Comments: Reform conference

Wow, the Telegraph's religious correspondent is something else. He describes ECUSA as "the ultra-liberal Episcopal Church, which is run by a woman..." I suppose "ultra-liberal" is in the eye of the beholder (though if we're "ultra-liberal," what are the UUA and the Friends?) but "run by a woman"?

Posted by BillyD at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 12:49am BST

Welcome to my world...

Posted by Charlotte at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 2:42am BST

One wouldn't mind so much..if they were actually going to leave...but they intend to stay in the Church with their alternative provision. When I was up in Newcastle upon Tyne in the Summer I discovered that Jesmond Parish Church in Newcastle Diocese have a Church plant in Durham!

As for picking Nazir Ali ..he was the first bishop in the Church of England to pick a female Archdeacon. Please note that Bishop Benn is a patron of the Third Province Movement.

Note how they do not want to be under the PEV Anglo-Catholics.

Anglo-Catholics are good enough to bolster the numbers and to sign the GAFCON declaration but not to lord it over Reform!

The spirit of Cranmer lives!

Posted by Robert Ian williams at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 6:11am BST

For our English readers, some Yank poetry:

"Listen my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere..."

[etc, etc, then to paraphrase]

"The Schismatics are coming! The Schismatics are coming!"

Don't say you weren't warned...

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 7:02am BST

May I remind people (again) that alternative provision was a state of affairs unknown to the Church until it was dreamed up by John Habgood. We have him to thank for this whole mess.

Posted by poppy tupper at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 8:27am BST

Poppy

That probably gives one man too much credit.

This whole mess comes down to scribes of ilk disposition determined to be "above" the law. Their methods and strategies might vary, but their hearts are set on self-congratulations, irregardless of the repression and suffering they cause within their own communion and beyond.

Recall that significant leaders' dioceses in "civilized" societies have had to make court settlements vis a vis aiding and abetting child abuse or bishops grooming parishioners to harm others.

Posted by Cheryl Va. at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 9:36am BST

As an evangelical, I'm bemused by some of this rhetoric. In the 1960's bishops were denying the existence of God (Honest to God), and in the 80's they were denying the resurrection of Jesus. Now we're going to walk away over women bishops and sex? Where is the sense of perspective?

For the first time in living memory, the CofE is pumping millions of pounds per year into mission and church planting, the new HTB theology centre has been blessed by London Diocese, and 2 of the top 4 bishops are evangelicals (Wright & Sentamu). I really am stunned that we're portraying ourselves as exiles and victims, and it's not helping.

Posted by David Keen at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 10:20am BST

Rod Thomas, as quoted in the Guardian:

"As THE TWO RELIGIONS develop, our leadership will become increasingly schizophrenic. General Synod has already become dysfunctional."

Huh?! So, basically, Thomas regards anyone who doesn't hop on board the GAFCONite train as a completely different religion?!!! The sheer gall and hubris of the man.

Posted by MJ at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 10:50am BST

"Rod Thomas, chair of the conservative evangelical group Reform, warned that orthodox figures such as Michael Nazir-Ali, the bishop of Rochester, were increasingly sidelined in favour of liberals and called on congregations to support the development of a UK wing in Gafcon, an international network for Anglicans that disagrees with progressive agendas." -
Riazat Butt - The Guardian.

Of all the religious correspondents in the UK commenting on Anglican affairs, I think I respect Riazat Butt's contributions the most. Perhaps because, as a Muslim, Riazat is not a partisan in Anglican politics, and is therefore in a better position to comment. With no axe to grind, she has a more objective approach.

What she has reported of Mr. Thomas' statement here, should not surprise us - in that Dr Nazir-Ali is seen to be one of the prime movers towards the conservative quest for what has become known as 'alternative oversight'. His presence at GAFCON should have warned the English hierarchy of his incipient rebellion against their choice of Rowan Williams as the present Archbishop of Canterbury. Perhaps this is what Thomas may mean when he speaks of Nazir-Ali as being 'side-lined'

Any movement on his part to fulfil the hopeful prophecy of Mr. Thomas to become the saviour of the anti-women/anti-gay faction within the C. of E. ought surely to distance him completely from hopes of furthering his career path within the Church of England.

If 'Reform', together with it's GAFCON look-alikes, persists in its quest for 'special protection' by overseas prelates, it is hoped that they will be warned of their possible exclusion from the Communion - on the grounds of their intention of schismatic breakaway from the polity of the Anglican Church.

Their only other alternative might be to declare themselves - like other breakaway sects - to be an independent body of Bible-Believers, with their own distinct understanding of the Gospel imperative. In this way, both parties - the C.of E. and the dissidents - might be happier.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 11:10am BST

Looks like Rod Thomas fancies himself as a bishop in the Martyn Minns fashion.

Anecdotally it is said that when Rowan Williams met Minns at Lambeth Palace on one occasion he said to him "Martyn Minns isn't it? Sorry for the hesitation, I had recognised your face but not your shirt."

Posted by penwatch at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 1:10pm BST

Perhaps the Rev Rod Thomas the only clergyman in the Church of England who somehow avoided taking the Oath of Canonical Obedience which states:-

"I, Rod Thomas, do swear by Almighty God that I will pay true and canonical obedience to the Lord Bishop of Newcastle and his successors in all things lawful and honest: So help me God."

Not much room for a blanket derogation from his episcopal overight there.

Posted by badman at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 2:13pm BST

Bemusement betrays a lack of history; Puritanism demands persecution in order to turn it's repressive and regulative norms into 'the way'. JAT Robinson didn't deny the existence of God - just a controlling metaphor for God (in effect it was very orthodox teaching on apophasis) and David Jenkins didn't deny the Resurrection itself (see his fantastically incarnational theology of the workplace in the 70's) but did attack 'a conjuring trick with bones'. Evangelicalism, after John Stott's appeal in '76, turned outwards to remain within the CofE and is, in my judgement, now experiencing some of the joys and travails of dealing with God's world as it is rather than as we might want it to be (deciphering its outline in our favourite verses of the OT). Thus we have the most wonderful growth and a new theological and institutional maturity in diversity amongst Evangelical Anglicans. Alleluia!
Still I don't think we should be surprised by Reform's attitudes - they are pretty standard tactics for bullying/bullied psyches - I'm more depressed by the bishops inability to deal with the grinch-under-the-bed (liturgically or theologically) and cut across their game playing. Perhaps that's because they are just being pastoral...

Posted by Mark Osborne at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 2:34pm BST

May I remind Poppy that without the 'flying bishops' idea (the plans for which incidentally involved ++Sentamu heavily behind the scenes then)there would have been huge no-go areas for women. The Diocese of London...and also Blackburn, Newcastle, Chichester, Winchester, Exeter etc.?

