Comments: opinions for the weekend

I refer to none of the above articles but rather to this week’s belated Church of England Newspaper’s account of the recent US Network meeting in Pittsburgh, and particularly to the Moderator’s Address.
I was particularly touched by this gloss provided by the reporter “Unlike its previous gatherings in Texas, the Network’s three-day annual council meeting in Pittsburgh eschewed sabre-rattling ……” !!! - yet perhaps the journalist is right! The threat Bishop Duncan threw down to the Archbishop of Canterbury to act as he demanded or be swept away was a thrust to the heart and not sabre-rattling at all, he/she just forgot to mention it.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 10:48am BST

I like Jonathan Sacks, just do. His thinking parallels some personal ponderings of the last week, about Moses being kept out of the Holy Land because he struck the earth. I can not help but wonder if that too was not an ecological message. Do not smite thy footstool or Eden will remain hidden from you. Or in modern day parlance if you vandalise and cover something in filth, don't be surprised if it doesn't look attractive. Similarly, if you neglect a living system and don't keep its channels clean, don't be surprised if the system starts to wither and die.

Hmm. Parallels to marriage here too... The one thing that Sam Wells article did not raise is the question of trust, and sex as a manifestation or confirmation of trust between two partners. Or is that because sex has become simply another narcisstic outlet (like having a glass of wine or smoking a cigarette or buying a doo-dad), and souls no longer see it as a reflection of a relationship but merely as a release of tension? In which case, we have delegated dehumanised souls at this most intimate level of our lives into organic dildos.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 11:54am BST

The linked articles here,for 12th August are very helpful.
But my assumptions were particularly challenged by Robert PAPE's piece. I had no idea of this take on it. I find him persuasive, and really want to read the research when his book comes out, shortly, I understand.
It means I got both the politics wrong; and the religious dimension of it, which I thought was linked with Islam (albeit, 'extreme' forms).

I did think of the Orange Lodges -esp. in the past, as a possible parallel. It seemed religoiusly motivated, but at the end of the day, I came to see that it was more cultural and political, than grounded in the verities of prptestant christianity.

Do others have a 'take' on this article and thesis ?

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 1:15pm BST

With regard to Robert Pape's piece, does anyone remember if my own memory is correct: that bin Laden's stated reason for the 9/11/2001 attacks on the U.S. A. was the Western/American presence in Saudi Arabia? Reading Pape caused this to pop into my head as though being dredged up from the forgotten, but I'm not positive I remember correctly.
Lois Keen

Posted by Lois Keen at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 4:24pm BST

Pape's piece makes uncomfortable sense: I always did wonder how Islam influenced the 'suicide bombers' of Dien Bien Phu.

It's a rather Augustinian piece, I thought - there's nothing which sin can't corrupt and use in its cause, including politics and religious belief: a cautionary thought, perhaps, for those who believe their bit of the Church only ever errs when it is insufficiently rigorous.

Posted by David Rowett (= mynsterpreost) at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 5:23pm BST

Well the Pape article comes as small surprise to my way of thinking. I have never subscribed to the strategic notion that putting guns in peoples' faces for their own alleged benefit (and, oh by the way, for my benefit, too) helps them change, deeply and warmly and lastingly, for the better.

Any occupation of someone else's country will inevitably have side effects, and if you are not willing to pay those prices, you will not get the gains. The other catch in the cost/benefit ratios we are all too often offered as remedies is that the gains to be had are uncertain at best, or even wrongly construed.

The suffering of Islam is, in part, inevitable. It cannot resist becoming modernized, no matter how it tries, unless we endure a worldwide collapse of post-industrial civlization. Nor can Islam escape the impending end of its major source of money, power, leverage in the global marketplace, i.e., dwindling oil reserves. (Most predictions estimate less than a century away.) Any culture so highly dependent on these two pillars or foundations would be reeling in the face of the pressures now bearing down upon those pillars, even without the convenience of USA or some other villain(s)as externalized target(s).

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 12 August 2006 at 5:54pm BST

Doing my daily trawl of for my website (see article:

I can't help continue thinking of God's vision of peace for all the peoples of all the nations. Which is exacerbated when I come across another "coincidence" like this one noted by Rabbi Waskow: "This (2006) fall, the Muslim sacred month of Ramadan and the sacred Jewish month that includes Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot coincide. They join as well with the Worldwide Communion Sunday that Protestant and Orthodox Christians celebrate, and with the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, who opposed the Crusades and studied with Muslims to enrich his own Christian life. That confluence will happen again in 2007, and then not for another 30 years. We could be taking advantage of God's gift of this holy time by meeting under "the Tent of Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah.""

Now, if we Christians could read more of Isaiah than the part that proves that Jesus was the Messiah... We might also notice the calls for peace and for co-habitation, including in the Middle East e.g. Isaiah 19:22-25 or 5:18.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Sunday, 13 August 2006 at 8:46pm BST
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