Thinking Anglicans

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Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times that The Christmas story allows us to behold God’s glory.

Ruth Gledhill reports: Make every Sunday a Christmas Day, churches told.

Earlier, The Times also had Top ten Carols and things you didn’t know about them.

Despite the seasonal humbug, Christmas has not become ‘content-free’ just yet, writes Judith Maltby in the Guardian.

And also in the Guardian Mark Lawson writes about Victorian intolerance.

The Associated Press reports on what an astrophysicist thinks about “the star in the East”.

In the Telegraph Christopher Howse writes about The shepherds’ dog and the angel.

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times about Learning to spot a fading pleasure.

And the Church Times had this leader: Prepare to meet thy maker.

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Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Merry Christmas to all the authors and TA readers. Beautiful verses by many Maltby wrote “God thought (and thinks) that not only were we worth making, we are worth becoming; and worth becoming not in power, but in humility and vulnerability. That’s the depth of God’s commitment to creation and to the human project. God comes to us as one of us because the maker thinks we matter. Go figure.” In recent times there have been accusations that some souls visions are too “utopian”. My rebuke to such adovcates is that God promises to dwell amongst us and God will… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Between Nick Clegg’s liberalism principles, who is of no religion, and Tony Blair’s war making certainties in his own head – now made Roman Catholic, I know which I prefer.

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

I think the best recent article was by Polly Toynbee in Friday’s Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/christmas2007/story/0,,2230951,00.html

A piece entitled “Sorry to disappoint, but it’s nonsense to suggest we want to ban Christmas”

I think Polly has called it just about right.

Simon

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“I think Polly has called it just about right.” Yes. And here I thought the annual “There’s A Left Wing Political Correctness Gone Mad Plot to Ban Christmas” was confined to these shores. You’d think early 21st c American Christians were more at risk than the ones who lived in Nero’s Rome. I notice these same voices seldom raised in defense of Ash Wednesday, Lent, Good Friday, or Easter, whihc are evidently not the target of the alleged politiclaly correct …. Christmas cheer to all – looks like ours will not be a white one this year in this part… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Simon Polly’s article was a delight – thanks for linking it. It left me chuckling and scratching my head. We have Christians frothing at the mouth to prove that they are martyrs with itchy trigger fingers trying to provoke wars and conflicts so they can prove armagedon is happening so they can justify this world being destroyed and Jesus coming to take them away to heaven. The trouble is, it is really hard to have a credible war when they keep getting busted for provoking the conflict in the first place, or using deceit to try and egg others to… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

Clegg’s honesty is refreshing. I just wish he wouldn’t be so agnostic about whether to prop up a minority Labour or Tory government in the event of a hung Parliament.

MRG
Guest
MRG

LAMBETH: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, yesterday declared that he was “surprised and delighted” by the announcement that former-Prime Minister Tony Blair had been received into the Roman Catholic Church. “Well that’s one less thing to worry about,” declared the head of the world’s 80 million Anglicans at Lambeth Palace this morning, his eyebrows twitching in evident glee. “Of course I wish [Mr Blair] well with his personal pursuit of spiritual fulfilment,” he chortled merrily. The Archbishop,who has spent much of the year trying to heal growing rifts in the Anglican Communion, described Mr Blair’s apostasy as “the… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Pluralist, I can understand why you might say what you say. I would not vote for someone just beause they said they believed but less likely for an atheist. Have we not seen some of the “fruits of atheism ” in the great “isms” of the 20th century? From Hitler to Stalin to Tito to Pol Pot we have seen people able to do the dastardly things without cause or conscience! I agree that the war in Iraq was deeply mistaken and said so from the beginning. But in the light of 9/11 there were some real fears and certainly… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

MRG: “Mr Blair’s apostasy”? Your words or someone else’s? Why is this in the news at all?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, yesterday declared that he was “surprised and delighted”…”

I have known this was in the making for the last 11 years, or so.

How come Dr Rowan didn’t know?

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Oh dear, Ben, you’re getting a bit predictable, you know. Why had I already guessed you wouldn’t much like non-Christian politicians; might blame a lot of things on “secularism”; and might be rather naive about how wicked lots of Christians’ actions in history have been? Could there possibly be evidence of conforming to a particular illiberal mindset’s social assumptions here at all? Or is it really only liberals who could ever stand accused of that?