Posted by Neil at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 3:34pm BST

Make a complete sentence with the words “chicken” “home” and “roost.”

Posted by Kurt at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 3:39pm BST

JCF - the whole thing about schismatics will only be determined by history. Some claim the 'heresy' of ECUSA is schismatic - others call it prophetic. We will probably know in about 50 years time whether the progressives or cons are the orthodox ones.

Posted by Neil at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 4:04pm BST

OK -- does N. T. Wright get it yet? Coddling people determined to separate from existing church structures simply encourages them!

Re:"schismatics" being determined by history -- that seems odd -- I think the "Monophysites" (or "Miaphysites") make some excellent points & that the Tome of Leo has some serious problems (& makes our Lord sound Nestorian, if not downright schizophrenic) -- then there is the Great Schism (with points on both sides) & the Reformation (& all the subsequent splits) -- I have no idea who is in schism from whom these days!

Posted by Prior Aelred at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 4:55pm BST

"Where is the sense of perspective?"

Can there be any greater deviation from the "faith once and for all delivered to the saints" than allowing two people of the same sex to have a monogamous, commited long term relationship? You can, and Evangelical Protestants have, change whole swaths of that faith, and it doesn't really matter, but be nice to a couple of queers and you have nailed Christ up all over again.

"I really am stunned that we're portraying ourselves as exiles and victims, and it's not helping."

But it's incredibly attractive. There's a big section of society that will only consider you a valid person if you not only do this, but fight against your victimhood. Everybody else does it, so why shouldn't they? I am, of course, being sarcastic.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 8:03pm BST

"We will probably know in about 50 years time whether the progressives or cons are the orthodox ones."
Well, no. We know now that the cons are not "orthodox". If by "orthodox" you mean "were right in hypocritically opposing this one particular change while defending changes in doctrine and praxis from which they stand to benefit or have convinced themselves against all evidence to the contrary are "traditional", well, you already have their "orthodoxy" proven to you now. But that has never been what "orthodox" means. Judging by the criterion we have always used to define "orthodoxy", they have issued a statement proving their heterodoxy.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 9:28pm BST

3000 people leaving the Church of England? 25 parishes? That'll put the fear of God into the House of Bishops. What will Greg Venables do if he ends up with 30000 people scattered across the western hemisphere rather than 20000 scattered across South America?

When will Anglicans get serious and deal with the real crises facing our church and world: rampant capitalism and environmental catastrophe?

Posted by MrsBarlow at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 11:48pm BST

Quote. But the Gospel both unites and divides. To some it has the fragrance of life and to others it is a stench of death. So as we focus on the Gospel, we can expect a reaction both of growing godly unity and evidence too of division. Unquote.

Decode on...

Start Decode. But our special new conservative gospel both unites and divides. To us it has the fragrance of our special strict conformity which is life. To all the rest who are not us, intentionally according to all the other forms of alternative believer conscience so odd and so strange to us, our new conservative gospel has the stench of power-mongering and lording it over others as core replacements for servanthood in a hurting world, which to all of those others (who are not already inside the special us) is a stench of death.

So as we focus on our special gospel which mainly aims at destroying the big tent of global Anglicanism as it formerly existed, sowing division where the Elizabethan Settlement sowed restraint and peace, we can expect strong reactions. Some will join our special unity in new conservative conformity because we loudly promise insiders great, special protection from change. We promise that we will shelter all those new conservative believers whom God asks to stop worshipping with big tent Anglicans, especially women fouling sacred objects and rituals by helping to incarnate God in Jesus in ordained ministry. Instead of being engaged and deceived by anything at all in modernity we commit ourselves to trash talking and drawing away as much as possible from everybody else - especially any women who violate our male-first, male-only doctrines. We promise to meanly bear false witness against women in particular. We promise to diminish or destroy any remaining spaces in church life which might allow, gasp, women to be all that God has created and calls them in our modern global life to be. We will uniquely be a no-go area for women who are not properly subordinated to some man in life, a father, a brother, a husband.

Anything Goes in our witness and attacks on women, and everybody who is not inside our special us. Our space and power to witness falsely and attack is now a core requirement of us being true to ourselves as new conservative believers. Destroy the Anglican big tent, now. God wills big tent destruction, and God is blessing us as we carry it out. Stop Decode.

Posted by drdanfee at Wednesday, 15 October 2008 at 11:54pm BST

Neil makes a completely false assumption in his description of whole dioceses as no-go areas for women. The actual outcome would have been far more like the situation that has come about in the Church in Wales. Does he believe for a moment that what he suggests could ever have come about? The Church of England would have become a laughing stock and a pariah if such a thing happened. Not least because of the idea and language of 'no-go areas for women'. The fact that he can even imagine such a thing is itself comment enough on his failures of understanding.

Posted by poppy tupper at Thursday, 16 October 2008 at 7:48am BST

I could not agree more with MrsBarlow. I don't want to tread on anyone's (historical) sensibilities but all this bickering...it reminds me of the very clever parody of Christians (not in my view a point about politics) in The Life of Brian - isn't this all just a case of The Judean People's Front vs The Peoples' Front of Judea vs the Judean Popular People's Front vs the Popular Front of Judea? Meanwhile John and Jane Doe are out there trying to get on, despite the rigours of the World, the Flesh and the Devil.

I am a newbie, so please allow me to be naive in an inspired way but seriously: the Body of Christ is NOT synonymous with the CofE, it's NOT the Southern Cone, and NEITHER is it Sydney.

And finally while I am in rant mode, can we at least properly name and shame? These are not Conservatives, who might be interpreted as holding to some 'traditional' or 'orthodox' Christian position but (social) Reactionaries.

Now, that has cleared the air, at least for me....

Posted by orfanum at Thursday, 16 October 2008 at 9:46am BST

Poppy makes a completely false assumption in thinking that the CofE and Parliament would have accepted the ordination of women measure (which was permissive ie allowed the go-ahead Bishops like Bristol and Southwark to proceed rather than require all to ordain women) without provision for those who could not accept it as the will of God. Part of the deal, which she now forgets and needs another reminder about, was that there were and are '2 integrities'. Which is why the House of Bishops are now working on trying to honour this in the light of the unfortunate vote recently in General Synod. And yes, it would have been very messy without the Act of Synod, and yes, there would have been no-go areas!

Posted by Neil at Thursday, 16 October 2008 at 10:37am BST

Mark O: 'Honest to God' denied the existence of a God located outside human experience: using Barth's language it was talking about God by talking about people in a very loud voice. Did I mention David Jenkins? I was thinking about Richard Holloway. (and possibly David Jenkins!!)

