileen writes about Three Ways to Know.
Christopher Howse The Telegraph Exodus: the evidence for the Bible story
Cole Moreton Telegraph Why female bishops could be the Church of England’s saviour
The Guardian editorial The Guardian view on religious intolerance: the burden of the cross
Kurt Eichenwald Newsweek The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin
Ian Paul Jesus really wasn’t born in a stable
There are several articles this week about Justin Welby.
Financial Times leader A Christian leader who is living in the real world
Caroline Wyatt BBC News ‘Super-astute’ Welby faces big challenges ahead
Independent editorial Spiritual - and political: For those who question the Church’s relevance to society, a resounding answer is provided this Christmas
Ian Paul Justin Welby: a leader ‘for such a time as this…’
Giles Fraser The Guardian The Christmas story is all about God divesting Himself of power
Aaron James Premier Better toilets will save the church, says TV newsreader
Hannah Martin The Guardian One female bishop is not enough – the church must behave more like Jesus
Bible Society Survey reveals people confuse Bible Nativity with traditional misconceptions. You can take the quiz there yourself.
Ian Ellis of the Church of Ireland Gazette has interviewed Rowan Williams. You can listen to the interview here. Topics include Christian Aid and the European Union; there’s a list of contents with timings below the fold.
Kelvin Holdsworth blogs about The Peace and Unity and Order of the Church.
Contents of the Rowan Williams interview
00:00-01:08 General comments on Christian Aid
01:08-03:02 Tackling the roots of poverty
03:02-04:24 Charity work and political involvement
04:24-06:48 The Anglican Alliance (Aid & Development)
06:48-09:27 Response to Pope Francis’ 25th November speech at the EU Parliament
09:27-11:17 Human Rights and the religious perspective
11:17-12:38 Vision for UK in relation to the European Union
12:38-14:46 Momentum in the UK for withdrawal from the EU
14:46-15:56 Christian Aid in Britain and Ireland
Vic Van Den Bergh More than ‘Just a service’ - Funerals
Michael Sadgrove Cathedrals: a success story?
Giles Fraser The Guardian The whole point of Christianity is to create a deeper form of humanism
Madeleine Davies Church Times The Maasai – a tradition in transition
Church Times leader Cathedral conundrum
Andrew Brown The Guardian Talking about fish copulation is no way to discuss the family
Kate Bottley The Guardian I’m all for a mid-week church service – at least it’ll give me a Sunday lie-in
James Croft Patheos This Atheist is Thankful for the Clergy
Paul Handley The Guardian Let us give thanks, Black Friday has nothing to do with religion
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes 5 Things I miss about being Laity
Cathy Newman interviews Rose Hudson-Wilkin for The Telegraph Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin: The truth? We’re all fearful for the first female bishops
Rupert Christiansen The Telegraph Why do Christmas carols make the church feel nervous?
Erasmus The Economist Hello ladies, goodbye Communion?
Lucy Ward The Guardian Una Kroll: ‘Public protest is still very important’
Sam Wells The Christian Century Dressed for the moment
Bosco Peters A Bishop is not a Priest
Isabel Berwick Financial Times From atheist teenager to lady of the parish
The Questions yesterday evening at General Synod included this question and answer:
Mrs Christina Rees (St Albans) asked the Secretary General:
Q Is there any longer a bar on a man or woman who, having been ordained to the priesthood by a bishop who is a woman in another province of the Anglican Communion or in another Church with which the Church of England is in communion, being given to permission to officiate under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967, so as to make them then to be as a priest in the Church of England, given a Licence or Permission to Officiate?
Mr William Fittall replied:
A The decision taken by the Synod this afternoon means that it is now lawful for women to be consecrated as bishops in England. The rationale for the bar which the Archbishops have operated up to now under the 1967 Measure has therefore disappeared. The gender of the consecrating bishop will be no longer relevant when applications for permission to officiate are considered.
updated Saturday night
Frederick Schmidt What is a seminary faculty?
These three articles look at the Church of England statistics issued on Monday.
David Keen New CofE stats: we did better than UKIP, but still not well enough
Norman Ivison The clock is ticking
Bev Botting New Stats, New Findings
Giles Fraser The Guardian The Church of England is actually holding up pretty well in an adverse market
Angela Denker Sojourners 3 Ways ‘All Are Welcome’ Is Hurting the Church
Leading article in The Spectator Thank heavens for Justin Welby!
David Keen has also published Latest CofE stats: Attendance by Diocese 2009-13.
Rachel Harden, the Church of England’s Deputy Director of Communications, writes about Blogging Faith.
Alex Willmott If you can’t lead a church, don’t lead a church
Kevin P Emmert Christianity Today New Poll Finds Evangelicals’ Favorite Heresies
Kelvin Holdsworth Becoming a Welcoming Cathedral
Michael Sadgrove Extraverts and Introverts: a plea for understanding
David Keen Vicars - A Great Resource Squandered?
Kelvin Holdsworth Beware of the Celibate
Giles Fraser The Guardian Superstition can’t be exorcised just by simply turning off the God switch
Ian Paul How to save a diocese
Gillan Scott How to prevent the extinction of the Church of England
Jonathan Clatworthy Does the Church still need parishes?
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Women in the Episcopate Bill gains Royal Assent
Sarah and Lindsey blogs at A Queer Calling When the Church’s “Welcome” to LGBT People Hurts
Neil Hodgson of the Liverpool Echo has been talking to Andrew Ware of church suppliers Hayes & Finch.
Ian Paul wrote Free healthcare cannot continue.
David Keen wrote The parish system: game over?
Update And part 6 is here.
Justin Welby has written in Prospect magazine Archbishop of Canterbury on dealing with ISIS and jihadism.
Jon Riding writes for Fulcrum about Bible in the Raw.
The Guardian has published a selection of readers’ pictures of Empty places of worship.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Jesus wasn’t much taken with biological kith and kin – he said we’re all family.
On the same topic Andrew Lightbown has written An open letter to Nigel Farage.
The Church Times has now published its complete list of the 100 best Christian books.
Richard Beck blogs at Experimental Theology about Faith as Quantum Superposition.
David Salisbury of Vanderbilt University asks Are the world’s religions ready for E.T.?
The Archbishop of Canterbury talks to the editor of The Church of Ireland Gazette, Canon Ian Ellis.
Marcus Borg Patheos A Christianity Co-Opted by Individualistic, Exclusivist Faith
Gillan Scott blogs Shock! Justin Welby admits that he believes in God
Charities Aid Foundation The Guardian The role of socially responsible investment in economic uncertainty
Karen Armstrong The Guardian The myth of religious violence
The Church Times has compiled its list of the 100 best Christian books. Yesterday (Friday) it revealed numbers 100 to 51. Numbers 50 to 11 and then 10 to 1 will be announced on 3 and 10 October.
Church of England Newspaper editorial The battle for the soul of the Church
Isabel Hardman The Spectator Conservative Anglicans’ emergency plan to escape women bishops
Phoebe Thompson of Premier Youthwork spoke to Sally Hitchiner about Diverse Church.
Jules Evans has interviewed Richard Chartres: The Bishop of London on Christian contemplation.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that If Justin Welby has doubts about God it’s no bad thing (with reference to this story).
Richard Beck blogs about Search Term Friday: Type 1 and Type 2 Errors and Deciding Who Is Going to Hell.
Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph: The full glory of Miss La La.
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
Rupert Shortt The Telegraph A man of faith with a firm grip on reality
Wonderful photographs by Richard Silver Don’t look down! Kaleidoscope-style photos of England’s churches and cathedrals show off incredible ornate ceilings in all their glory
Giles Fraser The Guardian Nobody is better at being human, Professor Dawkins, least of all you
Giles Fraser The Guardian If this is real religion, then you can count me as an atheist
Christina Patterson The Guardian The Good News Bible taught me the power of words, but also stole my youth
For lovers of mediaeval church architecture, James Alexander Cameron writes on Great Mistakes in English Medieval architecture.
Oliver Farry New Statesman What should happen to churches as religion recedes?
Peter Stanford Third Sector Faith and Good Works - the weakening of traditional links
Giles Fraser The Guardian Just how far does the concept of Christian solidarity extend?
Pierre Whalon Huffington Post 40 Years Ago, Women!
Sara Miles Episcopal Café The problem with the Bible
Rowan Williams The Christian Century In the place of Jesus: Insights from Origen on prayer
Christopher Howse Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph Classical basilica in rural Kent
Yasmine Hafiz Huffington Post ‘Bibliotheca’ Bible Project Blows Up On Kickstarter With Chapterless Bible
Jonathan Aigner 15 Reasons Why We Should Still Be Using Hymnals
[Many of these reasons do not apply in the Church of England, where hymnbooks are normally words-only.]
Linda Woodhead OUP blog The vote for women bishops
J John has been interviewing Justin Welby for God & Politics in the UK “I just knew that Jesus was there and I had met him” – interviewing Justin Welby.
On Religion has been speaking to Professor Linda Woodhead about the challenges and opportunities facing religious studies in Higher Education: Expert Interview: Professor Linda Woodhead.
Yasmine Hafiz in The Huffington Post presents 23 photographs of The Most Breathtaking Church Ceilings In The World.
Peter Stanford The Telegraph The women who helped shape Christianity
Lucinda Borkett-Jones Christian Today What about women who don’t want to be bishops?
Archbishop of Canterbury Church of England approves women bishops
Archbishop of Canterbury “delighted” at result but stresses this is not “winner takes all” but “in love a time for the family to move on together.”
Andrew Brown The Guardian Church of England General Synod approves female bishops
John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England General Synod votes for women bishops
and Women bishops: a century of campaigning
Anglican Communion News Service Church of England says yes to women bishops
Lizzie Dearden The Independent Women bishops approved: Cheers as Church of England General Synod votes for historic change
The Council of Bishops of The Society under the patronage of S. Wilfrid and S. Hilda has issued this statement, the Catholic Group in General Synod this statement, and Forward in Faith this statement.
The New Statesman has a series of articles by Rowan Williams, Melvyn Bragg, Lucy Winkett, Robin Ince, Vicky Beeching and Julian Baggini under the heading After God: how to fill the faith-shaped hole in modern life.
Michael Binyon writes for Diplomat Magazine about Church Diplomacy.
The Guardian has a video: A vicar’s wedding: ‘He loves God and he loves Stephen’.
Andrew Goddard at Fulcrum asks Can we pray for the dead?
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Assisted dying is the final triumph of market capitalism.
Jenny McCartney writes for The Spectator about The terminal confusion of Dignity in Dying.
Malcolm Brown (the Director of Mission and Public Affairs for the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England) asks Is the choice to be killed the same as choosing a car ?
Justin Welby preached this sermon last Sunday: ‘Thanksgiving and repentance’ - Archbishop on the first black Anglican bishop.
Paul Valleley asks Is Christian unity anything more than a pious aspiration?
This is the uncut version of an article in The Independent.
Jonathan Clatworthy writes on the Modern Church Blog about Spreading the Word – a liberal response.
Eric Hatfield writes about Sermons – not how we learn best?
Sam Norton blogs Remorseless logic and a Bishop’s rest.
Benjamin J Dueholm explains Why I kiss my stole.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Using schools to boost the military ethos could be making a comeback.
Archdruid Eileen has 15 Effective Habits of Successful Church Leaders.
Christopher Lamb interviews the Archbishop of Canterbury for The Tablet: Two traditions, one holy ground.
Richard Beck asks How Many People Die By Handling Snakes?.
Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph about Securing Pugin’s medieval island.
Symon Hill writes for Politics.co.uk that The far-right’s god-whistle politics isn’t going away.
David Keen has
ten eight Questions for the CofE to ask itself.
Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian that There’s no such thing as an atheist baby.
Gillan Scott of God & Politics in the UK writes about Oxfam’s perfect storm, poverty and yet more examples of Christians providing answers.
He has also published this guest post: Christian Aid give their take on the fallout over Oxfam’s ‘perfect storm’ poster.
Bob Morris has written for Law & Religion UK about Abdication? Reigns in Spain and the ‘A’ word (again) in the UK.
The Church of England has published these Prayers for the World Cup.
[Editor’s note: The World Cup is some sort of football competition taking place in Brazil; England is one of the teams taking part.]
Christopher Howse writes for The Telegraph about The battle against church lavatories.
William Turvill of the Press Gazette has been talking to the BBC’s Edward Stourton: British media suffers from religious ‘blind spot’ leading to ‘skewed’ coverage.
Edward Dutton writes for the Church Times about Why atheists are brighter than Christians.
Chris Russell writes for the Church Times about Why evangelism is always non-negotiable.
Ruth Gledhill has interviewed Rachel Mann for Christian Today: Transgender priest Rachel Mann made minor canon at Manchester Cathedral: ‘God did not reject me,’ she says.
Nick Baines has been talking to The Independent: ‘You cannot make women bishops just to have women bishops’.
Ian Paul asks Is baptism enough?
The last of the St Paul’s Cathedral series: What I Want to Say Now: Retired Bishops Speak Out is now available to watch online: The Rt Revd Christopher Herbert. [19 minute video]
There is a transcript of the sermon to read online here.
Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian that In Sweden, human darkness is confronted by the arts not the church.
Laurie Brock of Dirty Sexy Ministry blogs about What Needs to Die in the Church.
Timothy Schenck asks To Pew or Not to Pew?
The third of the St Paul’s Cathedral series: What I Want to Say Now: Retired Bishops Speak Out is now available to watch online: The Rt Revd Tom Butler. [13 minute video]
There is a transcript of the sermon to read online here.
Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph about Mindfulness and Teresa’s gnats.
Bob Morris at the Constitution Unit Blog asks Is Britain a Christian country and, whatever the case, what then?
[This is also online at Law & Religion UK.]
Madeleine Bunting interviews Rowan Williams for The Tablet about Life after Lambeth.
Ian Jack writes for The Guardian that It’s hard to better traditional hymns when it comes to remembering the dead.
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.
Cole Moreton has interviewed Rowan Williams for The Telegraph I didn’t really want to be Archbishop.
David Meldrum is blogging a series of Lessons On The Way. The latest is 6: Nothing’s that important.
Stanley Hauerwas writes for Together for the Common Good about How to Remember the Poor.
Gareth Hughes offers a spotter’s guide to Anglican dress-up.
Ben Myers is compiling a Church attendance manual. Here is part 1: arriving late.
Allison Pearson writes in The Telegraph that Wishy-washy Anglicans like me should speak up for the Church.
Jonathan Clatworthy writes for Modern Church that Hard work is not a virtue.
Paul Vallely writes for the Church Times about What really makes a nation Christian.
Simon Barrow writes for Ekklesia about Easter: actually it’s 50 days, and nothing to do with ‘Christian country’ ideology.
Barney White-Spunner writes for The Telegraph that Village churches need their own resurrection.
Diarmaid MacCulloch has given the fourth annual Princeton in Europe Lecture: What if Arianism had won? [63 minute video]
Andrew Brown profiles Justin Welby: the hard-nosed realist holding together the Church of England for The Guardian.
Giles Fraser writes for the Mail Online: Bless you, Dave, for ‘doing God’. But there’s more to faith than your do-gooding religion-lite: A combative Easter message from the former Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s.
Tim Stanley responds in The Telegraph with Sorry, Rev, but Christianity isn’t just about being nice to people.
David Cameron writes for the Church Times about My faith in the Church of England.
N T Wright writes for ABC Religion and Ethics: Only Love Believes: The Resurrection of Jesus and the Constraints of History.
Jonathan Clatworthy blogs for Modern Church about Resurrection and kingdom.
Holly Baxter writes for The Guardian about The importance of Easter to this atheist.
Also in The Guardian Giles Fraser writes about The one day when Christians and atheists sing from the same hymn sheet.
A N Wilson writes for The Telegraph about Good Friday: the day we forget to remember.
John Dickson has Top 10 tips for atheists this Easter.
This week’s Church Times carries a special report compiled by Tim Wyatt on sexual violence in Africa: First the rape. Then the stigma. Now the healing?
“One of the Janjaweed pushed me to the ground. He forced my clothes off, and they raped me, one by one. I did not have any energy or force against them.
“They used me. I started bleeding. It was so painful. I could not stand up… I was sick for seven days.”
This is the harrowing testimony of a 13-year-old girl from western Sudan. It is not an isolated incident. Starting in 2003, the government-backed Janjaweed militia terrorised locals across the region in what appeared to be a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the non-Arab population.
From the beginning, rape was used alongside guns and machetes as a weapon of war…
The main report is available to all, but subscribers can also read the Revd Dr Nyambura Njoroge writing on the gender debate in Africa Teaching men all about women and this leader comment Sexual violence.
The report mentions the efforts of several organisations working with the victims of rape, and who are attempting to change the culture and circumstances that contribute to sexual violence. Here are some relevant websites.
N T Wright writes for ABC Religion and Ethics On Palm Sunday, Jesus Rides into the Perfect Storm.
Archdruid Eileen of the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley writes about the Church of England: Dying on Its Feet.
Alan Jacobs is interviewed by Christianity Today: The Book of Common Prayer Is Still a Big Deal.
Andrew Brown at The Guardian asks Is the internet really killing religion in the US?
Geoff Thompson writes for ABC Religion and Ethics Not Nearly Radical Enough: The Irony of John Robinson’s ‘Honest to God’.
Jonathan Clatworthy writes for Modern Church: Hell: the worst theory ever.
Kathleen Ward blogs on The problem with church growth.
Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian that Forgiveness is not something you feel – it is something that you do.
The Guardian has a regular column What I’m really thinking and today it’s the vicar’s wife.
It has prompted this response from Archdruid Eileen of the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley: A Vicar’s Wife’s Life.
Archdruid Eileen offers us Do not Feed the Organist and other useful signs.
Gillan Scott of God & Politics in the UK asks Where will we be in 2024? – Setting out a vision for the future of the Church.
Ben Martin blogs about Experiencing a Bishops Advisory Panel Rejection.
Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph: Bach and the icon of Jesus’s face.
Catherine Fox writes about Power and Passion.
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes concludes her series in The Guardian on George Herbert with We don’t read the Bible to learn more, but to be fed.
Karen Swallow Prior writes for Christianity Today about Hannah More: The Most Influential Reformer You’ve Never Heard of.
David Keen blogs about Latest Church of England Attendance Stats: Making mud seem clear.
[I covered the release of these statistics here.]
Rachel Held Evans blogs on Patriarchy and Abusive Churches.
Peter Stanford in The Independent offers Ten more commandments: How to save the Anglican church.
Malcolm French blogs that The Anglican Communion Hasn’t Failed.
Tom Brazier blogs that There are no rules.
Christopher Whitmey writes about Managing Diocesan Finances.
George Day writes for and about Fulcrum: Where are we and where are we going?
Anglicans Online has published these two essays.
Steve Caruso Lost in Translation — Aramaic in the Context of Christ Looking at Gallilean Aramaic, the language Jesus actually spoke. It is almost extinct.
Pierre Whalon Surviving Death? Thinking about what it means to die.
Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian that Showing that a story isn’t factually accurate doesn’t diminish its truth.
Tony Benn died yesterday. Some reactions:
Benny Hazlehurst Tony Benn - RIP
David Robertson Christian Today Tony Benn – Lessons for Christians, Politicians and Secular Humanists
Giles Fraser The Guardian RIP Tony Benn: he encouraged us
Christopher Howse has been to Cork for The Telegraph: The ugly duck’s loveliest creation.
David Emmott starts his new blog Campaign for Fair Rants with Becoming human.
David Walker writes for The Guardian The church has no choice but to act when faced with the reality of poverty.
Graham Kings writes for Fulcrum Life, Justice and Peace through Mission and Dialogue.
Ted Olsen writes for Christianity Today The Bible in the Original Geek: Inside the world of the new Bible coders—and how they will change the way you think about Scripture.
Richard Fidler of ABC has been in conversion with Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Jody Stowell asks Why are we so afraid of women bishops?
If God is love, then can God also be love, heat and passion? - Part 3 of the George Herbert series by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes in The Guardian.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian Secular Lent is a pale imitation of the real thing. I’ll have nothing to do with it.
Linda Woodhead The crisis of religious authority
George Athas ABC Religion & Ethics Did the camel break the Bible’s back? Nice try, but no
The final part of the Church Times Church Health Check looks to the future. Three of the articles are available to non-subscribers.
Linda Woodhead A remedy for an ailing Church
David Goodhew and Bob Jackson Can we grow? Yes we can
Martyn Percy It’s not just about the numbers
Rachel Mann Church Times Distracted by instant messages
Giles Fraser The Guardian If religion exists to make raids into what is unsayable, musicians penetrate further than most
Kevin Hart at ABC Religion & Ethics asks Who, then, shall be saved? The Lord’s Prayer and religious pluralism.
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes The Guardian George Herbert: the man who converted me from atheism
Sally Newall The Independent A new generation of vicars: More and more young people are choosing a life of wing tips and clerical collars
[Wing tips appear to be a type of brogue.]
Richard Beck at his Experimental Theology blog Search Term Friday: Jesus Crucified Over Adam’s Grave
Steve Cornforth blogs So am I a Christian or not?
Giles Fraser The Guardian Yes, the church is bloody angry about these attacks on the poor, and rightly so
Vicky Beeching Church Times Christian feminism is not an oxymoron
Ian Paul Vicars are a bunch of self-interested, southern softies
Joanna Moorhead The Guardian Vicars needed: the Church of England’s fight to fill its vacancies in the north
George Arnett The Guardian How much of the Church of England clergy is female?
Kate Cooper The Guardian Female bishops: be wary of crude interpretations of biblical Christianity
Peter Stanford of The Telegraph has been talking to the Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin: Will Rose Hudson-Wilkin be the first woman bishop?
Jemima Thackray The Telegraph We Christians must face it: the Bible is hugely misogynistic
Rachel Held Evans If men got the Titus 2 Treatment…
Part three of the Church Times series on the health of the Church of England includes these three articles available to non-subscribers:
Linda Woodhead Measuring the Church’s social footprint
Dennis Richards A golden age for church schools?
Malcolm Brown Living in an old country
Norman Ivison guest blogs at God and Politics UK about Building churches fit for the future – 7 lessons that need to be learnt.
Jayne Dawson of the Yorkshire Evening Post has been talking to Nick Baines: New Bishop of Leeds is the spy who loved God.
Michael Northcott writes in the Church Times about The argument against fossil fuels.
Part two of the Church Times series on the health of the Church of England includes these two articles available to non-subscribers:
Linda Woodhead Not enough boots on the ground
Abby Day Generation A — the dwindling force
Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred mysteries column in The Telegraph about The mermaid on the church roof.
Malcolm Clemens Young writes for the Huffington Post about Our Common Identity.
James Langstaff, the Bishop of Rochester, has been interviewed by Marijke Cox of Kent News: Bishop of Rochester opens up about women bishops, his new prison role and dinner with The Queen.
Simon Jenkins (the one who edits Ship of Fools) writes for Reform Magazine about Between hairiness and holiness.
John Packer, who retires as Bishop of Ripon and Leeds next week, reflects on his seven years in the House of Lords.
David Runcorn, writing for Fulcrum, asks And how do I know when I am wrong? Evangelical faith and the Bible.
The Church Times starts a major series on the health of the Church of England this week. Much is only available to subscribers, but these three are free to all.
Leader comment Near-decimation
Linda Woodhead Time to get serious
Vicky Beeching What gets me out of bed on Sunday
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes has been Rethinking Advent to Candlemas.
Thom Shultz writes about The Church’s Frightful Kodak Moment.
Vicky Beeching writes in the Church Times that Children must learn to live in the online world.
Malcolm Round writes Love Your Church Minister.
Gillan Scott of the God & Politics in the UK blog writes that The Church of England still needs to wake up and smell the coffee over church growth.
The Quotidian Cleric publishes The Perfect Job Advert.
Jonathan Clatworthy writes for Modern Church about Two directions for liberal theology.
Oliver Burkeman writes in The Guardian about The one theology book all atheists really should read.
Phil Groves writes for the Anglican Communion News Service: What should we do when Christians disagree?
Shane Blackshear describes 5 Ways To Be Unsatisfied With Your Church.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that The Church of England isn’t abandoning sin – nor should it.
Fr Andrew Stephen Damick writes on Coffeedoxy and Heterodoxy.
Dale M Coulter writes about A Charismatic Invasion of Anglicanism?
We reported on the draft alternative baptism texts and early reactions to them here.
Since then Ian Paul blogs about Experimental Baptism and Madeleine Davies reports in the Church Times: Draft ‘baptism lite’ criticised.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that The Church of England isn’t abandoning sin – nor should it.
Giles Fraser asks in The Guardian Given Uganda’s homophobia, why does it lead the way in Googling gay porn?
Archdruid Eileen of the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley writes about the Holy Innocents, and the Dangerous Herod Boys.
Bosco Peters writes Collaring clergy.