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Yes, Ben, we in the US have seen what a leader dedicated to some form of Christianity has gotten ourselves into. Bush’s invasion of Iraq was definitely faith inspired.

So much for Christian politicians. I’ll take Gordon Brown’s dour pragmatism any day over a recovering drunk/born again who wears his religion on his lapel.

It seems that most of the serious conflicts are wrought by megalomaniacs that were blinded by their belief. If you think that Stalin was non-religious, I suggest you figure out what place communism in the USSR was in most people’s programed minds then.

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Fr Mark, If you want to live in the dusk where all cats are grey you may. But then you live in a world where you do not see much. I certainly leave space for evaluation on a person to person basis. I was responding to a generalization and saying it is far from that simple. If we are going to speak in general terms I think we can see which way the balance goes. Perhaps if some of your people had been dragged off to one of the gulags or death camps, in many cases taken from their families… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Fr Mark, To folow up with a little note, I would prefer real conversation to cheap shots. As you say on the basis if assumption you anticipated I “might be rather naive about how wicked lots of Christians’ actions in history have been?” I am made to wonder if you read what I actually wrote. I said, “To say one believes in God may not mean much, all depends on what ‘faith in God’ means. If it really means believing God as revealed in Jesus Christ then it would mean speaking up for fairness for all people – even your… Read more »

Bosco Peters
Guest

“In Mary God has grown small to make us great.”
St. Ephrem (d. 373)

Christmas blessings from one Anglican blog to another
Bosco Peters
http://www.liturgy.co.nz

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ben your analysis is priceless. “If it really means believing God as revealed in Jesus Christ then it would mean speaking up for fairness for all people – even your enemies!” Have you read this blog lately and what some people say about fair treatment of lgbt people within the Christian church? As for “It parades as tolerant (where did we hear that before? Stalinist USSR), but tolerant really only of those who fit in to the system.” At least the conservative tendency in the church cannot be accused of parading as tolerant. It is very outspoken about only accepting… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Ben: you’ve never heard of the thousands of gay people who were exterminated in the Holocaust, then? (Although I’m sorry for posting such a miserable reminder on Christmass Eve!)

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

And “cheap shots”, moi!

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Off Topic:
We’re celebrating Christmas this Christmas Eve so I’m signing off for a few days.

Have a blessed Christmas everyone.

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

High-brow secularists – Toynbee, Dawkins, Hitchens – all find beauty in the poetry and literature of traditional versions of the Bible, and hymns and music which have stood the test of time. They bemoan the dumbing-down tendencies of parts of the Church as being a threat to our glorious heritage. I can understand the need to confront bad religion and faith without reason, but they should perhaps do more to recognise the contribution to the cultural life of the nation the Church makes. Perhaps it is no surprise that attendance at our cathedrals has grown 3% every year from 2000… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Fr Mark,

Are you not the one who acknowledged you had on the basis of assumption anticipated my views about this? And you went on to say things that a close reading of what I said rules out. Try to be fair!

Of course I know various groups including many handicapped people were taken in the holocaust. I do see a strong line of separation beween church and state and that the church needs to support an open society and at he same time with the freedom to sustain Christian identity within this framework. Hope this is helpful.

Peace,

Ben W

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Thank you Hugh of Lincoln, the same recipe for excellence in music, and engaging young people with adult expectations has worked in a select number of US parishes as well.

Everybody have a Happy Christmas, as well as safe transit to wherever they’ll be going. And yes, remember to tune to BBC 3 at 1500 today (1000 EST USA) to have a good cry.