Ford Elms: I'm actually struggling to think of a wing of the church that isn't portraying itself as exile/victim at the moment: Anglo-Catholics over women bishops, Reform over sexuality, liberals over sexuality - hey at least we all agree over something.

Posted by David Keen at Thursday, 16 October 2008 at 11:46am BST

Ok, so now Neil, having lost his first point, is making another. No one knows whether the Measure would have been passed without suggestions of alternative provision, but there were at the time, and still are, many people in favour of women's ordination who would have preferred that it was NOT passed at that time with such provision and would have waited until there was a majority for the Measure without provision. And no, I don't forget that there were '2 integrities' it's just that, as an English speaker, I know that the term 'two integrities' is an oxymoron. As for no-go areas, saying it twice won't make it true, Neil.

Posted by poppy tupper at Thursday, 16 October 2008 at 1:13pm BST

"I'm actually struggling to think of a wing of the church that isn't portraying itself as exile/victim at the moment: Anglo-Catholics over women bishops, Reform over sexuality, liberals over sexuality - hey at least we all agree over something."

This Anglo-catholic, like many others, has no problem with women as bishops. Conservative ACs think otherwise, but we aren't all conservatives. Using Anglo-catholic in this way is like the way I use the term "Evangelical", it paints everybody the same, and we're not all the same, ACs, EVos, whatever. It is difficult to remain mindful of this, believe me, I know. Liberals victims over sexuality? Maybe. It is very romantic, if you has no personal victimhood to oppose, to see yourself as defending the rights of the downtrodden, and some fall into that. Speaking personally, I can identify all the ways where we are still not equal in Western society, the very real threat of violence, the groups that would like nothing better than to see us hiding in the closet in shame. But even then, I, a physician making a handsome salary, am not prepared to call myself a victim, particularly not when there is a vast number of people in the world with no roof over their heads. Sorry, it might be incredibly hurtful, it might be annoying, it might mean some financial difficulties for some, and it is certainly maddening to have people claim to love us while continually trying to beat us into the submission of the closet, but victims? Tell that to the gay person in Sudan who faces the very real risk of death if he is ever found out. Tell it to the teenager hanged in the public square after Friday prayers, while his own family bays for his blood. Tell it to the person jailed by Church supported laws that make his very existence illegal. THAT'S oppression. Not having the Church validate my relationship might be a lot of things negative, even damaging, but victimization it is not.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 16 October 2008 at 1:23pm BST

Neil: you are wrong. Members of parliament now tell us the legislation would have got through without the Act of Synod and that any new legislation (for bishops) that discriminates will not get through the ecclesiastical committee.

Plus, the legislation etc. does not speak of 2 integrities (as if they were equal) but of the integrity of those opposed to women clergy.

Posted by Frozenchristian at Thursday, 16 October 2008 at 2:07pm BST

The quote which really sums it up for me is:
I am ashamed to say that my answer was “I haven’t a clue [about the four ecumenical councils], but I am sure I agree with them!”

Power politics, hierarchies of ignorance...

Posted by Joan of Quark at Thursday, 16 October 2008 at 6:33pm BST

If ... maybe a big IF ... there are two integrities, one for OOW and one against, then surely the passing discernment of any self-proclaimed Anglican traditionalistic integrity is to see how it behaves in our modern plural communities, not just to hear what it preaches mainly to its own No Change Traditionalistic believers.

The AOOW integrity has mainly tended its own woman-free gardens. Its main business has been about being strict and careful in order to be pure when it comes to traditional males-first, males-only commitments and beliefs about ordained vocations. Oddly, while a high altitude traditional idealization of motherhood is loudly preached, this integrity cannot carry its own idealization through to priesthood or being discerned bishop. That would come too close to understanding how God mothers us believers in Jesus and the Community of Saints, alive or historic. Yet nowadays we surely understand how well real women, now or in recorded history, were able to do, once particular real world men were not longer hindering or barring them? In fact did do very well, in history. However. Let us resist these lessons about how gifted women are, once males are not grimly standing in their way to hinder and prevent them from rising to any and all challenges.

As the traditionalists preach: It is not about competence, it is about genitals and secondary biological body features.

Why can the rest of us not understand that if God does not give you a penis, then God has locked the door? Most especially those doors which might involve access to power? And this firmly traditionalistic set of beliefs in Anglican churches which probably owe their global continued existence to that female monarch, Elizabeth of Settlement fame who declared church life peace in the face of males-only, males-first and other fond forms of church life war?

Nor has the males-only-first believers done all that well when it comes to real women or real children. The sexual abuse scandal in the priesthood is only a recent example of many other past, egregious faults, lacks, or failures. When a woman fails, she damages all women. Failed men, well they are just particular failed men. No reason there to ask questions about a traditionalistic males-first-only systems, nor doubt their special godliness?

How much longer can believers playing these mind games claim the games have special integrity?

Posted by drdanfee at Thursday, 16 October 2008 at 7:27pm BST

Ford,

You are so right asbout the tendency - in all of us - to put all of the members of whatever category we care to call them: evos, cons, a.c.'s, etc., into the same narrow basket. It would be better to categorise each one of us - if we have to at all, by our partticular sensisitivities towards the rest of the world. This, to me, is what authentic faith communities are really about.

I wonder if it strikes the more strident categorisers amongst us that God may have designed us all differently, so that we have to make a real effort to get on with one another. In this way, we have to be 'drenched in Grace' rather than immersed in our own prejudice.

I am an Anglo-Catholic who loves Scripture, some of the more cerebral 'charistmatic songs', the divine liturgy, accomplished cathedral choirs, women and men, gay and straight. I'm even getting to accept that some bloggers might have a different point of view from myself. BUT! What I can't abide is .... Oh dear. There I Go again!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 16 October 2008 at 7:36pm BST

Frozen and Poppy - I was there, and I suspect from Poppy's ignorance of what transpired...she wasn't...and I further suspect Frozen is talking to current MPs and not the class of 1993! I say again - if you want to know what transpired have a word with John Sentamu who was fully involved behind the scenes. And yes, without the Act of Synod (please listen this THIRD time Poppy) several Dioceses would have been no-go areas. Led by David Hope who was then Bishop of London.
I take Poppy's point that many women would have preferred that situation though rather than accept the Act of Synod.
However, as we come up to date, it is also important to remember that when new provisions are made they will discriminate equally between the male and female bishops who ordain women...as neither are bishops in the eyes of many opponents.

Posted by Neil at Thursday, 16 October 2008 at 7:53pm BST

Reform doesn't take long to get on with it! They've released some kind of statement about "fractured fellowship" in the City of London, over the "gay weddings" thing. Have a look at www.reformlondon.org.uk.

