Thinking Anglicans

bank holiday weekend opinions

Nitin Mehta writes about Indian religions in the Guardian.

Also Stephen Bates reviews Rupert Shortt’s biography of Rowan Williams, see God’s squad.

In The Times Roderick Strange writes about Bede. See More than a brief flight through warmth and light.

At the Church Times Giles Fraser reflects on his job change in Seeking the reality of solid joys.

A week ago, Paul Vallely wrote Get some perspective on MPs’ cash.

And Adrian Thatcher wrote The Word was made of flesh and blood, not ink.

Over at Cif belief Ben White wrote Palestinian rights deserve Anglican action.


  • r v lambert says:

    On Adrian Thatcher’s piece about “the Word of God”

    Adrian Thatcher is a man after my own heart. At last someone who will rouse himself to speak out on what has been known for the past two centuries at the v least: it is Christ, as Son of God, who is “the Word”, not a collecion of writings, however sacred and canonical.

    Having just spent the last 6 yrs in Ghana, I throw a fit every time someone tells me the Bible is “the word of God”. It becomes a soul-less and idolatrous mantra, as Adrian rightly says. I taught volunarily in a Theological College in Ghana, attempting valiantly to put across what I could of this same message. So I want to know when clergy and academics in this country will stop pussy-footing around the issue, and take up the fight for truth.

    More in this vein please!!

  • Nitin Mehta’s piece is rather rosy, given the swirl of revenge in Hindu extremism and nationalism, particularly regarding the Babri Masjid being destroyed in 1992 and the intentional replacement by a temple to Lord Rama. These exclusives are potentials in every religion, it is just that some take more extremism than others to reach violence. Gandhi was killed by a Hindu on the basis he was too tolerant to Muslims.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    This is an outstanding biography of Rowan Williams and this is a perceptive review.

  • Cheryl Va. says:

    Has there been a write up of Stephen Bates’s new book on TA yet? It should be, I read the preview on google when the ad at the bottom of his article referred to his book due to be released 28 May.

    Long term TA subscribers will recognise the history of events and dynamics that Stephen covers, as much of that has been covered through TA in recent years.

    It looks like this book will give a good precis to those who do not use the internet to track dynamics and changes.

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “…the mother church, did not need a holy leader of outstanding intellectual gifts who wished only to be collegiate. What it needed was someone altogether more dynamic and decisive, though as the alternative candidate was Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, an arrogant, disdainful and overbearing figure, there was perhaps little real choice.” – Stephen Bates – Guardian article –

    In his commentary on Rupert Shortt’s biography of Archbishop Rowan williams, Stephen Bates is here indicatring what ought by now to be an obvious truth about Rowan’s leadership role in the Anglican Communion. In a way, Rowan is far too deeply spiritual for the job. Like his erstwhile predecessors Robert Runcie and Michael Ramsay, Rowan has the intellectual nous and collegial integrity that has prevented him from ‘lording it’ over the other Primates and Bishops of the Communion – the more characteristic model of other Church Leaders of both East and West.

    What Rowan’s critics need to consider is that, if his nearest rival, Dr. Nazir-Ali, had been elected Archbishop of Canterbury in his place, the Anglican Communion might now have been more deeply riven and disorganised than seems to be the case in the present situation. It may yet be that Nazir-Ali might be shaping up to lead an alternative ‘Anglican’ sodality via Global South, ACI and the ACNA reforming Federation that is shaping up to do battle in opposition to the holder of the traditional See of Canterbury, as Leader ‘Primus-inter-pares’ of the world-wide Communion.

    Rowan, as theologian and spiritual leader of the Communion is our present and only hope for some sort of unified Communion – based on the Gospel and the Anglican genius of Scipture, Tradition and Reason. He is a person of prayer and quiet reflection, and a believer in the claims of women and the LGBT to be fellow members of the body of Christ, a charism needed in the present impasse.

    Just think of the alternative that would have eventuated under the leadership of Bp. Nazir-Ali:
    People like Sugden, Robert Duncan, Akinola and the so-called Anglican Institute in North America would have already been given carte blanche to high-jack what they perceive to be the Gospel imperatives in the Anglican Communion around the world! Thank God for Rowan, I say!

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “It is counter-intuitive, but the firmest foundations for life are to be discovered in activities that do not have a look of concrete-and-steel solidity: acts of loving kindness and the life of prayer. “Solid joys and lasting treasure None but Sion’s children know.” – Giles Fraser, Church Times article.

    Good on you, Giles! In the maelstrom of frenetic activity by would-be knockers of Rowan and the Church of England’s potential for inclusivity, your thoughts here are vital to our understanding of what exactly is at the heart of Christian discipleship in the world in every day and age: ‘Acts of loving-kindness and the life of prayer’ – something which Jesus exemplified, and which is vital in our presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world for which he died.

    Putney will miss him, but Giles will find his niche in the heart of the City – where he belongs

  • acb says:

    I think that Robert Runcie knew much more about politics and leadership than either Ramsay or Rowan. He had a very keen and very realistic appreciation of his post’s limited powers; and indeed of the limited powers of charm. But to think of him as an intellectual wimp is rather to miss that side of him which rose from being a scouser of very humble origins to an MC in a guards regiment. He wasn’t unworldly, but he kept the world in perspective.

  • stephen bates says:

    No new book from me alas, Cheryl. The work referred to at the end of the review was my Anglicans and homosexuality book, now four years old and my later American book, cross-reffed by Simon is two years old too. Silly me for turning down a publisher’s invitation to write a book about the Church of England – particularly as I recently broke my leg rather badly and face several months’ enforced idleness……

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