God Bless-

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Perhaps if some of your people had been dragged off to one of the gulags or death camps,” The point is, Ben, that 500,000+ of us WERE dragged off to the camps. God knows how many of us died in the Gulags. That we were included in the Holocaust could happen within a decade of the very liberal attitude to sexuality in Germany between the wars gives me a chill. It is why I do not trust society’s current acceptance of gay people. It is why I fear a rise in conservative politics. Given that, especially in the US, the… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Of course I know various groups including many handicapped people were taken in the holocaust.” So, why did you say: “Perhaps if some of your people had been dragged off to one of the gulags or death camps, in many cases taken from their families and never to be heard from again, you would not be quite this nonchalant either!” Seems to indicate you did not know. “This would leave the societal arena open to basically live free of coercion and presence would be based on the weight of Christian influence” So why is so much “Christian influence” coercive? There… Read more »

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

I wish everyone a blessed Christmas from the Philippines. Yes, I’ll be listening to the Lessons and Carols too.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Kings is on BBC 4, not 3 at 1500 as I erroneously reported. It will be repeated on BBC 3 tomorrow.

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Ford, I think what you say here needs to be weighed. It might concentrate the minds of people on all sides of this to remember. As you say, “That we were included in the Holocaust could happen within a decade of the very liberal attitude to sexuality in Germany between the wars gives me a chill.” It once more reveals clearly that “liberalism” has little or no grounding of it’s own. When the wind changes it is so “liberal” it is with “the party and the people.” What do these labels mean, liberal or conservative? I have voted liberal about… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Listening to Lessons and Carols as I write – Diocese of Virginia underwrites this here. Descants just wring my heart and lift it too! Blessings to you all.

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Ford,

When I spoke of “some of your people dragged off” I was speaking of family and friends who have gone through this. I think it is dreadful that homosexuals or certain handicapped people were taken. So we can move on.

Ben W

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“When the wind changes it is so “liberal” it is with “the party and the people.” “ No, this is worldly politics. Might it be that you are confusing conservative politics with Godliness? Politics, Left or Right, is just politics, it is worldly. “I think you paint with a very broad brush, there are extremists on all sides, as a whole Evangelicals speak up for the rights of all within the framework of law and society” When these conservatives accept large amounts of funding from an organization, one of whose members who has publically called for the stoning of homosexuals,… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

“In Mary God has grown small to make us great.”
St. Ephrem (d. 373)
Posted by: Bosco Peters on Monday, 24 December 2007 at 4:52am GMT

What went wrong I wonder ?

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

When throwing stones it pays to remember that one lives in a glass house. Souls being dragged off to be killed in gulags is terrible, as was dragging souls off to Auswitzch. If we denounce both these forms of violence (which, as Christians, we should) then we should denounce all equivalent forms of violence. That includes men who come into public venues to drag their wives and children home for beatings and, too many times, death. Before one complains of the splinter in another’s eyes, it doesn’t hurt to take the plank out of one’s own. Before one throws rocks… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Thanks for this Ford, so well expressed. I share this fear– and think it likely that many of us do and always will. In Britain, amidst the current easy acceptance of our relsationships and common use of the word marriage, I also find myself pinching myself, and wondering why this has only come in towards the end of my life. I do enjoy the changed situation and it some times gives me joy –but I can never forget what I ( / we ) endured as children teens and young adults. There were times when I almsot went under. It… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

“So we can move on”?!!? That’s it, Ben? Hitler did some awful things, but that was more than sixty years ago, so let’s move on? Can you really be this clueless? The point, Ben, is not what was happening then; it’s what’s happening now – not least in Nigeria, with the support, prompting, and prodding of the godly archbishop Akinola. It’s happening NOW, Ben. Keep repeating it to yourself – might just help!

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Lapin,

What is this? No need to get into a frenzy – all this says is: “so we can move on,” as in, “hope this is clear can we move on with the conversation?”

Ben W

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Ford,

More than a little ironic don’t you think? This thread goes on about Nick Clegg and other politicians, and which of them might be worse or better (read the thread!), and you say to me when I ask about the relevance of the labels liberal or conservative, “No, this is worldly politics. Might it be that you are confusing conservative politics with Godliness? Politics, Left or Right, is just politics, it is worldly.” Interesting.

Ben W

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

When Ben W acknowledges the current wrongs done to women and GLBTs (as well as heterosexual male Christians) and non-Christians then he will move on.

In the meantime, others have moved well beyond Ben, and it is to his and his priests’ shame that he thinks he is at the vanguard when they are justifying 2000 years of agression justifying failure.