Posted by Blah at Friday, 17 October 2008 at 12:55am BST

I've been to many liberal Anglo-Catholic parishes in the USA. I think too often we lump all AC's as conservatives. This simply isn't true. Google Affirming Catholics. The same, I'm sure can be said for Evangelicals.

Posted by bobinswpa at Friday, 17 October 2008 at 4:10am BST

Sorry, Neil, it won't wash. I was there, too, and I know about the smoke-filled rooms and the plots and the schemes. But that's all they ever were, and the people in the Church, and the people of the country at large would never have tolerated for a moment the existence of no-go areas for women - whole dioceses where women were officially designated as untouchable. Three strikes, Neil, and you're out.

Posted by poppy tupper at Friday, 17 October 2008 at 8:07am BST

PS. Thank you for confirming, from inside that magic circle, the role played by David Hope, who has tried to portray himself as a moderate, eirenic influence in all this. As he sat in Bishopthorpe, chairing Archbishop's Staff Meetings, I wonder what he thought of the women priests who surrounded him there? It's been a sad time, and it's well past the time it was over. Alternative Provision is well-past its sell-by date.

Posted by poppy tupper at Friday, 17 October 2008 at 8:10am BST

Hi Mark Osborne-

There is a large overlap between redefining something and denying it. JAT Robinson was indeed denying God as God is widely understood to be - which amounts to all intents and purposes to denying it while affirming something else altogether.

There is one part of his apologetic which I always find funny: namely 'depth good, height bad'. I have struggled for years to see why one is necessarily any better or worse than the other. But in the neophiliac spirit of the '60s it was obvious: height is traditional so must be wrong; depth is not traditional so must be right. Ephesians affirms both height and depth in God and there is no earthly reason why anyone should not do the same.

There is a danger of self-contradiction/circularity in the apophatic tradition. If it is all about being unsure, then how do you know either that there is a God at all, or that he is precisely not how we understand him to be? Given the vast universe we inhabit there ought to be some revelation of the creator somewhere.

David Jenkins not only denied a conjuring trick with bones but a physical resurrection tout court. By definition a resurrection (certainly to a first century Jew) is something physical, hence he denied the resurrection. He then said what he must have known not to be true: that a 'spiritual resurrection' (search me what that might be) was more 'real' than a physical one. Normally we use the word 'real' for tangible/actual/concrete. It is all part of the dishonest agenda: don't deny anything; redefine everything. But by redefining you do deny. In any case, there are some things that deserve to be denied. Why 'Don't deny anything'?
John Stott's appeal was in '66 not '76.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Friday, 17 October 2008 at 1:15pm BST

The reason that spiritual resurrection as such has mileage is that Paul is forced to use the available language of resurrection but is talking about spiritual experience. The physical issue comes down to lack of tomb worship and all that, probably a later tradition to have the stories of physicality and certainly that suited anti-Gnostic rhetoric and power games. In any case, Jenkins was also referring to living the resurrection life, which is a theological concept about your own outlook under his very strong revelatory belief in God.

I don't myself go with all of this. I think it is about language and orientation: experience is too subjective and cannot be stripped out from language anyway. I rather see it as statements about authority and legitimacy, and actually why Jesus does not continue to be seen by the early Church people.

As for J A T Robinson, the line he was following led to Exploration into God, so it really was not any equivalent of atheism, and he always maintained a uniqueness of Jesus even if for some of us it might seem inadequately supported to be so.

My own view is much more light touch than John Robinson's, and from my perspective I see quite clearly that he was not light touch. In so far as I am apophatic it is non-real absence not real absence. I don't think Robinson was ever that or close.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 17 October 2008 at 4:22pm BST

At the risk of me, a 9 stone theological weakling, getting into the ring with Christopher Shell, who appears to be a bit of a heavyweight in this regard, ahem:

Just happened to be reading the Acts yesterday evening, and for me 15:10-11 are apposite -

10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, that ye should put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in like manner as they.

So, some time ago it may have been height that was the yardstick, and John AT Robinson talked instead about depth. Perhaps this might be said to be giving in to the times (1960s), but you might have said that about Peter regarding the above passages - why on earth wasn't he going to insist on circumcision - after all, it's the way things had been done!

I think the reason why JAT Robinson gets under the skin of some is not because of a new metaphorical language about God but because he said things like:

"But I am not sanguine. I am inclined to think that the gulf must grow wider before it is bridged and that there will be an increasing alienation, both within the ranks of the Church and outside it, between those whose basic recipe is the mixture as before (however revitalized) and those who feel compelled above all to be honest wherever it may lead them. I believe, regretfully, that Dr Alec Vidler's conclusion in a recent broadcast, which was bitterly attacked, is only too true: 'We've got a very big leeway to make up, because there's been so much supression of real deep thought and intellectual alertness and integrity in the Church.' I am not in the least accusing of dishonesty those who find the traditional framework of metaphysics and morals entirely acceptable (I do so with a large part of myself). *What dismays me is the vehemence - and at bottom the insecurity - of those who feel that the Faith can only be defended by branding as enemies within the camp those who do not'* (my emphasis).

I am afraid that it's in the vehemence stakes that this is decided, for me at any rate, and you might want to give that some thought.

Posted by orfanum at Friday, 17 October 2008 at 4:36pm BST

"There is a danger of self-contradiction/circularity in the apophatic tradition. If it is all about being unsure, then how do you know either that there is a God at all, or that he is precisely not how we understand him to be? Given the vast universe we inhabit there ought to be some revelation of the creator somewhere."

Orthodox theology is based in the apophatic tradition. I don't think they have any doubts about the existence of God, whatever the risk you see of that. And, as to the second point, what would you recognize as revelation of a Creator? How CAN you know in any objective sense that there is a God? What would you measure? I'd say that if you can measure it, it isn't God. That's why it's called "faith". That's why the Creeds start with "I believe...", not "I know..." or "I state that there is...." More importantly, why attempt to encompass the Infinite (God) by the finite (the human intellect). Isn't it arrogant to suggest that we even can? Honestly, Christopher, I don't understand this need some people have to prove God. It strikes me as weakness of faith, actually, that somehow these people cannot believe in something without what they can define as concrete evidence. Trouble is, as we've seen here, what they define as "concrete evidence" isn't concrete either, and cannot pass scientific scrutiny. So, it isn't so much evidence of anything as stuff they can make themselves believe is evidence of their position, not the same thing. It's rather like the way Traditional Christians understand Thomas, but I've already had an Evangelical here explain to me how Evangelicalism has redefined Thomas as a paragon of faith based on experience, and not an example of doubt and weakness of faith.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 17 October 2008 at 4:58pm BST

"indeed denying God as God is widely understood to be"

Oh brother. Whenever I read a phrase like "as God is widely understood", I mentally replace it with "God as understood by [the writer: e.g., Christopher Shell]."