Editorial in The Guardian: Religion: the God squad
The Archbishop of Canterbury was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 on New Year’s Eve; listen to him here.
Madeleine Davies reports in the Church Times on what he said: Welby: Good vicars mean growth.
His comment that “The reality is that where you have a good vicar, you will find growing churches” has prompted a number of responses, including:
Kelvin Holdsworth Good Vicar, Bad Vicar
Kathryn Rose Reality Check
Anna Norman-Walker Festival Churches – a step towards sustainable rural church ministry into the future
Scott Gunn has some suggestions for A General Ordination Exam for the modern church.
Tom Ferguson, the Crusty Old Dean, is also blogging about the GOE (in his case entirely seriously). He did this last year (starting here), and here is his first offering this year: Blogging the GOEs, Part III: Question 1: Cuz the Bible Tells Me So.
A N Wilson writs in The Telegraph that It’s the Gospel truth - so take it or leave it.
Ken Howard writes for Paradoxical Thoughts about Non-Proselytizing Evangelism: Returning To The Roots Of Anglican-Episcopal Tradition and the Incarnational Heart Of Christianity. [originally published in the e-magazine Witness6.7]
Malcolm Brown, the Director of the CofE’s Mission and Public Affairs Division, writes in The Observer that Without morality, the market economy will destroy itself.
Giles Fraser asks in The Guardian: Can you be too religious?
Peter Ormerod writes in The Guardian that Children’s nativity plays could have been invented by Satan.
Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph that there is Nothing pagan in today’s sunshine.
Lizzie Lowrie writes Waiting for What?
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that The Bethlehem story takes us deeper into what it means to be human.
The Archbishop of Canterbury preached this sermon at the Metropolitan Police Carol Service earlier this week.
Dom Joly, writing in The Independent, discovers that Church holds no horror for me now.
Gerald Butt of the Church Times has interviewed the Archbishop of Canterbury about Western inactivity in the face of regional conflict: Shepherd watches his flocks in Middle East.
Andreas Whittam Smith writes in The Independent that The Anglican and Catholic Churches have finally realised they must change to survive. But is it too late?
Alice Roberts writes in The Observer to explain Why I won’t be going back to Bristol’s creationist zoo.
Charles Moore writes in The Telegraph about a visit to a theological college: What the Tories could learn from St Mellitus.
Janet Henderson blogs about Woodhead on Feminism and Christianity.
Giles Fraser asks in The Guardian Why mislead children about Santa? Demystification is essential to faith.
And finally, is this how it happened all those years ago? Registering the Birth
David Atkinson a former Bishop of Thetford has written an article, originally published in Ministry Today UK, 59, Autumn 2013. but now reproduced by Fulcrum.
…So why do Christians disagree? On the legitimacy of divorce and right of remarriage, on abortion, on just war or pacifism, on usury, on contraception, on genetic engineering, on sexuality, on economic priorities, on response to climate change - to name just a few moral and political questions, not to mention doctrines of church, ministry, mission and eschatology.
At one level, of course, disagreements can arise simply because people have different experiences of life and come into contact with different facts about the world which can confront assumptions, challenge previously held views, or harden attitudes. For example, we could think of a woman who senses a call from God into the ordained ministry of the Church. She belongs to a church congregation that has always taken the view that the ordination of women is contrary to Scripture or tradition or to good ecumenical relationships. ‘However’, says someone in that congregation, ‘though I have always been against the ordination of women, because it is you I’m willing to change my mind.’ Or to give another example, we could think of a Christian man who has, for social and theological reasons, always been opposed to homosexual relationships but who gets to know a loving gay couple whose lives display the fruits of God’s Spirit, and who then finds himself forced by that fact to revisit his understanding Scripture or his inherited attitudes to gay people. Sometimes hard facts of experience compel a change of attitude or change of mind.
There is no such thing as uninterpreted experience, and there are other factors that can influence our understanding of ourselves and our interpretation of the facts of our experiences. Some of these other factors give us different ways into the question: why do Christians disagree? Here are five…
Do read it all.
Marcus Borg has been Thinking about Advent.
The BBC reports that MPs discuss plight of Christians across the world. The statistics are a matter of dispute, as Ruth Alexander of the BBC asks here Are there really 100,000 new Christian martyrs every year? and we reported in this opinion article.
The Archbishop of Canterbury preached in Truro Cathedral earlier this month: ‘Everything changes’: a sermon on the cross.
Church Times Leader A hope of flourishing.
Adrian Alker writes in the Church Times Tell it with meaning.
Justin Welby and Peter Price write in the Church Times about Modern slavery: now you know.
Hilary Cotton, the newly elected chair of WATCH, writes about WATCH’s priorities for the next three years.
Janet Henderson blogs Pilling - Initial Reactions.
Simon Reader writes for the Westminster Faith Debates: A Blessing in Disguise?
Jonathan Clark, Bishop of Croydon, blogs Welcoming Pilling.
Rachel Mann blogs on The Pilling Report and Trans People.
Bishop Alan Wilson offers these Resources for your very own Pilling Report Party.
Dave Young blogs Let’s talk about love not sex: Thoughts on the Pilling Report.
Pierre Whalon writes for Anglicans Online about Finding Faith?
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian: The Church of England: a church that’s sick of itself. “If the CofE is doomed, as former archbishop of Canterbury George Carey insists, it’s down to the damage he did in office.”
Ed West writes in The Spectator The CofE doomed? Only because it’s surrendered to phony soullessness.
The Guardian published these Church congregations – readers’ pictures.
Benny Hazlehurst blogged on Law and Order.
Janet Henderson writes about Urban Ministry; Not the End of an Era.
Church Times leader: Not so privileged
Jon Kuhrt blogs Women Bishops? I think the jury is still out on male bishops…
Giles Fraser asks in The Guardian Why does Doctor Who escape modern scepticism in a way the Bible doesn’t?
Giles Fraser explains in The Guardian Why the writing could be on the wall for the Church of England in the inner city.
Ian Paul writes on his blog about adverts for leaders in church organizations: Searching for Superman.
Paul Vallely asks in the Church Times: Is tweeting in church bad manners?
Richard Chartres writes for the Anglican Communion News Service that In the beginning was communication.
Eilis O’Hanlon writes in the [Irish] Sunday Independent about Switchers’ schism a divine Irish mystery.
Peter Ormerod writes for The Guardian that Leftwing Christians need to have a louder voice.
Craig A Satterlee asks Why Do You Sit Where You Do? at Alban.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that Judges can sidestep religion, but they can’t avoid morality.
Gillan Scott of God & Politics in the UK asks Is a muscular defence of our national Judaeo-Christian heritage needed?
Jonathan Clatworthy gave this talk at St Bride’s in Liverpool this week: Honest to God: 50 years on, has the Church still got its head in the sand? He has also written briefly for Modern Church.
Readers may find this useful: A prayer before connecting to the internet by Fr John Zuhlsdorf. Translations into about 40 languages are provided.
Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, gave this speech this week: Law, Morality and Religion in the Family Courts.
Sir James’s speech, and the reaction to it, has prompted Frank Cranmer of Law & Religion UK to write: The President of the Family Division on family law, morality and religion.
Baptism has been in the news this week, prompting these opinions.
Bosco Peters writes about CofE baptism inconsistency.
Creede Hinshaw writes for the Albany Herald that Coverage misses the mark on baptism.
Joanna Moorhead writes for The Guardian that Prince George is being baptised – if only more children were.
Edward Green offers these Top 10 facts about Christenings.
Rachel Held Evans asks Will the real complementarian please stand up?
This has prompted Richard Beck to write this series of articles.
Let’s Stop Calling It Complementarianism
Hierarchical Complementarianism Implies Ontological Ineptitude
Some Contrasts Regarding Gender Roles in Evangelicalism and Catholicism
Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian about The archbishop, the duchess and the politics of poverty.
Miroslav Volf asks What’s in a name? Christians, Muslims and the worship of the One God at ABC Religion and Ethics.
Glenn Davies, the new Archbishop of Sydney, gave his first presidential address to his diocesan synod this week. ABC Religion and Ethics has published this slightly abbreviated version: Challenges for the gospel: Christian witness and the future of Anglicanism in Sydney.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that To ask whether religions are rational is like asking whether they are pale green.
Shirley Pearce asks in the Church Times: Contentment or terror?
Jonathan Clatworthy writes for Modern Church about Bishops and inspirers.
Jennifer Levitz writes in The Wall Street Journal that Churches Take a Stand on Pews, Replacing Them With Chairs.
Watts & Co, the well known London ecclesiastical suppliers, are on a church crawl round London Underground’s Circle Line, starting at St James’s Park. Going clockwise they have reached Edgware Road; the full list is here.
Stanley Hauerwas explains How to write a theological sentence for ABC Religion and Ethics.
Richard Chapman writes that The C of E goes looking for ‘God-doing’ at the party conferences – and comes away impressed on Gillan Scott’s God & Politics in the UK blog.
Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian about Darkness as my constant companion.
Madeleine Davies writes for the Church Times about A new way to be a pilgrim.
Mathew Guest writes about University and the Christian faith: revisiting the relationship. A version of this article appeared in the Church Times on 13 September where it is only available to subscribers.
There is also this article about work by Dr Guest and his colleagues: Church faces “difficult decision” to engage liberal Christian students.
John L Allen Jr writes in The Spectator about The war on Christians.
Vicky Beeching interviews Kate Cooper and asks her Have women been airbrushed out of Church history?
Milton Jones asks is Christianity weird? in a video for the Guardian.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that Outrage is the wrong reaction to outrageous crimes.
Vicky Beeching has interviewed Ruth Chapman for Faith in Feminism: Synod, WATCH & Women Bishops.
Joe Ware writes for the Church Times Enough for need, but not greed.
Readers may find this Church Guide to Dealing With an Idea useful.
Maleiha Malik writes for The Guardian that Full-face veils aren’t barbaric – but our response can be.
The UK Human Rights Blog has published these two articles on this topic.
Adam Wagner The Niqaab issue is too important to be left to liberal instinct
Alasdair Henderson Veils and ignorance: defendant not allowed to wear niqaab when giving evidence
Jamie Bruesehoff writes for The Huffington Post Dear Parents With Young Children in Church.
Faith & Leadership has interviewed Sarah Coakley: Ministry is not easier than theology.
Jonathan Romain writes for the Church Times that Faith needs some of football’s goals.
Jim Macdonald writes about Victory to the People. “Those who love sausage and the scriptures shouldn’t watch either of them being made.”
Antonia Honeywell has A Cautionary Tale for Justin Welby.
Peter Barron explains how the Northern Echo covered the announcement of the new Bishop of Durham: Breaking news - on the school run.
Jonathan Clatworthy writes for Modern Church about Liberals on the move.
Ian Paul blogs about What we should do about Syria.
Andreas Whittam Smith (the First Church Estates Commissioner) writes for The Independent about Here’s how a ‘good’ bank could operate.
Thom S Rainer blogs about Eight Areas Where Many Ministers Are Unprepared for Ministry.
Ted Olsen writes for Christianity Today about The Wars Over Christian Beards.
Jonathan Clatworthy writes for Modern Church about Greenbelt as a churchmanship.
Vicky Beeching has interviewed Steve Holmes for Faith in Feminism: Christian, feminist & conservative on sexuality?
Earlier in the week she interviewed Rachel Mann: Meet Rachel: a trans-woman, gay, feminist priest.
Jon Kuhrt writes for Fulcrum about The Secularisation of Martin Luther King.
Joseph Bottum writes for Commonweal Magazine about The Things We Share: A Catholic’s Case for Same-Sex Marriage.
Kelvin Holdsworth blogs about Atonement theory and the Naughty Step.
The Church Times has a comprehensive review of Greenbelt: Greenbelt 2013 - Life begins…
Richard Beck blogs that Blessed are the Tricksters.
John Martin writes for Fulcrum about Ten Things a Vicar Needs To Hear…often.
Peter Harrison writes for ABC Religion and Ethics about Setting the record straight: Christianity and the rise of modern science.
Anthony Woollard writes for Modern Church about The wrath of God.
Christopher Howse of The Telegraph has been to Ely Cathedral: Eight oak trees suspended in air.
Benjamin Myers writes for ABC Religion and Ethics about Reflected glory: Imitation, biography and moral formation in early Christianity.
Kenan Malik writes about What do Believers Believe? (not what you might expect).
Matthew Reisz has interviewed Sarah Coakley for Times Higher Education: What’s God got to do with evolution?
Rob Williams writes in The Independent that Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, according to analysis of scores of scientific studies stretching back over decades.
Frank Furedi responds with Atheists are more intelligent than religious people? That’s ‘sciencism’ at its worst.
James Fodor writes for Bible Society Australia: An atheist’s point of view: why Christians aren’t being heard.
Graelyn Brashear writes for C-Ville about The rite stuff: What the Episcopal Church’s position on gay marriage can teach us about the middle ground.
Savi Hensman writes for Ekklesia in response to the article by Andrew Goddard that we linked to last week: Church of England: Is error really better than uncertainty?
Kelvin Holdsworth writes for The Herald: I shall express anger and frustration as I march with Pride.
Tiffany Gee Lewis writes for The Guardian about Where the godless don’t go.
Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph about Onward, Christian Soldiers: Arthur Sullivan’s greatest hit.
Rachel Held Evans writes for CNN about Why millennials are leaving the church.
John Flowers and Karen Vannoy write for Ministry Matters Why Worship Shouldn’t Feel Like Family.
Some of our readers may find this new blog helpful: The Low Churchman’s Guide to the Solemn High Mass.
Stanley Hauerwas asks Does Anglicanism have a future? The priority of the local and the inevitability of conflict at ABC Religion and Ethics.
Benny Hazlehurst writes for the Church of England Newspaper about Demythologising Pride.
Linda Woodhead writes for the OUP blog that Wonga-bashing won’t save the Church of England.
Giles Fraser argues in The Guardian that Far from confining itself to matters spiritual, the church has a duty to get involved in politics.
Andrew Goddard writes for Fulcrum about Sexual Revolution: Responding Reasonably and Faithfully.
Nick Baines writes on his blog about Same world, different worlds.
Yesterday I linked to Sam Macrory’s interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury for Total Politics: Archbishop’s Move: Can Welby restore faith in the church?. But it wasn’t just about payday lenders; do read it all.
Ian Ellis of the Church of Ireland Gazette interviewed Bishop Nigel Stock on the subject of Women in the Episcopate legislation, during the July 2013 York meeting of the Church of England General Synod.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian about Welby, Wonga and the moral dilemma of financial investments.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian: Thank God we have an archbishop who views Wonga’s loans as modern slavery.
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.
Charles Moore writes in The Telegraph Archbishop Justin Welby: ‘I was embarrassed. It was like getting measles’. “Forty years ago, Justin Welby was an unhappy pupil at Eton. Now, a relaxed Archbishop of Canterbury, he relives his unsettling moment of conversion and his wounded past.”
Ben Summerskill is interviewed by the Catholic Herald ‘We don’t think religion is evil or wicked’.
In the Church Times Church interns: a new injustice. “Young volunteers are being exploited by congregations, writes an intern.”
Garry Wills in The New York Review of Books Popes Making Popes Saints
Isabel Harman in The Telegraph The Archbishop of Canterbury must wean the Church off its benefit addiction. “Justin Welby understands that welfare benefits do not fix everything. Now he needs to educate the Church of England.”
Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian that The real power of the church lies not in its prince bishops but its congregations. “Faith groups are ideally placed to drive community organising, but they must be prepared to make trouble.”
John Milbank wrties in The Guardian that The church offers a holistic solution to child poverty. “This dire situation has to be addressed through the social dimension, not through top-down, impersonal tinkering.”
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Not talking about death only makes it more lonely and frightening. “In the absence of faith, death cafes can provide a space for us to talk about what a good ending might be.”
David Walker has addressed the Society of Ordained Scientists. Download his address.
Damian Thompson writes for The Spectator that Here comes the God squad: what the new pope and the new archbishop have in common. “Evangelicals have taken charge in the Vatican and Lambeth Palace.”
Tabatha Leggett signs up to “Christianity’s most successful recruitment programme” for the New Statesman: Inside Alpha: An atheist’s foray into Christianity.
Matthew Engelke writes for The Guardian that Christianity and atheism are two sides of the same coin. “Those of us with no faith have a lot to learn about the value of halting the normal rhythms of life and stopping to reflect.”
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Our fear of boredom is simply a fear of coming face to face with ourselves. “The Sunday morning hour, like the therapeutic hour, is a place to contemplate our capacity to deal with the fear of emptiness.”
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that Evangelical sex activists are no better than religious moralists.
Steve Hollinghurst writes on his blog about exposing the Church of England plan to recruit Pagans using a Pagan church.
Mark Brett writes for ABC Religion and Ethics about Asylum seekers and universal human rights: Does the Bible still matter?
Jonathan Clatworthy for Modern Church looks at the phrase Unable on grounds of theological conviction.
Peter Doll writes for the Church Times about The only defence against unaccountable power. “An Established Church guards against tyranny.”
David McIlroy asks for Theos: Is Secular Law possible?
Diarmaid MacCulloch reviews Our Church by Roger Scruton for The Guardian. “What makes the C of E special? This account of Anglicanism is full of cliches and misrepresentations.”
George Pitcher writes in the New Statesman that For the new Power Christians, God is the new CEO.
Diarmaid MacCulloch writes in The New York Times that Same-Sex Marriage Leaves the Bishops Behind.
William Oddie writes in the Catholic Herald that On Friday, the Pope will meet Archbishop Welby. So, why do we continue talking to the Anglicans after they have so wilfully made unity impossible?
The OUP blog speaks (in six YouTube videos) to Brian Cummings about The origin and text of The Book of Common Prayer.
Jonathan Clatworthy of Modern Church asks Was there an original Revelation?
Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian about From the Golden Calf to Gezi park: religious imagery and modern protest
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that Justin Welby reveals his inner Tory.
Andrew Lilico writes a guest post on Archbishop Cranmer’s blog: Is Anglicanism still the State Religion in England?
Frank Cranmer of Law & Religion UK asks Are human rights “Christian”? – a reflection.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Greed is good – well, almost. But it must not be the dominant thing.
Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph about The day Hereford tower fell down.
Jonathan Clatworthy of Modern Church asks What’s an integrity?
Theo Hobson writes the first of two articles for The Guardian: Eureka! My quest for an authentic liberal Christianity.
And Dave Marshall of Modern Church also writes about liberal theology in No need to whisper.
Nick Duerden of The Independent interviews the Rev Richard Coles: ‘I don’t have any concerns that God is cross with me for being gay and eventually the Church won’t either’.
T M Luhrmann writes for The new York Times that Belief Is the Least Part of Faith.
Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian that Wickedness, allied to the ‘truth’ of religious belief, can lead us to evil acts.
Michael Bourdeaux wrote for Fulcrum The Iron Lady and the Dissident.
Andrew Brown wrote at Cif belief Why the Church of England is in decline.
The church has failed to capitalise on its tally of advantages, and people are now cynical about the organisation.
And he has also written Why we’ll never have total religious freedom.
The US State Department report on religious freedom highlights much that is bad, but to dream of tolerant rationality is unrealistic.
Hadley Freeman wrote in the Guardian about From ‘swivel-eyed loons’ to lesbian queens: what fresh hell for the Tories?
And Tom Chivers wrote in the Telegraph A response to Lord Tebbit, on the subject of gay marriage and lesbian queens.
Savi Hensman wrote at Ekklesia Responding rationally to the Woolwich murder.
Simon Barrow wrote there too: Church ‘issues’ are about people, not abstract ideas.
The Economist has an article about the Church of Scotland: A gay Rubicon.
And finally, Archdruid Eileen wrote Contemporary Christianity Exam.
Ruth Cartwright explains in the Guardian Why I’m leaving social work to become a vicar.
Martin Vander Weyer of the Spectator has been talking to Richard Chartres: Bishop of London Richard Chartres on bankers, Occupy and Justin Welby.
Mark Vernon asks When did people stop thinking God lives on a cloud? for the BBC News Magazine.
Giles Fraser writes for the Guardian Bean-counters will never understand the transcendent value of art or religion.
These two articles have inspired Archdruid Eileen to write If We Wrote the Church Welcome Leaflet Like a Child.
Zachary Guiliano writes for The Living Church about Two Anglo-Catholic Moments.
Jody Stowell writes about the Death of a Dean.
Alan Wilson writes in The Spectator that It’s time for the Church of England to drop the culture wars.
Laura Toepfer writes for the Daily Episcoplian about If we did wedding preparation like confirmation preparation.
Bosco Peters writes the wrath of God was satisfied?
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that I want to be a burden on my family as I die, and for them to be a burden on me.
John Bingham in The Telegraph reports: Beware the wrath of the church organist – musical revenge is sweet.
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?
David Murrow explains Why traditional churches should stick with traditional worship.
The Church Times has this leader: Evidence of evil.
Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph about The man who rewrote Bunyan.
Bishop David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, wrote about Secularisation for The Sunday Times. The article, Have faith in future of our churches, is behind the paywall, but may be read here on the SEC’s website, and downloaded as a Word document from the bishop’s blog.
Leigh Anne Williams has interviewed the soon-to-retire Bishop of New Westminster for Anglican Journal: Ingham reflects on the storms of his career.
Finally, I apologise for the slight delay in noting this article from the Church Times: Matrimonial ‘indignities’.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian How do churches get new bums on seats? Get rid of the boring old ones.
Ysenda Maxtone Graham writes in The Spectator Brace yourself for the real experience of going to a rural parish service on Easter Sunday.
Sarah Coakley gave a series of ten Meditations on Holy Week at Salisbury Cathedral.
Diarmaid MacCulloch in The Guardian asks Who is the antichrist? Not Obama. Not even Satan, exactly.
This week’s Church Times has two comment articles available to non-subscribers
Paul Valleley The complex web of global hunger
Jonathan Bartley Now is the time to be subversive
and this leader Blaming the poor.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Jesus is not destroyed by our hatred.
Rosemary Hannah writes about Turning off King Lear.
The leader in The Spectator is Twitter vs Easter.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that Atheists need to run an Alpha course of their own.
Benny Hazlehurst writes about Taking offence…
Jo Bailey Wells writes for Continuing Indaba about Living with the conflict, in hope and sacrifice.
Hugh Rayment-Pickard writes in the Church Times that churches should Have the nerve to follow the early Christians.
ABC Religion & Ethics asked a number of theologians and lay people to offer their thoughts on Rowan Williams and their hopes for Justin Welby: What now for the Archbishop of Canterbury? Reflections on Rowan Williams and Justin Welby.
Graham Kings has been to South Sudan: Learning Together in South Sudan.
Ralph Jones writes in The Independent that The Church of England is in desperate need of a modern dictionary.
Nicola Hulks writes for She Loves magazine about When The Church Said No.
Kirk Smith writes for the Episcopal Café that Ancient manuscript will influence new archbishop.
Iain McLean writes for Politics in Spires about The utility function of Celestine V and the election of Pope Francis.
Christopher Howse writes for The Telegraph about St Francis as the Pope’s patron.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that I bang my head against the wall when evangelicals turn Jesus into Cheesus.
Theo Hobson in The Guardian asks Why be a liberal Catholic when you could be an Anglican?
Nick Baines gave a lecture on Faith in the Media: Society, Faith and Ethics at De Montfort University, Leicester, on 14 March 2013.
Gavin Drake writes that The Church of England is a tortoise compared to Rome’s hare.
Peter Stanford writes in The Telegraph about Pope Francis I: a new broom sweeps into the Vatican.
In The Guardian Margaret Hebblethwaite writes about The Pope Francis I know.
Robert Mickens writes in The Tablet about A house that needs putting in order.
Sylvia McLain writes in The Guardian that It’s a big, fat myth that all scientists are religion-hating atheists.
Vicky Beeching writes for The Independent about Christian Easter eggs and child abuse: The creation of a parallel universe by the Church.
Hans Küng writes in The New York Times about A Vatican Spring?
Tom Wright asks in The Guardian The church may be hypocritical about sex, but is no one else guilty?
The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley have this handy list of 25 Ways to say “No” Without Saying “No”.
Rosie Harper has written a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, which Alan Wilson has republished: Dear Justin…
Christopher Howse of The Telegraph writes about Anglicans in the heart of Rome.
BBC Radio 4 Monday 4 March
This morning the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland is waking up to one of the biggest crises in its modern history. A few weeks ago, Cardinal Keith O’Brien was expecting to be in Rome electing the next Pope. Now he’s in disgrace, vowing that he’ll never again take part in public life .
We still don’t know the details of what he did, simply that he’s admitted to sexual misconduct amongst his fellow priests. Charges of hypocrisy have been swift to follow. This month last year, the Cardinal was on this very programme attacking gay marriage as evidence for the “degeneration of society into immorality”. Indeed, he insisted: “if the UK does go in for same sex marriage it is indeed shaming our country.”
