Thinking Anglicans

May day opinion

Updated Saturday afternoon to add another favourite poet

The Archbishop of Canterbury gave an address at the Christian Muslim Forum Conference of Scholars, held at Lambeth Palace. Dialogue is a means of ‘God-given discovery’

This week’s The Question in The Guardian’s Comment is free Belief is Who’s your favourite religious poet? If you had to take one religious poet to a desert island, who would it be? And here are the replies.
Maggie Dawn A whole live poet for my desert island. I don’t want the bound works of any religious poet: I would rather have a real one, unbound, who would perform for me.
Alexander Goldberg The power to bring you home. There’s a wealth of beautiful and comforting imagery in Jewish liturgical poetry. That’s what I’d want on my island.
Alan Wilson Australian poet, Les Murray. It’s a close call: Milton would provide food for thought, but Murray instinctively recognises the glory of God in the natural world.
Luke Coppen RS Thomas. The great Welsh poet-priest didn’t aim to soothe, but to unsettle, with an unflinching record of his inner life.
Peter Thompson Friedrich Hölderlin. Hölderlin’s poems display those little shards of light which remind us of who we are and what we might become.

There is a general election in the UK on 6 May.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written an article for the Church Times about the questions that, they say, should guide political choices. Read it here or here.
Sunny Hundal writes in the New Statesman about The right hand of God. Christian fundamentalists form a noisy wing of the Conservative Party, and their influence is growing fast.
Also in the New Statesman Sholto Byrnes asks Does it matter what our leaders believe?. The polite compromise between religion and state has served us well.
Nick Spencer in The Guardian writes that There is no Christian vote. Believers don’t form a single voting bloc in this country, but Christians are more likely to vote than “nones”.
Jonathan Bartley of Ekklesia describes Jesus’ alternative election strategy.
Christopher Howse in a Sacred Mysteries column in the Telegraph asks Is it always a sin to be cynical?

The Guardian has published two articles on what it means to believe in God.
Michael McGhee wrote about This tedious fixation on belief. What is it to believe in God? It may seem odd, but it’s not a matter of believing there is a God.
And in response Stephen Clark wrote about How to believe in God. Michael McGhee argued that there was no such thing as a belief in God. As a philosopher, I disagree.

Giles Fraser argues in the Church Times that There are limits to free speech.

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Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
13 years ago

Re: Sunny Hundal’s piece–

A word of warning to the Conservatives and Cameron…the American Republican Party virtually gave itself over to the Christian fundamentalists (whom Andrew Sullivan refers to as “Christianists”) and all it has managed to do is reduce the Party to a regional (Southern) minority.

Yes, it provides a very activist, committed base…but a base too narrow to build any sort of lasting structure upon.

Jim Naughton
13 years ago

Favorite religious poet: Denise Levertov. Have a look at The Stream and the Sapphire when you get a chance. It’s magnificent.

Rev L Roberts
Rev L Roberts
13 years ago

The poetry choice articles are well, choice. Very very worthwhile and sometimes moving. Also nice, constructive discussions in the Comments section beneath each article.

thank you.

Father Ron Smith
13 years ago

“I believe that those of us who are engaging in dialogue need to say very clearly that the worthwhile-ness of it is in that deepening of discovery that occurs within it. It’s one of the many means that God gives us to sink more deeply into the infinity of God’s work, presence and purpose. It needs no justification other than that. If it becomes primarily an argument somebody has to win, or primarily a negotiation about something on which we all agree; then it’s much less than it can be.” – Abp. Rowan Williams on Christian /Muslim dialogue – Archbishop… Read more »

13 years ago

FWIW, I found Michael McGhee’s piece, “This tedious fixation on belief”, outstanding—and easy to understand (I say this, as the thread below it on the Guardian was filled w/ people saying “Say Wot?”). So much discussion of religion seems to hinge on certain *propositions*: How many Persons is God? What does it meant to be “of One Substance”? Was Jesus physically resurrected? etc etc etc I am quite sure that I am NOT saved by a proposition. I am not saved by God’s *existence*. I am saved by the God who LOVES me—who knows me. I agree w/ McGhee, discussions… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
13 years ago

Canterbury annoys me. He can do good things like Christian/Muslim dialogue, coming out with all religous leaders after the July 7 London train bombings. Fantastic. Then he seems to be absolutely incompetent in applying the same principles when it comes to women or GLBTs? Why is it that some leaders selfishly think is about “who” when really it is about “principles”? Some naively think that since Jesus has “made it” that the forces that overthrew Satan; brought down Sodom and Gomorrah; aided and abetted the Exodus; conceived, baptised, transfigured and resurrected Jesus, ceased to exist. Er no, they left Jesus… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
13 years ago

“The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that bishops travelled to the Holy See last week to hold face to face discussions with senior members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the most powerful of the Vatican’s departments. The Rt Rev John Broadhurst, the Rt Rev Keith Newton and the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, the bishops of Fulham, Richborough and Ebbsfleet respectively, are understood to have informed senior Catholic officials that Church of England clergy are keen to defect to Rome.” – Mayday! Mayday! – If it were April, I’d think this was an April Fool’s Day joke. However,… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
13 years ago

I have published a separate article about the Telegraph story concerning departures to Rome.
Please make any further comments on this topic over there.

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