Posted by JCF at Friday, 17 October 2008 at 6:59pm BST

Some believers find non-literal speech apt because in our witness we point to signs of God present without more literal sounding proofs, relying on little else but acts of faith, a daily life lived in risk of that faith.

Others sour, saying phew that witness stinks because it has lost touch with being a literal revelation of God, proved, somehow more reliable or trustworthy because some believers claim - little evidence yet to date - that a literal revelation is pristine, self-contained, untouched by human selfhood or society.

Yet how sad, how small are so many of our current realigned, renewed literalistic efforts to capture deity in verbal or other test tube contraptions, even those made of the scriptures (varied, contradictory?), our traditions (varied, contradictory?), or oddest of all, some new closed system of presuppositional rationalizing that takes its own unexamined assumptions as the best, reliable, unique holy authority while dumbing down best practices in modern hypothesis testing, ethics or theology?

So Jesus saves us – the key measure of which salvation is NOT our loud conviction that we know we are saved, know just how we are saved via some doctrine or creed or presuppositional theology.

Our fearful, high measures are that we live empowered to really love our neighbor as ourselves while we follow and grow in love of God?

Drenched in Anglican Elizabethan Settlement grace we are in the big tent of believers global.

I have already been realigned as a believer by the Elizabethan Settlement, you see, and that all for the better so far as a citizen of the 21st century. I do not need some other sort of Anglican realignment to make me think I am holier than everybody else, turning my neighbor into nothing but a hard target for some doctrine, some creed, some conformity that allegedly will set him or her nothing but right, right, right, right.

Indeed, having been deeply realigned by the Anglican ES, I suspect that other realignments are excess and folly. So long as I remain Anglican at least. All I really need to keep my Anglican big tent standing is something near to the Chicago-Lambeth Quad, that is sufficient covenant and means of grace for me now, and what I surely do not need as Anglican believer is new mean reasons and rules and strategies for collapsing or destroying the big tent. No thanks to presuppositional theologies, too.

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 17 October 2008 at 9:38pm BST

The Report in the Church Times of the Reform Conference stated that they were prepared to play legal games to promote the Gospel......one almost feels that the Lawyers Christian fellowship must be singing " what a Friend we have in Jesus. " I hope that does not sound trite or blasphemous.

legal games... I ask you can any one honestly believe that the General Synod did the wrong thing in rejecting a third province for such persons.

Imagine them self destructing alongside Forward in faith..

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 17 October 2008 at 11:01pm BST

*What dismays me is the vehemence - and at bottom the insecurity - of those who feel that the Faith can only be defended by branding, as enemies within the camp, those who do not* - JAT Robinson

"I am afraid that it's in the vehemence stakes that this is decided, for me at any rate, and you might want to give that some thought." - Orfanum

Dear Orfanum.

I applaud your sentiments about the fact that we too often to vehemently defend our own particular theological stance - on the grounds that those who are not securely in our camp, or indeed those who express any hint of indecision about faith issues at all - are, per se, un-Godly.

My own experience of Bishop John Robinson was when he visited our ecumenical Theological College in Aotearoa/New Zealand in the late 1970s. As an unordained theolog, I was allowed by the local Bishop to take the Reserved Sacrament into the local men's prison. Learning of this, Bishop John asked if he could accompany me into the prison to talk to those who came to the chapel for the mid-week service I was asked to conduct.

Because of the particularity of the circumstance in which the prison authorities allowed me to operate in the prison; I was unable to ask the Bishop to preside at a formal Eucharist. This did not, however prevent him from accompanying me as a member of the ordinary prison congregation. His brief homily to the prisoners, and his obvious respect for them in their situation, convinced me of the Bishop's basic understanding of the real presence of Christ in our joint ministry to the prisoners.

There is little doubt that all of us there were able to discern a true man of God in a place where it really mattered.

The Word has to become flesh - in us and in our minsitry to others in the world - before it can become in any way effective. Theology, in its own context, can be coldly analytical. I guess this is why the clinically academic view of theology can so often deter the ordinary Christian from any exploration of the 'practice of the presence of God' in prayer and daily experience of God in worship. John Robinson had a deep understanding of the mystical in worship, and in his seeking of the incipient presence of God in people. That impressed me - much more than his learned and sometimes challenging written theses about God.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 18 October 2008 at 12:48am BST

Good grief!

Fussing about Bp Robinson's book - written in the 1950s? In which he says that the metaphors about the creation in the Bible are premised on a flat earth, geocentric universe, and are therefore not to be taken literally?

Fuh cryin' out loud!

It must be the Brit equivalent to Americans taking on poor old Bp Pike.

Let's slay the Imaginary Dragon that is already dead anyhow!

Aren't we brave!

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Saturday, 18 October 2008 at 2:56am BST

Plus, the legislation etc. does not speak of 2 integrities (as if they were equal) but of the integrity of those opposed to women clergy.

But this is wrong Frozen. Please check your facts. I quote the record...'all concerned should endeavour to ensure that

(i) discernment of the rightness or otherwise of the decision to ordain women to the priesthood should be as open a process as possible;
(ii) the highest possible degree of communion should be maintained within each diocese; and
(iii) the integrity of differing beliefs and positions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood should be mutually recognised and respected.

Unrelated but revealing of the duplicity of proponents: 'no person or body shall discriminate against candidates either for ordination or for appointment to senior office in the Church of England on the grounds of their views about the ordination of women to the priesthood'
Yeah right!

I've given up on Poppy - saying it ad nauseam merely means she has the last word rather than gets it right...plus her original comments as well as being wrong, were off topic and simply needed correction. For all its flaws the Act of Synod hastened the ordination of women in all areas of the CofE - and provided at least a flimsy framework to include people who disagreed with each other then and continue to do so.


Posted by Neil at Saturday, 18 October 2008 at 3:18pm BST

Neil,

All you are saying is that in Alternative Provision you got what you wanted, and that there would have been progress with out it. The first is obviously true, and ignores all those who are terribly hurt and demeaned by the Act. You still fail to advance any evidence of the second, and ignore all arguments that you are wrong.

Posted by poppy tupper at Saturday, 18 October 2008 at 8:19pm BST

Re metaphors of depth vs metaphors of height.

The only passing preference for depth comes from modern shifts, which may yet shift again. In the Ptolemaic three-tier cosmos, height was as far as thinking could go. Now space modules and cosmic astronomy reach into far, far, far galaxies to listen and watch and measure. Heights, then, have possibly been domesticated by hypothesis testing methods in ways that depth has yet to be.

