Comments: late May opinion

"But every Church should have a habit of being attentive to new comers, and develop an informal collection of group activities outside ordinary services, into which solitary people can fit without difficulty. It is true that many people come to church wanting space and solitude, but few would mind terribly if this were substituted occasionally by genuine companionship and warmth."

- Church Times Leader 28 May -

In terms of the present conflict in the Communion about what the church may best do to fulfil the commandment of Christ to 'Love one another as I have loved you' - without strings attached or moralistic judgement applied - this C.T. Editorial has some very good advice to offer every Church community.

One of the problems with being single, or in any way 'different' in today's society, is that the Church can often be one of the most judgemental and unloving of institutions in which to encounter the unconditional love of the God we profess to serve.

Attitudes of homophobia and misogyny do little to enhance the attraction of joining any community of the faithful. For a young, single, LGBT man or woman confused about their place in life, a loving welcoming Church family can be a way to God.

I have fond memories of the early 1970s at All Saints, Margaret Street, where the Institute of Christian Studies, besides offering week-night meetings for various study groups, also involved both students and clergy meeting together socially after Church and at the weekends. This proved to be a wonderful venue for family worship, shared meals, study and fellowship - both spiritual and secular, which drew many single people as well as families into the orbit a loving community making up a Body of Christ in the heart of London.
- en Christo.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 12:18pm BST

On the left side of the pond, my church holds a good many "non-service" events--an annual whiffle ball game and picnic, Maundy Thursday dinner, Epiphany dinner and auction, pumpkin fair, and other events that are not quite as "annual" (game nights, for instance).

I'm surprised that it seems such are not "standard" in CoE parishes.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 2:01pm BST

If you sit very quietly in that dark cellar at midnight the black cat may find you, even crawl into your lap.
Columba Gilliss

Posted by Columba Gilliss at Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 2:01pm BST

Ian Bradley's viewpoint is well taken and MUST BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY by progressive thinking human beings. The Religious Right has tried to hijack every major Religion with their narrow and sometimes quite violent language and fundamentalist views. It is certainly disappointing and sad that even Rowan Williams seems to be afraid of them and as a result seems to be taking shelter in their narrow interpretation of scriptures and the bible, while sacrificing the human dignity of glbt persons for the sake of "unity". I use to pray that Rowan would have an epiphany on the issues that confront gay people on a daily basis, but I am losing faith in Rowan. It is indeed time to take on Fundamentalism and take it on with vigor.

Posted by Chris Smith at Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 5:04pm BST

Well, bravo to Ayala and other folks for bravely stepping into the supposed gaps and contraries in many different distinctions between religion and science. It is a daunting task, as we usually find when we have to both account for our tasks along with ourselves, especially scrupulous about the methods or strategies by which we dare to proceed. Will any genuine knowing NOT put us at painful risk in a world where large glorious ends cover up and justify very mean means? In science, religion, politics, you name it?

Still, I find Ayala wanting and persistently off key, despite the glow of his Templeton Prize. He deftly simplifies science by omitting its tacit knowledge, then drives down deep in the newly cleared spaces as he generously sweeps away huge realms of society, economics, politics, and psychology (that hybrid of social science and life science) as if nothing ever was there in the first places.

I'm also uncertain of Ayala's take on religion. If pure revealed truth on its own considerable terms cannot be revealed in a lab bottle, what makes Ayala think he's got it locked, pure and clean and referent only to itself, self-verifying, in, say, a religious doctrine, creed, or similar? Ayala fails to comprehend either empirical investigations or religious life as real pilgrimage?

Colomba G is pointing in the right directions, as did Santayana when he opined that religion is poetry.

My problems with Rowan W mainly involve his patent high-minded desire to keep himself spotless by scapegoating whomever is nearly down for the count at any given institutional global moment for Anglican types. He's the finest example of how to claim you are somebody's truest friend while you protect spaces in which deeply awful things are going to reliably be preached about those same erstwhile 'friends'? He's now dissing new Bishop Glasspool - presuming that he discerns her ministry and person better from far afar, than the people involved more locally who actually know her person and her ministry in TEC; with himself as the implicitly comparison touchstone, superior on high. He's embarrassed by gay-friendly Anglican believers, it is pretty clear, unless they are properly deferential and above all, sneak-around-with-old-school-style-whispers-and-nods. In that regard, he's way closer to Lord Carey than I suppose any progressive Anglican dared to suspect.

Alas. Lord have mercy. Oh well, can't let Ayala or Rowan ruin my whole day?

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 6:18pm BST

Good to see Dr.Dan back on the www with 'Thinking Anglicans'. Your comment on Rowan's seeming take on Mary Glasspool's recent bishopping is a sad reality for many of us. Mary's faithfulness to her so-obvious calling (together with that of her colleague Diane) to leadership in TEC is beyond reproach, and therefore an occasion for rejoicing at their episcopal ordination.

In the preachment at Mass this morning at Saint Michael and All Angels, Christchurch, N.Z., our Vicar reminded us of the dynamic all-embracing Love of God at the heart of the Trinity - reaching out to all who would experience it - regardless of who we are! In this context, we in other parts of the Anglican Communion need to give thanks to God - and in every circumstance where the Church reaches out inclusively to ALL PEOPLE.

Holy God, Holy, Mighty, Holy and Immortal; have mercy on your Church, and on ALL to whom you have called her to minister; through Christ Jesus our Redeemer. Amen.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 2:25am BST

Speaking of Naked Emperors: do the Uber-Atheists like Sanderson (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, et al) EVER tire of their own Imperial Certitude? O_o

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 3:59am BST

Ian Bradley's comments deserve to be taken very seriously if the Church of God is to remain true to the Gospel message of loving God, and your neighbour.
May Ian's words be a catalyst for such a beginning. I too live in Scotland, an Episcopalian, and have seen the decline o0f the Church of Scotland influence as it has moved into that fundamentalistic religious right. This is not of the Spirit, and we liberal needs to band together across the faiths. Let it begin here.

Fr John (SCOTLAND)

Posted by Fr John at Sunday, 30 May 2010 at 9:28am BST

I view theology as simply a form of literary criticism about something made up by humans

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 31 May 2010 at 5:34pm BST

"I view theology as simply a form of literary criticism about something made up by humans"

Though we may disagree on many points, here I agree. And, since it is only one volume of works criticized exclusively for more than a millenium, the "theologian" really is nothing more than a sort of church lawyer, arguing one established case against another, depending on who's paying his fee at the time.

A true theologian would have very little time for the nonsense now called "theology," as they'd be busy looking to know God through prayer and meditation!

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 1 June 2010 at 5:21am BST

I view theology as simply a form of literary criticism about something made up by humans"

In one sense it's hard to see what else it could be ! But let's not forget the many ways of doing theology in many times and climes. And the role of experience, reflection, symbols, sharing and other forms of creativity in that doing.

Has not always been literary surely? And need not be today.


Posted by Rev L Roberts at Wednesday, 2 June 2010 at 11:32pm BST
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