So why is it that all the churches - and not just the Roman Catholic church - seem to attract so many gay men who are themselves so virulently hostile to homosexuality? Perhaps it has to do with a misplaced sense of shame about being gay, a sense of shame that they go on to reinforce by being vocal supporters of the very theology that they themselves have been the victims of. As the novelist Roz Kaveney tweeted yesterday: “I feel sorry for O’Brien. I hope one day he realizes that the sense of sexual sinfulness the Church forced on him was an abuse.” And that “O’Brien needs to distinguish between his sexual desires and his bad behavior and not see all of it as sin.” I totally agree.
The election of a new Pope provides an opportunity for real change. The culture of secrecy that fearfully hides this bad behavior - and not least the clerical abuse of children - needs dismantling from its very foundations. Inappropriate sexual relationships, relationships that trade on unequal power and enforced silence, are the product of an unwillingness to speak honestly, openly and compassionately about sex in general and homosexuality in particular. The importance of marriage as being available to both gay and straight people – and indeed to priests - is that it allows sexual desire to be rightly located in loving and stable relationships. I know there are people who see things differently, but I’m sorry: the churches condemnation of homosexuality has forced gay sex into the shadows, thus again reinforcing a sense of shame that, for me, is the real source of abuse.
Things may now be changing. It is encouraging that four priests have had the courage to speak out against a Cardinal – though one of them has expressed the fear that the Catholic church would “crush him” if they could. This is precisely the climate of fear that does so much to create the conditions of clerical abuse.
“It seems to me that there is nowhere to hide now,” said Diarmaid MacCulloch, the professor of the history of the church at Oxford University in a recent interview. He goes on: “We have had two Popes in succession that have denied that the church needed to change at all. The Roman church has to face realities that it has steadily avoided facing for the last thirty years.” And I might add, not just the Roman church, but my own church too.
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes writes for The Guardian that Justin Welby has already signalled his faith in women’s ministry.
Marc Handley Andrus (the Bishop of California) writes for The Washington Post about The Episcopal Church’s gay rights pilgrimage.
These articles look ahead to the next pope and what awaits him.
Religion & Ethics Newsweekly carries this interview: New Archbishop of Canterbury on New Pope.
In The Guardian there is this video: Diarmaid MacCulloch on the next pope: the Catholic church is in crisis – it has avoided reality for too long
and Andrew Brown writes about The new pope’s three key challenges.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that We cap benefits but not bonuses. How on earth are we ‘all in this together’?
Peter Graystone writes In praise of wishy-washy Christians for the Church Times.
Also in the Church Times Angela Tilby writes about A profession that needs to earn respect.
Neil Ormerod writes for ABC Religion and Ethics about The metaphysical muddle of Lawrence Krauss: Why science can’t get rid of God.
Frank Cranmer writes for Law & Religion UK about Doctrine and law – servants or masters?
Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian that I go to church not for God but for humanity.
Clarissa Tan writes in The Spectator that The west doesn’t need Feng Shui. “If you doubt that a building can affect your spirit, try going to church.”
Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian that The pope’s resignation has finally revealed that the papacy is simply a job.
Christopher Howse explains in The Telegraph Why we won’t get a bearded pope.
Elizabeth Oldfield for ABC Religion and Ethics asks Does the Anglican Church really need a new Theologian-in-Chief?
In the comment is free section of The Guardian
Joy Bennett writes that Many churches don’t talk about sex beyond virginity, virginity, virginity,
Mark Vernon asks Is love more real when grounded in faith?, and
Giles Fraser writes that Prayer is not pious. Like art, it simply needs attention to that which is other.
Andrew Adonis has published this open letter: Dear Justin Welby…
Kelvin Holdsworth has The 10 Commandments of Using Images on Church Websites.
Douglas Murray writes in the Spectator: Atheists vs Dawkins: My fellow atheists, it’s time we admitted that religion has some points in its favour.
The Church Times reports on (Tropical) fish for Lent — young to give up most.
Giles Fraser writes his last column for the Church Times: Goodbye: I am letting anger drop.
But he continues his Loose canon column in The Guardian with The key to forgiveness is the refusal to seek revenge.
Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph about Holding a candle in the Temple.
Robert McCrum writes this profile in The Observer: Justin Welby: from mammon to man of God.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that There’s no shame in suicide. And there’s no glory, either.
Andrew Brown in The Guardian asks Is gay marriage really about sex?
Andrew Brown asks How can faith bodies provide welfare when their own cupboards are bare?
Andrew Goddard writes for the Church of England Newspaper about The legacy of Rowan Williams to the Church of England.
Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph about When ravens beat their black image.
Kelvin Holdsworth offers us 8 Things the Churches Could Learn From the collapse of HMV and Should churches use e-mail? Or indeed blogging?
Valerie Tarico writes for Salon that Religion may not survive the Internet.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about A chance to witness to the vision.
Jody Stowell writes about An Ordinary Radical Event.
Paul Lay writes for History Today about Beyond Belief.
Mark Vernon writes for The Guardian Spiritual, but not religious? A dangerous mix.
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes writes about Normality and Deviance.
Jill Segger writes for Ekklesia about Much ado about bishops: time for a more humane dispensation?
Mark Beach writes for the Church Times about New ecumenism at work.
Paul Vallely writes in the Church Times that They want people to be ashamed.
Hannah Meltzer in the New Statesman asks What makes a gay vicar stay in the Church of England?.
Lynne Tuohy of Associated Press writes First Gay Anglican Bishop Reflects on Tenure in NH.
Anglicans Online offers us 12 reasons to be a cheerful Anglican.
Jerome Taylor writes for The Independent: Happy, clappy, and out of the closet: Evangelicals who say being gay is OK.
Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian that St Paul’s ‘body as a temple’ didn’t have today’s calorie obsession in mind.
The Huffington Post has photographs of Christmas 2012: Celebrations Around The World.
Jim Al-Khalili for The Guardian explains Why this atheist celebrates Christmas.
Linda Woodhead writes for The Observer that A British Christmas has lost faith in rituals, but not religion.
John Dickson writes for ABC Religion and Ethics about A fight they can’t win: The irreligious assault on the historicity of Jesus.
David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK presents this End of Term Quiz.
Cole Moreton for The Telegraph asks What has the Church of England ever done for us?
Jake Wallis Simons writes in the Telegraph that I don’t believe in God, but I believe in the Church of England.
Timothy Radcliffe writes in The Guardian that Tolerance is not enough to learn the art of living with others.
Mark Vasey-Saunders retells the Christmas story: Stop me if you’ve heard this before…
Damian Thompson writes in The Spectator about Alpha male: Can Nicky Gumbel and Holy Trinity Brompton save the Church of England?
Simon Jenkins writes for The Guardian An atheist’s prayer for the churches that keep our soul.
Richard Coles writes for the Church Times about Salute the happy morn?
Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian that Jesus knows, flooding isn’t the end of the world.
Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian that Christmas shows us humanity’s hope is to be found in the crib not in the stars.
David Gibson writes in the Huffington Post about Mary Breastfeeding Jesus: Christmas’ Missing Icon.
This article by Philip Jones for Ecclesiastical Law was published several months ago, but may be particularly relevant now: The Two Structures of the Church of England: Pyramids with Grass Roots.
Lizzy Davies of The Observer has been talking to Philippa Boardman: ‘Every day I wear purple’.
John Bingham reports in the Telegraph that Being ‘forgiven’ makes people more generous, psychologists find.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that In theology as in politics, conflict is not only real, it is necessary.
Jahnabi Barooah writes for The Huffington Post about Advent 2012: A Season Of Waiting For The Coming Of Christ. The article includes photographs of the Advent Darkness to Light service held in Salisbury Catehdral. Do view these in full screen.
Caroline Davies writes in The Guardian: Last Christmas? Partridges and turtle doves face risk of extinction in UK.
It’s not just opponents of women bishops; other Traditionalists demand ‘proper provision’.
Frank Cranmer at Law & Religion UK The House of Lords “doing God” – or, at any rate, debating religion
Simon Barrow for Ekklesia Disestablishment debate back in the spotlight
Doug Chaplin asks What would disestablishment mean?
James D Tabor writes for The Huffington Post about Christianity Before Paul.
David Pocklington at Law &Religion UK writes Of Vesture – I
Stephen Cherry compares Rowan and Justin.
All my choice of Opinion articles this week have been prompted by General Synod’s decision on women bishops, but they also have a wider relevance.
Simon Barrow Ekklesia Time to set church and state free
Zoe Williams Guardian Female bishops row: where could feminist Christians defect to?
Giles Fraser Guardian The puritans who scuppered female bishops revel in our criticism of them
Andrew Brown in The Guardian The dictionary is wrong – science can be a religion too
Susan Russell in the Huffington Post And Here’s to You, Bishop Robinson
Matthew Groves for ResPublica The New Archbishop: A counter-cultural first among equals
Martin Wainwright writes in The Guardian about Durham’s loss but not London’s gain: “Praise be for a national institution whose greatest names - Canterbury and York - are outside the M25.”
The Guardian has a video of Richard Coles who says that The saints’ lives will always resonate.
Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph about A life above the brook Cedron.
James Martin writes in The Huffington Post that The Saints Were, Yes, Funny.
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian that Rowan Williams got it right about ritual.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian Stonewall’s ‘bigot of the year’: careful with overusing that word.
He has also written this: Wanted: new archbishop of Canterbury – must have plans to fill the pews.
[The Bishop of Lincoln has issued a message relating to this article; it is item 2 here.]
Graham Kings writes for Fulcrum about Jewel’s Gem: Reflections on the 450th Anniversary of Bishop John Jewel’s Apologia.
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes asks What is Christian Feminism?
Nelson Jones in the New Statesman about What the church owes to secular feminism.
Giles Fraser writes in The guardian that Confusion may cause us anxiety, but it is a rational reaction to life’s mysteries.
Savi Hensman has written a paper on the Journey towards acceptance: theologians and same-sex love for Ekklesia.
James Wood writes in The New Yorker about God Talk: The Book of Common Prayer at three hundred and fifty.
Bosco Peters has written this Open Letter to ACC15 (the Anglican Consultative Council which is meeting in New Zealand from 27 October to 7 November. The letter is “a passionate request that you revise the Anglican five-fold mission statement and explicitly include worship/liturgy.”
David Conn of The Guardian has interviewed the Bishop of Liverpool: Hillsborough panel chairman: ‘This is what the church should be doing’.
Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian about Christianity considered as true.
Amy-Jill Levine writes for the Religion and Ethics column on ABC: Not good to be alone: Rethinking the Bible and homosexuality.
Savi Hensman writes for Ekklesia about Anglicans, archbishops and presidential confusions.
Bishop Pierre Whalon writes for Anglicans Online about Polity Politics.
Sean Doherty writes for Fulcrum about Gay Partnerships and Christian Discipleship.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that The church’s wars over sexuality are coming to an end.
Mark Meynell writes in The Guardian that I’m a Christian who won’t label sexuality.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Before we decide to write off the Occupy movement, let’s consider the legacy of the Chartists.
Stephen Bates writes for the Financial Times about An archbishop to calm a warring flock.
Marilyn McCord Adams writes for the Episcopal Café about Strange exorcists.
David Lose writes for The Huffington Post about What the Bible Says - And Doesn’t Say - About Women.
ABC Religion and Ethics has these two articles.
John Milbank After Rowan: Priorities for the Anglican Communion
Stanley Hauerwas The place of the church and the agony of Anglicanism
Today’s Guardian has this editorial: Unthinkable? elect the archbishop of Canterbury.
Matthew Grayshon writes for Fulcrum about Gay Partnership: Marriage or Union.
Ian Stubbs writes for The Independent about Homophobia in the Church: Why I would break the law in support of LGBT people.
Alan Weston interviews the new Dean of Liverpool for the Liverpool Daily Post: Big Interview: Dr Pete Wilcox, the Dean of Liverpool.
Updated Sunday author of third item corrected
Excuses for Not Going to Church are examined on The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley blog.
Derek Flood asks in The Huffington Post Did Jesus Die to Save Us From God?
Mark Vernon writes for The Guardian that Christianity must admit to the bad news before it can spread the good.
Stephen Kuhrt writes for Fulcrum that Cricket reaches the parts that Theology never can.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Charlie Richardson’s priest was flawed, but embodied Jesus’s love of the fallen.
Eric Pickles writes in The Telegraph that A Christian ethos strengthens our nation.
Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian that Rowan Williams, we’ll miss you.
Andrew Brown argues in The Guardian that You can’t dance to atheism.
He has also written Don’t just blame ‘religion’ when parents refuse to let desperately ill children die.
Rod Thomas asks in The Church of England Newspaper Where are the Reform Bishops?
David Lose asks in The Huffington Post Was Jesus a Jerk?
In a reminder of how things used to be, The Guardian has this From the archive, 8 September 1979: Robert Runcie is to be the 102nd Archbishop of Canterbury.
Francis Spufford writes for The Guardian about The trouble with atheists: a defence of faith.
Marcus Borg writes for The Huffington Post about A Chronological New Testament.
Rachel Mann writes in The Guardian that The church is our best hope against the zombies.
The Church Times has this leader: Baptism for all.
Mark Sandlin writes for The God Article that there is Far Too Little Sabbath in the Sabbath.
Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph about a Big question from Stephen Hawking.
In the What I’m really thinking series in The Guardian this week is the woman priest.
Mark Vernon writes for The Guardian about Rowan Williams and Francis Spufford on being a Christian.
Elizabeth Kaeton writes at Daily Episcopalian Is the Anglican Communion a Gift from God?
Nelson Jones writes in the Spectator Atheism+: the new New Atheists.
Paul Vallely writes in the Church Times about Pussy Riot: A protest founded on the Gospels.
Andrew Brown writes at Cif belief that If we are to cope with climate change we need a new moral order.
Giles Fraser writes in the Guardian I believe in God. I don’t believe in God.
Andrew McGowan writes at Eureka Street that Vatican prefers tanks to talks to achieve unity.
Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times about The danger of being respectable.
Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph about Puddleglum and the quest for the Grail, inspired by this interview by Sameer Rahim: Rowan Williams: ‘Aslan is on the knife-edge of the erotic’.
In something I missed earlier, Norman Ivison gives us 8 ways to keep young adults out of your church.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Pussy Riot’s crime was violating the sacred. That’s what got Jesus in court.
Karyn L Wiseman writes for The Huffington Post about John 6:35, 41-51: Not Another Bread Passage.. Please!
Tariq Modood writes for the ABC about Secularism in crisis? Muslims and the challenge of multiculturalism.
The Archbishop of York has been interviewed by The Independent. There are two different online versions of the interview, one on the Archbishop’s own website: Archbishop’s Big Questions Interview in The Independent, and one on the newspaper’s: The big questions: Is milk too cheap? Are the Games worth it? Should young people work for experience?
Esther J Hamori writes for The Huffington Post about Biblical Standards for Marriage.
Peter Selby writes for The Tablet about debt and money: Wake-up call.
Theos has published a two part series on the establishment of the Church of England. Jonathan Chaplin writes that it is Time for the Church to cut the knot, whereas Nigel Biggar writes Why the Anglican establishment is good for a liberal society.
Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian about The art of religious sunbathing: giving up trying to be in control.
Mark Chapman writes for Thinking faith about Rowan Williams in Retrospect.
Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian that No, I am not a liberal – I believe that community comes before the individual.
And in the Church Times he writes that It might be legal, but it is not right.
Paul Handley writes this leader comment on the Church Times Peace is part of the Christian DNA.
Simon Barrow writes for Ekklesia about Why the church should back community schooling.
Alan Wilson blogs Overview and Inner View.
Peter Heslam writes for LICC (The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity) about Barclay’s Apology.
Giles Fraser writes on The guardian that An inclusive church is a fundamental gospel imperative.
Doug Chaplin gives us Five conversations for a declining church.
Dave Bookless writes on the A Rocha blog about The poor or the planet: which comes first?
Jamie Arpin-Ricci writes for The Huffington Post: Preach the Gospel at All Times?
Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, Senior Anglican Chaplain in Athens, writes for The Church of Ireland Gazette: Greece in crisis – the Churches respond.
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian that Rowan Williams was always an enemy of the liberal state.
Lewis Galloway writes for Day1 about this Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 5:21-43): Taking Jesus Seriously.
Richard Godwin of the London Evening Standard interviews the Archbishop of Canterbury in Goodbye to all that…
Mark Vernon asks in The Guardian ‘Silence is a lovely idea’ – so why have churches become so noisy?
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Dying can be a terribly lonely business. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Joe Lycett writes for The Huffington Post that The Church of England is a Drunk Bloke in a Wetherspoon.
Nelson Jones writes for New Statesman about God’s Peculiar People.
In The Guardian Sarah Ditum asks What do you do when you find cash in the street?
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about The bodily God of Thomas Hobbes.
Simon Barrow writes for The Guardian Let’s reclaim the jubilee.
Kristin M Swenson writes for The Huffington Post about The Inspiration of Chagall’s Mystical Stained Glass.
Savi Hensman writes for Ekklesia about Ordaining women bishops: safeguards and tangles.
Mark Goodacre asks How would Jesus have proved his own existence?
Savitri Hensman writes in The Guardian that Inter-church alliances are not always blessed.
Dave Bookless writes on the A Rocha blog about Mission: Saving souls or saving seals?
Esther J Hamori writes in The Huffington Post about Biblical Standards for Marriage.
Bishop Peter Selby writes in the New Statesman that Money has changed – that’s the issue.
Andy Robertson writes for the Church Times about computer games in worship in Not to be consoled as to console.
Tim Suttle at The Huffington Post asked several theologians What Is the Chief Political Concern of the Bible? and gives us their answers.
Paul Vallely writes in the Church Times about How to find Paradise on the ground.
Update: The audio of Peter Selby’s lecture is now working.
John Sentamu writes for The Telegraph Let’s not be afraid to talk about death.
And on the same topic, but from a different perspective, Matthew Engelke writes in The Guardian What is a good death? Ritual, whether religious or not, still counts.
Bethany Blankley writes for The Huffington Post about How Protestantism Redefined Marriage.
George Monbiot writes for The Guardian about Moral decay? Family life’s the best it’s been for 1,000 years.
Peter Selby has given the 27th Eric Symes Abbott memorial lecture: Mis-establishment: Locating, and Re-locating, the Church of England.
Reluctant Xtian gives us 5 Phrases I Think Christians Shouldn’t Say.
The Guardian has published a version of the article by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes that we linked here: Female bishops legislation must not be compromised out of existence.
Richard Beck asks us to Let Them Both Grow Together.
Christopher Howse for The Telegraph has been on A journey with Nikolaus Pevsner to the very edge of Englishness to see a 12th-century font and a 1902 church.
Giles Fraser in The Guardian asks Why should spirituality prioritise the needs of the busy?
Also in The Guardian Andrew Brown writes about A vicar’s war against English Heritage Christianity.
Symon Hill of Ekklesia writes about Trusting in what is not real.
Huffington Post has two articles about a new translation of the Bible: ‘The Voice’: New Bible Translation Focuses On Dialogue by Bob Smietana and Taking ‘Jesus Christ’ Out of the Bible by Christian Piatt.
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian Can liberal Christians please stop banging on about gayness?
Also in The Guardian Andrew Brown writes about The persistence of superstition in an irreligious Britain.
Andrew Brown asks in The Guardian Are evangelical Christians on another planet?
Daniel Schultz writes in the Revealer So Long, Rowan Williams.
Diana Butler Bass writes for USA Today about When spirituality and religion collide.
Paul Oestreicher asks in The Guardian Was Jesus gay? Probably.
Giles Fraser starts his new series Loose canon in the Guardian with On a new demand-free service.
Mark Vernon writes in The Tablet Why religion is good for you.
Giles Fraser writes in The Independent that The cross is a symbol of cruelty, not a club badge.
Richard Beck writes about Wisdom and Sin.
Pierre Whalon writes for The Huffington Post that Religion and Politics Are Inseparable: Get Over It.
Daniel Burke in The Huffington Post asks What Did Jesus Do On Holy Saturday?
Paul Handley writes in The Guardian that Holy Saturday is a good time for Christians to reflect on worldy failure.
Benny Hazlehurst has this Soundtrack for Holy Week - Peter.
Tina Beattie writes in The Tablet about Towards the shining city: Rural and urban in the Easter story.
Sam Charles Norton writes about The stupid and ungodly culture of the Church of England.
Alan Wilson writes for The Guardian that The Church of England needs a reboot, not a rebrand.
And, starting with some references to Bishop Wilson’s article, Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that The Church of England needs its own rebirth.
John Milbank writes for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about After Rowan: The Coherence and Future of Anglicanism.
Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times about going Back to the heart of the C of E.
Sarah Dylan Breuer writes: Don’t make me Moses: On spiritually hazardous uses of models and metaphors.
Andrew Nunn (the Dean of Southwark) preached this sermon at the Consecration of the Bishops of Croydon and Woolwich.
Peter Price (the Bishop of Bath and Wells) preached this sermon at a commemoration service for Archbishop Oscar Romero: Church ‘obsessed with morality at the expense of justice’.
Paul Brandeis interviewed Elaine Pagels for The Huffington Post: Elaine Pagels’ New Book Offers ‘Revelations’ On The Book Of Revelation.
Bart Ehrman asks in The Huffington Post Did Jesus Exist?
Greg Tobin asks in The Huffington Post Who Was the Real Saint Patrick?
Also in The Huffington Post Pierre Whalon writes about Human Rights and Religion: The Highest Possible Stakes.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Unleashing the power of viral video.
Deirdre Good and Julian Sheffield write for the Daily Episcopalian that Lent is for our sake, not Jesus’.
Christopher Howse writes for The Telegraph about Devotional high noon at St Paul’s.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times writes Beyond two dimensions: fail better.
Nick Baines has preached a sermon about The Spread of Truth.
Alicia Jo Rabins writes in The Huffington Post about Esther, Vashti And Other Badass Women In The Bible.
Also in The Huffington Post Matthew L Skinner asks John 2:13-22: Where Can God Be Found?
Riazat Butt writes in The Guardian about The women who oppose female bishops.
Also in The Guardian, Julian Baggini asks Why do the religious insist on presenting a united front?
Michael L Cooper-White writes in The Huffington Post about Genesis 17:1-7, 5-16 and Mark 8:31-38: God the Game-Changer.
Giles Fraser wrties for the Church Times: Correct the false ideas of dominion.
Savi Hensman at Ekklesia asks Is making staff work on Sundays discriminatory?
Mary Ann Sieghart writes for The Independent that You don’t have to believe in God to cherish the Church.
The Guardian published this editorial on Ash Wednesday: the lost art of dying.
Jane Williams writes in The Guardian that Lent is a chance to take stock and imagine a changed world.
Andrew Brown, writing in The Guardian, reports the views of the Archbishop of Westminster: Catholic Church leader rejects claim UK Christians are persecuted.
Naomi Young interviews the Archbishop of York for Reform (a publication of the United Reformed Church): John Sentamu interview: When the toe hurts.
Theo Hobson writes in The Spectator that The defence of Christianity needs a little more nuance.
Graham Kings has written a Credo column for The Times (and republished it at Fulcrum): Lent is a Time to Keep a Journal of Your Spiritual Travels.
Bishop John Gladwin preached this sermon at A Way in the Wilderness Service held at St Margaret’s Church Westminster Abbey on 6 February 2012.
Nick Spencer writes in the New Statesman Rush to judgement.
The Bible Guide Online has its choice of Jesus Quotes: Top Ten.
Lucy Winkett gave this Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4.
Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred mysteries column in The Telegraph that work should be the making of us.
George Pitcher explains on the Mail Online Why I signed the London clergy’s petition for ‘gay weddings’.
Philip Ball writes in The Guardian that Even atheists must recognise the importance of a sociological study of religion.
Matthew L Skinner writes for The Huffington Post about Mark 1:40-45: The Inconvenient Truth About Taking Care of the Poor.
George Clifford writes for the Episcopal Café: Encourage People to Read the Bible? Maybe not.
Ursula Buchan writes A churchwarden’s lament for The Spectator.
Steve Parish writes in The Guardian about Female bishops and an exercise in diplomacy.
Giles Fraser compares his new surroundings in the Guardian newsroom with his former workplace at St Paul’s Cathedral: Thinking Aloud podcast: a period of noisy reflection.
And in his weekly Church Times column he writes that Atheists can’t borrow the clothes of true faith.
Savi Hensman writes for Ekklesia about Women bishops and the church’s core purpose.
Martin Beckford in The Telegraph asks Will the Church of England ever find peace? “Arguments about women bishops will dominate public proceedings of the Synod, but gay marriage is one of the burning issues behind the scenes.”
Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian about Anglican Mainstream and the enemies of Christianity. “The anti-gay group deserves the censure it has received – unlike a small Evangelical Christian group in Bath.”