One may readily conclude that origins, as in the creationism vs evolutionary controversies, is another of these vexed yet inevitably changing lexicons into which theology delves, seeking metaphorical articulateness.

The depths of our global seas are still as mysterious and unstudied as the far galaxies in key respects. That status may be changed, probably will be changed if we survive.

The depths of human nature are still yet more mysterious and unknown than the oceans. Great -and deep? - changes in what we know to be true of human nature and of nature are still erupting in the current century. Example? The widespread evidence of same sex behaviors and even pairbonding in multiple animal species, not to mention our long-standing but falsely negativized knowledge of the same among humans - all with no causal indicators of detriment or incompetence per se. The discovery of equality in genetics of reproduction, once and for all removing the formerly certain biological bases of males-first, males-only tribal preference systems.

So long as much in the human brain, peripheral nervous system, and body remain unknown and unconscious to us - we shall to that extent resonate with metaphors of depth in ways which were formerly automatic to metaphors of heights. New biology/medicine shifts old metaphors of life, death, grave, and resurrection, too.

Good luck stopping it all by silencing empirical investigations as well as investigators in a fruitless effort to set empirical truth in false (because unchangeable, uncorrectable) eternal rock.

But depth, too, shall pass. That is the deeper, more accurate message of JAT's book - and still the traditionalists want to do mean, bloody battle about the common sense obvious message of change.

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 18 October 2008 at 9:18pm BST

Why has no one commented that a Reform Parish...Jesmond ( Newcastle upon Tyne ) has planted and built a 200 member church in Durham Diocese...where Bishop Wright is pro-women but holds the line on homosexuality.

Surely the rebellion is already started and the bench of bishops are pretending it is not there.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 19 October 2008 at 7:05am BST

Am I right in thinking that Jesmond is a slightly peculiar (from a legal point of view) establishment? Some sort of quasi-independent entity?

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Sunday, 19 October 2008 at 1:44pm BST

No it is a parish church of the Diocese of Newcstle upon Tyne....with a curate not licensed by the bishop, and refusing to pay its quota.
Bishops of the Church of England in South africa have performed confirmations.

With a congregation of 800 plus...(they throw away the leftover communion elements). It was the Church that nurtured me as an Anglican, and there are some lovely Christian people who attend there.

Why leave the Church of England and lose your building , when you can continue on like this.....all the pretence of still belonging but going your own way.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 19 October 2008 at 5:11pm BST

What point, precisely, are you trying to make here, Robert?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 20 October 2008 at 11:17am BST

Various points:
(1) Drdanfee - Of the various dimensions of scriptural interpretation - which are in any case complementary and not alternatives - all the others depend on the literal, since if you do not understand what the words you are reading mean you will scarcely be in a position to do any other kind of interpretation (or else the interpretation you do will be incorrect).
What is the mechanism whereby one does any other kind of scriptural interpretation without having first done the literal? This seems like a logical impossibility.

(2) Cynthia, Robinson's book was 1963, and in any case the date is utterly irrelevant, unless the whole point of life is to be fashionable and up to date. (Or alternatively fogeyish and reactionary.) Which it isn't. Date is neutral and irrelevant when it comes to matters of truth.

(3) Ford, it's a philosophical point. The apophatic is circular in much the same way that logical positivism or relativism are circular: namely, as a system they fail their own criteria. What has any of that to do with psychological needs?

(4) JCF - when did I say that I believed in the pre-Robinson purely-height God? I was simply making the logical point that to redefine something can be to deny the existence of the supposed reality that was meant to be referred to by the traditional definition. People seem to think that by redefining you reaffirm, and that is not logically the case. By redefining, you can sometimes, effectively, deny.

(5) Hi Pluralist - I can see anti-gnostic rhetoric in Luke 24. 1 Cor. 15 is our earliest and also fullest account of resurrection appearances, from around 25 years after the events but explicitly based on an older tradition probably passed on to Paul around 7 years after the events. (a) The 'spiritual', whatever that is understood to be, does not 'appear'. (b) Least of all to 500 at once, or to unbelievers like Paul and James. (c) Why emphasise that Jesus was buried and then raised? (d) What change actually took place 'on the third day' - clearly an event called raising toko place on that day and no other.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Monday, 20 October 2008 at 1:50pm BST

OK, 3,000 angry fundamentalists are threatening to go away, and this is supposed to be a bad thing? What am I missing here?

Posted by JPM at Monday, 20 October 2008 at 3:30pm BST

"if you do not understand what the words you are reading mean you will scarcely be in a position to do any other kind of interpretation"

I'm glad to see you acknowledge this part of the "progay" argument. The OT is written in Hebrew, the NT in Greek. In both cases, there are words of which we no longer know the original meaning. One of them has been translated "homosexual" yet in one of the few extrabiblical uses of the word, it refers to a man going out to seduce women, so not homosexual. By the same token, 'repentance' translates 'metanoia', which is not remorse for past crime, as most Western Christians, especially Evangelicals, believe, but "change of mind" ie changing from an Earthly mind to a Heavenly. So, yes, our ignorance of the meaning of words can, and has, caused us great problems. Some would say it is what has led the Church to vilify, oppress, and murder gay people.

"as a system they fail their own criteria"

As I said, apophatic theology is very important in Christianity, especially Eastern Christianity. Are you suggesting that something that has played so great a part in Christian theology for the past 2 millennia is a failure?

"(a) The 'spiritual', whatever that is understood to be, does not 'appear'. (b) Least of all to 500 at once, or to unbelievers like Paul and James."

Are you sure about that? I wouldn't agree with this at all, though I DO believe the resurrection is a real thing, and not merely reanimating a corpse, nor a vision of some distraught believers, nor a hope that we can improve, and certainly not the "awakening of the Cristos within" a la Harper's neoGnosticism.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 20 October 2008 at 5:45pm BST

Well Ron..the fact I am trying to make is that the schism ( which they are threatening over women bishops) is already de facto.

Why has Bishop Wright not done anything about the Church plant?

If I was of your Eucharistic view, I would also be upset by the ledftover elements..but that doesn't bother me because I accept Apostolicae Curae.

The attitude of the Bishops in England has nurtured this schism....as is Rowan williams' inaction.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Monday, 20 October 2008 at 6:15pm BST

RIW: "If I was of your Eucharistic view, I would also be upset by the leftover elements..but that doesn't bother me because I accept Apostolicae Curae."

Am I the only one who finds that a tad offensive? It isn't really germane to the discussion, is it? Many of my RC friends would be very upset by such an ultramontane Vatican I jeer.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Tuesday, 21 October 2008 at 10:21am BST

"Am I the only one who finds that a tad offensive?"

