Comments: opinion for St George

John Shepherd nails it-

"This is why the Church should have no truck with banality. Yet, sadly, this is not universally the case. Too often, in a quaintly deluded attempt to achieve so-called relevance with a largely unidentified and notional constituency, the words of worship are denuded both of intellectual challenge and poetic imagery, and the music of worship is reduced to the most basic and arid of formulae. This toxic combination has achieved what many thought impossible. The emptying of our churches of those with minds to think, and emotions to inspire. "

Along with the continual bantering from a crazy minority about LGBT participation, this is probably a key item in why attendance is lagging.

Posted by evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh) at Saturday, 24 April 2010 at 3:01pm BST

Code fix needed: The URL in the second item is in mailto format...
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.

Sorry fixed now.

Posted by gbd at Saturday, 24 April 2010 at 5:44pm BST

I believe in Intelligent Design -- now wait a minute, those stones hurt! I believe God is the Intelligence, and evolution of life forms from simple to complex and a universe billions of years in the making is the Design.
People who would force us to teach that the universe is 6,013.5 years old so that their faith in God is affirmed have a petty god for God. People who would have us believe that the Flood was world-wide and crested at 30,000 feet have a conjurer for a god. People who insist on teaching that computer scientists are covering up the fact that the original perpetual calendar programs proved there was an extra day in the year at the time of Joshua have a joker for a God -- not to mention they seem to believe in a geocentric Universe.
According to the movie "Inherit the Wind", which is a thinly veiled dramatization of the Dayton, Tennessee, USA "Scopes Monkey Trial", Clarence Darrow, the counsel for the defense, asked William Bryan, the counsel for the State, about geological evidence showing rocks to be far more ancient than a few thousand years. Bryan’s reply? "I believe in the Rock of Ages -- not the age of rocks!" Bryan meant it as a condemnation of science’s materialism.
But I say “Bingo!”
I throw that remark right back at the biblical literalists and say let science concern itself with the mysteries of the universe and let religion concern itself with Mysteries of faith. Let science concern itself with the source of our material world, and let religion concern itself with the Source of All Being. Let science concern itself with measurements and proofs, and let religion re-confirm the role of faith.
God gave us brains, reason, and intellect. Let scientists use them. Let our youth use them. If your faith can’t withstand the use of God’s gifts, that’s not a defect of science, it’s a flaw in your faith.
God is outside science, by definition. Quit trying to shove God into it. The box is too small.

Posted by peterpi at Sunday, 25 April 2010 at 5:08am BST

"The Christian tradition is now faced with the reality that pleasure and procreation are two separate purposes of sexuality, and many parts of the Christian Church, especially the Vatican, are baffled and angry." - Diarmaid MacCulloch -

Diarmaid's insightful article in the Washington Post is all the more perceptive because he, as a Gay Person, and an acknowledged scholar -not a stranger to theological debate - is speaking from his own experience. This is one of the problems of the Roman Catholic Church's attempts to deny the propriety of outside-marriage sexuality - simply because no-one in leadership has ever, if we can believe them, had any meaningful experience of their innate sexuality, whether privately or with any other person.

Young Catholics, growing up, are officially (and, we are pressed to believe) forbidden to experiment with sexuality as a physical or personal emotional experience. So what has happened to the advice of the gate-keepers on that particular shibboleth, one wonders? Do all young catholics have their very first experience of this most important gift of God - their innate sexuality - on, or after, their wedding night? Such a prospect defies intelligent speculation.

And this is what the Church really needs to come to terms with, and has tried in vain to suppress knowledge of, for the whole period of its earthly existence. Even in the Old Testament, we have the witness of the Song of Songs to open up the possibility of understanding sexuality as God's gift - something joyful and 'full of grace' - not some-thing intended only for the procreation of children (wonderful and necessary though that avenue of sexuality is), or - outside of heterosexual marriage - DIRTY & unspeakable.

It really is past time for the Church to come out of its closet and engages with the reality of how best to celebrate the gift of sexuality as God has endowed it - not from the parsimonious eyes of an enforced culture of the eunuch, but from the real and experiential knowledge of emancipated human beings. To learn the difference between Love and Lust, is of course important. And this is where monogamous committed relationship between two people ought to be the focus of the Churches' teaching about sex. Problems of promiscuity have to be understood, but in the bonds of committed relationships, sexuality can, and does, have an important place. To deny committed sexual bonds between same-sex persons, who are unable to enjoy the more commonly-accepted heterosexual partner-ship - not by option, but by inbuilt preference - might just be denying them the way for them to experience the gift of 'eros' leading to 'agape'

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 25 April 2010 at 8:44am BST

"...Many great scientists have been driven by Christian faith and the roots of modern science lay in the belief that the scientist was "reading the book of Nature", which was understood to be a revelation of God's purposes and character quite as much as the other Book, the Bible was."
- Andrew Brown, Guardian Blog -

So much for the old chestnut 'Science v Religion'. As Andrew Brown so rightly suggest here, God has given us a brain - together with all our senses - with which to identify his signature upon all creation. I know of at least one modern-day scientist who was a practising Christian, Lord Rutherford of Nelson (NZ), whose research into nuclear fission did not distract him from the world of spirituality.

The question to be asked is - what do we do with the knowledge that we gain through scientific speculation? Is it of any practical use? Well, I had to undergo a bone scan recently, and the agency of this revolutionary treatment happened to be a machine in the School of Nuclear Medicine. This is certainly one helpful, humanitarian use of scientific development.

Modern science has discovered certain facts about the known world. Therein lies the possibility of the acceptance, or rejection, of the biological, physiological, psychological and theological implications, for instance, of gender and sexual differentiation. The Church, all too sadly, is often lagging behind the world - in adapting to the emerging landscape of new discovery, and assessing the need for different parameters of what may be needed to bring about justice and integrity in the complex area of human life and human relationships.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 25 April 2010 at 1:06pm BST
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