Am I the only person who finds settling scores from the pulpit an unbecoming approach?
The video's now "removed by user."
It is good to hear a senior colleague speaking about the problem of wealth, the root of many ills in our society and in our church. So many dioceses shame poor parishes (and it seems poor cathedrals) while commending the rich. The Letter of James warns us against such behaviour, but we never learn.
The rich, of course, police the public space by defining 'good manners' and 'good practice', so it is welcome that Dean Taylor has rejected such hypocrisy and used his farewell sermon to such effect, though it will be no surprise to veterans of teacher's retirement parties.
God bless Dean Taylor in his retirement and long may he grow old disgracefully!
"Am I the only person who finds settling scores from the pulpit an unbecoming approach?"
Depends on the "score" to be "settled," don't you think?
Generally speaking, it would be unbecoming of the Church to act illegally or unpastorally.
And for the Church to expect its victims in return to observe a "Christ-like" silence would be hypocritical, if not pathological.
How many times has that expectation gotten the Church into serious trouble?
Simon, Is it becoming to read the motive for a challenge from the pulpit in less than the most charitable way, as "settling scores"?
Jeremy, plenty of truth in your points as generalisations, but as we do not know both sides of the story I think some care should be taken in assuming this is the whole picture.
Whilst knowing nothing of the circumstances at Peterborough Cathedral, it seems somewhat harsh for the Dean to have to fall on his sword over financial mismanagement when, I assume, the Cathedral has a Chapter Clerk/Chief Exec., a Finance Manager, and a Chapter with overarching responsibility for finance. Unless the Dean personally overrode the financial decisions of these other people, why is he being made the scapegoat? Would incompetence by the Finance Director of a Diocese result in the early retirement of the Diocesan Bishop? I doubt it, somehow.
I can't say my sensibilities are 100% comfortable with such use of the pulpit. But it's preferable to what he has to say going unsaid or unheard.
And when it comes to the gross abuses of the Gospel that church leadership has been inflicting on segments of church membership in recent years, objecting to this use of the pulpit is straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.
Anyway that's my opinion. No one need agree with me.
Simon and David - on settling scores from the pulpit - I think this is implicit in much preaching even today. In the history of the church it has at some times and in some places been normal. My preference is for what is done "at all times and in all places" - but the fact that this is exceptionable and reportable in the way it is illustrates in some way the condition of the church as reported in the text of the sermon. I know I am a pretty average boring parish priest, but I do aspire for my colleagues and congregation to be more exciting than I am.
"as we do not know both sides of the story I think some care should be taken in assuming this is the whole picture."
If that is so, then perhaps we should also hesitate to describe the sermon as unbecoming.
Valedictory comments are always important, even if they are partial. They need to be recorded. Removing the YouTube file was crass. Clearly the cathedral authorities have been got at. The sermon will reappear in full somewhere, perhaps directly from the preacher's server.
Perhaps part of the problem with Peterborough is that it is a large and costly church to maintain in a city that is not really much of a tourist destination - if denizens of the city and soke will forgive me for putting it that way.
I attended a 'high sheriff's justice service' (in lieu of evensong) there last Sunday afternoon (2 October).The acting dean, Canon Jonathan Baker, preached a creditable and 'inclusive' sermon, and there was a reading from the Koran given by children from the Faiazan-e-Madina mosque in the city: north Peterborough has acquired a substantial Muslim population in recent years. It looks to me as though the erstwhile dean Taylor's 'inclusive theology of mission' has survived his departure, at least for the time being.
The Dean asks "Where among the leaders of today are the colourful clerics and turbulent priests, the prickly prophets, the rebels and reformers?"
A good question. I was thinking whom, from the past I'd put in that category in the C of E.
David Jenkins, Ken Leech...
Who else? And what about women?
If the information in the article is correct, that the cathedral finances were so mismanaged that its staff were at risk of not being paid, then enforced 'retirement' seems entirely appropriate.
To the names James suggested could be added many other disturbers of the peace: John Robinson, Alec Vidler, Edward Carpenter, Harry Williams, Paul Oestreicher, Geoffrey Lampe, Don Cupitt, Sherwin Bailey, Alisteir Hardy, Elaine Pagels, John Habgood, Howard Root, Henry Chadwick, Keith Ward, Alister McGrath and nearly all English winners of the Templeton prize, which awards $1m annually to the author who best bridges the gap between modern science and a contemporary understanding of the Christian faith.
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