Well, I don't. But then again, I think the old joke about Pius XII saying the Blessing over Incense when Anglicans asked for a blessing to be absolutely hilarious!

"May you be blessed by Him in honour of whom you shall be burned!"

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 21 October 2008 at 12:33pm BST

Ford-

There is a danger of sleight of hand here. Resurrection is not merely the reanimation of a corpse - agreed. But it must be at least that, even though it is more. If it is not at least that, then how can it be accurately termed 'resurrection'?

It reminds me of Giles Fraser's CT testimony about a year ago, about an interview he endured. The question was (roughly) 'Do you believe in the resurrection?', and his answer was 'Yes, and moreover I want to go on beyond believing in it to its real-life and here-and-now dimensions.'

The second part of this would be agreed on all hands - how could it not be? Tom Wright and Oliver O'Donovan make it a cornerstone of their respective systems.

The first part of GF's answer is more evasive. One cannot (a) skate over the historical dimension; nor can one (b) create a false either/or between historical and here-and-now. (c) Merely believing in hope, believing in coming back from dark situations, or being positive - well these are things we all respond positively to. It would be very strange and contrary if we did not. But they do not remotely equate to 'resurrection', which is a word with a very particular meaning.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Tuesday, 21 October 2008 at 12:41pm BST

The Pius xii joke might be funny if we didn't remember that he sat back watched as millions of jews were taken off to be burned and didn't say a word against it. Saint Pius xii? Pshaw!

Posted by poppy tupper at Tuesday, 21 October 2008 at 1:05pm BST

Ford -- I thought that was Pius IX (who really was charming & had a great sense of humor -- even if he was ignorant & a megalomaniac) -- BTW, I still use that prayer (when I bless incense, not heretics or schismatics, as the case may be)

Posted by Prior Aelred at Tuesday, 21 October 2008 at 3:05pm BST

""If I was of your Eucharistic view, I would also be upset by the leftover elements..but that doesn't bother me because I accept Apostolicae Curae."

Robert, I've read that Apostolicae Curae reflects the Vatican's teaching on the subject of Anglican Orders at the time of its promulgation, but not necessarily today, because of the participation of Old Catholics in Anglican ordinations. Comment?

Oh, and if this is parish is your idea of "normative Anglicanism," it explains an awful lot about your postings.

Posted by BillyD at Tuesday, 21 October 2008 at 3:25pm BST

Ah Mr Shell,...

... surely you cannot really mean (A) that even earthly knowledge rests solely on literal, closed, objective certainty in all meanings, all definitions. Either in any and all instances, or more to the disputed point, in especially those instances when we are speaking of something highly significant ... examples, honesty, trust, love, our many different human ethical motivations? Such reliance on an allegedly safe and secure literalism would cook out almost the entire subtley of language, completely erasing most poetry as spoken true, at least as humans (and perhaps some species?) seem to really think and communicate.

I think everyday observations will fairly demonstrate that not even our earthly narratives rest on nothing but objectified literalistic grounds, and that much of the shorthand speech we commonly take for granted as effective hovers as shorthand on the in-between dim verges of literalism/non-literalism. Instead, I would suggest that much of our speech power derives precisely from how often we take something that has objective literal reference (at least partly), then use it to point to non-literal or inter-subjective earthly things. Non-literal, intersubjective power and subtlety then. Empirical hypothesis testing a particularly codified, clear version of this larger example of how our thought and speech move, dynamic.

Then to go further by (B) claiming that in any case, when we speak of heavenly things a comprehensive-objective-transcendant literalness that does not, cannot carry through even ordinary thought and spoken earthly references must somehow suddenly obtain, absolutely, in heavenly revelation ones - well, I applaud your gymnastic backflips, but cannot agree. So far.

Posted by drdanfee at Tuesday, 21 October 2008 at 6:52pm BST

Hi drdanfee-

That is absolutely true about life in general; whereas it is not at all true when it comes to the accurate interpretation of texts.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 12:34pm BST

"Resurrection is not merely the reanimation of a corpse - agreed. But it must be at least that, even though it is more."

Well, St. Paul gives us the analogy of the wheat. You sow a grain of wheat, and a plant comes up in it's place. That can't be said to be reanimation of the grain of wheat, what springs up from the ground is far more than a grain of wheat, and the Resurrection Body is far more than the body lain in the ground. Don't be confused, Christopher, I DO believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. It's just that it seems that many conservatives, especially Evangelicals, seem to think that if we claim that the Physical Body that was laid in the tomb did not get up off the slab and walk around, then we are denying the bodily Resurrection of Jesus. Well, I challenge you to go to a wheat plant and find anything that remains of the original grain. That grain did not come up out of the ground, it developed into something else that came up out of the ground. So with the Resurrection. A body got off the slab and walked, granted, but it was the first fruits of the Resurrected Body we will all wear one day. It had other characteristics that identified it as well. It could pass through walls, it could appear and disappear, etc. Some, a very few, of the saints achieve this in this life. Most of us do not have the time or the ability, much less are we given that particular Grace, to so "work out our salvation in fear and trembling" that we attain theosis in this life, but the very rare few who do can also pass through walls and be in two places at once. Not only that, but some of them are reported to glow with the Light that comes from God. The Resurrection Body is not a reanimated corpse at all, it is something completely different.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 2:23pm BST

No Billy Apostolicae Curae is still in force...King Arthur wielding any sword does not make it Excalibur...and an Old Catholic bishop using the Anglican ordinal does not necessarily make a bishop. Remember the context of even new Anglican ordination rites is still the thirty nine articles.

Jesmond style Evangelicalism is normative for millions of Anglicans around the world.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 6:26pm BST

"Remember the context of even new Anglican ordination rites is still the thirty nine articles."

Only if you think that Anglican = CofE. In the United States, for example, the 39 Articles have no force. Ordinands have never had to subscribe to them.

Posted by BillyD at Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 8:11pm BST

"Jesmond style Evangelicalism is normative for millions of Anglicans around the world."

Yes, in places like Sydney and parts of Africa. For millions of other Anglicans, it is not. Like I said, that you think this is the default position explains an awful lot.

Posted by BillyD at Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 8:50pm BST

A former Episcopal priest I know was conditionally re-ordained as a Roman Catholic priest because of the Old Catholic line in his ordination line of succession (& because he had gone to the trouble of getting an official statement of his situation from a Dominican working in the Vatican) -- things are not always so clear cut in Rome (although they frequently like to give the impression that they are).