Emily Dugan interviews Giles Fraser for The Independent: ‘I’ve spent my life on the naughty step’.
Giles Fraser’s Church Times column this week is Bankers are victims, too, in the City cult.
Cullen Murphy lists The Top 10 Questions Everyone Has About the Inquisition in The Huffington Post (and gives the answers).
Alain de Botton, writing in the Comment is free belief section of The Guardian asks Should art really be for its own sake alone? “If art museums are the new churches, perhaps they should end the veneration of ambiguity and start serving our inner needs.”
Also at Comment is free belief Diarmaid MacCulloch writes that Compulsory celibacy is wrong and damaging for all clergy – straight or gay. “Not everyone called to the priesthood is also called to celibacy.”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that A regiment forms a moral soldier.
Rowan Moore Gerety writes in Killing the Buddha about Buying the Body of Christ.
The Guardian comments on a letter from a bishop: Bishops rail against Sunday excursions.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Running can seem like prayer.
On YouTube there is this: David Attenborough’s - Primate Crisis.
Desmond Tutu writes for The Huffington Post about Made for Goodness.
Savi Hensman writes for Ekklesia about David Cameron and Richard Dawkins: misunderstanding Christianity.
Peter Oborne writes about The return to religion in The Telegraph. “With the chill wind of austerity blowing through the country, religion’s warm embrace looks more and more inviting.”
Greg Carey in the Huffington Post asks What Does The Book Of Revelation Really Mean?
The Economist has published this leader: Christians and lions. “The world’s most widely followed faith is gathering persecutors. Even non-Christians should worry about that.”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Detectives don’t replace God: they seek him.
Gary Nicolosi in the Anglican Journal poses Seven questions every church should ask.
This week’s articles in The Guardian’s Comment is free belief section include:
Mark Vernon Is Christianity compatible with wealth? “The Christian tradition is not anti-money. Rather, it is excess and luxury that pose the spiritual problems.”
Giles Fraser Bethlehem’s church of the punch-up. “The latest brawl between Armenian and Orthodox monks in Bethlehem is a product of Christianity’s romance with buildings.”
Pope Benedict XVI Europe’s crisis of faith “In hard times, Europe could learn much from Africa’s joyful passion for faith.”
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown writes in The Independent that Christianity deserves better worshippers.
“Too many are like Cameron, part-time Christians of convenience who use religion as a weapon.”
N T Wright writes for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about Suspending scepticism: History and the Virgin Birth and in response Andrew McGowan writes about Greeks Bearing (Christmas) Gifts.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Christmas is meant to be shocking and in the London Evening Standard that We owe Dickens a great debt for his Christmas vision.
Here are some of the articles in the Comment is free belief section of The Guardian this week.
Chris Chivers Why vicars like me are handing out leaflets this Christmas
“Not only does it up attendances, but it reminds us all what churches are for.”
Mark Vernon Christian morality has the power to bring all things to account
“Objectivity in ethics is valuable not because of what it might tell us to do, but because of where it suggests we might be heading.”
Eddie Arthur The Bible should be available to read in every Christian’s native language
“As an adviser who helped create a New Testament translation for an Ivorian village, I saw what an impact such work can have.”
Denis Alexander Evolution, Christmas and the Atonement
“We are not descended from Adam and Eve – but still, Jesus was born to save us.”
Jonathan Freedland The story of Jesus is the ultimate political drama
“I shouldn’t be interested in the life of Jesus, but I can’t help it – his story makes for gripping entertainment”
Richard Beck writes on his Experimental Theology blog about A Christmas Carol as Resistance Literature: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.
Andrew McGowan writes for Biblical Archaeology Review Magazine about How December 25 Became Christmas.
And finally, a small selection of Christmas messages
Archbishop of Canterbury In Congo or in Croydon, God is there for us
Bishop of Chelmsford One person can make a difference. That person is Christ
Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Christmas reflection
Archbishop of York’s Christmas Message for YouTube (including a transcript)
Bishop of St Asaph Christmas message
Bishop of Ely Christmas and New Year Message [video]
President of the Methodist Conference Challenge your pre-suppositions this Christmas
Bishop and Archbishop of Liverpool
Archbishop of Wales
Andrew Gerns writes on his blog about Choosing the anchor of certainty over the sails of comprehension.
[This is in response to the article by Joseph Bottum The End of Canterbury that I linked to last week.]
Nick Spencer writes in The Guardian that The Church of England’s future grows ever more bleak.
“One grim finding for Anglicans in the British Social Attitudes survey is how few find religion after not being born into it.”
Christopher Howse of The Telegraph has made a seasonal pilgrimage from Nazareth to Bethlehem: Holy Land pilgrimage: Away to the manger.
Giles Fraser writes for Church Times about Waiting and the need for God.
Joseph Harker writes for The Guardian that For all its flaws, religion remains a force for good.
“I’d rather have a reminder of what I should be striving for than hear no message at all.”
In The Economist Bagehot writes about God in austerity Britain.
“As recession looms, the Church of England is active and vocal, but in the wrong way.”
Robert Orlando writes for The Huffington Post about A Polite Bribe: A New Narrative For Paul And The Early Church?
In a Church Times article now available to non-subscribers Duncan Dormor writes about Where students can reconnect.
“Cambridge chapels flourish, as the young engage with tradition.”
Joseph Bottum writes for The Weekly Standard about The End of Canterbury and asks “Will the sun set on the Anglican communion?”
Chris Bryant writes in The Independent that As a vicar I found that most churchgoers are liberals trying to find meaning in life.
Savi Hensman writes for Ekklesia about Fruitful love: beyond the civil and legal in partnerships.
Bishop John Packer writes about Cathedrals, Bishops and Committees - What is a Diocese?
Although prompted by the proposals to amalgamate three Yorkshire dioceses including his own, most of what the bishop writes is applicable to dioceses in general.
In a Church Times article now available to non-subscribers Alan Billings writes They belong, but don’t believe. “Many in church at Christmas need their tentative beliefs to be nurtured.”
Deirdre Good and Julian Sheffield at the Daily Episcopalian ask Is the Kingdom of Heaven a Ponzi Scheme?
The Huffington Post has two articles for Advent.
Matthew L Skinner: Mark 13:24-37: Advent — One of Those Dangerous Religious Ideas
Cindi Love: Advent: Slippery Slope of Christendom
Adam Stadtmiller writes for Church Marketing Sucks about The Epic-Fail of Church Announcements.
Savitri Hensman writes for The Guardian about Worshipping money – the new faith sweeping England today.
Bishop Pete Broadbent has written about what he means by Open Evangelicalism.
Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times that Holiness is steeped in the messy reality of life.
The Archbishop of Canterbury preached this sermon earlier this week: Archbishop’s sermon at Westminster Abbey - 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.
Mark Vernon writes for The Guardian that To be truly compassionate you need to be kind to yourself.
In the summer of 2011, a survey was conducted by 3D Coaching inviting clergy of all denominations to give feedback on their experience of being interviewed for a role as a minister during the last 3 years. The results are available for download: How to Make Great Appointments Survey Results. In an article now available to non-subscribers the Church Times reports this as Parish profiles do not match up to the job, say clerics.
The Guardian republishes this article: From the archive, 11 November 1871: St Paul’s under scrutiny.
Giles Fraser writes in The Church Times about Peace, but not as the world gives.
Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph about Calling upon God by his name. “The name of God means more than choosing the right four Hebrew letters.”
George Pitcher writes for the New Statesman that Bishop Chartres arrived at St Paul’s like Churchill at the Admiralty.
Frank Griswold writes for Faith and Leadership that Maybe this is the desert time.
Simon Jenkins (the one who used to be editor of The Times) writes for The Guardian: The ethical fluff of St Paul’s and Rowan Williams is a liberal cop-out.
This article has prompted letters galore: Simple sermon on ethics won’t do.
Keith Ward writes in The Guardian that Religion answers the factual questions science neglects.
Also in The Guardian Theo Hobson writes An uncertain calling and asks “Should I dismiss my many doubts about ordination, or just keep shouting from the sidelines?”
Pierre Whalon writes for The Huffington Post about The Halloween Horror: One Year Since Baghdad Cathedral Attack.
Deirdre Good writes for the Daily Episcopalian about Jesus and Abba.
Tim Stevens, the Bishop of Leicester, writes for the Church Times about bishops in the House of Lords: Bishops are lining up to keep Coalition in check.
Sayeeda Warsi writes for The Telegraph that Britain must be a country where people can be proud of their religion.
Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio asks in The Guardian Would you accept a robot as your priest or vicar?
Also in The Guardian Steven Hepburn asks Why pray for the souls in purgatory?
Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph about The reason why Leo was Great.
In an article for the Church Times, now available to non-subscribers, George Pitcher offers Ten media tips for the Church.
Derek Olsen writes for the Episcopal Café about Communicating your parish ethos.
Christian Piatt asks in The Huffington Post Did Jesus Really Die for Our Sins?
Jonathan Jones writes in The Guardian that Our churches are filled with hidden beauty.
“Despite the ravages of the Reformation, Britain’s churches are still full of glorious medieval art. What are the best examples in your area?”
David Lose asks in The Huffington Post What Does the Bible Really Say About Homosexuality?
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that, Unlike iPads, we are not disposable.
Laura Brosnan asks in The Guardian How can it be fair to say I can’t be saved by God if I’m gay?
“Christian friends rejected me when I came out to them, citing Leviticus. But my faith comes from the love of God, not the Bible.”
Riazat Butt writes in The Guardian about UK chaplains in Afghanistan: ordinary priests with an extraordinary flock.
“With their camouflage Bibles and combat crosses, the forces’ 278 chaplains are outsiders in the church and the military.”
Martin L Smith writes for the Daily Episcopalian about Money, might and the name of God.
At Michaelmas Scott Gunn writes about Angels: setting the record straight.
Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian: Creationism explained.
“You can believe in a Creator without being a ‘scientific creationist’. The distinction is important and needs preserving.”
Alom Shaha writes for The Guardian that Faster than light story highlights the difference between science and religion.
“‘Belief’ means something different to scientists and the faithful … we’re open to the idea Einstein may have been wrong.”
Giles Fraser writes in The Church Times that we should Examine the inequalities of a feral society.
Jaweed Kaleem reports in The Huffington Post on a survey: [American] Readers Prefer Literal Bible Translations Over Common English, New Survey Shows.
Jonathan Jones writes for The Guardian No faith in flesh: art exposes Christianity’s original sin.
“For centuries, defenders of the nude in art have faced a battle against Christian fear of the naked human form.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury and the comedian, writer and broadcaster Frank Skinner recently “sat down for an in-depth exchange of views on the state of Christianity today”.
Archbishop Rowan and Frank Skinner in conversation
Sarah Ditum argues in The Guardian that it is Time for burial to die a death.
“We should stop treating cemeteries like a cupboard under the stairs and embrace new ways of disposing of the dead.”
John Dominic Crossan writes for The Huffington Post about The Search for the Historical Paul: How to Read The Letters of Paul [with particular reference to Philemon].
Savitri Hensman writes for The Guardian that Direct, compassionate intervention on earth is not God’s remit but ours.
“God offers no instant fix in adversity. He respects our free will and asks us to use it well.”
Lucy Chumbley writes for the Daily Episcopalian that Isaac and Ishmael were brothers.
Robert W Prichard writes for The Living Church about The Anglican Communion: A Brief History Lesson.
The Tablet has this editorial: Dr Williams’ dilemma.
Gary Gutting writes for The New York Times: Beyond ‘New Atheism’.
Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian about Nadine Dorries’s abortion bill has exposed our squishy utilitarianism.
“Abortion is defended on the basis it diminishes suffering, but the greatest good is served by adopting unwanted babies.”
Dick Gross writes in The Sydney Morning Herald about Apostates for Evensong.
Paul Handley writes for The Guardian that The miracle at Cana’s wedding feast shows the real value of friendship.
“A happy, successful wedding can be a true test of reliance on friends – and God.”
Victor Udoewa writes for The Huffington Post about Doubt: A Scientific And Religious Perspective.
Riazat Butt continues her reports on travelling through Afghanistan with army chaplains for The Guardian.
Gurkhas’ Hindu temple in Lashkar Gah is only one of its kind
Khan’s kitchen: the difficult life of an Afghan interpreter for the British military
At shura, elders of Chah-e-Mirza deal with concrete and divine
Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio writes for The Guardian Don’t rely on governments, we all have a responsibility towards the less well-off.
“The more we earn, the greater our duty of care to our poorer neighbours.”
Christopher Howse writes for The Telegraph about A man stoned for gathering sticks.
Hywel Williams writes for The Guardian about Putting our faith in fragments.
“Be it medieval bones or rubble from the Twin Towers, relics affirm our belief in human endurance.”
Tom Wright writes for The Spectator about “How the Church of England can – and will – endure”: Keep the faith.
Riazat Butt of The Guardian is travelling through Afghanistan with army chaplains: Religion on the frontline. Here are her reports so far.
Religion in Camp Bastion: ‘What people are asked to do here can lead to big questions’
Baptism at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan
Life as a humanist with the armed forces in Afghanistan
Matthew Adams writes for The Guardian about Christianity and capital punishment: thou shalt not kill?
“A petition urging the reintroduction of the death penalty in the UK poses some pertinent questions for Christianity.”
Nick Jowett asks in The Guardian Was Jesus judgmental?
“Perhaps Christ was a more normal human being than people have been willing to believe.”
Lesley Crawley writes for The Guardian’s Cif belief that Sexism runs deep in the Church of England.
“I’ve experienced prejudice working as an engineer and as a priest – only difference is, in the church it’s institutionalised.”
Anna Tims writes about the Bishop of London for The Guardian: A working life: the bishop.
“From dawn till dusk, the diocese of London fills Richard Chartres’ exhausting schedule. He’s got an Oyster card, but finds his hybrid car a convenient compromise.”
Judith Maltby writes for Cif belief about The Church of England’s shameful record on capital punishment.
“If parliament debates the death penalty, the church should speak against it with all the authority of a reformed sinner.”
British Religion in Numbers has data on this week’s A-level results in Religious Studies: Religious Studies A Levels, 2011.
Bruce Chilton in The Huffington Post asks (and answers) the question What Does The Bible Say About The Mother Of Jesus?
Also in The Huffington Post Maria Mayo writes about 5 Myths About Forgiveness in the Bible.
Helen Berry writes for the OUPblog about Why history says gay people can’t marry…nor can anyone else* (*unless they have kids of their own).
Bishop Pierre Whalon writes for The Huffington Post Why I Am Not An Atheist.
John Dominic Crossan writes for The Huffington Post about The Search for the Historical Paul: What Paul Thought About Women.
Martin Saunders writes for Cif belief that After the riots, my faith-based youth work gives me hope in this generation.
“Faith-based youth work has something special to offer young people, because it offers something distinctive: transformation.”
Pierre Whalon at Anglicans Online asks (and answers) What is Anglicanism?
Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times about Probing the virtues of economic growth.
Mr CatOLick asks Why does Christianity hurt the young?
Bill Carroll writes for the Episcopal Café: Wounded by God.
George Cassidy, the retired Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, was recently interviewed by the Church of Ireland Gazette about reform of the House of Lords. The printed version of the interview is not available online, but there is a link to an audio recording of the complete interview here.
Read the Spirit has published this interview with Marcus Borg about his new book Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power—And How They Can Be Restored.
You can also read the interview here.
Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times that If there must be fences, let there be gates.
Adrian Beney writes in The Tablet about The price of a gift: Ethical fund-raising.
Carl Medearis asks in The Huffington Post Why Are We So Angry About Hell?
Matthew Engel writes in the Financial Times, in a series on British Institutions, about The Church of England.
Two articles about bishops in the House of Lords
Lord Tyler at Lords of the Blog: Episcopal Eviction?
David Morris at The Commentator: This isn’t the 16th Century: it’s time to kick the Bishops out of the House of Lords
Lauren R Stanley preached this sermon last Sunday: Step away from the lawn mower …
David L Rattigan writes for Cif belief about How Liverpool’s Frontline church ‘struggles’ with homosexuality.
“While commending the Christian ministry’s work in helping the vulnerable, we cannot ignore its troubling attitude to gay people.”
Bart D Ehrman writes for The Huffington Post about What Didn’t Make It Into The Bible?
Christopher Middleton writes in The Telegraph about the Faith in World essay competition winners and says “The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Faith in the World essay competition showcases fresh thinking about life’s biggest issues.”
Nick Baines writes in Cif belief about Parallel lives? Not in Church of England schools.
“As the experience of Bradford shows, church schools serve all faiths – and are therefore a lesson in diversity, not division.”
Christopher Howse writes a Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph about A link to heaven held in the palm. He is “is bowled over by a British Museum exhibition that is something else than art”.
In one of my reports on General Synod I linked to an article on parochial fees by David Green. He has had these further thoughts on the matter: Synod, wedding fees and the other side of the story.
Canon C K Robertson is visiting the General Synod and has written this for The Huffington Post: Independent but Connected. Canon Robertson is the Canon to the Presiding Bishop of The (American) Episcopal Church.
In this week’s Cif belief in The Guardian Andrew Brown writes about The archbishop and the prisoners.
“On a prison visit, Rowan Williams shows a wittier, humbler side – and an enthusiasm for unglamorous projects.”
Also in The Guardian the Archbishop of Canterbury talks to David Hare “about taking on the coalition, the atheists – and why life isn’t like a Woody Allen movie.” Rowan Williams: God’s boxer
Also in Cif belief Theo Hobson writes that Anglicans should throw out dry tradition.
“Churches should rip up the pews and encourage real participation, and make the act of worship again.”
John Dominic Crossan writes in The Huffington Post about The Search for the Historical Paul: Which Letters Did He Really Write?
Also in The Huffington Post Greg Carey asks What Does the Bible Actually Say About Marriage?
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times Tweet that good-news message.
Richard Beck writes on his Experimental Theology blog about Tales of the Demonic.
The Guardian has a varied selection in its Comment is free section.
Gisela Raines An unexpectedly sacramental walk
On my pilgrimage from Seville, I found myself settling into a rhythm that nourished me long after I arrived in Santiago.
Alan Wilson The pope tweets – and not just about eggs benedict for breakfast
His holiness has beaten Rowan Williams on to Twitter. But can the infallible one learn to follow, as well as preach?
Karen Armstrong Bones, hairs and blood: relics that stretched pilgrims’ grasp of humanity
An understanding of the medieval cult of martyrs’ relics can help open our minds to the otherness of beliefs in today’s world.
Andrew Brown Sharia and the scare stories
The arguments about Islam put forward by Michael Nazir-Ali make it difficult to take him seriously
Maggi Dawn considers why women come late to ordination: vicars: old women and young men?
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Light is not so fantastic in church.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that To be alive is to be more than physical.
Mark Vernon writes for Cif belief that If you want big society, you need big religion.
Faith communities may encourage their members to contribute to society – but can politicians harness their benefits?
Also for Cif belief Nick Spencer writes for that Trevor Phillips is muddled on faith and equality.
The EHRC cannot have it both ways – faith communities are either right or wrong to adhere to their beliefs.
Greg Carey writes for The Huffington Post about What The Bible Really Says About Slavery.
In his Sacred mysteries column in the Telegraph Christopher Howse discovers how Westminster Abbey had a narrow escape: When they put a shell on the Abbey.
Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times about When us-and-them can seem unwelcome.
Matt J Rossano writes for The Huffington Post about The Christian Revolution.
Graham Kings has preached the Richard Johnson annual sermon at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, London: Moral Journalism.
The Archbishop of York has written this article for the Yorkshire Post: Tackling Poverty, Wherever It Occurs.
Heather McDougall writes for Cif belief about St Francis of Assisi: a saint for our times.
The message of St Francis was uncompromising and simple: greed causes suffering for both the victims and the perpetrators.
Also at Cif belief Andrew Brown writes Social cohesion needs religious boundaries.
The new Prevent strategy shows an old pattern of social organisation is emerging in a new form, around new doctrines.
John Blake writes for CNN that Actually, that’s not in the Bible.
Bishop Pierre Whalon in The Huffington Post asks Many Mansions in Whose House?
And in his latest essay for Anglicans Online The Ministers of the Church Are … Bishop Whalon argues that an upside-down pyramid is just the kind of church organisation Jesus would want.
Evan Harris writes for Cif belief that Religious groups have too much freedom to discriminate.
Now that faith groups are to become public service providers, the exemptions they have in British equality law must be narrowed.
The Huffington Post prints this extract from a new book by Desmond Tutu: God Is Not a Christian.
Simon Barrow writes for Ekklesia that The Kirk faces a challenging future.
The Vernacular Curate writes about Technology and God.
Theo Hobson writes for Cif belief about What Rowan Williams really dislikes about Freemasonry.
His distaste seems to have less to do with its aura of mystery, more with its roots in liberalism and the Enlightenment.
The Telegraph reports the Archbishop of Canterbury’s thoughts on the Bard’s religion: William Shakespeare was probably a Catholic.
The Archbishop of Canterbury preached at the Ascension Day Eucharist at St Martin-in-the-Fields: Sermon for Ascension Day 2011.
And Maggi Dawn writes this: Ascension Day 2011.
Andrew Brown wrote at Cif belief Catholic child abuse analysed
The John Jay Institute report on the child abuse scandals in the USA has been published. It will surprise and discomfort all sides.
Savi Hensman wrote at Cif belief What would Jesus cut?
David Cameron claims Jesus invented the ‘big society’ – but the Christian message has a strong emphasis on social justice.
Giles Fraser wrote in the Guardian The killing of Osama bin Laden may only have turned us into our enemies
Christians lambasted for being wishy-washy are right to be suspicious of the idea of the just war.
AWN Pugin’s finest gift to his country
Sacred mysteries: Christopher Howse in the Telegraph finds that things are looking up for the Victorian architect’s most treasured building.
From last week’s Church Times:
Do God and government US-style
New American models of religious social action could work in the UK, argues Francis Davis.
In praise of normal mysticism
Evelyn Underhill’s writings remain a vital guide to the spiritual life, says Jane Shaw.
The Guardian’s Face to Faith column is by David Bryant: Heavyweight ethics are no way to help the newly bereaved face up to their grief.
Andrew Brown writes for The Guardian that The end of the world comes on the 21 May … well, perhaps. “Christians awaiting the rapture this week are part of a long and curious history in their desire to pinpoint the end of the world.”
Peter Sherlock writes for The Conversation: Judgement Day and the dead are rising: it must be Saturday.
The Church Times has this leader: End of the world? The least of our worries.
Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio writes for The Guardian about Hellfire and ice-cream – alternative visions of the Rapture. “I don’t believe the prediction that today is Judgment Day, but just in case…”
Michael Nazir-Ali writes for The Guardian about A true resurrection in Iraq. “Two Christian communities in Baghdad show real hope for Iraq’s historic diversity – if politicians do their bit.”
Ian Sample reports an interview with Stephen Hawking for The Guardian: ‘There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story.’
In response Michael Wenham writes for The Guardian: I’d stake my life that Stephen Hawking is wrong about heaven, and Brad Hirschfield writes for The Huffington Post: Stephen Hawking’s Sin In Denying Heaven.
Jonathan Weyer writes for The Huffington Post about What the Bible Really Says About Doubt.
Symon Hill writes for Ekklesia about Christianity and homophobia in Britain today.
Lauren R Stanley writes for the Episcopal Café In defense of seminaries.
Alex Preston writes in The Independent about God’s bankers: How evangelical Christianity is taking a hold of the City of London’s financial institutions.
Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian about Too much heat, not enough light in the creationism war. “The near hysterical way in which intelligent design is treated online only suits those who seek to politicise evolution.”
Marilyn McCord Adams at the Daily Episcopalian: What sort of victory?
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times: Uneasy? Dr Williams is right to be.
Jonathan Jones writes for The Guardian about The resurrection of religious art. “The trees placed in Westminster Abbey for the royal wedding were typical of how modern artists are transforming churches.”
Pierre Whalon writes for The Huffington Post about Big Media Events and the Churches That Put Them On.
Alan Wilson writes for The Guardian that Outlawing gayness is like ‘straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel’. “Uganda’s bill to ban all forms of homosexuality contravenes basic Christian teaching.”
updated to add another answer to The Question
Jerry Bowyer writes for Forbes about The Seminary Bubble.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has published the text of a recent lecture: ‘Cloven Tongues’: Theology and the Translation of the Scriptures.
Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times about A Church for sinful addicts.
This week’s The Question in Comment is free belief is What choice for faith schools? “On what basis should faith schools choose children when they are oversubscribed – and who should decide?” There are answers from Andrew Copson, John Pritchard and Maeve McCormack.
David Briggs writes for The Association of Religion Data Archives about ‘Free riders’ and the recession: Churches face hard economic choices attracting new members.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has just published this address that he gave on 1 March 2011: Relations between the Church and state today: what is the role of the Christian citizen?
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Why being thankful is real belief in resurrection.
