Thinking Anglicans

apology for Aitken error

The Guardian has published an apology to its readers, and has removed Jonathan Aitken’s original article This isn’t the Anglican split from the website.

In a Comment article, This isn’t the Anglican split, page 28, July 5, it was stated that Dr Elaine Storkey, in a meeting of staff and students, compared the principal of Wycliffe Hall, Dr Richard Turnbull, to “one of the Nazi defendants at Nuremberg”. This was incorrect. She did not compare Dr Turnbull to the Nazi defendants or use the words quoted. We apologise for this error.

For the curious, Google has a cached copy here.

That has now also gone. But you can still read the original article via this copy.

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Ford ElmsErika BakerGöran Koch-SwahneNPPluralist Recent comment authors
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matthewhunt
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matthewhunt

Wow, Aitken sometimes LECTURES at Wycliffe Hall?

So the place can’t be quite all that it’s cracked up to be.

Looks like he’s stabbed himself in the foot again with that ‘sword of truth’.

NP
Guest
NP

good old Grauniad

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

NP

It was the Guardian that apologised.

But the words that gave offence had been written by Jonathan Aitken himself, who has not apologised.

This is not a case of a newspaper misreporting somebody, this is a case of a guest columnist making a false statement.

I wonder if you think Aitken should apologise.

NP
Guest
NP

Simon – I certainly think he should and thought his intervention in the issue was unnecessary in the first place…..I also think The Guardian has a responsibility to make sure even guest columnists have their facts straight, do you not?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Here’s the original TA Aitken article thread with comments http://thinkinganglicans.org.uk/mt/comments?entry_id=2490

Prior Aelred
Guest

You mean Jonathan Aitken lied? “I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you!”

Next you’ll be rubbishing poor Lords Black & Archer.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

What took them 20 good days?

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

This falsehood didn’t start with Aitken. As I asked on July 5th, “whose talking points might Aitken be fronting here?”

NP, using this as an occasion to knock on the Guardian is just a little obtuse – talk about “shoot the messenger”.

Göran, good to hear from you again and excellent point.

Brian MacIntyre
Guest
Brian MacIntyre

“I also think The Guardian has a responsibility to make sure even guest columnists have their facts straight, do you not?” To some extent, yes. But they’d have to employ large teams of researchers and lawyers to make sure of that, and newspapers run on tight deadlines. In fact newspapers frequently don’t get their facts straight. I used to love to play “spot the groaner” with a particular columnist who wrote for a Toronto paper. He’d make two or three of them a week. My personal favourite was when he described E.M. Forster’s novel Maurice, as not being about homosexuality… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

It would be impossible for the Guardian to check all facts in all columns given their deadlines. Indeed this is one of the shallownesses of journalism, and what distinguishes it from research: that deadlines demand that pieces are dashedd off without proper checking. Isn’t it obvious that the Guardian in this instance is just falling into the ‘tell the punters what they want to hear’ category? If this site is to report on any serious news media, it should report on those who rise above that ‘tell them what they want to hear’ mentality. Trouble is, there are almost none… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

You’d have thought that by now the Guardian would have had some insight into Aiken’s veracity.

philbody
Guest
philbody

How many people will have seen the apology compared to the number of people who read the article? And WHY was such a comment attributed to Elaine storkey? WHO is really behind this – sounds like Aitken has just been taken in. Will there also be apologies for all the errors in the rest of the article? And will this hit the same headlines as before?
Nice to see the apology, but surely more needs to be said? Maybe even a proper investigation as to why someone wanted to blacken Storkey’s name?

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

I laughed years ago at seeing statements such as “Train crashes into car”. Other than getting the facts wrong, I did’nt realize that cars acted upon their own suicidal tendancies and drove out in front of oncoming locomotives.

We learned years ago here in the U.S. that it is not news, it’s entertainment.

Keith
Guest
Keith

Access to even the cached copy has now been blocked, both on Google and on the Guardian. One wonders, of course, what it was that got said that could then be so misreported.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

So it has Keith, but Anglican Mainstream has a copy, which I have now linked above. (And I have saved a copy too.)

bertie.g
Guest
bertie.g

I’ve just read the article, and it sounds all very dodgy. If everything is so rosy at Wycliffe Hall, why have more than half the staff resigned? And if Aitken wasn’t at those meetings, why did he think these things were said? He could only have got the information from somebody who fed him a line. It does seem obvious who!
Is there going to be another libel/perjury case?