Posted by Prior Aelred at Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 12:25am BST

1. Pius IX was affectionately referred to as Pio No-No (a pun on his name and number in Italian) for a reason.

2. RIW, your knowledge of the Roman position outlined in AC is defective. The defect or form was found to be in the ordinal of 1550 - and part of the case for its defectiveness is that the alleged defects were corrected in 1604. AC then argues that, all valid ministry having been lost, ordinations from that point fail on the basis os invalid minister, not invalid form. This argument then falls, not solely due to the "Dutvh Touch," but to the participation of the Dean of St. Paul's (formerly RC Bishop of Spoleto) in the ordination of Laud, through whom all present Anglican orders are traced.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 4:35am BST

No the context of the new Anglican rite in TEC is the ordination of men and women to Holy Orders.

This is the new " native character and spirit " of the ordinal..which like the "native character and spirit" of the original ordinal, is by the standards of Apostolicae Curae the chief reason why the rite is invalidated.

Protestant context in 1550 invalidated it.
Feminist context in 1979 invalidated it.

That is from the Roman Catholic perspective of course.

By the way doubts are now rising about the Old Catholics as most churches in the Union of Utrecht now ordain women.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 6:31am BST

@Robert Ian Williams:

No such doubts were raised in discussions regarding possible reunion of the German Old Catholics with Rome. In fact in the ongoing dialogue, as reported by the German bishop +Joachim Vobbe at the Old Catholic synod in Mainz in 2007, the Roman side suggested they would "tolerate" female ordination in a future union with the Old Catholics.

Apostolicae Curae makes its case based on defective form of the rites, not intent. You're mixing apples and oranges. And given your stated support for women's ordination...well, you can't have your cake and eat it, too. :-P

Posted by Walsingham at Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 9:23am BST

Prior Aelred says:A former Episcopal priest I know was conditionally re-ordained as a Roman Catholic priest because of the Old Catholic line in his ordination line of succession (& because he had gone to the trouble of getting an official statement of his situation from a Dominican working in the Vatican) -- things are not always so clear cut in Rome (although they frequently like to give the impression that they are).

Response: everyone of the bishops and priests received into the Catholic Church and accepted for the priesthood since 1994 in England was ordained unconditionally.The one exception was Monsignor Graham leonard, and this was based on his supplementary episcopal ordination..when a participating Old Catholic said words separately from the Anglican ordinal, from a pre-aranged request.

And yet even here, conditional ordiantion had to be insisted on.

There is not one Anglican ordained exclusively by an Anglican rite in 456 years who has been accepted in his orders in the Catholoic Church.

On that Rome is pretty clear cut.

However this should not detract from the fact that there are many Anglican clergy ( men and wome ) who are lovely people seeking to serve our Blesseed Lord according to the lights they have...who have blessed many lives , including mine.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Thursday, 23 October 2008 at 6:22pm BST

"However this should not detract from the fact that there are many Anglican clergy ( men and wome ) who are lovely people seeking to serve our Blesseed Lord according to the lights they have...who have blessed many lives , including mine."

Have you any idea how patronising this sounds?

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 24 October 2008 at 8:28am BST

"...However this should not detract from the fact that there are many Anglican clergy (men and women) who are lovely people seeking to serve our Blesseed Lord according to the lights they have -..who have blessed many lives , including mine."
- Robert Ian Williams -

Bravo, Robert. Let's have no more then of this carping and cavilling about the Anglican Church - as though it were not part of the Catholic Church

Remember the Holy Thursday Propers:

"Where charity and love are ..There is God.
Let all malicious wrangling and contentions cease and let Christ our God be in the midst of us."

N.B. When in Rome, I actually do receive the Holy Eucharist at Saint Peter's Basilica - without fear of rejection from the Christ who is present in the Sacred Elements. He belongs to all of us - not just to Roman Jurisdiction Catholics.
Deo Gratias!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 24 October 2008 at 10:34am BST

Hi Ford-
Your analogy does not support your stance, as grain to full ear of wheat is an example of physical continuity and development, just like acorn to oak, caterpillar to butterfly.

If you're saying that the body got up and walked (or was understood to have done so) and that it was far more than the original body -then surely we are saying the same thing as one another, and a different thing from David Jenkins - who I suspect is saying nothing coherent.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Friday, 24 October 2008 at 12:26pm BST

Its meant from the heart Erika.....and a bit more charity on your part towards the trads wouldn't come amiss either.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 24 October 2008 at 6:29pm BST

"then surely we are saying the same thing as one another, and a different thing from David Jenkins - who I suspect is saying nothing coherent."

So you've based all your comments here on your interpretation of someone who you admit not to understand? Or not to have read?

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 9:37am BST

RIW
I feel no charity towards anyone who belittles my faith and believes it to be of secondary status.
Its the one big problem I have with Roman Catholics, not with the individuals I know, not with the many inclusive priests I know, but with the official hierarchy and those who defend it.

I find this "we're right and you're wrong" attitude to be deeply un-Christian, completely missing the point of what Christ was about, and in today's increasingly divisive world, an actual and real danger to our society.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 10:49am BST

The issue for me, as someone who is clear that no dead human walked off a slab, as we rot very quickly when dead, nor descended through earth or went upwards through air, and was probably left on his cross before dumped in a pit, is whether resurrection has meaning, in Pauline terms, in terms of stories told (they have that characteristic) by the early Churches, as motivators. People of that time, and since, embellish and make concrete what is abstract, and that's what all this looks like to me.

It doesn't bother me that people claim Jesus got off some slab having been dead a short while. They have no historical method to show any of this is true, nor even probable, so I'd say at risk of my membership of the club that either resurrection has to have some community in the present meaning or it has no meaning.

Posted by Pluralist at Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 2:30pm BST

"It doesn't bother me that people claim Jesus got off some slab having been dead a short while."

How very enlightened of you.

Posted by BillyD at Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 3:27pm BST

"I feel no charity towards anyone who belittles my faith and believes it to be of secondary status."

Of course, Christian love or charity is not so much a matter of emotions - of feeling - as it is a matter of the will.

Posted by BillyD at Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 3:29pm BST

BillyD
"Of course, Christian love or charity is not so much a matter of emotions - of feeling - as it is a matter of the will. "

There you are right, of course, and I should have responded more positively.

Having said that, I AM rather sick and tired of being told by various people from various segments of Christianity that I don't really fit in until I change my beliefs, my sexuality, preferably my gender... pretty much everything that makes me me.
Maybe time to leave TA for a while!

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 7:47pm BST

Erika, I'm not so much concerned with "keeping it positive" as I am with the popular misconception that Christian love is a matter of the emotions, or that the emotions are subject to commands. If "Love your neighbor" means feeling only warm fuzzies about them, then I'm screwed. If it means consistently acting in my neighbors' interest, I might have a chance at obeying it.

Posted by BillyD at Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 8:37pm BST
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