Maya Shwayder writes for the Harvard University Gazette about Debunking a myth. “In medieval Christianity, dissection was often practiced.”
Simon Barrow writes at Ekklesia: Wedded to a right royal theological confusion.
James Martin writes for the Huffington Post about The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done.
Here are just a few of the many sermons preached yesterday.
Not a sermon, but it could be: Savi Hensman
James Martin in The Huffington Post asks Why Did Judas Betray Jesus?
The Times has a series of articles to mark Holy Week. The Archbishop of York has written “Our destiny is sure, but Jesus never promised an easy journey” and placed a copy outside the paywall.
In The Vancouver Sun three Anglican priests (Peter Elliott, Ellen Clark-King and Chris Dierkes) born in different decades write about how they experience Holy Week from their own perspectives: Easter celebrates faith, hope and love.
Paul Handley writes in The Guardian: In this for the long haul. “Easter Day is all the more special for Christians who fail in self-denial during Lent.”
Martin Wainwright writes in The Guardian about Last Supper … or penultimate supper? Scientist challenges Maundy Thursday. “Cambridge professor Sir Colin Humphreys claims Last Supper took place on a Wednesday, not a Thursday.”
Christopher Pearson covers the same story in The Australian Search for the real man in the Gospels.
Humphreys himself writes in The Huffington Post: The Mysteries of the Last Supper and Jesus’ Final Days.
Two sceptical responses are by Mark Goodacre Dating the Last Supper a Day Early? and Andrew McGowan Christ our Passover: Making Sense of the Gospel Accounts of Jesus’ Death. Goodacre has several links to other articles.
In the New Statesman leading public figures and scientists explain their faith to Andrew Zak Williams: I’m a believer.
Aleks Krotoski in The Observer asks What effect has the internet had on religion? “Online, God has been released from traditional doctrine to become everything to everybody.”
The entire Fall 2010 issue of The Princeton Theological Review was devoted to articles on The Church after Google. You can download all 122 pages as a one megabyte pdf file.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian about Theological uncertainty. “Holy scriptures can demand that their believers do evil things. Would this be true if evil didn’t prosper?”
Simon Barrow writes for Ekklesia about The religious betrayal of God and its antidote.
Simon Jenkins writes for The Guardian that There’s no such thing as ‘big society’ – just many small ones, under steeples. “Churches are the obvious place for revived localism yet their potential remains locked behind regulatory clutter and spiralling costs.”
James Hannam writes for Patheos that Science and Christianity Can Get On Better Than You Think.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Faith offers a tragic wisdom.
Jay Michaelson in The Huffington Post asks Who Are the Real Sodomites?
Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph that St George gets his bank holiday.
Emine Saner interviews Robert Winston and Sam Harris in The Guardian: Is there any place for religious faith in science?
David Lose in The Huffington Post asks Is the Bible True?
James McGrath writes for Religion at the Margins about The Veil That Prevents Fundamentalists from Understanding the Bible.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that The Bible is not like moral sayings.
Here’s an early Easter message from the USA: The Presiding Bishop’s Easter message.
Harriet Baber writes in The Guardian that Religion is not really about ethics. “As a compendium of moral doctrine the Bible doesn’t come off well. Its relevance lies in its teaching of the nature of God.”
Her article is one of several answers to this week’s The Question: What would you add to the Bible?
updated Friday morning to add Church Times article and Guardian editorial, and again to add Times interview, and in the afternoon another Guardian article.
It was announced yesterday that the astrophysicist Martin Rees had been awarded the 2011 Templeton Prize.
The Guardian covered this story extensively.
Ian Sample: Martin Rees wins controversial £1m Templeton prize
Templeton Prize 2011: Full transcript of Martin Rees’s acceptance speech
Ian Sample interviewed Martin Rees on Tuesday before the announcement that he had won the Templeton Prize. This is a full transcript of the interview: Martin Rees: I’ve got no religious beliefs at all – interview.
The Guardian also has these comment articles
Mark Vernon: Martin Rees’s Templeton prize may mark a turning point in the ‘God wars’
Jerry Coyne: Martin Rees and the Templeton travesty
Michael White: Martin Rees and the Templeton prize: why are the atheists so cross?
Dan Jones: The Templeton Foundation is not an enemy of science
and this editorial: Martin Rees: Prize war.
But there was other coverage.
Michael Banks at physicsworld.com: Martin Rees wins £1m Templeton Prize
Daniel Cressey in Nature: Martin Rees takes Templeton Prize
Steve Connor in The Independent: For the love of God… scientists in uproar at £1m religion prize
Chris Herlinger in The Huffington Post: Martin Rees, British Astrophysicist, Wins Templeton Prize
Ed Thornton in the Church Times: Non-believing churchgoer is winner of Templeton Prize
Hannah Devlin and Ruth Gledhill of The Times interview on YouTube: Martin Rees, winner of The Templeton Prize, on God, life, the universe (21 minutes)
Brett McCracken in Relevant asks Is Church Worth It? “Many of us have been hurt by church. But what if sticking with it actually matters?”
Giles Fraser in the Church Times explains Why I did not march on Saturday.
Becky Garrison writes in The Guardian that Trans clergy are finally gaining greater acceptance. “As we approach Transgender Faith Action Week, progress can be seen in attitudes to trans people within the church.”
Martin L Smith at Episcopal Café asks What are bishops for?
Bruce Kaye, writing for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, asks Does Fresh Expressions misrepresent the Gospel?
Mark Vernon gives his answer to last week’s The Question (Who is in hell?) in The Guardian: Rob Bell’s intervention in the often ugly world of American evangelicalism. “In its treatment of hell, the pastor’s book holds two Christian truths in tension: human freedom and God’s infinite love.”
Fred Clark writes on his slacktivist blog about The paradox of pitchforks, a devilish problem.
Craig McQueen at the (Scottish) Daily Record writes about How the King James Bible still influences the way we speak 400 years after it was written.
Meanwhile Giles Fraser has a Thought for the Day about the King James Bible and this comment article in the Church Times: In praise of Shakespeare, not Jesus?
Chris Arnot reports in the Education section of The Guardian that Religious leaders are out of touch with issues of sexuality, survey reveals. “Results also indicate young people are finding it difficult to combine their religion with their sexuality.”
A newly published paper A mathematical model of social group competition with application to the growth of religious non-affiliation by Daniel M Abrams, Haley A Yaple and Richard J Wiener has prompted these two responses.
Wendy M Grossman in The Guardian: I’ve no faith in this idea that religion is dying out
The Church Mouse: Mathematicians predict religion will become extinct in secularised nations
This week The Question at The Guardian’s Comment is free belief is Who is in hell?
There are answers from John Richardson, Mary Finnigan and Roz Kaveney.
Andrew Brown has also written on the topic in his Comment is free belief blog: Hell and linoleum. “What would it feel like to believe that anyone really deserved eternal conscious torment? Is it even humanly possible?”
Andrew Brown also writes about Hooker on grief and hell. “Can wicked and stupid people ever be truly happy? One of the founders of Anglicanism thought they could not.”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times: I believe in death — not immortality
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian that Gay-friendly Christianity has become a self-righteous subculture. “The Christian gay rights lobby adopts the narrative of ‘accepting who you are’ and diverts the religion towards a flabby liberalism.”
Samira Ahmed at the Three Faiths Forum asks Do they mean us? “Who‘s included and excluded in news coverage and how to make it better.”
Hymns Ancient and Modern was first published 150 years ago. To mark the occasion the Church Times published a series of articles last week which are now available to non-subscribers.
Hymns A&M: National treasure — not royal appointment
Hymns A&M: Savaged by the red tops
Hymns A&M: Let’s make it official
Hymns A&M: A candle in the darkness
Christopher Howse has also marked the anniversary in The Telegraph: A&M: the C of E in words and music.
Giles Fraser also writes in today’s Guardian Unanswered questions on Japan’s suffering. “In the face of great tragedy, we can admit we do not understand without losing our faith.”
Mark Vernon writes for Ekklesia about Having faith in the importance of doubt.
Tamie Fields Harkins, at her blog the owls & the angels has a step-by-step plan for how to get more young people into the church: ah, the church.
Jeremy Nicholas writes in Gramophone about Hymns Ancient and Modern rejected.
Phil Zuckerman and Dan Cady in The Huffington Post explain Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus.
Stanley Hauerwas writes for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about The place of the church: locality and catholicity.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Many things might not get better.
Bagehot writes about the British 2011 census for The Economist: There is a difference between lacking faith, and having no religion.
There were several articles and reflections for Ash Wednesday.
Mark Vernon in The Guardian: On Ash Wednesday, consider the gift of death
The Postulant: Remember
Penny Nash: Are You a Christian Giving Up Social Media for Lent? Please Don’t.
Scott Gunn: Blogtastic Lent or Lentastic blogs?
Colin Coward: Ash Wednesday
Scott Gunn is writing about the 39 Articles of Religion, one per day (except Sundays) during Lent. Here is his introduction: Of the 39 Articles of Religion and the first two articles.
Article I: Of faith in the Holy Trinity
Article II: Of the Word, or Son of God, which was made very man
Olivia Crellin writes in Varsity about Wearing faith on your sleeve.
Harry Mount writes for The Telegraph about St Paul’s Cathedral anniversary: the beauty of the domes that Wren built. “With St Paul’s Cathedral celebrating its 300th anniversary, Harry Mount wishes that more of London’s architecture would possess such lasting beauty.”
Stephen Tomkins writes in The Guardian: King James Bible: ‘Twas a work most modern. “Later versions may lack its resonance, but it’s time to let go of the King James Bible and the cod Jacobean it has bequeathed.”
Dallas Graham writes in The Guardian Don’t rebuild the Christchurch cathedral. “Yes, it was glorious, but a great weakness has been horribly exposed – stone buildings are deadly in an earthquake zone.”
Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian In praise of doubt, maybe. “Why do we have such an unbalanced attitude to doubt, demanding certainty where there is none, and pretending to doubt what everyone knows?”
George Pitcher writes in The Telegraph that The religion control freaks are telling you what to think for the 2011 Census .
Meanwhile in The Guardian this week’s The Question is What should we tell the census about our religious affiliation? with answers from Andrew Copson, William Bloom and the Church Mouse.
Stephen Tomkins writes for The Guardian about How biblical literalism took root. “The Bible doesn’t state that it should be read literally – yet an all-or-nothing approach is the core of many Christians’ faith.”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times: Get to grips with banks’ morality.
David Wolpe writes in The Huffington Post Why Everyone Should Study the Bible.
This week’s The Question in Comment is free belief in The Guardian is What is marriage for?
There are answers from Harriet Baber, Roz Kaveney, Shelina Zahra Janmohamed plus one from Austen Ivereigh that we linked to here.
The Evangelical Alliance has published 21st Century Evangelicals: A snapshot of the beliefs and habits of evangelical Christians in the UK.
Bob Siegel asks in The Washington Times Does Jesus belong on the college campus?
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian about Evangelicals turning to Jewish customs? It’s complicated. “Evangelical Christians have become increasingly admiring of the sacramental richness of Judaism.”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about A false ideal that erodes self-worth.
Scott McLemee writes for Inside Higher Ed Let Us Now Praise KJV.
Wayne Clarke asks Should we revere the Authorised Version?
And at The Guardian Jeanette Winterson, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Alexander McCall Smith, Michèle Roberts, David Crystal and Diarmaid McCulloch each write about The King James Bible’s language lessons.
Also in The Guardian David Edgar writes The King James Bible reconsidered. “We are steeped in the idioms and phrases of the King James Version. On its 400th anniversary, David Edgar questions how revolutionary it really was.”
The Guardian also asks its readers to Help us spot phrases from the King James Bible. “As the King James Bible celebrates its 400th anniversary, help us build a picture of how its phrases are used around the web today.” It provides a list of Phrases from the King James Bible, although as the first commenter points out many of these are not original to the KJB, but come from Tyndale.
Johann Hari writes in The Independent Get bishops out of our law-making. “Is Nick Clegg even going to abandon his atheism, and give the forces of organised religion yet more power over us?”
update: The Church Mouse has written this response to Hari’s article: Fact check: Johann Hari’s attack on the Lords Spiritual in the Independent.
Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian about Ultra-Darwinists and the pious gene. “Richard Dawkins won’t like it, but he and creationists are singing from similar hymn sheets, according to a new book.”
Gordon Brown has given a lecture on Faith in Politics?
Carl McColman writes for The Huffington Post about After a Century, Why Mysticism Still Inspires.
Rosie Harper writes for The Guardian about General Synod’s cliquey clergy. “The tribal factions of the General Synod aren’t hard to spot – but they’re supposed to work out God’s agenda, not their own.”
Andrew Brown at The Guardian offers a brief meditation on original sin, Apples, and omnipotent network gods: Augustinian and Pelagian software.
Savi Hensman writes for Ekklesia about Baptism: A new world coming.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Praise from a mouth that waters.
Shoshana Garfield writes in The Guardian about Faith in the darkest of moments. “Many torture victims tell convincing stories of divine intervention in their ordeal.”
Matt Idom writes in The Huffington Post about Worshiping God, Not the Bible.
Jane Williams continues her Comment is free belief series: The Book of Genesis, part 8: Why this story? “Genesis has shaped human history for generations, but it continues to offer new insights and raise new questions.”
Nick Spencer writes in The Guardian about Christianity: a faith for the simple. “Christianity’s founding ideals are anti-elitist – so should we be surprised if its followers are less educated than average?”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about When mob bigotry is the spirit of the age.
Jill Hamilton writes in The Guardian about When sharing faith means sharing germs. “Baptism and the kissing of icons may raise health concerns, yet faith often trumps our modern obsession with hygiene.”
Christopher Howse writes for The Telegraph about Two days before the royal wedding.
Mark Vernon writes for The Guardian about Uncertainty’s promise. “Whether with science or religion, only by embracing doubt can we learn and grow.”
Jane Williams continues her Comment is free belief series: The Book of Genesis, part 7: The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “Genesis raises some thorny questions about God’s morality, but to view them entirely through our own lens is disrespectful.”
Giles Fraser’s column in this week’s Church Times is Woods: it’s all about the scale.
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian that American Anglicans made me change my mind on church. “Disillusioned with the C of E’s ambivalent attitude to liberalism, the US Episcopal church was like a breath of fresh air.”
Christopher Howse asks in The Telegraph: What’s that thing round your neck? He “was surprised by religious medals being called ‘charms’.”
In last week’s opinion article I linked to a lecture about Islamophobia by Baroness Warsi, and some responses to it. This week The Question at Comment is free belief follows this up with Is hatred of Islam now respectable? with replies from Nesrine Malik, Tehmina Kazi and Jenny Taylor.
Jane Williams continues her Comment is free belief series: The Book of Genesis, part 6: Patriarchs and others. “What is to be made, theologically, of the unabashedly male-dominated, hierarchical world of Genesis?”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Seeking out unity in the wilderness
Baroness Warsi delivered a lecture about Islamophobia on Thursday this week: University of Leicester Sir Sigmund Sternberg lecture. The Guardian has published these three responses to the lecture.
Giles Fraser: Islamophobia is the moral blind spot of modern Britain
Andrew Brown: Lady Warsi and the concept of extremism
Ghaffar Hussain: Lady Warsi is right to confront anti-Muslim prejudice
At the beginning of her lecture Lady Warsi refers to an earlier speech to the College of Bishops; we linked to that here.
Ralph McMichael writes for The Living Church about God’s Mission is the Eucharist.
Jane Williams continues her Comment is free belief series: The Book of Genesis, part 5: Genesis and the imagination. “In Genesis’s surface narrative of reality, it is important to remember that God is a player in this drama, too.”
Also at Comment is free belief in The Guardian this week are:
Theo Hobson: Putting the fun in US fundamentalism. “The rise of Christian theme parks in America should be seen in a positive light – it encourages a lighter-hearted view of religion.”
Holly Welker: Why people abandon religion. “Tension between religious dictates and personal wants is forcing people to follow their desires – and reject religion’s decrees.”
Richard Phelps: The new vocal, visible religiosity. “Olivier Roy’s book presents globalisation and secularisation as contributing to the divorce of religion from culture.”
Mark Vernon: Death and loss belong to us all. “A vicar who removed silk flowers from a child’s grave was right to do so – graveyards and mourning are part of the public sphere.”
Savitri Hensman: The best path to peace. “Are there fatal flaws in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s approach to reconciliation?”
Mark Meynell writes on his quaerentia blog about The King James and the possibility of upward desecration.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Why life can begin at 46.
Deirdre Good (from the USA) reports on Christmas in the UK for the Daily Episcopalian.
Jane Williams continues her Comment is free belief series: The Book of Genesis, part 4: The problem and the answer. “Genesis is powerful polemic that allows readers to be realistic about the world’s tragic state, and yet live in hope and courage.”
Guy Consolmagno SJ writes for Thinking Faith about Looking for the Star, or Coming to Adore?
AN Wilson writes for Comment is free belief about Tennyson’s In Memoriam: a farewell to religious certainty. “The lyrics teach that the false certainties of evangelical Christianity are as arid as shrill, negative materialism.”
Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times about When fun becomes cruelty.
Christopher Howse writes for The Telegraph about Peculiar people in Southwell.
Some archbishops have published their Christmas sermons.
Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Wales
Archbishop of Dublin
Simon Barrow of Ekklesia has this response to the Canterbury sermon: Rowan and the rollicking rich.
Simon Barrow also writes about Christmas and the rebirth of ‘peasant Christianity’.
Jane Williams continues her series for Comment is free belief with The Book of Genesis, part 3: Creation – and afterwards “A dissonant note crept into God’s creation once man and woman arrived to put their mark on the world.”
This is what the Church Times had to say 100 years ago about the King James Version: The Bible tercentenary.
Adam S McHugh asks in The Washington Post: Are happy churchgoers good news?
Christopher Howse writes for The Telegraph about Trollope and the three policemen. “Anthony Trollope got into hot water when he crossed a real, live dean.”
Jessica Martin writes a Face to faith article for the Guardian: It speaks of the majesty of God that he dwells on earth with humanity in intimacy.
Jane Williams continues her series for Comment is free belief with The Book of Genesis, part 2: In the beginning. “The history of how Genesis was created and passed down through the ages reminds us that we have the book for a reason.”
Kathleen Staudt writes for Episcopal Café about The poetry of Handel’s Messiah.
Giles Fraser writes for Comment is free belief about A fetish for the Bible. “The King James version has been manipulated for 400 years. Save it from the text obsessives.”
He also writes for the Church Times about Finding the numinous in music.
Mr CatOLick writes about that detail demands that you and I do not hate.
Peter Mullen writes for The Telegraph about Christmas at church: Grab a pew – if you can find one.
John Wilson in The Wall Street Journal asks Do Christians Overemphasize Christmas?. “Some theologians claim that Easter is more important. That’s wrong. When we celebrate one, we celebrate the other.”
Jane Williams starts a new series for Comment is free belief with The Book of Genesis, part 1: God created. “Genesis looks at what the culture around it believes about the nature of the material world, and disagrees with it profoundly.”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Defending the faith from its cheerleaders.
James Jones writes for Living Lightly: The Bishop Reflects at Christmas.
Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph about An African church in Hampshire. “The leading church architect of the 20th century found inspiration in North Africa,” he says.
Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite writes for The Washington Post about The difference between Jesus and Santa Claus.
Esther Addley writes for The Guardian: Faithful or not, all can rejoice in carols: hymns drenched in our folk memory. “It’s entirely right that Christmas carols rouse non-believers’ spirits too, given the original, and radical, meaning of many.”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Revelations can bring redemption.
And at Comment is free belief he writes about The cringe at the heart of Christmas. “The idea of God as a little baby is one of the most disruptive theological suggestions ever made.”
Mark Driscoll writes for The Washington Post about What we tell our kids about Santa.
Bishop Andrew Burnham gave this homily at St John the Evangelist, New Hinksey, Oxford, at a Solemn Mass of St Andrew on Saturday 27 November 2010: Bishop Andrew Burnham’s Final Sermon as Bishop of Ebbsfleet.
Damian Thompson reprinted the sermon in The Telegraph: Anglican bishop lays his mitre and crozier at the feet of Our Lady as he leaves for Rome.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Colin Slee, fighter, RIP.
Christopher Howse in The Telegraph writes that There’s no shame in not wearing a cross. “Christianity’s trappings require no special pleading,” he suggests.
He also writes about A hatred of Turks, Jews and papists. “Luther thought he had a sound reason for his strong antipathies.”
Adam Thomas writes for the Daily Episcopalian about The pews in the north transept: a remembrance.
David Bryant writes in The Guardian about The loose ends of justice. “Meeting a murderer and rapist on a prison visit reinforced my need to believe in life after death.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury recently participated in a public discussion with Terry Eagleton on the topic Responses to the new Atheism at Great St Mary’s, Cambridge’s university church. You can download an audio file of the conversation from the Archbishop’s website.
Andrew Brown responded to the discussion at Comment is free with Rowan and Eagleton on atheism and Rowan, selfish genes, and atheism.
There are a number of articles about the Kings James (Authorised) Version of the Bible.
Christopher Howse at The Telegraph “gets Bible fever as we mark 400 years of the Authorised Version”: The global phenomenon that will never be lost in translation.
Michael White of The Guardian writes about Church and sex: what King James and his famous Bible have to teach us.
The Guardian has an editorial: In praise of … the Authorised Version.
Rosie Harper writes for The Guardian about Hogwarts for Anglicans and asks “As a new synod member, will I be able to reconcile the dark arts of church politics and the transparency of the gospel?”
Giles Fraser’s column in this week’s Church Times is Being proud of church buildings.
Cole Moreton argues in The Guardian that The Church of England must relinquish its association with power and pomp. “Anglicans must accept they no longer deserve royal privileges but are just another group of believers.”
Christopher Howse writes in The Telegraph: In the eye of the Venetian storm. “Going to church in a tourist trap exposes the heart of prayer.”
Lord Blair of Boughton, the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and a practising Anglican, delivered the 2010 Theos Annual Lecture this week: The image of religion must change. Andrew Brown had this comment at The Guardian: Faith and policing.
A writer in the Irish Times says that the Simple message of Jesus has been complicated and twisted.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Misery is not a spectacle.
The Archbishop of Canterbury delivered the Annual Isaiah Berlin Lecture this week, with the title Faith and Enlightenment: Friends or Foes?
Bishop Paul Butler writes about Sanitising the Bible for Children; he’s not in favour.
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about The tomb of Jesus in central London.
Nick Baines writes about The real news.
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Despite the conservatives, churchgoers are inspired by Gene Robinson. “Though the gay bishop is retiring early, some day the Anglican church hierarchy will see homophobia as an evil.”
Jeremy Fletcher asks Is the Church of England a Coffee Chain?
William Oddie writes in the Catholic Herald that The Ordinariate will help reconnect the English Church to its medieval roots. “The Catholic Church in England has lost a precious tradition: of ministering to everyone living within the parish boundary.”
This week’s Church Times article by Giles Fraser is A perfect harmony may jar.
And finally, in The Guardian: From the archive, 9 November 1960: An armchair lesson in sermonship.
Updated Saturday afternoon
Richard E Helmer writes at the Episcopal Café about The vow of poverty: Reflecting on the witness of Francis.
Benjamin Guyer writes at The Living Church about Law, Liturgy, Wisdom.
Margaret Hebblethwaite writes in The Guardian about Christianity for a television age. “Can you have a christianity that has no symbols of sanctity, and no knowledge of history? That is how evangelical churches seem.”
Pierre Whalon writes about All Souls … especially your own …
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian about Britain’s illiberal attitude to the church has driven me away. “The Anglican church’s version of Christianity is full of charming but deadly imperial ghosts. It needs an almighty exorcism.”
Bishop Alan Wilson writes about Change, Decay and Renewal and says he is “rather glad the Church isn’t the same as the one into which I was ordained 31 years ago”.
And finally here is a report on the 2010 International Anglican Bloggers Summit Meeting.
Summer Time (daylight saving time) ends in the UK tomorrow.
Jeremy Fletcher is Giving up Football.
Huw Thomas writes in the Church Times Suffer little children — don’t fob them off. “Something is wrong when children are given distractions to occupy them in church rather than being involved.” [now available to non-subscribers]
Riazat Butt writes in The Guardian that Team Rowan goes off-message. “George Pitcher isn’t like previous members of the archbishop of Canterbury’s staff. Is Lambeth fully prepared?”
Toby Cohen writes at the Church of England Newspaper that In the beginning were the blogs.
Suem asks on her Significant Truths blog How Anglican is the Anglican Covenant?
Savi Hensman writes this essay for Ekklesia: Thinking theologically: Bible, tradition, reason and experience.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Humanism fails to face the horror.
And finally Meanwhile back on planet earth…
Susan Elkin writes in The Independent Restoring holy order: Is the King James Bible the only version we should celebrate? “It is a cornerstone of Western literature and culture. But as the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible approaches, the authors of two new studies argue that its significance may have been overstated.”