If there is a form of Chrisianity being born not as they know it, it is to their leaders’ shame that they never gave birth to it earlier.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Dreadful”? “move on”??

Is that the best you can do Ben W???

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

I’m not in a frenzy, Ben, believe me. Nothing that I write in a frenzy would come within a mile of TA’s publication standards. Simply that when a conservative poster assumes that a patronizing pat on the head is the appropriate gesture to those with whom he disagrees, I believe that letting him know, sharpish, that it is not.

Ben
Guest
Ben

Lapin,

It lets me know something all right, you are trying to live up to your name.

Ben W

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Interesting.”

What’s interesting, Ben, is the way you keep ignoring the reasons gay people don’t trust, even fear, conservatives. Not to mention the worldliness of dividing people up into liberals and conservative camps.

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Ford, I think one difference between us is I am basically trying to deal with life in our context. You are always over in Africa somewhere and picking up some difficulty or other from there and talking about that as if that is simply true here. That really is “out of it.” So we continue mostly to talk past one another, not very useful! An example is this liberal and conservative business. You know that was brought into the thread before I responded. I think the terms mean something that in some contexts can help us communicate some important things,… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

A life in context devoid of the reality around oneself is contemptible in biblical terms.

There are those who say there is peace and dress the wounds of others as though they were not serious e.g Jeremiah 6

Yet remember Jeremiah 30:17 “‘I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD, ‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.’”

See also Hosea 6:1, Isaiah 30:26 or 53:5

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I think one difference between us is I am basically trying to deal with life in our context.” My context is that of a gay man living in Western society where extreme conservatives have a very loud voice. Granted I am in Canada, so the voice is a bit more quiet. It is a context in which conservatives daily lie about me: I can change, I chose my sexuality, I am asking the Church to bless promiscuity, (I’m not asking for anything, BTW,) my life expectancy is 30 years less than a straight man’s (this “backed up” by propaganda which… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Ford,

If you have followed closely what I said you will know I have not justified abuse in language or action toward anyone.

Where I live what I hear in church and for the most part even beyond is homosexuals have at times been dreadfully treated and there is nothing for that except repentance. In the light of historic Christian faith we want to stand with the confession of Christ in all areas of life, that is my context.

Ben W

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ben ” think one difference between us is I am basically trying to deal with life in our context.” Especially after Ford’s last reply to your comment, can I ask you what your view on this is? This is clearly Ford’s experience and he is not the only one on this blog to have spoken about various ways of exclusion and intimidation from the Christian right. Our sense of insecurity, lack of trust and occasionally fear is real. Our worry that even moderate conservatives in the Western world appear to see no harm in aligning themselves with the extreme leaders… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Erika, When we get reports about what is going on in Africa from people who are not there and in some cases by people who have never been there, I do not simply accept that. Then if we get some anecdotes of bad things from here and there as if they are true in general everywhere, I find that incredible (and Ford as I remember has more than once had to acknowledge he went over the top on some things!). That,for instance, he would meet discrimination in hotel accommodation in N America? I have used hotels over many years travelling,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ben Have you ever tried to check into a double bedroom with another man? Maybe you cannot assess what people face unless you’re in the same situation? And if you’ve been in England these last few years you will be well aware of the unholy row that was caused by the parliamentary legislation only last year to increase gay rights in the civic sphere. Many many felt it was unreasonable to request B&B owners to allow gay couples to book. We’re not making this up! As for not trusting what Ford says about Africa, I have previously suggested you should… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ben
also – Ford’s quotes from Africa are usually from well documented statements by ++Akinola. That they were made can be verified through the archives of this blog and from many other sources on the Internet.

If you’re interested in verifying a particular statement, please say which one and I can help you to find its original source.

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Erika, I do know some things about Africa, enough to know that, as I put it, “if we get some anecdotes of bad things from here and there as if they are true in general everywhere, I find that incredible!” Is there a person speaking on this list who has lived there for years, studied the situation and with a knowledge of all sides of this brings the information? Even the particular experience of one person from some place there may tell us something about that place, but is not a basis to claim general knowldge. I do not question… Read more »