Thinking Anglicans

Saturday papers

Christopher Howse in the Daily Telegraph had this to say about the papal announcement on the Tridentine Mass: The facts about a misreported Mass.

David Bryant in the Guardian wrote about Jean-Paul Sartre in Face to faith.

In The Times Stephen Plant writes about Simone Weil in A passionate companion on the path to religious truth.

And for a bonus article, here is an extract that the Guardian reprinted from Stephen Bates’ new book, God’s Own Country: Tales from the Bible Belt. The piece is entitled Thou shalt not judge.


  • babyblue says:

    The thing is, the Executive Board has no real power in these things. There was an attempt at General Convention 2006 to kick the Windsor Report down to the Executive Board (Frank Griswold made that comment at a press conference) until the TEC leaders were reminded of their own statements that only General Convention speaks for the entire church. The Executive Council can make recommendations, but their recommendations do not carry the weight of a Diocesan Council’s resolution. The Executive Council will take power if they are handed it by Diocesan Councils. Conservative or Liberal Dioceses should be very wary of attempts by the Executive Council to usurp the authority of Diocesan Councils.

    But this is another example of 815 taking control of the church away from the local Dioceses. As we know the Executive Council also threatened the Diocesan Councils not to amend their constitutions or feel their wrath.

    There is power struggle going on between 815 and the Dioceses – no matter what theological persuasion you may be – and conservatives and liberals should be resisting this attempt by 815 and the Executive Council to reduce the Dioceses to franchises.


  • bb I think you may have meant to comment on another article, namely this one:
    and I assume that you mean to say “Executive Council” not “Executive Board”.

  • JCF says:

    “I set out early, driving through the early summer morning heat, across the flat farmland of Alabama shimmering in the haze, through villages of neat bungalows and trailer homes, past barrack-like churches, fenced-in social housing estates like prison camps and deserted gas stations.”

    I’m sure this “Southern Gothic” exoticism will help sell Bates’ book in the UK, but this side of the Pond, “wha’ ah dodeclaire …”, it sounds cheesy! ;-/

  • Stephen Plant’s write up about Simone Weil was interesting.

    It never ceases to amuse me how people can hate the Jews whilst imagining that God loves other theologies.

    Some of the grudges against the Jews come from newer religions who are offended that their prophets were not acknowledged or mistreated by some Jews.

    One of my challenges to God was that given the same circumstances, some Christians would make the same choices that the Pharisees made when confronted with Jesus. (History has proven me right on that point).

    There’s no point hating the Jews, they are our older siblings. They have to deal with the quandry that they will probably never recognise another alive prophet because they will never get another Moses to take them through Exodus in that format. Like the Christians (and others), they have their puritans and inclusionists. There are those who would like Jesus and Daughter of Zions’ inclusive visions, and for others they are anathema.

    It’s God’s way of keeping us diverse, and it’s fun to listen to the debates. Souls just need to keep their greed and aggression within reasonable boundaries. Not all souls will be in the many rooms of Jesus’ mansion, but God has many mansions, so there is room for everyone. Some mansions are more beautiful than others, generally speaking most are what you make of them. Bring in aggression, you get aggression. Bring in gentleness, you get gentleness.

  • L Roberts says:

    The Church IS Catholic it is one of the ‘marks’ of the Church. Catholic NOT RC. RC is limited , partial — er Roman hardly Catholic in and of itself.

    Those who lazily misuse the word ‘Catholic’ as a synonym for the RC denomination sow confusion.

    ‘Quaker Faith & Practice : a Book of discipline’ ( publ. Friends’ House,Euston, London, UK) is very helpful and clear on this.

    Ritual is a poor substitute for spirituality. Note the word substitute.

  • L Roberts says:

    I found the readers comments and discussion following the Bryant piece fascinating and some very helpful to me, in considering the issues, in my somewhat halting way.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “Ritual is a poor substitute for spirituality. Note the word substitute.”

    Is this a statement of your own belief, or a criticism of that of others? I

  • L Roberts says:

    I believe that I have found ritual to be a poor substitute for spirituality in my own life. I notice that those who are obsessed with ritual matters, have little energy or mental space left to engage with real life and real people. I notice that the anti-gay ritualists spend time and money rushing round thw world, while people need food, shelter and protection (Darfur …). I’d love to see the’primates’ show up at Darfur and do a mass sit down demanding protection for the people. Risking there own lives for others. But no–they are offended that Robinson has opened his mouth, offended that he has a man in his life— and would rather he had loads of anonymous sex, as long as he pretnded to be straight, ‘celibate’ or whatever.

    So often the ritual of eucharist is denied right after by people’s relationships. No symbolism can make up for that. Body of Christ ?

    But on reflection, were Jesus to show up in today’s Church I’m sure he wouldn’t ‘get’ the whole ‘eucharistic’ thing, the slippage from his own Judaism or the role the Church assigned to him post mortem.

  • Erika Baker says:

    Ritual can be as filled and as empty as those participating in it.
    At its best it gives the space for deep spirituality, at its worst it becomes a meaningless substitute for true engagement.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “I notice that the anti-gay ritualists spend time and money rushing round thw world, while people need food, shelter and protection”

    My whole introduction to the “liberal wing” of Anglicanism came through a group of Anglo-catholics whose faith is solidly Incarnational, who do not a tall fit the stereotypes of the faithless liberal, and whose whole spiritual life is ful of ritual, symbolism, and the mystical. It is this that informs their social action, and they are VERY active in social justice issues. The ritual and symbolism serve as means to enter more deeply into Christian truth and to put that truth into concrete practice. For me, the picture you paint is of a small crowd of “leather and lace” Anglicans, not the left wing socialist Anglo-catholicism I have found. I think you’ll find that likeminded clergy are willing to, and have, behaved just the way you describe in the fight for “God’s preferential option”.

  • L Roberts says:

    Sorry folks I wasn’t very clear. I confused two ‘rituals’ I think. I had in mind those who make a ritual of being anti-gay, and go rushing round the world trying to put a stop to gay folks’ emancipation. I wish they rush round the world helping those in obscene poverty and war zones. It’s shocking they wanna put a stop to homosex— in fact, even homo rels (relationships). It is the false priorities that shock me. People are dying.

    My other point was about the dangers of ritual, cultus and special priesthoods in relation to the divine. I believe Jesus warned about this when he spoke of worshipping in spirit and in truth any place of time — doesn’t have to be Jerusalem cultus or Samaria cultus. Or these or those priests (Gospel Four). I wasn’t attacking devout souls here whose spirituality is eucharistic and sacramental. But I am not convinced that the anglican churches as a whole have not subsituted rituals for spirituality — I am going by the antics of some archbishops and bishops in wrecking efforts across the anglican world. This fruit is poor. What is it fit for ?

    Yes, of course, Frank Weston at Zanzibar said, having adored Christ in your Tabernacles — go out and find him and love him in the poor.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “I am not convinced that the anglican churches as a whole have not subsituted rituals for spirituality”

    True, and rules get substituted for spirituality as well. It’s something to ponder that the Anglican groups that most insist on adherence to rules are the same ones that are at best disturbed by, and more often angry at, anything that suggests the supernatural, at least anything supernatural that happens in the Post-Biblical era. It is perhaps telling, though, that the supernatural creeps back in in some very nontraditional ways.

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