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about the Charterhouse in central London: Sacred mysteries: London’s hidden medieval priory.
Andrew Brown asks in The Guardian Do human rights exist?
Alan Wilson writes in his blog about Why new media matter in Church.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about The three options for diversity.
Nicholas Reade (the Bishop of Blackburn) writes in The Guardian that Our most vulnerable have been ‘handicapped’ by this spending review. “If the level of civilisation of our society is judged by its treatment of disabled people, we don’t seem to have got very far.”
Alex Wright writes in The Guardian about Holy faces from the past. “Early frescoes in a Norfolk village remind us of our medieval churches’ more lively past.”
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about What the Pope’s visit changed a month on from Pope Benedict’s welcome to Britain.
Alan Wilson continues his BCP series in The Guardian with The Book of Common Prayer, part 8: Liturgy and society. “The BCP is defined far more by liturgical statements than dogmatic formularies, offering a distinctive concept of uniformity.”
Christopher Howse asks in the Telegraph Who’d be seen dead in an ill-dressed grave? and “rues the coming of new funerary rites that find a place for teddy bears”.
Stephen Tomkins and Nicholas Taylor write in The Guardian about Halloween: saints vs devils. “Catholic bishops think dressing up as saints, rather than devils, is a holier way to mark Halloween. What are the pros and cons?”
Sue Blackmore has been to a baptism and writes about it in The Guardian: Fighting talk in church. “At a family baptism I was appalled when the congregation was called to combat aggressive atheists – I don’t want to fight.”
Bernard Leikind writes in The Guardian that Job suffered alone – and so must we. “Many believe a caring, personal God has their welfare in mind, but the Book of Job provides little to support this view.”
Rowan Williams preached this sermon The purpose of fasting at a service of thanksgiving to mark the Global Day of Prayer for the millennium development goals at St Paul’s Cathedral in Kolkata. “Fasting is about more than going without food – it is connecting with reality and noticing the suffering of your neighbour.”
This is also available on the Archbishop’s website: Archbishop’s MDG sermon at Kolkota Cathedral.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Christianity is like being rescued.
John P Richardson (The Ugley Vicar) asks Why has Reform failed?
Giles Fraser writes in the Telegraph that Blessed are the children - as long as they keep it down. “The young often make a racket in church, but that’s no reason to kick them out”, he argues.
Vanessa Thorpe in The Observer profiles Karen Armstrong: The compassionate face of religion. “The former nun’s writing and theories about God and belief upset some, but she numbers the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu among her fans.”
Alan Wilson continues his series in The Guardian: The Book of Common Prayer, part 7: The joy of being a miserable sinner. “The gloomy prayers of the BCP are simply a communal stare over the precipice into an abyss, but from a place of grace.”
Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian about John Henry Newman’s last act of friendship. “Why the beatified cardinal wanted to be buried with Ambrose St John is disputed, but for me this was an act of ‘sworn brothers’.”
Graham Tomlin writes in the Church of England Newspaper about The End of the Pew? (He is in favour of getting rid of them.)
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Looking at the fearful, insular US.
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Gauguin’s day to wrestle with God. “The most surprising thing about Gauguin is his interest in religion.”
This week’s instalment in Alan Wilson’s Guardian series on the BCP is The Book of Common Prayer, part 6: Fencing the table. “The BCP’s approach to eucharistic access was informed by seeing holy communion as the supreme instrument of inclusion.”
Susan McCarthy writes in The Guardian about Noah’s raven: whose flight of fancy? “The ‘tracks’ of Noah’s raven found in 1802 smack of slipshod Biblical literalism, but the slapdash historical research is worse.”
Andrew Brown asks in The Guardian What does prayer achieve? “If praying for someone else does them no good, what is the point of all those words and all that longing?”
Philip Goff writes in The Guardian that Stephen Hawking has not yet disproved God’s role in creation. “The existence of the universe cannot be explained by science alone.”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times Sandwiched between gluttony and vanity.
Christopher Howse has been to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and writes about his visit in the Telegraph: Sacred Mysteries: An appointment with an angel at Hagia Sophia.
Nick Baines writes about the local structures of the Church in Keeping our eye on the ball.
Alan Wilson continues his BCP series in The Guardian with The Book of Common Prayer, part 5: The importance of evensong. “Evensong provides a peg on which to hang deeply personal reflections, most of them nothing to do with Christian doctrine.”
Chris Elliott, the readers’ editor of The Guardian, writes about his paper’s coverage of the pope’s visit and religion in general.
Julian Armitstead writes in The Guardian about Cardinal Newman: Oxford’s soon-sainted son. “The former CoE clergyman’s beatification can be cheered by local Anglicans too – he left a legacy to be proud of.”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Observer’s book of beauty.
Tomorrow is Back to Church Sunday. Paul Handley marks the occasion with this article in The Guardian: Putting the pull into pulpit. “Do not underestimate the power of a good priest in getting people back to church.”
Doug Chaplin asks on his Clayboy blog: Can you help me with this strange G-d orthography?
Alan Wilson continues his series on the BCP in The Guardian with The Book of Common Prayer, part 4: In the midst of life. “The robust and unsentimental realism of the BCP funeral service is better than modern sanitised sentimentality.”
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times Ground the debate in worship.
Roderick Strange writes in The Tablet about Newman’s diffident holiness.
Stephen Bates writes in The Guardian about John Henry Newman: An unlikely candidate for sainthood? “Victorian academic who will be beatified by Benedict this Sunday was a troubled and conflicted character.”
Also in The Guardian Eamon Duffy writes that Newman offers church a candle in the dark. “Everything about modern Anglicanism bears the marks of Cardinal Newman’s teaching.”
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian: Pope’s visit: Moral absolutes and crumbling empires. “Rebellion against the pope was the foundational act of English power yet now the pope stands in Westminster Hall.”
William Rees-Mogg writes for the Mail Online about Cardinal John Newman, a hero who restored our faith in truth.
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Cardinal Newman: The Victorian celebrity intellectual who brought Benedict to Britain.
The New Statesman has profiled Christianity’s top 11 most controversial figures.
Alan Wilson continues his series in The Guardian with The Book of Common Prayer, part 3: An excellent mystery of coupling. “With the Book of Common Prayer, marriage takes its place at the heart of domestic and civil society.”
Robin G Jordan at Anglicans Ablaze asks How really Anglican is the ACNA?
Christopher Howse asks in the Telegraph What’s the point of St Sebastian?
Madeleine Bunting writes in The Guardian that The Catholic church is in crisis, but it is still able to influence and inspire. “The pope’s visit to Britain will prompt some noisy protests, but despite that opposition he deserves to be heard.”
Rupert Shortt writes in The Tablet So far and yet so near, a comparison of Pope Benedict and Archbishop Rowan Williams. [Shortt has written biographies of both men.]
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Repentance is like going home.
Karen McIntyre writes in The Guardian about Retreating towards God and asks “What happens if you take a weekend off every month to go on a Christian retreat?” She blogs about her weekend retreats and other things here.
Stephen Hough writes in the Telegraph about Some assumptions about the Assumption.
Sophia Deboick writes in The Guardian that The pope’s heaven isn’t a place on earth (or anywhere else). “Benedict has rejected the rich Catholic tradition of interpreting heaven in terms of the most intense human experiences.”
In The Guardian Alan Wilson starts a new series of articles about The Book of Common Prayer with The Book Of Common Prayer, part 1: An English ragbag. “The Book of Common Prayer has shaped English spirituality for nearly 450 years. What are its enduring qualities?”
Graham Wayne, in The Guardian’s Environment Blog, asks Why would a solar physicist embrace the non-rationality of religion? “John Cook, who runs skepticalscience.com, says his faith drives him. But what does religion give him that science doesn’t?”
BRIN (British Religion in Numbers) analyses religious affiliation and voting in the 2010 UK general election: Religious Affiliation and Political Attitudes: Findings from the British Election Study 2009/10.
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Sherlock Holmes in old churches. “A sharp eye for details is essential to discover clues from the past.”
This week’s The Question in The Guardian is What is the point of Christian arts? “Is there anything distinctive about religious art, or could we shuck off the Christianity and keep the beauty?” Responses come from Harriet Baber, Roz Kaveney and Maggi Dawn.
Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian about William Blake’s picture of God. “The muscular old man with compasses often taken to be Blake’s God is actually meant to be everything God is not.”
Karen Burke writes in The Guardian about Tweeting God. “What happens when a Methodist minister tries to perform a service of peace and unity over his Twitter feed?”
Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times about Egotistical malaise at the heart of the City.
Catherine Pepinster writes in The Guardian about Justice, tempered by mercy. “Compassion should not be reserved only for those we judge to be deserving.”
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Bertrand Russell versus faith in God. “Which comes first, faith or philosophical proof?”
And David Pollock writes in The Guardian about The onward march of secularism.
In an interview for the Catholic Herald John Hall, the dean of Westminster Abbey, tells Huw Twiston Davies that he is looking forward to welcoming Benedict XVI: ‘It is good that the Pope is coming’.
Timothy Larsen writes at Inside Higher Ed (of Washington DC) about No Christianity Please, We’re Academics.
Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times about Make giving seem more normal.
Sophia Deboick argues in The Guardian that Theology is a crucial academic subject.
In his column Wren’s tall tower in Twickenham in the Telegraph Christopher Howse writes that “More city churches were demolished in peacetime than were bombed by the Luftwaffe.”
This week’s The Question in The Guardian is Can you keep Christ and give up being a Christian? with responses from John Richardson, Rebecca Jenkins, Theo Hobson and Shirley Lancaster.
Christopher Howse “loves nothing better than a really terrible bit of verse in church.” He writes about it in the Telegraph: An embarrassing poem for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding
Giles Fraser spoke about the cost of weddings on Wednesday’s Thought for the Day on BBC Radio4. You can read what he said here, or listen to a podcast here. The broadcast prompted this piece from Andrew Brown in The Guardian: What’s wrong with weddings. And Giles also appeared at MailOnline with: I despair of so many weddings - they’re more about ego than love.
Giles Fraser’s Church Times column this week is titled Why Mary Magdalene is a true apostle.
John Milbank gave an interview to Asia News about the impending papal visit to Britain, see Anglican Theologian: Pope’s visit “crucial” for relations between two Churches.
Colin Coward wrote about the launch party this week for James Alison’s new book, Broken Hearts and New Creation – James Alison’s latest book launched at CA London and Southwark meeting.
Rowena Loverance has written the Face to Faith column in the Guardian: Images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An exhibition at Friends House offers a chilling insight into the suffering wreaked by the A-bombs, 65 years on.
Stephen Tomkins wrote at Cif belief that William Wilberforce was complicit in slavery. Wilberforce and his supporters permitted slave labour in Sierra Leone. But is it a fatal blow to his reputation?
Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on Sunday 25 July 2010, the feast of St James. The Guardian has published the text of her sermon: The search for dignity. ‘We must challenge the human tendency to insist that dignity doesn’t apply to the poor, or to immigrants, or to women, or Muslims, or gay and lesbian people.’
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Excess is reassuring as well as attractive.
Ekklesia has two items on religion and the media. Simon Barrow writes about The changing landscape of religion and the media.
And there is a paper by Lizzie Clifford: ‘Thought for the Day’: Beyond the god-of-the-slots. The abstract of this report is copied below the fold.
David Chillingworth is Stumped on his Thinking Aloud blog.
And if you have an answer to his “What should I say to the Pope?” question you might want to develop it into an entry for Andrew Brown’s Pope T-shirt competition at The Guardian.
Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian about Afghanistan’s unjust war. ‘We must apply the just war tradition to our analysis of the conflict in Afghanistan. Otherwise, we risk disaster.’
‘Thought for the Day’: Beyond the god-of-the-slots
by Lizzie Clifford
In this groundbreaking new report on the long-running and (of late) controversial BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day feature, researcher Lizzie Clifford moves forward the debate about whether the prime-time ‘God slot’ should be preserved, reformed or abolished by carrying out a careful examination of the actual broadcast scripts themselves – with surprising results. Many of the claims made by both stout defenders and vigorous opponents of the current Thought for the Day format – which excludes non-religious and minority religious voices – prove questionable. What some regard as the feature’s weakness, its attenuated theological content, can in other respects assist with bridge-building and conversation between people of different belief commitments. On the other hand, the restriction of presenters to those who represent groups with a long-established liturgical and doctrinal base seems unnecessary, given that the actual content of their scripts does not always make such a requirement. Humanists and those from ‘alternative’ religious backgrounds also deserve to be heard. It is not enough for Thought for the Day to survive simply as a bastion of ‘religious’ speech, argues this report. TftD can be valuable, so long as it manages to offer a new angle on the stories making the news, triggering fresh ways of thinking, and by utilising high-quality writers and broadcasters, capable of contributing an arresting script that genuinely prompts reflection. Overall, if TftD is going to survive as prime-time broadcasting, and make a genuinely valuable contribution, it must not compromise its potential to challenge the status quo and to strive for peace and humility in the face of tensions over difference. Equally, dispute over Thought for the Day is a significant one, the report suggests, because it is symptomatic of wider questions surrounding the more general place of religious broadcasting and of religious speech in an increasingly plural society.
Tomorrow (Sunday) is the festival of James the apostle.
Sophia Deboick writes a Face to faith column in The Guardian about The enigma of Saint James. The identity of Saint James has been reinvented many times over two millennia, from Moor-slayer to Spaniard-killer to pilgrim.
The archbishop of Canterbury preached, in both Welsh and English, at an ecumenical service, held at Westminster Cathedral, to mark the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Roberts. What’s the martyr’s message to our society?
Jonathan Derbyshire profiles the archbishop in the New Statesman The NS Profile: Rowan Williams.
Theo Hobson explains in The Guardian Why I won’t pay for St Paul’s. It isn’t just meanness that makes me resent having to pay an entrance fee to visit places of worship like St Paul’s Cathedral.
Adrian Pabst writes in The Guardian that The ‘big society’ needs religion. The ‘big society’ will not work unless it is informed by religious ideas of free and reciprocal giving.
Giles Fraser also writes about the big society in his Church Times column: Why the Big Society is a good thing.
And the Church Times has this leader: Big question mark.
Writing in his blog, Nick Baines has Big questions about the ‘Big Society’.
Colin Slee writes in The Guardian about Desmond Tutu, prayerful priest.
Daniel Schultz at Religion Dispatches asks Will Gender and Sexuality Rend The Anglican Communion?
Does Hywel Williams have the answer to one of the Church of England’s problems? He writes in The Guardian: Ditch the bossy-boot bishops. Rather than debating if women are eligible, the church should scrap the absurd post of bishop.
The archbishop of Canterbury spoke on the precious gift of Martyrs on BBC Radio 4.
Gerald Warner writes in the Telegraph about Why it is a mistaken policy for Rome to offer Anglicans converting en bloc a church within the Church.
Janet Street-Porter writes in The Independent that The C of E will die if it shuts out gays and women.
Ruth Wishart in HeraldScotland Why won’t men in frocks let women wear the trousers?
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Religious pilgrimages: The hard slog that refreshes the soul.
This week’s The Question at Comment is free belief is Can science explain everything? Here are the responses.
Monday: Sue Blackmore Science explains, not describes. The experience of consciousness seems incommunicable and ineffable. Yet science can hope to explain how it arises.
Wednesday: Mark Vernon Chaos theory and divine action. Physicist John Polkinghorne is often accused of offering up a God-of-the-gaps argument. But his work has subtler shades.
Thursday: Adam Rutherford Ever-increasing circles. The domain of knowledge amenable to science has only ever changed in one direction: at the expense of all others.
Friday: Keith Ward The parts science cannot reach. We need to distinguish in detail all the different sorts of explaining we do in life. No one key opens every lock.
Dave Walker has this view of the Synod at his Church Times blog.
The Seminal has this Saturday Art article: William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury by Hans Holbein the Younger.
Emma John asks in The Guardian Should women ever be bishops? It’s an issue which could result in schism and put the future of the church in jeopardy. Four women who would be in line for the top job, reveal why it’s time for Christians to put their differences behind them.
Ellen Painter Dollar writes on the her.meneutics blog: Confessions of a Church-Skipping Mom. Is it better to attend church burnt out and stressed, or occasionally stay home but miss corporate worship?
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian about A new model Christianity. The “emerging church” movement may offer something more than new manners and styles if it breaks free of establishment.
Albert Radcliffe argues in The Guardian that The Bible is an open book. The Bible does not end moral debates on gay rights and the role of women. Its pronouncements are there to open discussion.
Jack Valero writes in The Guardian about The sad demise of celibate love. It is symptomatic of modern values that we conclude Cardinal Newman’s intense love for a man meant he was a homosexual.
Philip Ritchie writes on his blog about Gossip: cancer of the community.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Turkish scars need healing
Graham Kings asks at Fulcrum Should Christians share Christ with People of other Faiths?
Roz Kaveney in The Guardian asks What are demons, really? Christians and Satanists are both divided about the reality of demons. But even liberal believers can be led to silliness by their beliefs.
And John Casey writes in The Tablet about Talk of the Devil: Satan in Catholic theology.
Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian about The eroticism of the Church of England. The BBC’s new sitcom, Rev, is a surprisingly realistic picture about the sexual undercurrents of normal Christianity.
Alex Klaushofer writes in The Guardian about New wine in old church buildings. All over the country small churches are growing while the large buildings that once housed them decay.
And Ian Jack writes, also in The Guardian, about Saving churches for their history - not religion. These buildings are an important part of our landscape – even if they are not used for worship.
Symon Hill writes in The Guardian about Queer, Christian and proud. Ultra-conservative anti-gay Christians are a just a noisy minority. That’s why this coming Pride, the rest of us should raise the roof.
Peter Stanford has this Face to faith article in The Guardian: Christianity, arrogance and ignorance. After decades of discussion on world faiths, how could I know so little of their core beliefs?
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about The football babies come home.
Jay Michaelson asks in Religion Dispatches Does the Bible Really Call Homosexuality an “Abomination”? This word, used for centuries to justify an anti-gay posture, has been badly translated and even more poorly understood.
This week’s The Question at The Guardian’s Comment is free belief is Should religions compete? Would the world be a better place if religions concerned themselves only with the crimes and follies of their own?
Here are the responses.
Monday: Alan Race Conversation demands mutual respect. Without trust we cannot talk about God, but to build trust we must avoid trying to convert or lecture people
Thursday Maggi Dawn Religions should not compete for power. The call for peace at the heart of most religions contrasts with the way they behave as competing communities.
Friday Mehdi Hasan
Islam should not be missionary. Muslims must shun the divisive idea of a marketplace of religions which all compete for believers.
The Times has now hidden itself behind its paywall.
Jenny Taylor in The Guardian Not a question of conversion. A new C of E report is described as a call not to be embarrassed about ‘conversion’. But ‘conversion’ can’t be any Christian’s aim.
Andrew Brown in his Guardian blog A kumquat hoisted from comments. The Christian churches have moved slowly and partially away from patriarchy in the last fifty years. But every step has been contested.
John Richardson in The Guardian These compromised bishops will not fly. A conservative evangelical condemns the Archbishops’ measures to make room for opponents of women priests.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Faith in the future is also irrational.
Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times about The faith that has been handed on to us by the apostles. (registration required)
Karen Burke writes in The Guardian about the Church and media conference 2010. Is religion sidelined by the media? Broadcasters, church folk and humanists gathered last week to thrash things out.
Patrick Strudwick writes in The Guardian about Selective gay rights from the coalition. Allowing civil partnerships in places of worship, and a few other measures, can’t make up for a dubious record on gay rights.
The Archbishop of Canterbury preached at a special evensong service at St Paul’s Cathedral in celebration of the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary. A video and transcript of the sermon are available on the Archbishop’s website.
Giles Fraser argues in the Church Times that Enlightened thinking still raises queries.
Mark Speeks writes in The Tablet about Perils of the deep: Pensions and the BP catastrophe.
Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times about Searching the faces of those who bring light to others.
This week’s The Question at The Guardian’s Comment is free belief is Do prisons need religion? Can the moral and material structure that religion provides improve prison life?
Here are the responses.
Monday: Erwin James A civilising influence in prisons. If religion can provide a measure of peace in a troubled environment or a troubled heart then it has to be a good thing.
Wednesday: Francis Davis Religion can make life inside bearable. As a support system – and even, yes, as a way to make life more comfortable – religion is an essential part of prison life.
Thursday: Danny Afzal A Muslim prisoner’s story. When I first went to jail, I gave up God for sausages and bacon butties. But in the end, it was religion that helped me survive.
Friday: Naomi Phillips Faith is not the answer. Religion should be accommodated as far as is reasonable. But prison must remain a secular space.
The Archbishop of Canterbury preached at a Service for the New UK Parliament at St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey: Sermon for the New Parliament.
George Pitcher in the Telegraph has this comment on the archbishop’s sermon: Rowan Williams challenges George Osborne to be more than a little Caesar – I hope he’s up to it.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times: Redeemed from the dark corner.
Also in the Church Times Penelope Fleming-Fido argues that Paganism is not a distant or very different religion.
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian about How religious liberty works. Complaints of persecution by the semi-fascist secular state must be rejected as historically ignorant (or dishonest) alarmism.
Peter Singer writes in The Guardian about Religion’s regressive hold on animal rights issues. How are we to promote the need for improved animal welfare when battling religious views formed centuries ago?
Mary Midgley writes in The Guradian about The abuses of science. Is the evolutionary argument against God’s existence any stronger than Isaac Newton’s in favour?
Roderick Strange has a Credo column in the Times: The call may not be welcome but it cannot be resisted. If our instinct is to shun failure, who would want to be associated with Catholic priesthood?
This week’s The Question at The Guardian’s Comment is free belief is Who’s your favourite heretic? Of those cast out by the mainstream religions, whose thinking are you most intrigued by?
And here are the responses.
Monday: Tina Beattie Porete: a forgotten female voice. Marguerite Porete was a pious French mystic burned to death for her book, The Mirror of Simple Souls.
Tuesday: DD Guttenplan Einstein, heretical thinker. Unlike those we usually think of as heretics, Einstein set himself against the workings of the physical universe.
Thursday: Harriet Baber Origen, radical biblical scholar. Genesis is obviously metaphorical, according to Origen, for whom modern-day Christianity would be unrecognisable.
Friday: Stephen Tomkins Ebion, the fictional heretic. The Ebionites, said to follow a non-existent Ebion, remained closer to Jesus’s Jewishness than other Christians.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that This is a Matthew 25 moment.
Ephraim Radner writes for Fulcrum on Ten Years and a new Anglican Congregationalism.
Guy Dammann asks in The Guardian Celibacy: whose bright idea was that? Christianity’s greatest tragedy is turning a religion founded on a genuine philosophy of love into an excuse for repression.
Sara Maitland writes in The Guardian about A very un-Anglican affair. The Walsingham pilgrimage refreshes the parts that other Anglican practices do not reach.
Peter Townley writes a Credo column in the Times: The Exile is an inspiration that can renew the Church. Will the Church of England survive? We do not know and in a way it is not important.
Christopher Howse writes a Sacred Mysteries column in the Telegraph: Under the spire of Grantham. It’s a joy to learn the language of medieval tracery.
This week’s The Question in The Guardian’s Comment is free belief is What’s wrong with missionaries? Is there a distinction between religious missionaries and people who work to spread human rights on secular grounds?
Here are the responses.
Monday: David Griffiths The free exchange of ideas. If it is done respectfully, the spreading of ideas, values and faith is good and creative
Wednesday: Ophelia Benson The limits of free preach. There is a difference between spreading beliefs and values, and forcing them on people.
Friday: Joel Edwards Missionaries are a force for good. Far from being latter-day colonialists, many missionaries today come from the global south and aren’t obsessed with conversion.
Saturday: Barbara O’Brien A self-defeating zeal. In the words of Ashoka, whoever praises his own religion and condemns others only harms his cause.
Kelvin Holdsworth, the provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, preached this Sermon for Affirmation Scotland at Pentecost.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times Consider the bees, not the wasps.
Ian Bradley writes in a Face to faith column in The Guardian that Liberals must stand together. Liberals across all faiths should create a coalition to turn the fundamentalist tide.
Francisco J. Ayala writes in The Guardian that Religion has nothing to do with science – and vice versa
Maggi Dawn writes about the acceptance of gay clergy in the inside view.
This week’s The Question at The Guardian’s Comment is free Belief is What is theology? Is it all just pointless talk about a non-existent being?
Here are the responses.
Monday: Tina Beattie A bulwark against ignorance. To do theology well is to empower people to resist religion’s co-option by the powers of fanaticism and violence.
Tuesday: Terry Sanderson Theology – truly a naked emperor. In the words of Robert A Heinlein, ‘Theology … is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn’t there.’
