on Saturday, 2 April 2016 at 10.00 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
Sam Keyes The Living Church Food of life, food of death
Giles Fraser The Guardian The resurrection isn’t an argument. It’s the Christian word for defiance
Some Easter sermons
Archbishop of Canterbury
Bishop of Liverpool
Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Archbishop of Armagh
Archbishop of Armagh (dawn service)
Archbishop of Dublin
Bishop of Waikato
Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem
And some from Holy Week
Archbishop of Armagh
Excellent final paragraph by Giles Fraser which sums up exactly and succinctly where we are as a national church. I can however trump his record as there has been a church here on the hill of Bex with a priest since 772. When the Conquoror landed nearby had he looked up on his way to do battle he would have seen a little Saxon church that had been there for almost 300 years before he landed here from Normandy. As for a church that is supposed to be dying – I am pleased to say that at the main Resurrection… Read more »
Giles Fraser believes the resurrection is an act of defiance. And he makes good points to back up his argument. His parish is disadvantaged with many social problems. And this is just the territory where defiance Christian-style can make a big difference. I sometimes wonder if it isn’t more difficult doing Christianity in a well to do area.
Of course, both Giles Fraser and Justin Welby are attempting to proclaim the hopeful Gospel at Easter 2016 as they ought and well done. But perhaps one query: I do wonder whether there might be too much of a dichotomous clash of nature vs Grace or Faith vs reason somewhere. So the Resurrection (unhelpfully put in categorical terms) has to be unnatural: “There is nothing natural about resurrection. At Easter God is completely disrupting the pattern of life and death.” Yet earlier on, and more helpfully, His Grace has “… the reality of purpose and achievement which is the gift… Read more »
Giles Fraser sanctifies failure: if he’s representative, little wonder the progressive wing of the church is dying; with resurrection unlikely to follow.
Suffering’s combated not with magical thinking, but by identifying the cause of the problem, and working to fix it. Evidence is crucial to that endeavor. That Fraser declares evidence and reason irrelevant to his faith ought to nix any surviving illusions that he’s any kind of a liberal.
Post modernism’s brought us to this, and it’s a sorry place.
Giles Fraser’s moving article reminded me of the final episode of Rev a couple of years ago: the tiny, beleaguered congregation breaking into the boarded-up church to proclaim the resurrection. ‘The darkness has not overwhelmed the light of the Word.’ And Bishop Paul Bayes once again made me grateful that he is our bishop in down-but-not-out Liverpool.
“Suffering’s combated not with magical thinking, but by identifying the cause of the problem, and working to fix it. Evidence is crucial to that endeavor.”
said Jesus never…
James Byron. I don’t know how many times I have said this. I am absolutely not a liberal.
Rod, by post modernism, I’m referring to Fraser’s repeated habit of rejecting the search for objective truth (did the resurrection happen?) and prioritizing subjective meaning (do I get emotional fulfillment from believing that it happened?). What matters isn’t truth, but “my truth.” Ironically for a movement that began among left-wing academics, po-mo suits conservatives who want to reject modern science and other discoveries, since when there’s no objective truth, evidence can be discarded; and since it leads to ideas that don’t work, junking evidence is inherently dangerous. Alastair, true: and if Jesus hadn’t thought Adonai was about to enter history,… Read more »
McAteer’s “thinking” as represented in Keyes’ article in TLC is a perfect example of why metaphors are metaphors and only metaphors, and, in every case, can be strained to the breaking point. Certainly using them as a basis for dogmatic or moral theology is very thin ice indeed. In this case, I’ll simply leave it as saying that it’s unsound.
Pam, I like your comment, although I’ve had to learn to temper my suspicion of, well, well-to-do parishes. Somnolence can, I think, afflict any part of the church that’s tempted to be satisfied with itself. It happens to me a lot.
Giles Fraser’s article strikes me as working on the edge of meaninglessness, using religious metaphors when a more direct and simple language would do and thus making those metaphors vacant. Everyone sees this sleight of hand, and it’s hardly sleight of hand – it is cumbersome, and everyone sees not only how the trick is done but that it ceases to be a trick. He and I might agree on resurrection and incarnation, except I don’t believe it and he uses the words in some chuck-about extended use manner.
Thanks for commenting, Giles. I don’t dispute that you reject liberalism: like I said, it’s a misconception that’s often expressed, and should be put to rest.
«Rod, by post modernism, I’m referring to Fraser’s repeated habit of rejecting the search for objective truth (did the resurrection happen?) and prioritizing subjective meaning (do I get emotional fulfillment from believing that it happened?). What matters isn’t truth, but “my truth.”» – James Byron Science is very seriously considering that we might inhabit just one of an infinite number of parallel universes and/or whether we are merely a simulation or projection from a high dimension objective reality. Against that sort of science then subjective reality might be the only reliable reality. «Ironically for a movement that began among left-wing… Read more »
I don’t always agree with Giles Fraser either (in fact, I don’t think there’s anyone I always agree with), but this piece was brilliant. There is a danger for our religious words to become purely spiritual and theoretical, something we can feel strongly about during a moving Service. But when you’re in a parish like Giles’s, faced with that level of deprivation and all the resulting apparent meaninglessness of anything individuals can do to try and make a difference, it is reasonable to ask what a lofty word like Resurrection can mean, in that context, now, if it’s not to… Read more »
It was interesting to hear + Richard Chartres reflect on 20+ years as Bishop of London in this interview with the team at St Mellitus College
Kate, I agree that science doesn’t offer immutable truths, but that’s no reason to embrace solipsism; same goes for speculation about alternative universes. If reality’s so out-there, it’s all the more reason to adopt the most vigorous testing, to avoid misleading ourselves. Fraser’s shrug of “it doesn’t matter” is no answer. I also agree that science is different in kind to philosophy, but that being so, philosophy must be bounded by it. If Fraser’s arguing not only that God arbitrarily suspends natural laws, but that we can reasonably believe this extraordinary claim on the basis of mere feelings, he’s opening… Read more »
The resurrection of Christ transcends science.
I think the first thing a modern believer needs to do is to understand the limitations of science. Science cannot – yet at any rate – explain life or consciousness and therefore present day science cannot be authoritative on resurrection. I am a mathematician by training and have a different perspective than those who rely on science. For me, irrational numbers exist but clearly set just outside a purely scientific reality, complex numbers even more outside that reality. Topologies of higher dimensions and non-Euclidean geometries take us even further from the observed physical realm studied by science. So by high… Read more »
There’s a very witty and quite accessible blog post on Scientific American which discusses solipsism as a consequence of quantum theory:
That’s not to say that solipsism is necessarily the “correct” philosophy (in either a scientific or theological sense) but to the extent that Giles Fraser’s views include elements of solipsism, I don’t see them as inconsistent with present-day scientific understanding.
I suspect I would find Insight outdated. Most such treatments, particularly of that vintage, rely upon infinity being countable. With the work of the amazing Prof John Conway, we now recognise there are uncountable infinities.