Paul Frost
Guest
Paul Frost

Come one bertie.g, please make some effort to get your facts right – nobody with any inside knowledge has claimed that everything is so rosy at Wycliffe Hall although the reality is not quite as bad as some claim. Yet not even the newspapers are claiming over half the staff have resigned! Hyperbole is one way to make your point but it is not always helpful.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

“If this site is to report on any serious news media, it should report on those who rise above that ‘tell them what they want to hear’ mentality.” I would love to paraphrase that. “If this site is to share any serious theology, it should share about those who rise above that ‘tell them what they want to hear’ mentality.” e.g. God is both masculine and feminine; God loved humanity before Jesus’ incarnation and will love humanity even after Gaia and her inhabitants have been absorbed back into the sun; God cares about justice in this world; tyranny is not… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Philbody wrote: “WHY was such a comment attributed to Elaine Storkey? WHO is really behind this – “

One might continue: WHY is this sort of thing allowed to go on and on without anybody at Wycliffe Hall speaking up? There must have been OTHERS in that room?

Is it true that half of the staff resigned? In what FORM and WAY?

WHAT did the good lady say? WHY was it misrepresented?

and ON and ON…

Robert Leduc
Guest
Robert Leduc

Agreed almost entirely, Cheryl – except that God is neither masculine nor feminine.

Frozenchristian
Guest
Frozenchristian

About 6 staff have left or are leaving:

David Wenham resigned as Vice principal because he could not work with Turnbull and was then offered a job in Bristol so is leaving completely;

Adrian Chatfield is moving to Ridley after about a year on the staff at WH;

the Director of pastoral Studies is leaving;

the evangelism lecturer is leaving.

Turnbull has appointed:
Simon Vibert to be Vice principal;
Liz Hoare to reach Spirituality;
Will Donaldson to be pastoral Studies director;
A N Other to teach NT

JPM
Guest
JPM

This is very shocking. If you can’t trust a perjurer and influence peddler, then who can you trust? What is the world coming to?

NP
Guest
NP

Robert Leduc – I trust your father was a man…..and we have been taught to pray “Our Father”….but maybe you know better than the one who taught us that prayer.

I look forward to “liberals” coming up with “our Parent” or “our Significant Elder of no Gender” prayers as the revision continues!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“we have been taught to pray “Our Father””

Are you actually saying that God is male? Have you been led that far astray?

Pluralist
Guest

Here’s one: O Birth giver! Father-Mother of the Cosmos Direct the light to us And clear the space inside for the Holy Name to live – So that it may reign and do its work. We desire the heavenly light and love as our earthly reality Grant our life and soul and our bodily food for fulfilment. Restore the unburdened state by removing all binds and debts: As we do. Free us from delusions and inappropriate actions that hold us back There is, we know, the fertile abundance, the ability and the energy from time to time of Holy earthly… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

“I look forward to “liberals” coming up with “our Parent””

Oh, please, NP! That childish Daily Mail ‘political correctness gone mad’ nonsense went out in the 80’s.

Yes, there will be some Christians who are uncomfortable with the male gender stereotypes to the point of overthrowing trad. language and imagery (remember the Christa statue?), but there are plenty of COnsEvs who seem to believe that God is genetically male, which is just as unacceptable! Most of us remember that imagery is just that….

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“That childish Daily Mail ‘political correctness gone mad’ nonsense went out in the 80’s.”

Not entirely. In this country, there are those who use Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer instead of the traditional Trinitarian formula. I have also heard “Our Father/Mother”. My issues with this, BTW, have nothing to do with gender.

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Thanks Pluralist. Its very good. Scans and flows well. Lovely images. With incitement to doing the truth !