Thursday: Nick Spencer Theology illuminates reality. Theology would be worth studying even if God did not exist for then it would tell us about our deepest selves.
Friday: Michael McGhee A critical eye on theology. Whatever else they do, the scriptures, like any other literature, reveal the unconscious ambivalences of their writers.
Terry Sanderson’s article above has prompted this from Andrew Brown: Making sense of Rowan Williams. Theology isn’t trying to produce scientific knowledge. We can all agree on that. But what other sorts of knowledge are there?
Theo Hobson in The Guardian writes about A new recipe for Christianity. Pete Rollins, frustrated with institutional Christianity, has used poetry, song and performance art to rethink religion.
Andrew Brown in The Guardian asks Is Henry VIII in hell? Rowan Williams wonders whether Henry VIII is in hell now, and talks about the Christian reaction to the triumphs of tyranny.
Christopher Howse asks a similar question in the Telegraph: Has Rowan Williams damned Henry VIII to hell? King Henry VIII might be in hell, the Archbishop of Canterbury suggested the other day in a sermon.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church times about Teasing out the morality of coalition.
Diarmaid MacCulloch writes in The Guardian Vatican II: Benedict rewrites history. At a speech in Portugal Pope Benedict gave us a rare insight into his feelings about the second Vatican council.
Rebecca Paveley writes in the Times that The bishops won’t go quietly in the struggle over Lords’ reform. The campaign for a fully elected Upper House would mean an end to their presence. So is Parliament still accountable to God or have clergymen in politics become an anachronism?
This week’s The Question at The Guardian’s Comment is free Belief is Who can claim Newman? Cardinal Newman was the greatest English Catholic of the Victorian age. But whose side would he be on today?
Here are the responses.
Monday: Hugh O’Shaughnessy An example for reform. Newman said ‘To live is to change’. A timely reminder to those churchmen who love power and the status quo.
Tuesday: Luke Coppen Newman’s universal message. Gandhi’s love of Newman’s hymn ‘Lead, kindly Light’ proves that the cardinal is not just for Catholics.
Thursday: Martin Pendergast Newman’s democratic church. Newman’s legacy is an inclusive, diverse church, with a theology rooted in the practices of the community.
Friday: Francis Davis A distracting debate. Catholics often fight their present battles using scripts from the past. But this pretence is a waste of time.
John Cornwell in the Times explains Why Cardinal Newman is no saint. The Catholic Church plans to make Cardinal Newman a saint when the Pope comes to Britain. A private Vatican document supposedly proves he was responsible for a miracle of healing. It shows no such thing.
Roderick Strange, also in the Times, writes that John Henry Newman’s fidelity to his calling should inspire us all.
Earlier this month the Archbishop of Canterbury gave a sermon at an ecumenical service held at Charterhouse, London, to commemorate the 475th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of St John Houghton and his companions.
Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon to commemorate Carthusian Martyrs
This week he delivered a lecture entitled “Enriching the arguments: the refugee contribution to British life”.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times: Blowing on the embers of society.
Stephen Tomkins writes in The Guardian that Christian parties take a hammering. Christians in this country want real politicians, not the amateurs who lead the pitiful ‘Christian parties’.
Michael Nazir-Ali, also in The Guardian, writes that It’s not just the economy, stupid. Amid pressure to slash budgets, the new government must not leave the spiritual and moral agenda out of its plans.
updated Saturday lunchtime to add Colin Slee’s article
Colin Slee writes a Face to faith article for The Guardian: A haven from crisis. Disillusioned Catholics can find solace in a church that combines tradition and modernity.
This week’s question at The Guardian’s Comment is Free belief is Is intelligent design bad theology?
Here are the responses.
Steve Fuller Science in God’s image The greatest scientific advances presuppose something that looks very like the mind of God.
Michael Ruse Intelligent design is an oxymoron Intelligent Design theory is a mountain of waffle resting on analogy. Neither scientists nor believers should touch it.
Mark Vernon Bad science, bad theology, and blasphemy ID is indeed bad theology. It implies that God is one more thing along with all the other things in the universe.
Geoffrey Rowell writes in a Credo column for the Times about Encountering divine love in the desert and in Norwich. The mystic Julian of Norwich discovered the depth of God’s love during sixteen divine apparitions.
Also in the Times Ruth Gledhill writes about Church factions in theological battle for soul of Cardinal Newman.
Christopher Howse looks at the history of rented seats in the UK’s churches in a Sacred Mysteries column in the Telegraph: Renting the best seats in church.
Giles Fraser wrote this for the Church Times before Thursday’s general election: It’s time to prepare for lean years. But this is only available to subscribers. This might be a mistake so look again on Monday after the Church Times office opens.
Updated again Wednesday afternoon
May day opinion has links to several articles about this.
The Observer today has three articles on related topics:
First, on the front page, it has Rising Tory star Philippa Stroud ran prayer sessions to ‘cure’ gay people.
Then on page 7, there is Secret Christian donors bankroll Tories.
And on page 38, Henry Porter writes that A little bit of religious bigotry is tolerable in a healthy society.
Andrew Brown writes at Cif belief on Bigotry and homelessness
The New Frontiers church to which Philippa Stroud belongs and where her husband is a major star is the fruit standard of fruit loopiness among English evangelical Christians. It was at a New Frontiers church in Brighton that I once went to hear the New Zealand evangelist Bill Surbritzky, a man who believes that not merely homosexuality but smoking and swearing are caused by demonic infestation. But it is very successful and it is not in the least bit American…
Cif at the polls covered this further, see No anger over Philippa Stroud?
And Cif belief has Feedback on Philippa Stroud
The Twitter aspect was dealt with comprehensively by Benjamin Cohen for Channel 4 News.
Ekklesia has more background on her husband.
Meanwhile, Andrew Brown also wrote about the Citizens UK meeting, see Faith trumps party politics.
Updated Saturday afternoon to add another favourite poet
The Archbishop of Canterbury gave an address at the Christian Muslim Forum Conference of Scholars, held at Lambeth Palace. Dialogue is a means of ‘God-given discovery’
This week’s The Question in The Guardian’s Comment is free Belief is Who’s your favourite religious poet? If you had to take one religious poet to a desert island, who would it be? And here are the replies.
Maggie Dawn A whole live poet for my desert island. I don’t want the bound works of any religious poet: I would rather have a real one, unbound, who would perform for me.
Alexander Goldberg The power to bring you home. There’s a wealth of beautiful and comforting imagery in Jewish liturgical poetry. That’s what I’d want on my island.
Alan Wilson Australian poet, Les Murray. It’s a close call: Milton would provide food for thought, but Murray instinctively recognises the glory of God in the natural world.
Luke Coppen RS Thomas. The great Welsh poet-priest didn’t aim to soothe, but to unsettle, with an unflinching record of his inner life.
Peter Thompson Friedrich Hölderlin. Hölderlin’s poems display those little shards of light which remind us of who we are and what we might become.
There is a general election in the UK on 6 May.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written an article for the Church Times about the questions that, they say, should guide political choices. Read it here or here.
Sunny Hundal writes in the New Statesman about The right hand of God. Christian fundamentalists form a noisy wing of the Conservative Party, and their influence is growing fast.
Also in the New Statesman Sholto Byrnes asks Does it matter what our leaders believe?. The polite compromise between religion and state has served us well.
Nick Spencer in The Guardian writes that There is no Christian vote. Believers don’t form a single voting bloc in this country, but Christians are more likely to vote than “nones”.
Jonathan Bartley of Ekklesia describes Jesus’ alternative election strategy.
Christopher Howse in a Sacred Mysteries column in the Telegraph asks Is it always a sin to be cynical?
The Guardian has published two articles on what it means to believe in God.
Michael McGhee wrote about This tedious fixation on belief. What is it to believe in God? It may seem odd, but it’s not a matter of believing there is a God.
And in response Stephen Clark wrote about How to believe in God. Michael McGhee argued that there was no such thing as a belief in God. As a philosopher, I disagree.
Giles Fraser argues in the Church Times that There are limits to free speech.
This week’s The Question in The Guardian’s Comment is free Belief is What do we want from St George? What sense can we make of the figure and myth of St George?. And here are the replies.
Judith Maltby Saints: the world’s oldest buddy system. Saints are there to inspire and teach us. St George’s story stands as a rebuke to those that use him for ill.
Adam Rutherford Doctor Who slays St George. St George is all very well, but doesn’t have much to do with being English in the 21st century. I propose a new patron saint.
Nesrine Malik A saint for the desperate. In the Middle East, St George is regarded as a saint of asylum, a protector of the desperate.
Jonathan Bartley Reclaiming St George. The true story of St George – champion of the ignored – is one we need to rediscover.
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian about Theology natural and unnatural. Is there any possible defence for “Intelligent Design”? Is there any way for theists to abandon the idea?
Diarmaid MacCulloch writes in The Washington Post about Christian love and sex. How should the church respond to the reality that sex is for procreation and for pleasure?
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian about A confession of faith. We should be frank about the fact that Christianity commits us to some embarrassingly mythological language.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times On the value of what is pointless.
John Shepherd writes in this week’s Credo column in the Times that Trite music blocks our ears to the divine in the liturgy. Our worship enables us to enter another time and another dimension - a realm of experience beyond our ordinary human experience.
Now available to non-subscribers is Hugh Rayment-Pickard in the Church Times with Time the C of E stopped dodging. He argues that too many opt-outs have undermined the Church’s mission.
Alan Wilson writes in Bishop Alan’s Blog about How many people go to Church.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times: Beware the forces of Palinisation.
Mary-Jane Rubenstein at Killing the Buddha writes in Notes from the Tangled Anglican Web about “What the schism over sexuality has to do with the colonial legacy in Africa”.
Lisa Miller writes in Newsweek about A Traditionalist Who Shakes Tradition. Nobody seems to care that the new Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles is a lesbian. Don’t blame distraction by the Catholics.
Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred mysteries column in the Telegraph: Four seasons and a funeral. A remarkable film has been made about the nuns of the Carmelite monastery in Notting Hill, he says.
Steven Hepburn writes a Comment is free column in The Guardian: From Cif to the cloister. He says “In making my decision to become a monk, I’ve tried to answer the question many of you will now put: what good will it do?”
Roderick Strange has a Credo column in the Times: The idea of celibacy is still possible, it just takes maturity. Celibacy seems bewildering in our highly sexualised society. It becomes all too easy to explain abuse by blaming celibacy. But we need to be wary.
We have already reported the Archbishop of Canterbury’s participation in the BBC Radio 4 Start the Week programme last week.
The Archbishop has now published the following on his website, with links to audio files of the programme and a subsequent discussion on the BBC’s Feedback programme.
Monday 05 April 2010
In a special Easter edition of Start the Week recorded at Lambeth Palace, Andrew Marr discusses personal faith and institutional failure with Dr Rowan Williams.
The programme also discusses atheism and the Bible with novelist Philip Pullman, on the publication of his new work ‘The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ’; whether faith can or should enter economics with Islamic scholar Professor Mona Siddiqui and cultural identity and religious jokes with David Baddiel on the release of his new film The Infidel.
Play 100405 Easter Start The Week [28Mb]
A few days after Start the Week was broadcast, Feedback, the forum show for comments, queries and criticisms of BBC radio programmes and policy asked ‘Did Radio 4 misrepresent statements made by the Archbishop of Canterbury in its news bulletins over the weekend?’
Play 100409 BBC Feedback [12Mb]
Jonathan Bartley in The Guardian writes At cross purposes. Conflicting views of the meaning of the crucifixion have led to strikingly different patterns of behaviour among believers.
Proof of God comes in “resurrection moments” says the Archbishop of Wales in his Easter sermon.
Richard Harries in the Times writes Marginalised maybe, but we aren’t persecuted. Christians in Britain must learn to profess their faith without sounding superior to others.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that The Left is just too patronising.
Stephen Tomkins writes in The Guardian about The Christian tradition of politics. It’s hard to believe sometimes, but Christian feeling for politics isn’t all about sex, as the pioneers of the labour movement show.
Tony Bayfield writes in The Guardian about Religion’s role: separate but engaged. While religion must be separated from the state, it should have influence in politics.
Christopher Howse writes in a Sacred Mysteries column in the Telegraph about The serpent-sharp power of prudence. A believer has someone to ask for the strength to go through with a prudent act.
Kathy Galloway writes in a Credo column in the Times that Our true life consists in what we value, not in our wealth. There is the danger inherent in the worldly power that money brings with it; the power to get one’s own way, to seek to buy people as well as things.
In a five-minute video Guardian religious affairs correspondent Riazat Butt talks to director Michael Whyte about his film No Greater Love, a portrait of a Carmelite convent in west London.
Updated Monday afternoon
This morning BBC Radio 4 broadcast a special edition of Start the Week recorded at Lambeth Palace. This was trailed as follows.
In a special edition of Start the Week recorded at Lambeth Palace, Andrew Marr talks to the Archbishop of Canterbury about his role combining the history and structure of the church with personal belief. They are joined by Philip Pullman who was inspired by Dr Rowan Williams to write his new book The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ about religion, truth and interpretation; by Professor Mona Siddiqui who’ll be discussing her new role trying to marry religious values with economic growth and by author and comedian David Baddiel who’ll be talking about religious identity and his new film The Infidel, a comedy about a Muslim who realises he’s Jewish.
The programme is now available to listen to online; the main interview with the archbishop is between 1min 30sec and 8min 45sec from the beginning.
Update As well as the streaming audio linked above, there is a podcast available for download.
The Guardian has a leading article: Rowan Williams: Little cause for regrets. Archbishop has said out loud something that is completely straightforward and thereby provoked an enormous row.
There have been a number of news items in the last few days anticipating what the archbishop was going to say.
The BBC itself carried this report on Saturday Williams criticises Irish Catholic Church ‘credibility’ followed by Rowan Williams expresses ‘regret’ over church remarks and then on Sunday by Archbishop of Canterbury sorry over abuse comments.
David Batty in The Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury: Irish Catholic church has lost all credibility
Ruth Gledhill in the Times Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury, regrets Catholic attack
Ireland Archbishop stunned by Dr Rowan Williams’ criticism of Catholic Church
Archbishop on papal offer: ‘God bless them, I don’t’
We have already linked to the ecumenical Easter Letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Here are links to, and extracts from, some of the many other Easter messages.
Beginning with the example of the people of Haiti, who “need to practice saying Alleluia” this year so that they can celebrate Easter in the midst of grief and darkness, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori calls on Episcopalians to stretch their spiritual muscles in order to “insist on resurrection everywhere we turn” in her 2010 Easter message.
“Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen; Tell it with a joyful voice”
Having made our journey through Holy Week, commemorating the events of the Lord’s passion, death and burial we come now to Easter and the joy of His Glorious Resurrection.
Sunday by Sunday throughout the great festival of Easter, we take delight in hearing those stories of how the risen Lord appeared to so many — greeting and calling them by name, opening the scriptures and teaching them, breaking bread in their midst, bestowing his peace, breathing the Holy Spirit into their hearts and then sending them into all the world. Alongside these wonderful stories are accounts of the earliest Christian preaching recorded in The Acts of the Apostles.
A belief in death and resurrection of Jesus is a decision of the mind and the heart. It is a faith choice. You can believe the witnesses who say that something remarkable occurred in the resurrection of Jesus from death – a resurrection that has gone on recreating the world ever since by the triumph of divine life over death, divine love over hate, and divine light over darkness. Or you can believe that the witnesses were mistaken and that life and death, love and hate, light and darkness are evenly matched and that there is no ultimate power for good that is stronger than the grave.
In a message on Youtube for Easter 2010, Archbishop Philip Freier invites you to be inspired by the lives of Hugh Evans, founder of the Oaktree Foundation and the Global Poverty Project, and Jessie Taylor, refugee advocate and lawyer. Their compassion and pursuit of justice have come from a living faith in the risen Christ.
When the Roman Emperor Constantine won a decisive battle at the Milvian Bridge in the year 312, he had a vision. Constantine thought he saw in the sky the Greek letters Chi-Rho – the first letters of the word Christ – with the words in hoc signo vincit – ‘in this sign, conquer’. Constantine won, and took control of the Roman Empire, bringing to an end the persecution of Christianity, and establishing it as a religio licita – a permitted religion, and then recognising it as the religion of the Roman Empire, even though he himself was not baptised until he was dying. The church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, saw the conversion of Constantine as one of the great providential moments. Just as St Luke, at the end of the Acts of the Apostles, brings the Gospel to Rome, the political heart of the known world, so now the kingdoms of this world, and the Roman Empire in particular, ‘have become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ.’
Would that things were so simple. A millennium or more after Constantine a German monk, Martin Luther, saw the corruption of the church and, in part, traced it back to Constantine. Had the church captured the empire, or the empire captured the church? The relation between church and state has always been ambiguous.
Christ’s death and resurrection bring forgiveness to those with broken and ruptured lives and hope for a more just and humane society, the Bishop of Bangor says in his Easter message this year.
“There is no going back” says the Bishop of St Asaph as he reflects on the message of Easter this year. The symbol of the egg, so familiar at Easter, reminds us that there comes a time when “the chick bursts forth, and there’s no going back.” The resurrection of Jesus “is an invitation to us to embrace new life”.
Oscar Romero’s murder in El Salvador. He was murdered because he challenged the violence and oppression of those in positions of political power. He was slain by a goverment-sanctioned bullet to the chest as he said Mass in the humble monastery where he lived.
The story of Easter is told this year in a context where many of our key ‘institutions’ are under serious scrutiny - and it is right that it should be so. Institutions are necessary for the ordering of society, but they can take on a life of their own and become self-serving. That applies, of course, not only to the institutions of politics and society, but also - and equally - to the institutions of the church, which can be just as fallen, just as sinful, and even more profoundly disappointing, because they claim to exist for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Revd David Gamble, President of the Methodist Conference
In his Easter message, Revd David Gamble, President of the Methodist Conference, has called on Methodists to celebrate God’s action in the here and now.
David stressed the Church’s responsibility to tell good news stories, witnessing to God’s love in action in the lives of individuals and communities in 21st century Britain and all around the world.
He spoke of how the most exciting stories of the Methodist faith lie not just in the past, but in contemporary Church life. “There are some impressive and important stories to be told,” he said. “Not of how things used to be. Not of our Church’s former greatness. Not of our happy memories. But of God’s love in action in the lives of people here and now. The stories come from all over the place. And it is important we share them.”
Christ’s Resurrection urges us to create a society which brings love, truth and justice to all, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon says in his Easter message.
All of us have a political choice in the next few weeks. We call upon all people of goodwill to make it clear to candidates of all parties that we should choose life over death and the alleviation of poverty over the replacement of Trident.
Good Friday and Easter Day are the centre of the Christian faith story. Our churches will be busy this weekend. Our worship will be full of drama and emotion as we tell again what we believe to be the greatest story of all human history. You will be welcome join us and to be part of that.
And finally …
Archbishop Robert Duncan of The Anglican Church in North America
“Go make the tomb secure…”
The Archbishop of Canterbury has recorded his Reflections on Holy Week and given a series of Holy Week Lectures entitled ‘The beginning of the Gospel - reading Mark’s life of Jesus’.
The Archbishop has also given an address on The Fellowship of the Baptized.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols talks about Holy Week through Art (a 13 minute video).
This week’s The Question in The Guardian is Should we observe Easter or Earth Hour? with these responses.
Stephen Tomkins: A glimmer of hope for the world. A cross, or a crescent, is more likely to inspire collective action for the environment than any secular symbol
Alan Wilson: Redemption from the inside out. Scolding is not enough to turn the tide of human nature. Inner change, not scare tactics, is what’s needed to save us.
Harriet Baber writes in The Guardian about The utilitarian case for Easter. Made-up symbolic gestures and holidays like Earth Hour don’t have the same pizzazz as Easter.
Giles Fraser in the Church Times says Preach the power of Christ risen.
Cole Moreton writes in The Guardian about Welcome to the Church of Everywhere. Organised religion has waned but a new faith has bloomed – epitomised by Jade Goody’s funeral.
[Moreton’s new book Is God Still an Englishman? is reviewed in the Independent by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.]
George Pitcher in the Telegraph asks Will we follow Jesus out of the comfort zone? Easter is a time to reflect Christ’s compassion for the wretched.
It’s not really opinion, but here is a fine set of photographs of Holy Week worshippers from around the world: Holy Week, 2010.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued an ecumenical Easter Letter to fellow church leaders: Christians need to “witness boldly and clearly”. The press release says:
In his ecumenical Easter Letter to fellow church leaders, the Archbishop of Canterbury urges those living in politically secure environments to offer practical support as well as prayers for suffering Christians around the world, particularly in Zimbabwe, Mosul, Egypt and Nigeria.
“We need to keep our own fears in perspective. It is all too easy to become consumed with anxiety about the future of the Church and society. We need to need to witness boldly and clearly but not with anger or fear; we need to show that we believe what we say about the Lordship of the Risen Christ and his faithfulness to the world he came to redeem.”
The full text of the letter is below the fold.
Martin Beckford in the Telegraph reports this as Archbishop of Canterbury rebukes claims of ‘persecuted’ Christians in UK.
Riazat Butt in The Guardian has Archbishop of Canterbury rebukes clergy over ‘persecuted’ Christians.
Full text of the letter:
When St John tells us that the disciples met behind locked doors on the first Easter Day (John 20.19), he reminds us that being associated with Jesus Christ has never been easy or safe. Today this is evident in a wide variety of situations – whether in the terrible communal violence afflicting parts of Nigeria, in the butchery and intimidation of Christians in Mosul in recent weeks, in the attacks on the Coptic faithful in Egypt, or in the continuing harassment of Anglican congregations in Zimbabwe. As we mark the thirtieth anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador, we acknowledge that Christians will never be safe in a world of injustice and mindless fear, because Christians will always stand, as did Archbishop Romero, for the hope of a different world, in which the powerful have to let go of privilege and rediscover themselves as servants, and the poor are lifted up into joy and liberty.
This hope is rooted in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. His rising from the dead shows the world that death does not have the last word – whether the death of love, the death of security, even physical death itself. On the first day of the week, the first day of the new creation, God walks once again in the garden and begins to re-shape the whole world of our experience and our possibilities; the Second Adam wakes under the tree of the cross and promises fresh life, freedom and forgiveness, to the entire human world.
Wherever fear prevails, this promise will be seen as dangerous. But people still have the courage to identify themselves as Christians because they know that the resurrection demonstrates that Jesus is beyond all human power and violence, that ‘all authority in heaven and on earth’ is given to him (Matthew 28.18). The Christian may suffer and die witnessing to this truth, but death itself cannot extinguish the abiding power of Christ to transform and renew; the martyr knows this and fixes his or her eyes on that joyful vision.
We who live in more comfortable environments need to bear two things in mind. One is that fellow-Christians under pressure, living daily with threats and murders, need our prayers and tangible support – by personal contact, by continually reminding our governments and media of these things. To a Christian experiencing these threats, it matters more than most of us could imagine simply to know that they are not alone and not forgotten. But the second point to remember is that we need to keep our own fears in perspective. It is all too easy, even in comfortable and relatively peaceful societies, for us to become consumed with anxiety about the future of Church and society. We need to witness boldly and clearly but not with anger and fear; we need to show that we believe what we say about the Lordship of the Risen Christ and his faithfulness to the world he came to redeem.
The world will not be saved by fear, but by hope and joy. The miracle of the joy shown by martyrs and confessors of the faith is one of the most compelling testimonies to the gospel of Jesus. In whatever way we can, we must seek to communicate this joy, however dark or uncertain the sky seems. All authority belongs to Jesus, and into his wounded hands is placed the future of all things in heaven and earth. To him be glory for ever.
Rowan Cantuar: +
Giles Fraser in the Church Times writes that Salvation is found in the pit of death.
Pierre Whalon writes an essay for Anglicans Online Haiti and the Devil and ponders the question “Are national sins punished by natural catastrophes?”
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph: You’ve made a fortune - now let it go. There are sound religious and social reasons for giving your millions away, he says.
Nicholas Papadopulos writes in the Times on The lure of last words. Lent is traditionally the time to contemplate the final words uttered by Christ on the Cross.
Jonathan Sacks has a Credo article in the Times: If faith schools are so bad, why do parents love them? It may not be the faith in faith schools that makes them different, so much as the communities that build, support and sustain them.
William Doino Jr writes in the Times about Remembering Romero. Today [24 March] marks the 30th anniversary of the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador.
And finally a warning for those still planning their Palm Sunday services.
Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, gave a lecture on Faith, hope and charity in tomorrow’s world at Lincoln Cathedral recently.
Hans Küng writes in the National Catholic Reporter about Ratzinger’s Responsibility: ‘Scandalous wrongs cannot be glossed over, we need a change of attitude’
Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian about Celibacy and child abuse. Many people blame celibacy for Catholic sexual abuse. But it’s much more likely to have played a role in the cover-up.