I have that book, it is very stimulating. Important to try to contact the Aramaic world of Jesus’ living and thought.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford, what are your issues with “Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer”? Or with “Our Mother”, in the right context? When NP says that “I trust your father was a man… and we have been taught to pray “Our Father”, it strikes me that any attempt at making God appear less paternalistic and HUMAN is only to be welcomed. Allowing God to be God, unfathomable, not pin-downable, definitely outside our scope of understanding, is the one strength Orthodoxy has in my understanding. The evangelical trying to define God, to make him explicable and human like the strict father you and I know who… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Erika – John 1:12 – the whole point of the incarnation is that He is not unknowable!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Erika, The Trinity is defined in terms of the Trinity: Father is Father to the Son, Son is Son of the Father, Spirit procedes from the Father. ‘CRS’ language defines the Trinity in terms of us. It is an incredibly self referential(for us), and I would argue arrogant albeit unconsciously so, way of defining the Almighty, as if He has no meaning outside of what He has done for us. It also does to God what the world does to humans, it defines Him, not in terms of what He is, but of what He does, as though God’s, and… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the whole point of the incarnation is that He is not unknowable!” We’ve been here! The whole point of apophatic theology, not exactly a small fringe approach(!), is precisely that God is unknowable in His essence! It goes all the way back to the Fathers, NP, who I hope you would agree knew a little more about theology than you or me! The wonderful paradox, and the faith is all about paradoxes, is that He IS knowable in Jesus. Sorry, your gleeful jumping on this one is off base. Erika is not stating some funky New Age thingy. This is… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

Ford,

Great points on anthropomorphism. Everyone falls into this error at times.

Also agree we can not fully know God as He is beyond our capacity to understand. He has revealed parts of Himself to us and I believe we can have confidence in these things.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Chris,
When I talk about mysticism and the supernatural in the Church, this is what I am talking about. Western Christianity has sought for hundreds of years to define things. Eastern Christianity has always been more comfortable standing in the presence of God saying “Wow.” That’s how I feel. God is not us. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. There comes a point where all God talk just has to stop so we can go “Wow!” Think Cloud of Unknowing.

Pluralist
Guest

I prefer the view that biblical writings and indeed doctrinal writings are constructions, and as constructions they may point to the divine (in part) or exist as some signals of transcendence among others. Imagery of male and female may make sense in some cultural settings, but lose sense in others – and cultures change through space and time. I do not think we need to be slaves to any of these words, and social, political and even institutionl harmony requires that most of the time we are not.

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – “unknowable” is not the same as “cannot be fully known”

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

You’re right, NP, I should have said “cannot be fully known”

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford, I’m still trying to get to grips with your comments on the Trinity. I think I know what you’re trying to say, but I’m not quite sure. The terms “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” are also terms used by human beings to express a relationship humans understand. I can see that Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer are a little more self-referential and put the Trinity in the context of human lives, and focus on action rather than on being. But as the Trinity itself is relational, I’m not sure why that should be so wrong. It is in the context… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

A century ago, Immanence and Trancendence meant the opposite to today (I wonder on who’s “authority” this was changed), namely; Immanence was the relation within the Trinity (always as THREE ), and trancendence the relation of the Trinity, as a whole, outwards (always as ONE).

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“The terms “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” are also terms used by human beings to express a relationship humans understand.” Which is exactly why we use them. All human language, a product of our finite minds, is inaccurate when describing the Infinite. “the Trinity itself is relational” Exactly. The relationship is between the hypostases, not between them and some outside thing. One way to look at this is that we live in a society that tells us it’s all about us. We have all internalized that, and can’t even recognize it most of the time. Well, it isn’t all about… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford,
Yes and Amen to all you say.
And then a long silence….

…. and only then the question…having truly accepted all you say…
Father, Son and Holy Spirit are already human concepts, because we cannot conceive of “God” outside our own experience.

So why would it be wrong, in the right context, to find words that explain what those human words “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” mean in relation to us?
After all – if it wasn’t for the importance God has for us, we wouldn’t be concerned with this “Trinity” at all.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

I need to think about that Erika. I’m not arguing so much as clarifying what I think. I’ll start from the point that stating that we experience God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer (though I would prefer Sanctifier, since I think it is more accurate) is not wrong in and of itself. It becomes a problem when it implies that it defines something essential to the Godhood of God. Father, Son, and Spirit can exist without any creation at all, as They did before creation. Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer implies that in order for God to exist at all, there must… Read more »