Theo Hobson in The Guardian If Quakers were more Christian. I admire the Quakers’ anti-authoritarian and minimalist ethos. But they’ve thrown the baby Jesus out with the bathwater.
Antony Lerman in The Guardian Embracing the religious marketplace. Faith leaders are naive to think that religion is marginalised. It benefits from a previously unimaginable freedom.
Geoffrey Rowell has a Credo column in the Times: Verses that lead us towards a greater understanding. The two great commandments that Jesus gave us are the love of God with all our heart, mind. soul and strength, and the love of our neighbour as ourselves.
Christine Allen in a Guardian Comment is free column writes Romero, a beacon of hope for the poor. Oscar Romero died 30 years ago. Yet he can still teach us much about good Christian values.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about A Primatial problem in Parliament.
Sebastian Bakare in the Church Times asks Who is behind the persecution? The plight of Anglicans in Harare raises questions of responsibility.
In a Sacred Mysteries column in the Telegraph, Taking the God out of good, Christopher Howse reviews The Rage Against God by Peter Hitchens
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about In defence of cash and the City.
This week The Question in The Guardian’s Comment is free section has been Should religious leaders tell us how to vote? Is political activism on the part of church, mosque or synagogue, in the run-up to an election, acceptable?
Here are the replies.
Terry Sanderson The dangers of dishonesty. Religious influence on the political process is at its most pernicious when it is hidden.
Harriet Baber Render unto Caesar … Religious groups are free to express their opinions, but these should not be accorded any special privilege in the secular realm.
Nick Spencer Pope Gregory’s ghost. We’re haunted by the idea that religious figures might influence the political process. But would that be such a disaster?
Tehmina Kazi My vote is my choice. General guidance is all very well. But it’s not the place of religious leaders to provide a list of approved candidates.
Austen Ivereigh The Catholic bishops get political. Terry Sanderson paints the Catholic bishops’ pre-election statement as a cliche-ridden ‘damp squib’. Judge for yourself.
Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, has given a lecture on The finality of Christ in a pluralist world.
In a Sacred Mysteries column in the Telegraph, The way Jesus read the Bible, Christopher Howse looks at ‘Covenant and Communion: The Biblical Theology of Pope Benedict XVI’.
In a Credo column in the Times Roderick Strange writes that Penance should not be a burden but the key to joy. Let’s use prayer and penance this Lent to discover a new awareness of the divine presence.
Updated Tuesday evening
The diocese has issued a press release: Bishop of Liverpool calls for Anglicans to “accept a diversity of ethical convictions about human sexuality”.
Ekklesia has reported the address as Evangelical bishop “in sympathy” with same-sex partnerships.
Colin Coward of Changing Attitude has welcomed the bishop’s address in James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool calls for Anglicans to “accept a diversity of ethical convictions about human sexuality”.
But Andrew Goddard at Fulcrum does not agree with most of what the bishop has written: Accepting Ethical Diversity?: A Critical Appraisal of the Bishop of Liverpool’s Presidential Address.
And Anglican Mainstream has Bishop James Jones muddies the waters again.
Colin Coward has written a response to Andrew Goddard’s article: Reactions to the Bishop of Liverpool – Andrew Goddard on Fulcrum.
Lord Carey has complained that Christians are being bullied in the UK; see for example this Church Times report.
In response Riazat Butt in The Guardian asks Who’s bullying who? Lord Carey thinks Christians are being bullied by the political establishment. In reality, they enjoy many privileges.
And Frank Skinner in the Times writes Persecute me – I’m after the Brownie points. We Christians thrive as a minority. A bit of strict us-and-them keeps up the quality.
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian about The whited sepulchres of Anglicanism
Bishops praising religious liberty are as phony as Thatcherites praising compassion
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Gormley leaves a note at St Paul’s.
Richard Harries writes in the Times How could I be a Catholic, stuck in the past?
and Dwight Longenecker responds with Is there any such thing as a “Catholic-minded Anglican?”
Edward King, bishop of Lincoln, died on 8 March 1910. To mark the centenary, the archbishop of Canterbury had spoken to Crosslincs, the Lincoln diocesan magazine: Bishop of the Poor: Edward King reinvented the role of diocesan bishop.
Christopher Howse in the Telegraph asks How can God be inside us?
Peter Townley in a Times Credo column writes For human endeavour, we should read divine initiative. The key theme is power and how we use it as we journey with the Lord into the desert this Lent.
James Jones, bishop of Liverpool, gave an address to his diocesan synod today about allowing a variety of ethical conviction in the church.
Just as Christian pacifists and Christian soldiers profoundly disagree with one another yet in their disagreement continue to drink from the same cup because they share in the one body so too I believe the day is coming when Christians who equally profoundly disagree about the consonancy of same gender love with the discipleship of Christ will in spite of their disagreement drink openly from the same cup of salvation.
This week The Question in The Guardian’s Comment is free section is Are religious texts lost in translation?
Can the spirit of the original be adequately conveyed in a different language?
There have been three Responses.
Alexander Goldberg The word is just the beginning
Conserving the message of texts is important, but it’s what you do with those texts and their teachings that really matters.
Heather McDougall A question of interpretation
Two key texts – John’s gospel and Revelation – illuminate the way belief can turn on the translation of one or two words.
Usama Hasan When words are immutable
There are still those that argue that the Qur’an should not be translated at all. But the best translation of its teachings is action.
In other Comment is free columns:
Lee Rayfield writes Let’s not take the path of assisted dying
Arguments in favour of assisted dying play on our sense of compassion – but they should be resisted.
Andrew Brown asks What do believers want from God?
The Church of England has opened a web page for anyone to post their prayers. Reading them is sad and humbling.
Tom Holland writes a Face to faith column about St Paul, the radical.
St Paul is often dismissed as a finger-wagging bigot. This could not be further from the truth
Tom Sutcliffe writes that The old doctrines are not enough.
The church must provide a valid assertion of truth about life that can stand comparison truths and wisdom drawn from science
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that New vigour is required in our ethical life.
Jonathan Sacks writes in a Times Credo column
Credo: Why the Ancient Greeks were wrong about morality
The Judaeo-Christian ethic is not the only way of being moral; but it is the only system that has endured
Karen Burke wrires in a Comment is free column in The Guardian about The death of Methodism? Not quite. The Methodist Church might change, or even merge with the CofE. But Methodists don’t need an insitution to be who they are.
Robert Colquhoun writes in the Times about Men, sex, and the Church. Images of a passive Jesus do not encourage red-blooded males to go to Church, but where can men find an authentic model of male Christianity?
Theo Hobson writes in a Comment is free column in The Guardian about An illiberal establishment. For bishops to say that establishment keeps Christianity in the public square is a self-serving betrayal of the gospel.
Ripon Cathedral is hosting a series of lectures on Religion and Politics – The Role of the Church in Contemporary Society during 2010. James Jones, the bishop of Liverpool, gave the first of these this week with the title ‘My Kingdom is not of this world’ - Really?
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Lent, death, Room 101, and wads of cash.
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali writes in the Telegraph about Promoting life rather than death. It is absolutely right for us to feel compassion for those who have a terminal or an incurable illness and for their near and dear ones who wish to relieve them of this burden, even if this means the death of the one who is ill.
And finally Jonathan Bartley looks ahead to later in the year in a Comment is free column with That papal Thought for the Day pitch. Pope Benedict may fill BBC Radio 4’s religion slot when he visits this year. What will he be able to get past the producers?
Updated Sunday evening
A new and interesting online project has been launched today: Citizen Ethics Network.
The Citizen Ethics Network has been established by Madeleine Bunting (Associate Editor and Columnist for The Guardian), Adam Lent (Head of Economic and Social Affairs at the Trades Union Congress) and Mark Vernon (writer and journalist). The Network is an independent initiative of Madeleine, Adam and Mark and its activities and views do not reflect those of The Guardian or the TUC.
The first publication is a booklet, in PDF format, titled Citizen Ethics in a Time of Crisis.
Contributors include Rowan Williams, Michael Sandel, Diane Coyle, Philip Pullman, Carey Oppenheim, Jesse Norman, Nicholas Sagovsky, Julian Glover, Richard Reeves, Jonathan Rutherford and Jon Cruddas, Robert Skidelsky, Will Hutton, Oliver James, Polly Toynbee, Tariq Ramadan, Alain de Botton, Camila Batmanghelidjh, and Mary Midgley.
The Guardian has also published a four page insert in today’s edition, containing extracts from the booklet.
Cif belief has started a discussion thread, Can you make society more ethical?
There will also be an event at the British Museum, on Friday, 26 February.
Cif belief has now published: Out of the abyss of individualism by Rowan Williams
Towards a just society by Michael Sandel
The three virtues we need by Philip Pullman
To tackle the last decades’ myths, we must dust off the big moral questions by Madeleine Bunting
Do contribute to the comments at these articles if they interest you.
The Comment is Free section of The Guardian has several General Synod related articles.
Christina Rees Faith in the future: This 35-year debate has become tortuous. But one day soon, women will become bishops.
Judith Maltby Synod: messy, imperfect, but ours: General Synod is a product of a tumultuous history. Flawed as it is, it is rooted in and reflects our traditions.
Andrew Brown Why is the Synod so boring? A reflection on this most urgent question; submitted for wider consultation.
Rosemary Hartill The adversarial model doesn’t help The General Synod suffers because of the way it replicates Parliament – it breeds factions, and disagreement.
Andrew Brown Recoiling from nastiness The General Synod has shown that the Church of England rejects homophobia even if it can’t accept gay people on their own terms.
Andrew Brown Are science and atheism compatible? Science brings no comfort to to anyone with dogmatic beliefs about world.
Dave Walker General Synod The general synod as observed from a lofty vantage point.
And here’s some comment on other topics and from elsewhere.
Giles Fraser in the Church Times Face to face with a man I’ve just had a pop at.
Roderick Strange in a Credo column in the Times We need a blessed filter to make sense of our lives How can wealth, comfort, pleasure and a good name be suspect?
Aaron Taylor in The Guardian A season of bright sadness For Orthodox Christians, the penitential season of Lent means much more than fasting.
Nick Spencer in The Guardian Cherie Booth, faith and religion Why it was reasonable for Cherie Booth to take Shamso Miah’s religious committment into account when sentencing him.
Christopher Howse in the Telegraph Our Sound Is Our Wound by Lucy Winkett: Hearing alarms, listening for angels What we can hear, or choose to hear forms a theme in the Lent book of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
And finally a leading article in The Independent The ignored gospel message
Alan Wilson looks forward to next week’s meeting of General Synod in a Face to face column in The Guardian: How the General Synod works is more important than anything it decides.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Football needs some humility.
John Shepherd writes in a Times Credo column that We all have faith, whether or not we recognise it.
Nicholas Sagovsky writes in The Guardian The City of God and the City and asks “Where are the reminders of the City of God in today’s market-driven developments?”
Andrew Brown, also in The Guardian, writes The historical Jesus and asks “Just what, if anything, does the earliest source tell us about Jesus as he appeared to non-Christians?”
Giles Fraser in the Church Times writes Go back to controls for casino banks.
Looking forward to Candlemas Geoffrey Rowell has a Credo column in the Times: Simeon’s triumphal cry heralds the coming of the light. “The feast of Candlemas is the encounter of human longing and brokenness with the healing love of God.”
John Packer, the bishop of Ripon and Leeds, writes in the Yorkshire Post Don’t stop the many migrants who have enriched Britain.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times Repent of a theology of blame
Harriet Baber has a Face to Faith article in The Guardian Evangelical US megachurches like Saddleback are market-driven, with transcendence not on the menu
Ruth Gledhill writes in the Times about preachers Spreading the word of preaching, from the transcendent to the bumbling
and about cathedrals in MPs want crumbling cathedrals to get Government cash
Alan Wilson wrote on Cif belief about The media’s trouble with religion
Roderick Strange writes in The Times that Water into wine teaches us about transformation.
And Rosemary Lain-Priestley writes there about Being a mother, wife and priest.
In the Guardian Riaz Ravat writes in the Face to Faith column that amid a slew of negative coverage, we must all work at challenging how Muslims are seen.
The Brookings Institution has published a paper by Alex Evans and David Steven titled Hitting Reboot: Where Next For Climate After Copenhagen? (The paper itself is a PDF download from that page.) (Hat tip: Richard Chartres.)
Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times that Science is not neutral.
And his Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4 on Friday, about Theodicy is available here to listen to, or here as a podcast. The text will also be on the BBC website later, but is available now below the fold.
Thought for the Day, Friday 15 January 2010
The word “theodicy” describes the intellectual attempt to justify the existence of God in the face of human suffering. Coined by Leibniz at the beginning of the eighteenth century, he argued that out of the various possible worlds that God could have created, he might have created the best of these, a world containing less suffering than all the other options available. With this suggestion, Leibniz sought to explain how it’s at least logically possible that a merciful God could create a world with the suffering that it has.
And then, in 1755, some years after Leibniz published his famous argument, a massive earthquake hit Lisbon on the morning of the first of November, the popular feast day of All Saints. A 15ft crack opened down the middle of the street. Locals watched the tide disappear only to return as a huge wave that drowned most of the city. 30-40 thousand people were killed.
It was in the face of this terrible disaster that Voltaire came to mount his celebrated attack upon Leibniz in Candide. Voltaire cast Leibniz as the foolish Dr Pangloss, ready to trot out the absurd idea that this is the best of all possible worlds whatever misfortune befell him. The satire was biting. He was claiming that all theologians seem to care about in the face of human misery is getting God off the hook. Theodicy, Voltaire insists, is a moral disgrace and a sick joke.
Well, I have no answer to the question of how God can allow so many innocent people to die in natural disasters, like the earthquakes of Lisbon or Haiti. And indeed, I can quite understand that many will regard these events as proof positive that religious people are living a foolish dream like the idiotic Dr Pangloss.
And yet, I still believe. For there exists a place in me - deeper than my rational self - that compels me to respond to tragedies like Haiti not with argument but with prayer. On a very basic level, what people find in religion is not so much the answers, but a means of responding to and living with life’s hardest questions. And this is why a tragedy like this doesn’t, on the whole, make believers suddenly wake up to the foolishness of their faith. On the contrary, it mostly tends to deepen our sense of a need for God.
What many believers mean by faith is not that we have a firm foundation in rational justification. Those, like Leibniz, who try to claim this are, I believe, rationalizing something that properly exists on another level. Which is why, at a moment like this, I’d prefer to leave the arguments to others. For me, this is a time quietly to light a candle for the people of Haiti and to offer them up to God in my prayers. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.
Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times about Football in the wilds of Yemen.
John Cottingham writes in The Times that Our restless quest for God is a search for home.
David Bryant writes in the Guardian that A religion that is based on a code of moral injunctions should be approached warily.
Fulcrum published a sermon by Graham Kings on The Holy Spirit and the Magi.
We need social networking, but more of it should be in the real world rather than online, writes Julia Neuberger in the Guardian.
Richard Moth writes in The Times about Serving in Afghanistan with a true spirit of self-giving.
You can read and watch The Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Covenant fatalism (almost). (TA will have a roundup of reactions to the final Anglican Covenant proposal soon.)
Pat Ashworth wrote in the previous edition of the Church Times about diocesan missioners. See Taking stock and doing something.
In that issue, Peter Thompson wrote that The Noughties live up to their name.
And today Andrew Brown writes in the Guardian about Leicester. See Here, everyone is a minority.
The Archbishop of Canterbury preached this sermon at Christmas.
The Archbishop of York preached this sermon.
On Christmas Eve, he also spoke out about asylum seekers.
And Ruth Gledhill had a related post, Happy Christmas - and Keep Out!
The Bishop of London wrote for Cif belief about Christmas and climate change.
William Wolf writes in The Times that It is high time that New Year’s Day was reclaimed for faith.
Cif belief asked this week, Is the Bible anti-gay?
Responses came from:
Theo Hobson: Ours is not the same homosexuality
Davis Mac-Iyalla: A terrible use of the Good Book
John Richardson: Evasive answers don’t help
Judith Maltby: Not much to do with the Bible
Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times that Perhaps the politicians really value Christians.
Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times Thank God for the Courage to live with uncertainty.
Nesrine Malik writes in the Guardian about usury.
Rowan Williams gave an interview to George Pitcher of the Telegraph. Read about it at Dr Rowan Williams: taking a break from Canterbury travails. An earlier news report is titled Archbishop of Canterbury: ‘Labour treats us like oddballs’.
Richard Chartres and Ali Gomaa wrote at Cif belief about the Swiss minarets decision, see An opportunity to understand.
Richard Reddie writes in the Guardian that We should understand, not fear, the rise in black conversions to Islam.
Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times about Loyalty — or an obligation?
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Eucharist in the Wesleys’ hymns.
Roderick Strange writes in The Times that To follow Jesus is a cause for rejoicing.
In the Guardian Jonathan Chaplin writes about why public discourse should not be secularised. See Face to Faith.
In The Times Geoffrey Rowell writes that Church movements will always fall short of perfection.
Earlier in the week, Libby Purves wrote that Faith and power is the fundamentalist’s brew.
Alan Wilson wrote about Church new media futures….
Nick Baines wrote about (not) being a Grumpy bishop.
And last week, Ann Petifor argued that UK needs more not less government.
Giles Fraser wrote at Cif belief about Choosing for oneself.
Gary Anderson writes in The Times that If sin creates a debt, almsgiving creates a heavenly credit.
Stephen Wang writes there also. He argues that Religious education is not brainwashing.
Mark Vernon writes in the Guardian about Galileo’s dependence on John Philoponus. Read Face to Faith.
Andrew Brown wrote at Cif belief Who are the creationists?
Last week, Chris Chivers wrote in the Church Times about multiculturalism. See No model and no checks.
And Richard Parrish wrote about church schools. See Call us what we are: of the Church.
Judith Maltby writes in the Guardian about the Creation Museum.
Madeleine Bunting writes at Cif belief about The rabbi’s moral muddle.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Checks and balances in the City.
Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times that The lesson of Noah’s Ark is that wolves can lie down with lambs.
At Ekklesia Walter Altmann writes that Liberation theology is still alive and well.
Roderick Strange writes in The Times ‘In Heaven we shall see each other as we really are’.
Earlier in the week, Libby Purves wrote The key to rubbing along in perfect harmony.
Last week in the Church Times Richard Harries wrote Gangmasters need tighter controls.
Michael Reiss wrote The case of Adam’s navel.
And The Revd Professor Alison Milbank was interviewed by Terence Handley MacMath. (Best line: Fresh Expressions is a brand of cat litter in America.)
Over at Cif belief Mark Dowd wrote All aboard the ARC.
Presenting a broader agenda for development, which seeks to define human flourishing as more than just material well-being, Dr Williams suggests that all engaged in the process would benefit by rediscovering their own humanity in the humanity of the other. This would lead, he suggests, to a ‘proper distribution of dignity’. Dr Williams acknowledges the challenges to collaboration in the perceptions secular development agencies and faith communities have of each other, but emphasises the overwhelming benefits, indeed the imperative, of both to commit to mutual learning in order to collaborate for the well-being of humanity and the planet.
Giles Fraser writes in this week’s Church Times about Onward faithful eco-warriors.
Last week, Jonathan Bartley had Thoughts on Thought for the Day in the Church Times.
And John Shelby Spong was interviewed in the Church Times by Terence Handley McMath.
Ruth Gledhill wrote in The Times about the lecture given by Jonathan Sacks. See Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks: Islam must separate religion from power. And also Chief Rabbi: fundamentalism heading our way ‘with force of hurricane’. The full text of his lecture is available from the foot of this page, as a .doc file.
The Guardian today has an article about the Religious Experience Research Centre by Roger Tagholm.
In The Times Peter Townley writes about Forty years in the wilderness in East Germany.
Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times that religions tell us who we are and what we need to be.
Symon Hill writes at Ekklesia about Free speech and homophobia.
Savi Hensman writes there about Setting all God’s people free.
Riazat Butt has written for the Guardian about Stanbrook Abbey, the new eco-friendly nunnery.
At Cif belief Alan Wilson wrote about Social networking for the dead.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Exposing the flaws of choice.
Last week, Mark Vernon wrote there about A religion of the head as well as the heart.
Geoffrey Rowell in a Credo column in the Times How Albania was surprised by joy - “There is much to learn from this country where religion was abolished, about martyrdom and faithful witness.”
Theo Hobson writes a Comment is free article in The Guardian God and despair - “Once you confront the reality of despair, the need for faith becomes evident.”
Andrew Brown also writes a Comment is free article in The Guardian St Peter and the miserable worms - “Perhaps the Anglican communion has been broken for very much longer than anyone will admit.”
Vicki Woods in the Telegraph The Queen will stand up to Pope Benedict - “When the Pontiff visits Britain next year he will meet his match.”
Naftali Brawer writes in The Times that There are no easy answers in interfaith dialogue.
Ruth Gledhill writes on Articles of Faith about Gays and flat-earthers: Jack Spong attacks Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury et al.
Gary Wilton wrote in last week’s Church Times that [the Lisbon] Treaty will make the EU more accountable.
John Hall the Dean of Westminster wrote The Abbey has its neighbours round.
Timothy Seidel wrote at Ekklesia Looking at what truly makes for a just peace.
Anna Hartnell wrote at Cif belief about The rise of the religious left.
Roderick Strange writes in The Times about Christ’s startling challenge to the rich young man.
The Archbishop of Canterbury delivered this sermon at a service in St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 9 October to mark the end of military operations in Iraq.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Capitalism: accidental generosity?
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph on William Gladstone: A prime minister who read books and Never more the sound of bells.
Stephen Venner writes in The Times that Servicemen have a right to expect our steadfastness.
Ruth Gledhill interviewed Dr Martin Stephen, High Master of St Paul’s School, who criticised faith schools. The fullest report of this interview is reproduced on her blog, see Towards a Pauline education that is free.
Alastair McIntosh writes in the Guardian that Economic growth and climate change are like a runaway train.
Alan Wilson also wrote about the new film, in Creation ex (almost) Nihilo.
Andrew Brown wrote about Faith without god.
Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times that Jews, too, are saved by faith.
In The Times Jonathan Sacks writes Holy days are an annual check to mission drift.
In the Guardian Naftali Brawer also writes about Yom Kippur.
In the Church Times Giles Fraser tells us What’s right with the neo-cons.
The CofE’s College of Bishops issued a statement about climate change.
George Pitcher wrote Assisted suicide: The worm has turned.
The Bishop of Reading Stephen Cottrell got a lot of media coverage this week when he said, in a Church of England press release:
“Even today I meet people who think you have to be highly educated or suited and booted to be a person who goes to church. That’s so frustrating. How did it come to this, that we have become known as just the Marks and Spencer option when in our heart of hearts we know that Jesus would just as likely be in the queue at Asda or Aldi?
And this on Cif belief.
The Church Times had a leader column about it, see Where would Jesus shop?
Heresiarch wrote a perceptive blog article, More tea, vicar. Not so much rap.
This in turn caused Andrew Brown to write Snobbery with godlessness.
As for Back to Church Sunday, which is what this was originally about, George Pitcher critiques that in Patronising bishops want ‘ordinary people’ back at church.
Paul Bayes’ podcast (mentioned by George) is here.
A Church Near You is here.
Catherine Pepinster wrote in The Times about how the Relics of St Thérèse highlight the flesh and blood nature of Christianity.
Jonathan Romain wrote that Rosh Hashanah opens a season of fruitfulness and reflection.
At the Guardian Musab Bora asked Is it reasonable to describe Eid al-Fitr as the Muslim Christmas?
In the Church Times Giles Fraser asks us to Respect the mystery of risk.
Roderick Strange writes in The Times that Great achievements call for sacrifices and failures.
Andrew Linzey writes there about Brute creatures and the Passion.
Josh Howle writes about Yom Kippur in the Guardian.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Evensong calm ends my fidget.
Simon Barrow writes at Ekklesia about A different way of reading the world.
Last month he wrote about Abandoning the religion and politics of exclusion.
Andrew Brown wrote at Cif belief about The origins of religion.
Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times about The Crucifixion and atrocities of the killing fields.
Alan Wilson wrote yesterday about an old Islamic folk tale, see Mercy seasons justice?
Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times: Dump RE and see God as radical. (RE is an abbreviation for Religious Education.)
Last week, in the Church Times Phil Lucas wrote about the Quakers’ support of same-sex marriage. See This is one way to talk about gay partnerships.
The Guardian has two major interviews.
Bishop Gene Robinson I’m not the gay bishop – I’m just the bishop
Nick Gumbel interview transcript
The paper also carries related articles by the interviewers.
Aida Edemariam Gay US bishop attacks treatment of gay and lesbian clergy by Church of England
Adam Rutherford Nicky Gumbel: messiah or Machiavelli?
Jonathan Sacks writes in the Times Credo column on The good tensions between reason and revelation.
In the Church Times Giles Fraser asks Is salvation a bit like bankruptcy?